When discussing fixtures for your outdoor lighting project, there are 4 main categories you will want to understand : brand, lighting type, finish/metal, purpose. Let's break these down a little:
Brand : there are several brands out there that provide quality fixtures. There are also a lot of brands that are not as quality and focus on mass sales with no warranties. We prefer the former (high quality) and therefore use Kichler and Vista brand fixtures. We have been vey pleased with their quality, variety selection and warranty programs.
Lighting Type: Incadescent and LED lights are the types of lights used in the low voltage business. Many homeowners inquire about solar fixtures, but these are not considered a long term and reliable source for year round lighting, especially in the Midwest - and as we are a low voltage business, we will focus on the former two for the purpose of this blog.
Finish/Metal : Fixtures come in a wide range of material : aluminum, steel, copper, etc... Most fixtures come in a variety of powder coated finishes allowing you to have a choice of black, pewter, brick, green, rust, and so on for a single fixture.
Purpose : There are several ways you can choose to add outdoor lighting to your home and landscape. There are different fixtures for the varying purposes. Here are the primary ones:
Up and Accent Lights - Used to illuminate your home or trees. Up lights are placed in the ground and shine at an angle or can be mounted in trees to shine down for a unique lighting affect.
Path Lights - Used to do just as their name states - to provide light on garden paths, walkways or in flower beds for soft accents. Path lights come in a wide range of shapes and designs and are often decorative in nature.
Well Lights - Well lights lie flush to the ground and are often used in places the homeowner does not want to worry about damaging the light such as high traffic or grassy areas that require mowing.
Bollard Lights - a short, verticle post light typically used to mark a path of desired traffic, such as around a curved driveway
There are other attributes such as warranty terms and bulb voltage but these areas should help take some of the mystery out of fixtures when talking with your lighting designer!