View Full Version : install wire for landscape lighting.

irrigation lemieux
02-05-2009, 09:11 AM
what is the best way/tools to install wire in ground for landscape lighting.

02-05-2009, 09:45 AM
Most commonly the trenches are hand dug unless you are on a brand new property and you can trench. You are supposed to get your wire 6" deep. Sometimes in rocky soil you have to use a pick axe. In the right soil you can make a slit trench with a sturdy spade or a heavy duty tool that is made just for making slit trenches. I have a couple that Northstar tool makes that JDL ordered for me.

If you have room to, you can rent a mini trencher from EZ trench. It has a disc like a saw instead of a bar and makes a very narrow trench. I rented one lately and we dug 500' of trench 8" deep in about 40 minutes. Big labor saver.

Basically whatever you need to do to get 6 inches. There are lots of contractors that arent getting their wire that deep, but that is the standard.

Hope that helps.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-05-2009, 09:51 AM
Seeing as you are in the irrigation business, you might be able to pull your main circuits in with your irrigation pipe using a vibratory plow. It all depends on the layout of the lighting system, the irrigation system and how adept you are at planning for circuits and voltage drop. That being said, I have never been a fan irrigators who throw some lighting into the job because they have a trench open. Lighting really is it's own distinct specialty.

irrigation lemieux
02-05-2009, 12:52 PM
do you guys install by hand or with a special tool.we do business in the capital region of ottawa ,canada.So landscape lighting is not very popular.we are trying to do more lighting every year.

02-05-2009, 12:54 PM
Most guys I know only install wire by hand..........

02-05-2009, 08:52 PM
I use a bed edger with a narrow trenching blade. It is extremly fast when trenching in wide open areas. In the beds around a house I trench by hand.


irrigation lemieux
02-05-2009, 09:06 PM
the bed hedger is the same thing of the ez trench....

06-28-2009, 04:50 AM
Looking for a MANUAL step edger/trencher...We have used the EZ Trencher Groundsaw in this hard Indiana Clay and it works like a CHAMPION...but for landscape lighting it is WAY TOO OVERKILL, and leaves unsightly 1"-3" lines in the customers yards - unless you use a sod cutter first. I might have my local welder make me something if you guys don't know of a TRULY heavy duty step edger/trencher. I think something in the realm of 12-20 lbs. of tool steel would do the trick. Anyone have any ideas? Talk to you all later... -Chris from Tidal Turf Lawn and Landscape Management

David Gretzmier
06-28-2009, 08:40 AM
We normally use a flat spade. I saw an item at the Louisville expo I want for longer runs that is a small vibratory plow unit with different blades. It can be used as a small sod cutter with a 6 inch cutter, a bed edger that cuts a v notch about 4 inches deep, or a straight plow/puller about 5 inches deep. the v notch would be nice to cut, lift out and replace when laying more than a single wire pull. It's action kind of reminds me of a sewing machine. It was around 2500 bucks, I cannot remember the manufacturor name, but I am certain if you google wire puller or some similar key word you will land on it.

06-28-2009, 09:03 AM
David, Was this the unit you looked at?


I have one of these I might be selling....only used for about 30 minutes.


David Gretzmier
06-28-2009, 06:53 PM
That looks familiar, although I am not positive. I might be interested in buying. why are you selling? not enough use? does it work properly?

06-29-2009, 12:20 AM
We use the Brown bed edgers and I have a blade ordered that will cut a 1/2" by 7" trench. Not the cleanest look but if needed I can always do it by hand like I have always done.

This unit I mentioned is stored around here somewhere...just have to find where I put it.
It is basically a brand new machine and looks it....just don't use it enough to justify keeping it. I have not tried selling it as of yet but probably should.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks

06-29-2009, 09:41 AM
I have a brown trechmaster... 1.5" wide by 7 inch deep. Workhorse when I need it but I think I have needed it 3 times since I have had it. Would sell if the offer came in at the right price. Honda powered and starts first pull.

On the guy looking for a hand trencher... Florida outdoor lighting sells thier brand of it and the cast one in both 8 inch wide and a real wide version. I have the smaller one here but dont recall using it to install lighting. Its really heavy and like David said a good flat spade is your best bet. I take an angle grinder and occasionally sharpen mine up and you would be amazed at how fast you can slit trech wire if you stop wasting time to figure out a faster way and or looking for an excuse. No substitue for plain old fashioned work.

I can usually hand dig in a run or multiple runs faster than we can bring the machine out... get it started... make the mess... tuck the wires in... cover the trench back up and step it back in. Really the olnly time I use it is in wooded areas and or non turf areas such as prewires for new construction before the sod goes down.

06-29-2009, 03:27 PM
Billy, I agree hand edging is the way to go on a nice lawn. Wanna have a race.....I bet this old guy can keep up with ya...:)
So I take it you are not going to use the Brown anymore for any landscaping jobs? Since I still do both the Brown is a hard machine to beat. You are correct about those Honda engines starting on the first pull! Just out of curiousity how much for the Brown?

Stay Cool!


06-29-2009, 05:39 PM
Hand slit trenching is the ONLY way to go in a nice manicured lawn. If I were to bury wire in a lawn and you didnt see me do it you would be hard pressed to find it by the time I blow it off and water it in.

On the brown, with what i would want for it the shipping would probably kill you. I would want 750 or so for it. It has been used maybe a dozen times.

I will race you but it wont be with me. I can still bury with the best of em but my efforts are on the layouts and hookup and adjustments of the systems vs the manual side of burying wire. Besides the guy I got doing it can do it twice as fast as I can

David Gretzmier
07-01-2009, 12:38 AM
I might be interested...PM me.

07-01-2009, 04:01 PM
sent... like I said I am not desperate or in a hurry to get rid of it. I will never complain about having it but I think someone else might get better use out of it than me.