How to Install Pathway Lights Like a Pro

Outdoor pathway lighting has become a popular choice among many homeowners because the illumination of the walkways, entrances, and backyards enhances the mood around the home’s façade, creating an impressive, beautiful impression to anyone passing by and a wonderful welcome to the visitors.


Installing pathway lights will not require an electrician. You can do this project yourself even if you do not have any experience with wiring as long as you choose low-voltage, exterior-grade light fixtures, or solar-powered ones, as these are easier to install compared to hard-wired models. Determining the type that’s best for your home will largely depend on where you plan to install the lights. If you need help in choosing the best pathway lighting for your yard, click here for some tips on what to you need to consider when purchasing pathway lights. Once you’re set to start with the installation project, see the steps below for your step-by-step guide in installing pathway lights:


Step #1: Plan the placement of each fixture.

You do not want to end up with lighting that resembles an airport runway, so you can either alternate and stagger the pathway lights to the right and left of the walk or plot them all along one side. Space them eight to ten feet apart then mark each location. It is best to run the cable through gravel or flowerbeds instead of grass, as mowing and trimming can damage the outdoor light fixtures. If you are installing solar pathway lights, skip to Step 7.


Step #2: Lay out the cable.

Lay out the cable. A 16-gauge cable can support up to 150 watts, a 14-gauge cable up to 200 watts, and a 12-gauge cable can handle 300 watts. High-wattage lights cast a bright, unflattering glare so avoid these. Pathway light fixtures that use 4- to 20-watt bulbs are ideal.


Step #3. Dig a shallow trench.

Dig a trench three inches deep (or less) approximately twelve inches from the walkway using a flat-blade shovel.

Step #4: Prepare the wiring.

Run the cable through the ditch and up towards the outdoor electrical outlet. Using wire strippers, cut the cable and snip off ½ inch of insulation from the top to expose the wires. Separate the wires, put them under their designated terminals on the transformer, then secure them by fastening the screws.


Step #5: Install the transformer.

Install the transformer near the electrical outlet at least twelve inches off the ground. If there is no exterior wall space available, attach this to a wooden stake then plug it in.


Step #6: Assemble the fixtures.

Connect the fixtures to the cable by pressing the clamps through the cable until they click. If the lamp does not light up, check and make sure that the bulb is screwed in tightly. Then unsnap the clamps and try again.


Step #7: Bury the light stakes.

Bore a hole in the ground using a long steel punch, then tap the stake lightly into the hole with a small sledge or a mallet. Place the soil or gravel back into the hole around the fixture. Repeat this step with each lamp.


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