Options to minimise working at heights for a 2 storey display


Apprentice elf
Nov 18, 2018
Perth, WA
I will be doing my first display this year, and I live in a 2 storey house. While the CFO has been quite supportive of doing this, she also is the chief Health and Safety officer who is not keen with me being on the second storey roof.

I would love some suggestions on how to effectively mount props at heights without the need for expensive hire equipment. I looked at hiring a cherry picker and they were about $500 for half a day, very expensive indeed. I could hire tall extension ladders, but I didn't want to be carrying bulk props up ladders (not 4m high anyway).

Here is a sketch of what I'm planning to create.

The blue lines on the 2nd storey roofline are icicle lights. While on the left and the middle of the house I can stand easily on the ground floor roof and reach the second storey gutters, it isn't the same over the garage.
I was thinking of attaching the icicles to PVC pipe (or something similar) with J hooks attached to it. I could then use a long pole (with a J hook on the end, or some other wooden frame to support the PVC) to push the icicles lights up and over the gutter. I would need to lift both ends at the same time obviously.

When it comes to the window over the garage, this is something that I'm REALLY seeking input on. I am going to have a PVC frame for the window outline pixels, with some PVC running vertically through the middle of the PVC frame which will support the Santa coro prop. So when built, this will be bulky and heavy, not ideal to lift up on a ladder.

I originally thought I could use 2 brackets at the top of the window frame (Screwed into the window frame), each in an L shape approx 10cm long, to slide the PVC behind. This would make it easy to insert the top of the PVC into the window frame. I could then have 2 eye hooks at the bottom of the windows which I could zip-tie the bottom of the PVC pipe to. Like so:

This would allow me to easily push the top up into the frame, and have someone from inside the house do the zip tie to the bottom of the prop. It won't stop be having to lift the prop up a ladder, but it will mean it won't be difficult to push up into the top bracket. The top part may jiggle around a bit, but it wouldn't pop out.
The top L piece and bottom eye hooks could be permanent fixtures.

The problem I see is that the top of the window is likely to have a lintel above it really limiting my ability to attach those L pieces to the top. Would silicone suffice to attach them? I don't think there would be huge forces put on it?

I then thought about suction caps on the glass and just zip tieing the PVC to the suction caps? But that could be a bit risky?

Am I over thinking this? Does anyone have any suggestions?


Senior elf
Jun 17, 2012
Karaka, Auckland, NZ
I have a 2-storey home. I have a very thick rope that is tied to a large pylon at the back of my house. I then throw the rope over the ridge of the house. I wear a safety harness with fall arrest lead and crawl all over the roof that way. We did have a cherry picker some years back but I found I still had to get out of the cage to do things so at $500 for a half a day (same cost here too) why bother.

It does take me 20-30mins to get used to it initially each year, but I generally only spend one day, maybe 2 tops up there. The first floor is of course MUCH easier :)