Perfect Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Transformer Timer Picture
WIRING PLAN & INSTALLATION Next begin to consider where you can best place the wire runs. Along the edges of hardscapes is often a good choice. Make right angles for wire turns and arrange your plan not only for maximum efficiency but also in a way that makes sense to you as you work in your property. A good way to try this is to run string or twine from the location of your transformer (by your GFCI outlet) to the fixtures. There are several methods of laying out the wiring. The better and best ways are by using a "T" style installation or a "hub" installation. Most professional quality LED installations can use a series or "daisy chain" method. The method you choose will depend on the type of fixtures the distance from the transformer and the type and size of wire.
Mark the locations for your fixtures placing lights where they do the most good illuminating the space shining on the walks highlighting the plant material skimming across rock surfaces. Tour the site and look from different angles. Try to hide the fixtures when possible. Aim the light so it doesnt make glare and you cant see the light source. Professional lamp charts are available to help you select the right light source for the application and to see what wattage will provide the desired brightness and throw. Beam spread refers to the size of the pool of light and is measured on a chart at varying distances.
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When deciding where to place lights you need to assess the elements on your property such as trees flower beds statues and walkways. Which structures should be highlighted and which should be downplayed? You obviously want to make sure pathways are well lit for safety but you also want to show off that rose bush you painstakingly nurtured or the fountain you couldnt wait to bring home. Trash cans and other eyesores you will want to keep hidden. You are painting a picture with light in your yard just as you painted one when you landscaped. The key is to create a balance highlighting a few spots and providing lighting transitions between them. While there are no rules careful thought and planning are required as too much lighting creates a busy panorama and too little leaves an unfinished portrait.
Low voltage lighting systems are more practical in residential areas as they are small flexible and do not require an electrician for installation. Except for the transformer that is connected to the 120v circuit all the fixtures run on harmless 12v current. The cables need only be hidden not buried which allows for great flexibility as your landscape matures and changes. Furthermore low voltage systems are designed for wet locations and pose no shock hazard when exposed to moisture. Low watt lamps are available in many beam sizes and colors allowing for more precise lighting effects with lower energy costs. One drawback to low voltage systems is that dim lights from the voltage drop can occur over long distances.