When considering what to include in your landscape lighting, it’s easy to get confused. Fluorescent, incandescent, LED…and now, high or low voltage?! Yes, there is another type of lighting to consider when consulting with an outdoor lighting service. Look at it this way, this gives you more lighting options, and thus more chances at getting just the lighting look you want for your home or business.
Low Voltage versus High Voltage Lighting Overview
If you’re thinking of installing outdoor lighting or upgrading your current system, there are many things to consider, one being if you want high voltage or low voltage lights. Since there are pros and cons to both types of systems, we’ve helped you out with this handy information below:
High Voltage Lighting
High voltage refers to lights which need 120V of power to work. Sometimes also called line voltage or standard voltage, 120V are a heavier-duty system, often seen in commercial and security lights, as well as for public use.
High Voltage – PROs
1.Lights are Bright – because of how much power they use they are perfect for large areas which need to be lit, or uplighting a large canopy of trees. This is why they are great for areas needing security lighting.
2.Fewer Fixtures Needed – because they are so bright, fewer fixtures are needed to light up an area
3.No Transformer Required – because these systems draw power right from the source, your home or business’ electrical supply, there is no need to transform the current & less of a chance that lights will dim with a voltage drop
High Voltage – CONs
1.An Electrician Is Needed – because of the high power involved all wires and connections must be installed to code, and in some cases, permits are needed
2.Higher Risk of Shock – all fittings, fixtures and connections need to be completely water tight since water and electricity don’t mix
3.Difficult to Relocate – the wires must be placed in a conduit or buried 18” below the ground not only making it more difficult to move fixtures once installed, but the installation is quite disruptive to your lawn and garden since trenches need to be dug
4.Less Beam Control – because the lights are so powerful, the beams’ spread is difficult to control and can cause problems with glare
Low Voltage Landscape Lighting
Low voltage outdoor light systems use only 12V of power, making them the most common for household use and are the best option for dramatic illuminating effects.
Low Voltage – PROs
1.Lower Overall Cost – the costs for fixtures, bulbs, electricity usage are all typically lower. They often have more light output per watt and therefore are more energy efficient.
2.Wide Selection of Fixtures – the choices are wide when it comes to choosing the type of fixture for your lighting needs, in both function and style. Low voltage lights are also designed for precise lighting effects for illuminating small details of your garden.
3.Flexible – no junction boxes, conduits or deep burial are necessary making it easy to relocate fixtures if necessary. This means there is little disturbance to your lawn and gardens when installing.
4.No Electrician Required – most 12V lighting systems can be plugged directly into outdoor receptacles
5.Safer – because low voltage systems are designed for the outdoors, they operate safely under wet conditions and lessen risk of shock
Low Voltage – CONs
1.Transformer Required – because the power coming from your home is too high, a transformer is required to reduce the current to 12V.
2.Dimming May Occur – if the cable sizes aren’t the proper size, 12V lights are more prone to dimming. This could make them not the best choice for security or safety purposes.
If you don’t want to worry about high voltage vs low voltage, then consider hiring a professional landscape lighting company like Nite Time Decor. We provide custom designed outdoor lighting installation in the Halton, Hamilton, Mississauga, Burlington or Oakville areas to fit your specific needs.
Our experts can tell you exactly what fixtures will provide what effect, and how best to enhance the usefulness of your yard, as well as the safety, security, and curb appeal of your home. Contact Nite Time Decor for a free light demo and your complimentary quote today.
Landscape Lighting FAQs
Are you considering installing a landscape lighting system that is specifically designed to meet your home’s unique features and needs? If so, you may have some important questions you need answered before making your decision.
When it comes to your home, you should always do your research before making any big purchases or installations. That’s why our lighting experts at Nite Time Decor Oakville want to make the research process that much easier for you.
To do so, we’ve provided answers to a number of landsape lighting frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you make an informed decision about designing and installing your very first landscape lighting system.
1. Besides making my home look nice, what advantages are there to landscape lighting?
There are many advantages to installing landscape lighting around your home.
First, it adds security without looking gaudy. No longer does a security light need to just be a flood light hung above the garage, but there are various lighting options and just having extra light around your property makes a thief think twice if a home is nicely lit.
Second, it adds safety. If your pathways, stairways, driveway and gardens are well-lit, you don’t have to worry about a guest tripping or losing their way in the dark.
Third, it extends the ability to use your outdoor space. It’s great when on those warm summer nights you can use your yard and deck late into the night, and still enjoy your landscaping (which sometimes looks even better at night)
Fourth, it adds value to your home – as much as a 50% return because of all the reasons mentioned above, plus it modernizes your home.
2. Why Do I need to Hire Someone? What about DIY?
There are many different types of landscape lighting and DIY kits, especially solar-powered, are widely available. It all depends on your lighting needs, and often the old adage is correct – you get what you pay for.
Most DIY kits are of inferior quality, with some needing to be replaced yearly. Plus, solar-powered lights tend not to be very bright, so they are not ideal for illuminating the architectural details of your home, and of course are dependent on the sun.
Plus, a landscape lighting company offers the artistry and know-how of their staff when it comes to design, product and installation, which is important if you’re dealing with electricity.
3. Is my hydro bill going to skyrocket?
Not really, especially if you choose to install low-voltage lighting. Many homeowners experience an increase of less than $50 a year, and that’s with high-voltage incandescent lights. With low-voltage LED lights, for example, if you have 5 lights, on for 5 hours/night every day for a year, homeowners will see an increase of only $6/ year!
Most customers also choose to install a timer, which is great for those times you are on vacation, or even if you just have a habit of forgetting to turn the lights off.
4. What should my outdoor lighting focus on?
When thinking of landscape lighting, the word “sophistication” should often come to mind. Focus on unique trees or bushes, a piece of art, a water feature, or even just your front door or peak of your home. Whether you are looking to illuminate a pathway or deck, the creative possibilities are endless.
5. Is there a lot of maintenance involved?
There doesn’t have to be. Most landscape lighting companies offer maintenance packages as well as warranties on their products. Often outdoor lighting should be examined in the spring to ensure nothing was damaged over the winter, or to trim back unwieldly bushes, but other than that, it can be as simple as flicking a switch.
6. How much does a landscape lighting system cost?
Landscape lighting systems can vary in cost, as they are designed and installed based on the unique needs of your family and your home.
Depending on what you are looking for, your landscape lighting system can range from minimal to intricate, with a price tag that reflects those lighting choices.
Whatever route you decide to take, the cost will come down to two main factors: the quantity of light fixtures your design requires and the desired effect you’re looking to achieve. Our landscape lighting professionals can work with your vision and budget to create the perfect lighting design for your home.
7. Will an installation damage my yard?
Not at all. Our experienced landscape lighting technicians are trained to conduct a professional installation without damaging any parts of your lawn in the process. If any trench work in required to bury wires, our technicians will make a small incision and carefully place the wiring in the appropriate spot. When this occurs, your grass should recover after a normal rainfall, and no lasting marks should remain.
8. Is landscape lighting hard to operate and maintain?
Absolutely not. With programmable settings and customizable timers, you’ll be able to set your preferences and let your system do what it does best – illuminate your home and property!
While your landscape lighting system may require some occasional maintenance, our experienced technicians can help. Whether it’s repairing a fixture or replacing a wire, our lighting technicians are always available to help you out!
9. Can you explain the terminology for landscape lighting?
So you want to add some lighting to your landscape or extend the time you can spend on your deck. Whether you’re hoping to DIY the project or have it done professionally you’ll better know what’s available and the different techniques used if you’re familiar with the terminology and lingo the professionals use.
Understanding these terms and the various lighting techniques, you’ll understand that the options are almost limitless with some imagination and creativity.
Up lighting is basically shining or pointing a light fixture up. Whether the fixture is placed at the bottom of a wall or fence, or part way up a pillar or tree, placing the light can be used to create shadows or silhouettes and create indirect light and enhance curb appeal. These types of fixtures are usually low voltage lights and are available in solar, halogen and LED. There are a lot of options and a wide variety of fixtures and finishes to choose from.
Just like the name suggests, down lighting focuses light down. Whether the fixture is placed under the eaves of a house, under a bench, or uses a shield or hood and placed along a pathway, the light is pointed down. The light may be placed in such a way during the day that it’s virtually unseen.
Wash lighting is used to create a subtle glow over a broad canvas such as a wall, fence, or row of bushes. The colour of the canvas may amplify or mute the light and different colours of light can offer fun variety – a splash of red for Canada Day for instance.
Light casts shadows and when done on purpose can create a fantastic play of light on dark and highlight a variety of features around your yard. Shadows are often used to create moon lighting and silhouettes. When placing new lighting, be sure that unwanted shadows are not created that hide or partially hide important features such as stairs or pathways and become a safety hazard.
Silhouetting is exactly what you’d expect. This technique is most effective when light is placed between a planting or other feature and a light coloured wall. Silhouettes provide indirect light (much like a wash) but the shadows created can be a kind of art all on their own.
If you have a home with a great textured façade such as stone, grazing can be used to cast light upwards from the ground using shadows to highlight the feature.
Is there one feature in your yard that you want to stand apart from the rest? A spotlight can make a single feature the star of the show. Often two or more spotlights are often used to make use of shadow and light from different angles.
This is a newer trend in outdoor lighting where designers try to mimic natural moon light usually by placing a light high up in a tree and allowing the natural movement and shadows of the leaves to cast subtle light on the ground. This is a great technique for a patio or walkway.
Have more questions? Here are some additional landscape lighting FAQs and tips for finding the right contractor.
10. How can I find the right outdoor lighting contractor?
It isn’t always easy to find the right contractor for residential landscape lighting systems. After being in business for over twenty years, Nite Time Décor Oakville understands the ways to find the right contractor for your residential landscape lighting systems. We’d like to share our time-tested wisdom with you so that choosing the right company is no longer a concern.
Find the portfolio
How can you know which company you’d like if you don’t have a sample of their work? Ask for a portfolio that shows examples of their residential landscape lighting systems, as well as an overview of their past experience. For example, Nite Time Décor lighting services has a long list of resources and a vibrant gallery to show to customers our sixteen years of success.
It’s important to also ask how many actual installations the company in question has completed successfully. Make sure the company isn’t one that focuses mainly on sale, and does installations on occasion. You’ll want to find a company that has completed a healthy amount of installations so that you can be rest assured your residential landscape lighting systems are installed properly.
What are their credentials?
In this day and age, you need some sort of accreditation to perform almost any professional job, and installing residential landscape lighting systems is no exception. At Nite Time Décor Oakville, we highly recommend looking for certain credentials before choosing a company.
You want your company to have liability insurance. They also require registration from Service Ontario and permits for operation. Finally, make sure they are trusted by their peers.
If the Better Business Bureau has accredited them, this is an important aspect in proving the company to be trustworthy. Looking for their accreditations from the BBB will also offer you a chance to look up the company’s ratings.
Worthwhile warranties and service
There isn’t much of a point to get high quality residential landscape lighting systems if you don’t have the professionals to help maintain the systems once they’ve been installed.
Find a company that offers warranties and maintenance guarantees so that you’re not left stranded in the event of disrepair. Nite Time Décor Oakville offers both a warranty for your Nite Time Décor lighting services, as well as a lifetime maintenance guarantee.
Furthermore, six months following the installation of your Nite Time Décor outdoor lighting system, we’ll check in to ensure your lights are running properly and to your satisfaction. If the company doesn’t offer either a warranty or maintenance guarantee, move on.
Look for consultations
Make sure the ego of the landscape lighting designers doesn’t get in the way. Sometimes the designer has one vision, and you have one that is entirely different. Make sure the company is willing to consult and work with you to find residential landscape lighting systems that match both your style and budget.
Contact Nite Time Décor
We’d love to answer your outdoor lighting questions or help you design a truly unique lighting plan.
To have any other landscape lighting faqs answered or to request a quote, contact the professionals at Nite Time Décor. Our experienced team would be happy to answer any of your questions, and help you on your way to creating the outdoor lighting design of your dreams!
Does Outdoor Lighting Harm Trees?
With our long winter nights, outdoor lighting in Oakville and Burlington is as practical as it is pretty. However, some North American scientists have raised concerns that artificial night lighting can have a negative impact on trees. Here is what you should know about outdoor lighting and how you can maintain healthy trees while maximizing safety and highlighting your property’s attractive features.
Know your facts
Trees need light to survive. The type of light (the wavelength or colour), the brightness, and the duration (how many hours) of light over the course of a day all affect tree growth. Certain trees rely on the amount of light in a day to know when to grow, flower, seed, or go dormant. Fewer hours of daylight in the fall signal trees to drop their leaves and stop growing.
If some trees are brightly lit at night with certain colours of light, there is a possibility that they may miss the cues that winter is approaching. They may fail to drop all their leaves in time, and risk damage from heavy snowfalls. Or they may not go fully dormant in time for winter and risk damage from cold. While the risk of tree damage is low, there are still many things you can do to optimize the health of more sensitive trees.
Know your trees
Outdoor lighting does not bother most tree varieties. Most conifers, such as spruce or pine trees, for example, are not affected by night lighting. Some deciduous trees—particularly flowering trees—may be more susceptible to certain types of night lighting. Since young trees grow faster, their growth cycle may be more affected by night lighting.
Nite Time Decor outdoor lighting experts can help you identify which trees are more sensitive to outdoor lighting and can design the appropriate lighting plans for your home.
Choose appropriate light fixtures
If you have a spectacular tree or trees that you want to have lit at night, fear not! There are many lighting options that won’t damage even the most sensitive trees. Some LED technology, for example, does not emit light in the red or infrared spectrum, which are the wavelengths of light that can impact tree dormancy and flowering.
Low, diffuse lighting can also be appropriate if you want to highlight outdoor landscape features. Down lights can be positioned to highlight plantings at the base of trees, which will avoid shining light on most of the tree leaves.
Consider timers and zones
Professional outdoor lighting takes into account both esthetics and safety. If you are lighting trees for esthetics, consider creating lighting zones and having the tree lighting shut off at a set time each day. You can keep other lighting zones—such as walkways and doorways—continuously lit for safety and security. This not only saves electricity, but also minimizes any effect outdoor lighting may have on surrounding trees.
Create a dynamic lighting design
Designing for beauty, safety, security, and tree heath is a complex business. Why not let the experts in outdoor lighting help you create or update a lighting design that meets all your needs? For more information on how a Nite Time Decor landscape lighting expert can help you create a striking display for your home, contact us today or request a complimentary quote.
When undertaking a serious project that may be beyond your scope, it’s always a good idea to do your homework in regards to a potential landscape lighting service. With the number of companies out there all competing for clients, it can be difficult to sift through to find the right landscape lighting company for your needs.
Not sure what sets a great landscape lighting contractor apart from an average option?
When interviewing an outdoor lighting service provider, you should ask lots of questions – and receive answers you’re comfortable with – before deciding to hire anyone to do the job.
In addition, you should do background checks on potential companies. Do not proceed until due diligence is completed.
Here are some questions that you should be asking:
The last thing you want is a technician who isn’t specialized in the field of landscape lighting installing your lights. Look for a professional landscape lighting company that has all the tools and experience necessary to give you specific and unique advice, like Nite Time Décor. The pros will be able to help you with voltage, proper wiring, installation in trees, and design advice.
Landscape Lighting Service Accreditations
You don’t want to trust just anyone with your home. Before you invite a landscape lighting service to work on your home, verify that they:
Have a license/registration/insurance: are the companies that you’re looking at registered with Service Ontario? Are they active members of Landscape Ontario? Do they have the proper permits to operate? Do they carry liability insurance?
BBB: Are the companies on your list accredited by the Better Business Bureau? What are their ratings?
If a company cannot answer these questions satisfactorily, do not let them anywhere near your outdoor lighting installation! Hire an unaccredited business and you could be setting yourself up for disaster.
Landscape Lighting Experience
In order to get a good idea of what sort of work a landscape lighting service has done, carefully review their website and check out the gallery of completed projects and ask questions like the following:
Q. How much lighting experience do you have?
Ideally the company in question should have enough experience to show that they offer quality lighting installations.
Nite Time Décor has been installing landscape lighting since 1998 and the website has a plethora of resources related to landscape lighting to prove that we know what we’re doing.
Nite Time Décor can guarantee both knowledgeable support and a lifetime maintenance warranty on all of our landscape lighting systems. We can also ensure that your design is the best possible one for your specific landscape lighting needs.
After being involved in the installation and design process of more than 25 years’ worth of systems, we can provide knowledgeable advice in this important phase of your home’s décor.
Q. How many lighting installations has the company done?
Anyone can sell lights, but not just any company can install these lights effectively. The number of installations a company has successfully completed will be a good indicator of their level of expertise and ability.
Q. Can the company provide references?
If your prospective company cannot provide solid customer testimonials or site references, you should be concerned.
Q. Ask Your Landscape Lighting Service About Warranties and Service Plans
Every company will provide you with information in order to secure a sale. The real test is finding out about their service following the installation. Will they leave you hanging in the event of a system malfunction or untimely repair?
Q. Will they provide a preview?
Sometimes, the homeowner’s taste and budget are at odds with the designer’s vision. A reputable landscape lighting company will work with you to design a layout that suites you. Check out our gallery to see the kinds of installations Nite Time Décor has to offer.
Q. How about warranties?
Warranties are only as good as the company that backs them up. All of Nite Time Décor’s products are covered by warranty.
Q. What do their service and maintenance plans look like?
Does the company provide service after the sale? Nite Time Décor follows up with your property six months after the installation. We are committed to the lifetime maintenance of your Oakville outdoor lighting.
Landscape Lighting Products
Having a wide range of products to choose from is important in securing a landscape lighting system that suits your specific needs. Do they offer LEDs? Do you have options of tiki lights, wash lights, well lights? Look into this to ensure your design isn’t limited.
Don’t let just anyone come into your yard and throw up a bunch of lights. Landscape lighting is an art and should only be trusted to companies who prove themselves worthy of the task. At Nite Time Décor, your lighting is safe in our hands. Check out our landscape lighting services for more information, or simply contact us today for a free consultation and quote.