BEST-OF-HOUZZ-2016

Enjoy Your Landscape, Even After Dark!

 

By Tony Catanzaro

 

As winter approaches and the days get shorter and shorter many people that work and commute never see their homes in daylight hours. It is a well proven fact gardening and viewing gardens/landscaping is a soothing way to unwind. With the modern low voltage lighting systems available today our homes can be very welcoming and soothing in the dark.

 

Unfortunately most home owners and many landscape professionals overlook all the benefits of low voltage lighting in our landscapes. By adding a well designed system we can improve safety and security, illuminate our entry sequence, highlight our best features in the landscape, and set up dramatic “scenes”.

 

Many homeowners equate low voltage lighting with those plastic pathway lights available at the large home improvement centers. These are often poorly made and improperly installed. I recommend a professional installer (usually a landscape contractor in conjunction with a licensed electrician) who understands your landscape, uses a quality product line and has factory training from the manufacturer in low voltage lighting design and installation.

 

A good lighting design will avoid the “runway” effect of merely lining lights up and down walks and drives. Up lights into tree canopies highlighting the mature trees around the home can ad a dramatic element as well as provide needed lighting. Spot lights or mini spots can be placed high up in trees shining down on an object, plant or doorway. Light can be grazed up a stone wall or a homes siding for still another effect. Underwater fixtures are great for ponds and fountains. Tired of guessing if your burger is fully cooked? How about installing a barbeque light fixture? Of course there are many other techniques used these examples are just to get you thinking of the possibilities at your home.

 

Today’s transformers have sensors that automatically activate the lights when it gets dark. This eliminates the need to constantly reset the clock for different times of year.

Many transformers come with varied volt outputs that are used for different length runs and or when many fixtures or grouped together. This is important because with low voltage the “voltage drop” over a distance must be calculated and adjusted for. This can be the difference between a good job and a great job.

 

Filters and lenses are available to help hide the light source and ad color. Adding color can be a great way to set the mood for special occasions such as a holiday party. Changing a lens is fast and easy, unless it is 30 feet up in a tree. By the way many manufacturers make 10,000 hour lamps for their fixtures. These cost more but can be well worth it with those hard to reach fixtures.

 

I hope this introduction to low voltage lighting systems has sparked an interest. Lighting in the landscape is practical, functional, and beautiful. It allows us to enjoy our gardens and landscapes longer and even lets us view them from indoors when the weather keeps us in. I am sure this is something that we all can benefit from.

 

Let Regency design and install your Low Voltage system and contact us today!

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