How to Install Malibu Landscape Lighting

Illuminate your garden by installing Malibu landscape lighting.
Relatively safe to install, Malibu lights operate on a 12-volt, low-voltage power source supplied by a step-down transformer, transforming the 120 volts your home operates on down to the 12-volt system. Use many different types of Malibu fixtures to highlight your garden, such as uplights, floodlights, accent lights and path lights. Landscape lighting can draw attention to your favorite plants or simply highlight the path through the garden.

Step 1

Assemble your Malibu landscape lighting fixtures. Pull the plastic tier shade up from the bottom of the light shade until it snaps into position at the center of the light shade. Insert the low-voltage wedge-based bulb in the fixture socket.

Step 2

Twist the top of the fixture onto the light shade until it locks in place. Push the stake onto the bottom of the fixture and confirm that the low-voltage leads hang along the side of the stake. Other Malibu light fixtures can assemble differently. Metal fixtures have stakes that screw to the bottom of the fixture and, if the style calls for this, the tops of the fixtures are held to the body of the fixture with screws.

Step 3

Position your Malibu landscape lights in and around your garden, along the walking path or next to your driveway. You can change the location of your Malibu lights after you install them because of the minimal wattage feeding the fixtures.

Step 4

Mount your Malibu low-voltage transformer to the wall next to a grounded outlet. Choose a location within 10 feet of your first Malibu light fixture. Hang your Malibu transformer on an exterior wall using a wood or masonry screw.

Step 5

Lay out your low-voltage cable beginning at the transformer location. You must place the cable next to each fixture, so the low-voltage leads can reach the cable.

Step 6

Dig a trench between 1/2-inch and 1 inch deep with a trenching shovel or hoe next to the low-voltage cable. Place your low-voltage cable in the trench.

Step 7

Connect each Malibu fixture to the low-voltage cable. Each fixture has two leads; one lead has a gray connector, and the other lead has a black connector. Place the two leads over opposite sides of the cable and firmly push them together. Each connector has a small, sharp piece of copper that pierces the insulation to come in contact with the copper conductor inside.

Step 8

Cover the low-voltage cable with the dirt you remove from the trench. You can cover the cable with mulch rather than dirt if you choose. Only 12 volts of electricity runs through the cable, so you do not have to protect the cable from moisture.

Step 9

Strip about 1/2- to 3/4-inch of insulation from the end of the low-voltage cable closest to the transformer using a wire stripper. The low-voltage cable consists of two separate wires encased in insulation and held together by a thin membrane between the two wires. Use your thumb and forefinger to twist the strands of exposed copper wires together from each individual cable wire.

Step 10

Wrap one of the wires from the low-voltage cable around one of the terminal screws on the back of the transformer. Wrap the remaining wire from the low-voltage cable around the remaining terminal screw on the back of the Malibu transformer. Tighten the terminal screws to hold the low-voltage wires to the transformer.

Step 11

Plug the Malibu low-voltage transformer into the grounded outlet. Hang the transformer from the mounting screw on the wall. Set the timer on the Malibu transformer by placing a red tripper over the hour you want your lights to turn on, and the black tripper over the hour you want your lights to turn off. The Malibu transformer is supplied with a second set of trippers should you want your lights to turn on and off a second time during the day.

Step 12

Set the time on your transformer by rotating the center dial twice and stopping on the current time. Your Malibu landscape lighting will now turn on and off at your chosen times.

Things You Will Need

  • Phillips or slotted screwdriver
  • Wood or masonry screw
  • Trenching shovel or hoe
  • Wire stripper

About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.