Want to install landscape lighting without the hassle of difficult wiring? Then you’ll love this option with no splice connect wiring.
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Do you love the look of landscape lighting but don’t want to deal with the hassle of installing it?
Does splicing the wires make you nervous?
Do you want to easily install exterior lights like a pro?
If you shouted yes to any of these questions then you’re just like me!
I’ve always admired homes with beautifully lit landscapes.
Don’t they just look so pretty all lit up at night?
But I was always intimidated by the thought of actually installing exterior lights.
Where do I start?
What do I buy?
Do I need an electrician?
So when AQ lighting reached out to us to work together again we didn’t hesitate to say yes!
We knew the quality would be top-notch because we had collaborated with them previously on my patio string lights.
I was super excited to finally add lighting to the front of our house to accentuate my favorite feature…the stone!
And of course, providing more light on our walkway would be great too! lol
- How to Choose the Right Landscape Lighting
- What to Do Before Installing Outdoor Lighting
- How to Space Outdoor Pathway Lights
- How to Install Landscape Lights
- How to Install an Exterior Light Transformer
- What Additional Landscape Lighting Do You Need
- How to Weather Raw Copper Landscape Lights
- After Exterior Landscape Light Installation
How to Choose the Right Landscape Lighting
I recently replaced all the shrubs and trees in our flower beds in front of our house so they’re still pretty small.
But they’ll grow in the next few years, so I needed to think about the type of lights I wanted knowing the plants and trees will be bigger in the near future.
I decided to go with canopy area pathway lights along the sidewalk in the shrub beds and uplights to highlight the ornamental trees.
Additional spotlights would also be placed to illuminate the front of the house.
I chose lights in raw copper because it’s the most durable finish and I won’t ever have to worry about chipping or fading.
The natural copper color is beautiful and will eventually have a gorgeous patina.
If you prefer to preserve the original copper you can coat it with a layer of beeswax.
There are also several methods to speed up the weathering process if you want to do a little research.
S2M Tip: When choosing a lighting style you want to pick something that coordinates with your home’s aesthetic.
What to Do Before Installing Outdoor Lighting
Two big boxes of equipment were delivered and I’ll be honest with you it got me feeling a little bit nervous.
There was a lot of stuff in there but I knew with this easy system I could do it!
So I jumped right in and started opening all the boxes to get everything organized.
AQ Lighting uses the NSC wiring system which stands for No Splice Connection.
What exactly does that mean?
Well, it means you don’t have to cut and strip wires.
Yay for easy installation!
Because of this system, anyone can install outdoor landscape lights, even a simple mom like me!
Seriously, it’s so easy to do I double-pinkie swear you can do it too!
The raw copper spotlights come assembled so I just took them out of the box popped in an led warm white bulb and they were ready to go.
They have an adjustable swivel feature that allows you to direct the light on the area you want to illuminate.
The 11″ canopy copper pathway lights arrived in separate pieces but were super easy to put together.
The energy-saving LED bulbs allow you to light up your landscape more affordably.
Did you know only a fraction of the power of traditional halogen bulbs is required to power LED bulbs?
Can you believe as much as 80% less energy?
How to Space Outdoor Pathway Lights
After assembling all the lights, I laid them out where they were going to be installed.
I measured the length of the sidewalk from the front steps to the driveway and decided to add seven pathway lights along the walkway.
The lights were going to be positioned on just one side of the sidewalk in the flower beds.
We didn’t want to add lighting in the grass as it would be more difficult for cutting and edging the lawn around lights.
If you choose to put lights on either side of a walkway I’d recommend staggering them so they aren’t directly across from each other.
On the other side of the front porch is a much shorter span of space so only three lights were positioned there.
S2M Tip: Lay out all lighting where they’re going to be installed so that you can get the proper spacing and have everything you need within reach.
How to Install Landscape Lights
The NSC wiring runs from a transformer box to each of the outdoor lights.
I’ll explain more about the transformers later.
Having mulch in these flower beds is great because once everything is connected it’s as simple as raking some extra mulch over the wires.
No need to bury wires!
I drew a line on a piece of scrap wood to use as a template to measure the distance from the edge of the concrete sidewalk to the light.
The template helped me keep the same spacing for each fixture.
I placed the lights 8″ from the sidewalk so that it would be far enough away not to get knocked but also light up the walkway.
All AQ lights come with a ground stake for easy and proper installation.
I used my wood template and a rubber mallet to hammer the plastic stake into the ground.
Ok, maybe I lied before when I said you didn’t need any tools for this installation.
You do need a rubber mallet.
But that’s it!
After the stakes are in position it’s time to place the lights.
Just slide it into the opening on the stake and screw it in to secure the light in place.
After the area lights are positioned it’s time to connect the wires to power them.
Want to see the easiest part of this?
Just twist the two ends of the NSC wire together for a watertight connection.
I told ya!
With the NSC system, you can order T or X connectors that allow you to further expand your landscape lighting design.
Using this wiring system gives me the ability to easily expand and add more lights later.
I’m also able to service the lights without taking them apart.
So if a bulb eventually burns out it’s simple to take the light apart and replace the LED bulb.
All of the AQ lights are installed the same way.
The spotlights were done with the exact same steps as the pathway lights.
How to Install an Exterior Light Transformer
While I was getting the lights installed Chris cemented a small wood post in the ground near an outlet on the side of our house.
The transformer needs to be at least a foot off the ground and I didn’t want to drill through the stone facing on the house so decided a post would be best my best option.
My cordless Ryobi drill made it easy to install the transformers on either side of the post.
I used two 150 watt low voltage transformers for the number of lights I was installing and the span of wiring needed in front of our house.
To determine the size transformer you need you’ll add up the total number of watts for all the lighting.
The stainless steel box is only 4″ wide so using a 4×4 post is perfect to support your transformers.
Once the boxes were secure, I installed the LCD astronomical dusk to dawn timer.
Using a timer means I don’t have to turn the lights on and off…they automatically go on at dusk and turn off at dawn.
What Additional Landscape Lighting Do You Need
Our friends at AQ lighting also suggested that I add an in-ground well light in the corner where the sidewalk ends and meets our driveway.
I hadn’t even thought of light there but it’s been a really helpful addition to the landscape lighting.
The tri-directional light allows us to see the edge of the flower beds at night which is beneficial when backing out of our garage.
There are various other options for landscape lighting available through AQ Lighting group so go check out their website here to start planning your project.
After all the landscape lighting is installed I needed to wait until evening to be sure they were all spaced properly and the light was shining in the correct place.
The pathway lights should be just fine but the spotlights may need to be adjusted to direct the light where it best illuminates the trees and house.
After everything is in place you can cover the wires with mulch by either raking it over or getting additional mulch to put on top.
How to Weather Raw Copper Landscape Lights
Some people love the look and color of bright brand new raw copper.
And if you do too then you’ll want to preserve that color.
Just cover your landscape lights with a coat of beeswax to protect them from the elements.
However, many people really like the look of aged weathered copper.
The natural patina that raw copper takes on is a beautiful blue or green color.
There are various chemicals you can purchase to speed up the patina process.
You can also coat the light fixture with a combination of salt and vinegar to assist the patina of the copper.
Since I like the copper color but just want it a bit toned down I decided to let the raw copper lights weather naturally.
I’m not in a rush and not sure I want them to be completely turquoise either.
So I’m just going to let them be and see what organically happens with the lighting.
After only a month you can already see the difference!
Isn’t that wild?!
And I love that each light will take on a slightly different look as they age.
After Exterior Landscape Light Installation
The ambiance the new landscape lighting gives our home in the evening is so beautiful.
The pathway area lights are great for illuminating our walkway to the front porch.
It used to be so dark from the driveway in front of the garage until you rounded the corner and could see the porch lights.
Now the sidewalk is lit better which is also much safer.
Spotlights cast a glow on the newly planted trees.
Although the trees are small now they’ll each grow to be about 15-20 feet high when fully mature.
Since they’ll be much larger in a few years, spotlights were the best option.
The uplights also highlight the stone facade of the house, so now we can see that pretty stone even at night.
I angled one light in between the garage windows on the right side of the house.
Then four more spotlights in the corners of the house, two on either side of the porch.
S2M Tip: Angle spotlights or other outdoor lighting away from doors and windows.
I think I may need two more spotlights to shine on the bottom of the porch on either side of the steps.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!