Set the mood: prepare your outdoor space with sound and lighting

A little dramatic lighting. A bit of music. It doesn't take much to create the right atmosphere for an outdoor party. But before you get ahead of yourself, make sure your outdoor space is prepped for sound and lighting equipment. In the long run, it will make the party better.

Set the mood: prepare your outdoor space with sound and lighting

Protect electrical lines

  • It's very easy to forget where you've buried an outdoor electrical line, only to rediscover it with a spade or tiller.
  • When installing outdoor lines, use UF (underground feeder) cable and bury it to a depth of 30 centimetres (12 inches).
  • Check the electrical regulations in your area to see if they can be shallower, which may be the case if you run them through rigid plastic conduit or coated rigid metal conduit.
  • For directly buried cable, leave expansion loops where it exits and enters the conduit. Should the earth move, the cable will have some slack to move with it.
  • Paint any plastic conduit that's exposed to the sunlight to keep it from degrading due to exposure.

Protect outdoor receptacles

  • Check to be sure the hinge and gaskets that protect outdoor receptacles are functioning properly.
  • If not, cover with a sturdy plastic food bag and secure with twine or a hefty rubber band until you can repair or replace the cover.
  • You can also use a plastic bag to protect the plug and receptacle when leaving ornamental lights plugged in for a while, especially in snowy climes.
  • Run the cord through the bag opening, and secure the bag over the plug and receptacle with twine.

Renew outdoor lampposts

  • If your outdoor lamppost or porch light is rusted, you can extend its life in an hour or two.
  • Turn off the power to the light at the service panel by flipping off the circuit breaker or removing the fuse. Remove the rust with steel wool or a wire brush.
  • Then apply a rust inhibitor to any bare metal surfaces.
  • Finally, brush on two coats of a rust-resisting enamel paint. Replace any broken glass panels to prevent further damage.
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