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Pushing stakes into the ground

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Alan B, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. Alan B

    Alan B Sponsor
    Male, from tampa, fl
    Messages: 446

    Such a simple thing but I think there is much to be learned from the pro's.

    If you can push it into the ground with the fixture attached it is likely too loose of an support (soft soil or too small of a stake).

    I heard a good suggestion last week from a customer who uses a brass stake attached to a metal pole. He hammers that into the ground and pulls it out -- a sort of stake jig that pre-opens the stake hole in the ground.

    What's been your method for getting fixtures into the ground?
  2. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Starting last year. All pathlights that are over 12"s go in concrete. Hate seeing those things tilt over after the first nj winter
  3. Alan B

    Alan B Sponsor
    Male, from tampa, fl
    Messages: 446

    That's one way to do it solid! That is a lot of work but if it works I salute you for solving something you saw that could be improved. In the winters to prevent the frost heaving , even with concrete, does that mean you have to cement all the way below the frost line? The only reason I ask is if fixture is cemented in and THEN it tilts, it might be hard to correct. Thanks for sharing.

    Another contractor told me he uses an auger bit on a cordless drill. I've heard some just push the stake in with the fixture on it (only works in soft soil or with small ineffective stakes though). Some pre-dig hole with a hand spade (it loosens up the soil though and can be a pain in 30-100 fixture installs). Focus makes a product that enables you to hammer a stake into the ground with the fixture attached to the stake. Good idea but its kind of a big heavy jig.
  4. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    A piece of 3/4 pvc with an angle cut onto it. Pound it in with a sledge and the post only needs a little force to get it in. I use the pvc so incase there is a pipe, it will hopefully bounce off of it. In some cases I will use a 3/4 bit in a battery drill. Only if the ground is REAL solid and there is no worry of irrigation there. The PVC eventually fills up with the cores and becomes a pretty solid tool.
  5. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    I dont understand why you would need or want to open up any type of space or hole and then install a ground stake. ?? It seems counter productive to me. The whole idea is to get your ground stake in the ground as firmly as possible. I have worked in some pretty tough conditions and never had to pre-drill a hole for the stake. Use a BIG rubber mallet, one with a 3lb head on it and a nice long handle. Place your stake and start the pounding. It might take you 4 - 5 minutes at most, maybe a 100 impacts at most (usually much less) but it does work. The harder it is, the firmer the ground, the better in my opinion.

    1: Use quality products... cast brass / bronze spikes are preferred. If you have to use plastic stakes put some more pressure on your manufacturers to improve the quality of their stakes. Vista makes the best composite stake that I have found. I refuse to use those generic plastic stakes that are becoming more and more common.

    2: Build your own stakes. We do this quite a lot as our soil depths are not consistent and we have to come up with all sorts of novel approaches to mounting fixtures in the ground. The value approach = Use 1.5" PVC pipe, 1.5" ABS coupler, 1.5" to 1/2" NPT DW Adaptor. Use PVC/ABS Primer on all connections and Make sure you use the right cement too. There is a special PVC/ABS transition cement. Drill a 3/8" hole in the side of the PVC below the coupler for the fixture lead wire. Now you have a field cuttable stake that will be secure and last longer than you. The premium approach = Do the same thing only use 1.5" Copper "L" pipe and appropriate connectors, all soldered together on site. (you can generally buy a pre-fab brass or bronze stake for less than these cost BUT you loose the field adjust-ability of building your own to suit)

    Keep 'em straight!

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