Entertaining in your backyard can be a fun and rewarding experience. However, ensuring you have the proper electrical wiring to power lights, music, appliances, and more can get expensive. Follow this guide to learn how to wire your backyard properly on a budget.

Research Local Building Codes and Permit Requirements

The first step is understanding your local building codes and permit requirements for outdoor electrical work. Failing to obtain a permit when needed can result in fines or force you to remove unapproved work later.

Map Out Your Electrical Needs

Determining your backyard electrical needs is essential for planning. Consider:

Make a list of all desired electrical items and note their wattages. This determines how much power you'll need.

Choose Appropriate Wire Size

Selecting wire that's too small can cause fires or power loss. Follow NEC guidelines:

An electrician can recommend proper wire size based on your electrical needs.

Decide on New Circuits vs Expanding Existing Ones

Running all new circuits provides dedicated power but costs more in materials. Extending existing circuits from the house is cheaper but risks overloading.

Consult an electrician if your main panel is already near capacity. A subpanel or upgrade may be needed to add circuits.

Install New Wiring Yourself or Hire an Electrician

Improper electrical work can present serious fire and shock hazards, so exercise caution.

Choose Cost Effective Lighting and Equipment

The items you power on new circuits also impact your budget.

Rent or borrow infrequently used items like movie projectors rather than buying.


With proper planning and safe execution, you can wire your backyard for entertaining without busting your budget. Determine your electrical needs, follow local codes, install new circuits and equipment safely and efficiently. An upgraded outdoor space allows you to better enjoy time spent with family and friends.