I am a huge fan of the newer LED garden lighting products. Their low price combined with their extreme flexibility makes these a very attractive solution to most garden pathway and yard edge lighting. Having installed over 30 low voltage yard lighting systems I doubt that I will ever go back to that style again for my own personal installations. The comparison would be simply that the hard wired low voltage lighting systems are typically a much more permanent installation option and they cost way more up front to install.
With LED lighting you could have an incident where one light gets damaged and your entire display is not ruined, you just have to knuckle down and admit to the guy at the store that you ran it over with the mower. The fact is you can easily replace just the one or two LED light units that quit working for one reason or another.
I have three separate LED installs at my house right now plus one wired low voltage system and the LED lights take less maintenance than the low voltage units by far. The cutting of grass can be the most damaging thing for yard and garden lighting and these new LED lights make removal for grass cutting a breeze. Also the installation and maintenance process using LED lights is much simple for the owner.
I have invented a nice way to protect my garden lights from the damaging effects of the weed cutter by installing a metal sleeve over the stem of the lights. This can be made from copper pipe and I have also used PVC pipe and electrical conduit which I painted to match the landscaping. These tubes can be cut to the same length as the tube on your light or you can even make them longer which can be helpful to raise the LED lights above the top edges of ground cover and other raised up features like patio blocks water features and decorative wood ties in your garden beds.
One of the main benefits of using LED lights in your garden is that they are extremely flexible as to how you can utilize them in your garden display. For example if I wanted to illuminate a small water feature I may mount the LED light stem directly to the outside wall of the pond so that the light reflects off of the flowing water and off the water surface as well.
LED lights can be easily removed for cleaning and are also easy to put away at the end of your garden season if you prefer to put them in storage for the winter. If you do put the LED lights away you may want to remove the rechargeable batteries so that they do not get drained down 100% which can ruin a rechargeable battery.
I find that the newer style LED lights give me more options regarding colors and housing styles but there are times where I want the body to be a different color and this is where i will get a can of the appropriate type of spray paint and will make the housing match the garden features that I am working with. One example of this is when the plastic LED light housings fade in the sun over time so I get can of the proper color spray paint and cover the lens and solar panel and spray the body with new paint to make the light look like new.
There are times where I want the LED lights to go on as early as possible so I will locate them in the shade and have even covered over the photocell partially with some dark nail polish. This allows the light to activate much earlier when the sun begins to set.
When you consider what our options were only 15 or 20 years ago for garden lighting it is obvious that the technology has come a long way and I have no doubt that this trend will continue!
I keep checking out the newest LED lighting displays at the home improvement stores thinking about new ways to utilize these updated lights as they come on the market.
The best advice I can offer for using LED garden lighting is to be creative and have fun!