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Landscape Lighting

Quality landscape lighting can serve several valuable purposes.  First, a properly designed landscape lighting system cam deter crime and increase security by reducing a criminals ability to act undetected.  Second, a well designed landsdcape lighting system can add dramatic beauty  to the nighttime appearance of a residence.  This boost in "curb appeal" can be fairly significant, however, learn some basics before you begin.

The first important rule is that all landscape lighting is NOT the same.  Products range in quality from the molded plastic fixtures found in many home improvement stores, through solid brass and hand made metal fixtures.  The visual appeal and durability of these fixtures can vary widely,  Obviously, discount plastic landscape lighting fixtures look and wear exactly as they are described.  If you choose this route, be prepared to purchase a completely new system every 1-3 years.  It is also unlikely that the discount plastic systems will add valuation to the home in the event of a sale.

Better landscape lighting fixtures will be constructed out of metals including copper, cast or solid brass, cast bronze and cast aluminum.  Due to the nature of many of these metals and the finishes applied, the fixtures may patina over time, growing and changing with the landscape they inhabit.  Metal products also tolerate significantly more "gardener abuse" then their discount plastic counterparts.

An additional consideration when selecting landscape lighting is voltage.  Landscape lighting is available either as "low voltage" or as "line voltage."  All discount plastic landscape lighting, as well as much of the higher end landscape lighting products are "low voltage."  A "low voltage" system employs wires that are directly buried in the ground, and utilize a transformer to deliver 12-24 volts of electricity to the light fixtures.  The "low voltage" characteristics generally allow manufacturerrs to make smaller and more unique fixtures.  With pproer design considerations and instruction, "low voltage" landscape lighting systems may be installable by the consumer.

"Line voltage" landscape lighting systems utilize 120V (house voltage) current to power the lights.  The wiring must be piped bewteen fixtures and must be watertight.  "Line voltage" landscape lighting systems must be installed by a licensed professional.  "Line voltage" systems also have an increased risk of electrical shock over "low voltage" systems.


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