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The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Landscape Lighting VS. Solar Lighting

Landscape Lighting can be achieved in several different ways. For example, there is 12v lighting and solar lighting. 

We are going to cover some of the pros and cons of the two most common options people consider: low voltage landscape lighting and solar system.   

solar landscape lighting systems

People often purchase solar lighting to add outdoor lighting around their homes.

These systems are often available at a reasonable cost. They are very convenient, as they are quick to install and easy to find at most big box retailers. Lastly, they are often viewed as environmentally friendly since they use the sun to power the lights.

Unfortunately, solar lighting systems do have some drawbacks to consider.

Solar lighting may be the most convenient and more affordable option, but the quality of the fixtures themselves is quickly brought into question. To put it simply: Most solar lights will not stand up to the test of time.

They are made of plastic and break easily. I'm sure you've probably seen broken solar lights in people's yards before. If you haven't pay close attention when you're driving through the neighborhood. 

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  Output: These lights usually don't put out       enough light to see by. 

 In addition to breaking easily, Solar lights are   100% dependent on the sun for power. On a   cloudy day, the amount of lighting may not be   sufficient to charge the lights and provide the   desired amount of brightness once the sun   sets. 

Since they are dependent on the sun, they cannot be placed in areas around the home that do not receive full sunlight. This makes solar lights very limited in where they can be used.  

Many people are under the impression that solar lighting is a more environmentally-friendly lighting option: Since they aren't wired to the house, that means they use less electricity. However, we need to remember that these lights still require batteries, and having to dispose of these periodically can create unintended environmental consequences.

But more the point. Most solar lights end up being thrown out eventually because they will inevitably fail. They wear out, break, and are cheap/easy to replace. But like many things in life, the cheap replaceable option usually isn't the best option. 

To summarize, here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of solar lighting:

Pros 

  • Lower cost 
  • Convenience  

Cons 

  • Low Quality and Durability (mostly plastic/ composite materials) 
  • Lower Light Output 
  • Poor Light Color Control 
  • Cloudy Day= Shorter Lighting Duration 
  • Wired solar panels are messy with exposed wire and panel
  • Light source is easily spotted and provides very little effect 
  • Battery replacement may need frequent changing 
  • Low customization
  • Not Timing or Zone control options 

low voltage landscape lighting (wired) 

With Landscape Lighting Pro we offer low voltage lighting systems. This completely wired system has a seamless finish. These fixtures are durable and made of high-quality materials like Brass, Copper, and stainless steel. At Landscape Lighting Pro we offer a lifetime warranty for all our fixtures to ensure they endure year after year. However, these durable fixtures do come at a higher cost than solar lights from the big-box store. 

Low voltage systems are wired to a transformer that will control your lighting system automatically. And if you want to get extra fancy, we can set them up with Wi-Fi smart controls. By adding Wi-Fi zones it allows you to control your system straight from your smartphone! 

The lighting output from a 12v system is much brighter and more consistent than solar-powered fixtures. Lumen (light) outputs can also be adjusted with 12v systems. Untitled design (77)The ability to customize the brightness of the fixtures enables us to create a unique solution for capturing your home's key features. 

We can provide this solution with little disruption to your yard. Landscape Lighting Pro has been installing lighting systems for nearly 20 years, so we have learned how to create an unbeatable lighting design for our clients while keeping their property looking its absolute best. 

Here is a breakdown of the pros, cons, and myths that come with low voltage lighting systems:

Pros

  • Durable High-Quality Fixtures
  • Extended Life - High output LED Lamp Technology 
  • Expand Custom Design and Effect (Professional Design) 
  • Reliability - Long Lasting 
  • Timing Control: Smart App, Astronomical, and Zone Customization 

Cons 

  • Higher Cost 
  • Professional Installation is required 

Myths 

  • Yard will be disrupted with installation (Minimal Disruption) 
  • Operational Cost (Minimal/ Low Consumption) 

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which is right for me? 

It really depends on what your goals are and what you are looking to accomplish by adding lights to your yard. If your goal is to add safety lighting so people can see that one step everyone seems to miss at night: solar lights are probably the wrong way to go.

If you just want a little light that doesn't require much effort, they might be perfect! But if you want to invest in the long-term enjoyment of your lighting. 

I want landscape lighting! Now, what do I do?

At Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah, the art of outdoor illumination is a real passion we work to perfect. Designing elegantly bespoke landscape lighting systems is simply all we do. For over 15 years, our award-winning team of designers and craftsmen have striven to bring the best outdoor lighting experience possible to people’s homes and businesses across the Wasatch front and beyond.

If you have an upcoming project you’d like help with, call us at (801)440-7647 for more information, schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form on our website, www.utahlights.com

Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah installs, maintains, and repairs lighting systems throughout Utah's residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper, Davis & Utah Counties.

Low Voltage Landscape Lighting