Quality Landscapes

Let us light up your night

Landscape Lighting offers an incredible expansion of the enjoyment of both residential and commercial properties. It makes outdoor spaces usable at night and adds a magical view into the landscape from interior spaces. Through skill and thorough planning, Quality Landscapes can create a "lighting portrait" for your home or business. The overall lighting scheme is designed to enhance your landscape by highlighting its natural beauty, not by drawing attention to the bulbs and fixtures themselves.

When designing a landscape lighting scheme, we use 12 volt fixtures on residential properties (as opposed to 120 volts) for several reasons. Small-scale, low-voltage fixtures are safer and cost less to operate. They can be easily hidden in planting beds and trees as well as integrated into structures. Conduit is not required for the cables, saving on the cost of materials. Fixtures can be stake-mounted providing movement of fixtures as the landscape changes. A wide variety of low voltage lamps are available for your choice.

Four issues direct the selection of the appropriate lighting for a specimen, or a point of interest: the desired effect, the purpose the lighting effect serves in the composition, the direction of light, and fixture location. These issues can be directed by the following techniques:

  • Frontlighting starts to show or create shape, ties areas of a composition together and provides detail and color to the view of a plant. It can also reduce or emphasize texture based on fixture distance from the plant.
  • Sidelighting emphasizes texture on plants and creates shadows on either vertical or horizontal adjacent surfaces.
  • Uplighting creates dramatic effects on plants - a glowing effect, shadows on a vertical surface and creating a halo are a few of them.
  • Downlighting can provide a natural appearance if it follows the direction of the sun. It can provide strong accent lighting or soft fill light, accentuate detail and color, and offer a moonlight effect.
  • Pathlighting is used primarily to create a symmetrical pattern of light for navigation. Fully shielded fixtures may be positioned along landscape cutouts and pathways to add safety, security, and visibility at night.

Lighting has the ability to transform a space, create an emotional response or simply make your environment more comfortable. It offers security and additional time to enjoy your surroundings while bringing an entirely new look to your landscape after the sun goes down. Let Quality Landscapes create a lighting portrait for you.

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Lighting Guide

The purpose of this guide is to aid the homeowner in making an informed decision about the acquisition of residential outdoor lighting. The emphasis is on low voltage (12v) systems rather than line voltage (120v) systems. Low voltage systems are more appropriate in residential settings; line voltage systems are better suited to large-scale commercial and institutional applications. The pros and cons of 12v and 120v are summarized as follows:

12 v

120v

flexibility when installing or relocating; cable is only hidden wire must be buried 18 inches and/or placed in a protective conduit; difficult to move
designed for wet locations and operate safely when exposed to moisture all fixtures and connectors must be absolutely waterproof; shock hazard potential when wet
lamps (light bulbs) are small and allow fixtures to be smaller and less obtrusive in the landscape lamps much larger and require larger fixtures to house them
lamps available in low watt type and many beam spreads; more precise lighting effects can be achieved with lower energy costs higher watt lamps and one or two beam spreads produce inappropriately high light levels; lack of beam control creates glare problems; more expensive to operate
can be plugged into existing outdoor receptacles; no need for an electrical contractor in most cases must always be installed by a licensed electrical contractor; local permits may be required
transformer to convert current from 120v to 12v required; voltage drop (dim lights) can occur if improperly engineered and inadequately sized cable used no transformer required; voltage drop not as critical

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A high quality low voltage lighting system consists of 5 main components

Transformers

A low voltage lighting system uses a transformer to convert 120 volt current to 12 volt current. This safe, low voltage is distributed to the 12 volt light fixtures via wire cable.
Transformers can be mounted inside or outside depending on the lighting design and electrical outlet location. We use only the highest quality stainless steel case transformers that are UL 1838 approved for landscape lighting. Also, they carry a lifetime warranty.

Wires

Special low voltage lighting cable is used to connect the fixtures to the transformer, usually 10 or 12 gauge is used. The cable can be easily hidden in the landscape or in the lawn. We bury all cable underground to prevent cuts and future problems.

Fixtures

Low voltage lighting fixtures can be very decorative or easy to hide (if needed). They come in a wide range of colors and styles. Fixtures are also very easy to move and adjust as your landscape changes.
We use only fixtures manufactured by Vista and Hadco. Both manufactures offer a wide selection of high quality landscape lighting products. For your information we have provided some photos below of actual fixtures, as well as links to both Vista and Hadco, should you be interested in visiting their website.

Vista
http://www.vistapro.com/

Hadco
http://www.hadco.com/Hadco/Public/ProductsLandscape.aspx

Bulbs

Most bulbs used in landscape lighting fixtures today are halogen. The reason for this is you get a brighter, whiter light with less wattage. Wattages can range from 7 to 75 watts per bulb in a low voltage system, depending on the effect you are looking for.

Connectors

One of the most important aspect of a high quality low voltage lighting system is "water-tight" connections. We use only direct burial underground connectors and wire that prevent splices and wire from getting wet and pulling apart.

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Serving Central NC Since 1995 Commercial and Residential