The oldest country flag in the world is the Saltire or the flag of Scotland. Also known as the Cross of St Andrew, the flag has been used by the Scottish since 832 AD.

Flags are used all around the world for a variety of reasons, and the most common purpose is to represent regions, nations, and countries. There is some anecdotal evidence that the first American flag was sewn by Betsy Ross in 1776 after George Washington visited the woman’s upholstery shop.

The American flag has gone through multiple changes since then, and there have been around 26 different versions used throughout history. Although many individuals proudly display their country’s flag on bumper stickers, baseball caps, t-shirts, and smartphone covers, many have no idea how to display a flag properly.

Fifty percent of the UK’s population don’t know how to tell if their flag is flown upside down or not. This doesn’t stop some people from flying flags in their gardens, many incorrectly.

If you want to fly a flag at your business, sports club, or even from your garden, you might want to read on to see how to do it correctly, and also how to light them up at night.

Why are flags used?

Flags and pennants are used for many different purposes. They can be used to advertise a company, and many businesses fly a flag with their logo at their headquarters.

Stadiums very often fly flags for the home nation, and/or visitors to the grounds. White flags have traditionally been used to indicate surrender, and other flags can be used to signify danger.

The skull and crossbones, or the Jolly Roger, were used to indicate that the ship was used by pirates. Although in movies it often shows pirates as being aggressive, and no doubt many were, the Jolly Roger was used to avoid conflict where possible.

Many other ships would avoid any vessel flying the skull and crossbones, and its psychological value may have been its greatest power.

Great Britain’s confusion with flags

Great Britain not only gets confused with how to fly their flag, but they are also not sure what it is called. The Union Flag has never legally been recognized as the official flag of Great Britain, but it is universally accepted. However, it is also called the Union Jack.

Many people believe that the flag is only called the Union Jack if it is flown from the mast of a ship at sea. Specifically, a warship.

Different countries have their own rules and guidelines on when and how flags should be hung and flown. It must get rather confusing if you are from Great Britain as there is not only the Union Flag, but also individual flags for each country, and two different versions of the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom. Even Cornwall has its own flag to assert some form of identity.

If you are thinking of erecting a flagpole in the UK, it might be safer just to use your particular country’s flag

How to hang a flag correctly in the US

In the United States, the national flag is flown proudly from homes, military bases, government buildings, schools, and many other structures.

The United States even has a code on how to treat the national symbol. The US Flag Code was devised by Congress in 1942 and explains how to treat the flag with respect, and how to hang it correctly.

In the US, the flag can be flown any day of the year, but some days are more important than others.

Special days for flag flying

It is especially important to fly the flag on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day, Labor Day, and of course, Independence day.

Memorial day rules

On Memorial Day the flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to noon. Afternoon the flag can be fully flown for the rest of the day.

When the nation is in mourning

The national flag should always be flown at half-staff at a time of remembrance or mourning.

How to put a flagpole into your garden or grounds

If you are looking for backyard ideas to help create a very personal space near your home, then adding a flagpole might be an idea. When you decide that you want to be the proud owner of a flagpole, there will be some considerations though.

You will need to work out the best location for the pole. Consider lighting, more on this below, and make sure that it has strong foundations.

When considering where to position your flagpole, think about how much wind will reach it. If it is too sheltered you won’t be able to enjoy your hard work so much. For the foundations, you will need a good-sized hole, dry tempered sand, 3000PSI concrete, and support elements.

Any good flagpole manufacturer and retailer will be able to advise you on the best way to make your foundations and erect your flagpole.

How to light up your flagpole

As a firm DIY enthusiast, you may know how to make the most of a small room with effective lighting, but this may be the first time you have ever thought about lighting up a flagpole.

Very often, flagpoles will be illuminated from the ground with lights inserted into the base. Another option is to use uplighters around the bottom of the pole if you don’t want to have them fixed into the base. One other way that can be used on its own, or combined with base lights, is to have a halo or a disc with lights fitted at the top of the flagpole to illuminate downwards.

What types of lighting are there for flagpoles

The most common way to light up a flagpole is to use halogen lamps. These bulbs are very bright and can effectively illuminate flagpoles.

The problem with halogen bulbs is they are a type of incandescent lighting and only last for a limited time. Halogen bulbs run for about 2,000 hours of continuous use, and although they will be switched off in the daytime, they will at some point need replacing.

The other concern is that lighting up your flagpole from top to bottom all night is going to add to your electricity bill. So, it might be more desirable to look at solar power.

A solar flagpole light can illuminate your new symbol of patriotism and pride and not cost a cent on your electricity bill. Most modern outdoor lighting uses LED technology now, and solar flagpole lights are no different.

Solar batteries last for years, and the LED lights they power won’t need to be replaced for perhaps 30,000 hours. That’s 15 times longer than halogen bulbs which means they are better for the environment too.


Solar flag pole lights are a great way for you to show off your new addition, whether it is in the garden or for your business. Solar power is becoming more important as household electricity bills soar ever upwards, and fossil fuels head towards their inevitable extinction.

Not only that, but solar-powered lights are better for the environment too, so you can enjoy your flagpole in the knowledge that you are causing no harm.

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