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Think Twice Before You Slice – Avoid Wires When Installing Outdoor Projects

fall homeThis is a friendly fall reminder for any outdoor project warriors. Fall is the perfect time to start outdoor projects. The cooler temperatures mean you won’t be a sweaty mess when you’re done. It’s a popular time to install patios, fire pits, retaining walls, decks, fountains, garden sheds and more. At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we stay pretty busy in the autumn months because, this time of year, many of our customers have us create and install outdoor lighting plans to make their homes look great at night.

If you’re planning any of the aforementioned projects, just remember one thing –locate your electrical and lighting wires before you do any digging! It sounds simple, but so many people forget and end up with a sliced wire and no lights or electric to the source.

Related Reads: Want to see why professionals call this the number one fall landscaping project? Read here about how this remodel can earn you 50% ROI!


While local utility companies will come and locate utility lines for free, the “Dig Safe” 1-800 numbers do not (and will not) locate privateunderground lines. If you assume that they do, you are in danger of hitting buried wire if there is any.

So, if you’d like to try locating it by hand first, the main tool you have to use for this job is simply your head. Locate any lights or other features (water features, fountains, outlets, etc.) before beginning. Follow these features to the electrical panel on your home. Chances are high that it goes in a more or less straight line from the source to the breaker box. Turn off the power and dig slowly or use a hand shovel to gently dig in the most likely place the wiring would be located underground. Once you find it, follow it digging a narrow line above it in the dirt so you will be able to see which areas to avoid when digging with a larger shovel or tool.


Cable locators detect buried telephone, power, and CATV cables plus gas, sewer, and power lines. They track electrical wires with passive locating, which means that you don’t need to disconnect or turn off electrical power. They use the electrical buzz to track the wire’s location. Check out the short video below to see how they work! You can usually rent these at a local rental center, but you can also purchase them. Check your local sources for pricing to see which one makes more sense for you.