• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook and Mark Piantedosi install landscape lighting for a front walkway.

    1. Mount the 120-volt transformer to the house wall, preferably behind a shrub to make the transformer less noticeable.
    2. Stretch the low-voltage cable from the transformer to each light fixture.
    3. Install a ground stake onto the stem (shaft) of each light fixture.
    4. Strip the ends of the cable and fixture wires, then twist them together to make two connections.
    5. Slide brass connectors over each wire connection, then tighten the connector with a hex-key wrench.
    6. To ensure watertight connections, slip heat-treated tubing over the brass connectors, then use a propane torch to seal the tubing.
    7. Push the sealed wire connections up into the hollow stem of the light fixture.
    8. Firmly push the light fixture's stake deep into the ground.
    9. Use square-blade shovel to cut a narrow trench from one light fixture to the next.
    10. Leave an extra 2 feet of cable at each fixture. Push the cable down into the trench.
    11. Install lamps (light bulbs) into each fixture and attach the shades.
    12. Connect the cable to the terminals inside the transformer, then screw the faceplate onto the transformer.
    Plug the transformer into a 120-volt receptacle.
    13. Flip on the switch and check to ensure that each fixture lights up.
    • 4 to 8 hours, for average-size installation
    • $500 and up, depending on style, quality and number of light fixtures chosen
    • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
      no electrical experience is required, but you must carefully follow the installation instructions to ensure sound, long-lasting electrical connections
Ask TOH users about Driveway & Walkway

Contribute to This Story Below

      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • wire strippers
        Wire stripper, used to strip off wire insulation
      • propane torch
        Propane torch, for sealing waterproof tubing over electrical connections
      • square shovel
        Square-blade shovel, used to cut trench for cable
      • multi-bit screwdriver
        Screwdriver, used to tighten the ground stake onto the light fixture stem
      • hex keys
        Hex-key wrench, used to tighten brass connectors

      Shopping List

      Low-voltage light fixtures, cable and transformer, key components in landscape lighting system

      Brass electrical connectors, used to join transformer cable to wires on each light fixture

      Heat-treated tubing, for creating watertight electrical connections