Backyard Lighting for Beginners


Backyard lighting is for brightening outdoor spaces. Using proper lighting, you can focus on the centerpiece of your backyard. You can bring focus on the pathways as in the dark it would be harder to notice the walkways. You can also add lighting in the seating area so that you can spend time comfortably with your favorite person or read a book.

For example, if you are an architect and proud of your first homemade patio, you can bring attention to it by setting lights in a way that illuminates the patio. You can also use solar lighting that will save power as it is powered by the sun. If you are tired of using electric lights you can change it up by using battery-powered lighting. This battery-powered lighting is fueled by battery and you can install them anywhere in your backyard. Beginners may feel helpless in choosing which lighting will bring more out of their backyard, we are here to help.

Types of Backyard Lighting

Professional backyard lighting can bring more value to the house. It can pop up some backyard structures or make the area appear larger. It is also a great way to provide security in your backyard. There are different types of backyard lighting for different purposes.

Types of Backyard Lighting

1. Hanging Lighting

From morning coffee to backyard cookouts we can decorate the space with the help of string lights. It is an amazing way to bring ambiance to your backyard. If you love to have dining parties during summer, you can bring a warm atmosphere by installing string lights. If you feel the absence of a place to hang your string lights. Do not worry. You can use pot plants as a base.

2. Wall Lighting

Wall lighting is a great way of arranging lights in your backyard and creating a unique style. To create an antique feel you can use a cloudy and round bulb. You can also add modern and industrial designs to your wall lights. To have double security you can install motion sensors on your wall lights.

It directs light up and down and some modern designs direct lights both ways simultaneously. You can mount these lights in stairways and pathways so that it reduces the chances of accidents. Before installing wall lights, you need to keep in mind the purpose and location.

3. Landscape Lighting

For any landscaping that you have done in your backyard, you might want to add lighting for them as well! Deck lighting, patios, and water fountains are just some landscaping options, but they need lighting to illuminate them. These are unique to landscaping and will change depending on the specific type of landscape.

4. Garden Lighting

The most common lights for a garden are spotlights, floodlights, and stake lights. You can light up your garden space by installing globe-shaped lights. If you have a small stair toward your garden area, you can light up the space using wall lights. You can also bring more attention to the big trees by wrapping string lights around the tree. You can also use solar-powered string lights to reduce electrical outlet issues.

Setting Up Backyard Lighting for Beginners

If you are interested in setting up electric lighting, you can follow our instructions to help yourself. Here is a step-by-step instruction on setting up backyard lighting to help beginners.

Pick a Spot

Pick a spot

First, you need to choose a spot where you want to set up your transformer. You can use spray paint to mark the space so that you can find it easily. Avoid places near trees as their shallow roots will interfere with the installation process. Try setting up your transformer near the outdoor electrical outlet.

Identify the Ground Line

Identify the ground line

Call the cable company to make sure you are not harming any cable running in the background while digging. If you are an American citizen, you can dial 811 to solve this issue. The workers will mark areas where it will harm the cable line in the ground.

Dig a Trench

Dig a trench

Use a trenching shovel or ditch witch to dig a shallow trench. You have to dig the trench 3 inches deep. If you have grass in your backyard you need to use a shovel to remove them. You do not need to move loose dirt around during the installation process. If you feel confused about the width of digging a trench, you can use a shovel to measure it. Make the width of the trench as wide as your shovel.

Placing the Cable

Placing the cable

You need to lay a 1-foot cable in the trench. You do not need to bury it yet. You must place the cable end, near the transformer. Later you will need to attach the wiring to the box.  At each planned fixture, leave a loop so that you can connect the wiring to the fixture. You have to make sure that the cable is pushed at the bottom of the trench so that it does not stick out.

Stripping the Wiring

Stripping the wiring

Next, you need to connect the wiring to the outdoor outlet.  Cut the cable with wire strippers. When you are cutting the cable make sure to cut ½ inch of rubber insulation. You also need to cut the wiring of the outdoor outlet. You will be left with 2 wires exposed. You can use a utility knife to strip the wire but it is easier to use wire strippers. If your cables have cable nuts, remove them beforehand.

Attaching Cables

Attaching cables

You need to attach the 2 exposed wires to the transformer box. If you look closely you will find 2 screws at the bottom of the transfer box. Slide the wires under the 2 screws and tighten those using a screwdriver. The inside of the transformer box should have guidelines about usage. You need to double-check to see if the wires are tightened enough otherwise it will slide out.

Grounding the Transformer

Grounding the transformer

You need to hammer a wooden stake on the ground and attach the transformer to it. You need to push the stack 1 foot on the ground near the outlet.  You can use a screwdriver to screw the stakes and the transformer. If you have a vinyl or wooden sliding, you can also mount the box onto the side of your house.

Lay the Light Fixture

Lay the light fixture

Place your fixtures when you want to install them. You need to lay them along the cable. The fixtures need to be 8 to 10 feet away from one another. Then you need to dig a narrow hole in where you plan to put fixtures. You can make a hole using a screwdriver or a long steel punch. Make sure the depth of the hole matches the depth of the fixture. This will reduce your work and help you to install the stakes easily. When you will purchase a light fixture, you will have stakes in the box. If you do not get stakes you can use metal stakes that are 8 to 10 inches long.

Connect the Wires to the Main Cable

Connect the wires to the main cable

Take 2 connector halves that are hanging from the bottom of the light fixtures and pinch them together until you hear a click. This will determine that 2 connector halves have been connected. When you are connecting them you need to make sure the cable is not connected to the main source or you will be electrocuted.

Attach the fixture with the stakes. You can use both hands when you are pushing the stakes in the narrow hole. Keep away from hammering the stakes as it will damage the light fixtures. You can also use a screw and screwdriver to attach the stakes and fixture. You have to make sure that the stakes are vertically straight.

Plug the Transformer

Plug the transformer

You can turn on the lights and if you see any issues check if the lights are screwed correctly. If they are good, it’s probably the wiring. If the lights are dim, it means the cable is running beyond the manufacturer’s length.

Bury the Exposed Wiring

Bury the exposed wiring

When all the work is done, you need to bury the exposed wiring.  You can use a shovel to replace the dirt. If the wires from light fixtures are sticking out, you can use loose soil to hide them.

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16 Simple and Budget-Friendly Ideas

Before installing lights in your backyard you need to keep in mind which lights will suit the area as well as the cost. Here are some budget-friendly backyard lighting ideas for your help.

16 Simple and budget-friendly ideas

1. Paper lantern

If you want to make your outdoor lounge or dining area more interesting you can set up paper lanterns for lighting.

2. Tree lights

If you have a big tree in your backyard, you can add string lights around the branches.

3. Pool lights

You can add dandelion-style pond lighting near your pond area. The lights will illuminate the pond by giving a beautiful view. You can also add halogen lights.

4. Solar power

If you want to light up a gazebo or pergola, solar lights are the perfect option. Solar pendant lights can be used for gardens and fences.

5. Festive lighting

Icicle lights are good for Christmas or holidays. You can also decorate your outdoor space with icicle lights. For Halloween, you can do a simple pumpkin lantern.

6. Bug repellent

To provide ambient lighting and fend off mosquitoes tiki torches can be used.

7. Security

For security purposes, motion sensor lights can be useful. It will light up as soon as detects motion.

8. LED

LED wireless lights can be used as lighting equipment or a piece of art as it has different sizes and shapes such as oval, cylinder, and cubes.

9. Dark corners

To light up the dark corners, you can install a star-spangled battery-operated light.

10. Weather resistance

You can install wet or damp-rated outdoor lights depending on your climate. If you live somewhere, where it rains most of the year, you can install outdoor wall, post, or motion sensor wet-rated lights.

11. Easy switches

You can install tap switches so that you do not need to fumble around in the dark to find light switches. It also provides perfect ambient lights.

12. Sitting area

You can also install string lights in your seating areas, near hammocks, or in the reading space in your backyard.

13. Firepits

You can build a fireplace near your seating spots in the backyard. It will bring a warm vibe to your backyard.

14. Pond lighting

If you have a pond in your backyard, you need to add lighting which suits best for your pond. You can install several lights at different angles which will light up the ponds and fish in them.

15. Candles

You can also decorate your outdoor space with candles.

16. Efficiency

Using low-voltage lights to create a soft glow, you can shine lights on the concrete.

Inspiration and Information Resources

As a beginner, it may be hard for you to decide which backyard lighting will suit your backyard more. You can get help from many sources to reduce your confusion. You can look for more ideas about lighting from magazines, architecture blogs, articles, and books.

Magazines sometimes contain beautiful house décor, backyard design, and backyard lighting. You can gather some ideas and mix them to make your backyard more alluring. Some blogs and articles talk about which lighting will suit your backyard and how to install them.

If you still feel in conflict, you can also seek professional help. They will show you which backyard lighting will make your backyard garden pop. Or you can go through our websites where we break down backyard structures and how to make any backyard interesting and useful.


1. How many lumens is good for a backyard?

For outdoor lighting, the lumens range from 12 to 1300. The backyard lighting depends on how bright a person wants their backyard.

2. How can I light an area without electricity?

If you are struggling with electricity issues, you can use candles, solar-powered lights, or battery lamps in your backyard.

3. How can I light up my backyard without trees?

You can use wall support by installing wall lights. You can also get help from deck lights, gazebos, porches, or sheds. You can attach your lights to any outdoor structure.

4. How many hours do solar lights stay on?

Solar lights can work for 6 to 10 hours each night and last about 2 to 5 years.

Final Thoughts

Outdoor lighting is used to add beauty and energy to your home. It not only draws attention to the beautiful structures but also provides security and safety to your backyard. It illuminates walkways and water features while creating an aesthetic vibe.

Beginners may find themselves in a difficult position while choosing lights. They have to keep in mind the ambiance and size of the backyard. You cannot put too much stuff in your backyard or too little stuff. You need to have some insights and knowledge about lighting management. You can get help from our websites to reduce your issues about this matter.

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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.

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