Path Lighting for Home Security and Financial Value
Winter is a time when people dress in warm layers, dust off umbrellas and pray for rainfall. It is also the season to install path lighting to close a gap in security and add financial value to your home.
Installing path lighting can be an exciting endeavor and is not, as many believe, a time- and labor-intensive process. Got a unique lighting vision? The effort required to illuminate an exterior from street to entryway can often be completed in a day or two.
Where to Begin? A Holiday Assignment
It’s important to start with a lighting plan and then hire someone with landscape lighting experience, though a lighting project can certainly be undertaken by a capable do-it-yourselfer.
Then take a drive through your neighborhood at night, taking note of homes with outdoor lighting designs. You’ll see a variety of schemes with a range of complexity – walkways brightly lit up, driveways, architectural features, and gardens cast in varying degrees of illumination. What was unique, creative or unusual? What lighting might work for your home to promote security? Improve aesthetics? Increase its financial value?
Since incandescent bulbs were banned by Congress in 2014, LEDs have paved the way for low maintenance and long-lasting outdoor lighting. Low-voltage LEDs are safe, affordable and do a marvelous job of brightening up a dimly-lit street or darkened alley way. LED bulbs can last 50,000 hours—yes, 30-plus years of use—and provide abundant light much like formerly popular incandescent and halogen bulbs
There are some essentials you will need to create a well-balanced path lighting design—fixtures, cables, lights and a transformer. Fixtures range in style and price, from inexpensive plastic that costs a few dollars to brass or copper ones running several hundred dollars apiece. Stagger fixtures along a path to avoid a layout that looks too predictable; fixtures work well in risers (stairs) leading to a door or displayed on a wall. And down lights can light up a path from above in a unique way. Most landscape lights require little maintenance. However, to keep your lighting ensemble fit, remove debris, check for lose connections and replace faulty bulbs at least once a year.
Selecting a Transformer
A transformer takes high-voltage electricity (120 volts) and literally transforms it into a safe, 10-volt level. Transformers come in two varieties, electronic and magnetic. We only use magnetic transformers for landscape lighting and they offer great value. A magnetic transformer is very efficient, runs quietly and can be placed close to lighting fixtures. A toroidal transformer, the better of the two magnetic options (stack laminated is the other), is generally recouped with savings over time. Click here for the basics of path lighting.