Installing a low-voltage outdoor lighting system

Step-by-step advice for a fun, affordable project

If you're looking for an outdoor project this summer that can add safety and security while making your landscaping really pop, look no further than low-voltage outdoor lighting. Installing outdoor lights is fun, easy and affordable. It can make pathways safer to negotiate, and turn any backyard into a welcoming evening oasis. What you'll need There are three basic components to any exterior low-voltage lighting system: the lights, the transformer and the cable. It's important that all three be selected to work together. At the heart of the system is the transformer, also sometimes called a power pack. The transformer is housed in a weatherproof metal box, and converts incoming 120-volt AC electrical current down to 12 volts AC. The transformer also typically contains a timer or a photo cell, which is used to control the on/off cycles of the lights. Transformers are rated in watts of output, which is the total number of watts of lighting that they're capable of handling. This is a very...