How To Protect Landscape Lighting Wire

A landscape lighting system can add a soul-stirring mood to your outdoor area while at the same time, offering extra security and overall safer space. If you need to install your landscape lighting, choose a low-voltage lighting system that will not need an electrical expert for installation.

And, since you’ve been working a lot and spending a lot of money to achieve the best layout possible, the last thing you need is for anything to compromise the low voltage wires, especially because it can be difficult to figure out where the problem is.

Below are a few practices that safeguard outdoor lighting fixtures from different factors such as rain, pesky rodents, and more.

How To Waterproof Landscape Lighting Wire

Adopting the correct type of wire and connectors is essential to protecting the robustness of the lighting system. There are three different kinds of wire you could use:

Outdoor Cables

Outdoor cable is wiring warranted as safe to use outdoors but above ground. They are not recommended for direct burial unless a conduit is used. They are often constructed from UV-resistant PVC material to resist UV rays and heat. Outdoor-rated cables are made with UV protection to keep cable durability and avoid deterioration after a while.

The outdoor cable will function efficiently in low and high temperatures without being compromised and is durable enough to endure some physical destruction from the elements as well.

Underground Burial Cables

This cable is meant to be used underground, though you can’t lay them directly and you’ll have to adopt some conduits. This wiring is intended to withstand wet conditions. The several layers of thermoplastic cover and safeguarding cabling keep water from infiltrating the conducting wires inside. If there has been heavy rainfall or flooding that raises your buried cables, you should have them inspected by a professional electrician.
A hose is attached to another hose on the ground, next to landscape lighting.

Direct Burial Cables

Direct-burial cable is a special kind of electrical cable or wiring that is intended to be buried in a trench underground, usually without conduits. They are sturdier than other kinds of outdoor cables, approve water absorption and crush resistance tests, and are protected from the impact of moisture and soil. Some direct burial cables are upgraded with a sheath that shields them from rodents.

How To Safely Bury Landscape Lighting Wiring

Before doing any digging in your yard, it’s extremely advised to contact 811, the national “Call Before you Dig Hotline.” They’ll help you estimate spots to dig and mark any utilities with paint to keep you from unintentionally damaging local water, sewer, and electrical lines.

Choose the light fixture location wisely. Don’t install fixtures where landscape maintenance employees will be working every week. You’ll need to keep the fixtures and wire away from where they can be damaged by string trimmers, lawnmowers, and edgers.

Install all the required light fixtures, a transformer, and other components, and then arrange the wiring on the ground to make sure its length is enough to reach where you want it. If feasible, run the low voltage wire behind dense flowering shrubs, along fence lines, and around other objects that can help conceal it.

Connect the low voltage lighting and switch it on at night before burying the wirings so you have a shot to glimpse what your garden looks like after dark. In this manner, you can make any changes to the arrangement of the light bulbs before the wires are buried.

If all looks great, bind the cables together with zip ties to keep them uncluttered and orderly. Then, place them inside hollow pieces of PVC pipe. The PVC pipe will shield them, preventing them from being defective due to the surrounding soil or rodents.

Complete it by digging a narrow trench. A good rule of thumb is to excavate at least 6 inches deep into the soft soil and grassy areas. Use a flat shovel to create a slit on lawns. Lay the pipe in the trench. It’s also important to cover the trench back with soil packed as tightly as it was before. Replace any sod that you removed during the process so the grass can grow back into place.

Embed wiring that goes through flower beds with 2 to 4 inches of mulch. The cables in garden beds don’t need to be buried deeply like those in the grassy areas because you will not be mowing over them. Run wiring for overhead lighting underground as far as practicable, then clasp the wires up the sides of trees or other vertical structures to reach overhead lighting fixtures.

Run Wires Through Rain Gutters

If hiding the wiring below the ground is no alternative, take into account placing them through your rain gutters. This enables you to have the wires a lot closer to the spot where the lighting is installed without diverting from the aesthetics of your house. Likewise, it removes the requirement to dig up your lawn. This is a great alternative in paved areas because it is easier and more affordable than removing concrete.
A man working on a tree.

How To Protect Buried Wiring Systems Against Animals

As soon as you’ve buried them well, it’s time to think of the next serious natural problem your landscape might have – cunning animals.

Truth be told, wild animals are everywhere. Squirrels, rats, mice, and rabbits can chew through soft plastic and rubber. Despite the fact the wire is buried, these animals can dig the ground and reach it. The entire lighting system has to be replaced, even if a small part of the wire is chewed. Therefore, it’s important to secure them fairly well. Fortunately, there are approaches to protecting the wirings from these damages.

The most useful thing you can do is to bury the wiring through a protective conduit made out of metal or plastic. The diameter thickness must be greater than one inch since squirrels are not capable of opening their mouths that big. Because rats can access openings wider than ¼ inch, it becomes necessary to stop entry to the inside of the conduits from the ends. Applying a soft insulation layer, duct seal, or steel wood to close the end of the openings could be adequate.

Steel trunking is useful at warding rodents off, though you have to consider the expenses. Moreover, you can purchase repellent sprays that you could spray on your wiring, or there are many DIY alternatives on the internet that use chilli peppers or peppermint, but they are only temporary solutions.

Avoid investing in sonic repellent devices. They’re not that effective since the sound waves are absorbed by something that gets in the way. Ultimately, these little animals will adapt to the sonic waves.

Don’t Be Frugal With Cable Or Connectors

Do not surrender to the invitation to utilize piercing-type connectors. They are susceptible to moisture, which will result in some wire connections failure. They have minimal metal-to-metal contact; therefore, the tiniest shift in the state of the connection could generate sudden failure.

Some experts suggest wire nuts replenished with sealant. Furthermore, prevent your wirings from being unintentionally removed from the nut by putting an electrical tape or zip tie around the wires a couple of inches from the wire nut.

Wrap Up

There are a plethora of things to consider to guarantee your light fixtures and wirings are protected, both from the elements and any accidents when gardening. You can follow the simple tips above and be able to fully relax in your garden with your new lighting systems after a hard day’s work.

Curb Wise