DIY - How to Install Lighting On Your Retaining Wall

After investing your hard-earned money on upgrading your property with landscaping and hardscaping, you want to get the most bang out of your buck. One way you can achieve that is by making your beautiful surroundings visible 24 hours a day! By investing in lighting, your landscape will come alive at night, creating a magical atmosphere. Let's show you how you'd go about installing lighting on a retaining wall:

Step 1: Getting prepped

The last thing you want to do is take unnecessary trips to Home Depot or Lowes, when you find out you're missing some essential tools or supplies. Therefore, before you begin the project make sure you have everything that you need. We recommend the following tools (this doesn't include whatever lighting unit you want to install:

  1. a tape measure
  2. a pencil
  3. a Philips head screwdriver
  4. a masonry chisel
  5. a masonry hammer
  6. 4-5 inch angle grinder with diamond tip blade
  7. a hammer drill with a 1/4 inch masonry drill bit
  8. a caulking gun & a tube of adhesive

Step 2: Taking measurements

You've got all your tools, and now it's time to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, (at least somewhat). Start off by measuring and marking the location of each light you want to install. Give yourself 6 feet or more between each light, but that is entirely up to you. After you've noted all the spots where you want to install a light, take your masonry chisel and break the adhesive between each capstone block.

Step 3 - Grinding it out

Remove the capstone block, and set your light fixture in the cavity which has been created by removing the capstone. With a pencil, mark a line from the central point of the fixture back to the dirt behind the retaining wall. This is where you will score a line for your lighting's electrical wire. If the lighting fixture has parts that prevent the capstone from sitting evenly on the top, mark those areas. After you have marked the position for the light, take the angle grinder and grind out slots to place the fixture in.

Step 4 - Anchor the light

You have two options: 1) using your hammer drill and masonry anchors, you can drill in and anchor the light to the top of the wall, or 2) you can use some adhesive and glue the light fixture to the capstone. Option 1 requires more effort but is more secure, while option 2 is faster but less secure.

Step 5 - Repeat

After you have secured the light fixture with option 1 or 2, make sure it is properly wired, and ready to connect with the rest of your light fixtures in the wall. Make sure you test the light to ensure that it works before putting back the capstone. After you have repeated these steps on all lights, and tested that they work, put some adhesive on the bottom of the cap stone and place it back into the wall, once placed, ensure it is secured by hitting it a few times with a mallet.
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