Sleeves Make Landscape Lighting a Lot Easier

Examples of 1.5-, 2.0-, 4-inch diameter sleeves

Many homeowners this time of year are contemplating or even starting home improvement and landscaping projects, including new walkways, patios or driveways. With any type of hardscaping project, please make sure that sleeves are installed beneath any new concrete or brick pavers so that irrigation pipes/control wiring, lighting wiring, and speaker/sound system wiring can be installed at any time after the new hardscaping surfaces have been completed. Above you can see examples of the typical sleeve diameters used for most residential installations.

So what are sleeves exactly? They are heavy-duty polyvinyl chloride (PVC) conduits through which sprinkler irrigation and other wiring can be easily run whenever that phase of the project is ready to begin. Typically, hardscaping contractors will indicate the positioning of the sleeve(s) by a “vee”-shaped notch in the edge of a sidewalk or driveway for example. This saves a lot of work searching for sleeves as well as a lot of unnecessary disruption to the surrounding landscaping.

Since sleeves are relatively inexpensive compared to the increased time and labor cost of boring under a wide driveway, for example, my recommendation is to always install more sleeves than you think you’ll ever need. The other rule of thumb is not to use the same sleeve for both electrical wiring and irrigation pipes, for obvious reasons.

In fact today our crew was doing a lighting installation at a community entrance where the sleeve under the street has become a major headache. The original landscaper installed only one 4-inch diameter sleeve under the street – and then proceeded to run both the 2.5-inch irrigation pipe and all of the irrigation control wires through that same sleeve. Of course, the water and the electrical wiring should have been in separate sleeves. If that had been the case, our low voltage wiring could have easily been pulled through the wiring sleeve. As it is now, we’ll have to investigate other options including directional boring at $18 to $20/foot.

Community developers should also plan on providing line voltage power either behind entrance monuments or nearby to facilitate the installation of irrigation controllers, outdoor landscape lighting systems, and holiday lighting.

So the next time you’re planning an outdoor project, please do not forget the sleeves!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: