How to Build a Light Post

Print How-to Sheet #170

Download (.pdf)
How-To Sheet #170

Print this Document

Install Guide

Building a light post is easy. Light posts can be built on existing patios or pavement, as well as on an unfinished surface such as soil or grass. If you will be building in an area that does not have an existing patio or pavement, see How-to Sheet #220 Building Posts for more information. To build on soil, you must create a foundation pad.

Building a post

Video: How to Build a Post/Pillar

Run the Conduit

Dig the foundation and run the conduit

Install the Wall Rock

Install the Wall Rock

Install the Base Course; Level & Align the Blocks

Install the Base Course Level & Align the Block

Install the Second Course & Offset the Vertical Seams

Install the Second Course Offset the Vertical Seams

Score Cap with Saw

Score Cap with Saw

Remove Scored Pieces From Notch

Remove Scored Pieces From Notch

Mount the Light Base

Mount the Light Base

Attach the Light Fixture

Attach the Light Fixture

Materials Needed:

  • 24 Corner Blocks
  • 2 Post Caps
  • 1 Tube of Masonry Adhesive
  • 3-50 lbs (23 kg) Bags of Base Rock
  • Light Fixture
  • Electrical Wiring

Tools Needed:

  • Measuring Tape
  • Level
  • Dead Blow Hammer
  • Saw with a Masonry Blade
  • Hand Compactor
  • Hammer & Chisel
  • Drill with a Masonry Bit
  • Hammer & Chisel
  • Safety Glasses
  • Work Gloves

This project demonstrates how to build a light post that is 3 ft. (1 m) tall on an unfinished surface.

Step 1: Prepare the Foundation Pad

Figure 1: Foundation Pad

Figure 1: Foundation Pad

Prepare a foundation pad by removing the sod and soil creating a hole 24 in. square (600 mm) by 4 in. (100 mm) deep.

Poor soil conditions under the foundation pad may require additional attention. Learn more about adding strength to posts/pillars.

Step 2: Run the Conduit

Run the conduit from the electrical source to the center of the foundation pad. (Figure 1). We recommend placing the wire in plastic conduit for protection. Always follow local electrical codes for proper conduit installation depth and wiring requirements.

Step 3: Install Wall Rock

Lay 4 in. (100 mm) of base rock in the foundation pad and thoroughly compact with a hand tamper, leveling in all directions.

Step 4: Build the Base Course

Post/Pillar Course Patterns

Post Layout Patterns

To begin the post/pillar base course, place 4 Corner Blocks with the long sides facing out. Align the blocks with a square, and level with a dead blow hammer.

Step 5: Build the Second Course

Place the second course of blocks by alternating the pattern to offset the vertical seams. Continue stacking courses, alternating the pattern until the desired height is achieved. Add the final length of conduit and run the wiring to the top of the post/pillar, making sure that the wiring extends up past the post/pillar and post cap.

Step 6: Cap the Post

Light Post Assembly

Light Post Assembly

Finish the post/pillar with two Post Caps. Each cap will need a notch cut out of the center for the wiring. Using a skill saw with a masonry blade, in the center of both Post Caps make a 2 in. (50 mm) wide notch, by making several 1 in. (25 mm) deep cuts to score the area. Then with a hammer and chisel, knock out the small pieces. Once the notch is completed, place both Post Caps on the post/pillar so that the notches line up.

Step 7: Secure the Caps

Apply a bead of masonry adhesive near the outside edge of each corner block. Place the caps on top of the post/pillar, making sure that your conduit extends up through the hole in the Post Caps.

Step 8: Add the Light Fixture

To mount the light base, position it in the center of the post. Mark the position of the screw holes. Drill holes for the masonry anchors using a power drill with a masonry bit. Insert the anchors into the holes, add the light base and fasten to the Post Cap with screws. Once the light base is attached to the post/pillar, complete the wiring for your light using the factory instructions, then attach the light to the light base.

Light Post

Light Post with Iron Fencing