Landscape lighting is a major component of any outdoor lighting plan. So it’s important to know all of your options and choose the best landscape lighting solutions for your home. That means selecting the right design and layout, as well as the right hardware, cables, and wiring to give you the most appealing nighttime visual.
The first thing to consider is your overall design. You’ll be making lots of decisions about the various aspects of your lighting plan. Starting with a specific design goal will help guide your choices as you begin. It will also ensure that your final product produces the stunning visual you had hoped for.
Once you have a design, you will need to make a bunch of choices about how to achieve your desired look. Will you be using spotlighting or floodlighting? Will you be using halogen or LED lighting? What wattage do you need? Where will you lay the cables? Will you use hubs to centralize your cabling?
Each decision must me made with the final plan in mind, so that you end up with the lighting solution that reflects your original design.
NightVision Outdoor Lighting designers and installers are experts in their field and can help you to design and build the very best lighting installation for your home, needs, and budget.
Landscape Lighting Design
Landscape lighting design works on a simple premise. First, you start with a dark canvas. From there, you want to highlight unique or beautiful features of your landscape to give them prominence. Finally, you want to arrange your lighting so that it creates new and interesting shapes in light and shadow that add visual appeal to your home.
This may sound a bit complicated, but the professionals at NightVision Outdoor Lighting have years of experience designing stunning lighting designs for Atlanta homes. You can be sure that working with a designer from NightVIsion Outdoor Lighting you will come up with a lighting solution that is unique to your home and highlights all the best aspects of your landscaping. Your designer will also make sure that your final lighting design is beautiful, safe, and functional.
Functional Goals of Landscape Lighting Design
It may seem like a challenge to come up with just the right landscape lighting design, but there are some rather simple goals to keep in mind. As you meet each of these goals, you will find your design coming together all on its own.
- Safety. A little light goes a long way in making your home safer to navigate at night. Light up walkways. Highlight possible obstacles.
- Security. A well lit home is a deterrent to possible invasion. If someone does try to get into your home uninvited, good lighting will help to identify and apprehend an intruder before they can do any damage.
- Beauty. You work hard on every aspect of your home’s appearance, and you want that hard work to continue to shine at night. Good landscape lighting highlights the features you love during the day and can even create new features of light and shadow to enhance the beauty of your home at night.
- Functionality. Good landscape lighting lets you enjoy more of your home for more hours of the day. Pools, gardens, and decks are all more enjoyable when properly lit.
- Economy. Good landscape lighting design will take into consideration energy usage and the number and placement of lights to ensure the most efficient use of energy and materials.
- Environment. A properly designed landscape lighting solution will be environmentally friendly. That doesn’t just mean energy savings. Consider issues such as light pollution and light trespass to make sure that your lighting does its job without negatively impacting your neighbors or the environment.
Halogen Versus LED Landscape Lighting
Until recently, most outdoor lighting used Tungsten Halogen lamps. (A “lamp” is the technical term for the bulb in an outdoor lighting fixture.) Halogen lamps have a lot of advantages over the older incandescent lamps. They are more energy efficient and lasted longer. But they still produce a lot of heat and have a limited lifespan, ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 hours. They also require a very limited voltage range, only 10v to 12v.
Then came LEDs. LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) use a lot less energy, as little as 85% of the energy used by a halogen lamp. They also operate coolly, creating very little heat.
An LED lamp also has an extremely long lifespan–40,000 to 60,000 hours–so they are basically good for life. In fact, LEDs don’t burn out like traditional halogen or incandescent lamps. Instead, they slowly lose their brightness. An LED that produces 70% of the light it produced originally it is generally considered “dead”.
NightVision Outdoor Lighting uses only LED lamps in their installations. The savings in energy and replacement costs are well worth the investment, and the cost of LEDs continues to drop. Plus, because NightVision Outdoor Lighting buys its lamps and other equipment in bulk, they can pass along those savings to you.
Landscape Lighting Installation
Once your NightVision Outdoor Lighting design specialist has worked with you to come up with a plan for your Atlanta home, their in house installation experts will begin their work. These experts will take care of the installation completely, but here is a little rundown of the process.
The first step in landscape lighting installation is to lay out the locations of all the lights. Start with a loose installation, putting each fixture in the ground just part way, without driving the stakes all the way into the ground, so they can be moved if needed during the installation.
Once the lights are laid out, place the transformer next to its final installation location. If the transformer will be on a post against the wall of the house, put it on a small bucket to simulate its final location.
With the transformer in place, dig 6” trenches for the cables leading to each fixture. This is where some thoughtful design comes in. You don’t want to put too many fixtures on a single line of cable or you risk low wattage. A general rule is to use 100’ of cable for 100 watts of light. Use a voltage meter to make sure you have sufficient voltage at each fixture.
You can use direct burial connectors to connect each fixture to the cable. Or you can use hubs to connect several fixtures in a lighting area back to the home run wire. That can aid in troubleshooting if one wire fails. Make sure to leave 3’ of extra cable at each fixture in case it has to be moved in the future.
Checking Your Lights
Make sure that all the fixtures are connected to the cable. Then you can connect the home run wire to the transformer and plug the transformer into the outlet. With the transformer turned on, check that all of the fixtures are working. You can use a voltage meter to ensure that each fixture is getting the right voltage, 9-15v for LEDs. Connect the home run wire to a higher voltage tap if the voltage is too low. (The transformer should have a higher and lower voltage option.)
Once the lights are all working, bury the cables and you are good to go.
Of course, with NightVision Outdoor Lighting you won’t have to do any of this, but it’s good to know what your installer will be doing. There are also other factors that may affect installation. For instance, it is best practice to protect underground cables with some kind of conduit. Your expert installers will take care of all of these details.
Contact NightVision Outdoor Lighting today to start on your landscape lighting project.