Landscape lighting is one of the greatest investments that can be made to enhance a landscape and home exterior. Landscape lighting adds great visual appeal, increased security, and in many cases will increase the value of your property.
The first step to adding landscape lighting to your home is to choose a qualified and experienced company who can design and install an outdoor lighting plan customized to your space. Lighting design and installation are both essential in maximizing the effects of outdoor lighting. An experienced landscape lighting contractor understands where to place lighting fixtures to highlight key elements and how to use subtle lighting to add ambiance. The number and type of fixtures and bulbs used along with quantity and spacing all contribute to a well-planned lighting scheme. Professionalism in installation and attention to detail ensure that the intended effects of the design come to life. There is an element of science and art behind a good landscape lighting design.
An important consideration in any outdoor lighting plan is which type of bulbs and fixtures to use. Until recently, halogen bulbs were the standard in landscape lighting. Today, it can be argued that the best choice for landscape lighting is LED (Light-emitting diode) fixtures. LED fixtures produce the same wattage equivalents of halogen, meaning equal brightness can be achieved. However, LED is more energy efficient, using about 75% less energy for the same brightness. Advances in LED technology have taken landscape lighting to a whole new level. There are LED fixtures for any use imaginable, and with their increased energy efficiency, more creative uses can be implemented while keeping energy bills down.
In addition to increased energy efficiency, LED lights also offer a level of longevity that far surpasses halogen fixtures. Life expectancy for LED bulbs ranges from about 30,000 to 50,000 hours. Compare that to halogen bulbs, which have a life expectancy range of about 2,000 to 5,000 hours. That means you will replace a halogen bulb 10 times before a single LED bulb burns out! Let’s assume you use your outdoor lights for an average of 4 hours each day. That would come to 1,460 hours each year. At that rate, you would need to replace your outdoor halogen lights every 1 ½ to 3 ½ years. At the same rate, your initial LED installation will last 20-34 years! You can imagine the convenience and cost savings!
I know what you are thinking, “What is the upfront cost difference?” On average, an LED bulb will be 4-5 times more expensive than a halogen bulb. So, rather than spending $500 on halogen bulbs, you might spend $2,500 on LED bulbs. However, take into account that the halogen lights are replaced 10 times during a single LED bulb lifespan, and you have already spent twice as much as LED, not to mention the energy savings!
It is no wonder LED lights have taken over the outdoor lighting industry. If you plan to invest in outdoor lighting for your home, invest wisely. Do some research of your own and talk to a lighting professional about your options. Take into account specific product lifespans and warranties. Not all LED fixtures are created equal. Consider the quality, not only of the bulb, but also the fixtures! You do not want to put a 20 year bulb in a 5 year fixture. Ask your lighting professional for recommendations, and enjoy the results for years to come!