Subscribe for articles, news and offers
Basic Landscape Lighting Installation InstructionsStep 1: Assemble the landscape lighting fixtures and insert the bulbs. Remember to not touch the halogen lights directly with your fingers since grease from your skin may shorten the life span of the bulbs.
Step 2: Place the lighting fixtures in the ground following your design. Try to keep your lights hidden by shrubbery and outdoor items for aesthetic appeal. When the light source is hidden, the light is showcased rather than the fixture.
Step 3: Run the cable from the transformer to your landscape lighting fixtures. Lay the transformer on the ground and do not mount the it at this time. Leave at least 5 feet of slack by the transformer, then loosely run the cable to each fixture according to your layout..
Step 4: Create your splices. Use a Direct Burial (DBr) splice connector to connect each landscape lighting fixture to the cable. Do not use wire nuts because they will easily corrode. Since low voltage landscape lighting fixtures don't have a polarity, it doesn't matter which fixture gets paired with which cable wire. You can choose to use a Hub System to centralize all your cable splices which will make future troubleshooting much easier. Be sure to visit our Guide on how to make proper Low-Voltage Landscape Lighting Splices for more detailed information on this topic.
Step 5: Connect the wires to the transformer while it is not mounted to the wall. One wire from each run will go to the common terminal, and one will go to the 12 volt tap terminal. These terminals are labeled on the transformer, and each can have multiple wires connected to it. Do not use the higher tap voltage terminals at this time, we'll get to that next. Once each wire is connected, you can plug in the transformer.
Step 6: Double check your lights and layout. If one light is dim, move that zone's cable to a higher tap terminal on the transformer. Use a volt meter to determine which volt tap will create the optimum 11-12 volts. If all fixtures on a run aren't within 1.5 volts of each other, adjust your layout or break the run into two. Measure the farthest fixture in each run first, then work your way inward. If your run is more than 15 volts, professional assistance is strongly recommended. Get more information on Using and Buying Volt Meters.
Step 8: Adjust the position of any angles and fixtures. Straighten out cable runs and wrap wire around each cable run bundle for a neat finish. Once cables are placed in the correct position, bury them in the ground. Cables buried under mulch are less likely to be cut when digging since you will see them when you clean the mulch to dig. Bury the cables 6"-12" in the ground in the lawn. Where cables cross from a bed to grass, bury deeper and cut a slit down the side of a PVC pipe to place over the cables as a protective conduit (they often get cut from bed edging if this is not done).
Step 9: Fine tune. Make sure you wait for night to fall and fully analyze your customers landscape lighting before leaving. Make sure the lights are correctly positioned, change any bulbs, check for glare from the fixtures and fine tune. Now you can demonstrate to the customer how to operate the system.
Shop for Landscape Lighting Fixtures