Installing Landscape Lighting
Landscape Lighting Installation
Installing landscape lighting in your yard and garden is one of the most important parts of having a beautifully landscaped area you and your friends can enjoy!
After you have decided to include landscape lighting in your plan for your yard or garden, you must consider the type of lighting that best fits your lifestyle!
If you are a person who likes things to be done easily or likes to change the look of your garden frequently, you should probably use solar landscape lights. These are easy to install since all you need for power is sunlight! You can learn a bit more about solar landscape lighting installation here!
If you have a very shaded yard, you should choose low voltage landscape lighting! These are a bit more difficult because:
they require you to have an electric power source
they require a transformer to convert your house power to 12 volt power
they have wires and cords that you must decide how to hide
most likely you will need to remember to turn them on and off
120 V is available for Outdoor Lighting
You can buy some landscape lighting that uses 120 volt power. 120 volt power is what is used in your home’s grid. These include rope lights and string lights! All these require for installation is a plan, a ladder, an extension cord, a power outlet, and someone to hang the lights. Of landscape lighting that is run on electricity, these are probably the simplest to install!
The downside of these lights is the necessity of checking your cords often to make sure they are not being damaged by the weather or rodents.
Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Installation
Installing landscape lighting that is low voltage is a bit more difficult. For this type of lighting, you will need to install low voltage lighting transformers! A transformer plugs into your home’s power grid and changes the voltage from 120 volts to 12 volts. Most electric powered landscape lighting is low voltage, so a good transformer is a necessity!
When installing landscape lighting, you will need to take into account the wires and cords and how you will hide them. After all, you don’t want unsightly cords running across your garden! Hiding them isn’t terribly difficult. All you need to do is dig a trench 4 to 6 inches deep for the cords to lie in.
Wiring lights yourself? Our wiring landscape lighting guide might be of some use to you.
When using low voltage lights in your garden, you will either need to remember to turn them on and off or you can attach a timer to the transformer that will take care of that for you!
Wanting some security lighting? Consider installing a motion sensor light! These are the best kinds of lights for security out there.
Now that you know your options, let’s look a bit deeper into installing landscape lighting!
Let the Outdoor Lighting Pro’s do it
As always, if you are not comfortable working with electricity, please contact a licensed electrician to install your transformer!
He should be able to instruct you on how to add more lines into your transformer safely! Click here to find out more about a landscape lighting transformer
You should always plan out your lighting design on paper before you begin installing landscape lighting. This ensures you get the proper amount of lights for your garden. It will also show you what type of lighting you will need. Assuming you are going to need low voltage landscape lighting, here is what you will need to begin:
You will need a good, low voltage transformer. Make sure you get one that is adequate for your needs. These come in several different sizes to ensure you get the proper one for your garden.
You will want to buy your lights. Make sure you buy low voltage lights, if that is what you are installing. Most landscape lights are low voltage, but check to be sure.
Enough cord or wire to reach to all areas of your garden.
Junction boxes for each zone of your lights.
Splicers for adding lines into the main line to your transformer. Make sure not to overload one cell of the transformer. It is better to have more lines than to overload the transformer causing a breaker to switch.
A good timer to install on your transformer if you want the lights to automatically come on at a specific time.
A sturdy shovel to dig a small trench with. Most homeowners already have this so you may not have to buy one! It is also good to have someone with a strong back to work this piece of equipment!
After installing your transformer, installing landscape lighting is fairly easy!
Following the plan you made on paper, start by laying out the lights on the ground where you are going to want them placed. After you have them all laid out, check to see if they are going to give you the coverage you want. If not, move them around until you like the effects!
If you are not going to be finished in one day, it may be helpful to place flags where the lights are going to be. That way your lights are not laying on the ground overnight where they can be damaged by being stepped on.
Now that you know where the lights are going to be, start digging a shallow trench, 4 to 6 inches deep, for laying the cords in. You will have 1 main cord coming from the transformer. Your lightâ€™s cords will wire into this main cable. You will want to make sure that you can put this cord where it will be hidden or underground to avoid damage, either by weather or other things that can damage your wire.
Try to place the transformer in a spot where you will have few obstacles to get around. You don’t want to try to dig into a sidewalk, for example!
Following your plan, installing landscape lighting should be fairly easy. You may want to plot out where you are going to dig ahead of time. Remember that you will have voltage drop if your line is too long, has too many fixtures connected to it, and what gauge cord you are using.
To avoid a large voltage drop, you should group your fixtures into distance zones. This means your lights that are 100 feet from the transformer should be grouped into 1 cord. You should group into short distance (0-25 feet), medium distance (26-50 feet), long-medium distance (51-75 feet), and long distance (76-100 feet).
Then you should centralize your cable and then run branches from the fixtures into it! You should try to avoid daisy-chaining, which is having fixtures tying into the central cable in a straight line! This avoids as much voltage loss as possible. If you must daisy-chain because of where your lights are located, try to use no more than 3 fixtures per line!
Using these techniques, you should dig a trench to a central location for the lighting zone. Then you will want to install a junction box. Dig trenches to each lighting fixture from the junction box. Run your cord from the lighting fixture to the junction box. Attach the cord using the instructions that came with your lights or junction boxes.
You will want to make sure that each light fixture will receive 11.5 to 11.75 volts of power for the best light. Most junction boxes will tell you how to figure this out so you know how many lights per cable run you can use and still have plenty of voltage for a perfect glow!
While this sounds complicated, installing landscape lighting is relatively easy. Once you have one zone completed, the next one will be easier!
Of course, if you don’t like working with electricity, or simply don’t have the time to do it safely, please don’t hesitate to call a licensed electrician! They are trained to do this work safely!
Although it takes a bit of work, and a bunch of planning, installing landscape lighting will give your yard or garden that special touch that says it is definitely you!
For more questions please click here: Landscape Lighting Guru Texas Hill Country