Instructables

How to Install a Lamp Post in Your Yard

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Outdoor lighting offers us a lot. It can stretch a day for work or fun, and make the place safer by helping us see where we walk in the dark. A well-lighted yard also deters crime. The range of outdoor lighting options runs from motion-sensing floodlights, to sodium-vapor yard lights, to low-voltage landscape lights and traditional lamp posts. Each meets a need, but it's the humble post light we'll focus on here.

We wanted a simple light to illuminate the backyard and to serve as a focal point that divides the empty yard space between two houses. For this project, we chose a black-enameled aluminum three-head post light, Model 42278, made by Globe Electrical Co. Inc. The light costs about $150 at a local home center. Conduit, fittings, switch, cable, hardware, and concrete cost another $70. As with any electrical fixture installation, check with your local building department to see if any permits are required. 


This project was originally published in the April 2001 issue of Popular Mechanics.  You can find more great projects at Popular Mechanics DIY Central.
 
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Step 1: Getting Power and Going Underground

Picture of Getting Power and Going Underground
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The power for our light came from a CFGI-protected receptacle mounted in the siding aboce a deck, about 20 ft. from the light. We ran plastic conduit underfround from the light to the deck. There, the conduit came out of the ground, and ran under the deck to the house. Above the deck we used metal conduit.

The PVC coiduit that we used is RNC (Rigit Nonmetallic Conduit). This type of conduit can be buried. It's not to be confused with ENT (Electrical Nonmetallic Tubing), which is not rated for burial. 

The conduit above the deck is EMT (Electrical Metallic Tubing), with rain tight fittings.

The first step is to use a posthole differ to rough out a hole that is about 18 in. deep. The, crosscut a concrete form so it is about 2 in. longer than the hole's depth. 

Next, drill a hole near the bottom of the form, and fit the form with 1/2-in. dia. PVC couduit and a 90 degree elbow. Glue the pieces togeether with PVC cement. Center the conduit riser in the form, and tape the embow to the form. Protect both ends of the conduit by convering them with tape. 

Set the form in the hole, and use a 2-ft.-long level across its top to ensure the form is level. Shovel concrete into the form and be sure to keep the conduit riser centered. Smooth the concrete with a hand float, and press the hold-down bracket into the concrete.