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B & Q, Barnstaple Retail Park Tel: 01271 314400
BHS, 11/12 Green Lanes Tel: 01271 321905
Focus, Coney Avenue, Barnstaple Tel: 0844 8001496
Homebase, Whiddon Valley Tel: 0845 6407208
James Lighting, 29, Trinity St Tel: 01271 372383
Lighting & Shades Centre, Unit 7, Market St Tel: 01271 373833

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Buying and chossing your lighting guides from The Range:

How to choose indoor lighting | How to choose outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting can create dramatic moods as well as illuminate steps and walkways for nighttime safety. It's also a project most home owners feel comfortable tackling. Low-voltage lighting is safe, easy to install and relatively inexpensive, with eight-light kits available for less than you think at home improvement or garden centers.

Step 1:
Decide what purpose the lighting system will serve. Do you want to highlight trees or statues dramatically, or brighten a path or entry? Do you want creative or purely functional lighting, or both?

Step 2:
Choose the style of fixture you want to use. Path lights can be hidden or visible, in styles that range from flower shapes (such as tulips) to colonial lanterns, while spotlights on trees or artwork may consist of bulbs only.

Step 3:
Choose the materials and finish for fixtures. Materials include aluminum, wood and copper. Black and verdigris finishes help the fixtures blend into the garden. Or match the finish to your home's color and style.

Step 4:
Consider dramatic touches such as highlighting the form of a tree by placing a light at its base (uplighting), great for illuminating trees with interesting forms, such as Japanese maples or oaks, and statues and water fountains. A lamp positioned above a gate or arbor can spill its light on the ground like moonlight.

Step 5:
Choose a low-voltage system designed for outdoor use. You can install or move such a system easily, because the wires are buried only a few inches underground, and it uses 12 volts instead of the household-standard 120 volts (transformers reduce the current).

Step 6:
Select the bulb wattage you want to use. Common choices range in brightness from 4 to 50 watts, typically from 18 to 24 watts. You decide how bright a bulb you want for its specific use-- lighting the steps may be more important than lighting a tree.

Step 7:
Determine the size of transformer needed. Multiply the bulb wattage times the number of bulbs you need. Buy a transformer with the wattage that most closely matches this total. Don't go over that amount; if necessary, divide the bulbs into two groups and use two transformers. An automatic timer allows you to set lights to go on and off at specific times.

Step 8:
Arrange lights in a line, a T-shape or a circle, but remember that the farther the last bulb is from the transformer, the dimmer its light will be.

Step 9:
Consider a motion-sensor light for safety; it turns on the lights for a few minutes whenever it detects motion.

Step 10:
Check with a hardware store or an electrician for additional information.

 

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