Underground electrical conduit installation

Updated July 20, 2017

An underground electrical conduit is a key component for site lighting. Homeowners often use site lighting for pools, driveways and flower beds, to create a decorative yet functional ambience. By learning how to install underground conduits you can wire landscape lights in various locations throughout your property from one central electrical source. Another reason you may consider installing an underground electrical conduit is to provide power to an unattached garage, shed or pool house.

Contact your local building code department to obtain the appropriate permits and ensure you meet all code requirements.

Ask your utility providers, such as your electric company, to mark where any underground lines may be before you begin digging.

Determine where you will dig a trench. The trench depth should be about 18 to 36 inches in depth, depending on the location. The width should be at least the size of the shovel.

Dig the trench and contact a local inspector to verify that the trench meets proper code requirements. The inspector may ask you to line the trench with sand or gravel before laying the PVC pipe.

Start at one end of the trench. Place a section of PVC pipe into the trench so that the straight end of the pipe is facing the end of the trench. The bell-shaped end of the pipe will be used to connect the next pipe.

Insert a second pipe into the first pipe at the bell-shaped end. Secure with electrical PVC glue. Repeat until you have reached the end of the trench. You may have to cut the pipe to size with a hacksaw.

The last pipe in the trench will have a bell-shaped end. Insert a 90-degree PVC bend into the pipe. The bend should be facing vertically upward.

Secure the pipe bend into a PVC coupling with glue. Cut a piece of PVC pipe longer than the depth of your trench. Depending on your project, you may need to cut a pipe that is anywhere from an inch to a few feet above your trench.

Glue a coupling onto the first piece of pipe. Insert a 90-degree bend into the coupling with glue, so that the pipe is facing vertically. Cut a piece of PVC pipe the same height as the pipe cut in Step 4.

Back fill the trench. Pack the dirt down tightly to prevent gullies. The pipe is now ready for electrical wiring.


You can find the items you need for this project at home improvement stores. Make sure to buy the grey electrical PVC pipe and not the white PVC pipe.


Be sure to determine where utility lines are so you don't accidentally hit a gas line, as this could cause a gas leak or explosion. Failing to secure a permit may result in a substantial fine.

Things You'll Need

  • Electrical conduit
  • PVC couplings
  • Electrical PVC glue
  • Tape measure
  • Shovel
  • Hacksaw
  • Sand or gravel
  • PVC pipe
  • Prefabricated 90-degree PVC pipe bends
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About the Author

Shakirah Drumbore lives in central New Jersery and has been writing since 2008, specializing in infant care and relationships. She works in the wedding industry and writes for an online wedding magazine. Drumbore has also had her fiction published in an anthology. She studied English at Rutgers University.