The other day, I had to drop my car at the tire shop and because I had a few minutes to spare, I walked across the busy street to some stores. As always, I was drawn to one of my favorite stores, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and I found myself standing in the outdoor lighting aisle. If I go to Lowe’s, I almost always want to at least walk down some of my favorite aisles to see if there is anything new on the shelf. This day was no exception.
I should back up a bit and say that whenever I build any type of structure in a backyard, whether it is an outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen, I always look for ways to spice up the final look. One of the things that I have written on in the past is my love for outdoor lighting. It just makes a backyard, and specifically, outdoor structures, come alive at night. The shadows created and the way things look in the dark with some light are just awesome.
So, back to Lowe’s and the outdoor lighting aisle… In the past, if I needed lighting, I have just gone to the store and picked up what I needed to complete the lighting project. I have never shared with my audience how inexpensive it really is to add this great feature to your DIY outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen. Well, wait no more. Here we go.
Outdoor Lighting Components Explained
With most outdoor lighting, there are three main components involved. They are a power source, otherwise known as a power transformer, wire, and the lights. The transformer is a heavy cube that plugs into an outlet. Many of these transformers will turn on at dusk with photo eye technology and you simply tell it through a setting, how long you want the lights to stay on from that point. Pretty cool!
The neat part is the lights will come on automatically and shut off automatically; no work for you. They come in different wattage’s starting from around 60W to several hundred watts. For powering a structure, the smallest will be completely sufficient, especially if you’re using LEDs. A 60W transformer will sell for around $50.
The wire will hook into the transformer with screws and the wire will snake through your structure’s block work. We’ll get into the install in a different post. The wire will transfer (Direct Current – DC) low voltage as the transformer’s output to the lights, so it won’t shock you any more than holding on to a flashlight battery. It’s nothing like the power from an outlet in your house. A 50’ length of this outdoor lighting wire will cost around $20.
LED Lighting Is awesome
Lastly, the lights. Today’s technology has put LED lighting at the forefront for efficiency, longevity, and amazing power savings. LED stands for light emitting diode. An LED is a small electronic component (diode) that will glow when power is applied. No more changing incandescent bulbs, right? Can I get an amen on that one?
LED lighting fixtures are sold individually, and they can run anywhere from a few dollars on clearance to around $20 for each fixture. I add at least two LED fixtures to any structure, so it is aesthetically pleasing. Two is really all you need for a structure width of only six to eight feet. The LED fixtures will have power cord on them. This cord will connect to the wire and the connectors will pierce the wire to be powered. The best part is that each LED is around 2W to 4W so you could hook up to 30 of these 2W LEDs to a 60W transformer. Do you see the math? This is turning into an electronics training course now.
How Cheap is It Really?
If you were to add two LED lighting fixtures to a fireplace, you would be able to spend as little as $110. Now that’s a bargain when you consider the look you’ll achieve. I hope this post helped you understand how simple outdoor lighting is and how inexpensive the components are. It’s really not that complicated.
Check out Backyard Flare, LLC to learn more about building your own DIY outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen and peruse our gallery for great ideas in design. See what other homeowners have done.
If you have any questions about anything, please let me know. I am always excited to hear from a fellow DIYer, or someone wanting to learn more about how to beautify their backyard space. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and as I always say, “Happy Building”.