I started with a direct burial post that measures a universal 72” in length and 3” in diameter. My local code states that 1/3 of the post must be buried in concrete so that’s what I did.
My other option was to use a surface mount post and utilize the complete overall height of the post mounted to a cement pedestal. The surface mount was a little more decorative looking but the direct burial post I decided to use looked more uniform for my neighborhood. I trenched from my power source and fished the wires through my thick gauge conduit. I used a post hole digger to quickly dig my post hole then pulled my power up through the post once I was set to pour the cement.
Once the cement was poured and the post level straight up and down I let it set overnight before attaching the post lantern.
In the morning when the cement had cured I carefully wired the dusk till dawn photocell into the socket wires and tightened down the three collar screws on my mission style post lantern. I screwed in my clear 120 volt incandescent light bulbs and created an element of sparkle and brilliance. Easy!
I nearly went with a fluorescent post lantern that is ballasted and set up strictly for fluorescent lighting. Outdoors is the perfect setting to benefit from energy efficiency fluorescent but the truth is I couldn’t find a ballasted fluorescent style that my wife would approve and this was a project that had to be done pronto.
If fluorescent is of interest to you the best advice I can give is make sure the diffuser(s) panels in your post lantern are not clear. Clear glass/acrylic diffusers and compact fluorescents will be an unsightly glare bomb and defeat the warm inviting look that you are striving to create.
The upfront cost of purchasing a fluorescent ready post lantern will pay for itself in a couple of years of use and you’ll know that you’re doing your part in conserving our resources.
Good luck with your project!