Landscape lighting is a great way to add curb appeal and a bit of luxury to your home. With the skies getting darker earlier, now is a great time to take on a little DIY landscape lighting project so you can enjoy your outdoor spaces longer into the evenings. It might be easier than you thought!
The first step to a landscape lighting project is to map out your yard and determine where you want to put lights. Do you want spotlights or lamps? This will depend on if your goal is atmosphere or function – do you want to illuminate a pathway? Then lamps are the way to go. Highlighting a special feature? Grab some spotlights.
Once you know placement and quantity, head over to the hardware store and pick up the lights you want. There are so many choices – from solar powered to low-voltage – you’ll want to do your research and decide what will work best for you. Solar and battery-powered lights are convenient because you just drop them in the ground and move on. Low-voltage lights are more durable, brighter, and longer-lasting.
If you go the low-voltage route, you’ll need wire and a transformer box. These items are actually pretty inexpensive, and with a little elbow grease, you can create a custom system for your yard. Using the chart on the back of the transformer box, determine the voltage you’ll need and the number of lights you can place.
Most transformer boxes need to be placed relatively close to a power outlet, so decide where on your house you can do that discretely. The transformer can be mounted to the wall so as not to ever come in contact with standing water.
Lay out your cable along the most direct path between all of the places where you’ll place your lights, leaving a little extra slack. Cut the wire a few feet longer past where the final light will be and connect the opposite end of the wire to the transformer. Next, connect the lights to the wire. (Most lights simply clamp down on the wire and pierce a tiny hole in it to connect.) Plug in the transformer to the power outlet and test to be sure all lights are working properly.
Now that you’ve got everything laid out, you’ll want to bury the cable. Be sure to go at least four inches down into the ground to prevent any accidental cutting of the wire when doing lawn care. In flower beds, you can go a little shallower.
Finally, when it gets dark, adjust the lights to your desired angles and positions and enjoy your beautiful new view!