Low voltage outdoor lights are used to highlight architectural features and landscaping details, making your home and yard safer and more beautiful at night. Low voltage lights can be combined with solar lights for a complete landscape lighting system.
Installing a low voltage lighting system is easy and makes a great do-it-yourself project for any homeowner. It is completely shockless and safe for use around children and pets.
The low voltage lighting system consists of three parts:
- Power Pack (transformer) — supplies the electricity
- Low voltage cable — transmits the electricity
- Low voltage lamp — the source of light
The Power Pack plugs into a standard outlet, reducing the regular household current (120 volts) to a safe 12 volts AC and has an automatic timer allowing lights to go on and off at preset times. The cable is a weather-resistant, self-sealing, insulated stranded copper wire that is available in 16, 14, and 12-gauge sizes. The final component, the lamp, offers greater economy than a conventional 120-volt lamp.
Understanding the uses of different lighting techniques will help you determine the type of lighting fixtures you will need to create the lighting plan you want – and achieve professional lighting results.
Use Your Imagination
Take a walk around your yard. Observe the different lighting effects created by the sun and moon on your home and landscaping. Notice how the highlighted elements contrast with the shadowed areas. Imagine how you can recreate these effects using the three basic lighting techniques: downlighting, backlighting and uplighting.
Things To Look For
- Steps that can become a nighttime trip-hazard
- Winding walkways that can be transformed into elegant entryways to safely guide your guests
- Driveways that can be clearly outlined
- Architectural features that can be highlighted
- Trees and bushes that can serve as focal points
- Darkened areas around doors and windows that can be used as hiding places for would be intruders
- Garden paths that can provide peaceful passageways for nighttime strolls
- Patio borders and decks that can become more festive areas for outdoor entertaining
- Statuaries and fountains that can be accented
Low Voltage Lighting Advantages
- Brightness: Produces a bright, white pool of light
- Light Output: Fixtures produce more usable light
- Power Source: 12 volt Power Pack plugs into standard receptacle
- Ease of Installation: Usually under an hour using standard tools
- Energy Efficiency: Costs only pennies a night to operate