There are several ways to enhance the home’s exterior; however, lighting is the easiest and the most effective way to uplift the exterior for nighttime. Even the simplest architectural features can be highlighted with proper lighting.
Hardscape lights are used when you need a low-profile fixture to highlight the specific landscape and architectural elements.
While selecting hardscape lighting, you must keep these factors in mind:
When choosing outdoor lights, always opt for low-voltage. Lights that run on low voltage are safe and easy to install (you can do the installation yourself). Hardscape lights usually need 12 volts to operate. These lights come in volts ranging from 9 to 17V, which means they can be connected to a transformer with an output of 9-17 volts.
If you have hardscape lights installed along a long wall (over 100 feet), the voltage will drop for every foot you move away from the transformer. Here is a little trick, connect your hardscape lights to a 15V transformer. By doing so, the last light at the end of 100 feet will get 12+ volts, and all the lights will be in the operating range.
Most low voltage lights are not dimmable, and most low voltage transformers do not support dimming, but if your lights support 9v-17v, you have some control of the brightness, connect to 9v and you will have the lights reduce their lumens brightness by a little bit.
While buying hardscape lights, safety should be your priority. For safety and quality standards, it is recommended for the hardscape lights to have an ETL or UL certificate. These certificates guarantee that the product was manufactured under the highest standards and will be safe.
Some hardscape lights have the option to swivel. This feature is not needed in most cases as it can provide an uneven light angle. In addition, moving parts creates a higher chance for problems.
However, Lumengy Swivel Hardscape LED Lighting is perfect for outdoor walls and paver steps where you want to adjust the angle to create the illumination as per your requirement.
One of the most important features in hardscape lighting is brackets/mounting plates. Fast and easy installation of hardscape lighting requires a variety of tools. Most hardscape lights come with one plate, which is very limiting. Lumengy offers two and three mounting plate options, which save valuable time during installation and offer several installation options that make it easy to install hardscape lights on walls, under caps, flat surfaces, and even under top surfaces.
Hardscape lights come in a variety of sizes:
- 4 inch – Designed to install in small areas around the BBQ, on small steps, planters, and deck steps.
- 7 inch – The most standard size that fits almost anywhere.
- 13 inch - Designed for large walls, steps, and bigger planters.
Hardscape lights differ depending on watts (0.5 to 4 watts), manufacturing setup, type of LED, and glue or glass cover. One watt equals 60-100 lumens, a good balance between brightness, efficiency, and lifespan.
Most hardscape lights come in a fixed watt output, and you must choose the right output for your project. Due to their fixed configuration, the LED lights can last for many years and have a stable, consistent output.
Here are the recommended lumens per project (this is my personal taste).
- Perfect Ambiance (50 to 100 lumens output)
If you want to achieve perfect ambiance with minimal lighting and ensure safety for steps, you should opt for 50-100 lumens output. One way to get the required ambiance is to use more small lights along large steps or a large wall. This setup works well near sitting areas. You can use LUMENGY 4-inch Ambiance Hardscape light to achieve perfect ambiance anywhere.
- Average Use (160 to 200 lumens)
Opt for hardscape lights between 160 to 200 lumens to balance lighting and safety. These lights are great to install in pavers steps, wood deck steps, Trex decks, planter walls, retaining walls, around the BBQ, fire pits, waterfalls, and any outdoor downlight.
Lumengy 2W replaceable (LED light bar can be replaced very easily without removing the entire unit) has 180 lumens, warm 2700K light, and is perfect for balance lighting for steps.
- Extra Lighting (more than 200 lumens)
For those who need a bit more lighting, Lumengy’s FALCON 2.5W series is your best choice as it produces 200 lumens and is one of the slimmest hardscape lights. Less than 0.4 inches wide, its perfect discrete lighting comes in aluminum or solid brass shell for maximum durability. The brass gives extra resistance to the elements and ages gracefully. It has three different mounting plates and can be installed almost anywhere outdoors for a downlight solution.
- Higher Lumens
If you need higher lumens or adjustable hardscape lighting that can be switched between 1 to 4 watts, then our solid brass dimmable hardscape light may be the best option. Ranging from 80 to 360 lumens, this light is the best choice for your project.
One of the most effective ways to use hardscape lighting is to highlight steps. It is mainly done for safety, but steps look beautiful when lit up. While placing lights, you need to be careful not to use a powerful lighting effect. Keep these factors in mind and find the right amount of necessary lighting for any outdoor area in your home.