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A companion to summer evenings, outdoor lighting enhances the garden. Practical and reassuring, it consists of luminaires powered by buried cables respecting strict standards.

What lighting in the garden

Necessary material

  • pickaxe
  • Shovel
  • Electrician tools
  • Perforator or percussion drill
  • Screwdriver

Level: easy
Cost: according to material
Time: 2 days for a complete network

Design the installation

Before you start lighting your garden, take the time to design the installation on paper. Draw a sketch of the garden to help you choose the points that require lighting (paths, terrace...). In order not to multiply the trenches intended to receive the cables, it is important to rationalize the circuits. Especially if you want to place several lighting tags along an alley.

Heal the security

Due to the risks inherent to the external environment (humidity), the electrical installation of the garden must meet strict rules. The connection of the line feeder must be done directly on the general distribution board, by inserting a high sensitivity differential device of 30 mA upstream to protect the circuit.

Whatever the class of insulation of your future lighting (level of protection against humidity), it is necessary that the power supply comprises the two active conductors (phase and neutral) and the protective conductor (earth, green sheath and yellow). In any case, prefer the cables in one piece; any derivations must not be buried. A simple trick: once the first luminaire is connected, make a series connection with a connection via the terminal blocks of the successive lighting. Only condition: provide conductors of sufficient section to feed all the equipment of the same circuit.

Inground installation

To avoid damaging or risk cutting underground cables during subsequent work, bury the installation at a depth of 60 cm. Carry this distance 1 m below the areas accessible to cars (for example, a driveway) to avoid any risk of crushing.

Electrical channel and warning device

Electrical channel and warning device

Dig your trench to the required depth, then spread a 10 cm bed of sand. Unwind the electrical pipe ("TPC" pipe conforming to standard NF EN 50 086-2-4). Cover it with another 10 cm sand bed and then 10 cm of loose earth. Unwind the warning device (red plastic grill), then relocate the trench by pressing carefully.

Used for underground electrical conduits, the cables must comply with the NF C 32-321 standard (for example, the U1000 R2V series).

12 volts: simplicity

12 volts: simplicity

Very low voltage is easier to install. Indeed, as soon as the cable is connected to a transformer (230 to 12 volts), it can move freely: on the ground along a flat bed or very slightly buried under the ground. To this advantage is added a reduced consumption.

Lightline system

Lightline system

On the laying side, this Lightline system (Gardena) is an example of simplicity with its insulation displacement connections. An 11 W transformer can power up to 10 fixtures or spots of 10 W each. What to compose a learned painting.

The retractable spot

The retractable spot

Designed to be installed in lawn, this type of waterproof spot is adjustable up to 80°. It can retract to the grass to let the lawn mower. The system (Nortène) consists of a plastic cylinder (the reservation pot) in which is embedded a rotating projector. In the "retracted" position, only the armored glass is flush with the ground. Inside the cylinder, a rack stop enables the projector to be locked in the desired position.

This type of spot can compose the lighting as you see fit. Near a grove, it illuminates trees and shrubs underneath and give them relief. Directed towards the house, it stages the facade and illuminates the terrace.

Before starting the installation, it is wise to test the future lighting after dark. Connect it temporarily with an electric cable and place the spot according to your inspiration to judge the effect. Once the location is well defined, mark a ground mark (stake or plaster cross).
The lighting is limited to burying the reservation pot. Buried in the ground, the cylinder must rest on a bed of gravel that ensures the drainage of rainwater. To prevent settlement of this layer over time, it is recommended to place a mortar ring at the base of the cylinder.

Recessed spot: discreet

Recessed spot: discreet

The hole reserved for the spot is of the same depth as the power supply trench (60 cm). Fill the gravel hole on 30 cm by raising the cable and its sheath.

Extract the spot

Extract the spot

To disconnect the spot from the reservation pot, unscrew the three attachment points (Allen key provided). Thus released, the spot is extracted from above. Be careful not to misplace the screws.

Stall the cylinder

Stall the cylinder

Staking the cylinder on a mortar crown ensures a solid base. Adjust the level, let it harden. The gravel (visible in the center) promotes the drainage of runoff water.

Clear the reflector

Clear the reflector

Disassemble the door and its strapping, then release the reflector. Unscrew the cable entry nut (at the foot of the spot). This nut is completed by a seal when tightening.

Clear the reflector

Clear the reflector

Strip the conductors over 40 mm and slide the three strands into a transparent silicone sheath. Then strip the strands 8 mm, then connect them to the terminal blocks of the spot.

After connection, tighten the sealing nut. Reassemble the spot (reflector, porthole, strapping). Screw the assembly on its base and backfill. The orientation locks by screwing.

Floor lamp: big style

Floor lamp: big style

Participating in the decoration of the garden, the lamppost remains a classic of outdoor lighting. With one or more lanterns, the different models, operate on the sector (230 volts). Once the current is routed by buried pipe, the mounting principle is substantially the same from one model to another.

To ensure good stability to the lamppost, plan a concrete base 30 to 40 cm deep. Remember to raise the cable and its sheath in the center of the support and leave enough surplus for the future connection to the terminal block of the luminaire.

In our example, the connection is made at the foot of the lamp. Then the luminaire has its own circuit, connected by dominoes.

Connect the cable

Connect the cable

Engage your lag bolts in the holes, then connect the cable. In solidarity with the concrete foundation, the slab of washed gravel will be covered with grassed soil.

Pass the cable

Pass the cable

The original cable can run in the column until the lanterns are connected (2 m higher). Pass it through the interior of each element as you mount it.

Assemble the bolted tubes

Assemble the bolted tubes

The foot of the lamppost receives a first bolted tube. The second is screwed on its thread. This part is then used as anchor for the three lanterns.

Mount the elements

Mount the elements

The protective packaging is very useful during the assembly of the elements: this phase is tedious because it is necessary to tighten some nuts by the inside of the central cylinder.

Fix the lanterns

Fix the lanterns

The last column segment is screwed onto the mast. Climb on a ladder, present the thread in the axis and engage it without damaging it. Turn holding the branches.

Connect the top of the mast

Connect the top of the mast

Connect the top of the mast, then cover with the hat. Equip the lanterns with a screw cap (E 27) that can accommodate incandescent bulbs or low-energy fluos.

Improve garden lighting with System D:

  • Garden lighting: how to illuminate the exteriors?
  • Outside: bury an electrical sheath
  • Garden lighting: embed a spot in the ground
  • Garden lighting: install a terrace terminal
  • Garden lighting: put a wall lamp
  • Install an Outdoor Presence Projector (Video)
  • Renovate a wrought iron lantern
  • Install outdoor lighting
  • Place a buried garden spot
  • Install a "solar spot"
  • Renovate an outdoor wall
  • Put a solar light


Video Instruction: How to Design and Install Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting