Exterior Garden Lighting Design and Install

Every garden is unique and you know your garden better than anyone else. On the other hand, a lighting designer knows his job quite well, so don't be afraid to ask for help.

When looking at your garden, think of it as one of the "rooms" in your house and decide what you want to accent. Walk through the garden and around it, taking note of how things look from various angles. Perhaps a shrub or a statue has a good side that you'll want to highlight. Take notes on what you would like to be able to see at night.

Spend some time sitting on the back porch or wherever you can view the garden from the angle you're most likely to see it most of the time. Consider how your favored features ought to be lighted to make them visible from this angle.

If the garden is being landscaped, work with the landscapers to install as much of the lighting as you can while the landscaping is being done. This is much easier than digging things up again later.

As you think about artistry in your design, don't forget the practical matters. Your garden lighting can also provide a measure of security. And you want to provide for the safety of guests and family as well. This means making sure that pathways, ponds, and obstacles are lighted in such a way that it's clear what and where they are.

If you're designing your own circuit, remember that you'll rarely want to take lamps out; but you might want to add some in. Design the circuit with sufficient spare capacity that this doesn't become a problem or tempt you to create an overload situation.

If you're not sure what you're doing, have a professional look at your design to make sure that there are no safety issues. Only when you are sure the design is safe should you go ahead and start to implement it.

Make sure to choose equipment that is IP rated for outdoor conditions. If it's going underwater, it needs to be rated for that as well. Using an indoor rated transformer can lead to dangerous problems as the transformer succumbs to the weather. Make sure as well to place transformers and other equipment out of sight so they won't detract from the view when you turn the lights on.

You'll want to give some consideration to how you want to turn the lights on as well. A standard wall switch may be all you need. Or you may prefer to design a system that can be operated by remote control. Alternatively, you may prefer to attach a daylight sensor that turns the lights on when it gets dark outside.

Whatever you choose, enjoy the result as you extend your living area into the great outdoors!

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