Step 3: Install the PVC conduit

Laying the wiring
Photo: Kolin Smith
Dry fit PVC conduit to reach from the house to the posthole. Where necessary, cut the pieces with a hacksaw. Attach elbows to bring the conduit away from the house and down into the trench, then up from the trench at the post. Add conduit to the elbow in the post¬hole long enough to protrude 6 inches above the ground.

Connect the conduit pieces with PVC cement, making sure that all the elbows are oriented correctly. Next, thread 12-gauge UF-rated wire through the pipe. Leave 9 feet extra at the post location and enough extra at the house to reach through the walls and to the breaker box. Lay the pipe, with the wiring inside, in the trench, then backfill with soil.
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    Tools List

    • post hole digger
      Posthole digger
    • flathead screwdriver
    • trenching spade
      Trenching spade
    • wire strippers
      Wire stripper
    • masonry hoe
      Masonry hoe and wheelbarrow
    • two-foot level
      2-foot level
    • hack saw
      to cut PVC conduit
    • flat blade shovel
      Shovel and concrete float
    • strapping
      Rope or strapping and stakes

    Shopping List

    1. LANTERN

    (the fixture that sits atop the post). Lanterns and posts usually sold separately.

    2. POST

    These come in only a few styles: fluted, not fluted, with or without a crossbar. It's best to order posts from the same manufacturer as your lantern, to ensure that the finishes match.

    3. WIRE

    You'll need enough UF-rated exterior wire to reach from inside the house to the post outside, plus an extra 9 feet to run up through the post. 12-gauge wire will suit both 15-and 20-amp circuits.

    4. CONDUIT

    To meet code for burying wires undergorund, you'll need 3/4-inch "Schedule 40" PVC pipe. Get enough elbows and couplings to make any necessary turns coming out of the house, down to the trench, and up to the post from the ground.


    to adhere the conduit together

    6. 3/4-INCH GRAVEL

    to fill the bottom 6 inches of the posthole


    Two 80-pound sacks should be enough to creat a 12-inch wide and 16-inch-deep footing.

    8. WIRE NUTS

    to connect the wiring on the lantern. These are color coded by size; yellow should work for 12-gauge wires, but be sure to also check the range of sizes on the packaging.