Does your yard disappear in the dark? With the right landscape lighting, you can bring your yard to life at night, highlighting the beauty of your home and its greenery. Today’s landscape lighting technology offers a diverse selection of setups and styles. Which is best for your home?
Types of Landscape Lighting
There are two main types of landscape lighting, each with their own benefits and drawbacks…
- Line-Voltage Landscape Lighting
Line-voltage landscape lighting uses 120-volts of electricity, like standard outlets in your home. It’s used most often in commercial applications to improve nighttime visibility, and for security.
Line-voltage lighting fixtures cost less than low-voltage landscape fixtures and bulbs. Dimmers are also less expensive.
Unless line-voltage lines are installed in particularly low-use areas, operating costs are higher for this style of landscape lighting. Line-voltage lighting must also be professionally installed, with wires trenched 18” beneath the ground.
- Low-Voltage Landscape Lighting
Low-voltage landscape lighting takes 120-volts of electricity, stepping it down to a mere 12-volts with the help of a transformer.
The low-voltage of this landscape lighting medium makes it safe to operate in wet/moist environments. Because of this, lines only require minimal submersion beneath the soil to prevent tripping, mower snafus and for aesthetics. In frequent-use scenarios, operating costs are significantly lower than line-voltage lighting – even more so when a dimmer is employed. Low-voltage bulbs last, with better shock/vibration resistance, and a longer standard run-time (6,000 hours on MR16 bulbs). Light is warm, clean and sharp, yet with a natural tone. The smaller filaments necessary for low-voltage operation provide more focus, and greater optical control. This can reduce the number of fixtures necessary for a particular lighting scheme.
Low-voltage lighting cannot illuminate as brightly as line-voltage landscape lighting. Shallow burial can also leave wires susceptible to damage from garden tools and pests. Bulbs and dimmers are also slightly more expensive, due to the need for a transformer.
Which Type of Landscape Lighting is Best for My Home?
Safer for wet outdoor environments and less expensive to operate over the long haul, low-voltage landscape lighting can be used in the same spaces, and for the same purposes, as line-voltage lighting. Low-voltage lighting is a favorite of homeowners, however, due to its DIY-compatible installation. It also offers a wider range of styles, including recessed lighting, track and rail lighting, pendant lighting, display lighting and suspended cable lighting options, as well as an array of available bulbs, beams and lenses. Not sure which fixtures to best show-off your lovely lawn? Give us a call.