How to Install Driveway LightingContributed By: BAG Editors
Driveway lighting is a great way to light up the pathway along the length of your driveway, making it easier to navigate the space and helping to ensure that you do not run off the side of the driveway onto the adjacent grass or bushes. Driveway lights also add a decorative touch to your home’s exterior and garden décor, which is a definite added bonus on top of their functional aspect. Installing most types of driveway lighting is fairly easy to do yourself, so it makes a relatively easy DIY project.
Lay out the design:
When installing outdoor driveway lighting, the first thing you need to do is to lay out the design of your lighting, decide what type of lights you want to install, and select what type of design the light fixtures will have. You should sketch out the driveway and any surrounding flower beds, walkways, trees, etc. and then determine where it is best to place the driveway light fixtures. This will also help you determine the best type of lights to use, such as post lights, ground level lights, small lanterns, etc. Be sure to also note any locations that you need to keep in mind during your project, such as obstacles that will make it difficult to run wiring past, locations that may be dangerous to run wiring, or areas that have water or drainage problems.
Installing solar driveway lighting:
For those looking to install outdoor driveway lights without the help of an electrician, the best option is to install solar driveway lights. Solar driveway lighting derives energy from the sun and therefore does not need any electrical wiring to be run along the length of the driveway. Another obvious benefit of installing solar lights is the energy savings you will reap as your nights glow at night. Since each solar driveway light is equipped with a small solar panel to collect solar energy in order to power the light, all that is needed is to place the lights in the location that you want, make sure they are firmly secured in the ground and you are basically ready to go. Some solar powered driveway lights have a few settings you need to initially set up, such as whether the lights will go on and off at certain times or whether they will be triggered by how light or dark it is outside. The solar panels may also need to be pointed in a certain direction in order to derive the most energy from the sun.
Installing low voltage driveway lighting:
Another fairly easy type of driveway lighting that do-it-yourselfers can tackle without the help of a professional is to install low voltage driveway lighting. These lights typically come in a kit with multiple lights, a low voltage box, and all the wiring you need included, so you can simply follow the directions to install the low voltage driveway lights wherever you want them and then run the low voltage wiring as instructed between them to get the whole system of lights working properly. The low voltage box usually needs to be attached to the exterior of the house and then the cables and wiring are run to each area of light fixtures from the main box. The wiring only needs to be buried a couple of inches below the surface, so there is not a lot of digging that needs to be done. The low voltage of electricity that runs through the wires also makes it relatively safe to work with, even if you are not an electrician (but be sure to follow all instructions and warnings included with the lights).
In order to install driveway lighting on your own you primarily need a small garden tool, such as a shovel or trowel to help you dig into the ground alongside the driveway in order to bury the bottom of each driveway light deep enough so that it remains secure. If you are using tall driveway lights, you may need to secure the posts in cement so that they do not blow over or get knocked down easily. For shorter posts or ground level lights, this step is usually not required. Other than that, there is not much in the way of tools that is needed. Solar lights will have the solar panels included with the driveway light fixtures and with low voltage lights, you will need to bury the low voltage wiring, so you may need another tool or two to complete that process. For the most part, however, you can dig a very small trench to bury the cables and wires, or you can lift up the sod or grass along the edge of the driveway to lay the wiring along the edge.
Other types of driveway lighting:
There are many other types of driveway lighting that can be installed, but if the type you choose runs on a regular electrical current, it is recommended that you hire a licensed professional to install the wiring. Install electrical wiring, especially outdoors, is risky if you don’t know exactly what you need to do and can also be very dangerous to the installer.
There are many types of driveway lighting ideas that you can consider, whether you choose to do the installation yourself or not, so be sure to determine factors such as how much light you need, how many fixtures you want to install, what style of lighting you think would coordinate best with your home, and what your budget is. Then, once you have laid out your lighting plans, you can purchase your lights and determine the best way to get your lights installed. DIY driveway lighting projects can provide many benefits within a relatively small budget.