Low Voltage Lighting is a great way to enhance your outdoor living space. There are many reasons why you should think seriously about illuminating your garden with an outdoor lighting or landscape lighting system. For starters there's safety and security. But there are actually many other reasons why you should install low voltage landscape lighting. A big plus is the fact that generally low voltage lighting can usually be installed without an electrician.

A Typical System Consists Of:

Transformer: that reduces household current to 12 volts and controls the on / fuction of the lights through a timer or photocell (controls the light based on the level of daylight).

Lights: (sometimes) socket assembly, bulb, and cover fixtures - often found in louvered or tiered, recessed, and many other types. You must make sure that all fixtures are rated as water resistant and approved for outdoor use. These kind of low voltage lights usually draw 4 to 7 watts of power.

Cable: connects all the low voltage lights to one or more transformers and also to the electrical outlet. All outdoor wiring must be grounded. Despite this kind of lighting being low voltage, if you are not sure - be sure to get an electrician to install them for you. Do not muck about with electricity if you have even the slightest of doubts.

Plan low voltage lighting to brighten around steps and walkways. Use your lights to showcase your home and your garden's best features.

Avoid lining each side of the path with lights

, unless you are going for that airport runway look. Try alternating lights on either side of walkways to direct light down and spread the light out.

  • Do not just dot your garden anywhere with lights.
  • Use floodlights or spotlights that direct light upwards for hedges, trees, and vertical plantings.
  • Consider positioning lights at the beginning of a path or steps to mark the entrance and also at the end.
  • Instead of illuminating the entire area like a parking lot, create contrast in the garden by planning lighted spaces and dark areas .
It appeals to gardeners and do-it-yourselfers because it is safe and easy to install. A great benefit is that you can actually plug in and turn the transformer on before connecting all the lights. If you install at dusk or in the evening, you can then see the lighting effect right away and make your position changes as necessary.

As always, follow the manufacturers instructions. Here are the basic steps:

  • Try to always lay the cable in the most direct route possible. (Avoid crossing the wiring back and forth over itself.)
  • Then plug in the transformer box.
  • Connect your cable to the transformer box.
  • Connect the low voltage lights to the cable.
  • If desired, bury the wires.
  • Position the low voltage lights.