You can create amazing effects with garden-fountain or pond lighting. You can make an outdoor fountain glow, illuminate an entire pond from within, highlight an attractive statue, or heighten the reflection of a particularly beautiful tree.
Fountain lights are available for installation as either inside-water or outside for water lighting. All, however, should be connected to a GFI for safety, and those used in the water should be made specifically for underwater use.
Before you shop for fountain lights, experiment with different effects from a powerful flashlight or a spotlight on an extension cord (never place either in the water). Aim for restraint and subtlety. Don't let yourself get carried away with an effect that's more amusement park than understated elegance.
How to select fountain lights
There are several types of garden fountain lights, and each creates its own special effect, depending on how you position the lights. Most designs call for lights that have dark, subdued casings. Stainless steel or white casings can be obtrusive, especially during daytime.
Garden fountain lights, either in white or colors, add drama to a spray. Some garden fountain lights also come equipped with transparent wheels of several colors. Colored light, however, should be used sparingly-it can easily become garish.
Many outdoor fountain lights include built-in timers that allow you to automatically turn the lights on and off. You can also install an independent timer in the lighting setup. Timers not only save you the trouble of regulating the light, they also save energy costs.
With a small in-pond light placed behind a water fountain, the display will come alive after dark. Lights add many delightful hours to the enjoyment of the garden fountain. You will also find a choice of halogen or LED fountain and pond lights so be sure to weigh the benefits of each. You will also find many styles of solar lighting available for in water or out.
Placing for your fountain lights
The one rule in placing fountain lights is to never let them shine directly on the water because they will create a harsh glare. In-ponds, lights need fairly clear water to be effective. Murky water blocks too much light and diminishes the light's effectiveness considerably. If you have fish in your water garden, leave dark areas where they can retreat from the light. Fish need plenty of crevices for refuge. Also, never light up the entire pond, especially all night.
Whenever possible, position out-of-water lights to conceal their housings and cord underneath a deck, behind a rock, or tucked into the foliage of a shrub.
Whatever type of fountain or pond lighting you choose, be sensitive to its effect on the neighbors. Don't let the lights shine in their windows.
Installation of Low Voltage garden fountain lights
Unlike regular 120-volt lights, installation of low-voltage landscape lights is a snap, even for beginners. And they're fairly safe because of their low voltage. Many low-voltage lighting systems are sold as kits, complete with instructions.
Hooking up a low-voltage system starts with installing a transformer, which reduces the regular household current from 120 volts to 12 volts. Install the transformer near the GFI receptacle closest to the water feature, following the manufacturer's instructions. Even 12-volt systems should use a GFI unit to prevent shocks. Most transformers are simply mounted next to an outlet and plugged into it.
Start shopping now for the differnet kind of outdoor fountain lighting for your fountains or ponds.