Brenda Pittman. Landscape Lighting. December 07th , 2017.
Besides the lighting method there is also the consideration of the type of light. There are both solar powered and traditional electric powered landscape lighting options. Solar lighting is powered by the sun and are fairly easy to set up. Some solar lights include a solar panel for power. However, there is no digging to install electric. Electric lights are more reliable, though. They do require the burying of electrical wires, however, new wireless models require no wires at all and are as easy to set up as solar lighting. With electric, though, there is the cost of electricity where with solar lights there is no extra utility cost.
There are a few things to avoid in regards to landscape lighting. When there are too many lights lighting up your property it will look too garish and you do not want that. You basically only want to bring out the most interesting aspects of your landscape features, structures, and/or special areas. When you place lights along a pathway do not line them up evenly, alternate them for each side and make sure they are spaced according to what the manufacturer recommends.
Products - The types of materials a contractor uses is a good way to identify quality work. Generally speaking the typical big box stores dont sell the quality of fixtures that youd want to purchase if you want to get the most out of your lighting system. Go to your local hardware store to see what they offer and then ask to see a sample of what your lighting designer is proposing to install. Youll know right away just by holding the fixture how it compares. Ive seen countless projects where whoever installed it used good quality fixtures and a professional grade transformer but the results were just OK or worse. What Ive never seen is someone who used cheap fixtures and a standard 12v transformer but the results were amazing. For the best results you should avoid installers using these inferior products. Most lighting designers will have their preferred choice of fixture that they use most of the time but you should also be weary of someone who exclusively uses one manufacturers fixtures on all their projects. A talented lighting designer will be familiar with a large amount of the products and fixtures on the market, all of these fixtures become tools in their arsenal to create the perfect design. Just as a fisherman may have just a couple favorite lures, he still has a tackle box full of lures that hes tested over the years and reaches for on occasion.
Referrals - A quality lighting designer should have plenty of referrals for you to review. These referrals should be specific to the person not the company. Just because a company employs one individual thats put together a portfolio of pictures and referrals for the company doesnt mean the person trying to sell you a lighting system is capable of the same caliber of design. These referrals can be customers you can call that can personally attest to their experience with the person designing your project as well as addresses of homes you can drive past to preview their work first hand. The nice thing about landscape lighting is that a homeowner doesnt have to welcome you as a stranger into their home in order to see the work that their landscape lighting professional did, you can simply drive past and see for yourself. Previewing new work as well as older projects is a good testament to the quality of the work done and what kind of service program they offer.
Solar units have become more popular these days as outdoor lighting because they are easier to install than the low voltage kits due to the fact there are no wires attached. All you do is attach a fixture or solar panel where it will receive direct or indirect sunlight. Some solar lights come with a solar panel that is attached with a wire; these are usually spot lights or uplights that highlight an area that is usually sitting in darkness most of the time. You position the light on a tree or some other object to be highlighted and the solar panel needs to be inserted in an area that receives sunlight to absorb the suns energy. There are some solar lights that are recessed for placing in decks and others for placing on posts or railings; these will need a screwdriver for installation. The solar landscape fixtures consist of a solar panel, LED bulb, and anywhere between 1 and 4 rechargeable batteries. The energy from the sun will be changed to electrical energy by way of the solar panel and be stored in the batteries. It will take about eight to ten hours of sun to completely charge the batteries after the initial installation of the solar landscape lights. After the charging is complete the units will come on at dusk.
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