How to Install Landscape Lighting
What good is curb appeal if you can’t see it? Adding landscape lighting to the exterior of your home can bring new life and added safety at all hours of the day. Learn the smart design techniques and installation steps for uplighting and path lighting with Monica Mangin from “The Weekender”.
Difficulty Level: Moderate. If you are not 100% confident with installing landscape lighting and electrical work, Lowe’s recommends that you hire a professional.
Start by taking a look at your exterior and picking out key focal points you want to feature as well as where you may need functional lighting. It’s helpful to think of your landscape lighting in zones. Each zone will have a main power source wire that will run from the lights to the main transformer.
Now that you have your lighting design plan It’s time to start installing your landscape lighting, No matter what your design plan Is. You’re going to need outdoor power. Be sure to check the out to make sure It’s getting power. You can do this by plugging in an appliance such as a lamp.
Why do you need a transformer to install landscape lighting?
The transformer converts 120 volts from the outlet to 12 volts for the landscape lights. If you go with a high 120 volt you’ll need a licensed electrician. All the lighting in this demonstration will be run through this one transformer.
The first step will be installing the transformer It’s very simple just plug it in. Because this house has a stucco siding the transformer is going to be mounted onto a cedar post. Dig down about 18 inches and make sure you have enough at the top to mount the transformer.
Use a post leveler to make sure the post is nice and straight and backfill it with the dirt. Make sure to pack the dirt down to make sure It’s not loose around the post, keeping it immobile. Now put a screw into the post to mount the transformer onto.
What’s great about this transformer is that it has a photocell, It’s a sensor that turns the lights on when It gets dark. The lights will be programmed to stay on a certain amount of tie so in the morning they’ll shut off.
Placing Lights and Running Wire
In this video tutorial, they are using up lights these are specifically LED floodlights. Place the lights on the ground to make sure you’re happy with the placement and the design and then you’ll run your wire to the transformer.
You’re going to want to keep the lights about three to four inches inside the bed edge. It’s important because if you were to edge your bed you may accidentally hit the wire or damage the lights.
Now run the wire from the transformer out and around to each of the lights. They are using 12 gauge wire for the entire project, which will be sufficient for the number of lights they are adding. Depending on your lighting design you may need to increase the gauge of the wire to a 10 gauge wire.
This whole step is about dry fitting everything, they are dry fitting the lights and now the wire above the ground to be sure you have enough. It’s better to have excess than have too little.
Connecting The Landscape Lighting to The Wire
Start at the end of the wire where you just made your cut. The wire on the light and the wire that you’re running the 12 gauge needs to be split apart. Strip off about a half-inch.
Now you have the wire that’s going to the main power source at the transformer and the wire for the light and now you need to combine the two. An important thing to notice is that your wire side is going to have some writing or numbers on it, You’ll want to make sure the wires with the writing to the wires with the wiring and the wires with the ridge to the wires with the ridge.
Take the matching wires and give them a little hand twist to make it convenient and take the wire connector and put it on. These wire connectors have silicone in them, making them waterproof.
Now you’re all connected remove the plastic stakes from the lights. Use a rubber mallet so you can hit the face of the light fixture without breaking it. Leave the state about an inch and a half above the ground so the mulch doesn’t cover too much of the fixture. Now position the light, use the screw on the side to loosen it and then position and tighten it back up.
Wrap up the extra wire so that if you ever change the placement of the light you’ll have a little extra wire at each light. Use sod stamples to hold the wire in place. Move to the next one cut the wire there and then wire that up and just keep moving along.
As you’re running your wire throughout the yard you’ll want to keep your wire as low profile as possible. Whenever you can hide it in the bed put it along the edge of the house.