Jimmy the Renovator: Outdoor Lighting

Over the past few years, outdoor lighting has experienced extraordinary growth. It’s really not that surprising! Some outdoor lights are virtual gems. To help you make informed choices and create state-of-the-art nocturnal landscapes, we suggest you read the following guide.

The two types of lighting on the market are electric and solar.

Electric lighting
Obviously, electric lighting requires connections to an electric source and burying wires on the property. All-inclusive kits come with a converter (transformer) that reduces the house current from 110 volts to 12 volts (the voltage that supports this type of system). If you buy separate units, you’ll need a separate converter. As well as the 60-watt transformers included with these kits, it’s possible to buy more powerful models (88w and 125w). Most outdoor lighting uses halogen bulbs that provide more lighting while consuming less electricity than incandescent bulbs. 7w to 11w bulbs are also available, as well as coloured lighting. Other bulb types, like low-pressure sodium, provide even greater electrical savings. Also note that electric lighting provides better performance than solar lighting.

Solar energy lighting provides a more subtle, intimate ambiance, but is of little use for security purposes. During the day, photoelectric cells gather and store sunlight in a battery that can then be used later during the evening. But, since sunlight hours are at a premium in Canada, the reliability of this type of system is of debatable value. On the other hand, the absence of wiring facilitates placement and the piece-by-piece installation adapts well to placement in the four corners of a patio or a deck.

Lamp models

Projectors are efficient and multi-purpose lighting fixtures. We find single or double projectors, some with and some without motion detectors. Installed in a tree, a wall or on the ground, they offer numerous choices. Their pivoting heads can direct the beam directly at a particular object or to create a stunning lighting effect.

Wall lanterns installed near the main entrance or on a staircase can provide adequate security lighting. Attached to a fence or a low wall, they add to the decor by revealing textures. There are lanterns for every taste: vertical or hanging, poured aluminum or metal with glass or transparent baffles, or matte finished.

Post lamps provide both general and security lighting. Set into the ground in the front yard, they make it possible to outline your entranceway and guide your guests in a comfortable atmosphere. There are single and multiple fixture post lamps offering different finishes and models of lampshades.

Lamps on stems blend easily into flowerbeds and rock gardens. Measuring about one foot, they’re the perfect solution to highlight banks of flowers. The shielded and uniform light projected by these lamps is also useful as functional lighting near walkways. On the market, you’ll find a vast array of models to suit every taste. Take note that metal lamps are more durable than plastic models, but are much more expensive.

Buried lamps have the advantage of being almost completely invisible in the daytime. Placed on each side of a walkway, they serve as beacons. On the decorative side, they can be used to highlight a bush or the underside of a plant. Some models have fixed heads, while others are adjustable.

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