Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Yard & Garden Planning

Light Up Your Landscape (page 2 of 4)

by Beth Marie Renaud

Fixtures

Low-voltage fixtures produce a fairly low level of light, which is desirable for most outdoor lighting needs, but getting enough illumination requires many fixtures: three fixtures per tree for downlighting, one fixture for every 6 to 8 feet of pathway, one fixture per flower bed, and two or three fixtures for a border, depending on its length.

When it comes to selecting low-voltage fixtures, there are numerous manufacturers, so your choices can be overwhelming. Visit garden centers or lighting specialists for a taste of your options, then visit the Web sites of the manufacturers whose products interest you.

Quality and cost span a wide range. An all-you-need kit with six plastic fixtures and a transformer costs as little as $60 at a hardware store, while individual high-quality fixtures can cost anywhere from $50 to $100 each.

Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Inexpensive fixtures of lightweight plastic and metal will crack and corrode over time. In contrast, high-quality fixtures made of durable bronze, copper, or cast or enameled aluminum alloy can withstand extreme temperatures and resist corrosion, as can sockets made of porcelain. Most fixtures come with lamps, the industry term for light bulbs, though you may be able to choose a specific lamp for brighter light, a more focused aim, or a broader swath of light. However, be sure to choose only lamps that conform to the manufacturer's specifications in terms of size and wattage.

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