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Randell Tarin 01-23-2008 06:57 PM

Homemade Landscape Lighting
Has anyone here ever attempted to construct your own landscape lighting fixtures?

I'm thinking one could build them out of PVC pipe if you could figure out a way to seal them against the weather. I'm sure the electrical components could be found online somewhere.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

mlconti 01-24-2008 08:53 PM

I have looked into it for another reason, but regular lighting is so cheap would it really be worth the time?

Randell Tarin 01-24-2008 10:25 PM


Originally Posted by mlconti (Post 91734)
I have looked into it for another reason, but regular lighting is so cheap would it really be worth the time?

My point exactly! It's so cheap.

I'd like to make my own so I could camouflage it in the landscape. I saw someones home made lights one time where they used half buried terracotta flower pots as path lights. I'm not sure how they weatherproofed them, but I was intrigued.

End Grain 01-26-2008 08:29 AM

Potential buyers really only care if the existing lights work as style and appearances are subjective. If a yard or patio is well-lighted and the main areas of interest are accented, you've pretty much done your job.

I regularly see and work on some magnificent high-end copper and brass landscape lights that have life spans of 15 to 20 years unless they are repeatedly whacked by a landscaper's mower. Very well made and exceptionally weatherproof and durable. If you're thinking of constructing something that's going to have weatherproof sockets, lenses, shades, etc., then perhaps you can fabricate accent lighting that's durable and aesthetically pleasing as well. But, many customers pay me to remove them and replace them with less expensive artsy-fartsy ones. A matter of taste.

As already mentioned, if it's smple accent lighting that you seek, buy them from a home center or such as they are inexpensive enough and easy to replace if damaged. And, the selection is extraordinary. That way, your time and energy could possibly go towards pursuits that will make more of a difference in your home and property or just be more fun for you.

Randell Tarin 01-26-2008 09:20 AM

I like artsy fartsy. I've seen commercial ones I like, and I'll probably use them. However, there are some areas where I'd like the fixtures to be camouflaged.

End Grain 01-26-2008 10:18 AM

Randell, take a look on-line where the selection is far greater and more diverse than what the homecenters offer.

Perhaps you'll be spending a bit more but it's all about what works for you and makes you happy. :thumbsup:

wildbill 02-05-2008 03:00 PM

i have a question... i want to install some lights around my yard and i'm looking for something like randall is talking about. i've looked at the high design products and they seem like J-U-N-K. what i want to know is how does the low voltage beam power compare to something that takes 120v. i know its less powerful, but how does it stack up? thanks.

housekeeper 02-18-2008 09:30 PM

I made some mission style lanterns from 20 oz copper, soldered joints, and incandescent low voltage lamps and holders. I've seen ones like mine for $300 each which prompted me to make my own. (That was in a high end store.) I don't like what's in the homecenters but have seen some nice lights online, though I'd order one first before buying more, to make sure they're quality. I write up occasional projects to practice technical writing and this was one, though it's not quite finished.
As far as 120v lighting goes, it's MUCH brighter and great for uplighting large trees. If you're just going for some mood lighting or trying to subtly illuminate a garden walkway, I'd go with low voltage. A 120 v, 100 watt bulb gives off about 1750 lumens. Compare that to a low-voltage wedge-base 11 watt lamp at about 100 lumens.

hms 02-18-2008 11:43 PM

you can get some pretty amazing low voltage stuff these days. Low voltage is much easier to install, less requirments, etc. than line voltage.

terri_and_jj 02-23-2008 08:09 PM

Skip the home centers, visit you local electric supply house. they ususally carry the good stuff. Jot down make and model number and look for deals online.

TomQuas 03-02-2008 05:03 PM

Hi Randell-

I am looking for similar information. I would like to DIY construct pathway light fixtures from 3/4" copper tubing and copper roll material (like "HouseKeeper's" project).

Hi Housekeeper-

I would love to see any information you're willing to provide on your copper lantern project. Your link appears to be broken right now, can you provide a new link?

In my case, I want to replace plastic a number of failing Malibu 12V fixtures. I'd really like to get more information about using LEDs in landscape fixtures on a 12V Transformer system (my yard is too shady for the solar fixtures and many of them seem to be somewhat "junky")

You'll find lot's of innovative ways to build and waterproof headlights for bicycles that may be applicable for landscape applications. I used 1 1/2" ABS pipe fittings to construct a compact weatherproof light housing. This bike light design puts out much more (blinding) light than I'd ever want for a landscape fixture. It's remarkable how fast the LED technology is progressing, you can now easily get 500-600 lumens from three high power LEDs drawing about 3.5 Watts each (10 watts total). Color is important with LEDs, these high power LEDs throw off a very bright white light (not warm like incandecent).

Please let me know if you find any good online sources for DIY landscape applications. I'll be sure to do the same.



dumplingman 07-12-2011 03:46 PM

Have you thought about in ground solar accents? Not the cheap kind at costco or homedepot

The Caretaker 02-09-2012 08:19 AM

Yes, I made 10 of them out of 2" PVC, I cut them at a 45 degree on the top, flat on the bottom, cut a 2" round piece of glass, siliconed it in place and installed a 5 watt LED M16 directly under the piece of glass . I picked up a transformer from Habitat Restore for 20 bucks. I also used an outdoor extension cord for the low voltage wiring going from light to light. works perfect....:thumbsup:

The Caretaker 02-09-2012 09:00 AM

MDR< I can use some of those in my job.....

user1007 02-09-2012 04:42 PM

I used to make nice custom ones out of redwood and fit them with frosted plastic insterts, auto or marine sockets and bulbs. Just match to the transformer. Seal with silicone. Good to go.

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