One great way to accent your landscaped yard is to add in the use of landscape lighting. There are some pretty easy ways to figure out which types and styles of lighting will work best for you and your yard. With “Going Green” being so popular these days, solar garden lighting is taking off in popularity as well since it is a renewable source of energy.
Even though solar lighting is great, as a landscaping professional I have yet to come across any kind of self-contained solar lighting system that stays lit for more than just a few hours. Most of them require so many lights just to produce any kind of desirable effect and instead make a beautiful yard look worse. We all are waiting for solar lighting to become a viable option for landscape lighting, but currently the technology is either not available or is incredibly expensive.
Typically, line voltage lighting is the standard. Line voltage lighting systems provide all the light you want as it runs off your house current. However, line voltage lighting requires an electrician to install it, with necessary electrical inspections, and will increase your monthly electric bill. I recommend using low voltage lighting for most landscape lighting applications.
Ten years ago, low voltage lighting was unreliable and underpowered. However, times have changed! Today’s low voltage lighting provides powerful and attractive lighting at much less cost than line voltage lighting. Low voltage lighting is achieved when a transformer which converts the standard 110v into a safe, low current is plugged into an existing 3-prong plug. One transformer can power enough lights for most residential landscapes and uses very little energy. The great thing about low voltage lighting is that they use a wire which can be safely buried below the surface of mulch or soil, and connect using a simple connector. This ease of installation and the low monthly costs make low voltage lighting the best choice for most landscapes.
Whichever type of lighting you choose, there are a couple of things you should remember when you set out to purchase your lighting system. First and foremost, do not overdo it! Landscape lighting is designed to accent your landscaped yard. You should be aiming for ambient lighting and should keep it low-key. Secondly, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive lights at your typical box stores will most likely fail quickly. Having to regularly replace your bulbs and fixtures becomes costly and inconvenient. Thankfully, there are a large variety of high quality lights for your landscape. Personally, I prefer copper lights. They patina naturally, and add a very sleek, natural accent to any landscape.