Everything You Need to Know About Landscape Lighting

You have done everything possible to make your yard and house look amazing. You don’t want all that hard work to go unnoticed at night. You can turn off the darkness with a few strategically placed outdoor lights and a simple switch. Landscape lighting is a great way to make the most of your home and draw attention to valuable plants.

Which Landscape Lighting is Best?

Low-voltage landscape lighting is a popular choice today. It’s safer than 120-volt systems and easier to use. Low-voltage lighting can produce a wide range of effects, from subtle glows that wash over low garden walls to moonlight reflected from trees to powerful 120-volt lights. A pleasing lighting scheme is more than choosing the right hardware. It’s also about art.

What is a low-voltage outdoor lighting system?

Landscape lighting is usually dependent on the stepped-down power of your home.

More on Outdoor House Lighting:



Everything about Front Entry Lighting

  • Transformer: Lowers household current from 120 volts to 12 volts.
  • Bulb: This determines the brightness, color, beam width, and electricity consumption of light.
  • Fixture Housing: Helps shape light beam and protects bulb from the elements.
  • Stake: Secures the fixture in its place.
  • Cable: Carry current through the fixture’s wires. This home is surrounded by accent lights and trees that are underlit.

Common Lighting Questions Answered

Do you want to DIY or hire a pro?

A simple system can be installed by homeowners in just a few days. Landscape lighting specialists are familiar with all the fixtures and how to arrange them for the best results.

What is the cost of outdoor lighting?

Prices for individual fixtures start at $20 Cables are 70 cents per ft. A transformer is available for $200. The average cost for a 10-light system that is installed by a professional is between $2,000 and $2,500.

What is the Maintenance Cost?

To prevent overheating, keep fixtures clear of debris and leaves. To ensure that other circuit members aren’t affected by life-threatening voltage overloads, replace burned-out bulbs as soon as possible.

What is the Lifespan of Lighting Fixtures?

Fixtures and transformers have a warranty of one to ten years. However, fixtures made from brass, copper, or stainless steel should last indefinitely.

How to map out a plan for your exterior lights

Pros are the best option if you don’t want a hand in it. You can find one through the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals. These are our top design tips.


Bullet, flood, or downlight

If you are aiming ground lamps straight up into the foliage, make sure to also lighten the trunk. The uplift crown will appear like an unidentified UFO if it isn’t. Place two 20-watt downlights at the highest point of a tree to illuminate foliage. Make sure they don’t cross each other.

Planting beds


Fixtures should not be placed closer than 20ft apart “You need light pools to guide your eyes from one plant to another, not continuous illumination.”

Home Facade

Wash and bullet

Bullet lights should have 12-degree beam spreads. They should be aimed at architectural details or corners of your home. Softer wash lights can fill the gap between them.

Garden Walls

You have two options: flood or bullet.

Place fixtures near the base to bring out textures.

Focal Points

Flood, bullet, or wash

Two or more lights can be directed at an element worthy of attention, such as a fountain, tree swing or arbor. Crossing beams reduce harsh shadows caused by one light shining on an object.

Types of outdoor house lights


The canopies that are placed on top of posts 18-24 inches in height reflect light into the planting beds. They can also be used to mark the path. They are unique in that they have a style and a finish that is not found in other lights.


This diffuse, soft light is ideal for brightening flat facades and privacy fences.


These compact, versatile fixtures often have bulbs that emit a narrow beam, which is useful for lighting specific house features, tree trunks, and garden structures.


You can see the bulb from a distance by burying it in the ground soil. Well lights can be used to illuminate the undersides of plants or to graze the base on a wall or facade. You can choose from fixed or swiveling bulbs.


To create a moonlit effect, these fixtures are often placed high on trees and branches. Side glare is eliminated by a cowl-shaped shroud that wraps around the bulb. You don’t want your LEDs to be damaged or destroyed by climbing up to replace them.


A typical beam is wider than a bullet, usually 40 degrees or more. It also shines brighter than a wash light. A collar minimizes side glare. To lighten tall trees and large house facades, use sparingly.

Should You Pay More for LEDs?

LEDs last up to 40,000 hours and can be used for 20 years, which is a lot longer than halogen bulbs, which only burn out after two years. LEDs also consume 1 to 11 watts, compared to 20 to 60 for halogens.

This means that halogen systems can be installed at a lower cost due to smaller cables and transformers, as well as operating and maintenance costs. Over the 15-year period, you could save up to 50%.

However, LEDs do have some drawbacks. They are more expensive than halogens at $5 per bulb. Many LEDs emit a cool blue light at 6,000 K (kelvins) color temperature.

Instead, look for warm-colored temperatures, around 3,000 K. Also, make sure to check the light output in lumens to ensure you are getting enough brightness. Although LED performance is improving it still falls behind halogens. The biggest problem with solar-powered fixtures that use LEDs is their poor output. These fixtures might be bright enough to highlight a garden edge, but not enough to light up your home.

Five Tips for DIYers

Where can I buy the components? You can find all the parts you need online at websites or local hardware stores.

  • What skills are required? It’s easy to dig trenches and connect cables and fixtures. If you don’t own a 20-amp GFCI-protected outdoor receptacle, hire an electrician to install it.
  • Which size transformer do you need? Add up all the light bulbs you intend to install in order to determine the transformer’s watt capacity. Then multiply this number by 1.25.
  • How do you control your lights? The most reliable and reliable automatic switches are those that use timing. They also adjust for seasonal variations in day length. You can control your lights manually using wireless keypads or fobs. They don’t need to be installed by an electrician, unlike hardwired switches.
  • How can you ensure uniform brightness? A daisy chain of fixtures can be attached to one cable. This will cause the closest lights to the transformer to become too bright and the rest to go dark. You can solve this problem by running a 10-gauge wire from a hub to a waterproof junction box and branching out with equal lengths using 12-gauge cables. The runs should not exceed 50 feet. Power should reach halogen fixtures at their sweet spot of 10.8 to 11.5, or 8 to 15. volts for LEDs.

Low-voltage cables (left), must be buried at a minimum of 6 inches deep. The fixture is held in place by a plastic spike (center).

Landscape Lighting Design Ideas

Fetching Facade

A few feet from the foundation, upward-facing bullet lights shine a light on the most striking architectural elements of a house. These lights are directed at dormers, large porch columns, and deep eaves.

Standout Trees

A couple of 20-watt bulbs are sufficient for trees less than 20 feet in height. Three to five 35-50 watt uplights may be required for a 50-foot tree.

Inviting Backyard

Landscape lights can be used in many places, not just at the front of your house. Tree-mounted downlights are mounted on the tree and upward-pointing lights from the well invite people to enjoy this swing.

Glowing Garden

Garden fixtures should be higher than the plants you are trying to illuminate in order to properly lighten a bed.

Party-Ready Patio

Sometimes you don’t have enough light to just dial up the full moon. A few tree-mounted lights can also be used to lighten the stone patio.

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