Recently I updated my outdoor lighting installations.
If you’re anything like me, you love DIY projects. You take great pride in problem solving, and you don’t mind the time it may take to get those projects done.
This DIY project was a bit of an adventure because of the electrical aspect of it, but it worked out. So I decided to write this quick “glow-up” for outdoor lighting installation you can do on your own (if that’s what you like to do).
Where And What Are You Installing?
Are you upgrading old lighting or creating space for new lighting? Do you want it to be electric, solar, or a little of both?
Lighting can really enhance your space, so consider their location and look carefully. Choose fixtures that support your personal style whether that’s cabin-esque, fairy cottage, or modern and sleek.
I highly recommend lighting that is solar powered. Solar powered outdoor lighting can help cut down your energy bills, plus it’s cleaner and better so why not?
Oh, and don’t forget to double check that you get outdoor lighting that is weather and waterproof.
Uninstall Old Outdoor Lighting
Turn off the power connected to your light fixture (this is important). Double check that it’s off by trying to turn on the light.
Remove the light bulb then the mounting holding the fixture in place. I prefer a power drill to make it fast and easy. Try out this magnetic wrist strap to keep track of small metal parts during installing and uninstalling.
You’ll have to deal with some wires as you disconnect your outdoor lighting. Untangle the wires by unscrewing the plastic caps on the ends. That should release your fixture.
Assemble New Outdoor Lighting
Read the instructions. Yes, I don’t like to do it either, but after so many DIYs I’ve found reading instructions to be time saving and helpful (who would’ve thought).
There are different levels to this process of remounting your lighting: for example, sometimes your new fixture will fit perfectly with an old mount. And sometimes you have to screw it right into the wall or use a new mount. Mostly, you just want to make sure the hole is completely covered. We don’t want any wires accessible to weather and critters.
Make sure your lighting fixture is completely straight and firm on the mounting.
Connect The Wires In Your New Outdoor Lighting Installation
Make sure you feel good about the electrical aspect of this process. If you’re really unsure you might want to wait to get help from a neighbor familiar with electrical work, or you should hire a pro.
I’ve done this kind of thing enough that I felt capable of doing it, but I still looked up tutorials beforehand to double-make-sure.
In order to wire the light, wrap the fixture’s ground wire around the ground bolt near the top of your light device. Tighten it. Then twist the ends of your house wires and intertwine them with the ground wires.
Do this procedure with all other house wires and your new fixture. Make sure you are matching the color of the wires you are intertwining. Do Not twist white and black wires together. You could blow a fuse and it can be dangerous for you.
If your wires are not long enough to twist together, simply trim some of the plastic around them away (use wire snips).
Place the wire cap over the ends of the wires and make sure the wires are secure. Cover any exposed wire with electrical tape.
Install The Mounting And Check Your Work
After you’ve done all the wire work, stuff the wires into the outlet box, mount your fixture, then take time to seal the spaces around your fixture with caulk except the bottom. That way any moisture that may get in can drain out the bottom. But otherwise it’s protected from water damage.
Twist in the lightbulb and try out your new light. If it doesn’t turn on, you may have blown a fuse or a wire may be loose. In that case you will probably have to retrace your steps until you get to the point something went wrong (don’t forget to turn off the electricity before you do!).
Some Other Ideas
I mentioned using solar lighting to reduce your carbon emissions and cut down your power bill. Using LED light bulbs will also increase the lifetime of your bulb and use less energy (up to 80% less energy) overall.
I enjoyed this project and found it relatively easy. Though I felt slightly uneasy around the electrical work. Overall, it’s very doable if you have some know-how. If you’re not sure, obviously I’d error on the side of caution and get a friend or hire a pro to help you out.