Landscape Lighting

October 19, 2012

The Difference Between Landscape Lighting Types

stone patio pool and lighting resized 600There are many advantages of landscape lighting. Landscape and home beautification, usability, safety, security, and value are some of the reasons. However there are many different options of what type of landscape lighting to use to spice up your home. This post will focus on what type of landscape lighting to use and why. Landscape lighting enhances your home, and therefore adds great value to home.

Regular 120 volt outdoor lighting:

120 volt lighting is the type of lighting in most of our houses. The wire carries 120 volts to each light to illuminate the bulb.  120 volt systems are installed for the lights to be permanent with not much flexibility. The installation comes with more labor and disturbance of the area.  For homes that have yards and landscapes already established this will create much more of a mess. You have to follow your cities local electrical code, which in most cities this means that the wire needs to be buried 18-24 inches deep. Certain cities will also require the wire to be buried in electrical conduit. Rewiring or replacing lights are much more difficult in this type of system and should be done by a highly qualified professional. The lights use a higher wattage bulb that will create “hot spots” on your focal points. It will also increase electricity cost on your monthly bill. This system can also be dangerous if a wire somehow gets cut or a light gets pulled out. With kids playing outside or any kind of digging going on this can be very concerning.

Solar Lighting:

This is lighting is usually bought at a local hardware store. You can usually buy them for a low price and can install them yourself. They run off of solar power so it has no effect on your electricity bill. Some of the disadvantages of these lights are that they are usually made of plastic and not designed to be installed for a long period of time. In the Cleveland a area, it seems like we can go weeks without direct sunlight, which can affect the brightness of the lights, if they come on at all. However, the biggest issue with the solar lighting is the light they give off. Instead of spotlighting an area, the light they just give off can best be described as a glow. 

Low Voltage Lighting:

Low voltage contains the best of both worlds. The lighting ties into a 12 volt transformer that reduces the volts going into the wire. While the 120 volt system is very dangerous if there is a cut wire or a light becomes disconnected the Low voltage system doesn’t carry the volts that would create a shock if you come into contact with a live wire. For this reason there is no need to bury the wires at the same depth that 120 volts needs.  This saves labor on the install and much of the repair work that a deep trench would cause.  It also makes any maintenance needed much easier and safer to work with. These systems give off a more friendly light and by placing them in the correct areas it eliminates hotspots. The lights runs at a lower wattage which helps save energy and electricity.  Low voltage can also be used around water without tripping the power source. Low voltage lights are much more flexible and can be moved to keep up with any changes and, or, maturity of your landscape.  There are many different fixture options and colors to choose from to create just the lighting you are looking for.  If you are someone who likes changes, many fixtures also have a variety of lens covers that can change the light that the fixtures give off.  Low voltage systems can come with incandescent fixtures or LED fixtures.

 I hope you found this helpful by “shining some light” on the different lighting systems.

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