Planning on installing garden electrics yourself? You're putting yourself at risk, expert says

Worrying numbers of people are planning to install hot tubs, garden lighting, and doing other outdoor electrical jobs themselves

Smiling woman hanging lighting equipment in yard during dinner party
(Image credit: Getty/Maskot)

If you are updating your outdoor space this summer (who isn't?), you may be tempted to cut the costs of your garden redesign by putting your DIY skills to work. It's not just garden landscaping costs that add up – there's usually extra to pay for a hot tub installation or garden office installation, so why not just do it yourself?

It turns out that young gardeners in particular are putting themselves at risk by taking their 'can-do' attitude in the backyard a little too far. 

Recent research* is showing that Garden pubs, hot tubs and feature lighting are top of the garden improvement list this summer. Worryingly though, 34 percent of 18-24 year olds believe installing electrics outside is safer than indoors and would attempt the work themselves rather than bringing in a licensed electrical contractor.

Hot tub in twilight

(Image credit: Getty/Sabine Thielemann / EyeEm)

With our outdoor spaces more important to us than ever, young people are planning to spend a generous amount of well over $1,000 on their backyard improvements. Despite the dangers of dabbling in electrics, one in 10 adults are likely to carry out the work themselves instead of hiring a registered electrical contractor, putting them and their families in danger.

 In spite of restrictions beginning to ease, homeowners are still planning on hosting parties outside and plan to make the most of the summer. The top five garden installations people are planning include outdoor lighting, a summer house, a hot tub, a garden office, and an outdoor bar. 

All of these will require electrical work (unless you're just hanging non-permanent fairy lights, keeping your garden lighting ideas nice and simple), but as tempting as it may be, experts say you really should leave these jobs to the professionals. 

Smiling woman hanging lighting equipment in yard during dinner party

(Image credit: Getty/Maskot)

Paul Collins is Technical Services Manager for NICEIC, which provides assessment and certification services for contractors working across the building services sectors in the UK. He comments: 'We all want to create that party garden and enjoy spending time with our family and friends, but it’s important to consider the hazardous elements such as adverse weather and wet products like hot tubs and sprinklers which can be one of the biggest risks when it comes to electrical safety if not installed correctly.'

Paul identifies these 'wet products' as some of the biggest electrocution hazards in your backyard, and stresses that any cabling must be suitable for outside installation. In addition, outside sockets must be RCD (residual current device, or ground-fault circuit interrupter in the US) protected for safety, which works by switching off the flow of electricity when a cable or flex is cut or damaged.' 

Young multi-ethnic friends enjoying dinner party in glass conservatory room at back yard

(Image credit: Maskot/Getty)

'We know it may be tempting to have a go at installing a new feature, but it is simply not a risk worth taking and homeowners would be best placed to call on the services of a registered electrical contractor.'

That's us told. We won't be installing any hot tubs ourselves now.

* Research by NICEIC, the UK’s leading name for registered electrical contractors.

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

In 2018 Anna moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a special interest in city life, decorating small spaces, and urban gardening.