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Outdoor Lighting Around Your Home

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 21 Apr 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Outdoor Lighting Garden Solar Lighting

When it comes to choosing outdoor lighting, there are several factors that you will need to take into consideration. For example, if you want to light an area across a driveway or sidewalk, hire a contractor to run a power supply underneath the concrete. If, however, you want to highlight a garden feature such as a tree or fountain, then you will need spotlights.

Other options include step lighting, security lighting with motion sensors and mini lights which are useful on decks and around docks. Installing low-voltage landscaping lights is both simple and inexpensive. It enhances the appearance of your home and increases safety.

Choosing the Right Light

When you are choosing a light, select one that is capable of withstanding all types of weather. Before you install additional lights onto your system, add the wattage of all the lights to make sure you don't overload the transformer. Keep the lights within 100 inches of the transformer to avoid dimming.

Installing the Lighting

Determine how many lights you'll need and where they should be installed. Then identify your power source, and determine what other electrical devices are powered by it. The transformer should be at least 1 inch above ground level. If you can't mount the transformer to the wall, drive a 3inch stake into the ground near the outlet. Mount the transformer to the stake at least 1inch above ground.

Once you've assembled the lights, run a shallow trench for the cable. Run the cable along the trench, and attach the lights to the cable. Connect the power cable to the transformer, and mount the transformer. Plug it in, and set the timer to the "on" position to check the lights. If all the lights are working, set the timer for the hours you want the lights to turn on and off. Then go around the lights and bury the cable.

Energy Efficient Lighting

Metal halide lighting and high-pressure sodium lights are a better option for outdoor lighting because they are 3 to 4 times as efficient as incandescent lights. Metal halide is the best choice when you want lighting that produces natural colours. If colour doesn't matter, choose high-pressure sodium lamps. They produce a yellowish light, but they are one of the most efficient types of lamp and they also have the longest life.

Photocells turn lights on when it is dark outside. They work well for controlling individual lights and are cheaper than time clocks. Be sure to shield photocells from other nearby lighting sources that could cause them to turn off during the night. Time clocks are more expensive, but can often be the best solution for controlling large groups of lights. Be sure to choose one that compensates for seasonal day-length and doesn't need to be reset after short power outages.

Outdoor Solar Lighting

Garden solar lighting is an environmentally friendly and economical way to dramatically enhance the beauty of any garden area. They come in a wide range of styles and designs. Solar lights require no wiring as they charge through the daytime from the sun's rays (they require a sunny position, although will gain some charge on an overcast day). Solar lights generally come on automatically at dusk, although some have a manual over-ride switch. Solar lights are ideal for marking pathways and garden features with a gentle glowing light (either amber or white), but do not provide bright surrounding light.

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