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LED Landscape Lights add Magical Charm to any Garden Setting

Lighting makes a huge difference to any landscape environment, however big or small. Even the smallest backyard will come to life at night if it is nicely lit. I remember when I first installed lighting in my garden.

Not only did it make me feel a lot more secure, but I saw the garden in a whole new way. It really does have a magical effect.

But the question is which lighting method are you going to use? I'm not talking about up-lighting, down-lighting, back-lighting, accent lighting, spots and so on (although this is also important), but rather types of power and bulbs. Top of my list are LED landscape lights which can be used with electricity or with solar power from the sun.

What are LED Lights?

LED is the acronym for light emitting diode, a rather wordy term for a light source that is electronically generated instead of using electric current. LEDs were first discovered by a Russian inventor in the 1920s, but have only become a domestic option in relatively recent years.

The best part about them is that they are recognized as being a truly environmentally friendly option, both indoors and in the garden as outdoor lighting and security device. While incandescent, heat-driven light emissions certainly burn brighter than LEDs, they also use considerably more electricity (even though the bulbs themselves are a lot cheaper).

But LED lights don't get hot and burn out and they last more than ten times longer than incandescent lights. Some people are put off using LED light bulbs and lamps because the light they emit is not as bright as they are used to. One solution has been to use multiple diodes together. But technology is improving all the time, and their lumen (which is a measure of the power of light) output is considerably higher than it used to be.

Also, while the earliest LED lights were red, today they are available in a variety of colors including green, blue and white.

The Choice between Electricity and Solar Power

If you choose electric landscape lighting, you will use a low voltage lighting systems that is controlled by a transformer that reduces the voltage of the electricity to make it safe. An electrician will lay cables and connect the power which will usually operate at 12 volts. A 300-watt transformer will be sufficient for about 12 landscape lights.

If you opt for electricity and LED lights, you will find a wide range of fully integrated lamps that connect to transformers, just like old-fashioned garden lighting does. Alternatively, there are many different light bulbs, including flood lights and low-power accent lights that can be used to replace existing incandescent bulbs.

While LED bulbs and fittings are generally more expensive than the fittings that became the 20th century norm, this cost will quickly be recovered in energy cost savings.

Using LED lights in an electrically generated landscape lighting system will cut down on running costs, but not as dramatically as they will if used with solar powered lamps.

If you choose solar power, you can install self-contained landscaping lights or lamps and illuminate the garden using either fluorescent light bulbs (which stay a lot cooler than incandescent bulbs and use a lot less electricity) or with LED landscape lights. Having said this, many contemporary solar lights and lamps are supplied ready fitted with energy-efficient LED bulbs.

Contemporary solar garden lights and lamps have batteries that charge during the day. Most have built-in sensors that turn on and off automatically – in response to light and dark.

If going green is important to you, solar powered outdoor lighting combined with LED bulbs is the obvious option.

For more information on outdoor lighting, please read these articles:

How to install a low voltage lighting system

Guide to landscape lighting techniques

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