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Line Voltage For Outdoor Lighting


Where will your Line Voltage For Outdoor Lighting be located and do you have availability to an electric source.  These are two questions to start with.  The location sometimes will determine what kind of fixture will work for you.  Each will have its advantages for its mounting capabilities.

When running a line voltage fixture to a new location it is not always easy. Some installations will have Insulation, Exterior Home Coverings, Side Walks, Driveways and sometimes underground obstacles to overcome.  Most will require a qualified Electrician to install wiring to a location if the homeowner does not feel comfortable with electrical installations.  Always check local laws and ordinances before you start you planning.  If you are just replacing a current fixture, this will make things easier.

Looking at the five most popular mounting examples you can determine what will work best for you.

Portsmith Post top FixturePost Top


The post top type of fixture is used mostly out in the open areas that need light for a driveway or walkway.  They will need an underground power line run from a ground fault source.  You will need a foundation, post base and a post for this installation also.

The underground power line will have to meet code in some locations, be sure to know what the local rules are here.  The depth and if it needs to be inside conduit will be governed by local rules.  The type of wire and size could be also governed by local rules.

The foundation can be a large patio stone or concrete that has the power line run up the center in conduit.  Mounting can be done with anchor bolts for concrete or patio stones.


Hanging Outdoor Light FixtureHanging/Ceiling Mount


The hanging outdoor lantern will need a electrical box in the ceiling of an overhang.  It can be hung like a swag lamp and not hung directly under the box.  This type of fixture is found at an entrance way to your home.  If you have a high ceiling by your front door, you can hang one of these lights to a height that will produce the amount of lighting that you desire.

The ceiling mount fixture will not have a chain and will hang straight down on a rod, like a ceiling fan.

Many different styles of these types of fixtures are available, you can match post, wall mount and pier in most cases to match other fixtures in your yard or house.

Running Electric for this style will be easy if you have access to the area above where the box will be installed.  Most cases these style of lighting fixtures are installed during construction.  If this is just replacing an existing fixture, the process is much easier.

Pineapple Wall Mount FixtureWall Mount


This fixture wall mount on the outside wall of you house.  Some people have a pair, one on each side of the garage door.  I have five of this style of fixtures, three on the garage and one at the front and side entrance of the house.  Most builders will give you a builders grade of these fixtures that are just plain.  If you want to upgrade your style or color, it will be an easy installation.

Unless the wall is finished behind where this fixture will be installed, it will be an easy installation.  If you install outside an unfinished garage, running wire will be easy.  Installing on a wall that is finished on the inside of the house will take quite a bit of work, this most likely should be left to a professional.

You can choose between a downlight (one that shines down only) to a regular fixture that will spread the light all around, but not in the down direction.  This will let you choose what will work best in your lighting situation.


Bronze Outside Pier FixturePier Lamps


Pier Lamp Fixtures are made to sit on top of a wooden, composite or concrete post or pier.  You can use them on top of fence post, deck post or on the concrete pier on each side of the entrance to your driveway.

For using on a fence or deck post, the post must be hollow or have a hole in the length for the electric wire to pass through.  An installation on a concrete driveway pier must me done when the pier is assembled, so the electric wire can be installed.  In either case it is very difficult to install in an old work situation.  The composite decking is the easiest, most are hollow.

Using a Post type fixture for a pier lamp is made possible by an Pier lamp base that will accept a Post type fixture.  Just pick out your style and you can match Post fixtures that are in your yard.



Depending on the style of fixture that you have now, it will not be very easy to go from one style to another.  If you are just in the planning stages, this article will work for you.  Many times when you are upgrading or just adding something on, it is better to plan the installation of your lighting fixtures with the help of your contractor for your Home and Landscape.

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