Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting
Makes Life Better

by guest writer Ora Lee Gurr

Low voltage outdoor lighting is one of the most wonderful inventions of modern times. Not only did it fill the desire for green outside lighting, it also resolved the issue of lower cost outside lighting while keeping porches, decks, yards and pathways safe at night. Lovely garden paths are safe at night while enjoying the peace and beauty of the evening.

Some of the most beautiful things in the yard are the statues, birdbaths and ceramic or marble planters arrayed around the property. Low voltage landscape lighting kits make inspired area lighting very simple for experienced do-it-yourselfers and relatively uncomplicated for the casual home project person.

Popularity of inexpensive lighting created a market of many types of solar lights and chances are good that you have several varieties in your yard. Beautiful lanterns hanging from tall posts, flat domes that lay by the clover in the garden and stakes with lights on the top grace many areas.

There are painted-glass looks, butterflies that change colors and twinkle lights, all powered by the sun. When we look at the enormous variety, a question comes to mind about using low voltage outdoor lighting while still minimizing the impact on the power bill and maintaining the ambience.

The answer is low voltage outdoor lighting and there are a few reasons it is a great feature for all of us. Having low voltage landscape lighting kits on the property is an advantage because it:

  1. Allows lights to be strung together
  2. Provides light in shady areas where solar lights do not work
  3. Gives safer lighting
  4. Brighter lighting than solar
  5. Works with solar lights to create a well-balanced system of outdoor lighting
  6. Thanks to great instructions, installation is easy even if one person does the job.

The low voltage landscape lighting transformer is the key feature in keeping lighting economical. Also known as the power pack, it gets the electricity to the lights. Plug the transformer into an ordinary 120-volt outlet, better known as 110 current to most of us. It converts the electrical current to 12 volts AC (think automobile battery). Any power used for lights is significantly less than normal and because there is an automatic timer, lights will go on and turn off at owner-set times. Since the solar lights last all night, there is still light, with more provided at the desired times.

Three things that homeowners focus on when thinking about do-it-yourself projects are why they want whatever the project is, where they feel the best place is for it and any safety aspects of projects. Perhaps you noticed your friend's yard was lit up more brightly than usual when you dropped by for a barbecue last week.

Observing how the edge of the deck and the borders around flower gardens, the patio and pool brightened everything up and made it fun to be outdoors in the evening resulted in your mentioning how impressive it was. One comment led to an explanation and more or less a walk-through of the landscaping and the low voltage outdoor lighting that took place to make things so much nicer.

Another friend had mentioned hearing about the darker areas of the property that solar lights, streetlights and even natural light, like the sun and the moon, cannot reach. Walking around the yard showed areas where trees had grown over the years and bushes clumped more together. The growth was expected, but the heavy shade unplanned or considered.

Low voltage outdoor lighting was an unfamiliar commodity and solar lighting did not work away from the sun. That brought up the question of safety, which led to the decision to install low voltage landscape lighting kits to provide the right amount of light without creating a distraction.

The low voltage landscape lighting transformer sends the electricity to a cable. The cable is insulated stranded copper wire in various-gauge sizes. Not only is it weather-resistant, it is also self-sealing. It truly is easy to connect the cable to the lamp, which produces the brightness needed in the area it is placed.

You save money on the cost of electricity and still have the benefit of quality lighting. In addition, the lights are shockproof, so kids and pets can safely play in the area. Make the groups of light smaller and plan to lay the cable in an organized fashion, rather than zigzagging and going back and forth.

Other safety features of low voltage outdoor lighting are preventive measures to avoid:

  • Winding walkways that lead family and guests off the track
  • Driveways that are not noticeable and deep in shadow
  • Dark steps that trip or are missed altogether at night

There are formulas, of course, that help determine the style and amount of lights needed and where the bright white circle of light should go. More than one style of low voltage landscape lighting transformer is available and several sizes of cable. After deciding on the style, size and number of lights, check out the guides on the net or a local major home improvement center. There is always going to be someone who says it is a piece of cake and only takes minutes to install.

Ask knowledgeable friends for assistance and have the materials and tools set out ready to go. Follow the guidelines to get the most effective light from the low voltage landscape lighting kits. By not putting a drain on any system, the lights will remain bright and cheerful. Follow the procedure of calling utility companies about digging. Even though you are just going to put the cable under the surface of the soil, it is always best to get the all clear first.

This individual project adds safety to the home and property value to the neighborhood, mostly because of the safety feature. The low voltage outdoor lighting project does not have to be rushed. Take the time to make it perfect.

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