Outdoor Landscape Lighting - What Are My Options?

As a proud home or business owner you have many reasons to supply outdoor lighting around your property. By illuminating the exterior portion of your home or business you are sending a subtle signal to strangers that your property is occupied and secure. At the same time you, your family, and all those who are welcome can navigate outside of your home in a safe manner.

Outdoor landscape lighting comes in many forms with numerous uses. Primarily, you have a choice in the type of lighting you select and in many cases you can use a combination of both. For a bright constant glow you may choose low-voltage electrical landscape lighting. Although these lights are brighter they also come with a cost as monthly electrical bills will be impacted by this style of lighting. Furthermore, installing an electrical landscape lighting system is more complicated, requires various components, and offers less flexibility when comparable outside solar garden lights. The low voltage systems also depend upon an external electrical source.

No such complications exist with outdoor solar garden lights, the other primary style of landscape lighting for homeowners to consider. True, the intensity of a driveway solar light is not as bright as their low voltage counterpart, however cost of ownership, installation, and durability are superior to low-voltage electrical systems. Outdoor solar garden lights can be easily installed anywhere exposure to direct sunlight is available. Once a location is selected, solar garden lights also can be relocated with ease by simply removing the mount and reinserting into another location.

In many cases driveway solar lights and other solar powered pathway lights are mounted onto a ground stake that's easily tapped into the ground. The driveway solar light fixture is then mounted on top of the stake and secured with a twist or snapping mechanism. Other outdoor solar lights can be mounted directly on top of the ground along curbing, on steps and stairs, and on other solid structures such as fences or posts. Typically, all mounting hardware for these various applications are included with the light fixture.

Low voltage systems reduce the electrical current from 120 volts to 12 volts by utilizing a transformer. Obviously this system requires external electrical access and the need to dig a trench about 3 or 4 inches deep to bury the electrical cable mounted to the lights and connecting to the transformer. The 12-volt system costs also must include not only the light fixtures but also the transformer and electrical cable. In addition to longer installation periods for this system, a homeowner also must consider other issues like potential voltage drops for lights installed furthest from the transmitter. There's less flexibility with electrical systems as the lights usually need to be installed in line allowing for the connection of the power cable between lights.

Certainly low voltage systems do emit a consistent light throughout the night whereas solar powered outdoor landscape lights reduce in intensity throughout the night and are least bright as the sun rises. However, a homeowner needs to consider all options before installing a lighting system. Solar lights offer a softer glow but they continue to be a very suitable outdoor lighting option. When considering ease of installation, overall cost of ownership, environmental benefits, and flexibility to the homeowner, solar landscape lighting offers many significant advantages.

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