Build your Own. . .
Landscape Lighting System
Step-by-Step Instructions for the Novice*

Create a Complete System in a Single Sitting

*Before you begin - while low voltage lighting installation is safe and straightforward, it requires some learning and the use of a few simple tools. If in doubt, consider one of our excellent Landscape Lighting Kits or contact a lighting professional. Get Started

Do It Yourself!

Build Your Own System

STEPS

Begin by selecting an option

  1. 1. Get Started
  2. 2. Spotlights
  3. 3. Pathlights
  4. 4. Deck/Step Lights
  5. 5. Other Fixtures
  6. 6. Wiring
  7. 7. Transformers
  8. 8. Accessories & Tools
  9. 9. Final Check
  10. 10. Review

GET STARTED

To move from one step to the next, use left-hand menu or button at the bottom right of each page. Select only the sections you need for your project.

In each section you will learn the basics of how to select products that will do the job.

You simply add the products to your cart or click on links for more information.

This tool remains open in your browser, even when you leave this page. Just click on the tool's browser tab to return to the tool.

Questions?

Call one of our lighting specialists – available 7 days a week (M-F 8-8, S-S 10-6 EST). They can’t design your whole system, but they will help you with specific questions.

Where to Use Spotlights

Uplighting your House. Use spotlights mounted in the ground (about 1 ft. from the structure) to project onto the sidings of your house. Put one spotlight between each set of windows, and one at each corner.

Uplighting Columns, Gazebos, and Pergolas. Use one spotlight (mounted in the ground about 1 ft. out) for each column or support post (on garden structures).

Uplighting Trees and Large Plants. Position 1 or 2 spotlights (mounted in the ground) for each tree or plant. Choose the best fixture locations to cast light on both trunks and canopies. Ideally, you want to reveal the entire shape of the tree or plant with light.

Downlighting Gardens, Seating Areas, and Driveways. Mount downlights in trees or from the sides of your house to simulate moonlight. While not essential, best affects are achieved when the light projects through branches and leaves.

Go ahead and select from the most popular spotlights to the right.

For more advanced info, check out the topics below.

Select the Best Light Output

This refers to how much light is projected from the fixture. The higher the output, the brighter the illuminated object appears. Most spotlights (or their bulbs) are available in three outputs - low, medium, and high. (Though you won't see them labeled in this way - instead you need to check the wattage or lumens).

When you browse through our fixtures and bulbs, select the lowest wattage (or fixture lumens) to illuminate objects that very close to the light (such as a small bush), or very light colored (such as a white or yellow house siding).

Pick the highest wattage or lumens for objects that are far (such as the top of a very tall tree) or are very dark colored (such as a red brick wall).

Select medium wattage or lumen sources for objects that are between the two extremes.

As a general guide, select lower ouput fixtures and bulbs whenever possible. The light will be more subtle and energy efficient.

Select the Best Beam Angle

This describes the light beam’s width. If you think of slices in a pie, each slice is a portion that can be measured in degrees. The whole pie is 360º. Divide that pie into 6 pieces and you get 60º pieces. Each 60º slice is similar in shape to a 60º beam of light. Spotlights (or their bulbs) are available in beam angles of 60º and less. Anything greater than 60º is considered a floodlight.

The most popular beam angle for spotlights is 60º. That's great for lighting house sidings and most trees.

Use smaller beam angles (35º, 24º, or 12º) only for very tall, thin objects such as columns, palm trees, and flag poles.

Where to Use Path & Area Lights

Along Paths. Light the path from beginning to end - using about 1 light every 12 ft. in a staggered pattern (from one side of the path to the other). Short narrow paths look best with path lights with smaller hats. Long wide paths are best served with larger hats. Also consider the style - Classic, Decorative, Bollards, or Specialty - to match the style of your home and property.

In Garden and Landscape Areas. Put path or area lights at the boundary (or inside) of garden beds, and at the edges of decks, patios, seating areas and stairs.

Along Driveways. Install path or area lights along the edges and entrances of driveways. Use fixtures with the widest beam spreads.

Go ahead and select from the most popular path and area lights to the right.

For more advanced info, check out the topic below.

How to Space Path and Area Lights

Coverage. Their are two approaches to lighting coverage when using path and area lights - continuous illumination and pools of light.

Continuous illumination describes a pattern where the light from one fixture overlaps the light from another fixture. This is the best approach when your path is uneven, or there is no ambient light present, or if elderly people will be using the path.

Pools of light are achieved when you space the fixtures farther apart. This allows you to use fewer fixtures and can result in very beautiful illumination. But you should only use this approach if there is some ambient light present, and if the path has a fairly even surface, and use by the elderly is not a concern.

You will find specific spacing suggestions for both approaches in the product details for every path and area light.

Where to Use Deck & Step Lights

Along Decks. Deck lights are perfect to install on posts and walls surrounding a deck. They are typically mounted just under the level of the handrail - about 30" to 36" from the surface of the deck. They are spaced 4 to 8 ft. apart.

Along Stairs. Deck lights are installed on posts, railings, or walls along the side of stairs or steps. They are spaced to ensure that every stair tread is illuminated. Very wide stairs may require lights on both sides.

Step lights are also ideal for stairs. They are designed to be installed in each vertical stair riser on a set of stairs. This also applies to regions of decks that may change elevation (forming a wide single step). Use 1 step light for every 5 ft. width of stairs.

Go ahead and select from the most popular deck and step lights to the right.

Other Fixtures

Floodlights - For Wide Coverage. Floodlights are like spotlights but their beams are much wider. Most often use to light retaining walls, garden beds, and bushes. Our rectangular high-output flood lights are so powerful, they can be used to illuminate whole stands of trees and their canopies - a great money saver, since fewer fixtures are needed.

Well Lights - When the Light Needs to be at Ground Level. These are ideal when you need to mount fixtures in turf areas since mowers can go over them. Also perfect for mounting the light in paving stones and decks.

Hardscape Lights - When the Light Needs to be Hidden Under Overhangs, Railings or Benches. These are fixtures that fit under capstones on retaining walls, under railings, in outdoor kitchens, and under benches. We have two types: integrated LED and those that accept lamps.

Underwater Lights - For Ponds, Streams, and Statuary. These are lights specifically designed for underwater use.

Tiki Lights - For Polynesian Lifestyle. A very unique fixture that stands over 5 ft. tall. It features an oil-filled reservoir topped with a long wick (for a real torch flame) - and a lamp beneath the cone-shaped top that provides a wide circle of soft-edged light.

Hanging Lights - For Decks and Patios. One of our lights, the Tranquility, is a perforated downlight that hangs from a chain. It provides a sparkling area light. We also carry rope lights meant to wrap around trees and bistro lights that drape over decks and patios.

Go ahead and select from the most popular of these specialty lights to the right.

Wiring

1. Complete your Sketch. If you made a sketch of your lighting plan, go ahead and complete it by indicating where all the fixtures will go. Also include each fixture wattage (a number you'll find on each fixture detail page). If your plan is simple and you are comfortable estimating the amount of wire you need, then go to Step. 4.

2. Set Transformer Location(s). Add your transformer location(s) to your sketch. Best to put transformers near the side of the house in a hidden location. It's also best to locate the transformer near the majority of the fixtures. If your lights are spread out (for example - front yard and back yard) use two transformers.

3. Set Wire Runs. Draw lines that connect the transformer to each individual fixture or groups of fixtures. Assuming that all your lights are LEDs, go ahead and connect up to 10 fixtures on a single wire. More fixtures than that, add additional wire runs from the transformer.

4. Estimate Wire Run Distances. Estimate the distance for each wire run, then add the runs together. Add an extra 10% - 20% to make sure you don't run short - this will be your total wire length.

5. Select Wire Gauge. Using the longest individual wire run, use this guide to pick a wire gauge.

  • 0-30 ft. = #16/2 Wire
  • 30-75 ft. = #14/2 Wire
  • 75-150 ft. = #12/2 Wire
  • 150-250 ft. = #10/2 Wire
  • 250-300 ft. = #8/2 Wire

6. Place your Wire Order. Use your total wire length from Step. 4 and your wire gauge from Step 5. Note that wire comes on spools of certain lengths. Place your order.

Go ahead and select the wire for your job to the right.

Transformers

1. Estimate total fixture wattage for each transformer. Refer to your sketch and add all fixture wattages on each transformer. Wattage values can be found on each product's detail page.

2. Select Transformer Capacity. Use the below guide to select the appropriate transformer capacity. (Based on fixture watts not to exceed 80% capacity.)

  • Less than 60 Fixture Watts = 75W Transformer
  • Less than 120 Fixture Watts = 150W Transformer
  • Less than 240 Fixture Watts = 300W Transformer
  • Less than 480 Fixture Watts = 600W Transformer
  • Less than 720 Fixture Watts = 900W Transformer
  • Less than 960 Fixture Watts = 1200W Transformer

Keep in mind that you may wish to add lights to your system at a later time - ordering a larger transformer is a good investment.

Transformer Controls. When you add a transformer to your cart, you will be given options to select timers and photocells. Be sure to select one of each so you can control the ON/OFF time of your system.

Go ahead and select the transformer(s) for your job.

Accessories

Fixture Accessories. Most of these are product options including mounting accessories (stakes, surface mounts, and stem extensions) and glare guards (attachments to fixtures to reduce direct glare). You can select these when you add your fixtures to your cart. Other fixture accessories include various filters and lenses. These are ordered separately from the Accessories page.

Unless you're looking for special effects, no fixture accessories are needed to complete your system.

Transformer Accessories. These include timers and photocells that control ON/OFF times for your system. They are options you select when you add the transformer to your cart.

If you already added a timer and photocell for every transformer, then no action needed to complete your system.

Wiring Accessories. These are mainly connectors used to connect wires from the transformer to the fixtures. There are two main types - those used to connect one wire to another wire; and hub connectors that are designed to connect multiple wires. Use the single connector type when you connect one fixture to the next. Use the hub type when you bring several fixture wires together to a single splice location.

Refer to your sketch and count the number of connectors needed to complete your system. Remember, when you have multiple fixtures in a region, the hub type is preferred.

Tools. Essential wiring tools include a wire cutter, stripper, and crimper. To dig narrow trenches for wires, a trenching tool (or narrow shovel) is needed. A flat-head and phillips-head screwdriver may be needed for the transformer. A volt meter is not essential, but is very useful - especially for larger systems.

If you don't have the essential tools, add them to your cart.

Go ahead and select the remaining products you need to complete your system.

Quick Tips for Building Your Own System

Set Goals. Start by listing your goals. What are you trying to accomplish with your lights? Security? Safety? Beauty? Specific lighting for areas or activities?

Make a Sketch. Walk around your property with a sketch pad and make rough drawings of each area you want to light. Use a measuring tape and note distances.

Get Ideas. Check our project gallery or articles for ideas. Use the "Filters" button to see a list of landscape and architectural features.

Seek Help. Don't hesitate to call our office with any kind of technical or ordering question.

Have Fun! Building your own system means you can always change it. Experiment with different fixture locations, aiming, and lighting effects. You will find myriad ways to light every object, and have a lot of fun doing it!

  • VOLT® Deck Light (Cast Brass, Antique Bronze Finish) | Low Voltage Deck Lighting
    Compare at : $ 54.99
    Price : $ 33.97

    You save:

    Solid cast brass deck light. Easy to install - lifetime quality.

    Available with low voltage Bi-Pin LED bulbs. Perfect for mounting on decks, docks, patios, posts and railings. Professional quality internal components make for a fixture that will last a lifetime, even when exposed to harsh outdoor elements.

    Lifetime Warranty.
    UL & cUL Listed.  
    Dark Sky Approved
    Order Now-Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist
  • VOLT® Brass Bunker Louvered Step Light | Low Voltage Landscape Lighting
    Compare at : $ 139.99
    Price : $ 46.97

    You save:

    Pro quality step light with durable face and back box - both constructed with solid cast brass. Faceplate is frosted glass with louvers for glare control.

    Ultra heavyweight outdoor lighting step light. Faceplate consists of solid cast brass frame with louvers and frosted glass. The back box is constructed of solid cast brass impervious to physical damage - suitable for concrete pour applications. Completely sealed and water tight. Accepts a single G4 Bi-Pin lamp. You won't find a more durable step light.

    Lifetime Warranty.
    UL & cUL Listed.  
    Order Now-Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist
  • VOLT® Brass Bunker Open Face Step Light | Low Voltage Landscape Lighting
    Compare at : $ 139.99
    Price : $ 46.97

    You save:

    Pro quality step light with durable face and back box - both constructed with solid cast brass. Faceplate is frosted glass without louvers or shields.

    Ultra heavyweight outdoor lighting step light. Faceplate consists of solid cast brass frame and frosted glass. The back box is constructed of solid cast brass impervious to physical damage - suitable for concrete pour applications. Completely sealed and water tight. Accepts a single G4 Bi-Pin lamp. You won't find a more durable step light.

    Lifetime Warranty.
    UL & cUL Listed.  
    Order Now-Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist
  • VOLT® Brass Bunker Hooded Step Light | Low Voltage Landscape Lighting
    Compare at : $ 139.99
    Price : $ 46.97

    You save:

    Pro quality step light with durable face and back box - both constructed with solid cast brass. Faceplate is frosted glass with hood for glare control.

    Ultra heavyweight outdoor lighting step light. Faceplate consists of solid cast brass frame with hood and frosted glass. The back box is constructed of solid cast brass impervious to physical damage - suitable for concrete pour applications. Completely sealed and water tight. Accepts a single G4 Bi-Pin lamp. You won't find a more durable step light.

    Lifetime Warranty.
    UL & cUL Listed.  
    Order Now-Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist

  • VOLT® 16/2 - 250' Cable | Direct Burial Cable
    Compare at : $ 129.99
    Price : $ 59.97

    You save:

    VOLT's® premium direct burial (DBR) cable is specifically designed for low voltage landscape lighting. The insulation is of high quality polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Sunlight resistant, perfect for outdoor lighting applications.

    Order Now! Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist
  • VOLT® 14/2 - 250' Cable | Direct Burial Cable
    Compare at : $ 139.99
    Price : $ 68.97

    You save:

    VOLT's® premium direct burial (DBR) cable is specifically designed for low voltage landscape lighting. The insulation is of high quality polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Sunlight resistant, perfect for outdoor lighting applications.

    Order Now! Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist
  • VOLT® 12/2 - 250' Cable | Direct Burial Cable
    Compare at : $ 197.99
    Price : $ 92.97

    You save:

    VOLT's® premium direct burial (DBR) cable is specifically designed for low voltage landscape lighting. The insulation is of high quality polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Sunlight resistant, perfect for outdoor lighting applications.

    Order Now! Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist
  • VOLT® 10/2 - 250' Cable | Direct Burial Cable
    Compare at : $ 197.99
    Price : $ 149.97

    You save:

    VOLT's® premium direct burial (DBR) cable is specifically designed for low voltage landscape lighting. 10/2 is a heavier gauge wire, and is primarily for longer runs and/or heavier loads (total wattage). The insulation is of high quality polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Sunlight resistant, perfect for outdoor lighting applications.

    Order Now! Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist

  • VOLT® Pro Junction Hub | 12V Landscape Lighting
    Compare at : $ 39.99
    Price : $ 19.97

    You save:

    A Landscape Lighting Innovation, Designed & Engineered Exclusively by VOLT™
    This groundbreaking junction box brings field wire connections to the next level.
    Using robust securely mounted terminal blocks, wires are inserted and secured without grease. Say goodbye to lost connectors and getting all of that silicone grease on your hands. These connectors use aggressive clamps to secure each individual wire. Wires can be connected or disconnected when needed.

    Lifetime Warranty.
    UL & cUL Listed.  
    Order Now-Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist
  • VOLT® DryConn Black and Blue Waterproof Connectors (Large) | Choose 2pk, 12pk, or 50pk
    Compare at : $ 4.99
    Price : $ 1.99

    You save:

    DryConn® Black and Blue Waterproof Connectors use 2 wire nuts for each fixture when connecting the fixture to the home run when using standard wiring methods. Or if using a hub system, can be used to connect up to (1) #12 with (4) #16 inside the hub. Wire cap is filled with silicone to seal and protect raw copper connection from ground moisture. A solid wire connection solution for landscape lighting applications.
    Choose from 2 pack ($1.99), 12 pack ($10.99), or 50 pack ($46.99).

    Order Now! Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist
  • VOLT® Digital Voltmeter
    Compare at : $ 29.99
    Price : $ 14.97

    You save:

    This Digital Voltmeter is extremely handy when it comes to determining whether the electrical characteristics of a fixture is in parameter. Use this as a measurement tool of voltage level. Optimizing your system to proper voltage levels at the fixture can maximize the efficiency and life of your low voltage landscape lighting system. This is a must buy to keep your system in check!


    Order Now! Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist
  • VOLT® Comfort Squeeze Wire & Crimp Tool
    Compare at : $ 29.99
    Price : $ 19.97

    You save:

    Featuring a handle lock closure and the squeeze grip ensures comfort and provides a non-slip grip. Ergonomic comfort squeeze handle eases hand fatigue and provides non-slip grip. AWG and metric wires sizes ensure you will always have the right tool with you. Wire strippers also have crimp tool built right in.

    Order Now! Ships Today!

    Add To Wishlist
  • VOLT® Wire Stripper w/Handle Lock
    Compare at : $ 17.99
    Price : $ 12.97

    You save:

    Heavy duty wire strippers feature a handle lock and non-slip comfort grip for safety.

    Add To Wishlist
  • VOLT® Pro Micro-Junction Direct Burial Connector 5 Way | 2 Pack
    Compare at : $ 19.99
    Price : $ 9.97

    You save:

    Exclusive VOLT® Innovation! Introducing the next level of direct burial hub connector for use with multiple low voltage fixtures.

    A new type of hub-style connector designed to connect up to four fixtures and a home run wire back to the transformer. Locking clamps secure leads for a strong connection. Grease-filled to ensure a waterproof connection that will stand the test of time.

    A Landscape Lighting Innovation, Designed & Engineered Exclusively by VOLT®

    Add To Wishlist

FINAL CHECK

Did you Satisfy your Lighting Goals? Were you able to find fixtures suited for the illumination you had in mind? If not, go back to the relevant fixture categories and browse through the popular fixtures on the right. Or, click on the link to view all fixtures in that category. When you go to a fixture category page, there will also be resources to help you select among the products.

Did you include all the wire and connectors needed in your system? We understand this can be a little confusing. Don't hesitate to call with questions. 813-978-3700.

Did you select one or more transformers? Again, don't be put off by the calculations. Give us a call if you're stuck.

Did you add a Timer and Photocell for Each Transformer? If not, you can click on the transformer(s) in your cart and edit the options.

Thanks for Building Your Own Landscape Lighting System!

Questions? CALL CUSTOMER SUPPORT (813) 978-3700
Questions? CALL CUSTOMER SUPPORT (813) 978-3700