Landscape designing is not a hard task. All you need is to get the right design, select the right lights and fixtures and then install it properly. Outdoor lighting if designed properly provides security whilst making your landscape look beautiful. However many people fail in these aspects, which may result in an undesirable outdoor landscape.
Here I have listed a step-by-step process to help you design a beautiful and breathtaking lighted landscape for night times.
Step 1: Plan – Initially you need to draw a diagram of what your end result should be. Then you need to decide where exactly you will be placing your lights and what types of lights you would use for this purpose. A good outdoor lighting consists of various types of lights from path lights to spot lights to pond lights. You can use spot lights to draw the eye to areas that have an architectural design or a beautiful view. Path lights and accent lights can be used to illuminate the pathways, while pond lights can be used if you want to draw attention to a water feature in your landscape design.
Step 2: Fixtures – Now you need to group the fixtures you will be using so that each group can share 1 cable. To have a beautiful landscape design you need to make sure that you showcase the lights and not the fixtures. So make sure that all cables are hidden by shrubs, plants, flower pots etc.
Step 3: Selecting the bulbs– Now you need to decide the light bulbs you need for the lighting in accordance with your design. Use at least a few low voltage bulbs to ensure that you do not suffer from voltage drop or damage. A perfect solution is to use LED outdoor landscape lighting that uses less electricity in comparison to the traditional halogen bulbs.
Step 4: Fixing the Transformer – Now you have to add up the total amount of Wattage you will need by calculating the Watts need of each bulb. This will help you select the right type of transformer for your landscape. If you require more than 240 watts of electricity then you can use a bigger transformer but it is always advisable to use 2 smaller transformers. Each fixture group will have a separate cable running to the transformer. Don’t use the same cable for lighting fixtures 15 feet away and 50 feet way. Make sure that each fixture group has its own cable to avoid damages. You might need about three 100 Watt cables to support a lighting fixture of 300 Watts. So you need to find the number of cables required by each lighting fixture.
Step 5: Determine your cable size – Now you need to find the cable gauge and length you need. This is how you do it:
- Determine the number of watts you need for each group. E.g. 150 Watts
- Determine the length to the transformer – E.g. 80 feet
- Multiply the length and number of watts – 120,000
- If your total is less than 10,000 use a 12 gauge cable. If it is between 10,001-15,000 then you can use a 10 gauge cable. Remember that when the gauge size falls means the diameter of the cable increases.
Once you have calculated how much cable you need, buy about 35% more than what you calculated to be on the safer side.
Step 6: Other items: Now you will need to buy splices and connectors. For 1 group of fixtures you will need 2 connectors each and more of the connectors to split the electricity from the main cable and hubs.
I hope this article was useful to you to design your very own landscape design. Make sure you follow the step by step process given here and the guides provided when you buy your lights, for a secure, safe and durable landscape. Feel free to share your comments, ideas and experiences.