how deep do you bury landscape lighting?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Trenchblade, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. Trenchblade

    Trenchblade LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 317

    Just looking for some info on how deep to bury low voltage lighting?
  2. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    No less than 6in. for main lines/home runs is what I believe the NEC says. It is different for different areas in the landscape such as running under hardscape has a different rule I believe. What we do for our fixture leads (not home runs) is we leave them just a few inches down and explain to the homeowners that if they do any replanting in the area it is real easy for them to trace the wire up back tot he HUB and move the lights aside if need be. Reason is that a shovel will go through wire at 6in just like it will at 2in so at least they can move the wire out of their way. Try and always keep your wires along an edge if you can, good practice and then you can explain that to them as well. Obviously when going through lawn areas, especially those that are aerated you must go deeper as to prevent damage.
  3. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Well, I try not to bury my low voltage lighting at all! Doing so would seriously limit its ability to light anything up. :)

    I do however bury the associated wire and connectors. I operate in a rather rugged environment here with lots of roots and rocks so trenching wire in is a real pain. Here our rule is 6" deep unless the conditions do not allow for it. In some cases we have to thread the cable under the tree roots and across the forest floor and then use staple to pin it all down, raking mulch over top. Abrasion protection is a very real concern here too, necessitating the use of poly pipe as a conduit in some places.

    Have a great day.
  4. Trenchblade

    Trenchblade LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 317

    thanks for the input. I have a product that I am thinking of getting behind. It works real good for trenching bed lines, but they are also thnking of marketing it tward low voltage lighting and invisible dog fence wiring and i am looking to see it it may be something lighting pros might use also. You can see some info about the product at
  5. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    That thing would not last 2 mins here.

    There are many other more effective mechanical devices developed for trenching wire into the ground. EZtrencher comes to mind, as well as proper vibratory plows by Ditchwitch, Vermeer, etc.

    After you buzz along with that toy, where are you going to find all the soils with which to in-fill your trench? It seems that thing spreads the soil far and wide with its out of control RPMs.

  6. klkanders

    klkanders LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 849

    I agree with James. High RPM's = danger! That product is better suited for homeowner use as it doesnt look like it will dig much lower then the sod depth. If it came into contact with a rock tho.....lookout! We had a guy using a trimmer with a brush cutter on a few years back that caught a rock half submerged in the ground. A piece of the blade broke off and caught him in the neck! Nasty wound but it could have been much worse.
    A shovel works best for me. If I have to go long distances I would use our Brown bed edger with a narrow blade. It sets the soil right next to the trench.
  7. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    I would have to say, no thanks. I can just see my guys getting ripped up by shrapnel now.
  8. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    When I asked my JDL rep for trenching tools he had for lv cable, he said, "Why bother? Just cover it with mulch."

    So, there ya go!
  9. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    thats why he is a desk jockey and not a reputable contractor. He couldnt hack it.

    There has been a handful of times I have been asked to leave the wire under the 3 inches of mulch especially in seasonal planting areas. I usually preffer to bury it as deep as possible and contain it in conduit in these areas.
  10. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    I tell the customer if they are going to plant near the fixtures, to just remove the stake and slack wire and put it to the side. Code is 6 inches, but I believe we can include the mulch in that depth. I just use my shorter ruler and I'm set, lol.

    I'm getting better at planning for some conduit and allowing for longer winding runs if necessary to steer my home runs out of planting beds.

    The Unique rep in FL showed us a simple technique for retrofitting conduit; after you cut the pvc to the length you need, make a horizontal slot along the whole piece. Pop in the wire, and there you go.

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