Finally, check for underground gas lines, plumbing or cable lines. Most municipalities have special numbers you can call to check on the location of your underground cables. Drafting Your Landscape Lighting Plan Now that you’ve finished the preliminary work, you can begin drafting your landscape lighting plan. Measure the size of your property from the property line to the house on all sides and draw a scale diagram. Add the shapes of trees, shrubs and flowers to your diagram. Finally, include the spots at which your outdoor landscape lights will be positioned. Once you have your diagram in hand, you can figure out what kind of transformer you will need based on the total wattage of your light fixtures. You can also estimate the length of cable you will need.
The following lights should be considered for your outdoor lighting plan:
· Uplighting - Angles upward and is typically surface or ground-mounted.
· Downlighting - Casts light downward from a fixture positioned above an object.
· Cross Lighting – Lights on either side of an object reveal detail and softens shadows.
· Shadowing – Ground-level lights throw light against the surface behind an object.
· Silhouetting – Lights the surface behind an object to contrast it against a dark background.
· Accent Lighting – Intense light which is focused on a particular area or object.
· Spread Lighting – Circular patterns of light illuminate flower beds and low shrubs.
· Graze Lighting – Lights graze the surface of an object to reveal its texture. There are also several important points to remember when it comes to installing your outdoor lighting:
· Outdoor lighting should always be grounded.
· Always use a GFCI outlet with outdoor lighting. If you don’t have GFCI outlets, employ the services of a qualified electrician to install them for you.
· All outdoor lighting must be rated “water resistant UL approved for outdoor use.” When choosing your fixtures and accessories, you can either choose a lighting set, which is a prepackaged set of lights, or you can choose separate fixtures and components and create a custom, mix-and-match outdoor lighting set.