Americans invest a great deal of money making their porches, patios and outdoor spaces as comfortable and inviting as possible. Attractive ambient lighting and a well thought out speaker plan can be a very cost effective way to turn an ordinary outdoor space into a gathering place for friends and family.
Outdoor lighting is on of the most overlooked improvements a homeowner can make to perk up the look and feel of their outdoor space. These are a number of options for outdoor lighting design. The three major types of outdoor lighting are consumer grade landscape lighting, security lighting and low voltage outdoor lighting.
Consumer grade landscaping lighting is the inexpensive, easily installed lighting option found in most home improvement and hardware stores. These products serve their purpose in a do-it-yourselfer’s landscape lighting design, but are often plastic and less reliable than commercial grade lighting.
Security lighting is generally hard wired into the house’s electrical system and can take the form of porch lights, flood lights and pole lights. These light fixtures serve an important purpose – they provide lighting to keep areas well lit for safety purposes. Depending on the application, they can also be very inexpensive to keep lit. These lights can also be very bright – good in some situations, but in others they can contribute to light pollution and “dark sky.”
Low voltage outdoor lighting is professionally installed and offers an infinite number of personalized lighting solutions. This lighting is designed to light specific areas to enhance the landscape design, provide safety lighting for steps, water features, or to create an overall mood for an outdoor space. Low voltage lighting is more cost effective than traditional security lighting and more durable than the options available in big box stores.
A professionally designed sound system for your outdoor space is a great way to create ambiance that will enhance relaxation or liven up gatherings, but it can be an acoustical challenge. Between neighbors mowing their lawns, the wind blowing and dogs barking, there are background noises that must be overcome and logistical difficulties to getting the speakers installed in the right places.
Speakers should be placed so that everyone can enjoy the music at a pleasant volume while avoiding sound “hot spots” where the volume can be deafening. Installation of the speakers involves running wiring from the amplifier or tuner to the locations where the speakers will be installed – often under the eaves of the house. If the listening area is larger than what can be appropriately served by the eave speakers, it is necessary to purchase entirely weatherproof speakers or creatively designed protective elements to enclose weather resistant speakers and then run specialized wiring to where the speakers are to be installed.
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Source: Hartland Electric