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Turn Your Backyard Into an Outdoor Resort

This summer many people will spend vacation time at home instead of traveling. According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), with a few updates to your outside lighting, you can enjoy a mini vacation at home. Believe it or not, its easier and less expensive than you might think to transform your existing patio, deck or pool area into a lovely retreat. Rather than buying a costly designer patio set or lounge chairs that will lose their luster by next season, invest in a new lighting scheme that will enhance your existing outdoor furniture and amenities.
Creating a beautiful landscape doesnt have to be expensive, says Rick Wiedemer of Hinkley Lighting. A few well-placed, low-voltage path or accent lights can make a huge impact on a well-manicured landscape. No lawn is too small. Even modest homes or those with limited yards or gardens can benefit, he says.
All that is needed are some basic tools, a transformer (which reduces standard 120-volt household current to the safe 12-volt level), outdoor low-voltage copper cable, and low-voltage lighting fixtures all of which you can find at your local ALA-member lighting showroom.
The best thing about using low-voltage lighting outdoors is you dont have to do everything at once. I recommend purchasing a transformer that is larger than you immediately need, says Lew Waltz of Philips Hadco. That way when you are ready to install additional lighting, the larger transformer will already be in place and ready to handle the task. You only pay for the energy consumed by the fixtures, says Waltz. In other words, a 600-watt transformer that only has 200 watts of fixtures on it, uses 200 watts of energy, not 600.
When laying out your project, remember a little light goes a long way outdoors. Consulting with a lighting professional at your local ALA-member lighting showroom can help you avoid making the common mistake of too many fixtures in one area. To find more information about lighting all areas of your home, go to www.AmericanLightingAssoc.com.
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