Low-Voltage Landscape Lighting
lighting is another good way to highlight the most important elements of
your landscape. It’s flexible enough to allow plants to grow freely and safe
enough not to harm children or unsuspecting landscapers. Even if the low-voltage
cable is cut by mistake, the 12 volts of electricity flowing through the lines wouldn’t
cause any damage. These systems rely on a transformer that reduces the amount
of electricity moving through the cable. If normal electrical flow is 120
volts, the transformer will knock that down to a harmless 12 volts. Okay, with
that in mind, let’s think about planning a landscape.
To design the lighting system properly,
determine what you want to highlight. It sounds simple enough, right? Take a
walk through the yard and find the areas of focus. Low-voltage lights work
better in groupings rather than a single light. Some easy things to illuminate
flower beds, and backyard water designs. Now that’s just a small list of items low-voltage
lighting can bring to light. This type of system can create special mood
lighting or dramatic shadows; you just have to experiment and find what works
for your particular landscaping.
Installing the low-voltage cable can be
done in couple ways; both require some digging. The easiest way is to dig a
shallow trench and hide the cable just below the surface. The other option will
still require digging a trench, and then running the cable through a conduit.
Either way is fine, a conduit is just a little more tidy.
The planning stage is next. Generally,
landscapers use four different methods of installation for low voltage.
- The best method is a Straight line; this prevents dimming and electrical drop-off. The cable is buried in straight line and can highlight a driveway, sidewalk, or entryway.
- Loop installation is very good for flower beds and highlighting trees; some voltage drop-off may occur in this design.
- Split loads make the shape of an arrow and come close to using the maximum amount of cable.
- The “I” installation runs cable parallel to each other or away from each other.
Just remember, the closer your lights
are to the transformer the brighter they will be!
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