Outdoor Electrical Lighting For The Great Outdoors

Outdoor Lighting: Guide to Illumination

Nights are not meant to stay only at home, but head outdoor for work or my time. To make this possible it is necessary to have quality outdoor lighting. Today, OUTDOOR LIGHT is not limited to home space but used by offices, stores and other areas where security at night is a concern. It offers an added advantage of enhancing looks of the place. Walk through this outdoor lighting guide to understand the different types of light, their application and more.

Flood Lights

To remove darkness from your walking path, nooks, and corners, you need to have flood light. It is a wide-spanning light that floods the large area with high-intensity light that saves people from falling and bumping into things in the dark. It is also referred to as security light since the broad beam leaves no scope for criminal activities such as robbery and damage. It is generally installed in parks, parking area, stadium, driveway, and aisle.

Things to consider

You can choose from the NORMAL FLOOD LIGHTS and LED FLOOD LIGHTS (latter being the better option). Before making a purchase, you must select the color of light and brightness well depending upon the place and purpose of installation

How to install?

Installation needs some effort irrespective of the brand you buy. Whether you are a professional or not, you need to follow these steps for easy installation

Read the installation manual received with the light

Select a high point for installation and a power source to turn in on/off

Drill hole for the electrical cable to pass through and connect with a power source

Do a testing after installation

Garden Light

Garden light or path light is the most common form of landscape light. It highlights the path to watch your step as you move in a private or public garden. GARDEN LIGHTS are of different forms such as wall lights installed on walls as lamps or post light installed on a small post in garden, driveway or a pond. These are generally installed for decorative purposes instead of focused lighting.

Things to consider

It entirely depends on you to choose from the post or wall lights. You can use both depending on the place of installation since both serve a different purpose. Also, check for the right style of garden light that is in sync with the garden our landscape design.

How to design the Perfect Outdoor Lighting Setting

It was only a hundred years or so ago that electrical lighting was a luxury, not something virtually everyone in the Western world enjoyed. Today, advancements in light bulb technology mean we can illuminate our homes using a fraction of the electricity of the past. But are we really limited to just brightening our homes? Landscape lighting is an increasingly common way for homeowners to brighten up their outdoor setting when the sun goes down

When done correctly, outdoor lighting can highlight the most attractive aspects of you home, help discourage intruders and even add value to the house itself. That said, it can also be done ham-fistedly, ruining an otherwise subtle and elegant effect. In this article we take a look at some ways you can illuminate your yard without going overboard, with exceptional results.

Plan

Sticking a bunch of superfluous lights into your background can be a wasteful process, which is why it’s important to consider the best forms of lighting for the job. Low voltage systems can draw a very low amount of power, making them environmentally conscious. Take the time to sit down and think about where the best spots to place the lights might be. Taking the time to plan a strategy won’t just make sure your system looks the best it can, it will also ensure you don’t end up placing too many separate lights around the place. In landscape lighting more is less. Too many separate light sources can start to look unnatural and will draw more power than necessary. Go for understatement rather than overstatement.

Needs

There is no specific norm when considering outdoor lighting: you can go as big or as small as you like. If you only want to illuminate a couple of walking paths or highlight a bush or two, then you may be able to avoid using mains connected electrical lighting entirely. Solar lighting fixtures can be a great alternative if your needs are not so extensive. They won’t shine quite as brightly as electrical lights, and on overcast days they may fail to light up at all. However if you live in a sunny area they are often highly effective. Their soft glow is very conducive to subtly illuminate a flower bed without muting colours.

Moonlight mimicking

This is related to the art of understatement. The most elegant effect to go for when designing an outdoor lighting feature is to mimic the look of moonlight. If done correctly this will have create a delicate, natural look and evoke feelings of serenity and pleasantness. A full moon can throw up dramatic shadow effects and even provide enough light to see by, so a system which mimics such an effect can be very desirable. Moonlight can add a huge level of atmosphere to an otherwise bland outdoor space.

How To Design Your 12 Volt Outdoor Lighting System

Vocabulary

Fixture – a housing and the electrical components contained in that housing, a luminaire.

Lamp – a light bulb.

Transformer – an electrical power source; this device is required to operate any low voltage fixture, in this case 12-volts.

Circuit – a closed, usually circular electrical line that leaves a transformer (positive) and returns to the transformer (common)

Design Voltage – the amount of voltage a fixture is designed to operate on; the actual voltage that you supply may be more or less depending on the wiring method.

Fixture and Lamp Selection

The fixtures and lamps are selected after determining which features of your landscaping are to be used. Decorative fixtures will be placed in plain sight; otherwise, conceal the light source when possible.

Bullet/Directional Lights – These designs help focus and direct the light beams. Some also cut off glare and protect the lamp and socket from debris and moisture.

Area/Path/Bollard Lights – These low level units are designed to cast illumination in a broader pattern for: flower beds, perimeter plantings, driveways, steps and paths.

In-ground/Well Lights – Burying these fixtures flush with the ground conceals the light source. Use for up-lighting trees and shrubs, an grazing textured walls.

Accent/Spot Lights – Versatile/adjustable fixtures used for up-lighting, cross lighting, accenting and grazing. When mounted high up provide focused down-lighting and moonlighting.

Deck/Step/Brick Lights – These wall mount fixtures light pathways, steps, garden walks, deck and pool areas.

Incandescent lamps are the standard type commonly used around the home. They are inexpensive but yield less light than other bulbs. Halogen and Quartz lamps are a compact light source which provides a consistently bright light. These are available as a reflector (MR) and as a projector (PAR) type for controlling the direction of the light. These fit into smaller and less obtrusive fixtures.

Mounting Method

The mounting method is determined by the location of the fixture. Metal canopies allow you to mount fixtures to a deck or soffit, while plastic stakes are for mounting into the ground. There is an extensive variety of selection in mounting hardware, so check to see which kind is offered with your light fixture.

Power Cable

It is important to note that the cable referred to in this document is two-pronged; i.e., there are two independent wires inside. The cable lengths in your design will determine many further aspects of your lighting system. You want a cable wire that will deliver the best voltage to each individual fixture, and the best method for selecting this cable begins with a layout of your project. Be sure to include all landscape features, buildings, individual light fixtures, and power supplies in your drawing

How To Create A Landscape Lighting Installation Plan

Laying out an installation plan for a low voltage landscape lighting system is fairly straightforward, but it does require knowing a few things. This article covers the main steps and gives guidance and tips to ensure a successful installation.

The Basic Layout

There are four main components to a landscape lighting system.

Low Voltage Transformer. This is the power supply for the system. Ideally, it is mounted to a stand near the house, or attached directly to the structure – keep in mind the bottom of the transformer needs to be at least 12″ from the ground. Alternatively, the transformer could be located inside the house – usually the basement or garage. But running the wires through the wall requires the skills of an electrician since special codes apply. Outdoor installation is preferred.

Landscape Lighting Fixtures. These are, of course, the producers of light. They get their power from the transformer. Each lighting fixture contains a light source – either an integrated (built-in) LED source or a replaceable lamp (bulb). The lamp could be the older incandescent (usually halogen) type or it could be an LED lamp. The voltage supplied to the fixtures is critical and we will discuss that later.

Landscape Lighting Wire. This is the wire (cable) that connects the transformer (and supplies power) to the lighting fixtures. The wire is rated according to the size of its conductors. Selecting the proper size wire is one of the most important aspects of the lighting plan.

Splices. The wire from the transformer needs to connect to the wires from the fixtures. These connections can be made in several ways that involve any of various connector types

Steps

1. Start a Sketch. Most lighting designers begin their layout by creating a rough sketch of the property – or several sketches, one for each area. Try to be as accurate as possible with your sketch because you will be using it to help estimate distances for wire runs. You can use a blank piece of paper or graph paper. Attach this to a clipboard so you can walk the property and sketch as you go along.

2. Set Transformer Location. The best placement for the transformer is usually next to the house in a hidden location (behind a garden bed, near air conditioning equipment, etc.) It should be as close as possible to the fixture locations. Sometimes it makes sense to use more than one transformer – especially when fixtures are situated throughout a large property. If multiple transformers are used then create a separate plan for each one. Mark transformer locations on your sketch.

3. Set Fixture Locations. Before you install any fixtures in the property, mark their approximate positions in the landscape using small flags or pencils. Indicate the positions on your sketch and mark what fixture types will go at each location. As you walk the property, make rough measurements to indicate the distances between fixtures and the transformer, and between the fixtures themselves.

4. Determine Wire Runs. Now, the task is to plan how to provide power to the fixtures. There are many wiring methods available. You don’t want to run a single wire from each fixture to the transformer – 20 fixtures, 20 wires all ending at the transformer – that would waste a lot of wire. Instead, we minimize the total amount of wire by using one of the following wiring methods.

Daisy Chain. This method connects all fixtures like flowers on a chain (hence “Daisy Chain”). The first fixture connects to the transformer. The challenge with this method is that the voltage on this low-voltage current decreases with distance. That means the first fixture may have 12 volts while the last fixture may have 9 volts. That’s OK for VOLT LED lights because they have an acceptable voltage range of 8V to 15V. However, that would be a potential issue for halogen lights because they have a very narrow range (10V to 12V).

T-Method. This method is identical to the daisy chain except the transformer connects to a fixture in the middle of the chain. The overall voltage loss is the same but this method is used primarily to save on the amount of wire used in the project.

Hub Method. This method sends each wire run to a Hub Junction. From the junction, a single wire runs to each fixture. This was the preferred method for incandescent lights because it ensures equal voltage at all fixtures. Since LEDs have a wide range of acceptable voltage (8V t 15V), the Hub method is not preferred because it uses more wire than other methods. It does, however, dramatically reduce the number of splices in the field – a big time-saving advantage.

Combination Method. The preferred method for most LED systems because it combines the other methods to conserve wire, reduce splices, and make installations easier and faster. While this may seem to complicate things, it’s actually a simple approach

Tips on Selecting the best method:

Use the Hub Method when: Fixtures are grouped in a small area such as in a garden bed.

Use the Daisy Chain Method when: Fixtures are not grouped and can be easily connected in a chain. Note that you can consider a Hub just like a single fixture – put it into your daisy chain.

Use the T-Method when: You have built a daisy chain in the field and want to connect it to the transformer from the middle of the chain – at whatever point saves you the most wire.

Use the Combined Method when: You want to use any of the above methods in combination. You have a lot of flexibility with LED lighting systems – wide acceptable voltage range and low wattage – these make for minimal voltage loss and less concern about what method you use.

Outdoor Wall Lights

Outdoor wall lights shouldn’t just illuminate your home, but also protect and ward off unwanted visitors — find out which one is right for you

Choosing outdoor wall lights for your home is an important task. Nobody wants to install an eye-sore on the outside of the house, but also taking into consideration security, motion sensors, weatherproofing and, of course, cost can be confusing.

We’ve all been in the garden waving madly to trigger a floodlight sensor, or fumbling around in the darkness to put the key in the lock because the automatic timer hasn’t worked — finding a good-quality light is half the battle and can massively impact the enjoyment of your outside spaces.

If you’re searching for a sleek light with a warm white hue and a motion sensor for a reasonable price, look no more. Boasting a solar panel along the top and an integrated sensor, the outdoor wall light can be simply installed outside an entryway without the need for any electrical work.

offers three different modes (four if you include off), allowing the solar energy to be reserved when not required, but a bright and powerful automatic illumination to deter unwanted visitors:

Automatic light output of 75 lumens after dark

75 lumens after dark, plus when a movement is registered an increase to 400 lumens

Dormant which can output 600 lumens when a movement is registered