One of the hottest trends in home improvement is landscape lighting. Trend has now met the temporary societal norm of spending even more time at home. It was a rare thing to see 25 years ago, but, is a common request from homeowners nowadays. Landscape lighting allows us to enjoy the beauty of the home and garden after sundown and is especially beneficial when entertaining in the evening.
Nothing can compare with the breathtaking beauty of night lighting to enhance your home and garden. In addition to beauty, a carefully planned landscape lighting system can actually deter crime (major study study finds outdoor lighting cut crime by 39%) , increase security, and improve safety. (Read 5 Benefits of Landscape Lighting).
The most common type of landscape lighting these days is 12-volt lighting, aka low voltage, and the most common trend among low voltage systems is the advent of LED lighting. LED lighting can achieve the same effect as halogen lighting, while utilizing only 10-15% of the electricity that was previously consumed with halogen. LED can come in a range of light ‘color’, but, the most desired is effect with led is to opt for warm white bulbs, typically 2700k.
Like most products, landscape lighting fixtures and transformers can range from inexpensive do-it-yourself kits (mostly plastic) to top quality brass and copper fixtures, designed and installed by a professional. The latter will cost more but the difference is night and day.
Proper design involves knowing:
- What to light
- How to light
- Which fixtures to choose,
- Where to place lights for the desired effect
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. A well-designed lighting system, utilizing high-quality components could range in the hundreds of dollars per fixture after factoring in materials: fixtures, transformers, timers, photocells, wire and labor. The size of the project will affect that cost average. A proper lighting system, utilizing LED bulbs, will only cost pennies to run and will enhance your home immeasurably.
How to choose a contractor?
Ask around! if your neighbor has landscape lighting and you like it, find out who did it. Check references and find out how much experience that contractor actually has. There is no substitute for quality…the difference is night and day.
Frank Douglas is a Lighting Designer with Tallahassee Nurseries. Frank has over 25 years experience designing and installing lighting systems in the North Florida / South Georgia area.