Are you Taking Advantage of Low Voltage Landscape Lighting?

Every homeowner takes pride in their home and its appearance on the inside and out.  And curb appeal does not have to be limited to just the daytime hours. In fact, more and more people are becoming aware that as the sun sets, their home can actually radiate curb appeal and look even better than in the light.

As landscape and garden lighting is becoming very popular, homeowners realize that the trees that were purchased, the pond that was dug and even the walls and fence surrounding their home can be highlighted and emphasized to create many different effects. And even though this is a worthwhile investment that will increase the value and curb appeal of their home, all of that electricity can prove to be very hazardous.

Electricity which runs from the outside lighting into your home can hold 120 volts, an amount of electricity that can pose a rather grave risk to you, your family, your visitors and your pets. The various inclement weather conditions, regardless of where you live in the world, also greatly increases the danger your outside lighting poses. Although many don’t give it a second thought, if you are considering landscape or garden lighting, consider reducing the amount of voltage to a very safe 12 volts.

Low voltage landscape lighting offers more than just safety benefits. Lamps that are low voltage are more efficient, giving off more light per watt of electricity that is used. Also, the 12-volt lamp units last longer and there is less maintenance needed with this system. Lastly, installation is much easier because of the flexibility of wiring.

Some other benefits of low voltage lighting include:

  • Low cost operating expense compared to 120-volt lamps
  • Many more choices available
  • Safe and reliable
  • 12-volt lamps are more compact and keep the focus on what you are lighting rather than on the lighting fixture itself.
  • Better quality of light with natural effects
  • More options available in 12-volt lighting like quartz halogen
  • Capable of more specialized lighting effects with exact beam control

Low voltage lighting holds many benefits but with one small downside: The lighting fixtures are somewhat dimmer as you get further away from the transformer. But even with this problem there are easy solutions. Using a heavier-gauge cable as well as a higher-rated transformer can take care of the problem nicely and with minimal expense. And if there is a much larger area to consider, multiple transformers can be used or you can allow the dimming effect to be incorporated in your overall design.

Remember, it is also very important that you light essential areas for greater safety at night. Paths, gate areas, ponds, pools and statues should be lit in a way to avoid accidents for your visitors, small children and pets. Overall, landscape lighting can be fun and creative as well as safe and efficient.

If safety, less electricity usage and more lighting options sounds like good news to you, it may be time to consider low voltage landscape lighting. Incorporating low voltage within your design and budget will give you many years of safe enjoyment.

How to Choose a Landscape Design that Matches your Personal Style

Creating a landscape lighting design can become quite overwhelming with so many styles, sizes, categories and finishes of lights from which to choose. At the end of the day, your landscape design should not only provide important safety features, but also make you feel welcomed and proud.

When designing your landscape, consider your home style and the design elements within it. Are you drawn to modern, sleek finishes? Rustic, outdoor features? Traditional, elegant design? By assessing your preferred indoor style, you can easily translate that to your outdoor landscape and match your home’s inner beauty with your outer design.

Below are a few of the most popular design styles to help you make your choice:

Victorian / Old World – This style is characterized by detailed scrolling and fancy features. You will notice a Victorian home by its ornamental decorations and columns along with wide porches evident of a Civil War era.

Rustic Charm – Rustic lighting will be more textured and rough in appearance characterizing its natural, organic style. Rustic homes are reminiscent of the lodge style with a hand crafted look to them. If you enjoy nature and a more organic look to your garden as if it were an extension of an outdoor log cabin, rustic charm is the style for you.

Traditional – Traditional style lighting is similar to Victorian but not as decorative. This style is more elegant than ornate. A traditional landscape design will not overtly jump out at you, but it will feel calming and inviting much like a cold iced tea on a hot summer day.

Modern – Modern lighting is sleek, smooth and sophisticated. The modern style is a perfect choice for homeowners who love the industrial feel of polished silver and the harsh lines of square shapes and designs. Finishes similar to these smooth step deck lights will round out your modern landscape design while providing a safe entrance for visitors. Modern landscapes always appear uncluttered and clean in appearance as well.

Asian – Asian-inspired style is reminiscent of oriental and Japanese design. If you prefer a zen-like landscape fitted with bonsai trees and Asian architectural elements like a flat roof and rectangular windows, you may be interested in an Asian-inspired landscape design.

The Tropics – If you dream of whisking away to a desert island in the tropics on a daily basis, a tropical landscape design may be just what the doctor ordered. The tropical style is more synonymous with a climate rather than a design style. If you live in a warm climate, you can bring in the ambience of your environment by using your lighting to highlight the palm trees and foliage synonymous with your area. Consider more whimsical lighting design and on outdoor furniture, add accessories of fruit bowls with pineapples, guava and papaya to highlight the style even more.

Regardless of the style you choose, your landscape design should make you feel like you are at home. Bring your inside environment into your outdoor landscape and enjoy the seamless transition from the comforts of your home to the wonders of the outdoor world.

 

The Elements of a Relaxing Japanese Landscape Design

Beyond simple lighting and rose gardens, many homeowners prefer to inject a particular style into their landscape design. And one of the most popular designs is the Asian-inspired Japanese garden. Japanese gardens are beautiful and can add a relaxing oasis to any home.

Homeowners who work long hours or deal with high stress situations need a place of solace. Imagine coming home from a chaotic day at work and sitting next to rolling ponds, tranquil water features and an overall peaceful atmosphere. The elements of a Japanese garden incorporate the materials found in nature and arrange them to enhance nature’s beauty. With a Japanese-inspired garden you will feel the relaxation nature provides while seeing your garden in its most natural form.

Whether you want to create a full-blown Japanese landscape design or simply add a few elements, any additions will help to create a more tranquil atmosphere.

Here are some elements of Japanese landscape design:

  • Water features – Water features are a major part of Japanese design. Fountains and Asian-themed water features will add a zen-like feel, and nod to mother nature by using natural elements in their best light.
  • Hills – Use soil or gravel to create small hills or mounds and surround them with foliage
  • Paths – Crate a path in between the mounds and take it around your entire garden. The paths can be defined by any element whether grass, soil or stones. The paths are meant to create walkways for your visitors and also lead to features in your garden.
  • Contemplation gardens– Contemplation gardens represent zen areas that act as places of refuge. People should feel a sense of peace and relaxation when they enter your zen area. Keep bold colors out of the mix and use serene, calming hues. Foliage should be minimal so weed pulling is not a factor. Whatever makes you feel calm while keeping the space easily maintained will create the perfect backdrop for your contemplation garden.
  • Rocks– Rocks are an integral component of Japanese garden design. They form the structure of the garden and keep the natural elements intact. Gear boulders and rocks into the ground so they stay in place and maintenance is minimal. Use smaller stones as elements to lead the eye to different areas and pebbles to line the bottom of your water features. Use stepping stones to form walkways and the path that leads to your contemplation garden. The characteristics of the rocks are also important. Smooth surfaces are generally not used on higher surfaces like hills and mounds and rougher stones would not be placed in streams. Smooth stones work perfectly in flowing streams or ponds and mimic the gentle waves of the water.

Your Japanese garden should be your oasis into a calm and inviting place. Remember to keep the foliage to a minimum and concentrate on using natural elements to create walkways, walls, hills and streams. Every time you use a man-made element you depart further away from the true ideals of the Japanese garden. Use your creativity and the beauty of the earth around you to give life to a relaxing oasis and a cherished element of your home’s landscape.