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Landscape Lighting Guide

Updated: 07/07/2024
Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is nothing new, but over the years, styles, designs, features, and technology have changed dramatically. When lighting of this type was first introduced to the public, it was used primarily for commercial purposes. At that time, lighting was helpful for security, often used to illuminate walkways, isolated areas around buildings, and occasionally to highlight a tree, flowerbed, statue, or something else of interest.

However, with growing popularity, landscape lighting made its way to residential use, and today, it is considered not only a safety feature but also an excellent way to enhance the overall look of a home from the outside. Just as landscape lighting transitioned from commercial to residential, it has also transitioned from conventional to extraordinary. With popularity at an all-time high, manufacturers have captured the moment by designing and developing some unique options.

Landscape Lighting Options

Of course, solar landscape lighting is by far one of the most popular choices simply because of convenience and cost savings. However, the design of solar lighting has changed so the newer options have waterproof housing. Earlier models would eventually fail or experience problems after becoming wet too many times, so manufacturers went back to the drawing board to create something that was more efficient but also more stylish.

Another huge change in landscape lighting includes options that support the green movement. With so many people getting involved to do whatever they can to support a healthier and more vibrant planet, it was only a matter of time before landscape lighting would embrace this movement. Interestingly, LED landscape lighting now being offered was something considered many years ago, but the idea had to catch up with technology.

Landscape lighting is also available with changing lights. When used to spotlight one particular area of vegetation, a tree, or even a part of the house, the changing light creates a mesmerizing display of color that is something different from any other house on the block would have. Of course, installing landscape lighting of this type is also beautiful around a garden pond or swimming pool. With colored light reflecting off the water, it creates something gorgeous.

Regardless of the landscape lighting you are interested in, the key when buying is to remember the home’s architectural features. In fact, some of the most gorgeous homes that use outdoor lighting have been able to incorporate a variety of different lighting features according to the features of the home. For instance, a textured wall or fence could grace a focused beam, submersible lights work great in ponds and pools, and low-voltage lights beneath stairs add something while also making the stairs safer to climb.

Some of the other popular choices for landscape lighting used today include lower lighting around bench seating or hanging lights on a deck or patio. The great thing about hanging lights is that they come in hundreds of designs as well as colors. For homes with outdoor activity areas, a number of beautifully designed lights could be strategically placed so post-dusk activities could be enjoyed while enhancing the space with landscape lighting.

What to Look for In Outdoor Landscape Lighting

If you want to enhance the outdoor area of your home with new lighting but have no clue what to look for or the type of outdoor landscape lighting that would work best, the information provided in this article will help. Today, the market is flooded with thousands of possibilities. Some lighting systems are sophisticated and elegant, while others are low-key and casual. Of course, lighting systems could cost as little as $30 to $10,000 or more, depending on the brand, design, style, number, system, etc. Feeling confused with so many choices is expected, but by considering your specific needs, you would be able to focus your attention on the right type of outdoor landscape lighting.

If your goal were to have a lighting system that is inexpensive to operate but also a system that looks nice and provides soft illumination, low-voltage outdoor landscape lighting would be perfect. This type of system runs on 12 volts and consists of the actual light fixtures, as well as a transformer and electrical cable. When buying, it would be important to choose a system that has a transformer capable of handling a minimum of 25% more wattage than the total wattage of lamps on the system. As an example, if you found an outdoor landscape lighting system such as this that has 12 fixtures, each with 20-watt output, the transformer would need to accommodate 300 watts.

Another thing to consider is the actual design of the fixture. If you decide to use outdoor landscape lighting such as this, you will be amazed at the incredible options. For instance, these fixtures come in baroque style, contemporary designs that are tall and elegant, brass with a country look, and more. Although you could choose whatever you like, for the best look on the outside of the home, we recommend you choose fixtures that would complement the architecture or era of the home. That way, the outdoor landscape lighting would mesh with the home for a cohesive look.

Next, never feel you are locked into a single style of outdoor landscape lighting. A common misconception is that everything outside has to match, and while that is one option, you can create a much more beautiful appearance by incorporating several different lighting solutions. In other words, you could use low voltage to run along a driveway or up a stairway up to the door, submersed and color-changing lights in a pond, floating lights in the swimming pool, and hanging lights on the patio. With this, you get the illumination needed, enhance the architectural features of the home, and still add interest.

Outdoor landscape lighting can also be used to add a flair for drama. With the right lighting, a shadow would be cast that creates an unusual effect. For instance, if you have a special flowerbed, statue, water feature, or something else of particular interest, consider shadows, as well as backlights, as a perfect way to emphasize outlines and silhouettes. Using outdoor landscape lighting such as this would offer something subtle, but then, for increased security, you could go with a brighter type of lighting system around the garage and entry door areas. Just remember that regardless of the outdoor landscape lighting system you choose, it should have appeal from the outside and inside.

Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

While you have multiple options for outdoor lighting, one of the most popular and fastest-growing is low-voltage landscape lighting. Not only is lighting of this type beautiful, but it is also practical. Today, everyone is looking for ways to save money, even when it comes to outdoor illumination. Therefore, having an option for lighting with an allure that provides good security and is cost-efficient would be considered the perfect solution.

Although low-voltage landscape lighting could be used virtually anywhere outdoors because it is so easy to install, this makes an excellent choice when trying to illuminate areas around the property that tend to be dark. That way, areas that could be of potential risk are not more secure, but with the way these lighting systems are, the area now looks more beautiful, so two goals were accomplished.

When low-voltage landscape lighting is properly installed, it creates a softer glow than you would get from other lighting solutions. Because of this, the lighting offers architectural benefits that you simply cannot get with any other landscaping lighting system on the market. In fact, most people agree that in addition to being practical, low-voltage landscape lighting has elegance. While this lighting could be used for any style of home or level for formality, it is most beautiful when used for entertaining.

Literally hundreds of different brands are sold, but one of the top choices for low-voltage landscape lighting is NiteLites. These fixtures are simply stunning with their solid brass and copper design. The metal is carefully etched to ensure the lighting system never rusts or chips. Although this particular brand costs more than some people spend, it also offers years of maintenance-free enjoyment.

Keep in mind that when it comes to low-voltage landscape lighting, a full high-end system could run $5,000 or more. However, because lighting of this type has become so popular, manufacturers have been able to recreate the more expensive designs into beautiful options that fit into any budget. That way, for $1,000 or less, the entire outside area of the home could be transformed with the perfect amount of illumination.

Of course with low voltage landscape lighting made for easier installation, a system could be installed by you instead of hiring a contractor. The process is not overly complicated, although it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure perfect operation. Usually, a day of dedication would have the entire system in the ground ready to use.

Finally, the versatility that low-voltage landscape lighting provides is a huge benefit. Some lighting systems are designed specifically for one purpose or to illuminate one area of the property, but lighting of this type can be installed anywhere while enhancing the area. Low-voltage landscape lighting beefs up security, creates an elegant look, is a cost-efficient solution, and produces the perfect amount of illumination, which makes it the ideal choice for everyone.

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