Installing pond lights takes a bit more effort than installing indoor lights.
You have to factor in how the electrical circuit runs around your pond, how to keep it weatherproof and the composition of lighting.
Most people prefer hiring an electrician or outdoor lighting professionals. However, if you have some electrical experience and are an avid DIYer then you can try installing the pond lights yourself.
Below, we take you through the steps on how to install traditional or LED pond lights. This is a general guide since every garden composition is different so depending on your pond light design it might take you more or less time.
The Basic Necessities for Installing Pond Lights
Good preparation makes the entire installation process easier. Having all the gear you need is the first step so use the list below as your checklist.
- Pond lights
- Outdoor weatherproof 12 volt DC transformer
- Shovel for underground wiring
- Outdoor weatherproof connectors and fittings
- Direct-burial wire to connect to transformer
- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (CFGI) outlet
This list of items works for both submersible pond lights and pond downlights. The only difference is where you need to run the cable through.
1. Prepare Your Pond Light Composition
Before you make any changes, make a sketch of your pond area and plot where you want to install pond lights. Think about what type of pond lights is best, how the light reflects the water and which light colors you want to use.
Already having an idea of the final pond composition helps you decide on how much wiring you need. You want the circuit to be as simple as possible so that maintenance is also easier.
Walk around the pond and imagine the light from different positions. Think about how the light travels over the pond and surrounding area so that you get the angle right.
2. Install Outdoor Electricity Supply
The first step is taking care of the electricity supply. This is the part that we suggest having a professional come in, especially if you do not yet have a CFGI outlet.
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is very important when dealing with outdoor lighting. This is what makes sure that the different components do not deliver electrical shocks when there is damage or a fault.
The CFGI must connect to a 12 volt DC transformer. The transformer takes the regular 120 volt electricity from your home supply and lowers it down to the pond light requirements which is usually only 12 volts.
Don’t skip the transformer since it is both more economical and a safety precaution. The lower voltage means that the pond lights consume less electricity and it also protects you from electrical shocks.
3. Dig a Path for the Direct-Burial Wire
The direct-burial wire is the connection in the electrical circuit. All the pond lights connect to this wire with the weatherproof fittings and connectors which in turn is connected to the electrical supply you have just installed.
A common figure is 12-2 wire which needs an underground path of about ten inches deep and six inches wide. This is another aspect where having a professional check out your pond area first is a good idea.
4. Place the Pond Lights
Go back to your pond lights sketch and place the pond lights you purchased in their designated spot. Then, take a step back and try to imagine how it would look once the lights are connected.
This is the point where you can still make adjustments before setting up the electrical circuit. It is easier to make adjustments now before you have to dig out the direct-burial wire, again.
5. Connect the Pond Lights
Once you are satisfied with the composition you can connect the lights to the direct-burial wire. Do a test run and make sure that all pond lights are lit, don’t flicker and don’t create glare.
You can still play around with the angle of the light. Perhaps some of the angles create too much of a focus that make the light seem unnatural or maybe the light angle glares into your eyes.
Alternatives for Installing Pond Lighting
Gone through the step and feel a little discouraged? Don’t worry, there are simpler alternatives.
Instead of connecting the pond lights to your home electricity supply you can also opt for pond lights that run on solar power or batteries. Go for LED pond lights that are more energy efficient so that maintenance is also minimal.