Pathway lights, as well as accent lighting around your home, can make walking in your yard safer at night but can also make your home look more inviting to guests.
Installing these lights, often referred to by their trade name, “Malibu Lights,” is a fairly easy, do-it-yourself project that can probably be completed in half a day. You start by measuring the area you want to cover and estimating how many lights you need. You might even sketch a diagram of what you want to do to take with you to the store.
You will be using an outdoor GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet as the power source for the transformer. So make sure you have access to such an outlet at your home and that it’s in good working order.
You can buy a kit for use in your yard at a hardware store or home center that includes the lights, 100 feet of low-voltage cable and a transformer to convert your home’s current into low-voltage current for the lights.
Try to buy a transformer that’s slightly bigger than the total of what you need, but get a high-quality transformer for better performance. You may want to buy two smaller transformers instead of one large transformer.
You will be fastening the transformer to a wall which may require drilling holes with a power tool for the attachment. You should mount the transformer within one foot of your GFCI and at least one foot above the grade of your yard.
Strip the ends of the low-voltage power cable and connect them to the transformer terminal. Than assemble the lights according to the instructions.
Once everything is put together and you like the placement, dig a shallow trench for the cable, though you can also leave it above ground. Run the cable along the trench and attach the lights to the cable.
Plug the transformer into the outlet and set the timer to the “on” position to check the lights. You can set the timer to turn the lights on and off based on the sunrise and sunset. You may want to install a rain-tight cover over the connection.
Don’t bury the cable until you observe the lights at night and see if you like how everything looks. Then cover the cable with mulch.
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