The rise of LED lighting has provided contractors with a relatively low-cost, efficient solution in a number of applications. One area that’s often overlooked though is in landscaping. Underground waterproof LED lights illuminate gardens, yards and patios beautifully, and they’re a useful tool for accenting any landscape.
Often, in-ground LED lights are used for illuminating pathways, sidewalks and gardens, and they offer several benefits over above-ground fixtures. For one, they blend in with the landscape better, because the lamps are buried in the ground and sit flush with the yard or patio. Thus, they’re easier to work around, and they’re also less likely to become a nighttime walking hazard. In addition, underground LED lights are much more energy efficient than traditional lamps and emit less heat, which helps reduce potential fire hazards and overall energy costs.
So what types of underground waterproof LED lights are available? How are they powered? And how can they be installed in landscapes?
Types of Underground LED Lights
In-ground LED fixtures are grouped in a few ways: by power source, wattage and functionality. Power sourcing is probably the biggest distinction in LED lights. On one side are solar-powered LED lights. These are installed like traditional in-ground lights, but the biggest difference is that they don’t need to be wired to a power source. Low-voltage DC-powered LED lights, on the other hand, require electrical wiring to a power source. One advantage of wired lights is that they can be turned off and on via a switch.
Secondly, in-ground LED landscape lights can also be grouped according to size, or wattage. Larger lamps have more mini LED lights, and thus they are brighter. Yet, size is less important with LED lights, because overall, they are brighter than traditional lamps. That’s why they’re great for landscape lighting; smaller lights can be used to achieve the same results as a larger traditional lamp.
Finally, you should consider the functionality of the lights. Some solar LED lamps, for instance, turn off and on automatically. This is advantageous for homeowners, as they require less maintenance. Other solar-powered fixtures, though, must be manually turned off and on. With wired lights, the options are often more varied. An electrician may be able to install timers, dimmers and auto on/off switches that enable more flexibility in your lighting options.
In-Ground Landscape Lights Installation Tips
Proper installation is the key to getting the most mileage out of your in-ground LED lights. Improperly installed lights can suffer from water damage or corrosion, and if the wiring isn’t done correctly, the lamp may short circuit. Here are a few tips:
- The Right Sized Hole: Underground waterproof LED lights are buried in the ground, but one of the most common installation errors is digging a hole that’s too small. The hole should be about 1.5 times the size of the lamp, rather than just big enough to fit the fixture. Then, fine gravel should be used to create a buffer around the lamp. This allows water to drain faster, eliminating the problem of moisture buildup.
- Positioning the Lens: The lamp lens should sit slightly above the grade, especially rounded lamps. Flat fixtures should be positioned to sit right at ground level. Burying your lamps below the grade will enable water to sit on top of the lamp, which over time, will result in water damage.
- Proper Wiring: Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions for proper wiring. Some lamps have different voltage needs and specialized wiring requirements. In most cases, with wired installation, more advanced electrician knowledge may be necessary.