DIY Driveway Lighting Design and Installation


Adding some driveway lighting is a great way to add to the look of the front of your home, and also makes it easier to navigate the sometimes treacherous path of staying on the pavement of the driveway while not running off onto the grass or into the flower beds (this is especially important for new drivers, like the one I have at home!).   There are many types of driveway lights available to purchase, and one of the best things about them is that most are a breeze for a DIYer to install on her own!

So, if you’re looking to add some outdoor driveway lighting to your home, here are a few design and installation tips to keep in mind:

  1. Layout your driveway light design plan first.  Decide how much light you need, where you want to put it, what type of lights you want (post lights, lantern lights, market lights, paver lights, spotlights, etc), and how they will incorporate into your overall outside lighting design.  You also need to decide if you are going to install solar driveway lights, LED driveway lights, low voltage driveway lights, or those regular electrically powered lights that you may then need an electrician to install for you.
  2. Buy your lights and lay them out in the location you devised to make sure you like the layout of the lights before you install them.  Very often you can find driveway light sets that come complete with all the lights you need for an entire driveway, as well as any wiring, transformers (if they’re low voltage lights), bulbs, etc. so you’ll have everything you need all in one place.
  3. One of the best options for lighting your driveway is solar powered driveway lights.  The great thing about a solar driveway light is that not only is it good for the environment and kind to your electric bill, but it is a cinch to install.  Since there is no wiring to run, you just need to secure the lights firmly in the ground and make sure the solar panel on the light is pointed towards the sun.
  4. If you prefer low voltage lighting to solar driveway lighting, then that’s okay and you can still install these lights yourself.  Most low voltage driveway lights come as kits, so you will get a number of lights as well as all of the wiring and cables you need, and a box that transforms the regular 110v electrical current into a 12v low voltage current.  To install these lights, you will have to plug the transformer into a grounded outdoor electrical outlet and then run the low voltage cabling to where you want the lights to be situated.  You do not need to bury this cable deep, but can run it just under the grass or dirt in your front yard, or along the edge of the driveway.  About an inch below the surface is enough to keep the wire protected and is not difficult to do.  Then install each driveway light along the cable to connect it to the system.
  5. One of the more difficult driveway lighting options to install on your own is paver lighting.  Driveway paver lights look stunning on a driveway made from pavers and are made to take the place of pavers in select locations, adding illuminating light and high style to your driveway.  Some of these lights are solar powered, but many are hard-wired electrical lights that require wires to be run under or just along the driveway, which is best left to a professional.  Driveway paver lighting is a great option to install if you are re-paving your driveway and you can put them in at the time that the driveway is being done, but aren’t so easy to do once the driveway is finished.  They do, however, look great!
  6. Driveway marker lights and driveway post lights on the other hand, are taller lights that run along the length of your driveway and are relatively easy to install.  You can find them in many different styles and with features such as globes, lanterns, decoratively-shaped lights, and more, so you have many design options to choose from with these types of lights.  You can also find many of these in various colors if you’re looking for some colored driveway lighting to jazz up the space (though don’t make it look like you’re hosting the next carnival in town).

There are many options to choose from when it comes to driveway lighting, so the best thing to do is to look through some magazines or catalogs, or even online, to get some good driveway lighting ideas before you get started.  Most styles of these lights will be easy enough for you to install on your own by just following the simple directions included with the lights.  You should just make sure before you buy the lights that they blend in nicely with the other outdoor lights in your home, and that they don’t make your driveway look like a runway at your local airport.  The goal of installing driveway lights is to create functional and interesting lighting effects, not to make it look like you can land a 747 on your driveway!

Related posts:

  1. Outdoor Gazebo Lights: Styles and Installation Basics
  2. Driveway Paving Options
  3. DIY Attic Conversions: Planning and Design