411 Home Repair
 

411homerepair.com

Latest Articles

Super Eco Home Improvements to Add Real Value to Your Modern Home

Over the past decade, people have gone from freely using resources to eventually coming to the realization that it is critical to work to conserve...

on Dec 7, 2016

5 Ideas for DIY Decorations for Upcoming Winter Holidays

The holidays are coming up and it is time to think about preparations. Most people associate winter holidays with family, close people, favorite...

on Dec 6, 2016

Things You Should Monitor in Your Home

As a homeowner, it is vital that you are monitoring your home for things such as black mold, methane gas, carbon monoxide, and radon gas. To ensure...

on Dec 5, 2016

Cleaning Up After a Big Paint Job? Here's How to Clean Your Paint Brush the Right Way!

Have you recently moved into a new house or apartment that you want to give a fresh look? Have you picked out all your paint colors and bought new...

on Dec 4, 2016

5 Fun Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen

Is your kitchen starting to look a bit old and tired? The kitchen is a work area and can quickly go from that lived-in look to a worn-out look if...

on Dec 1, 2016

Introduction to Landscape Lighting

by Dan Eskelson on Apr 30, 2012

Low voltage landscape lighting systems are safe, economical, energy efficient and provide numerous benefits for modern homeowners. Lighting can be used to provide safe access near paths, drives and entry areas. Outdoor lighting increases security by discouraging potential intruders. And the beauty of garden and home can be dramatically enhanced by showcasing architectural and plant features with dramatic lighting techniques.

One common technique is uplighting, which focuses light and attention on an object from a low fixture location. The object can be a shrub, tree or architectural feature like a gazebo or arbor. Bullet or well type fixtures are specified according to the mature size of the plant or the size of the hardscape area to be illuminated.

Pathlighting uses low fixtures which direct illumination down and outward. These fixtures are shielded on top to prevent glare. They are used along walks, stairs and anywhere else that safe night access is required.

Another technique is downlighting, or moonlighting. Usually accomplished with bullet type fixtures placed above eye level on a structure (or even in a tree), this technique illuminates general areas for safety, security and aesthetics. Fixtures and lamps are chosen for the required brightness and width of illumination.

Backlighting, or silhouette lighting, provides a special effect by illuminating a fairly large surface (like a wall) using a wash light fixture. This causes objects in front of the lighting to appear as silhouettes.

The technique of shadowing also uses lights directed toward walls, but they are placed in front of the objects, so shadows play on the wall.

Numerous other techniques, and combinations of techniques, are available to increase your home security, safety, enjoyment and value. The practical and aesthetic effects created by landscape lighting are limited only by the existing features of the architecture and landscaping and by the creativity of the designer.

Before deciding what and how to light, we must first ask "why light?" Our design decisions are dependent on proposed uses for landscape lighting...for safety, security, property value, or enhancement of the beauty of the garden and structures. Most likely, the answer will be a combination of two or more of these uses. A specific technique can be employed to satisfy more than one requirement...for example, uplighting a prominent tree near the house entrance will provide safety, security and aesthetic enhancement.

Landscape lighting design is very similar to the design of the landscape itself: we must determine focal points, use areas, traffic patterns, outdoor "rooms," style, mood, etc. We need to consider how the proposed lighting will enhance the form, color and texture of the soft and hard landscape elements. Lighting should serve to unify both interior and exterior design themes, conceal what may be unattractive and shape the view of the landscape at night.

The design process should begin with a site map, drawn to scale, showing all landscape features and areas that need lighting. Fixtures and lamps are chosen for each area based on the desired effects ...path lights for safe passage along walks and stairs, wash fixtures for silhouette effects against a wall, etc.

One common mistake is to overlight; low levels of light create subtle beauty, and are often also sufficient for safety and security. Use brighter lighting effects for focal points, and consider the effects that different light intensities will have on the overall design.

After deciding on the size and placement of lighting fixtures, the electrical system is designed. The heart of the system is the transformer, which converts the household 120 volts into safe, efficient 12 volts, and delivers this voltage to several circuits. Using appropriately sized cables and approved connectors, fixtures are connected to the transformer.

Group fixtures in zones determined by the distance to the transformer. The number of fixtures on each circuit will be limited by the wattage of individual lamps, distance to the transformer and associated voltage drop in the circuit.

Voltage drop calculations are critical; excess voltage results in hot lamps with greatly shortened life - insufficient voltage results in weak, ineffective lighting. The design challenge is to match cable size, total lamp wattage and circuit length to produce voltage within the range of 10.5 to 12 volts. A new generation of transformers uses a multi-tap configuration to provide voltages in excess of 12 volts for those zones at a sufficient distance from the transformer. (The excess voltage is reduced by the length of run to the first fixture). This allows greater design freedom and efficiency.

A common practice among lighting designers and installers is to allow for plenty of movement of the fixture locations. By leaving extra cable at each fixture, changes can be made to the system after installation, and after several years of plant growth.

Dan Eskelson @ Clearwater Landscapes, Inc.

Author

Sponsored Articles

Random Articles

Some Driveway Coatings Contain Carcinogens

Household maintenance is almost always a chore. It’s a surprise that anyone ever really gets around

Cleaning / Maintenance

10 Ways To Invest Your Tax Refund at Home

Most people spend there Income tax refund on vacations and personal items. However investing your income tax check on home improvement can increase...

Real Estate / Finance

The Ultimate Guide to Drainage Care - Keeping Your Drains in Tip Top Shape

The Ultimate Guide to Drainage Care - Keeping Your Drains in Tip Top Shape Everybody has experienced drainage issues, whether it is at home, at...

Plumbing / Basements

The Best Flowers and Buds Delivered to Your Door

If you are working in some other part of the world and miss your loved ones then you might be just waiting for ways to surprise them with your love...

Garden / Landscaping

Ideas for Bedroom Frames

When it comes to selecting bedroom frames there are plenty of things to consider. Bedroom frames ideas can be found online from personal blogs and...

Bedroom / Furnishings

Actions

Contact Us | Submit Article | RSS | 411homerepair © 2016