Landscape lighting rewards with instant and long-term visual dividends, as well as increases safety
The start of fall signifies an impending, yet distant change in temperature, and also notifies us that nightfall will soon arrive earlier. Whether you’re returning from work or school, as daylight savings time ends in early November, many of you will arrive home after sunset.
Your home is, no doubt, one of your largest investments. Many homeowners spend countless hours on maintenance and landscaping to distinguish their residence. Yet when darkness comes at an early hour, the beauty of their home and landscape are concealed.
Landscape lighting, one of the fastest-growing areas in the home-improvement industry, can help you get the most out of your property year round. By simply taking a walk or drive around your neighborhood, you may notice the warmth, beauty, artistry and elegance that can be attained with this property-enhancing element.
Landscape lighting is breathtaking in its beauty and provides a safe, secure and welcoming environment. It is also affordable, and is a major deterrent to residential crime.
It is available in three forms:
Solar. The advantages of solar lights are that they are energy free, inexpensive and require no wiring. The disadvantages are that they produce minimal light output, and that the fixtures have a relatively short lifespan, often failing after only a few months of use. They are unsuitable for areas that don’t receive adequate sunshine and are limited in their uses.
Line Voltage. One advantage of line voltage (household current) is the ability to use higher-wattage bulbs. The disadvantages of line voltage include higher fixture costs, increased energy bills and the need for an electrician. Line voltage must be run in conduit, buried 18-24 inches deep to meet code. Trenching to each fixture location is required, and is expensive.
Low Voltage. There are many advantages of low voltage, beginning with increased energy efficiency, lower fixture cost, lower installation cost, and since trenching is not required, the ease of ability to add fixtures and/or move fixtures. There is also no danger of electrical shock.
A common misconception with low voltage is that it means less brightness, which is simply not the case. Low-voltage lighting systems are connected to a transformer that plugs into a household outlet and reduces the household 120-volt current to a 12-volt current. A quality low-voltage system can accomplish the same effects as a more expensive in-line system.
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There are four lighting effects that can turn an ordinary landscape into a stunning work of art:
Spot light. This effect is used to accent the architecture of the home and large trees.
Well light. This effect is used to illuminate the canopy of trees and shrubs.
Flood light. This effect is used to create ambiance when strategically placed around the home and landscape. It can also be used to illuminate areas where an intruder could lurk.
Path light: This effect is used to cast soft light along drive/walkways for both safety and beauty.
When selecting components, I recommend copper or brass, as these elements offer the best quality and will last the longest, with some offering a lifetime warranty. Aluminum lights will only last a couple of years at best.
Landscape lighting that is installed by a professional and uses quality components that carry a lifetime warranty should cost 1-2 percent of your home value, and should afford a return at the time of sale.
The dramatic beauty created by the shadows of your plants dancing against the walls of your home will be aesthetically pleasing to all.
Ron Beagle is the owner of Solutions Landscape and Lighting in Rockledge. Solutions offers professional consultations personalized for your landscape, lighting, and lawn needs–serving commercial and residential properties throughout Brevard County. For more information, call (321) 544-7277 or visit www.54grass.com