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Your Landscape Lighting Layout

Step by Step Landscape Lighting Plan

diy landscape lighting diagram smallStep 1: Start your outdoor lighting project by drawing a simple diagram of the customer's property, and marking where you want to place the landscape lighting fixtures. For some layout help, consult our design guide.

Step 2: Place fixtures close together into groups or zones so they can share a cable run. The zones should be determined by how far the fixtures are from the transformer. The first zone should include all landscape lighting fixtures closest to the transformer, then subsequent zones should follow. Each group will have its own cable run to its own transformer. Do not place a group of lighting fixtures 15 feet from a transformer on the same run as a group 100 feet from the transformer. Expect to have three cable runs of 80-100 watts for each 300 watt transformer circuit.

Follow our low voltage landscaping layout guide to make sure your lighting layout doesn't suffer from a voltage drop or damage. Reduce the number of runs, and manage voltage drops like the professionals with our Hub System.

Step 3: Add up the total wattage of all the bulbs you will be using. This will give you an estimate of correct size transformer you need. To better understand the multi-tap system, check out our multi-tap transformers guide for specific details.

Step 4: Calculate the cable gauge and length needed to reach the transformer. You will need 100 feet of 12 gauge cable for every 100 watts. For a more specific calculation, multiply the amount of wattage per zone by the cable length in feet. For example, if you have 120 watts, and 75 feet, that equals 9,000. If the total is less than 10,000, use a 12 gauge cable. If the total is between 10,001 - 15,000, use a 10 gauge cable or split the zone into two smaller zones.

Step 5: Purchase your supplies. The first items to buy are the landscape lighting fixtures. You need to choose the correct flood and well lights, path and area lights, and bulbs for the lighting effect that you want. Estimate how much cable you will need and purchase 30% more than what you calculated. Next you need to buy the transformer. For every 240 watts of bulbs, you need 300 watts of transformer. You can buy bigger transformers if you have more than 240 watts, however, it is better to buy two smaller transformers instead of a single large one.

Splices and connectors should be purchased next. You will need two connectors per fixture, plus extras for splicing the main cable and hubs. Any accessories, such as replacement bulbs, hub systems, and wire ties should be purchased last. Be sure to check out our Guide to selecting low voltage fixtures for more information, as well as our listing of Low voltage lighting tools every pro needs.

We recommend following this plan and supply list, or something similar to it, in order to be completely ready to tackle an outdoor lighting project safely and effectively.

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