If you want to reap the benefits of vibrant, backyard illumination, you’ll need a variety of versatile, weatherproof, low-voltage landscape lights to brighten up your property’s pathways, flower beds, trees, fences, driveways, stone walls, doorways and deck. While you could hire a professional to design your outdoor lighting scheme and install all of your illuminant fixtures, DIY installation is your middle name! This budget-friendly project can make a big impact on your outdoor space, providing a practical, aesthetic glow that can be enjoyed both day and night. So, if you’re a person who’s rather handy and you’re up for the challenge, we highly recommend installing a few low-voltage landscape lighting systems because they’re cheaper, easier to install, safer and require far less energy than higher voltage systems. The perfect backyard is just within reach, so read ahead for an installation how-to.
Key components to keep in mind before starting your project
With a variety of low-voltage landscape lighting fixtures and accessories available in an assortment of colors, styles and sizes, it’s almost impossible to test out and review all of them prior to your purchase. However, nearly every lighting system, complex or not, is comprised of the following four basic parts.
- Transformer: Every low-voltage landscape light system requires a state-of-the-art transformer to power its illumination, plugging into a protected electrical outlet that is supplied with current between 12 volts and 120 volts. Some transformers are even equipped with timers to allow the users to choose when the lights will go on and off.
- Low-voltage electrical cable: There is a cable that you will need for your lights that’s made to be buried underground, running from the transformer into each low-voltage landscape light.
- Pathway fixtures: These types of lights are designed to be installed along walkways and driveways.
- Accent fixtures: These types of lights are specialty fixtures that used to shine or up light your landscape features.
How do you install low-voltage landscape lights?
While the list of steps can vary depending on where and how you want your lights to look, there are three major areas of installation that will be required for your DIY project.
Laying the cable: It’s always best to paint a picture of what you want to do before starting the work. That’s why laying the light fixtures out before installing them is a good first step. Space each fixture about 8 to 10 feet apart and then unroll the spool of electrical cable to place down beside each fixture. Following, use a shovel to dig a small trench along the line where you want to place your fixtures. Next, set down the cable in the trench.
Installing the transformer: Peel the copper wires from your cable about 4 inches on each side, then use some wire strippers to remove about ⅝ inch of insulation. Slide the wires through the strap on the back of the transformer and place one of each of your wires under the A screw and the B screw terminal. Following, tighten the screws to secure the wires and place the stake of the transformer into the ground next to your nearest electrical outlet.
Connect the lights: Attach a plastic cover over the outlet to protect it from the elements and then plug in the transformers power cord into the outlet. Next, connect each fixture to the cable. Since the transformer is connected, the fixtures should just light up, however, if this doesn’t happen, try again by checking your wired connections. Once the lights are glowing you can place their stakes into the ground where you want them to sit. Lastly, fill the trench in will topsoil.
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