Five factors to having a quality landscape lighting system

Photo: Nan Palmero/FlickrPhoto: Nan Palmero/Flickr

When spending time and energy on creating a beautiful landscape for your customer’s home or company, you want to make sure you find quality landscape lighting to help accent and highlight the best features.

It is also important to find quality lighting systems if your clients are looking to increase lighting security to help increase their comfort and safety. As you explore your options, Serenity Lighting Systems offers you helpful information to make sure you get a high-quality landscaping system for your customer that lasts years and saves money.

Fixture materialsguest-post-attribution-box

Lighting fixtures come with several material options such as plastic, aluminum, brass, copper and stainless steel. When choosing the right lighting fixture option, it is important to take into consideration the weather patterns in your area, level of humidity, your customer’s gardening or landscaping habits and their long-term expectations. Let’s check out each material option, in order of usual costliness, for the pros and cons.

Plastic

This is the least durable but usually the cheapest option. Plastic is easily manipulated by the weather with warping and overall structural damage. Plastic fixtures will usually only last short-term, meaning customers will have to spend more money in the long run with replacing fixtures and bulbs.

Aluminum

Aluminum is a low-quality metal that will not last long term in outdoor terrain. There are finishes that are added that can aid in decreasing corrosion, but eventually, they will need to be replaced.

If the aluminum is powder coated or marine coated, it does extend the life of the fixture to about three and a half years. This is another option to save money upfront but not necessarily in the long term. It is best to avoid aluminum fixtures if your customer lives near the coastline, as the salt can increase corrosion.

Stainless steel

If choosing a stainless steel option, be sure to use fixtures with the Electropolish finish in order to prevent discoloration from the weather. Also, be aware of the grade of steel, as some are more prone to corrosion than others.

A Grade 316 can help to avoid any corrosion to the fixtures. These fixtures may be less suitable if clients live near the coast or in high humidity areas. Stainless steel features also require cleaning to keep that shiny look as well as decreasing corrosion or discoloration. These may be time-consuming to maintain.

Copper

Copper is a quality metal to use for fixtures due to the high corrosion resistance. Copper is a great option if living in salty environments or in coastal areas due to this. Copper does “patina,” turning green or overall discolorating over time due to weather.

This does provide protection from corrosion and rust. Copper is often used to coat other metals, such as brass, to give added protection to stronger metals. One consideration is the high price and demand for copper. Overall, machined copper is a better quality than rolled or stamped, though costlier. This is an option for long-lasting and quality lighting fixtures.

Brass

Brass is a quality metal that can hold up in weather very well. Over time, it will patina like copper. Brass will last years to come, as it has a high corrosion resistance. Brass is a hard metal that is durable but also costlier than the other options up front.

Though, it may save money in the long run due to not having to replace fixtures. When choosing brass fixtures, be sure to look at the zinc content. You want to stick with something that is less than 15 percent zinc to ensure a great quality. This is the most popular material used for lighting fixtures.

Bronze

Bronze is another strong metal. If choosing this option for fixtures, you may be limited in styles to choose from due to the difficulty in sand casting bronze. Bronze has a higher corrosion resistance than brass and is very durable.

When choosing bronze you do need to look for less than 15 percent zinc to ensure a quality light fixture and more corrosion protection. Bronze can have some discoloration due to the elements but is able to withstand most weather patterns for years without the need for replacement.

Types of lightbulbs

There are two main options when looking at what kind of bulb to use for your customer’s landscape lighting needs. The go-to bulb used to be the halogen bulb, however, LEDs are now taking over the market.

Halogens

Halogen bulbs are the cheaper option between the two bulbs. However, they do not last as long. In general, halogen bulbs last about 2,000-5,000 hours. They do provide adequate light in the landscape and offer energy efficient bulbs to help save energy costs. It does not match the energy cost savings of the LED lights, however. Halogen light bulbs can be used with timers, so homeowners have fewer things to think about during their day. These bulbs do tend to be hotter, which can make them beneficial on walkways in areas with snow. Overall, there will be more maintenance when using these bulbs due to the short lifespan.

LED

LED lighting is much costlier upfront but saves money in the long run due to their long lifespan of 40,000-50,000 hours. That’s almost 11 years of bulb life. This means more savings and less maintenance for your client.

LEDs are also energy efficient using much less electricity than halogen bulbs. You get the same light output for less. One downside is that LEDs can sometimes be easy to damage compared to halogen bulbs. LED are becoming widely used in outdoor lighting due to their longevity and energy efficiency.

Both bulbs come with several options for angles, color and wattages to meet your needs.

Lighting performance

When choosing the right landscape lighting system, you want to make sure you have the quality and performance your customer deserves. Here is a list of performance and quality considerations:

  1. Have the option of multiple angles.
  2. Lighting does not create hot spots.
  3. The color hue chosen enhances the color of your vegetation or home.
  4. The lights are ETL certified.
  5. Timers work effectively and are easily set up and maintained.
  6. Lighting effectively highlights desired areas.

This is not an all-inclusive list. When considering the performance of the lighting choices, you do want to make sure you get the hue, brightness and angle you need to achieve the look or safety measures you want.

Also, look into the warranty provided by the lighting company. Many of the warranties will give you a clue as to how long the materials are expected to last. For example, brass materials may have a lifetime warranty, while aluminum may have a 5-year warranty.

Solar lighting vs. low-voltage lighting

Many homeowners are choosing to go green by using more solar lighting options. So, what are the differences in quality and lighting ability?

Solar lighting

Solar lighting has several benefits. The main one being energy efficiency. Due to the fixtures using solar panels, there is no need for electricity use. Solar lighting does use LED lights, which means that they won’t burn out but simply begin to lose their brightness.

There are downsides to solar lighting. They are often not as bright as low voltage lighting. So, many of the effects may not be obtainable without the proper amount of light. If you are in an area that doesn’t get much sun, this would not be a great option for your client either.

Solar lighting fixtures are limited in style, so you have very little options. There is also the maintenance aspect. The solar panels can become dirty, causing little sunlight to be absorbed. Though they will need to be cleaned off occasionally, they don’t require using a timer or worrying about turning them off or on.

Low-voltage lighting

With this type of lighting, you get more fixture options with better quality lighting. The bulbs are brighter and offer more options for fixtures, angles and widths of the lights. With this system, you are able to give homeowners more control over their lights using timers, etc.

The energy cost is low and can increase the value of a home as well. The maintenance is often low as well but can include bulb changes (depending on the choice of bulb), cleaning debris off, maintaining wiring if needed and working the timer.

Quality landscape lighting systems include high quality, energy efficient materials to make sure customers have long-lasting, beautiful lighting. Landscape lighting should enhance a landscape to create a livable outdoor space for homeowners and their family to enjoy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was provided by Serenity Lighting Systems. Serenity Lighting Systems provides quality landscape and event lighting in Jupiter, Florida. They pride themselves on providing amazing lighting systems for their area. Their goal is to provide livable outdoor space everyone can enjoy.

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