Lighting your garden should be both functional and aesthetic. It should illuminate paths, walks, steps, and living areas for use at night, as well as dramatize plant materials and other interesting features. Through the use of lights, you can change the personality of your daytime garden. You can emphasize a certain corner or area of the garden, or favorite trees or plants by selective lighting. Night lighting can also bring to the garden interesting shapes, forms, and shadows.
With the adaptation of low-voltage lighting to use in the garden, lighting has become more and more popular. LED lights can be incorporated as well to enhance any part of your landscape. These do a great job when you are accenting other structures in your landscape. Both of these kinds of lights are safe as long as the connectors are properly installed.
Low-voltage lighting is very easy to install, as are the LED lights. For low-voltage lighting you will need a transformer to reduce your 120-volt household current to the 12-volt current required. Most modern garden-light transformers simply plug into any handy and properly installed outdoor outlet. From the transformer on, the 12-volt wiring is simply buried a few inches in the ground, strung along fences, and run up tree trunks.
You can install low-voltage lighting yourself. If you do not have the time, an electrician can install the lights throughout your garden at much less cost than if you were using 120 volt wiring. And you can easily adjust or move the low-voltage fixtures as your needs change and your plants grow.
Every garden is different, so keep in mind some of these factors when installing low-voltage lighting:
- Use six or more small lights throughout your garden, rather than two or three more powerful lights.
- Place your lights out beyond your patio or deck. There, they create depth in the garden, as well as drawing insects away from your patio.
- Install separate switches for activities requiring more light. This way lights can be turned off when not needed.
- Consider using a few small lights on a fence or hedge, if needed, as a curtain between your garden and a neighbor’s.
- When hanging lights in trees, place them above the bottom limb to create shadows.
- Be cautious in the use of color filters. A colored light can be nice on a pool, but will decrease the beauty of your flowers.
- Light the hazards in your yard, as well as the attractive features. You might know where a garden step is, but a visitor may not.
By following some of these simple steps when installing outside lighting, you can ensure that your lighting plan serves its intended functionality well, while also enhancing the aesthetic look of your home’s exterior.