What good is a room without light? Our indoor spaces function around the clock because of lighting, and we create a mood by our choice of electrical fixtures. The same can now be achieved outdoors. Recent changes in lighting technology have made it possible to have a backyard that comes to life after dark. It's quite a stretch from the days when outdoor lighting meant beaming a 100-watt floodlight onto the backyard deck.
"When clients spend a lot of money on landscaping, they understandably want to increase the time that they spend outside, so the natural solution is to put in some beautiful lighting," says Gary Nordeman of The Landmark Group, which designed and installed many of the gardens on last summer's Backyard Glam Tour, sponsored by On The Bay. "There are many new lighting products that allow us to transform our gardens and enjoy being outdoors long after the sun goes down."
As Nordeman points out, the big advance is low-voltage and LED lights. Low-voltage lights are only 12 volts compared to household lighting at 120 volts, so it's safer and the wires just need to be dug six inches into the ground. With low-voltage LED lighting (rather than incandescent), you pay more upfront but the operating costs are lower and the lights will last a lifetime.