Low voltage outdoor
lighting helps you to safely use your outdoor living areas
pathways and driveways can be a little scary and a lot
dangerous at night.
But a few tasteful, strategically placed
outdoor low voltage lighting fixtures easily solve this
A basic set of low voltage fixtures
works well for illuminating stairs, driveways and
most basic and least expensive low voltage outdoor lighting
systems come with six to ten spiked fixtures attached to
a wiring pole that you stick into the ground.
It also comes with a roll of
underground cable and a transformer you plugged into an
A variation might come complete
with well lights, garden lights, adjustable spotlights,
adjustable flood lights, low voltage cable, halogen bulbs, a
control box that contains the transformer, a timer, and a
light sensor that operates your lighting system.
Outdoor low voltage
lighting kits remove all the complicated buying
with only 12 volts used in a low voltage system (the same
as your car's battery), it's so safe, why not save some money
and install the system yourself?
Forgo the kit and choose your fixtures a
la carte for a large space or a more complex lighting setup.
Then get the best
transformer you can afford that can handle more wattage than
your fixtures require in case you decide to expand your
lighting system later.
Both a kit and an a la carte system are easy to
If you can dig a trench for the cable, you
can easily do this yourself.
Tools & Materials:
Low voltage kit with transformer, fixtures, cable,
wiring, and timer
Or transformer, fixtures, cables, wiring and timer
Zip ties or soft nylon straps to tree-mount the
Your basic system will have easy to complete
Essentially, you'll run the cable along the path
you intend to light. Attach the fixtures to the cable.
Stick the spikes located at the bottom of the fixtures into
the ground. And plug the waterproof transformer it into
a 120-volt GFCI-rated outlet.
If you decide on a more
complex low voltage outdoor lighting system, there are a
few buying decisions you'll have to make.
The transformer's job is to step
down the 120 household volts to a safer 12 volts required
in a low voltage outdoor lighting system.
you're putting together a custom lighting system, you'll need
to know what capacity transformer is right for your job.
When deciding on a transformer, first determine the
total number of fixtures to be connected.
the distance between the transformer and the farthest fixture
in the run. When in doubt, just ask a clerk at your home
Transformers come in different
shapes and sizes. But, you'll either attach the cable wires to
the transformer wires with wire nuts. Or you'll slip the cable
wires into slots on the transformer.
In any event, don't plug the
transformer into 120-volt GFCI-rated outlet until the
wiring is completed.
Some transformers come equipped
with integrated timers. Others can come equipped
with multi-tap options.
of these, the voltage will range from 11 to 14 volts.
Transformers that handle higher voltages are for
longer cable runs.
Mount the transformer so it's
assessable to a 120-volt GFCI-rated outlet and attach it
to the cable.
Bury the cable:
Position your cable according to your lighting plan.
If you're installing path lights, dig a shallow
trench along the path, run the cable, then replace the
EasyOutdoorDecor Tip: If you're
removing grass to dig the trench for low voltage garden
lighting, keep the grass turfs intact. When you replace
the soil, you can just put the grass tufts back in place
and water thoroughly. In a few weeks, you won't even be able
to tell where the trench was dug.
Just follow the manufacturer
When you push the spikes into the ground,
take care to avoid damaging the cable.
To tree-mount fixtures, use zip
ties or soft nylon straps.
Notice how artificial
foliage is used in the image at left to camouflage the
Finally, tweak your handiwork.
gets dark, have someone help you direct the light to
exactly the right spot by having them stand at a vantage point
that's several feet away.
The easy installation of low voltage
outdoor lighting keeps you and yours safe by creating
convenient and safe passages around the exterior of your