Hey guys! If you had to rank your backyard as a danger-zone on a scale from 1-10 (1 being a happy valley and 10 being an active volcano) where would it fall? Turns out our backyard was not only ugly, but it was also a solid 7 on the danger scale. Ack!

We had an ESA inspection when we moved in that flagged the backyard electrical as a point of concern. The electrician that came to fix the issue (on the seller’s dime) added the black wire cover (to the right of the door below) but reassured us that, “Thankfully, the wire to the shed is properly run.”

Turns out, he was lying. Turns out, the wire was unprotected and sitting JUST under the grass — like 1/2 inch under the surface right along the edge of the patio. Handy illustration:
danger

This is a problem because: electrocution. We garden a lot, with sharp shovels. We also use an edge trimmer along that patio, weekly. It’s amazing that we never hit that live wire.

What began in May as a patio demo project quickly became an exterior rewiring project. The joys of old home ownership! After pulling up a few patio stones and exposing the start of the wire, I literally just walked to the shed lightly lifting the wire out from under the grass. This was the easy and also shocking, no pun intended, part of the project.

Getting the wire back into the ground was the hard part. Queue the digging…

trench view

We dug a 1.5-2′ deep trench from the house to the tree, and then from the tree to the shed. It started relatively easy, but once we got within 6 feet of the tree: hello roots! This part of the dig involved a lot of hand trowel.

roots

Next we dry fit plastic tubing — the wire runs inside of this for protection from roots, weather, moisture, sharp tools, etc.

Feeding the wire through the tubing turned out to be much more frustrating than expected. I’m glad we didn’t jump the gun and glue anything before getting the wire pushed through and connected.

Since we were starting from scratch, we opted to add an outlet on our maple tree and to start the wire from the existing exterior outlet (on the left side of the back door) rather than rerunning it along the right side of the door, simply to clean-up the overall look.

burried

Reconnecting the wire was straight forward. We bought new outlets and boxes approved for outdoor use. Look at this handy guy:

wiring

After everything was connected, we tested the power (everything worked!), and got to gluing the plastic connections and affixing the exposed portions to the tree and house (for support).

house plug

All of that dirt was then shovelled back into place, and topped with grass seed. Thankfully, this was first thing in the Spring, so we had plenty of time to get the lawn into shape.

filled

So… a few weeks in and we are super happy that we tackled this update. The tree plug allowed us to pick up some great patio lights (Homesense), which have been a big hit:

summer

Sigh…

ohia

How’s your summer been going? Any patio lights lighting up your life?

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