Landscape Lighting Benefits and Options
Landscape lighting is intended to reveal what the night hides and should enhance the property, extend the hours of enjoyment and provide security and safety for property owners and guests. In addition to the obvious benefit of being able to enjoy your yard in the evening, as well as the day, lighting up your Phoenix home makes the property more visible and, thus, safer. By lighting walkways and steps, you eliminate the need for flashlights and reduce the potential for slips and falls. Furthermore, landscape lighting deters intruders by giving them less “shadows” in which to hide. A well lit house is the most effective deterrent to intruders but floodlights create pools of light coupled with pockets of darkness, often close to windows, which provide privacy for an intruder to enter your home. By strategically placing landscaping lights to provide even illumination, you eliminate protective cover for any would-be intruder and increase safety and security for your property and family.
Phoenix Landscape lighting also enhances the aesthetic qualities of your property, which is especially beneficial for those wishing to sell their home. Creative lighting can produce dramatic effects that show off the beauty of your home and accentuate the landscape. Properties with a well designed lighting scheme give the impression of a luxurious estate, which often results in an increased resale value. Potential home buyers often drive by a house at night to determine if it might be a property worth checking out. Ornamental lighting attracts these buyers to your home giving them a great first impression. Those that find the outside of your home to be pleasant will believe the inside must be nice as well. The result is more prospective buyers and an increased perception of the value of your property.
For those not concerned with resale value at the moment, lighted backyards create additional useable space for you and your family at night. Landscape lighting creates a pleasant atmosphere for entertaining on warm summer evenings and around fall fire pits. Not only will you be able to further enjoy your deck or patio, you will enjoy sharing it with your friends.
Where should you light?
When deciding where to place lights, you need to assess the elements on your property such as trees, flower beds, statues and walkways. Which structures should be highlighted and which should be downplayed? You obviously want to make sure pathways are well lit for safety, but you also want to show off that rose bush you painstakingly nurtured or the fountain you couldn’t wait to bring home. Trash cans and other eyesores, you will want to keep hidden. You are painting a picture with light in your yard, just as you painted one when you landscaped. The key is to create a balance, highlighting a few spots and providing lighting transitions between them. While there are no rules, careful thought and planning are required as too much lighting creates a busy panorama and too little leaves an unfinished portrait.
Line voltage lighting systems
Line voltage lighting systems run on the same power which runs your house (120 volts) and, therefore, requires the expertise of a Phoenix electrical contractor to install. In some cases, local permits may be required for installation. 120v wires must be buried 18 inches underground or placed in a protective conduit and all fixtures and connectors must be completely waterproof. Due to these requirements, 120v systems are relatively permanent once they are installed. Their lamps and fixtures are larger, as well as being higher wattage, and produce high light levels. This is beneficial for brightly lit parking lots but less so in residential gardens. For this reason, line voltage systems are better suited to large-scale commercial and institutional applications.
Low voltage lighting systems
Low voltage lighting systems are more practical in residential areas as they are small, flexible and do not require an electrician for installation. Except for the transformer that is connected to the 120v circuit, all the fixtures run on harmless 12v current. The cables need only be hidden, not buried, which allows for great flexibility as your landscape matures and changes. Furthermore, low voltage systems are designed for wet locations and pose no shock hazard when exposed to moisture. Low watt lamps are available in many beam sizes and colors, allowing for more precise lighting effects with lower energy costs. One drawback to low voltage systems is that dim lights from the voltage drop can occur over long distances. To prevent this, it is important to construct a comprehensive lighting plan in order to install the correctly sized transformer and consult a professional regarding proper engineering and adequately sized cables.
Traditional low voltage versus LED low voltage
LED landscape bulbs are the “green” alternative in landscape lighting but the environment isn’t the only thing you’ll help save. As LED bulbs use approximately 75% less electricity than an incandescent bulb of similar lumens, your pocketbook will benefit as well. LED bulbs can last up to 30 years, where standard bulbs need to be replaced every year or so. Furthermore, because LED fixtures are smaller, they allow for lighting designs which previously may have been impossible due to the limitations of standard systems. For example, they can be moved more easily as a tree matures or if you decide to change the landscape. While the initial cost of LED fixtures may be slightly higher, over the course of a lighting system’s lifetime, LED systems can save you 40-50%.
Solar panel powered outdoor lighting
As solar technology improves, innovative companies are expanding the utilization of solar energy and outdoor lighting is not left behind. By using solar panels to power outdoor lights, homeowners, businesses, neighborhoods and municipalities can save thousands of dollars by eliminating electrical and maintenance costs. Furthermore, solar panels bring the availability of light to areas where the electrical power grid is not accessible, opening up numerous possibilities.
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