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Installing outdoor lighting in hardscapes such as this bar, allows the source of the light to be concealed.

Here down lights were installed to make the bench a focal point.

I prefer to conceal the source of light whenever practical. Integrating light fixtures into our hardscape designs is a great way to do that. Down lighting from wall windows, countertops and benches conceals the source fixture but provides ample light for a path or focal point while protecting fixtures from careless gardeners, wild children and rambunctious pets.

Home-owners and developers alike are placing more emphasis on night lighting. Hardscape contractors and designers can benefit from this growing trend by learning some basics about low voltage lighting and adding it to their menu of services. Low voltage lighting is easy to install and can be a great profit center in a day and age where we could all use a little more contribution to overhead.

As a garden designer, I almost always prepare a separate lighting plan and show clients my recommendations for fixture placement and creating lighting effects in their garden. Even with all the computer technology available, I still prefer to use a simple stamp kit to create a lighting plan in just minutes. Homeowners are often surprised at how little outdoor lighting costs and how energy efficient it can be when working with low-voltage fixtures. In an average landscape it will cost about $18-$25 per month to use an outdoor lighting system front and back for about four hours per night. That ongoing utility cost can be brought down further by investing a little more upfront for LED bulbs which are so frugal they only sip electricity.

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