Landscape lighting takes your yard from looking good during the day to wowing everybody at night too. There are many uses for landscape lighting, from lighting a path for safety to accenting a specific feature in the yard. By combining all purposes of landscape lighting, you can really bring out a new look for your yard. Make sure to lay out your lights before connecting them all to your wiring in order to get the best look for your yard.
Let’s start with path lighting. This usually has a tall stake and the light points downward to illuminate the path before you. This lighting plays a vital role in night time safety unless you have motion sensitive lights or yard lights for an area. It is also used to highlight a path and welcome night time visitors in.
To highlight specific feature such as a fountain or tree, there spot lights provide a very bright, focused light. These typically point upwards to light the feature from below though I have seen some angled downward to great effect. The taller the feature, the more powerful and larger bulb you need. Some spot lights have bulbs larger than a security yard light. A light like this with a large angle beam is called a flood light rather than a spotlight.
Landscape lighting comes in two major forms. There are direct wire systems that run off the same voltage as your home, 120V, and require you to bury conduit in the ground to run wiring through. These systems can run larger and more powerful lights but can be expensive and difficult to install.
Low voltage lighting systems are easy to install with wiring just beneath the ground or even beneath mulch since they run on voltages between 10V and 20V. They are inexpensive to set up since they are typically made with less expensive materials and they don’t require conduit. Low voltage requires a plug in transformer to take house voltage and make it low voltage. DO NOT exceed the wattage of the transformer or your system will not work. If you want it to be simple, there are many low voltage kits like this one and this one.
Landscape lighting is an incredible and inexpensive way to make your nighttime landscape pop. Don’t be afraid to try setting it up yourself if you grab a low voltage system off the shelf. If you would rather have a line voltage system, some electrical experience would help and I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners. Here’s to taking the party and continuing it through the night!