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Are you interested in a landscape lighting system but not sure what you’ll need to get the job done? You’ve come to the right place! We’ll talk about everything you have to have for your landscape lighting project, from the parts you have to order to the tools you’ll use for the installation.

Landscape lighting systems are made up of three main components: fixtures (to shine light on your landscape), a transformer (to turn the 120V power coming into the house into 12V power that’s safe for the landscape), and wire (to connect the system together). But the very first thing you’ll need to get your landscape lighting project going is a plan


Before you’re ready to install your landscape lighting system, or even order the parts, you’ll need to make a plan for your job. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but your plan should include a scale drawing of the property. Mark the location and type of each fixture, where you’ll place the transformer and how you’re going to run your wire. You can use this to calculate how much wire you’ll need, what size transformer to order and to count up the number of fixtures and other parts and pieces necessary to put the system together. It will also help you remember what goes where when installation day comes.


With a plan in hand, you’re ready to order your parts. Count up the number and type of each fixture in the plan. There are three main types of fixtures that you’ll use for most landscape lighting systems - here’s what you need to know to make sure you’re ordering the right fixtures.

Accent lights come in different shapes and colors, so you’ll need to know what style you want to use for your system and whether it’s going to be mounted on the ground, in a tree or on the house. Each fixture will have a model number and options for finish, brightness, and beam spread.

Path lights are the fixtures that are the most visible in the landscaping, so you’ll want to choose a style and finish that fits the theme and overall design of your project. On some path lights, you can also choose the height and brightness of the fixture.

Hardscape lights, recessed lights, and other specialty application lights are available for lots of other lighting scenarios, from retaining walls to stairwells. These also come in different styles with multiple finish options.

Once you’ve determined how many and what type of fixtures you’ll need, you’ll need a transformer that will power the fixtures. Transformers range from very basic ones to complex ones with remote controls and phone apps. Make sure to choose one that will handle the total wattage of the system, and add a timer or light sensor to turn it on and off if those functions aren’t built into the transformer itself.

You’ll also need enough wire to connect the transformer to each fixture in the system. Measure this out on your scale drawing (or measure the wire runs in the yard) and make sure the wire is thick enough to handle the load. LED fixtures have small draws, in general, so 14 or 12 gauge wire is sufficient for most systems. Finally, you’ll want to make sure you have enough wire connectors to make all of the connections in your system, including connections for places where the wire tees off into separate runs.


When you’ve got the parts in hand, there are just a few tools that you’ll need to install your landscape lighting system. A drain spade—that flat, squared off shovel—will come in handy to do any digging necessary and to cut slits in the ground for the wire. You can use a rubber mallet to install the stakes for path lights and accent lights. A cordless drill or screw gun will help to hang the transformer and mount fixtures on trees or walls, and you will want a small screwdriver to make connections inside the transformer. A voltmeter is an essential tool to troubleshoot any problems you have in the system and to ensure that there is proper voltage available for all of the landscape lights. If you’re going to be installing lights in trees or in any high places, bring along a ladder. And last but certainly not least, don’t forget your wire cutters!


Once everything is ready to go, you’ll just need a few hours to install your project. The typical landscape lighting installation takes about a day. If you’ve got good help, you can have it done in an afternoon. And after the sun goes down, you can step back and admire the view!