Install Pond Lights in 5 Steps

The introduction of pond lights is a wonderful way to get the most out of your water garden, by bringing it to life after dark. Well-designed lighting enhances the area around your pond and extends your living space, creating a delightful ‘outdoor room’ in which to entertain or relax with family and friends. Hanging lights from above to cast beams over the rippling water surface will create continuous and gentle movements of light and shade, and the positioning of light sources on the periphery pointing upwards into the surrounding trees results in more surprising and dramatic effects. Underwater lighting, however, can achieve stunning results that add a professional touch to any pond. 

Considerations and Preparation

Stroll around your water garden, pinpointing any features you wish to highlight by the addition of pond lighting. Focal points like fountains or waterfalls, rocks, fish or aquatic plants are all worthy candidates, and you might consider how particular light sources will reflect the water’s surface over the surrounding garden. You can also opt for up-lighters concealed among the foliage of underwater planters. 

Electrical Safety

Water and electricity, of course, are not compatible. You will a need an outdoor-rated transformer that can be plugged into a protected, weatherproof outlet and special sealed underwater lights to achieve the desired effects. The transformer is the device that transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another, so find a transformer that can handle the total system wattage being used. Exercise caution by emptying your pond and equipment of water and ensuring power is turned off before installing electrical systems. If you are unsure about working with electrics, hire a professional to get the job done. 

Step 1: Install Supply

Install a 12-volt DC, weatherproof transformer at a GFCI-protected outlet, attached to a weatherproof junction box and plug in the transformer. If you don’t have a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet, contact the professionals and hire an electrician to have one installed.

Step 2: Excavation

Between the edge of the water feature and the transformer, excavate a trench about ten inches deep and six inches wide. Then lay direct-burial 12-2 cable in the trench.

Step 3: Cable

Use outdoor-rated connecters and weatherproof fittings to connect the direct-burial cable wire to the transformer. 

Step 4: Position Lights

Position your lights in the selected locations and adjust to highlight focal points. 

Step 5: Set Timer

Set the automatic timer on the transformer to turn on the lights as dusk falls and shut down at an appointed hour, or when the use of the garden has ended.

Perhaps the simplest and most economical way to install pond lighting is to use solar powered lights. Waterproofed and equipped with solar cells, some models change color and come in various shapes and forms like flat discs, floating globes or flowers and animals. However you achieve it, you can be sure your pond lighting will give you endless hours of pleasure, while making you the envy of the entire neighborhood!