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Taking the Mystery Out of DIY Landscape Lighting

lounge chair | floor cushion |outdoor rug | fireplace | planter beds

This post is in partnership with

A few weekends ago, we spent a handful of hours adding landscape lighting to our back patio – the finishing touch we’d been planning for since the day we first mapped out the yard! I was absolutely shocked at how simple the process was, having been fearful that it would easily take us the whole weekend, and yet there we were just a few hours later on the same day, finishing up the job and spending our afternoon at a local street fest. Scott, on the other hand, was more confident from the beginning, and there I was, clueless as ever – until we got started.

You guys, it really is a snap! Truth be told, I’d been scared away in the past by online tutorials as soon as I saw the words ‘transformer’ and ‘wire gauge,’ not to mention, the endless options for lighting had me paralyzed. But once we started shopping for supplies (which, honestly, is half the battle), I quickly realized that all those items I was fearful of choosing incorrectly are actually all small parts that make up a fairly easy math equation. I’m sharing our process and breaking down each step – including exactly what to purchase – with today!

To illuminate the entire perimeter of our yard, we used just 3 small and 2 large LED uplights, which turned out to be more than enough for our space. (Initially, we had close to 10 lights in our cart. As we tallied up the cost in our heads, we said, let’s rethink this a bit! As it turns out, less is more.)

In the end, buying a transformer wasn’t so scary after all (I’m explaining how!), choosing the proper landscape wire was as painless as following a chart, and narrowing down our lighting was, dare I say, fun? Our evenings by the patio fire are now accented with the prettiest light patterns and the softest nighttime glow. If you’re lucky enough to grab your own seat (ahem, CC!), there’s no better environment to toast your s’mores.

The step-by-step, broken down into manageable bite sized chunks – promise – is on!

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  • Ashley9.21.17 - 12:58 PM

    Hi Kim! I too live in Chicago and am always interested to know how you guys care for your out door furniture and rugs with two large dogs and weather. Do you leave your jute rug out all season long? What if it rains? Does it smell like a dog?ReplyCancel

    • Kim9.21.17 - 1:33 PM

      Yup, we leave everything out for warmer months! If we see rain coming, we’ll sort of flip all the cushions up to help them dry out quicker, but if we don’t catch it in time, we flip them up the next day to dry. We have furniture covers that we’ll put on the chairs, table and umbrella in the winter, and we’ll roll up the rug and put all the pillows in the garage until next spring! As far as smelling like a dog… nope, but it’s all open air back here, so maybe that helps? The rug is also outdoor, it just looks like jute. We love it!ReplyCancel

  • Asya9.21.17 - 2:11 PM

    Hi! Do you do anything for mosquito prevention? I.e. special plants or anything? Apologize if you covered this somewhere else. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim9.21.17 - 2:23 PM

      To be honest, we don’t get a lot of mosquitos! Mosquitos LOVE me, and I very very rarely have issues where we live. (The lake house is going to be a different story!) When we have gatherings, we’ll have citronella candles in the corners, but it’s not a huge necessity, luckily.ReplyCancel

  • melbajo9.21.17 - 3:48 PM

    thank you so much for this post! i’ve been saying “this is the year i get over my fear of setting up landscape lighting!” and i still haven’t done it, but your post gives me hope that it’s not that hard or scary. one question though – you described how you buried the wire into the gravel, but what about between and up and into each bed? does the wire just go up the side of the bed and into it, or did you somehow pull the wire through from underneath? your photos don’t show the wires going up and over each raised bed wall, so just curious how you pulled it off!
    thank you!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim9.21.17 - 4:02 PM

      You can do it! I’m usually so pumped to start a new project that I’ve never done before, but this has always scared me. I couldn’t believe how simple it was.

      Between the garden beds, the wire was just run behind the boxes and pulled tightly (with a little slack), since we would never, ever see them. Burying them felt completely unnecessary. This is going to be different for everyone, but my advice is that if you can’t see the wire, hiding them out of sight will suffice. :) Good luck!ReplyCancel

      • Kim9.21.17 - 4:04 PM

        Oh, and I meant to add, the wire runs back into the box from behind, but the plants hide the wire completely.ReplyCancel

  • […] And a ton of good blog posts – one of my favorites is this one by Yellow Brick Home. […]ReplyCancel

  • andrea skoch8.5.20 - 6:11 AM

    thanks for this post! I start a new project that I’ve never done before, but this has always scared me. I couldn’t believe how simple it was. Thanks.ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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