Electricity in the garden Q and A

I wish to mount a number of lights in the garden, some close to the house to illuminate the patio and some at a greater distance to highlight shrubs and trees. Is electricity safe in this context, and can I do the work myself?

Lighting can transform a garden, but this is one of the areas where you will need to enlist professional help. Modern garden lighting systems operate a 12-volt system that works off a transformer. You must get a fully qualified electrician to wire your transformer back to a separate 13-amp fuse in your consumer unit (fuse box). The 12-volt systems are completely sealed and consist of up to six lights, usually on ground spikes, and associated cables. They can be easily positioned and, as the voltage is low, the cable need not be buried. NOTE: Outdoor equipment to operate at mains voltage must be installed by the Electricity Board or a qualified electrician.

I would like to enliven my rather drab garden pool with underwater lights. Is it safe for me to instal them?

Here again there are 12-volt systems that are taken back to the safety of a transformer in the house. The cable is usually laid under the coping around the pool and buried well beneath the mower blades if it crosses a lawn. The lamps can be weighted to sit firmly on the bottom of the pool or mounted in polystyrene so that they float; some even rotate, but these look garish if over-used.

Can you advise me of the best ways to heat my home-made propagator and cold frame?

There are many sophisticated greenhouse systems available that will automate virtually all routine operations. Electrical equipment for these and for the purposes you envisage normally uses mains voltage, so that expert help will be necessary to run power from the house to the greenhouse.

Propagators are usually warmed by cables buried in coarse sand at the bottom of the box, while frames usually have the cables running around the sides above soil level. There are several kits available for both air and soil warming. Make sure that any you buy conform to safety requirements.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.