Power sources for garden lighting can come from AC , DC or even Solar power arrays. Garden lighting can be used for decorative or functional purposes. Decorative lighting can be used to highlight trees, walls, rockeries and ponds whereas functional lighting is for lighting up garden pathways, entrance porch lights or floodlighting large areas. In the main brightness of the light sources dictates the power source requirements.
AC power comes from the consumer box at 240V, 50Hz and can be routed to the outside for garden use. AC for outdoor use such as garden ponds and lighting needs to come directly from the consumer unit with its own fuse backed up by an RCD (Residual Current Device). Once routed outside, the power supply cable should go to a all weather proof box in which you can mount the power sockets. The weatherproof box should be located in a position in the garden where it is easily accessible for routing cables either for pond equipment applications or for lighting purposes. Most weatherproof boxes that you can obtain from DIY stores are large enough to house the low voltage power supplies used for garden lighting and water pumps.
DC power is converted from AC using a transformer and output is in volts DC. A lot of the garden equipment such as pond filters, pond pumps and low voltage lighting use DC output but are powered by AC. These equipment have their own power supply transformer with a 13A plug fitted to them.
Using solar powered outdoor lights is an attractive alternative to the above sources and if you don't want high power cables buried through a garden. Solar power is low-maintenance and very reliable, and installation is often as easy as pushing a stake on which the fixture is mounted into the ground.
The simplest system consists of a solar array module, a 12v battery and electronics to regulate the charging of the battery during the day. The battery stores the energy from the solar array during the day and then uses it at night. The stored energy in the battery (depending on the battery capacity) can be used to power low voltage lights at any time, day or night. With modern PIR sensors automatic dusk to dawn operation eliminates any human intervention. This type of system is ideal for use in garden sheds, garden lighting, greenhouses, pond pumps or lighting.