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The First Steps to Take When Designing Your Outdoor Lighting System

Before you install an outdoor lighting system yourself, there are several questions that need to be answered.

When designing your own outdoor lighting system, you need to ask yourself the following questions. What problem do you want the landscape lighting design to solve? Do you want to make your home safer? Are you uncomfortable arriving home to a dark house in the evening? Does your home have a dark step in a walkway or some other feature that needs to be illuminated? Do you want to enjoy your outdoor spaces more? Do you think your home would just look better if it was lit?

By answering these questions, you may be able to focus your design.

What types of light fixtures are available?

There are endless types of fixtures, with many types of bulbs. The fixture types fall into two basic categories: Up lights and down lights. Up lights fall into two categories: up lights and down lights.

Well lights are the most versatile fixture. They are typically heavy gauge black PVC with a 4” diameter bulb. It is best to have a lens cover on the fixtures to keep debris off the bulbs. 

Bullet lights are compact fixtures which are typically used to highlight a specific feature or are used when the fixture must be mounted on a riser so the light can hit a target over an obstruction.

Path lights are down lights. They are typically placed around the edges of a patio or walkway. Or they can be used to light a feature like a step that can be dangerous if it is not seen in the dark. The next most popular type of path light we use is solid copper. We also use a type of path light where the back has been cut which allows light to shine out horizontal to the ground. This fixture is great because it is a down light which also projects light up giving the fixture two effects. 

Deck lights are also down lights. They can be used to illuminate the perimeter of a deck, or for safety to illuminate long flights of steps. 

Are LED lights really that good?

Yes. In past years the main type of bulb in well lights was a quartz halogen bulb which threw a very warm beautiful light. Recently manufacturers have improved the quality and versatility of LED bulbs. The light from LED bulbs is now very similar to the quartz halogen bulb but LED bulbs use a fraction of the energy that quartz halogen bulbs use. The typical quartz halogen bulb is 35 watts and is warranted for one year, the LED bulb we use is 7 watts and we warranty it for 5 years. The LED is a little bit more expensive, but it pays for itself quickly by saving on energy efficiency.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

chad brod May 01, 2013 at 02:11 PM
LED Lights have really taken over the market. They are definitely more expensive, however they last longer, put out more light, and save energy. Homeowners and businesses who decided to replace all of their old halogen lights with led lights are seeing significant savings in their electric bills. http://www.landscapelightingworld.com

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