Landscaping Lighting 101

Adding landscape lighting to your patio or backyard is a great way to add enjoyment to your outdoor living spaces and boost the value of your home too.

Before you start installing these illuminating landscape accessories, you should become familiar with some of the basics of outdoor lighting.

Design plans

Planning your landscape lighting installation

As you plan your outdoor lighting set-up, there are two things you should keep in mind:

  • Areas which need to be lit (such as walkways)
  • Places you’d like to illuminate (like a landscaping rock garden)

While there are many fixture to choose from the majority of professional outdoor landscape lighting is 12V-15V, which is considered low voltage lighting.

Wait until it’s dark, and then…

When nightfall hits, take a drive around your neighbourhood and note the houses which are well-lit. What do they have? What type of lights are they using? Where did they place them?

After you get home, grab a flashlight and walk around your own property. It’ll give you a sense of what things will look like when they’re illuminated.

You can also position your flashlight at certain angles, such as:

  • Downward
  • Upward
  • Straight-on
  • Off-centre

To mimic the lighting effect you’d like to achieve.

In Ground Light

                Image courtesy of In-Lite

What type of landscape lights to choose?

Grand River Natural Stone carries a wide range of In-Lite landscape lighting styles for you to choose from, including:



  • Wall accent lights: To be mounted on vertical surfaces such as; partitions, fences, walls or front entry ways. Just make sure they’re not too blinding when you or visitors approach or pass by.
  • Pathway lighting: These are low-voltage lights designed to brighten up a walkway by throwing pools of light downward.
  • Spotlights: If you have a small, specific area you want to showcase (like a birdbath or water feature), use a narrow-beam spotlight.
  • In-ground lights: Just as their name implies, these lights are inset into the ground and provide an accent to walkways or driveways.

Questions to ask

Questions you should ask any landscape lighting contractor

You’ve selected the lighting you want. You know what areas you want to brighten (such as flagstone walkways, interlocking paver paths or stone steps).

Now it’s time to hire a contractor.

As you do your research, make sure you ask the following questions.

  1. Do you use a multi-tap transformer?

A majority of outdoor lighting projects used LED bulbs. Using a multi-tap transformer is the best way to maximize their performance because:

  • They can control voltage drop (that’s when some lights burn brighter than others)
  • It extends the lifespan of your outdoor light system
  • Multi-tap transformers are designed for long wire run installations

While asking about multi-tap transformers, don’t forget to ask about what fuse protection system your contractor will install to protect your outdoor lights from shortages, outages or power surges.


  1. Are your fixtures and transformers UL listed?

The industry standard is to use products which are UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed.

Products which don’t feature the UL logo mean they haven’t been tested for safety.

You (and your contractor) won’t know how they’ll perform in the rain, heat, snow, wind and other weather conditions they’ll eventually be exposed to.

Non-UL products may cost you less in the short-term, but here’s something to consider:

If they cause an electrical fire, your home insurance policy may not cover the cost of the resulting damage.

Should you have any doubts about the products your contractor plans on using, ask to see their catalogue and UL certification stamps beforehand.

  1. How will you bury the wiring?

Two things you don’t want with your landscape lighting wires:

  • Your lawn, topsoil and aggregates to be torn up during burial
  • Exposed wires sitting above ground

A skilled landscape lighting contractor will be mindful of regular lawn & garden activities (like cutting the grass or kids playing on it) when installing your system.

If necessary, they’ll create a very small trench in which to bury the wires. Once they’re inserted, that trench is closed up.

And if the wire is buried near a very sensitive area (like, say a children’s playset), the contractor will use a conduit to protect the line.

Image courtesy of In-Lite

               Image courtesy of In-Lite

Need help brightening up your property? Come to Grand River Natural Stone

You have beautiful outdoor living spaces which look great in the day.

Now it’s time to bring out that beauty at night with a custom outdoor lighting system.

Whether you need products, design advice or technical information, Grand River Natural Stone is your source for all things landscape lighting.

You can start by asking for a FREE quote (or anything else you want to know).

Our in-house landscape lighting experts will get back to you – fast – to discuss your particular needs.

Request a quote