Lighten Up! What We Need to Know About Landscape Lighting

I get a lot of questions about garden and landscape lighting. From installing recessed lights on a deck to patio string lights and globe lighting, gardeners are going beyond the business of planting starts and seeds.

Because of that, I’ll be devoting a lot of time here in the beginning to getting us all up to speed on both the trendy and the traditional landscape lighting products and ideas.

Landscape lighting can add instant drama to your home. Back-lighting a favorite tree, spotlighting a garden vignette or outdoor path lighting are all ways to add to the curb appeal of the home. An added benefit of outdoor landscape lighting is the measure of safety it affords. Backyard lighting and outdoor security lighting add a sense of security. Motion detector lights are just a part of that and easy to install yourself. With the many low-voltage fixtures on the market today lighting up the yard won’t break your monthly electrical budget either.

Installing 12-volt, exterior-grade fixtures is an ideal project for the home handyman or woman. According to Joseph Truini, of This Old House magazine, the 12-volt lighting system has only three components: electrical cable, a transformer and, of course, the fixtures. The cable gets buried underground to make the lighting tidy.

The best part of the project, at least for me, is picking out the fixtures. Once you have determined which features of the landscape you wish highlight, it’s easy to choose the appropriate type of fixture. Well, maybe not easy. . .there are a ton of fixtures from which to choose. You can choose from brass, bronze, copper and cast metal or high-grade plastic for a less expensive route. Shapes and sizes abound. . .enough to fit any taste.

We’ll be looking a little more in-depth at some of the other types of outdoor lighting ideas in the next few weeks.

Photo: flckr/Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio and the Hill Country