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Outdoor String Lights: Magical or High-Maintenance?

'Tis the season (again)

It's that time of the year when lawns are mowed, patios get tidied up, grills go on sale, and string lights make their inevitable mid-year comeback.

For the data-inclined, take a look at this fun Google Trends graph showing the search volume for "string lights" over the years—not only do they resurge in popularity around spring time, as people presumably begin sprucing up their backyards in anticipation of warmer weather, but they're also becoming more popular, period.

Whether it's in private residences, restaurants (check out the jazzy Shake Shack in New York City's Madison Square Park), stores (the atrium of the new Shinola store in San Francisco got the memo), they're everywhere!

A photo posted by John Humenick (@thyamine) on

And for good reason. For many, string lights are festive, inviting, and instant mood-boosters. The whimsical lights are also pretty versatile: they can hang over an outdoor dining area, dress up some trees, trim some railings, to name a few ideas. They also come in all sorts of designs, ranging from the trendy Edison bulb to novelty designs like flowers or pineapples. Here's a look at how real denizens of Instagram have deployed them.

A photo posted by Beth Keener (@beth.keener) on

A photo posted by Annie (@ellisbells) on

A photo posted by @mommasunshinedesigns on

A photo posted by Kirkland's (@kirklands) on

Now on to the cons. Just as they are during the holiday season, string lights as outdoor decor can be tricky to maintain, store, and install (careful with the zillion bulbs!) And it's definitely also possible to go overboard with them—backyards shouldn't look too much like a Pinterest wedding...or should they?

Are string lights part of your outdoor lighting scheme this year? Do you they make you smile or drive you nuts? Sound off in the poll and comments below!