Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting

The electricity running into your home holds a potentially dangerous 120 volts. To create low voltage outdoor lighting you’ll need to install one or more transformers. This will reduce the voltage of your outdoor landscape lighting to a tame 12 volts. If your wiring gets exposed by inclement weather and the abuse of the elements, this voltage poses no danger to you, your family members or your pets.

The downside to the low voltage outdoor lighting is that light fixtures become dimmer the further away they are from the transformer. If this becomes a problem, there are a number of easy solutions. You can upgrade to a higher-rated transformer or a heavier-gauge cable. You can use multiple transformers. You can also simply reduce the number or the wattage of your light fixtures. Moving the transformer and/or rearranging the layout of the lighting system can reduce the cable length to each fixture, minimizing the dimming path. You might also consider using the dimming as an intentional effect. This is popular in path lighting, where each light fixture gets stronger as you move closer to your home.

Outdoor Landscape Lighting: Design and Installation

Deciding what you want your lighting to do is the first step when choosing and designing your lighting system. Additional convenience and safety entering your home at night, adding nighttime curb appeal to your home and simply creating a romantic mood are all common goals for outdoor landscape lighting. There are three main categories of lighting but many outdoor lighting designs use some combination of the three.

Path Lighting
Uses fixtures that focus light onto your paths and walkways. Primarily for safety, this lighting still creates aesthetically pleasing lighting effects for your outdoor landscape.

Accent Lighting
Still focuses light onto a specific object or landscape feature, but allows for more peripheral lighting and dim illumination of surrounding areas. Creates curb appeal but emphasizes individual areas like a tree or a garden.

Spread Lighting
Just as the name suggests, spreads light amongst your outdoor landscape and creates a more general mood. Certain areas will still be emphasized but generally isn’t focused around a single object or feature.