How to Install an Outdoor Lamp Post
Installing an outdoor lamp post may be easier than you think. If you are comfortable wiring a light fixture and know how to use a circular saw, the steps outlined here will tell you how to install a lamp post that doesn't even require tapping into your circuit breaker box.
Step 1 - Trench a Line
Before you can install an outdoor lamp post you will need to trench a line for power. The trick is to trench a line from the nearest power outlet to the location where the lamp post will be installed. The trench only has to be wide enough for you to insert electrical PVC, but it should be at least 12 inches deep.
Step 2 - Dig the Footer
A free-standing exterior lamp post needs to have a foundation, often called a footer, to stand on. To do this, dig a hole that is 2 feet deep. Compact the bottom of the hole with a manual tamper. Insert a piece of plywood to separate the foundation from the conduit trench. Drill a hole through this block for the conduit to fit through.
Step 3 - Install the Conduit
The conduit for your lamp post lighting will protect your electrical cord from moisture. Use a ¾ gray PVC (electrical grade pipe). When making turns, use 45-degree angle couplings rather than 90-degree couplings. This is because pulling the cord around one or more sharp turns may prove to be too difficult. Save yourself time later by installing a heavy string through the conduit as you go.
Step 4 - Position Conduits and Anchor Bolts
Cut a piece of plywood that is at least 8 inches wider than your foundation hole. Mark out the positions for the conduit and anchor bolts, and drill the holes just large enough for them to fit into the hole. Place the anchor bolts and screw nuts onto the ends suspending them into the foundation. Install stakes around the edges of the plywood to anchor it to after pouring the concrete.
Step 5 - Pour the Footer
Mix the concrete as directed on the bag and fill the hole. Use a shovel and chop into the concrete repeatedly to remove trapped air and fill the hole uniformly. Install the top piece of plywood and anchor it to the stakes you have already installed. Positions the anchor bolts so that they are vertically straight and firmly planted in the concrete. Allow at least 24 hours for the concrete to set.
Step 6 - Mount the Post
Remove the nuts from the anchor bolts and remove the plywood template from the top of the foundation. Stand the lamp post up on the anchor bolts and install the retaining nuts. Cut the female end off the electrical cord and tie that end to the string in the conduit. Pull the cord through and wire it directly to the wiring in the post. Plug the cord into the power outlet near the male end, and the light should work.