Backyard Lighting

Outdoor lighting on DIY outdoor fireplace at night
Beautify your DIY outdoor fireplace with lighting.

There are many ways to install backyard lighting in your outdoor space.  In this quick tutorial, we’d like to specifically go over our method of installing low voltage lighting in a outdoor fireplace structure.  We are currently building an amazing DIY outdoor fireplace at my in-law’s house in Marana, Arizona, a suburb of Tucson, and it is turning out beautiful.  To include that “extra something”, we made sure to add a little lighting to the fireplace, so it really shows off the structure at night.  Backyard lighting makes the world of difference when added tastefully.  Just a little goes a long way.

Bring Your Backyard To Life

Even when we aren’t enjoying the warmth of a fire, we want to be able to look out the window into the backyard and see the fireplace, and the lighting will really make that happen.  The backyard lighting also gives off enough ambient light, so the backyard isn’t completely dark.  We want to be able to go outside and walk around the backyard at night without having to turn on all the exterior patio lights.

Lowes? Yep…They’re Everywhere

Here at Backyard Flare, we love to shop at Lowes Home Improvement because they have so much variety in their departments.   Follow them on Instagram at @loweshomeimprovement for great pics and design ideas.  For the lighting on our structure, we ventured to the outdoor lighting aisle and we picked up a Hampton Bay 150W transformer, a 100-foot spool of low voltage lighting cord, and six Hampton Bay LED lights.  The total was about $125, but you’ll see that it was worth every penny.

Backyard Lighting Installation

So, let’s get into the installation method.  To understand low voltage lighting, it is important to know that it’s like powering a light bulb with a battery.  A transformer will plug into a wall outlet, but the alternating current from the outlet will be converted in the transformer to direct current, like a battery.  The 100-foot power cord is attached to the back of the transformer like you would attach speaker cord to a receiver, only a screw driver is used after the ends of the wires are stripped. 

We routed the cord to the structure, and it entered on the back-left side.  We ran it through the structure, cutting grooves into the tops of the cinder blocks for channels where necessary.  The cord ran everywhere we wanted lights, and then it exited the back-right side of the fireplace.

Light Positioning

Low voltage lighting cord in a DIY outdoor fireplace. LED lighting and cinder block
Run the power cord through the structure by cutting grooves into the block.

Once we figured out exactly where we wanted the lights, we used a 3/8” masonry drill bit and drilled holes big enough to pass the LED light connector through the block.  Inside the block, the lights’ push pin connectors were attached to the power cord and… we had light.  The lights were attached to the front of the structure using wall anchors in the block.  To install the wall anchors, we drilled more holes using a ¼” masonry drill bit.  It’s just like adding them to drywall, but with a little bit more dust. 

We made sure to add a light on the inside of each storage void too so the voids would be back-lit.  It added a lot of appeal to the look of the structure and sure made a huge impact at night.  The addition of light to an outdoor fireplace or kitchen is super simple and we know that you can do it.  We sure hope this helped you out and that it eased your hesitation to add lighting to your structure or backyard.  If you’re interested in building your own DIY outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen, visit us at Backyard Flare for the best and most comprehensive outdoor construction plans on the market. 

Show Us What Your Lighting

We would love to see some of your outdoor lighting.  Please send pics of your projects to dan@backyardflare.com.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you learned something here.  Until next time, have fun on your outdoor projects and happy building.

Dan Heston
Backyard Flare, LLC
Tucson, Arizona
www.backyardflare.com
www.diyoutdoorfireplaces.com
520-269-9740

3 Ways to Improve Your Backyard

Check Out Your Backyard

Okay, so the weather is improving right?  Well, at least in a lot of areas it is.  It will be time for some outdoor attention at your house.  Your backyard and even your front yard will be begging for some kindness, and there are a few things you can do to make it look fantastic.  Here are three things you can do to add appeal to your outdoor space.

Let’s Get Busy

  1. Clean up the clutter and dirt. I can’t stress this enough.  Clutter and stuff laying around makes a space look messy.  Whether the clutter is toys, yard tools, or just a pile of pool towels, picking it up and putting it away will make a huge impact.  That’s where I always start.  I address the easy stuff first.  Now you’ll be able to address the horizontal surfaces of the backyard, the patio, a table top, etc.  Get a wet rag and wipe off.  Step one finished. 
  2. Trim your bushes and trees.  I have a palm tree and a lemon tree in the back corners of my backyard.  At times, the palm tree will have one or two hanging down and they will be starting to dry and turn brown.  These low hanging nuisances are easily trimmed with a pole saw and it changes the look drastically.  This palm stands like royalty behind my swimming pool waterfall, so when it looks trimmed and tidy, it makes a huge difference.  The lemon tree blooms constantly here in Arizona, so we have to cut off branches that almost touch the ground under the weight of the fruit.  We pick the lemons and then trim some of these low hanging branches, transforming the underside of the tree.  Step two finished. 
  3. Pick your weeds.  Here in Arizona and in many areas in the southwest, we have rocks in our backyards.  I guess you can say we don’t really have yards as most would define them…grass.  When the rainy season arrives, I swear my neighbor throws handfuls of weed seeds over the wall, while snickering like the Grinch.  Then he waits until the weeds grow and laughs as I address the problem.  By picking weeds, I get back to the clean and organized look of a rocked backyard space.  It’s amazing how much better it looks.  Step three finished.

Now Get Started

By doing these three simple things, I get my backyard to a clean, organized, and welcoming oasis, worthy of a party.  The beauty is that it doesn’t cost me anything other than a bit of sweat equity to transform my backyard.  Perform this three-step ritual a few times a year and your backyard will continue to impress all who venture there.

By doing these three simple things, I get my backyard to a clean, organized, and welcoming oasis, worthy of a party.  The beauty is that it doesn’t cost me anything other than a bit of sweat equity to transform my backyard.  Perform this three-step ritual a few times a year and your backyard will continue to impress all who venture there.

Hopefully You’re Inspired

We hope you will use these quick and easy steps to work on your outdoor backyard presence.  Send us before and after pictures of your outdoor space, cluttered and then clean.  We would love to share in a separate blog post how our readers are making their backyards an extension of their home lives.  Send pics and your story to dan@backyardflare.com and thanks for reading and we hope to hear from you.

Dan Heston
Backyard Flare, LLC

DIY Outdoor Fireplace Update – Tucson

Our DIY Fireplace Customers Rock!

Backyard Flare DIY fireplace customers are everywhere.  We don’t just cater to the Tucson, Arizona area for our customer base.  Our amazing customers are in warm, cool, and even frigid areas.    In fact, they are all over the country and even abroad.

Cold is Upon Us

But, the cold weather is here and the country in a lot of places is already under a blanket of white.  Oh my gosh, and it’s only just November, so there are a few months of cold left.  Because of the weather, a good portion of the U.S. is unable to build in their backyards.  There is no possibility of digging into the frozen rock-hard ground for the concrete slab foundation.  There is no way to add water to mortar to lay blocks because it would be so unbearable to work with icy hands in that environment.  You get the point.  Some of you will have to wait, sorry.

It is great that we have a customer right down the street from Backyard Flare headquarters.  Rob in Tucson found Backyard Flare online and contacted us for help building his outdoor DIY fireplace.  When Rob realized we were right down the street, he asked for design help.  I spoke with Rob and he introduced me to his backyard.  He wanted a corner fireplace with gas and together we brainstormed some cool outdoor fireplace layouts.  Rob decided to use the Douglas Mini design and morph it a bit to match his and his wife’s vision.

And the Process BEGAN

diy outdoor fireplace douglas mini propane gas lighting cinderblock fire mountain arizona
Rob’s DIY fireplace is visible from the driveway.

Rob started with his DIY fireplace and he had a lot of questions.  All in all, he has done a fantastic job and I have visited his work site a few times to check in with him.  As a husband, father of two small tykes, and a professional from Monday through Friday, Rob doesn’t have a lot of time during the week to work.  He has spent the weekends building and has rocked the progress.  It has taken him a couple months, but he can see that completion is close.

DIY Rob is Doing Great

diy outdoor fireplace douglas mini propane gas lighting cinderblock fire mountain arizona
Dusk has arrived and the fireplace is lit.

I went to see Rob’s DIY fireplace the other day again and it looks great.  Rob is ready for firebrick, horizontal material, and his veneer.  At that point he will be done.  We hope you love it as much as we do with the gas setup, arched firebox, and the LED lighting he added.  He told us he has never built with mortar and was skeptical as to his abilities, but he was happy he did it.  He learned a lot and he realized that he was a lot more capable than he thought, especially with his construction plan from Backyard Flare.

diy outdoor fireplace douglas mini propane gas lighting cinderblock fire mountain arizona
The DIY fireplace is burning bright. The LED lighting is on adding that special look.

We will continue to bring you photos of his progress and we will definitely feature Rob and his finished fireplace in an upcoming blog post.  If you think you are ready to step into a DIY outdoor fireplace build, like Rob, and are ready to transform your backyard, visit Backyard Flare and we can help.  We know that you can do it, and, just like Rob, you just need a DIY construction plan to follow.

We Are Here For You Too

If you have any questions about anything, please let me know.  I am always excited to hear from a fellow DIYer, or someone wanting to learn more about how to beautify their backyard space with a DIY fireplace.  I can be reached at dan@backyardflare.com and as I always say, “Happy Building”.

Dan