By Gene and Katie Hamilton
An attractive and effective way to brighten decks, patios, walkways and garden paths is with a low voltage lighting system. The lighting will provide safety and security and it will focus on your landscape by illuminating the dark areas surrounding the property. Use it to highlight an ornamental tree or other feature in your yard so you double the effect of the lighting.
Low voltage exterior lighting systems, available in many styles and sizes, eliminate the need to dig deep trenches for electrical wires. Instead these systems include fixtures that you stake and secure in the ground. Then you connect the fixtures together with cables, which you cover with mulch or place in a shallow trench. These systems are powered by a transformer that reduces standard line voltage and are plugged into an outlet. You’ll find the systems, sold as kits and as individual components, at home and garden centers.
Before you go shopping, do your homework to experiment with the location and intensity of the lighting you want. Get family members or friends out there in the dark each with a flashlight moving around to simulate where the light fixtures might be placed. This will help you figure out how many you need and what effect you want to create. For safety sake, when you’re lighting a walkway, focus the light toward the ground so it lights the path; to showcase a handsome tree or plant use lights facing upward.
A landscape contractor will charge $256 to install 60 feet of good quality low voltage lighting, which consists of six lights located 10 feet apart with a transformer. That includes labor and material. You can buy the components for $190 and do the job and save 25 percent.
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Wayfair features a
Guide to Outdoor Lighting Types and Features.
Wrapping up, given the average cost to install exterior lighting you can compare the price of a contractor’s bid with doing it yourself. For a local cost input your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2019