Installing Outdoor Lanterns in Your Backyard

Using outdoor lanterns to light your yard and driveway can not only increase the safety and security to your home and yard, but it can also beautify and add charm to your home. By using post lanterns for this lighting you can ensure the stability and protection of your outdoor lights and light wiring, and you can avoid having to string unsightly lights across your yard.

Things you'll need:

  • Electric circuit tester
  • Posts
  • Lanterns
  • PVC conduit
  • PVC pipe
  • Trencher
  • PVC adhesive
  • Electrical cable
  • Ground fault interrupter
  • Switch
  • Hacksaw
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire snips
  • Splicing caps
  • Electrical tape
  • Drill
  • Wood bit
  • Shovel
  • Posthole digger
  • Gravel
  • Cement

Step 1 – Plan Your Project

Decide which inside light switch you prefer using to connect your lantern light to. You'll be working on the switch wiring, so be sure to disconnect the power at the circuit breaker box. Post a sign on your circuit breaker box warning others to avoid touching any of the switches while you're working with the wiring. Then, test the switch to be sure the power is turned off before touching the wiring.

Step 2 – Layout and Bury Your Conduit

First, lay out on the ground the conduit you plan to use. Through your house's wall, near the electrical switch to which you'll be connecting your wire, drill a hole big enough to insert your wiring. Use a trencher to dig a 2-foot deep trench for your conduit. Dig a post hole where you plan to plant your post. Lay the conduit in the trench with all the connectors attached and glued. At the post hole install a PVC connector that allows your conduit to turn upwards and be attached to the lamp post you'll be using.

Step 3 – Install Your Wiring and Post Lamp

Begin at your post and run the wiring through the conduit, through your house wall, and finally terminating at the switch. Connect the far end of the wire to your post lamp. Connect the other wire end to your light switch. Connect your lamp to the post, turn the power back on, and test the light to be sure the lamp comes on. Then, turn the power off again until you've finished your installation. Plant your post in the post hole. Use a level to be sure your post is plumb, then, fill the hole with cement leaving six inches at the top for fill dirt. 

Step 4 – Finishing

When the cement in the post hole is set, attach guide wires to the post. Drive three pegs or stakes into the ground and have them spaced around the post equal distances from each other. Run the guide wires from the lamp post to the guide wire posts. Pull the guide wires tight and fasten them to the stakes. Fill in the trench with the soil you removed from it. If you dug your trench in a lawn, replace the lawn sod and water it to keep it from dying. Fill the hole in your house wall with grout, and turn your power back on.