Everything you need to know about low-voltage landscape lighting

Using low-voltage landscape lighting is an inexpensive and easy way to make your home look beautiful at night. 

Everything you need to know about low-voltage landscape lighting

Lighting that highlights landscape or architectural features of the home adds to its curb appeal, while also making it more safe and secure.

Doing it yourself

Homeowners can install low-voltage landscape lighting without having to hire an electrician, as long as they have an existing power source outside.

  • The parts for the low-voltage landscape lighting system can be purchased separately or as kits from home improvement or lighting centres.

Low-voltage explained

The term "low-voltage" means that the system reduces the standard 110 volts of your home electrical system to 12 volts. This is done through a transformer. Reducing the voltage makes landscape lighting cost effective and energy efficient.

  • Depending on the number of low-voltage landscape lights installed, the outdoor lighting energy usage may be equivalent to one or two typical lamp bulbs inside the house.

Transformers explained

If a transformer is not included as part of a kit, it's important to choose one that fits the needs of the lighting system.

  • An easy way to figure out how many watts your transformer needs is to add up the wattage for each light you are installing.
  • Be sure this total wattage does not exceed the maximum of the transformer. Ideally, it should not exceed 80 percent of the maximum voltage, leaving room for growth.
  • For example, on a 200-watt transformer, you don't want to install more than seven 25-watt lights.

Ideas for landscape lighting

Path lights: Lighting paths and walkways makes the home entrance safe and inviting for guests.

  • Pathways can be lit in unique colours or by using uniquely styled fixtures to add a personal touch to outdoor lighting.

Tree lights: Large trees lit up with a low-voltage spotlight create a dramatic and elegant look for the front of a home.

  • Even in the backyard, lighting a few trees or even shrubs produces a serene scene perfect for entertaining.

Architectural lights: Homes with interesting rooflines or architectural elements can display those features at night with a few well-placed spotlights.

  • Highlighting outdoor artwork or creating a stage effect can make the home a real showstopper.

It doesn't need to be complicated

There are many ways to make a home safer and more secure or to create an elegant look using low-voltage landscape lighting.

  • Lighting can be used to create a night-time outdoor entertainment space, to light special features, or simply to illuminate the way to the door.
  • Low-voltage landscape lighting doesn't need to be a complicated home project.
  • With just a little planning and knowledge, homeowners can increase their curb appeal dramatically.

*Not only is it dangerous, it may even be illegal in some provinces, such as Québec, to do your own electrical wiring. The solution: consider hiring a master electrician.

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