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LED Landscape Lighting,Plan,Techniques,Lighting Styles

2015-08-06 23:27:49   Views:

LED Landscape Lighting,Plan,Techniques,Lighting Styles

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LED Landscape Lighting,Plan,Techniques,Lighting Styles.

Just as you enjoy your yard or deck during the day, landscape lighting will extend your pleasure as long as you wish into the evening.

A few well-placed lights around trees, plants and structures will transform your landscape into a totally new and intriguing outdoor room.

Because landscape lighting is done with low voltage systems, meaning there is no shock hazard, you can safely install the system yourself. You will find all the necessary components at an OSH near you.

LED Landscape Lighting ,Plan Ahead

The first planning step is to walk around your yard at twilight to consider where you and your guests will most enjoy sitting. Because shade and sunlight are no longer factors, your evening preferences may be different than during the day, so consider several locations.

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Your decision will be influenced by items you will you wish to accent, including bushes, trees, statues, walls, pathways and stairs.

Once you have a general concept in mind, make a scale drawing of your yard. Use 1/4-inch graph paper and make each square equal one foot. This plan will be particularly useful in determining the location and styles of different light fixtures and the needed wattage.

Measure the width and depth of your yard and mark the locations of trees and bushes and anything else you might want to highlight, such as brick walls, statues or a pond. Sketch in all patios or decks, steps and walkways.

LED Lighting Techniques

Landscape lighting should be subtle. Instead of trying to light everything, let shadows create a sense of intimacy and peacefulness. Good landscape lighting seeks to enhance outstanding features in your yard with a mix of light and shadow, not hit them with searchlights.

Subtleness is particularly important in the front yard. You need adequate lighting on walks, steps and the driveway area, but do this without annoying the neighbors. Use lower wattage bulbs and keep them well shielded. It’s better to have several dim lights than one or two bright ones.

The back yard, where you will likely spend most of your outdoor evenings, will be the centerpiece of your landscape lighting plan. Fortunately, with outdoor lighting it’s easy to move lights around as you experiment with different types of fixtures and bulbs.

LED Lighting Styles

Different lighting styles result in different effects, depending on what you want to light. Any or all of these can be combined in different ways.

Spot lighting: Here a bright light is focused on one single element in your yard, bringing it into sharp focus and making it a center point.

Back lighting: The light is placed behind the object, casting a glow around it. This can be useful when bushes are located near walls; the backlighting aimed at the wall makes an attractive plant stand out in dark profile.

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Cross lighting: The object is lit from two or three different angles, with one light being brighter than the other two. This gives the object more three-dimensional vibrancy. This is great on statues or on fir trees.

Grazing lighting: Here the light just grazes the object, casting any irregularities into sharp relief. This is commonly used to light stone or brick walls.

Moon lighting: Most effective in large deciduous trees, the fixture is mounted high in the tree to cast a gentle, spreading light down, as does a full moon.

Up or down lighting: Up lighting is typically placed under a deciduous tree or large bush. Down lighting can be use in a tree, from a fence or the house eaves.

Solar lights: There is an ever-expanding array of solar lights available, from lighting pathways to hanging in trees.

Problems to Avoid

Here are some common landscape lighting problems to avoid:

Lack of variety: Too often, a homeowner installs one or two up lights under trees and perhaps a spot on a rose bush. Don’t bee too simplistic. Use as wide a variety of lights as necessary, including spots, up and down lights and shadow effects.

Light pollution: If the lighting seems intrusive and glaring, it’s light pollution. Too much light is also pollution. Remember to keep the lighting subtle and suggestive.

Unbalanced: Lighting one area too much and another too little can essentially divide the yard. If you sense that is the case, move lights around or add some more until you find the right balance.

Necessary Equipment

All landscape lighting essentially uses the same type of components, but there is a wide variety of styles and quality. Your budget is always important, but it’s advisable to select high quality materials from the beginning, even if you initially buy fewer elements. They will last much longer and you can always add more lights later.

Low voltage lighting kits, which include a transformer and a dozen or so light fixtures, are quick and easy. You just plug in the transformer, connect the wires to the fixtures, and the system is ready. But by buying individual lighting elements, you can build a more customized system.

Here is what you will need:

Transformer: All low voltage landscape lighting begins with a transformer that converts ordinary 120-volt household current into safe 12-volt electricity. The transformer is mounted outside near an outlet and then the low voltage wires run from there to the light fixtures.

Transformers are listed by their wattage capacities, usually from 50 to 1,000 watts. They also usually come with two or more circuits. To determine what size you need, add up all the wattage in the light bulbs you plan to use (see below), and then buy a transformer that will carry at least 50 percent more wattage because you will almost certainly eventually wish to expand the system.

Bulb: Available low voltage lighting includes the standard incandescent bulbs, LED (light emitting diodes) and halogen bulbs. Incandescent bulbs will last 500 to 1,000 hours while the much brighter halogens will last from 1,000 to 4,000 hours. LED lights, which have improved dramatically in recent years, are excellent choices for your system.

Using your plan, determine what you want to light and then select a sufficient number of bulbs and fixtures for the project. In general, 35 watts is more than sufficient for spot lighting or up and down lightings. 20 watts will give you a more subtle effect. For pathways and stairs, 20 watts are most effective. Use 20 watts also on walls and flood lighting.

Light fixtures: Fixtures come in a dizzying array of materials and styles, from plastic to bronze, from hanging to sunken, from antique looks to sleek modern. Again, select the best quality, such as metal rather than plastic, even if you buy fewer at the start. You can add more as your budget allows.

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Here are some primary light fixtures for specific uses:

1. Well lights are placed in a depression or hole to shine up with no glare to the viewer’s eyes.

2. Flood lights cast a wide beam to over a large area. Use sparingly.

3. Underwater lights greatly enhance ponds or fountains.

4. Mushroom lights with conical €hats€ are excellent near low-growing flowers, plants and walkways.

5. Spotlights focus on one object; use two or three of them for cross lighting effects.

6. Moonlights are a type of flood, commonly placed high in trees.

Wire: Simple landscape lighting, particularly in kits, comes with 14-gauge wire. This is sufficient for up to 200 watts capacity. If building your own system, choose the thicker 12-gauge wire, which allows you to install more lights at greater distance.


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