Types of Landscape Lighting Pros and Cons

You’ve decided it’s time to accentuate the beauty of your home and garden with landscape lighting, but where do you start? Not only do you have to think about design, but investigating the different types of lighting can be overwhelming. Let’s look at the various advantages and disadvantages of the different types of outdoor lighting:

Solar Landscape Lighting

Solar landscape lighting is the most popular type of outdoor lighting by do-it-yourselfers, but typically avoided by professionals. It’s relatively inexpensive, doesn’t add to your hydro bill and is available at your local garden store. They are often on stakes so it’s easy for homeowners to imbed them in your garden or along a pathway for a little mood-lighting. However, they don’t have a very bright light output, even after the sunniest of days, so they don’t actually provide any true illumination, just more of a little glow. And, of course they don’t work in shaded areas of your yard. They are typically not as durable as other lighting fixtures, and most don’t last a season, especially if you’ve had some harsher weather, or if you’ve hit it one too many times with the grass trimmer.

Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting

Low Voltage landscape lighting is quite popular because it’s easy on the pocket book but still provides lots of light.  Low voltage uses 12-18 volts, whereas household voltage is 120. A transformer pack plugs into an outlet and reduces the voltage, meaning you’re using less energy. Low voltage fixtures use low wattage (20-50 watts) halogen bulbs, which still produce a bright white light, but these can be tricky to find in most home stores since they often sell low wattage bulbs of 7-20 watts. Also, you can use more low wattage fixtures (upwards of 10) and light a larger space with the same amount of energy that 2 or 3 100 watt household voltage fixtures would produce.  As well, the bulbs, as well as their low voltage fixtures, are relatively inexpensive, and because they just plug into the power pack, an electrician isn’t needed if you want to move or replace fixtures, and there’s less risk of electric shock.

LED Landscape Lighting

LED lights have flooded the market over the last number of years and are popular because they have a really long life and are extremely energy efficient. Their long life is due to not having a filament like traditional bulbs, which burns out. Instead, LED lights can last for thousands of hours. While they can be rated for use in low or high voltage fixtures, the big disadvantage for LED outdoor lights is that they aren’t able to light up a wide area. LED lights have a narrow beam of light, making them great for Christmas lights or flashlights, but technology hasn’t enabled manufacturers to create a cost effective way for lighting larger areas. Also, current LED lighting tends to have a blueish hue to it, creating a “cool” lighting effect, whereas light that runs more orange or red provides warm light.

The best way to help you decide which type of landscape lighting is best is to talk to the professionals at Landscape Lighting Ottawa and they’ll help light the way.



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