Request A Quote
Close
HomeCustomize Landscape Lighting
Customize Landscape Lighting

Customize Landscape Lighting

By: Dan Behymer, Posted: , Section: Landscapes and Gardens

CUSTOMIZE LANDSCAPE LIGHTING

Outdoor light systems are wired up using either line-voltage or low-voltage power. Heavy-duty linevoltage wiring plugs into GFCI outdoor outlets, and the wires should be buried in a conduit. The more common low-voltage systems plug into a transformer. The wires of a low-voltage system are thin and can be buried discreetly in the soil.

Home centers sell multi-fixture DIY kits for lowvoltage systems. Or purchase individual fixtures, wiring, and transformer separately and customize a system. Small plastic fixtures cost as little as a few dollars. More durable metal fixtures are about twice as expensive.

Plan your own custom landscape lighting
STEP 1

Choose a transformer, or power pack, that offers a wattage output greater than the total wattage of all the light fixtures in the system. For example, let’s say a system includes four 7-watt fixtures, two 11-watt, and two 35-watt fixtures: 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 11 + 11 + 35 + 35 = 120 watts total. In this case, you would need to have a transformer that offers a capacity of at least 121 watts. (Some are also equipped with built-in timing and/or photocell devices—popular features for many homeowners.)

STEP 2

Determine the number and style of fixtures you need. Walk the perimeter of your home, noting areas to illuminate. Sketch the plan on graph paper, noting key features such as trees, shrubbery, paths, decks, and patios. (Space path lights a minimum of 10 feet apart. Depending on wattage, flood lamps will cast light 20 to 40 feet.)

STEP 3

Locate a 120-volt GFCI outlet for your power pack. Certain manufacturers offer “weatherproof” outdoor power packs. Professionals still do suggest keeping the transformer inside to avoid the elements, which requires you to drill through a wall to run the cable. The transformer should be mounted within 3 feet of the outlet and at least 1 foot above the ground.

STEP 4

Determine the length of cable you’re going to need for this project by measuring the distance from the outlet to the farthest fixture location. Include the length of cable that branches off the main line. Allow for several feet of extra cable. Cable for low-voltage systems is available in 8-, 10-, 12-, and 16-gauge sizes. The appropriate cable size depends on the maximum length of run from the transformer and the total wattage of the lights in the run. Check the cable manufacturer’s recommendations.

STEP 5

Dig a narrow channel for the cable at least 6 inches deep from the transformer to each fixture location. At each fixture location, create a loop of cable (about 2 feet) for the attachment of the fixture.

STEP 6

Place each fixture at its desired location, attaching the fixture to the proper mounting device. “Surface mounts” are used for placing fixtures on trees or structures. “Ground mounts” are stakes or spikes driven into the ground to support the fixture.

STEP 7

Connect the lead wire of the fixture to the cable run by splicing the wires together using wire nuts (apply a sealant and electrical tape to prevent corrosion, or solder the wires to ensure a strong connection). Cable connectors are a quick way to splice a fixture’s lead wire to the cable run; some manufacturers even supply the connectors along with the fixtures.

STEP 8

Plug in the transformer, connect all of your cable runs to the transformer terminals, and turn on the system. If there’s any trouble, recheck all wiring connections. Once the system functions properly, fill in the cable trench that you dug in step 5, and you’re ready to light up the night.

Remodel Trends
Add an Interior Door

Add an Interior Door

Add an Interior Door

Add an Interior Door

Add an Interior Door

Add an Interior Door

GO INSIDE Interior doors usually have a hollow core, weigh and cost less, and have no need for insulation. Also sold as slab or pre-hung versions, these doors also come in many different styles. Flush and paneled doors are popular, and the way the door opens va..

GO INSIDE Interior doors usually have a hollow core, weigh and cost less, and have no need for insulation. Also sold as slab or pre-hung versions, these doors also come in many different styles. Flush and paneled doors are popular, and the way the doo..

GO INSIDE Interior doors usually have a hollow core, weigh and cost less, and have no need for insulation. Also sold as slab or pre-hung versions, these doors also come in many different styles. Flush and paneled doors are popular, and the way the door open..

GO INSIDE Interior doors usually have a hollow core, weigh and cost less, and have no need for insulation. Also sold as slab or pre-hung versions, thes..

GO INSIDE Interior doors usually have a hollow core, weigh and cost less, and have no need for insulation. Also sold as slab or pre-hung versions, these doors also come in many different styles. Flush and paneled door..

GO INSIDE Interior doors usually have a hollow core, weigh and cost less, and have no need for insulation. Also sold as slab or pre-hung versions, these doors also come in many different styles. Flush and paneled doors are popular, and the way the door op..

GO INSIDE Interior doors usually have a hollow core, weigh and cost less, and have no need for insulation. Also sold as slab or pre-hung versions, these doors also come in many different styles. Flush and paneled doors are popular, and the..

Best Roofing Material

Best Roofing Material

Best Roofing Material

Best Roofing Material

Best Roofing Material

Best Roofing Material

Often it really is a race between tortoise and hare: not who can go fastest but who can last the longest. And for many homeowners nervously contemplating four and five-figure re-roofings, longevity looks pretty good. You can rate roofing materials from many different a..

Often it really is a race between tortoise and hare: not who can go fastest but who can last the longest. And for many homeowners nervously contemplating four and five-figure re-roofings, longevity looks pretty good. You can rate roofing materials from many d..

Often it really is a race between tortoise and hare: not who can go fastest but who can last the longest. And for many homeowners nervously contemplating four and five-figure re-roofings, longevity looks pretty good. You can rate roofing materials from many differe..

Often it really is a race between tortoise and hare: not who can go fastest but who can last the longest. And for many homeowners nervously contemplating four a..

Often it really is a race between tortoise and hare: not who can go fastest but who can last the longest. And for many homeowners nervously contemplating four and five-figure re-roofings, longevity looks pretty good. You can ..

Often it really is a race between tortoise and hare: not who can go fastest but who can last the longest. And for many homeowners nervously contemplating four and five-figure re-roofings, longevity looks pretty good. You can rate roofing materials from many diffe..

Often it really is a race between tortoise and hare: not who can go fastest but who can last the longest. And for many homeowners nervously contemplating four and five-figure re-roofings, longevity looks pretty good. You can rate roofing materials..

Wake up Your Kitchen With an Updated Backsplash

Wake up Your Kitchen With an Updated Backsplash

Wake up Your Kitchen With an Updated...

Wake up Your Kitchen With an Updated Backsplash

Wake up Your Kitchen With an Updated...

Wake up Your Kitchen With...

A New Kitchen Backsplash: Cheaper than a New Wardrobe It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round, and some of those people like to cook and enjoy having a nice kitchen to do so in. Maybe you moved into a new home and you feel like you're living wit..

A New Kitchen Backsplash: Cheaper than a New Wardrobe It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round, and some of those people like to cook and enjoy having a nice kitchen to do so in. Maybe you moved into a new home and you feel like you're ..

A New Kitchen Backsplash: Cheaper than a New Wardrobe It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round, and some of those people like to cook and enjoy having a nice kitchen to do so in. Maybe you moved into a new home and you feel like you're living..

A New Kitchen Backsplash: Cheaper than a New Wardrobe It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round, and some of those people like to cook an..

A New Kitchen Backsplash: Cheaper than a New Wardrobe It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round, and some of those people like to cook and enjoy having a nice kitchen to do so in. Maybe you moved into a ..

A New Kitchen Backsplash: Cheaper than a New Wardrobe It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round, and some of those people like to cook and enjoy having a nice kitchen to do so in. Maybe you moved into a new home and you feel like you're livi..

A New Kitchen Backsplash: Cheaper than a New Wardrobe It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round, and some of those people like to cook and enjoy having a nice kitchen to do so in. Maybe you moved into a new home and you feel ..