How to Create Paver Columns for Outdoor Lighting

Cafe lights, seen over a patio umbrella near a home with vinyl siding
Overhead lighting, such as these cafe lights, adds instant ambiance and charm to any patio. 

Nothing gives a patio ambiance like the right kind of outdoor lighting. Café, or string, lights, are affordable, attractive and transform any outdoor living space into a festive atmosphere.

Installing café lights is easy. You can use a guide wire with S-hooks or temporary ties; drape them around tree branches, balcony rails, arbors and pergolas; or build posts for uncovered areas.

We’ve created a beautiful paver patio that desperately needs overhead lights, but there’s absolutely no place to hang them. So, we’re going with that third option to tackle this project.

Paver columns will serve as an attractive gateway to the patio, and each column will support a metal post for mounting café lights.

Closeup of a paver patio with a paver fire pit in the corner
This patio is loaded with amenities — it just needs lights to add a festive evening atmosphere. 

You’ll Need

  • Metal Pipes (4)
  • Pavestone RumbleStone Pavers
  • Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix
  • Construction Adhesive
  • LED Café Lights
  • Drill

Men install pavers for the base of a light post on a paver patio
Creating a void at the center of this paver arrangement, and pouring concrete mix in it, will provide a strong foundation for our metal posts. 

Creating the Paver Columns

We’ve strategically laid out the patio columns so we can string the outdoor lighting exactly where we want it.

Our columns consist of three parts: large Pavestone RumbleStone blocks, which form the base; thinner pavers toward the top; and a decorative cap to hide the work.

The first column begins as part of a low retaining wall that borders the patio, so we will interweave the first few blocks with the wall to provide strength and aesthetics.

We’re using large RumbleStone blocks, which are 7 by 10.5 inches. It’s important that for each new row, the blocks overlap the previous row’s seams, so that the structure retains its strength as it goes up.

There should be no vertical joints that extend from one row to the next as the column grows taller. Also, keep a void in the middle that’s large enough to accommodate the metal pipe and concrete mix we will add soon.

Finally, apply construction adhesive between the rows to hold each block in place. When the column reaches the desired height, cap it with thinner large pavers, one of which has a hole drilled in it. This cap will do two things: surround the metal pipe that will support the lights, and cover the concrete.

Danny Lipford pours Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix into the post hole
Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix is easy to use — just pour it in and add water. No mixing needed! 

Setting Posts to Support Outdoor Lighting

We’ve created the paver column to support the metal pipe that will support our café lights. Now, it’s time to wrap up the project so this patio can have some attractive outdoor lighting.

And the project comes together pretty quickly in this next phase!

First, insert the pipe through the void at the center of the paver arrangement. Then, lift up the top paver and pour Quikrete Fast Setting Concrete Mix into the void around the pipe. What’s great about fast-setting concrete is there’s no mixing involved — just dump it in and add water!

Next, place a level against the pipe to make sure it’s perfectly plumb, then add water to solidify the concrete mix. Then, lower the top paver and use construction adhesive to secure it to the rest of the column. 

Finally, mount the café lights to the tops of the metal pipes. You can just drape them around two elbow pipe fittings, use S-hooks and install as directed. It’s best to use LEDs because they last longer and are more energy-efficient.

Closeup of a metal pole with a pipe fitting draped with cafe lights
A pair of elbow pipe fittings is all we need to drape these cafe lights around the posts. 

Now, this paver patio has beautiful columns, posts and café lights. And we’ve created an outdoor living space with loads of charm from top to bottom.

Best of all? Since we used concrete to secure these posts, they’re not going anywhere!

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