We love putting up our artificial Christmas tree outside every year, but it can become challenging to keep it in place during strong winds and bad weather. So what’s the best way of anchoring it?
You can stop an artificial Christmas tree from falling over outside using shepherd’s hooks, ratchet straps, rope or tie straps, or by adding weights to the base such as an outdoor umbrella stand full of water, bags of rocks, sand or cat litter, or even dumbbell weights or fence post bases.
Join us to discover how to use each of these methods to anchor your artificial Christmas tree outside this festive season…
Can You Put Fake Christmas Trees Outside? (Is it Safe?)
Yes, you can put a fake Christmas tree outside. A fake Christmas tree can make a great addition to a porch, gazebo, or patio, creating an appealing extra seating area for the holiday season.
You need to make sure of a few things first: is it water resistant, and are its lights and decorations suitable for outdoor use? There’s a great selection of outside fake Christmas trees at places like Home Depot and Lowe’s, which are ready-decorated with safe outdoor lights.
As well as making sure your fake tree and lights are suitable for outdoor use, you need to ensure that the tree won’t topple over. A gust of wind could easily wreck your gorgeous display, or even send your tree tumbling down the block. We’ll take a closer look at how best to anchor your fake Christmas tree.
How Do You Anchor a Fake Christmas Tree Outside So it Doesn’t Blow Over?
Artificial Christmas trees can be lighter, so they need firm anchoring to prevent them from blowing over. There are several ways you can do this, and how you choose to secure your tree depends on the type of tree and what fixing points you have available.
You can keep it cheap and low key by weighing down a pot with rocks or sand, or try a decorative method like a weighted umbrella stand. If your porch is particularly windy, you can even use ratchet straps or ties.
Just please bear in mind that even though you can easily tie up or weigh down an outdoor fake tree, the best solution is to choose a sheltered spot in the first place. Aim to have the tree close to the house wall or away from the prevailing wind. A sheltered location combined with a weight or a tie should keep your tree standing neatly upright throughout the holiday season.
Heavy Duty Shepherds Hooks
Shepherd’s hooks are normally used for decorative purposes such as holding lanterns or hanging baskets. However, a heavy-duty shepherd’s hook can take on tougher tasks, such as helping to support your fake Christmas tree.
Shepherd’s crooks placed in buckets or pots of soil on either side of the tree can be used to tie it down (more about ties in a moment). You can also turn the pots into pretty, decorative features with evergreen plants.
Even with heavy-duty hooks, this is a solution if you just need a bit of extra support. If you think the tree is likely to get blown over, you’ll need a more robust method of support.
Ratchet Straps, Rope or Tie Straps
Ratchet straps are most commonly used in haulage, to tie down loads. So, they may not be a pretty solution, but they are effective. If you are standing your tree on a raised deck, you can thread the straps between boards. Otherwise, you may need to attach fixings to the house wall or fence to hold the strap.
The same is the case with rope and tie straps: what are you going to fix them to? If your tree is going to stand close to a fence or trellis, this is an easy fixing method; otherwise, you may have to install hooks on your wall to take the other end of the rope or strap.
Outdoor Umbrella Stand Full of Water
We really like this method, as it can look really great. Do you have a stand for your patio umbrella? Repurpose it as a Christmas tree stand. The heavy-duty ones that you fill with water are ideal: just make sure that the trunk fits before you choose this as your fixing method.
If you don’t already have an umbrella stand over-wintering in your garage or shed, you can pick them up at places like Home Depot or Target. You can even get decorative plastic ones (although these don’t weigh down as well as a water or sand-filled stand). If you don’t like the look of your plain stand, try covering it with burlap and ribbon (using water-resistant fabrics, of course).
Bags of Rocks, Sand or Dumbbell Weights
This is a cheap and effective method of weighing down your outdoor fake tree. Simply gather up some sand, pebbles or rocks, (even cat litter!) or a few small dumbbell weights. You’ll also need two plastic store bags (tough ones, with handles that won’t pull and tear).
Place the rocks or weights in the bags, then tie the bags on either side of the Christmas tree stand. Make sure they are opposite each other so the weight is evenly balanced. This is an easy way of making sure your tree doesn’t blow away (and is an easy solution if you realize last-minute that your tree needs holding down).
It’s not the most attractive solution. We’d suggest getting a strip of burlap a few yards long, and generously wrapping it around the tree base, covering the bags. You can also disguise it with fake presents, like the ones they put around the trees in malls and stores. But, the presents themselves will need to be weighted and wrapped in something waterproof.
Fence Post Bases
Using a fence post base to attach an artificial tree to a deck is a great idea. As with the umbrella stand, you need to make sure that the trunk fits in the support. Make sure you know exactly where you want your tree to go, as you’ll need to drill holes in your decking or boards to secure the base (lookout for a fence post base with pre-drilled holes).
If you’re standing your tree on grass or dirt, you could even use a fence post itself, as a type of stake. Securely fix the post into the ground, then tie the trunk to it using any of the tying methods we mentioned above.
How Long Will an Artificial Tree Last Outside?
How long a fake Christmas tree lasts outside depends on a number of factors: how exposed it is to the elements, how good quality it is, and whether it’s designed to go outside or is simply a relocated indoor tree.
A decent outdoor tree should give you a few holiday seasons, provided you clean and dry it (and make sure it’s free from bugs) before storing it away safely on 6 January each year. If it’s been kept out of the sun and rain, your outdoor tree should do even better.
If you’re worried about exposing a smart new fake tree to the elements, Do It Yourself With Joe suggests repurposing an old artificial tree for outdoor use. If you have an old tree in your attic or basement, this is a great way of giving it a bit more useful life before eventually getting rid of it. In this short YouTube film, Joe shows you how to upcycle an old Christmas tree into a lovely new porch decoration.
As Joe says, an indoor tree won’t last long outside, which is why he advocates installing a used one. The metal parts of the stand and branches won’t be designed to withstand rust, and will deteriorate after their Christmas spent outside.
We’ve used dumbbell weights from my lifting set to anchor our outdoor Xmas tree in the past, and even tied it up one year with rope when the wind got up.
However, having looked into this in more detail I think we’ll give the umbrella stand full of water a go – or even the fence post method.
It’s important to keep that fake tree from falling over in bad weather, as it messes up all your decorations which can take ages to put up.
My kids still never let me forget that our tree went over a few years ago. 🙂