Waterproof and Landscape Wiring

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If you've put in a lot of time, effort and money into your garden area and outdoor space, a simple landscape light wiring project will allow you to enjoy your handiwork at night as well as during daylight hours.

Wiring Landscape Lights: Low Voltage Is Best

Two types of lighting are available for outdoor wire projects: low voltage and line lighting. Low voltage lighting is only 12V, as opposed to the 120V of line lighting. Low voltage is economical, energy efficient and safer to work with. It is also comparable in brightness to line lighting, depending on the bulb used.

Design Layout for Outdoor Wire Projects

Before you begin wiring landscape lights lay out your design in a detailed drawing. Add up the total number of watts of the fixtures you’re planning to install. You’ll need a transformer equal to or higher than this total wattage. If you plan to add additional lighting in the future, choose a transformer with a higher number of watts.

Tools for Wiring Landscape Lights

Prior to beginning your outdoor wire project, make sure you have the following items:

  • A sufficient amount of outdoor wire (cable that is approved for outdoor use)
  • Electrical tape
  • Lights and light bulbs
  • Screwdriver
  • Transformer
  • Waterproof electrical wire nuts
  • Wire strippers

Landscape Light Wiring and Installation

Follow the instructions below for wiring landscape lights:

  • Turn off the power before you begin and wear electrically-tested rubber insulated gloves when working with the outdoor wire and lights.
  • Install the transformer near a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). A GFCI disconnects a circuit if it detects an electrical imbalance. The transformer should be installed at least 1 foot above ground. You can mount it to the side of your house or to a post. Make sure the waterproof cover is in place. Don't turn the transformer on yet.
  • Assemble the light fixtures and arrange them as you'd like them to be installed, leaving 8 to 10 feet between each light and at least 10 feet between your first light and the transformer.
  • Strip the ends of the cable near the transformer and connect them to the terminals on the transformer. Secure all wire connections with waterproof electrical wire nuts (or connectors). Test the lights to make sure they work.
  • Dig shallow, 6-inch deep trenches. Bury the cables. Leave a small amount of cable near the light fixture in case you want to adjust the position of your lights later.

Need More Help?

If you need professional help with your project, LendingTree Home Pros can help.

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