Essential Tools for Landscape Lighting Installation

03-12-2018

EssentailTools_RTE_426x320-c.jpgThinking of adding landscape lighting to your services menu?  Lighting is a growing segment for landscape contractors and a natural progression for those that already offer complimentary services like hardscape design and installation to their customers.  Before you dive into lighting installation it's important to have the proper tools to get the job done while keeping you and your crews safe.

Here's what you'll need to get started:  

Wire stripper

You'll be using this quite a bit when installing lighting so make sure to find yourself a solid, durable tool. You can even find some that automatically gauge the wire diameter so you never need to worry about stripping any interior wire from the bundle.

Crimp tool

Use to simultaneously combine the individual wires you've exposed during stripping so the connection can be made and electrical current can flow through the fixture(s).

6-in-1 Screwdriver

Reduce the number of trips back and forth to your truck or toolbox with multi-use tips that fit all of the standard screw types. You'll be using this for just about every lighting install, so look for models with a comfortable grip and a secure connection mechanism between the attachable tips and handle.

Silicone-filled connectors

Seen as one of the more reliable lighting connector types, this component typically consists of two parts:  a cap that combines the cut ends of wire and a separate, silicone gel-filled cover that keeps the cap in place and prevents moisture intrusion.  

12 Gauge low voltage landscaping wire

To determine how much wiring you will need, consider the run length or distances between your transformer and the locations of your fixtures.  It's also smart to add extra wire (typically ~3ft) at each fixture in the event you want to move your lights as plantings mature or additional hardscape features are added.  

Voltmeter voltage detector

Use this tool to determine if you're connected to the proper voltage tap on your transformer and trouble-shoot issues as needed.  The voltage range to field wires (those running between fixtures) should be 9-15v for LED fixtures and 10-12v for halogen lamps.  If you find the Voltmeter reading below the minimums for your fixture type connect your main supply wire to the higher voltage transformer tap.  

Wire and edging trencher

This specialized, flat shovel that allows you to dig shallow trenches for wiring (6"-8"deep).  This will help make your install faster and easier as you won't be exerting energy digging any deeper than needed.  The objective is to protect the wire by burying it a few inches underground.

Depending on the nature of the job there may be other accessories and tools useful for your install.  For example, running wiring through buried PVC conduit can be helpful in areas around edging where digging is anticipated.  Shop our online store or ask a SiteOne associate at your local branch about the other lighting accessories and tools most suited to your lighting project.