All the hard work you have put into your garden throughout the year needn't disappear under the cover of darkness. Low voltage outdoor lighting can bring your garden, pond or pathway alive at night, creating interesting focal points, highlighting different trees, shrubs or statuary. You can then view them from inside or they will provide a striking backdrop to any partying on the patio.
Before rushing into buying the required equipment, take a while to think about the practicalities of low voltage lighting.
You can save money first of all by not having to employ an electrician, a low voltage lighting system is simple and quick to set up. with everything you need readily available, it's also easy to expand again without any qualified help.
Most low voltage lights are fitted with LEDs, these might be very bright but they consume less power than traditional bulbs, they also last longer, so there you have two more reasons why low voltage lights are easy on the wallet.
Another compelling benefit is that 12 volts is completely safe for both homeowners, their children and pets. Although you might bury the cable for cosmetic reasons, there is no safety requirement to dig a 50 centimetre trench as you do for mains cables.
The two leading low voltage lighting brands are Techmar and Garden Lights, their products are available in a variety of sizes, styles and colours. All you have to do is to choose the lights that you require from their impressive ranges and then decide on the transformer and cables you need.
Each light is fitted with ground spikes or can be fixed to a hard surface, all you need is a screwdriver. There are four main categories:
- Wall mounted lights, classic lanterns or more contemporary styles are just what you need for lighting doorways and paths at the side of a house.
- Uplights can add another dimension when built into decking, block paving and similar surfaces, offering illumination and decoration.
- Spotlights will have a dramatic effect on the landscape, lighting up features including ornaments, plants and trees, they have the capacity to transform the appearance of any outdoor space.
- Post Lights or Bollards, manufactured from stainless steel, aluminium or resin and glass, can perfectly line a path, making it both more attractive and safe.
- Choosing the transformer may sound complicated, but it’s really not. Just add up the total wattage of your lights and choose a transformer with a wattage equal to or higher than this total.
For example, if you choose 5 lights which use 6 watts each, the combined total is 30 watts. The closest sized transformer is the 22 watt but this will be too small so you would need the 60 watt transformer. If you think you might expand the system, it is advisable to buy a transformer that has more capacity than you currently require.
Each light will come with a length of cable that is connected to the transformer which is splash proof and can be located outside. For a series of lights such as along a path, you need to invest in a ten or fifteen metre cable with connectors at fixed points for four or six lights. The cable can be hidden with a light covering of earth.
An extension cable is available to lengthen the distance from the transformer, and there is also a 3-way adapter which means you can split your cable from one to three, a great way to add more lights onto your transformer without having to buy lots of cables.
Simple to install, safe to operate and eco-friendly, the benefits of low voltage lighting are clear to see. A very practical way to illuminate your outside space while creating a wonderful ambiance.