Whether it is for commercial or residential setting, you can add a polished look to landscape design with post lighting. Lamp posts are both decorative and functional, and are available in a wide variety of heights and materials, such as copper, aluminium, and wood. This buying guide covers the basic points you need to consider when purchasing a lamp post.
Types of Lighting
You can hard wire electric lamp posts to electrical power, with AC or low voltage DC power. A low voltage DC system uses a separate step down transformer, and comes in simplified do-it-yourself wiring. It usually uses low-power bulbs that produce reduced light output and allow inexpensive translucent plastics to replace fragile glass. Low voltage DC is the second most energy efficient type of lighting next to solar lighting. Medium output flood lighting is also available.
Solar lighting is relatively easy to install as it does not require wiring into the electric utility service. Beyond the cost of purchasing the light fixtures, there will be no additional cost to operate solar lights except for changing out the batteries every few years. There are rechargeable batteries available now that have longer life span. There are also compact designs which are ideal for driveways or pathways.
Gas lamp posts require special timed controls, manual lighting, or constant operation. A mantle is necessary to efficiently convert natural gas into warm light. Gas lamp post lighting will entail underground gas utility plumbing. Despite these though, gas lamp posts are unmatched in terms authenticity.
Fixture and Post Height
One thing you need to consider when deciding what height the lamp post should be is if the post is going to be placed on an elevated base upon installation. You will also need to take into account the type of fixture that will be installed on the lamp post. If you will be purchasing a fixture and post separately, you will need to make sure that these two are compatible. Shorter lamp posts are ideal for small spaces like home gardens, while taller ones are suited for larger areas such as pathways, driveways, and parking areas.
Lamp posts are usually made of aluminum, wood, and copper. Aluminum posts are generally made of tough, rust-free cast aluminum that is sanded or brushed to have different finishes. Wood posts are best painted and sealed so that they can be protected against the effects of extended outdoor use. Copper posts provide exceptional durability and resistance from the elements. As solid copper may be quite expensive, copper plated and alternative materials that have a similar appearance are also available.
There are several different styles of lamp posts available in the market that will suit every buyer’s preferences. Choosing the style or material of a lamp post will have to depend on its purpose. If the lighting is for security purposes, you will need a taller post to illuminate a larger area. The chart below outlines the most commonly used types of lamp posts, a brief overview of each, and their respective benefits. When choosing a material, take into consideration the climate and weather conditions that your lamp post will be exposed to. If you are located in a climate that has temperature extremes, it may be best to discuss your options with a lighting specialist. Some metals may be more prone to expansion and contraction than others, and this can lead to cracking or splitting if not properly tempered.