Front Yard Lighting ©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

Outdoor lighting systems are typically low voltage (they operate on 12 volts) and consist of light fixtures, a transformer, and electrical cable. Your transformer should be rated to handle at least 25 percent more wattage than the total wattage of all lamps on the system. For example, a system consisting of 12 20-watt fixtures (240 watts) will need a 300-watt transformer.

NOTE: Always plug the transformer into an outside electrical outlet fitted with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

Pathway Lighting ©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

You’ll find a wide array of accent lighting styles from which to choose, from low-profile, simple fixtures to tall, baroque varieties. Whatever you select, make sure your choices complement your home’s style. For instance, match minimalist lights to a modern architectural style and flowery, ornate fixtures to a whimsical Victorian or country cottage house.

When designing your lighting plan, combining a variety of ornamental lighting styles is often effective, but don’t go overboard. Aim to highlight your yard’s strongest features while keeping other areas pleasantly shadowed.

For added drama, spotlights that graze across surfaces can showcase eye-catching textures, or shadow lights and backlights can emphasize silhouettes and outlines. Also remember to make your lighting scheme pleasing to look at from inside your house.

Get Pre-Screened Local Outdoor Lighting Planning and Installation Help

Outdoor lighting shown here is by Nick Williams Designs.

Author Image
About Don Vandervort
An avid builder and remodeler, Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years, as Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort