low volt candle lighting

Glowing low volt candle lights designed by Nick Williams (Photo: Jane Gates)

Low volt lights come in a wide range of effects and fixtures so you can create a whole new outdoor world that looks entirely different from your daytime landscape. Since you are using only 12 volt current, there is little danger of shock or fire and the demand on your electric bill will be slight. Here are some tips on ways to use regular low volt fixtures for interesting light and shadow effects.






  1. Set up your lights high. By perching lighting so it shines down from patio covers, tree branches or doorways you can downlight the ground or any objects below.
  2. Go for angles. Tilt a light back up into trees or shrub for a textural effect or allow the light to spill onto a wall to create a glowing effect.
  3. Pick out special features. Set a spotlight where it will illuminate a group of plants or a special structure as a focal point. Or consider creative ways for walkway lighting like embedding the lights or creating light edgings in the path surface.
  4. Hide lights behind plants or objects to silhouette them. Back-lighting a specimen plant or another feature in the garden will paint it out as a black, cut-out shadow.
  5. Light up a water feature. Adding lights that will reflect from the surface or below the water of a waterfall, fountain or pond will add a scintillating dimension to these focal points after dark.

As low volt lighting grows in popularity, so do the choices in lighting fixtures. Look through catalogs or lighting suppliers as well as garden centers. You will find lights that look like lamps or some that are hidden in sculptures. There are flood lights, spot lights, clip-on lights and fixtures with stakes that come in a wide assortment of styles and materials. Some come with colors or convenient housing for adding colored gels. Some even move creating motion effects or special patterns.

Low volt lighting also has a practical side. Not only can you create nighttime magical pictures with your garden after dark, you can add lights for safe passage, make a barbecue or entertainment area glow invitingly, illuminate stairs and obstacles and discourage unwanted visitors. Make driveways and patios attractive and safer with soft lighting, too. Take a look at the world of low volt lighting. It will make you look at your landscape in a whole new way.