Do You Know What Kind Of Lighting You Need Outdoors?

By: Rudy Silva


Outdoor lighting provides several advantages, which can be narrowed down into two, namely, security, and adding beauty to outdoor surroundings. In installing the outdoor light system, its actual design is characterized by the site conditions, the landscape effect and your standards.

In planning the exterior lights, choose the type of outdoor light system that you will install. There are five types to choose from. You can choose up-lights for ground level illumination as the lights are pointed up. It is best for landscape lighting and to highlight features, such as trees and architectural designs. Up-light fixtures can be spot light or flood light.

You can also choose backlights for your outdoor lighting, and create a dramatic effect. The problem with this type of lighting system is when it is overly designed it can look like Halloween lighting. Its basic concept is to place outdoor lighting fixtures behind an object like small plant or statue.

You can also choose path lights which can serve as your guide on a path or driveway. It is best as decorative lighting while providing security on the pathway. Its location should be above the ground to scatter its illumination with gentle glowing effect. Make sure you don't over light the area to make it look like an airport runway.

The Down-lights are best for spotlight and floodlights. They illuminate an entry like the rear door, an entrance to a gazebo or bordered garden. In contrast to path light, a down light should not be visible to achieve natural lighting. The goal of this type of outdoor lighting is to create a magical and inviting mood to the location such as rock or fountain garden.

When you have chosen your lighting system, it is time to measure its wattage. This can be done by getting the sum of the wattage of all outdoor lighting fixtures that you will use. Choose the transformers that are compatible to the total wattage. Ensure that the wattage capacity of your transformers is more than the total wattage used.

Determine the length of cable that you need based on the location of your outdoor lighting. If your system is less than 200 watts, use a 14-gauge cable. If it more than 200 watts, use 12-gauge.

Decide the control options for your lights. You can choose timers, lights controlled by the amount of natural lights or a simple on and off switch.

Install the transformer one foot off the ground. Run the cable to the transformer, stripping half an inch of insulation from its end with a knife or stripping tool. Connect the stripped wires based on the instructions on the transformer.

Prepare your outdoor lighting fixtures and its corresponding cable. Ensure that there is a small loop of slack cable at each fixture for its attachment. Cover your outdoor lighting cable with decorative stones or hide it under foliage. You can also bury the cable with its loop kept above the ground.

Connect the cable to the fixtures by slipping the connector halves over the cable loop. If the transformer has been connected, this should make the fixture to light up. If not remove the connectors and try again. Continue to install the remaining fixtures for your outdoor lighting.

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