Easy DIY Landscaping Lighting Tutorial for Added Curb Appeal

June 17, 2024

How to install your own landscape lighting, with no electrical knowledge needed! 

Adding the warmth and character of landscape lighting to your home's exterior is not as hard ad you think! I promise it's not a difficult DIY project.

It is incredibly easy to install your own landscaping lights. There is zero work with electricity other than plugging it in. You only have to do very simple wiring to complete this landscape lighting project. 

The result is so worth the hour or so this project will take you!

One of my favorite pastimes (especially in the summer) is driving through pretty neighborhoods at dusk and looking at the houses. I think homes look prettiest at this time of day. 

There's always one beautiful detail of expensive houses that I notice -- they all have landscape lighting that makes the exteriors glow at night. It makes everything look even more lovely and expensive. 

So years ago I figured out how to do it on my own and it’s so easy to do! 

You must have an outside electrical outlet near where you want to install the lights. Keep in mind you will have a wire, so it can’t go over a sidewalk or driveway. You can hide the wire along the house and in this tutorial I use them in mulch. 

There are only three things you’ll need to install the lights – the lights themselves, a power pack and wire. 
This tutorial includes photos from both our old and current house. I love adding this lighting accent to our exterior! 

1. Pick your landscape lighting.

We’ll start at the hardware store, in the outdoor lighting aisle. There are solar lights that have come a long way, and if you pick those you can stop here. ;) 

For this tutorial you’ll want to head toward the low voltage lights: 
low voltage landscape lights
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Shop around! 

There are SO many landscape lighting options: 

  • Path lights that direct the light downward for safety along a walkway.
  • Deck lights can be wired in deck stairs or railings.
  • Up/spot lights for trees and bigger bushes, or even a flag on the house or in the yard. 
  • Flood lights for washing the house exterior with light.
  • Well lights for soft ambient lighting in garden beds.
One thing to consider -- I think too many lights decreases the custom look that these add, so don’t go overboard. You can start with a few and then add more if you don't feel it's enough. 

I picked out some more flood lights for this project: 
flood lights for landscape lighting

This is where I will tell you this is not always a cheap project. 😬 (Keep in mind the prices in these photos are most likely higher now.) 

But once you make the investment, the upkeep is minimal since these low wattage fixtures last forever. You can usually find sets of the lights (instead of individual) to lower the price just a bit.

Consider what you'll be lighting up! I use flood or spot lights to highlight something pretty, like a tree. They are also great for washing the front of your house with light. 

For garden beds I picked out path lights:
landscape path lights

2. Figure out the power pack and wiring you'll need.

This is where you determine the next step -- the power pack size you’ll need. I had three path lights that were 11 watts each. The flood lights were 20 watts each, and because I wasn’t sure how many I was going to use, I just rounded up to all six to figure out the power pack I needed. 

11watts + 11watts + 11watts + 20watts + 20watts + 20watts + 20watts + 20watts + 20watts =
153 watts
Therefore I went with a 200 watt power pack:
power pack landscape lights

I always like to get a power pack that will hold more than I think I'll need, just in case I add more fixtures later. 

OK, you’ve got your lights and your power pack. Now you need to figure out the wire you’ll need. They come in different gauges that will work for lower wattages (just a few lights) up to higher wattage (more lights). 

Here’s a handy dandy guide for you:
landscape wire gauge guide

I grabbed 14 gauge for this project: 
14 gauge landscape wire

The cost goes down with the lower power pack wattage and with the lower wire capacity. 

The GREAT thing is you can avoid figuring all this out all this math and just buy a landscape lighting kit has everything you’ll need in it -- the light fixtures, power unit and wire. SO convenient. 

But if you want to mix up your lighting like I did (or you want more lights), you may want to buy everything individually. 

You just have to screw a few parts together to assemble the lights:
assembling landscape lights

3. Figure out your landscape light layout. 

The first step is figuring out where you want to place the fixtures. 

Keep in mind that up or flood lights work best to highlight trees or the side of a house: 
flood lights on house with bushes

If you have large bushes or plants like we do, I recommend placing your lights closer to the house so they can shine up through the plants and fill the area with light: 
flood lights with bushes

These flood lights used to be out in the mulch in front of the bushes. But because the plants have grown SO much, not much light was reaching the house. 

When you’re good with the location, grab your wire. Lay it out from where it will be plugged into the power pack to the last light in your landscape. 

I give myself a little give between lights so I can move them around a little bit if needed. 

**Don't cut the wire until you're completely sure of where you want all of the fixtures. 

4. Connect your fixtures to the wire.

This is the fun part. :) Remember NOTHING is plugged in till the last step. You are not dealing with live wires that can hurt you. It’s more dangerous to plug in a lamp. ;) 

Each light has a little connector. You’ll unscrew the bottom part of it: 
easy wire landscape lights

You see those sharp metal prongs? Those are what pierce into the wire when you screw everything back together. 

Then run the wire through that bottom part and then screw the connector back together: 
running wire through landscape light

Make sure your wire lays flat in the plastic base and also be sure to screw it together pretty tight, otherwise your light won’t connect:
connecting landscape lights to wire

This keeps moisture out as well. (Mine is about halfway screwed in here.)

Keep going down your wire and connect each light. When you get to the end where your lights will be plugged in, you’ll get to the final step. This is the only part that involves working with the wires. 

5. Connect the wire to the power pack. 

When you're sure of your light layout, you can use a wire cutter or scissors to cut the end of the wire that will attach to the power pack: 
cutting landscape wire

And then use the cutter to split the wire in half (it has a groove down the middle). You’ll need to separate the two wires about two inches.

Close the cutter on the wire and then twist it back and forth so it cuts the protective wire rubber insulation:
cutting rubber off wire

Use the wire cutter to strip about 1/2 to 3/4 inch off the end of the two wires. Most cutters have the wire gauges marked on them, so if you have a 16 gauge wire, you'll place it where the 16 is noted on the cutter. 

Pull the end of the insulation off, then twist those wires together:
twisted landscape wire

Don’t twist the two wires together – twist the strands of each one. 

Grab your power pack and turn it over. Remove the screws and place the wires into each section where the screws go in like so:
wiring power pack for landscape lights

As you can see here, this power pack has spots for two sets of wire to be plugged into it. So as long as they equal to 200 watts or less, you could have one set of landscaping lights going one direction from your outlet, and another set going the other direction. 

This is very helpful if you only have one outlet because you can run a line of lights on one side and then the other of the outlet box. 

Keep this in mind when you pick your power unit! If you plan to use two sets of landscape lights, you'll want to make sure your power pack has enough wattage. 

Install the screws again, making sure to tighten them onto the exposed wires: 
wiring landscape lights to power pack

You’re almost done! 

Find the end of your wire (near your first landscape light) and cover the end with electrical tape

I've forgotten to do this a few times and they hold up fine, even in the rain. But now I always cover the cut end of the wire so there's no worry of the lights shorting out. 

NOW you're done! Just plug in your power pack and turn it on:
hanging power pack for landscape lights

The power pack has an option to keep them on all the time, on for one to nine hours or to turn on automatically when the sun goes down. I use the auto setting. 

After it's plugged in, you can adjust the placement of your lights a bit. The connectors give you a bit of room to play with. 

I LOVE it how these add to the look of a home's exterior: 
landscape lights in garden bed
See how I planted that FREE hosta garden here!

It looks SO good!:
mix of pathway and flood landscape lights

I used a more modern pathway light on the sidewalk at our current house. The down light adds some safety to our front walkway, and looks great!:
modern pathway landscape lights

I forgot to add that after you’re completely done, you’ll want to cover your wire with mulch. It's ideal to do this before you add a fresh layer of mulch, but not necessary. 

I recommend plugging in your lights at dusk so you can see how they look. You can move them around as needed.

placing landscape lights around bushes

I hope this tutorial helps those of you who are interested in tackling this on your own. It is really one of the easiest do-it-yourself projects. Please don’t be intimidated by the wires! 

Landscaping lights make a house look so pretty at night, and they’re nice added security too. 

Let me know if you have any questions or if I didn’t address anything you’re wondering about.

Here’s an easy image to use if you’d like to pin this project for later. (Hover over photo and click the button on the upper left.): DIY landscaping tutorial

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  1. We live in the country, which means there are no street lights, and come sundown it is completely dark outside. Love seeing the stars at night, but having a bit of light around the house outdoors is a must have in my opinion. Along the driveway, the sidewalk, security lighting at the darkest spots, ie: corners of the house. It makes a huge difference for us. Loved your post!

  2. I need to show your post to my husband! Thank you so much Sarah! love the new lighting in your home!

  3. Lovely! Once these lights are installed can you leave them in place year round, or do they come out before the snow flies?

  4. In your first picture of the front of your house, what is the tree with purple flowers in the foreground? I've always wanted one!

  5. Looks beautiful, the outside of home is just as nice as the inside, I love everything about your home!

  6. Great job, I always thought it was much harder to do!

  7. Beautiful! And SO much easier than I ever would have thought! Thank u VERY much for the tutorial.
    One question: how does the power pack attach to the house?

    1. Thank you! It comes with screws you can use to attach it. It can also just sit but it's probably best to get it off the ground.

  8. Wow what a difference that makes, I never would have even considered adding flood lights like that! Also, maybe it's just my computer, but that last picture does not have a pin it button when I hover over it! I have the pin it button in my toolbar so I can still pin it, but I just wanted to let you know. :)

  9. Sarah, I don't know if anyone has asked this already or not (I didn't take the time to read through the comments), but my husband and I are in the process of closing on our first house (yay!) and it's a cutie. It has a berm (sp?) out in front and I'm pretty sure there are not outlets in the middle of the yard. Would there be a type of solar light that would work facing up (like a type of up light) for the tree and bush that sits on it? How would a solar light look- meaning, what kind of light (and in what direction) do they give off? Anyway- any kind of help with that would be wonderful! Thanks!

    1. Yes, they have a ton of solar lights! They have flood lights as well, they just won't let off nearly as much light and it's more of a white light than the warmer halogen. Hope you can find something!

  10. We installed landscape lighting around our home a few years ago and it made our little house look like a million dollars. I love it for the additional security it provides, and it does a good job illuminating the walkways so you're not nearly as likely to stumble walking around at night. My husband did the installation but your tutorial is so easy to follow I think I could have put them in myself if it had been available back then. Now I can't wait to see how you cover up that electric meter!!!

  11. I love the lights! This might be a weird question, but I have to ask. I've been wanting to do some landscaping outside our house similar to yours. What do you use for the border between the grass and the mulch?

    1. Not weird at all! We have a landscaper friend that does our mulch and they dig it out with a sharp spade -- it kind of makes a small divot and the grass doesn't grow into mulch. I still don't get why it works! I want to have him show me so I can share it here. :)

  12. Great Tutorial! I love to look of outdoor lighting too and have some in my yard. I do urge all to consider using a timer to turn the lights off at some point so that they are not on all night. The effects of human artificial night light on wildlife is beginning to have effects - this web article is interesting and explains it all a bit: http://lighting.com/light-pollution-wildlife/

  13. Love the post, as always! Lighting makes such a difference and now I think I have the confidence to try it myself! I also like to walk in the evening and love it when the lights come on! Also, have never seen the hose guides before - very cool!

  14. This tutorial is amazing! I love seeing homes uplight like this. I wonder if I can get all this stuff in Ireland? I will have to check it out. I would love it in my back garden with all the planting. I also love the hose guards, I have never seen those before and could do with some. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'm sure you could find it all at local hardware stores there. I would think they would have them!

  15. I'm impressed. This looks great!

  16. Thanks so much for this Sarah! We snagged a floodlight kit on clearance this winter and I've been waiting for my husband to install it but I think, after reading this, I'll just do it myself and surprise him!! :)

  17. Thank you for sharing how to install the LED landscape lights. I tried to add LED lights to my existing low-voltage transformer but it didn’t work. Now I know I need a power pack. Thank you 😊

  18. hi. just found this post. i’d love to try and tackle some landscape lighting. my question is, how do you know where to put them? i mean, what would i want to be highlighted? are they supposed to highlight the house or the plantings? i have a small tree but if i point the light at that then it won’t be on the house. or should it not be focused on the tree? also, i would need to get an electrical box installed (by a licensed electrician) but how would you add the lighting if you have a walkway leading to you front door? do i get two electrical boxes, one for each side of the house? hoping this won’t be too expensive to install myself. with the costs of everything today, i would never be able to have it done professionally. thank you!

    1. Each light is labeled at the store, so some are made to highlight trees, some are made to spotlight the house. They have helpful examples at the displays that should help you decide. As long as you have an outdoor outlet near the area, you can run the wiring where you'll need it.

  19. Don't know how I missed this, as an original post, but so glad that I recently stumbled upon it. Otherwise, I doubt that I would have attempted installing landscape lighting on my own. After seeing your post, I went right out to Lowe's and picked up a spotlight kit, along with a couple of 100' lengths of 14 gauge cable. Installed 3 spotlights in our front yard, and 2 in our backyard, to uplight a few magnolia trees, along with some funky evergreens. Completely surprised the hubby, and he loves it. This weekend, I'll be installing some path lighting, along with another spotlight, to uplight a Japanese maple. Thanks again for the post, it gave me that last bit of encouragement that I needed. Not only does the lighting look amazingly beautiful, but the project was an empowering one.

  20. Wow, what a beautiful light from those devices. We usually ask our electrician to add some in our garden, when a tree has reached the hight we want, but now We can do it ourselves, obviously:-)

  21. Please tell me where you purchased the path lights for your ccurrent home!!


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