Your landscape brings a lot of interest to your home, so it would make sense that you would continue to enjoy it into the evening hours. There are many benefits to adding low voltage lighting to your landscape; added nighttime interest, accent to architectural aspects of your home, highlight particular features of specific plants within the landscape such as a water features or a piece of artwork that is being displayed. Other important factors to consider are for safety purposes; such as illuminating pathways and stairways which help keep people from tripping or to help guide guests to the front entry or to a designated location on site.
Landscape lighting can be an extension of one’s home with the numerous fixture styles, with bulbs that can be switched out to cast as much or as little light required for the location, material used to make the fixture whether it is cast dyed aluminum that can come in various colors to the high end look of brass, to colored lenses that can create the perfect ambiance for any occasion or holiday. There are many different styles of light fixtures that are on the market, each one has been developed to cast light in a specific way; bullet fixtures are used to accent items within the landscape such as specific characteristics of a tree or address sign, well lights are typically used to illuminate larger spaces such as large walls on one’s home or placed under larger trees, path lights are used to illuminate walkways and staircases. Once fixtures have been chosen placement can be decided upon. The saying that less is more should be heeded, placement should be far enough apart to avoid the “runway effect”, which is the result of too many lights, placed one right next to each other.
There are various types of landscape lighting that are on the market; solar being very popular due to the fact that they are relatively inexpensive, easy to place, and cost to run them is free. The downside of using solar lighting is that the light output is typically not bright enough, the light fixtures have a tendency to have a relatively short lifespan and if your landscape is shaded, they are useless. Incandescent bulbs have been the main focus in the landscape for many years, the bulbs are relatively inexpensive to replace but due to the fact that the filament is very fragile and can be damaged easily you may have to replace them often. Within the landscape, these light fixtures can be bumped into causing the elements to break rendering the light bulb unusable. These bulbs are also susceptible to extreme heat transfer as these bulbs produce a great deal of heat, with light production and with this you have to be concerned with oil transfer when bulbs are switched out, oils from handling can heat up causing the light bulbs to burn out. Another downside of using incandescent bulbs is placement of the light fixtures, if these fixtures are not laid out appropriately you could be shorting out your system with too much demand or the light output will be limited.
The age of incandescent light bulbs is coming to an end, not only within your home but also within your landscape. Incandescent light bulbs are inefficient, short lived and outdated. As new technology surfaces the old goes by the way side. LED or Light Emitting Diodes have hit the market with a multitude of benefits. LED bulbs draw a fraction of the power and last a great deal longer then incandescent bulbs, and can save you up to 80%. As with any new technology when it first hits the market, the cost is of course greater than the traditional technology, but the more time in the market and the higher the demand the lower the cost will eventually be. Along with the benefits of longer lasting bulbs with less operating cost comes a great deal of labor savings from constantly change out burned out bulbs, along with the initial cost of installation. LED landscape lamps last up to 40,000 hours (that’s 21 years at 5 hours per day.) With incandescent low voltage lighting systems the power draw is a major consideration. Like water pressure, electricity acts in a very similar fashion when dealing with installation, voltage drops the farther it has to travel and the more light fixtures that are attached. With LED bulbs and fixtures the draw is a small fraction which allows you to add numerous lights on a single run instead of the multiple runs that a normal system has to be designed with, which allows you to use less wire and less time to design it and installing it. LED landscape lighting produces little heat in comparison to halogen lights which means less energy is lost through heat. LED bulbs are much more resilient when it comes to movement; they are less likely to burn out due to damage, halogen bulbs contain a filament that can be damaged when the fixture is moved or knocked around in the garden.