One of the most effective ways to improve your curb appeal is to install low voltage outdoor lighting. Not only does it give your house a high end look on the outside, it also makes your room look larger from the inside once the sun goes down. And lets face it, if you spend any time in the yard after dark, lighting changes everything.
A lit landscape under the stars gives your home and garden a resort feel.
Follow along with our tutorial on how we did this, and learn how to install low voltage outdoor landscape lighting to enhance your home’s exterior. Start at a landscape supply or home improvement store to buy everything you will need to install your outdoor lighting.
Use a diagram or layout the main wire on the ground ahead of time to make sure you have the right lengths, and to plan out placement of each light. Here’s our rough wiring diagram for our front, side and back yard. We figured out which plants and areas we wanted to light which then made it obvious where we needed to run our main wiring lines. Tip on choosing the gauge of low voltage landscape lighting wire – If your furthest point from the transformer is:
Place the low voltage light fixtures where you want them – We learned to leave more slack than you think, because when you join all the cables you need more excess. Start where your transformer is going to be, and lay out the main line going past the spots where each light will be connected, as below.
(See below) Make sure you get the wire connectors that are silicone filled and waterproof, like these we found at Lowes from Kichler. Remember, the depth you pound the stakes in will affect the height of the light once you install it. If you have rock or mulch, it just needs to run underneath so that it isn’t exposed to the elements, or causes someone to trip.
You might only have one depending on the transformer you buy, and how extensive your outdoor lighting layout is.
This is another good reason to use LED lights, as they use far fewer watts than halogen. We love how they highlight our feature trees in the landscape, and add security to the yard as well.
When choosing your lights, pay attention to beam patterns for different areas of the yard. On our plant wall we used 60 degree flood lights for a wider beam pattern.
We love this softer pattern here because it really made our plant wall part of the outdoor room on the patio, and can be seen from our main living area indoors as well.
Obviously placing them in front of your plants gives you a little more drama, but this is less effective if you have large shrubs that block a lot of the light path.
We think you will also love our posts on 12 Inspiring Backyard Lighting Ideas and our own DIY Water Feature for Less than $30!