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How to Transform an Old Chimney Pot Into a Garden Light

Turn a salvaged chimney pot into a unique garden light in 6 easy steps. This Old House Features Editor Amy Hughes shows you how

Among the simplest creative reuse projects I've done for my Salvage column, this landscape uplight is also one of my favorites. That's partly because I love proving naysayers wrong. Many of my colleagues couldn't visualize a chimney pot, much less a chimney pot that could cast a warm, 50-watt glow on the undersides of a Japanese maple's leaves. But I found a believer in Maria Burk of Kichler Landscape Lighting, who hooked me up with a low-voltage light that fit snugly inside the base of the crown-topped pot I chose. She also sent along a 60-watt transformer with a built-in timer, which plugs directly into an all-weather outlet, so the unit will automatically turn itself on and off each night. Here's the step-by-step for how I put all the pieces together:

Step 1

Slip Copper wires into transformer

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Strip ½ inch of plastic insulation from the ends of the light cord, and slip the exposed copper wires into the transformer's corresponding receptacles.

Step 2

Cut metal mesh

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Cut metal mesh, such as scrap tile backer, to the size of the chimney pot's opening, using snips.

Step 3

Insert the mesh

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Insert the mesh to keep leaves from gathering inside the pot's base and blocking the light source.

Step 4

Dig a trench

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Dig a 6-inch-deep trench, in which the landscape light and the cord that leads back to the transformer will sit

Step 5

Bury the cord

Photo by Kristine Larsen

Place the light and cord in the trench and then backfill with the loose soil. Leave the bulb exposed, but be sure to completely bury the cord, as the soil will keep it from getting too hot when electricity is flowing.

Step 6

Position the pot over the light

Photo by Kristine Larsen

6. Position the pot over the light

Position the pot over the light. Plug the transformer into a grounded outlet, and then set the timer so the light will glow for a few hours every night starting at dusk.