Outdoor Lighting Buying Guide Outdoor Lighting Buying Guide
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Outdoor Lighting Buying Guide

Front Yard Lighting

Outdoor lighting systems are typically low voltage (they operate on 12 volts) and consist of light fixtures, a transformer, and electrical cable. Your transformer should be rated to handle at least 25 percent more wattage than the total wattage of all lamps on the system. For example, a system consisting of 12 20-watt fixtures (240 watts) will need a 300-watt transformer.

NOTE: Always plug the transformer into an outside electrical outlet fitted with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

Pathway Lighting

You’ll find a wide array of accent lighting styles from which to choose, from low-profile, simple fixtures to tall, baroque varieties. Whatever you select, make sure your choices complement your home’s style. For instance, match minimalist lights to a modern architectural style and flowery, ornate fixtures to a whimsical Victorian or country cottage house.

When designing your lighting plan, combining a variety of ornamental lighting styles is often effective, but don’t go overboard. Aim to highlight your yard’s strongest features while keeping other areas pleasantly shadowed.

For added drama, spotlights that graze across surfaces can showcase eye-catching textures, or shadow lights and backlights can emphasize silhouettes and outlines. Also remember to make your lighting scheme pleasing to look at from inside your house.

Get Pre-Screened Local Outdoor Lighting Planning and Installation Help

Outdoor lighting shown here is by Nick Williams Designs.

About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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