How to Safely Bury Electrical Wires for Outdoor Lighting

How to Safely Bury Electrical Wires for Outdoor Lighting

Installing outdoor lighting can enhance the beauty and security of your home. However, improperly buried electrical wires can be hazardous. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to safely bury electrical wires for outdoor lighting projects.

Choosing the Right Wire

When burying electrical wires, you need to use wire that is rated for underground use. The most common options are:

For most small outdoor lighting projects, I recommend using 12-gauge or 14-gauge direct burial cable. This provides sufficient capacity for multiple lighting fixtures.

Digging the Trench

Once you have the correct cable, the next step is to dig a trench to bury the wires. Here are some tips:

Running and Burying the Cable

Once your trench is prepped, it's time to install the wiring:

Finishing Touches

To complete the project:

By following these safe burial techniques, your underground wiring will be secure for many years of reliable service. Take it slow and be cautious when digging, running, and burying the cable.


How deep should I bury the electrical wire?

12-18 inches deep is the recommended depth. This prevents damage from lawn tools or other activity on the surface.

Can I bury Romex or standard electrical wire?

No, you should only use wire rated for direct underground use like UF cable or direct burial cable. Other types will fail when wet.

What kind of connectors should I use?

Use watertight connectors approved for underground connections, like DirectburialWirenuts or DryConn Direct Bury Connectors. Wrap with electrical tape for extra protection.

How can I run wire under a sidewalk or driveway?

Use Schedule 40 PVC conduit to protect the wire when passing under any hardscape.

Should I bury the wire in a conduit?

In grassy areas, conduit is not necessary if you bury the cable at the proper depth. But conduit provides an extra layer of protection.