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The Quick and Easy Way to Set Up Your Garden Lighting

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The issue of security must come up first. Working with electricity may be dangerous, so it’s best to call in a pro if you’re not sure what you’re doing. The beautiful thing about dealing with low-voltage systems is that you can’t get electrocuted as long as you stick to the 12-volt side of the transformer.

The next step is to draw a rough yard layout, including every tree, wall, driveway, pathway, and garden bed, and then to make marks indicating where you intend to install the garden lights. After that, you can determine the materials needed to finish the task. Light fixtures should include connector caps; you’ll need to buy them separately if they don’t. It is recommended to use 12 gauge wire if the total wattage of your lamps is over 200 watts, but 16 gauge cable can be used if the total wattage of your lights is less than 200 watts. The size of the transformer necessary can also be determined from this data. The one you pick ought to be slightly larger than what you need. That way, if you ever decide to equip your yard with more lights, you won’t have to run out and get a new, larger transformer to your benefit plan. Naturally, there may be instances when you need more than one transformer since your project demands it.

A screwdriver, work gloves, electrical tape, and a pair of wire cutters or strippers are also recommended.

Choosing a location for the transformer is crucial, however, it is often disregarded. The transformer should be as close to the light source as possible.

Always follow the manufacturer’s directions when putting up your yard lights. Put them where you want them to go based on your blueprint. If you need to, remove some of the insulation from the end of the garden wire before connecting it to the terminal screws on the transformer. The majority of lead ends come pre-stripped and ready for use. Connect the transformer to the outlet and arrange the garden wire as planned. Trim one end of the garden cable back a short distance from the end of the other, then wrap both ends of the rope tightly with the electrical tape to prevent the wires from touching one other at the cut end. Use the cable connection caps to attach each light to the cable, and pierce the insulation on the garden cable so that the wires inside can make contact. The light won’t turn on if you don’t establish a proper connection with the wire. Thus, it’s preferable to execute this step with the power on.

Dig a shallow trench along the cable path at the transformer end and create a perpendicular channel at the desired location for each fitting. Put the cable into the groove and partially bury the fittings’ garden spikes to denote where each light should go. After verifying that all lights are functioning, you can modify their beam patterns and bury them entirely. After filling the trenches, you can relax and enjoy your newly installed garden lighting.

Remember to follow all local, state, and federal restrictions about your garden lighting project. When working with electricity, you must constantly take the necessary measures. Please contact the Technical Support department of the manufacturer of your fittings or seek the advice of a fully licensed and authorized expert if you have any queries or concerns about any aspect of your Low Voltage or Do-It-Yourself lighting project.

David Cobb is an established professional in Australia’s lighting sector and a current Lighting Design and Engineering student at RMIT under the IES.

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