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So My wife and I are building a new house and I want to put outlets scattered in intervals around the lawn so I don't have 50 cords running anywhere. Our lot is about 1 acre after the house gets put up have any of you guys done this and what did it approximately run you? I'm trying to figure out a budget of what it might cost.
 

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That is a loaded question. You would pretty much have to plan for Halloweens several years out to have an idea of where to place outlets. You would also have to estimate what the maximum amount of current draw you would need. If you want to run electrical to the end of your yard, you can't just simply bury 12/2 cable under ground for hundreds of feet, you may need to upsize the wire or put a sub-panel in either in the middle or end of the yard. I would need to know a lot more information before I can give you a better recommendation. Also it is just for Halloween or for Christmas and other events?
 

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I was just thinking about this today. So for the last 3 years I have been burying an extension cord to go from where I place a Perfect Storm unit to where I have my LED floods. I took pictures of where the ends were since the grass will overgrow that spot but this is getting inconvenient. I think September of next year I am going to go ahead and dig to put down conduit as a more permanent means. On each end I will put a box maybe 3 inches above ground level, running 12/2 to each end. Also in that conduit will be some paired 22 gauge that runs 5volt DC to some arduino controlled devices.
 

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Low voltage cable cannot be placed in the same conduit as high voltage cable. There are safety reasons for this as well as it is a code violation. If you need to run low voltage cable, you can either use a direct bury cable (like a sprinkler cable) or run a separate conduit. I personally would run a separate conduit as you may need to change the type of cable as you needs or technology advances. If it is a long run, you would be better off with a 5vdc power supply as there would be a considerable voltage drop with a long run of cable, especially with 22 gauge wire. You should separate the conduits by a few inches as well. If you decide to run audio or information cable, close proximity of high voltage could interfere with the low voltage and make things go wacky.
 

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When we relandscaped our yard a number of years ago, we added a number of perimeter yard 120v outlets (20amp for tool use) in addition to the ones that the developer had installed on the outside of the house itself. Being in the SF Bay area we have a much smaller lot however, and costs for electrical will be all over the place and dependent on where you live so really can't help with that. It's also going to vary widely depending on where you place outlets from the main panel, the type of wire required for that run and the trenching that needs to get done. Do plan everything out with lighting in mind if that's what you want because to add it later will not be cost effective compared to at build out or relandscaping when the whole yard is torn up.

I laid out our yard based on areas of activities: BBQ island, dining pergola, fireplace/seating area, planting beds. I really wanted a nice area to hand out candy and sit near the front door area so created a small courtyard with a fountain along the outer border. Fountains will need electrical for the pump and any lighting so plan to add outlets near there if it's part of your design. We were able to run electrical to each of our structures, and ran electrical boxes that got mounted to short posts to one of our planting beds and near the fountain to give coverage to that area. Do think about any lighting you might want overhead, be it in a pergola or under the eaves of your house (since you said you were in the building phase). Since our house was already built at the time of the relandscaping, and our back yard was still dirt, I spent a considerable amount of time looking out the windows at the view that would eventually be lit (with low voltage lighting--still haven't done--but plan for it). I also sat in a chair in various places in our dirt yard to firm up how the view from each location would be--wanted each viewpoint to have something of interest be it from landscaping or structures. Of course you'll be also wanting to visualize where in the yard you'll be doing holiday decorating.

Take your time with this if you can. It's sort of like "measure twice, cut once" in principle to be cost efficient. You may find that you don't have the budget for everything you want to do initially, but that's okay if you can plan accordingly and as money permits do it in stages of build out if you have the basics in place. Having a rock solid plan to begin with is the most important.
 

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I was just thinking about this today. So for the last 3 years I have been burying an extension cord to go from where I place a Perfect Storm unit to where I have my LED floods. I took pictures of where the ends were since the grass will overgrow that spot but this is getting inconvenient. I think September of next year I am going to go ahead and dig to put down conduit as a more permanent means. On each end I will put a box maybe 3 inches above ground level, running 12/2 to each end. Also in that conduit will be some paired 22 gauge that runs 5volt DC to some arduino controlled devices.
Code will determine how high up your outlet boxes need to be (forgot how high but more than 3 inches), and code in our area also requires waterproof outlet covers. We had to upgrade all of our house wall outlets with them since we pulled a permit for the relandscaping work and that was fine because I was always nervous about using our outside house outlets during the halloween/xmas time frame with wet weather inevitable then. There are various configurations of waterproof outlet covers that have different depths for cords and plugs, so investigate this ahead of time so that your contractor doesn't install a type that doesn't match up for your intended use. Our outlets that went in our planting bed and near the fountain were kind deep but some of the heavy duty electrical cords that we figured would get plugged in them have a pretty ridged plug and the cord only bends at a certain point away from the plug so we needed to take that into account. Some of the waterproof outlet covers will also have the ability to be locked, which might be important for you.

Code in your area will also specify what type of underground conduit you'll need. Soil properties can eventually deteriorate unapproved types of conduit. I know for our gas line to our bbq, our guys had to replace the flexible conduit with a ridged one because what they installed didn't meet our city's current code. Being in earthquake country you'd think everyone would be running flexible. But the City inspector insisted it had to be what the current code specified.

Code will also determine the depth underground electrical, gas, water, phone and drainage lines need to be placed at. Always call for your utility company to mark the existing lines before doing any digging on your own. Our contractor had us schedule the work before they would start.

One other thing I thought about to add is that you'll need ground fault protection installed in your layout.
 

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I would just run it about ground every year but people have a habit of tripping over power cords and that itself is a danger from being sued.
 

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If we ever own a house again i am totally doing this. I tend to have pretty much the same set up every year so it'd be fine.
 

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It is hard to really know the final cost of doing something like this. Even harder to know where exactly to put the outlets so they are hidden or not a tripping hazard. But it is a great idea to run outlets to various places in the yard. A big share off your cost to run wire out into the yard is going to be digging the trenches to lay the conduit in. If you are up for doing that yourself that would save you some money. Ask your electrician about how deep and wide the trench needs to be. Talk to your electrician and lay out a plan. If you have out buildings or plan to put out buildings on your property I'm sure you will want to run power out to them. Then you could run outlets from the out buildings. You may want to put out buildings on their own panel, or have a panel big enough in your house for their own separate breakers. If I had to give a guestaimate I would say running outlets out into the yard will be at least $2000-$5000 depending on how many outlets and how much you are willing to help with digging trenches.
 
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