a finished garden pathway lamppost
Photo: Kolin Smith


If you're looking for a stylish and original way to spruce up your home's landscaping, well, look to the right. This outdoor lighting project is deceptively simple to build. Made of rot-resistant western red cedar, the fixture consists of a 2x4 center post to anchor it, a horizontal arm to hold the lantern, and 1x6 cladding that yokes the 2x4s together and creates attractive shadow lines. Fitted with a handsome copper-and-glass candle lantern, it exudes Zen-like beauty day and night.

This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers installed our lamppost along a garden path but says its proportions would complement virtually any outdoor space, from a patio to a water feature. Turn the page to see how it comes together. And if you'd prefer to wire the lamppost for low-voltage lighting, he shows how to do that, too.

SHOWN: H. Potter Craftsman Lantern, 9¾ by 10½ inches, $80; H.Potter
Watco Teak Oil Finish, $11 per quart; Rust-Oleum

Download and print the lamppost cut list
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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      sliding-compound miter saw
    • drill
    • circular saw
      circular saw to cut wiring channel
    • cold chisel
      ¾-inch chisel to clear waste wood from wiring channel
    • hammer
    • combination square
      combination square
    • caulk gun
      caulking gun
    • pneumatic finish nailer
      pneumatic finishing nailer
    • flush-cut handsaw
      flush-cutting handsaw to trim dowel rods
    • sledge hammer
      3-pound sledgehammer to set lamppost
    • two-foot level
      2-foot level
    • random orbit sander
      random-orbit sander

    Shopping List

    24 common cedar board. Get one 8-footer to make the center post and lantern arm.

    16 clear cedar boards. Get two 8-foot lengths to clad the post.

    210 clear cedar board. Get one 6-footer to wrap the base of the post.

    construction adhesive

    2- and 2½-inch-long finishing nails for a pneumatic nailer

    -inch hardwood dowel

    -inch-diameter spade bit waterproof carpenter's glue to glue dowel rods in place

    polyurethane glue for mitered joints on the decorative base

    100-grit disks for the random-orbit sander

    1-inch screw hook for hanging the lantern or light fixture

    copper candle lantern

    low-voltage land-scape light fixture (optional)

    transformer (optional)

    12-volt cable (optional)

    cable staples (optional)