How to Bury Low Voltage Landscape Wire

How to Bury Low Voltage Landscape Wire

How to Bury Low Voltage Landscape Wire

Landscape lighting is a great way to enhance the beauty and safety of your outdoor spaces, but properly installing and burying low voltage landscape wire is crucial for long-term performance and aesthetics. Whether you're a professional landscape lighting expert or a homeowner looking to improve your yard, understanding the proper techniques for burying these wires will ensure a durable and safe installation.

Check Local Ordinances

Before you start digging, it's important to check your local ordinances. While low-voltage wiring generally requires a trench depth of six inches, some areas have specific regulations regarding digging and wire depth. Ensure you comply with these regulations to avoid any potential issues.

Consider Your Yard Conditions

The depth at which you bury your wires depends on several factors:

  1. Power Needs: For low-voltage lighting, a shallower trench is sufficient, while high-voltage cables require deeper trenches.
  2. Soil Type: In areas with good soil, a 12-inch trench is recommended to protect the wires from rodents. In rocky soil, a six-inch trench with a galvanized conduit may be more practical.
  3. Lawn Size: Larger trenches can be more disruptive to your lawn, so plan accordingly to minimize visible damage.

Determine the Locations of Lights and Transformer

Plan the layout of your lights and transformer before you start digging. Your first fixture should be at least ten feet from the transformer, which should be centrally located in your design. This ensures easy wiring and balanced power distribution. Space your outdoor path lights evenly, about eight to ten feet apart, to create a harmonious lighting effect.

Six Inches is the Rule of Thumb

A good rule of thumb is to bury wiring at least six inches below the surface. This depth protects the wires from being accidentally cut by edgers or disturbed by surface activities. It also helps to hide the wires, maintaining the aesthetic appeal of your landscape.

Using Direct Burial-Rated Wires

Not all wires are suitable for underground burial. Direct burial-rated wires are designed with a thick protective jacket to resist moisture, fungus, and sunlight. These wires can be buried directly without additional protection. For wires that are not direct burial-rated, use a protective conduit or trunking to shield them.

Choosing the Right Wire Gauge

The gauge of your wire affects how well it can carry current over distances. For instance:

  • 10-gauge wires are the thickest and can carry current over long distances with minimal voltage drop.
  • 12-gauge wires are suitable for medium distances, supporting up to 300 feet with moderate power consumption.
  • 16-gauge wires are thin and best for short distances, up to 100 feet.

When installing multiple lights, ensure you choose a wire gauge that can handle the total wattage of your system.

How to Bury Landscape Lighting Wires

  1. Digging the Trench: Use a sharp spade to dig a trench six to 12 inches deep. An angled trench helps to seal the soil more tightly around the wires.
  2. Laying the Wires: Place the wires in the trench, ensuring they are straight and not twisted.
  3. Covering the Wires: Fill the trench with soil, compacting it to eliminate air pockets and secure the wires in place.
  4. Protecting the Wires: For extra protection, consider adding a metal or plastic conduit. This shields the wires from pests, gardening tools, and environmental factors.

Maintenance and Protection Tips

  • Regular Inspections: Periodically check your buried wires for signs of damage from pests, weather, or other factors. Replace damaged wires promptly.
  • Use Protective Materials: Seal the area around buried wires with steel wool, insulating foams, or duct seals to prevent pests from accessing the wires.
  • Timely Repairs: If you notice any issues, consult an electrician to assess and repair the wiring system.


Burying low voltage landscape wire correctly ensures a safe, efficient, and visually appealing outdoor lighting system. By following these guidelines and considering factors like soil type, wire gauge, and local regulations, you can achieve a professional-grade installation. For more information on outdoor lighting solutions, visit Americana Outdoor Lighting and explore our wide range of products designed to enhance your landscape.

Additional Resources:

By following these steps and utilizing the resources provided, both landscape lighting experts and homeowners can achieve a beautiful, efficient, and safe outdoor lighting setup.