Electrician Brisbane Southside will attend your request during renovation of your home or office. The actual design of an outdoor lighting system is determined by the site characteristics, the landscape effect desired its function, and the homeowner’s personal tastes.
Most hardware stores and home
improvement centers sell low voltage kits with a built-in transformer
and a timer which lets you determine when the lighting is activated or
The transformers use 120-volt current, which is
standard in nearly all households. The transformer then converts the
current to 12 volts resulting in a safe and economical power source.
GFCI receptacle will be required to install low lighting. Most homes
don’t have these receptacles and it will be necessary to have a
licensed, qualified electrician to install one.
Before starting to dig, it’s absolutely necessary to contact your
local utility companies (gas and electric) to make sure that you will
not cut any existing underground cables or piping.
planning requirement involves deciding which type of outdoor lighting
you will install. There are basically five from which to select.
These lights provide ground level illumination with the lights pointed
up. The purpose of the up-light is to highlight points in the
landscape, such as trees, and other architectural features. Up-light
fixtures include spot and flood lights as well as in-ground fixtures.
Back-lighting can create a very dramatic effect when done with taste.
Be sure not to use overpowering back-lighting because it may result in a
“Halloween effect”. The basic idea of back-lighting is to
strategically place a lighting fixture behind an object such as a statue
or even a small plant. This object or plant should be fairly close to
an outside wall. The goal is to use this fixture, such as a spot light
or a floodlight or even an in-ground light, to create a silhouette on
the wall. The fixture should be out of sight to provide some “magic” to
the desired effect.
Path lights: One of the most common
(and dramatic) uses of outdoor lighting is to create a guide on either
side of a path or walkway or even a driveway. Besides providing an
appealing decorative look, path lighting can be a safety feature,
keeping visitors from wandering off the lighted area. Unlike most other
outdoor lighting, path lights should be placed above ground (but fairly
low) and should be the kind that spreads the light with a gentle
glowing effect. Don’t use too many path lights in a particular area to
avoid an “airline runway” look. The lights should be strategically
placed with understatement being the operational consideration.
Down lights :
Spotlights and floodlights can be used to illuminate an entryway such
as a rear door or an entrance to a bordered garden area or even over a
gazebo. Unlike a path light, a down light should not be seen so that a
natural lighting effect is achieved. Besides providing a decorative
effect, down-lighting offers security for areas, deterring most
Specialty lights: Creativity is the key to the use of
specialty lighting. The goal in using this lighting is to create a
magical and inviting mood to an area. If you have a rock garden or an
area with water and perhaps even a waterfall, strategically placed
lighting can highlight these landscaping features and provide a very
dramatic nighttime effect. Remember, specialty lighting is limited only
by the homeowner’s creativity. There are a variety of home and garden
magazines on the market and some very innovative uses of specialty
lighting can be found by perusing a few of these periodicals.
beginning the installation phase, be sure to match the areas to be
illuminated with the style and types of lighting fixtures that you will
use. Don’t be reluctant to visit neighbors who use outdoor lighting and
ask what they selected in terms of lighting fixtures. This may involve
several trips to other neighborhoods but these trips will certainly be
worth the effort. Although you will be paying night time visits, a
polite and sincere introduction to the homeowner with a word of two of
flattery will no doubt provide you with an invitation to look at the
work that they have done and most will be more than willing to share
their secrets with you.
Most outdoor lighting is either four or
seven watts. Keep in mind that these lights are designed to highlight a
fairly small area with the goal of providing understated intimacy. If
the area you plan to illuminate is fairly large, you may want to
purchase a few more lights than you expect will do the job. You can
always return the extras for a refund. The lighting specialist at the
store can help you select the right transformer and may suggest you buy
one that can accommodate the additional wattage you may need if you
decide to expand your outdoor lighting later on.
Rather than just
jump into grabbing that shovel and starting to work, remember why they
include instruction booklets with toys, etc. that need to be assembled.
What I’m getting at is that you need a written plan from which to work.
While this may be a time-consuming part of the project, it will pay
dividends as you begin the actual work. Many homeowners who jumped
right into installing outdoor lighting, ended up having to do much of it
over again as they found that their mental plans didn’t yield the same
benefits that a carefully laid-out written plan did. Another advantage
to putting it in writing is that you may discover additional areas that
could benefit from outdoor lighting as you move along. The written plan
will allow you to note this so that you can revisit the area to install
the additional lighting.
With all the preliminary work completed,
you will be ready to start the actual project. Although there are a
variety of approaches that can be used, one of the most effective is to
refer to your plan and lay the lighting fixtures at the area where they
will be installed. Some of the lighting fixtures such as path lights
will include a detachable stake that you will use to anchor the fixture
into the ground. A common mistake some homeowners make is to attempt to
drive these stakes into hard soil. In today’s market, most lighting
fixtures and accessories are made of plastic. While the plastic stake
may be made of high-grade material, driving it into hard soil or a
soil-clay mixture may result in the stake breaking. It’s often
difficult if not impossible to find a replacement stake and the
homeowner may end up “biting the bullet” by having to purchase another
complete lighting fixture. To avoid this potential pitfall, you can do
one of two things. First, you can use a spade to loosen the soil and
then pack it down firmly. It’s often not necessary to loosen the soil
to the complete length of the stake. Try loosening it about ¾ of the
length of the stake. Generally, with a good start, the stake will not
be damaged when fully inserted. Second, you can water the area
liberally the day before you begin the project. If the soil is very
dense, use a pitchfork or similar tool to create irrigation holes. You
may find it necessary to repeat the watering process several times.
the soil prepared, place the lighting fixtures where they will be
installed. At the GFCI fixture, run the cable to each of the lights.
Don’t run the cable so that it’s tight because you may decide to
reposition your lighting fixtures at a later date. Most lighting
fixtures have instructions that indicate how they are to be attached to
the cable. This is usually a fairly simple process that doesn’t even
involve the use of any tools.
After separating the end of the
cable, strip off about ½ inch of insulation and attach the wires to the
proper terminals on the transformer. You are now ready to see if the
lighting circuit is working. Turn on the plugged-in transformer and
then look at each light to make sure it’s working. Bury the cable as
you install the light fixtures. Four or five inches will do in terms of
the depth the cable should be buried.
The last step is to set the timer to come on at the right time and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
The information contained in this article is written by a non-certified and non-qualified electrician. I take no responsibility for any injury or other accidents or damage to equipment that may occur as a result of following any of the information contained herein. If you have any doubts about your ability to follow these directions or to safely install your outdoor lighting, I strongly urge you to hire a qualified professional electrician to do the job.
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