Joe Swett
low voltage landscape lighting
By Published On: May 23rd, 2022Comments Off on What Is Low Voltage Landscape Lighting and How Does It Work?26.6 min read

Landscape lighting can transform your home and the rest of the yard from a horror story to a fairytale setting with the flip of a switch.

Landscape lights provide both decorative and practical benefits; it allows you to use your space after the sun has set and introduces safety, security, and visual appeal. Unfortunately, not all landscape lighting is the same. Poor lighting can end up causing more harm than good to your property.

How well do you understand low voltage landscape lighting? Read about it here to see if any advantages apply to your landscape lighting project.

What Is Low Voltage Landscape Lighting?

In contrast to line voltage, which uses 120 volts, low-voltage lighting uses only 12 volts to power all light fixtures. This eliminates the need to install risky electrical wires that pose a constant danger of shock or injury. In addition, low-voltage landscape lighting uses only a few components.

A Transformer

The transformer is the main component responsible for supplying safe voltage to all landscaping lights.

Each transformer comprises many electronic components, reducing the home’s 120V system to 12V. However, keep in mind that each manufacturer produces transformers with varying ratings.

You must select a transformer with more power or watts than the total wattage of your fixtures.

For example, if you have eight 50-watt path lights, you should choose a transformer rated for 500 or 600 watts. However, it is not advisable to buy a transformer with much more power than is needed. If the transformer is not loaded correctly, the output may become too strong as it leaves the transformer’s components, causing the transformer to overheat and fail.

The Wiring

You connect the transformer to the light fittings with wires that run along the ground and connect with each light fitting. This wire can either be allowed to lay on the ground or can be buried up to a depth of three inches beneath the soil or mulch.

There is no risk of getting shocked because the wires only have a very low voltage. The thickness of the wiring is what determines how bright every one of your landscape lights shines.

Light Bulbs and Fixtures

Light fixtures are typically spaced 10 feet apart from the transformer and one another. Low-voltage lighting is customizable because it can mix and match any fixture type along the same transformer line.

As discussed above, the wattage of each bulb must be calculated on one line to avoid overloading the transformer. If you do, your lights will be dim or won’t work.

Using Photocells and Timers

Install a photocell on your transformer to save money on electricity. Or set a timer to turn the lights on and off.

Photocells use ambient light to turn the system on at dusk. Both gadgets use a switching process to provide and block power to the transformer when needed.

What Are the Benefits of Using Low Voltage Landscape Lighting?

Compared to a 120-volt system, there are numerous advantages to using low voltage landscape lighting. Let’s look at some of the benefits:

First to Come To Mind Is Safety

This is most likely the main reason why low-voltage landscape lighting is advised for residential properties.

You will, without a doubt, spend some time outside and most likely have children at home who will be looking to play in this area. Then there are your visitors as well. A low-voltage lighting circuit with 12-volt power protects them from shocks if they accidentally touch something.

On the other hand, if you choose line voltage, which consists of 120-volt power, the repercussions of an accident could be serious.

Low Volt Landscape Lighting Is Cost-Effective

Outdoor lighting is very affordable to have. This is especially so when used in conjunction with the latest LED technologies.

LED lights use far less power to generate the same brightness as other light bulbs. In fact, LED lights use much less energy, so your electricity bill will be lower.

When installing a low voltage landscape lighting system, the most expensive item, you will have to pay for will be the transformer.

Enhances Beautiful Areas of Your Home

As a result of the fact that low-voltage landscape lighting has emerged as the standard option for residential properties, companies have created a substantially broader selection of light fixtures suitable for use with low-voltage systems.

Compared to a line voltage system, a low-voltage system provides users with a great deal more variety in terms of color and the lenses they can choose from. Because of this, you have more room for creativity when designing the effect that the lights will have. You can abandon floodlights in favor of a more sophisticated lighting system.

You can make your home pop by installing some low-voltage lighting to illuminate and highlight features such as fencing, plants, and other focus areas.

It’s Better to Illuminate Than Just Shine!

To quote Frank Lloyd Wright, ‘More and more so it seems to me, light is the beautifier of the building’!

Almost anything is possible with landscape lighting… Are you looking to highlight a beautiful tree or a pathway with a subtle glow… Illuminate a beautiful flower bed or create a romantic setting in your outdoor living area?

Then, contact us! One of our team members is standing by to help you with your project!

About the Author: Joe Swett

Former U.S. Coast Guard and Tampa-native Joseph Swett is the owner of Sunrise Irrigation, a Palm Harbor-based company that has been providing sprinkler and irrigation services in the Tampa Bay Area, Florida, for more than 20 years. A RainBird-trained landscape specialist, Mr. Swett is dedicated to helping Florida homes and businesses implement effective irrigation technologies and transition towards smart water conservation. In his spare time, Joe sponsors and plays in two men’s softball leagues, but also enjoys surfing and going fishing with his family.


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