Tips for making your landscape better
Night-lighting your landscape offers a creative way to showcase your home and property after dark. Properly placed, lights can dramatize trees, highlight favorite shrubs and accent statuary, fountains and flowerbeds.
Low-voltage landscape lighting equipment can be relatively inexpensive. And, when you do the job yourself, the bottom line for outdoor low-voltage lighting looks even better.
With no wiring required, outdoor solar lighting and solar lanterns have become popular landscape lighting choices. Energy efficient accent lighting that can be installed easily by the average homeowner.
Outdoor Lighting Considerations
Outdoor lighting increases your property value and gives your landscape nightlife. To help you create a lighting scheme destined to garner glowing reviews, the lighting experts at the American Lighting Association offer the following tips.
DIY 3 Basic Lighting Techniques
Uplighting: This type of outdoor lighting emphasizes specific objects such as fountains, tree foliage, statues. These are best lit with direct lighting, or uplighting, which uses reflectors that directs the light on the object. The important thing to consider is to direct this light away from typical viewer's positions.
Walk Lighting: This type of outdoor lighting illuminates areas where people walk so that it provides a non-glare lighted area such as along a path or walkway. It can also be used to provide visual clues to direct people along a walk and keep them safe. Lights should not allow any direct lighting to a normal height person's eyes.
Specialty Lighting: These are usually either in-wall or surface mounted outdoor lighting installations and help provide interesting highlight areas in the garden and to help define vertical surface areas.
Select a focal point
Look for the main features of your home and landscape and select the main element to build your lighting around. This could be a large tree, the entrance, the front walkway or just a landscaped bed.
Selecting the right size transformer
Once the lighting plan is defined, calculate the total wattage of all the bulbs that will be used in the plant. Wattage is specified on each bulb (7 watts, 14 watts, etc.) Simply total all of these numbers to arrive at a grand total. This will give you a number to use in selecting the right size transformer to provide enough juice to properly light each of your lamps without over-loading the transformer.
Transformers can be turned on and off in various ways: manually, timers, and photo controls. Timers come on at a pre-determined time and go off at a specified time. These do require periodic adjustment throughout the year as sunset times change. There's no need to change these timers for daylight savings.
Photo controls come on at sunset and will remain on either for a set number of hours, or until sunrise.
Wiring for outdoor low-voltage lighting typically comes in 3 sizes: 16, 14, and 12 gauges. The smaller the number, the larger diameter the wire and the more wattage it can carry and for a longer run.