Light up Your Landscaping

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Mr. Joseph Arnone


Featured Articles


Landscape Lighting is a Bright Idea

If you take pride in your grounds - the trees, the shrubbery, the beautiful garden - why not enjoy them by night as well as day? The right outdoor lighting allows you to derive the full benefits of your costly landscaping after the sun goes down. Landscape lighting will improve the look of your landscape, and will be especially attractive for those outdoor get-togethers that last until after dark. And lighting up your yard's landscape not only illuminates your greenery, but also makes your home safer by staving off would-be burglars.

Aesthetic Benefits of Landscape Lighting

  • Show off the beauty of your home after dark
  • Highlight favorite flowers and shrubs
  • Dramatize trees, pool, fountains and masonry texture
  • Accent statuary and other focal points


Practical Benefits of Landscape Lighting

  • Safety: good lighting on steps, walks and driveways help avoid accidents
  • Security: floodlighting and other landscape lighting will deter prowlers and vandals
  • Investment: grounds which are dramatically lighted at night look like a luxurious estate, increasing the resale value of your property


Color Lamp

Installing Landscape Lighting

What you'll need: edger, screw driver, shovel, trowel, wire cutter

Step 1:layout your project
Determine which areas of your landscape you want to highlight with outdoor lighting. Locate an outdoor electrical outlet, and measure the distance required to run wiring from your electrical source (outlet) to each area where you will install a light, from the first to the last one.

Step 2:choose the lighting
Consider color, shape and material. Once you find a style and price you are comfortable with, determine what types of lighting you will use for each area. Flood lights can be used to highlight a tree or several trees. Tier lighting, which looks like mini lamp posts, can be used to light various areas of the landscape. Well lights can be used to highlight a structure or a wall. There are also special lights to illuminate driveways and walkways, as well as mounting lights for decks.

Step 3:finalize the purchase
Once you have settled on the style and types of lighting you wish to install, you can purchase the power pack (transformer) and cable. You'll need to add up the total wattage of your lighting, and purchase a transformer that meets or exceeds that total. Be sure to purchase cable that is weather-resistant and that s recommended for use with outdoor lighting.

Step 4:begin the installation
Installing the lighting is easy, and can be done in a day with light according to the manufacturer's directions, and placing it in its approximate location in the landscape.

Step 5:install the power supply
Start with the outdoor electrical outlet you've identified as your power source for the lighting (step 1). Next, determine where you will mount the transformer (read and follow manufacturer's directions carefully). For safety reasons, it needs to be off the ground, so be sure you mount it off the ground and close enough to be able to plug it in to the outlet. Next, connect the cable to the transformer according to the manufacturer's directions. Once you have the cable connected, you can mount the transformer. Do NOT plug it in yet.

Step 6:lay the cable
Run the cable from the transformer to each lighting location, and continue until you reach the last light. For now, you will simply lay the cable on the ground. As you lay the cable, be sure and leave a foot or two at each light so that it will be easy to move them in case you wish to change the layout. Next, use your shovel to dig a trench along the layout where you wish to bury the cable - 23 inches deep is sufficient. Don't cover it with the soil yet. Wait until you are satisfied with each lighting location.

Step 7:connect the lights
Place the cable in one half of the connector, lay the wire for the lights in the other half of the same connector, and clamp it together with screws. Inside the connectors are small, brass "stabs" which pierce the wires' coatings in order to make a proper electrical connection. Make sure the wire is aligned so the stabs pierce the center of the wires, and not the outside edges.

Step 8:finish the project
Plug the transformer into the electrical outlet and turn it on. Check to see if all the lights are illuminated. If you see some lights on and some off, then recheck your connections.

Once all the lights are illuminated, wait until the evening to check the lighting. You may need to reposition some lights to achieve the look you want (which is where the extra wire comes in). Once you have all the lights in their desired locations, bury the cable and connectors in the trench and cover it with soil. Check to make sure the cable is completely buried to avoid any accidents.

Landscape Lighting Tips

  • Key in on architectural features.
  • If you're looking for a dramatic effect, try uplighting an arbor, archway or facade.
  • Install a focused beam to graze a textured fence or wall.
  • Create a silhouette effect behind a tree or bush by placing lights below and behind it.

Backyard Patio

  • If you entertain outdoors frequently, consider low-voltage lights under handrails, stairs and bench seating.
  • For outdoor activity areas, consider a strong-beam light to illuminate over the area.
  • Conceal the light behind the feature you're illuminating, whether it's a tree, shrub, or fountain. One exception is if the fixture is decorative.
  • Illuminate steps, paths, and driveways to increase foot traffic safety in the dark.
  • Remember that less is more. Light should be soft, like moonlight.
  • If you're using colored lights, be careful. If not placed properly, they can look too garish or unnatural for some tastes.
  • Arrange for an automatic device to turn lights on and off, such as a timer or photocell.
  • Be considerate of your neighbors - aim lights so they do not shine into their windows.
  • Be creative in using a mixture of lighting techniques for drama and excitement.
Trivia Block

The Trivia Block

What is the world's tallest monument, designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen?

The stainless steel Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, completed in 1965.