07 Jan The Ultimate Guide To Low-Voltage Landscape Lighting
Landscape lighting can add a high-end look to your home, and makes it safer too. The first step is to choose your lighting. There are many types of lights and fixtures to choose from. Spotlights can highlight specific features, while floodlights can illuminate a wide area for example a pathway or lawn area.You can decide what type of lights you want in which areas with a flashlight. At night, use a flashlight with the ability to switch between spot and flood mode to see how different lighting styles look in different areas.
There are two ways to power your outdoor lighting. Solar-powered lighting is easy to install and has no wiring. The other kind is low-voltage lighting, which plugs into any outdoor GCFI outlet and works great as a decorative touch or to illuminate a path. Solar lighting can be much cheaper but will also likely not last as long and the cheapness of the product may be apparent in comparison to a low-voltage lighting system.
Types of Landscape Lighting Fixtures:
There are 2 main types of landscape lighting fixtures.
Which come in many styles and varieties but generally are tall and have a kind of mushroom cap top. Used for lighting pathways or along the edge of any area where you would like the ground to be lit. Pathway lights are usually much more ornamental than spot lights as they are made to be seen and to be a feature of landscape design.
These will usually look like a canister with a hood over the top to direct the light. A well placed spot light can light up a whole tree in your yard or a driveway. The fixture itself is often plain and made to be unnoticeable when installed.
Choosing the Right Bulb for your Landscape Lighting:
It may seem obvious when talking about lighting but of course all the fixtures will require a bulb. This is where you have another choice to make, there are 2 commonly used types of bulb for low-voltage landscape lighting. They are either Halogen or LED, Halogen bulbs have been used in low-voltage landscape lighting for many years and are the most commonly used bulb i the industry. They are cheap and usually interchangeable as the connection in most light fixtures has not changed in many years.
However the newer emerging LED bulbs that are slowly taking over as the most used bulb in the industry have many upsides and improve greatly on the older Halogen bulbs. where before the average life of a bulb (Halogen) was between 1 and 2 years, now LED bulbs often come with a 10 year warranty and it is not unheard of for companies to suggest you can get up to 20 years from their product.
There is a catch with the new longer life LED bulbs however and that is the cost, they are considerably more expensive per bulb but the extended life usually matches if not exceeds the cost of replacing the Halogen bulb 5-6 times in the same time period. The other plus side to LED is they draw a far smaller amount of power and so will cost you much less in electricity in the long run. On top of this the installation time is cut for contractors thus bringing down labor costs. This is due to there being less difficult calculations when figuring out the voltage drop off for each fixture as now numerous LED lights can be added to one run.
So if you have the extra money to pay for LED’s upfront it will pay you in the long run, of course you can always have a low-voltage landscape lighting system installed with the cheaper Halogen bulbs and then upgrade at a later date, as most LED bulbs can be fit into fixtures that still have Halogen connectors.
Landscape lighting can be one of the best investments you can make if you want to show off your new landscaping or even just highlight your home in the neighborhood.
You can of course tackle the selection, design, purchase and installation of a low-voltage landscape lighting system yourself. If this seems like it may be too daunting for you, then the option to contact a contractor who does all of the above on a daily basis is probably for you. The plus sides of this are the usual, a contractor will stand behind his work, fast and high quality installation.