In this DIY project tutorial I’ll walk you through how to install a post lamp to add some character and some light around your home. I installed these beautiful Charleston Lights from Dolan Designs in my recent backyard overhaul project and love the look they add to the space. Depending on if you’re working with an existing post or starting from scratch, this project can either be very simple or a little challenging so follow along and I’ll show you how I added them into my project.
Disclosure: This post contains an unpaid product integration from Lamps Expo. All views and opinions expressed herein are my own.
Tools Used in this Project:
- Klein Tools Wire Fish Tape
- HDX Screwdriver
- 1/4″ Masonry Drill Bit
- Milwaukee M18 Fuel Cordless Drill
- Wire Strippers
- Wire Nuts
The above links are affiliate links for use on this page. For more information on affiliate links and how they help support my content, visit my disclosure page.
Building the Columns
With the re-design of the backyard, I knew I wanted to have lamp posts around the new upper area. Once the retaining walls were in place, I added brick columns every 8′ around the perimeter.
I had a mason friend of mine build the columns and when he built them, I picked up some 3/4″ PVC electrical conduit and asked him to install it into each column so that I could wire up the lighting later.
On the post nearest the deck area of the house I had him add a switch box so that I could add an outdoor light switch to control the post lamps.
Running Electrical and a Switch
If you’re not comfortable working with electricity I recommend that you contact an electrician to install the wiring for the lamps. If you are wanting to add a post lamp to an existing post that doesn’t have conduit built in, you may have to add electrical conduit on the face of the post to power the lamp OR you could explore some solar or battery powered lamps as another option.
In my case, once the columns were built and the conduit installed, I pulled the necessary wiring through the conduit for the 7 columns using a wire fish tape. I used 12 gauge wiring with a hot wire, neutral wire, and ground wire and pulled enough wiring to leave about 6″ exposed at the top of each post.
I connected a light switch into the switch box to control the lights, and added a weatherproof, exterior cover on top.
CAUTION: Before you connect the wiring to any live breaker, be sure to turn off the power at your breaker panel and use a voltage tester to confirm that the power is off. Be advised that you will likely need to run conduit underground or otherwise to connect your lighting to a circuit breaker. Again, check with an electrician if you’re not sure of the steps.
Mounting the Post Lamps
With the power off to the breaker for the lamps, I could now mount and wire the post lamps. To mount the post lamps to the brick columns, I used a pier mount base (sold separately) and mounted it to the brick column by laying out the location and pre-drilling the 4 corners in the mounting locations in the brick with a masonry drill bit.
Next I inserted the plastic expanding anchors that come with the pier mount, and secured the base to the column with the accompanying screws.
Once the base was installed, I could wire up the lamps. Using a pair of wire strippers, I stripped back about a 1/4″ of wire on each of the hot, neutral, and ground wires, and connected the wires to their corresponding colors on the post lamp itself with the included wire nuts.
Next I tucked the excess wiring inside the pier mount base, and placed the lamp onto the base. After aligning the lamps in the direction I chose, I fastened the lamp to the base with the screws in the base. Be careful not to overtighten as you risk cracking the base. If you choose to, you can cut the screws shorter using a hacksaw.
To finish off the lamps, I chose to add these vintage Edison style LED 2300k light bulbs and I think they give the lamps a very elegant look while putting off a nice, warm light that isn’t too harsh.
I couldn’t be happier with the finished product of this renovation. It’s so nice to finally have an area that we can enjoy in the backyard and nice to finally have a little area of grass for my son to play in. I’d like to say thank you to Lamps Expo for providing the post lamps I installed in this project and if you’re in the market for some post lamps of your own, I encourage you to check them out.
If you liked this project, here are a few other outdoor projects you may enjoy.