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How to Buy Outdoor Lighting for a Beautiful Home

Buyer's Guide: Outdoor Ground Lighting Kichler Lighting Accent Spot Light

Outdoor lighting can add depth and drama to the look of a home at night time and is the best way to show off the best parts of the landscaping and architecture of a home. There are a variety of outdoor lighting options from pendants to pier mount lights and more.

In this buyer’s guide we will focus on outdoor lighting that installed in or near the ground including recessed well lights, pond lights and spot lights.

Ground Recessed Lighting is small, low profile lights which are installed in the ground and lie nearly flat with the soil or gravel surrounding it. Ground recessed lighting is available to support different types of light bulbs including halogen, high intensity discharge, fluorescent,incandescent and LED. Halogen, LED, HID and fluorescent bulbs are more energy efficient than incandescent and their bulbs have a considerably longer life making them an ideal option for outdoor lighting.

Pond Lights are similar to recessed well lights in size and stature; however they are designed for use in or around ponds. Pond lights are used to accent the best features of an outdoor pond at night time. Pond lights are available to go underwater, among rocks or even floating. The majority of pond lighting is available in low voltage (12 volt) power which means a transformer will be required.

Spot Lights spot light are also small outdoor lights but have the ability to create big effects on the beauty of landscaping at night. Small but powerful bulbs are used, typically halogen, but also incandescent, LED, HID and fluorescent, to cast light up into trees, bushes, and architectural details of a home.

Make a Plan

Before shopping for outdoor lighting make a plan. A simple sketch of the yard detailing where light should be cast will suffice. Then, plug in the most appropriate light type to achieve the lighting goals. Although there is no rule set in stone and creativity is often what makes for the most breathtaking outdoor lighting, there are some basic ideas surrounding which outdoor lighting type is most appropriate to accommodate certain needs.

Ground recessed lighting is typically installed along walkways, perimeters of deck and other sectioned out area of the yard and possibly along small barriers separating plant area from grass or a walkway.

Pond lighting is obviously used for lighting ponds or small fountains. It is easiest to choose small points that would be most aesthetically pleasing lit at night such as a corner with growing water plants or the waterfall portion of the pond and light these areas.

Spot lights are perfect for lighting things that are not on the ground or walkways such as trees, bushes and architectural points of a home.

Prepare the Area

The plan and purchasing appropriate outdoor lighting is only the first step to creating a beautiful night scene in the backyard. The actual installation of the lighting will take time and care and possibly the help of a professional. Each outdoor lighting piece will need to be installed to its own specifications but this is a basic overview of what installing outdoor lighting will entail.

One point to make is that almost all ground outdoor lighting will be 12 volt, so be sure to purchase a transformer that fits the outdoor lighting chose.

The process to install outdoor lighting will roughly include:

  1. Planning where the lighting will go.
  2. Turning over the sod where the electrical wire will be running underground (in cold areas it is important to bury wiring 12-18 inches underground).
  3. Bury the electrical cable.
  4. Plug in the transformer.
  5. Dig holes for the lights and make the electrical connections.
  6. Install the lighting and fix the sod.
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