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How to Install a Hardscape Light in a Retaining Wall

May 15, 2020 April 22nd, 2021 No Comments


The VOLT® Undercover Hardscape light is a solid cast brass landscape lighting fixture that accepts both LED and halogen G4 BiPin bulbs. This fixture is backed by the VOLT® Lifetime Warranty. In this instructional video, we demonstrate how to install a hardscape light in a retaining wall with dirt behind it as well as in a free-standing wall that’s open on both sides.

Video Transcript:

Today, I want to show you how to install the VOLT® hardscape light. There are two types of applications you’re going to encounter when installing the hardscape light. The first one is going to be in a typical retaining wall where you have dirt behind it. The second one is going to be into a free-standing retaining wall that’s open on both sides. We’ll show you how to do both.

Let’s review some of the tools we’re going to need for this project. We always need a tape measure and a pencil. A Sharpie of some kind would be very helpful; it marks a little better on the stone and is a little easier to see. A masonry chisel and a masonry hammer – something you’ll be able to pop these stones off with; we’ll show you how to do that. Then you’re gonna want a 4 ½ inch or 4-inch angle grinder with a diamond tip blade on it; that’s what’s going to chew the stone and make a groove for us to place our wire in the stone. I’ll show you how to do that now.

The first step is to measure and mark out the locations for each light. I use a spacing of every 6 to 7 feet. Next, take your masonry chisel and begin forcing it between the capstone and the stone below. As you advance the chisel, you’ll feel the glue between the stones begin to break free. With the capstones removed, set your fixture where it will be placed and mark of line from the central point of the fixture straight back to the dirt. This is where we will score a line in the stone for the wire.

With your angle grinder, begin by scoring the line you just marked. Make sure it’s deep enough so that the wire lays flat inside. If it’s not deep enough, the capstone won’t sit flush against the stone next to it. Next push the protective brass tube into position, set the fixture and position, and lay the cord in the slot. I’m securing the fixture with the masonry anchors and screws that were provided with the light. This is an optional step; you can actually even just glue the light in place and use the weight of the block to hold it down. Now go ahead and mark the holes and we’ll show you how to do this step.

Use a small hammer drill with a masonry bit and in the holes we just marked, drill out about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch deep for our masonry anchors. Take your anchor sleeves and place them in the holes. It might be a little bit tight, so if you need to, take the back end of a screwdriver or hammer and just lightly press them in. Now for the final time, you can take your fixture and go ahead and set it in the slot. Take your screws and go ahead and stick them in the anchors, and we’ll begin screwing those down in place. This will secure your fixture very tightly. Your hardscape fixture is now installed and ready for wiring.

Now you can strip your wire leads and make a good, solid watertight connection. Squirt a good dab of block adhesive back on the stones and place the capstones back into the original location. This will finish up the installation of the hardscape light. It never hurts to give them a little tap on top to help set that glue.

The next application I’ll show you is installing the hardscape light into a freestanding wall with two open sides. We’ll begin as before, marking out the fixture location – but this time we’re only going to go halfway through the stone, to the cable on the inside. This connection is going to be made inside the wall to the cable that is already placed there.

First we need to cut the cable where you want to make the splice and then we need to move it out of the way – otherwise it’ll get cut by our grinder. Take your grinder and grind out a slot as we did before, making a groove for the wire – but only go halfway through, to the center of the stone. Next, we’ll take the grinder and we’re going to enlarge out that central groove to make it just a bit wider so it’ll accommodate the new connection.

Let’s go ahead and strip the wires and let’s make a new connection in the wall. I like to use adhesive lined heat shrink tube that I can heat up and shrink over the connection – makes it nice and watertight. Apply some block adhesive and put your sapstone back in place – and here’s your finished hardscape light.

All right, there you have it – one installed hardscape light. If you have any questions about the hardscape light or any of the other products in the VOLT® Lighting line, please give us a call at (813) 978-3700.

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