Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is a rising trend for most home owners wanting to illuminate their homes at night time. Landscape lighting is better described as painting with light and is about beautifying all that is natural or man made in a landscaped setting around the home. Landscape lighting is no longer a luxury item for the average to up market neighborhood. Landscape lighting is most effective when used in limited, subtle ways. If designed correctly it can be an extension of your home dcor and can extend the use of outdoor spaces to the home while providing safety, atmosphere and space definition. It can also be most effective is hiding unwanted features such as trash cans or compost bins. Landscape lighting is used to bring trees and scrubs to life at night and extenuate features around your home that are not visible or obvious during the day time. If used correctly low level lighting can be used to illuminate pathways and stairs for safety and security. Landscape lighting allows you to enjoy your garden and exterior amenities of your home even after the sun has set.

Security
Landscape lighting is one of the best security systems you can install. Landscape lighting can be used as a deterrent to residential crime. Correct proportions of landscape lighting surrounding your home, has been shown to minimize crimes by as much as fifty percent. Landscape lighting has two great uses to aid in the security of your home. The lighting can intimidate possible intruders to avoid trespassing on to your property. Should this fail, the illuminated areas will also make it possible for you or your neighbor’s to see any intruders as they trespass.

Safety
Typically low voltage lighting systems are used for landscape lighting around the home. The preferred light fittings used to create landscape lighting, are low voltage, weather resistant fixtures. The low voltage used reduces the risk of electrocution if live wiring or terminals are touched. Also if power supply transformers are used to reduce the voltage, then they also isolate the low voltage system from the mains voltage which increases safety.

Not just the Garden
Although landscape lighting brings your garden and exterior amenities to life at night time, facade or feature lighting to the exterior of your home should also be considered. If the landscaping has been done correctly it should compliment the house properly during the day. Why not extend the landscape lighting to the exterior surfaces of the home as well.
Narrow beamed lighting that highlights sharp features and wide angled flood lighting to pick up flat surfaces are preferred. These two simple methods create pools of light and shadows that will transform a house that may be uninteresting during the day, and make it come to life at night.
Installation
Low voltage landscape lighting is easy to install even if you’ve never done any electrical installations before. The easiest are prewired lighting systems. These are low voltage light fittings that come completely prewired and ready to install, with weather proof transformers, sealed connectors and pre-installed lamps. All you need to do is place each light fitting that is connected to a string of wire, where you want it, connect the transformer to the mains voltage and turn it on. It’s that simple.
Separately wired low voltage light fittings and transformers should only be installed by persons that have the experience to do so. It is recommended that these installations should be carried out by a qualified electrician.
Remember that during the installation it is desirable to include a timer or a daylight sensor so that the lighting is automatically switched off during daylight hours.
Normally landscape lighting is added after the landscaping has been completed. With this in mind it would be a good idea to lay conduits or ducts into your garden. This would minimize any trench digging when it came time to run your low voltage wiring. Map out where you think you will want your light fittings and lay conduits or ducts to suit.

Design
Once the layout of the landscape has been established, it is very important to plan the placement of your landscape lighting. Lighting can focus on aspects in your landscape which are special to you, such as garden art, a water feature, or an unusual planting. Create a point of interest by highlighting a particular tree, shrub, or architectural aspect of you landscape with a flood light placed at ground level and focused upward. Combinations of light and shadow can create dramatic effects in complete contrast to the daylight scene. Lighting around pools can create a nice mirroring effect off the water or create a tropical feel. Lighting can hide obvious landscape problems while accentuating positive features. Landscape lighting design is very similar to the design of the landscape itself.
Most landscape architects will include a lighting scheme with their design.

Budget
Low voltage landscape lighting is often a do-it-yourself project and there are many options to suit your budget. Landscape lighting is also more affordable than ever coming in dozens of styles at a wide range of prices. Although it is tempting to purchase the cheaper incandescent lighting systems, in the long run the compact fluorescent options are better. Incandescent lamps will last for between 750 to 1000 hours. Halogens will last for 3500 to 5000 hours. But fluorescent lamps will last for as much as 10,000 hours. Because low voltage fluorescent light fittings have a lower power consumption than incandescent or halogens this makes them more desirable. Fluorescent light fittings also last longer than any other light fitting because they do not get as hot.

Solar Lighting
An alternative to low voltage lighting are solar lights. Solar landscape lighting stores energy captured during the day and then when it becomes dark enough, the outside lighting switches on automatically and stay on all night until they run out of battery power. A very good point is that solar lighting dose not use any wiring or external power source Unfortunately the disadvantages of solar lighting is that they give out very low levels of lighting and this gets dimmer as the night goes on

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