You have pulled out all the stops to make your house and landscape first rate. So why let all that hard work and expense disappear at night. With the flick of a switch and some well-placed landscape lights, you can eliminate the darkness and put it all on display. Illuminate.
Done right, landscape lighting highlights your home’s architectural features and draws attention to plants and specimen trees, as well as providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment. With the proper touch, a craftsman can enhance the beauty and value of your home.
Why Low Voltage Lighting
Low voltage lights provide low levels of even illumination eliminating dark shadows and unseen areas of your property that come with high voltage floodlights. Low Voltage is ideal for illuminating walkways, allowing visitors and residents to safely navigate around the property. Lighting up private areas of a property allows for evening enjoyment of decks, sitting areas and recreational spaces.
Low voltage lighting accentuates shapes and textures of landscapes and structures, by painting with light and creating dramatic scenes.
Most landscape lighting is low voltage. Unlike 120-volt systems, it is safer to work with, less costly to install, and uses about 1/3 less electricity.
There are no limits to the effects that can be achieved with low voltage landscape lighting and an experienced designer. From moonlighting patios from a tree canopy to the soft glow washing across a stone wall, a good designer will create a palate of layers that will take into effect the view from outside as well as inside.
Landscape lighting involves artistry and should relate to the way the outdoor spaces are going to be used. Keeping it simple is an important aspect of design. Mixing too many fixtures can draw too much attention to the fixtures themselves, rather than what you want to highlight. Placement of the correct type of fixture to capture the desired effect requires experience and a designer’s eye. Highlighting architectural features or plant foliage may need a more focused beam spread, colored or frosted lenses. Space path fixtures at the proper distance to provide the desired light, provide safety without overkill, and avoid the runway effect, leading the eye naturally down the path. Shield spotlights to avoid glare.
Types of Lighting
Incandescent- This style is being phased out as this style of bulb does not have a long life and uses more electricity.
Halogen- This type of bulb has longer life, has slightly higher cost than incandescent, but lasts much longer, reducing need for replacements, and uses about the same amount of electricity.
LED- The evolution of LED has brought about a system that provides up to 35,000 hours of lamp life and 80% energy savings over halogen. LED systems allow you to combine more fixtures per cable and transformer due to their lower wattage. LED works in a wider voltage range which means there are fewer concerns with voltage drop over distances that effect light appearance. The latest systems now allow for the ability to combine individual lights into groups, or scenes, which can be set to come on, dim to adjustable levels, and go off at specified times, creating personalized lighting capabilities.
When choosing fixtures, remember to choose higher grade materials that will withstand the harsh elements. Cutting corners at the beginning can cost you more in the long run and give less than desirable results.
Some of the newest systems can be activated and controlled, thru wifi, with smart phones and tablets. The groups, or scenes, can be scheduled to come on at different times and different days, which provides additional security with a program that changes so that it appears random even when no one is home.
Speak with a landscape lighting designer who is committed to providing the highest level of quality in design, materials and installation. A good designer can provide a lighting system that will enhance your property and make for an enjoyable experience that will last for years, and add value to your Philadelphia, Montgomery or Bucks County, PA home.
B.S. Landscape Architecture