Today we’re adding a lighted house number post and placing it out near the street for visibility. Having an easily seen house number not only helps guests and delivery drivers—especially as the dark, foggy months arrive and the holiday parties kick off—but it’s recommended for year-round safety by police and fire departments, too.
Even though we’re not installing our lights anywhere near a deck, we chose AZEK deck lighting products for this. It’s a fun, alternative use of the railing and lighting products AZEK offers. We also added some down lights to a planter bed for a little extra glow. Altogether, we’re installing five 2-watt LED lights. Off we go!
Step 1: Sketch Out an Outdoor Lighting Plan
Start by sketching out your lighting plan. In addition to an outside outlet to plug into, you’ll need a transformer, main wire, and lighting fixtures. Since we wanted to put house numbers on a post, we needed the post too. Consider the details that make the most sense for your home, then plan and purchase as necessary.
Step 2: Add a Collar
Be sure to slip the base collar of the post over the post before mounting the accent light.
Step 3: Mount Accent Light to Post
We started at the far end of the stretch of lighting with our house number post and used a 3" post from AZEK’s Impression Railing—we chose a 37" height. Our house number plaque will be lit with an accent light, so we drilled holes in the post for the accent light using the light’s backing plate as a template. Feed the wires for the light through the large hole and out the top of the post for now and screw the lamp into place.
Step 4: Hook Up Accent Light to Main Wire
Feed the end of the main wire through the hole in the bottom of the post and out through the top. Strip wires as necessary and connect the lamp to the main wire using wire nuts. Now, gently pull the wires down inside the post and tap the post cap into place with a rubber mallet.
Step 5: Lay Main Wire
Next, lay out the main wire along the path where it will be buried. From the location of our post, we ran the wire back to where our electrical source will be. Be sure to leave slack in the line—this will give you flexibility for easier burying, corners you may need to turn, and more.
Step 6: Mount Post
Normally, this type of rail post through-bolts into the framing of a deck, but our alternate use of the post has it anchoring into a tree stump. We used long construction lags and leveled the post using snap-off shims.
Step 7: Mount Number Plate
Our enamel house number plate came from Ramsign and easily mounted to our post with the 3M adhesive tape that comes with it. Just peel away the backing and press it into place.
Step 8: Route Out the Bottom of the Cap Rail
Next, we're installing four small accent lights and tucking them under the overhang of the cap rail (the top horizontal board) of our planter bed. To do this, mark the spot where you’re going to mount the lights and measure how far the cap rail overhangs the planter. Remove the cap rail and cut a groove for the wires to pass through. If you have a carpentry router you can use that. We didn’t have a carpentry router handy and weren't worried about ours looking pretty, so we created a groove by drilling a series of shallow holes with a drill and a large drill bit. Since we’re working on the bottom side of the cap rail (which will never show) our routing didn't have to be anywhere near perfect.
Note: Our cap rail is treated lumber. The most common type of treated lumber in the Pacific Northwest requires any cuts, grooves or holes to be treated with a paint-on liquid preservative to maintain the integrity of the treatment. Our planter is made of ProWood, a different kind of treated lumber that is treated all the way through the lumber, so grooving it out doesn’t compromise the product. Also note that we didn’t groove out the whole width of the cap rail—only from where the light will mount back to where the main wire will connect.
Step 9: Mount Rail Lights
Using the cap rail overhang measurement, mount the under-rail lights so they’re close to the planter wall.
Step 10: Re-Attach Cap Rail
With the under-rail light mounted, carefully run its wires back through the groove you made in the cap rail toward the inside of the planter.
Step 11: Daisy-Chain Lights to Main Wire
“Daisy-chain” refers to the way our lights are wired in sequence to the main wire. In simple terms, it’s wiring a row of lights that receive their power from a main wire. To daisy-chain your lights, first cut the main wire adjacent to the under-rail light. Split the wire a couple inches and strip the ends 5/8”. Now you have three cut ends: the far end of the main wire, the near end of the main wire, and the light.
When you daisy-chain, you essentially reconnect the main wire but add in the wire from the light at the same splice. So, half of each of the three wires will be connected with a wire nut, and the second halves of each of those three cut ends will connect with another wire nut.
Step 12: Mount Transformer
The AZEK transformer mounts easily to a vertical surface. There’s a keyhole slot on the back, so all you need is one secure screw to hang it on. Mount it at least 12” off the ground. Keep in mind there’s a photo-cell built into it that will turn on the lights when it senses darkness.
Step 13: Attach Main Wire to Transformer
Next, strip the ends of the main wire and attach them to the screw terminals on the transformer.
Step 14: Test Your Lights
Plug in your transformer and turn the control knob to “on” to test lights. Troubleshoot if necessary.
Step 15: Hide Wiring
Unplug your transformer and hide the low voltage wires. For us, this was a combination of burying and tucking wire under the back edge of our planter. We used a few nail-in cable clips to help keep the wires out of the way.
Step 16: Program Your Transformer
Finally, program your transformer. A transformer is easy to program; just plug it in and set the dial for “dusk to dawn” or set it to stay on for a number of hours after dusk. After that, the transformer and built-in photo cell will take over the job of turning things off and on.
Now, you have a well-lit, inviting home to greet each and every one of your visitors this season.