How to Fit an outdoor garden light
Outside lights can give your dark garden a much needed lift during the long nights. Not everybody wants a garden illuminated like a football pitch, however some general lighting can make sitting outside on warm nights a much more enjoyable experience.
Having a fairly large garden myself with a large 6m x 6m patio area, making sure the conversation can stay outside on a warm night was an absolute must, and with Bonfire night coming up within the next few weeks it was decided (by my wife) that an outdoor light was needed.
If you've read my other articles, you will notice that I focus an awful lot about selling houses, this is because this is something we like to do. During the autumn / wintery months daylight is dwindling at a fast rate and 9 times out of 10 a viewing will be after work when its that bit darker. Rather than having to describe to potential buyers what the garden "would" have look like, an outdoor light (or 2 in our case) leaves less to the imagination - and in most cases can increase the number of offers during the difficult property market.
Ok, less of that, now lets move on to what you need, outlined below is what I used to fit a cheap outdoor light to the side of an outbuilding - which coincidentally also backs onto our raised patio area - so that's a great spot. Its worth noting, that its definitely worth planning where you want your light to illuminate from, there is no point in adding an outside light to one side of a wall and expecting it to light the other.
Can I just use Solar Lights?
Yes! However, Solar lights work at their best in the summer months - when the days are long and the tiny batteries have time to charge fully. During the winter months, solar lights may only receive a few hours of light and therefore before you know it have lost all their light. Also, solar lights by nature do not emit a decent amount of lighting, they emit more of a soft glow which doesn't really work when lighting up the garden.
Choosing your outdoor light is generally down to personal taste, I like the lanterns, and the post wall lights, but here is a small selection:
Tools needed for fitting an Outside Light
Assuming your not going to be leaving your cable on an outside wall, you can use just standard 3 core cabling, however - if your cable is going to be facing the elements (i.e.. tacked to a wall) then its much safer to use specific outdoor cabling, which has a much thicker rubber coating giving it added protection.
- Masonry Drill + Masonry Drill bit
- 3 Core Cabling (see above)
- 1 x UK 3 Prong Plug
- Power Source (your going to plugging the outside light into a standard plug socket)
- Outdoor Silicon Sealant
Planning the fitting of an Outside Light
Its worth taking the time to plan where the cabling will run, and where the light will be mounted, as I said above positioning is crucial to getting the most out of your light. You must also assess the safety aspect, if its right next to a doorway - is it high enough so the taller ones of us won't bang their head.
Also, identify your power source. Remember that the plug must be indoors (unless you have a fancy outdoor plug wired up).
- Work out where your going to run the cable
- Work out where your light is being fitted
- Work out how the light is going to be operated. (I personally use timer switches - here)
Fitting an Outside Garden Light
- First check the instructions that came with the light, you will need to drill the wall and fit with the supplied screws. Using a marker pen place the light fitting against the wall (get your other half to check its in the right place - a must!) and just mark where the drill holes need to be made.
- Drill the walls with the correct size masonry drill bit, and insert rawl plugs into the holes
- Drill a hole for the cable that will feed the light - check the instructions of your lamp for placement - usually below the light.
- Screw the backing plate of the garden light to the wall making sure its secure
- Push the cable (that will be connected to the plug) through the hole into a dry area where the socket will be
- Wire the mains cable according to the manual - this usually is very simple - but each lamp is different!
- Screw the front panel of the light fitting to the wall
- Strip the cable inside the dry room and attach a standard 3 prong plug to the other end
- Plug in the outdoor light to ensure it works
- Excess cable that will probably be dangling - tack to the wall using wire clips
- Squirt some silicone sealant into the hole where the mains wire is drilled through the wall - this will prevent any moisture entering the dry room.
Each and every light you purchase from the shops will include fitting instructions, and each will differ in the correct wiring (Which is why I do not want to go into too much detail)