Landscape Lighting! the Final Touch & a Wise Investment
I can’t imagine doing any landscape remodel without adding a great lighting package. Since most of us work by day and recreate by night… in my opinion it’s critically important to do it right. The beauty it adds makes it all worthwhile. There are many ways to go about lighting your front or back yards, so let’s explore some options.
For many years low-voltage halogen lighting was the norm. Now that technology in that field is expanding so rapidly, LED is the wave of the future. It’s here now and here to stay. LED stands for light emitting diode. Not only do these bulbs last five times longer, but they are also five times cheaper to operate. A 4 watt LED bulb is the equivalent of a 20 watt halogen bulb when it comes to luminance (the light it produces). Doing the math here you can operate five LED lights for the same cost as one 20 watt halogen light. Like any technology when it first rolls out, it is more expensive. LED lighting has come down in price in the past year and in my opinion will continue to drop over time.
There are numerous types of lighting fixtures. Most landscape lights are professional grade fixtures made by companies like Vista, Focus, Kichler to name a few. These are aluminum, powder coated enamel fixtures that last for years. Like anything else in life you get what you pay for. A low-voltage lighting system is very simple to operate. Lights are powered by a transformer and the size of that transformer dictated by how many fixtures you are installing. These small boxes are usually mounted on the outside of a house and simply plug into a regular 110 volt outlet. These transformers knock down that power from 110 volts down to 12 volts. Transformers have a timer which will allow you to set them to go on and off automatically, or you can operate them on a photocell which senses the amount of light when the sun is going down and turns them on automatically. They will either stay on until dawn or you can install a timer that shuts them off at a predetermined time. Light wire is then run to each fixture and before you know it, you have given your yard a whole new look.
These professional grade fixtures unfortunately are not cheap. Most run about $150 to $200 each give or take a few dollars based on the style and manufacturer, then add the cost of the transformer which is a few hundred dollars and another couple hundred for wiring. When it’s all said and done a professional grade lighting package with 15 lights will run approximately $3000. For those people on a tighter budget, Hampton Bay is a common brand found at most home improvement centers like Home Depot and Lowe’s. They have recently come out with a painted, metal light in LED that run slightly less than half the cost, so you do have options here. One thing I have learned about lighting over the years. After you’ve completed the job, most folks have a tendency to add a few more.
A professional grade light fixture comes in many colors and styles. There are up lights otherwise known as spotlights which highlight things like a tree canopy or small palm or vine crawling on the wall. There are path lights which generally illuminate walkways and other areas where up lights are not appropriate. There are also others we call inset lights that can be installed in the riser of a stair, or under the cap of a seat wall, or under the bar top of your outdoor kitchen. These are some of my favorite lights and I often use them like the ways I just described. Although landscape lighting is not difficult to install, I still recommend hiring a professional to do it for you. I have installed thousands of lights over the years and it has truly become an art form in itself.
With so many choices I sincerely hope the next time you do a landscape remodel of your own yard, please don’t forget the lighting! As you can see by these pictures, they truly create a special ambience that make any outdoor party that much more special. A quality lighting package will last for years and will also add another very special component which is security. A well-lit landscape front or back yard will make those roaming burglars think twice about stopping by your home. If you would like to add a quality lighting package to your home or are looking for any other type of landscape or hard scape service, please visit our website at outsidelivingconcepts.com for more information or to set up a free consultation.