Category Archives: Outdoor lighting

Outdoor Lighting Tips to Create a Beautiful Lightscape

At OLP, we pride ourselves on designing beautiful outdoor lighting systems that highlight all the best parts of the property. When creating a design, there are certain areas and effects that we are careful to include or careful to avoid.

We make sure to design with…

architectural-outdoor-lightingAn even wash of light. I remember when I first started with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and was taken on a tour of examples of good and bad outdoor lighting. There was one home on that tour that had two lights in the front of the home that highlighted a quarter of the front façade. It made no sense.  When lighting the front of a home, it is important to have an even wash of light across the entire façade, otherwise it looks disjointed.

Avoid outdoor lighting designs with…

Light in the eyes. I have to admit, my mom made this mistake around the holidays at our house growing up. She felt the house needed more light and would shine a spotlight on the house. The light was placed in the front yard, right off the walkway. The house, I must say, looked beautiful, but when guests were leaving, they would be completely blinded by the light, causing a safety concern. This can also happen when lights are place right underneath windows. The light coming in can blind people who look out the windows.

Too many lights. This is a very common mistake. We’ve all seen the walkways and driveways that almost resemble an airport runway with the amount of lights on the side. If you have great outdoor lighting fixtures, this isn’t an issue. Take a walkway for example, just a few path lights should provide enough lighting to illuminate the entire space.

Beautiful copper path lighting makes this Verbena appear etherealAt OLP, outdoor lighting is all that we do; it’s our passion. We understand that no two outdoor lighting systems are the same. Each property require different design and installation techniques, fixtures, etc. If you would like to discuss outdoor lighting for your home and property, please reach out to your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives office. Our trained designers will work with you to create the perfect lightscape for you.

Happy National Landscape Architecture Month!

It’s April, which means it is National Landscape Architecture Month! Founded by the American Society of Landscape Architecture, the month focuses on promoting landscape architecture as a profession to students.

As their website explains: “With the theme of Career Discovery with a focus on underrepresented minorities, National Landscape Architecture Month (NLAM) 2014 will spur a countrywide movement, teach children, young adults, and even teachers just how artfully landscape architects design their world. From community parks to residential design, there’s a field out there for any ambitious student.” Source.

commercial-path-lightingAt Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we work with landscape architects on many projects as our goals align in many ways. We are both dedicated to enhancing the beauty and usability of outdoor spaces. While landscape architects design parks, shopping centers, school campuses, residential properties and more, lighting is often one of the components they evaluate for their clients. We work with the architects to pick the right lighting application and fixture for each of their projects.

Let’s take the example of a college campus for example. The school will look to a landscape architect to layout and design the flow and look of the campus from a landscape perspective. This includes not only plants, but pathways, parking lots, common outdoor areas, etc. After it’s designed, they’ll look at outdoor lighting fixtures that go with the overall look of the space, provide the desired effect, and are long lasting and reliable. Often times, they work with a trusted outdoor lighting company to help them with this part of the project.

The work of a landscape architect is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, but like all good outdoor work, it can disappear into the night without outdoor lighting. At OLP, our goal is to make the landscape work look its best at all times of the day. We do that by utilizing a number of lighting techniques, including uplighting, spotlighting, shadowing and silhouetting. When working with a landscape architect, they’ll provide the guidance on how the envision the final product and we will work to accomplish just that.

At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we truly admire the work of landscape architects. Happy National Landscape Architecture Month!

Survey Names Outdoor Lighting as Hot 2014 Trend

Each year the American Society of Landscape Architects conducts a Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey to see what will be popular in the coming year in the outdoor category. Outdoor lighting topped the Outdoor Living Features category with 98.3 percent of responders naming lighting as somewhat or very in-demand for 2014.

The ASLA explains that homeowners look to the outside of their home to enhance their outdoor living experience and increase their property’s value. As ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville explains: “They’re interested in livable, open spaces that are both stylish and earth friendly.” Source.

Outdoor living in general has evolved drastically in the last 5-10 years with people investing in their own outdoor spaces. And with many homeowners relaxing outdoors after work, it is no surprise that outdoor lighting continues as a hot trend in the category. Just take a look at our outdoor living spaces photos to see the difference it can make!

Whether it is landscaping, an outdoor kitchen, a pool, patio or other outdoor element, lighting enhances it so it can be appreciated/utilized at all times of the day. To respond to Nancy’s quote above, it makes outdoor spaces more “livable.”

deck-lightingAnother trend notice within the survey was homeowners’ inclination to consider eco-friendly and low maintenance products. At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we install the latest LED lighting technology to cut down on both energy and maintenance costs. LED uses less energy than incandescent and halogen without compromising the lighting quality. Maintenance costs with LED are also lower because they just don’t need as much maintenance. Bulbs are long lasting without losing light output or consistency of color.

At OLP, we take a full service approach to outdoor lighting. We design a system that fits your needs, tastes and budget. Each design is different. We then install and service the system so you don’t ever have to lift a finger

Sometimes it just helps to see what light can do to enhance a property. Check out our curb appeal, landscapes, outdoor living space, and seasonal photo galleries to see for yourself. If you have any questions, please reach out to your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives office.

Tree Lighting with Three Techniques

We all have certain things about our property that we like best. I love the brick finish of my home, while my mom loves the different outdoor living spaces in her backyard. And for many people, it’s their landscaping, namely their trees.

Tree lighting is a key component of outdoor lighting design. Lighting some statement trees can add depth and interest to the overall design. There are three main tree lighting techniques that we apply frequently: spotlighting, moonlighting and shadowing.

spotlightingSpotlighting is the most obvious tree lighting technique. It’s best used for statement trees on the property, like this one. The tree itself is gorgeous, but it would fade into darkness when the sun went down. To appreciate it all day and night and to invite the eye further into the yard, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives used spotlighting to highlight the tree.

With spotlighting, fixtures are installed at the base of the tree and are pointed up towards it. By having the lights at ground level, the light is able to illuminate the trunk and many of the tree branches.

moonlightingMoonlighting is a much more subtle tree lighting technique. As the name suggests, the goal with moonlighting is to mirror the effect of light from the moon. The fixtures are installed high in the branches of the trees positioned downward. The light isn’t as strong down the trunk of the tree and casts lovely shadows on the ground. Moonlighting is a great technique to use in cozy outdoor living areas and gardens.

shadow-lightingShadowing is the last tree lighting technique. It is about the tree, but also about the shadow that the tree creates. Shadowing is often utilized when the tree is in front of a wall or home and it adds depth and texture. The outdoor lighting fixtures are placed in front of the tree and are cast at an angle to place the shadow in the desired spot.

When working with your outdoor lighting company, make sure to point out any tree that you love that you would like to light. They’ll work with you to highlight the tree in just the right way.

If you have any questions, please contact your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

Pool Deck Lighting – An Absolute Must Have

I was recently on vacation with my family celebrating my parents’ anniversary. We had rented a house down south for all of us, complete with a beautiful outdoor living space. It had a great screened porch, deck and pool that my young nephews loved, but we quickly realized there was a downside.

Every night, we would all go outside and have a drink and appetizers out by the pool. One night, it turned into a lot of talking and we didn’t even realize that it had gotten dark. Apparently, neither did my 4-year old nephew, Colin. He couldn’t see where he was stepping and almost fell in the pool (luckily my brother caught him just in time).

Pools are a great addition to any outdoor living space, but they can also be dangerous. It is very important that you can see not only the edge of the pool at all times, but also anything that may be on the pool deck. If someone trips and falls, they could fall into water, or down on the hard pool surrounding.

pool-lightsAt Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we offer lighting around the pool so that the space can be enjoyed all day and night long, but still be safe! The edges of the pool deck can be lit with path, deck or spotlighting. Many times we use a mixture of lighting techniques as we find it is the best way to ensure there are no dark spots. Take this photo for example, the pool itself had some lighting, but the surrounding patio was curved with flower beds that could have been easy to trip on. Path lights of varying heights were used throughout the space to make sure visitors could see where they were stepping.

pool-lightingLighting unique pool features is also a great way to provide safe footing. This pool has beautiful stone columns with water features and a pergola on top. Outdoor Lighting Perspectives used down lights to highlight the stone and to light the water and pool deck. Additional landscape lighting was installed around the space to give an even wash of light to the entire space.

Pool deck lighting is an absolute must if you want to use the space both day and night. Without it, the space could be unsafe. If you would like to discuss your pool lighting options, please contact your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

Nighttime Design Demonstration gives you Peace of Mind

No two outdoor lighting systems are exactly the same, because no two homeowners are exactly the same. Tastes are different, landscapes are different and homes are different. To ensure that our clients are satisfied with their lights for years to come, we offer a free nighttime design demonstration.

A nighttime demonstration includes a design consultation and a temporary system. First, one of our trained outdoor lighting designers will sit down the homeowners and discuss the goals of the system. While aesthetics are the most common reason to start the conversation, we often hear that homeowners are concerned about certain parts of their property being too dark at night. We’ll ask you about features of your property you would like to highlight and if there is a particular mood you’d like to set.

before-outdoor-lightsAfter the consultation, the owners are left indoors while the designer goes outside to set up a temporary lighting system. Battery operated outdoor lighting fixtures are placed in the exact spots that the permanent system would be installed. The homeowners are then invited back outside to see their home illuminated.

When the temporary system is set up, that’s the time to make updates, tweaks and changes to perfect the design. This is done in concert with the designer and the homeowner. The homeowner, for instance, may find out that they want to highlight parts of the property that they didn’t initially expect. For example, while walking the property with the lights, the homeowner may realize that part of a walkway is too dark. We can add a path light right then and there so that a new appointment doesn’t need to be set up.

outdoor-lighting-companyHomeowners love the free design demonstration because there are no surprises. Once the design is agreed upon, it is marked for the install.  The installers will have notes on the exact fixtures and the exact placement. For the homeowners, the impact the lights make will be remarkable. One day they’ll come home to a dark property and then next, it will be full of light!

And, your designer and installer will drive by at night some time to make any necessary adjustments.

If you are looking to hire an outdoor lighting company, I encourage you to ask if they offer a free nighttime design demonstration. Trust me, you’ll feel better if you see the lights on your home before you purchase. Please give your nearest Outdoor Lighting Perspectives office call if you have any questions or concerns.

Outdoor Lighting Fixtures: Not All are Created Equal

At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, our goal is to provide the best outdoor lighting systems to our clients.  The fixtures themselves are key to having an outdoor lighting system that not only looks great, but is reliable and long lasting.

My husband and I moved last year. In making one of the “this is who I am and this is what I do” conversations, one new acquaintance started asking me questions about outdoor lighting. He told me that he had purchased lights, but the effect on the home just didn’t look right. When I asked him where he got his lights, he said the nearest big box store. There was his problem.

When investing in outdoor lighting, you want to ensure that you are using the best quality fixtures. What makes the best fixtures? Their durability and their technology.

Beautiful copper path lighting makes this Verbena appear etherealOutdoor lights have to endure a lot being outdoors. Rain, snow, sleet, heat, cold, salty air in some parts of the country, they have to be durable to last! At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we use solid copper and brass fixtures. They are strong and corrosion-proof, that’s why they carry a 10-year warranty on them!

Not only to the copper and brass fixtures stand the test of time, but they also look great year after year. Over time the fixtures take on a rich patina, blending seamlessly into their surroundings.

Lighting technology, like everything, changes and evolves. At OLP, we want the technology that provides the best and most consistent performance. Those cheap lights you by at the local home improvement store may look good for a few months, but we only use lights that will last for years!

LED technology has continued to improve over the last 5 years. The bulb life is longer, it provides a consistent life output and reduces your carbon footprint and energy bill!

If you have questions on what make a good outdoor lighting fixture, please contact your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives office.

 

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives Helps Launch Online Magazine

At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we aren’t only passionate about outdoor lighting, but outdoor living as a whole. That’s why we were thrilled to help launch a new online magazine: Loving Outdoor Living.

Loving Outdoor Living is all about finding ways to enhance your outdoor living experiences. It offers information on outdoor living structures, tick and mosquito control, outdoor surface cleaning, fashion, food, and of course, outdoor lighting.

To download the premiere issues, please visit LovingOutdoorLiving.com.

deck lighting

Deck lighting by Outdoor Lighting Perspectives

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives has always been dedicated to enriching the lives of its clients through the design, installation and maintenance of outdoor lighting systems. We take this goal seriously and achieve it through our design, quality, warranty and service.

A good design is what makes the lighting worth having. Sticking some lights in the ground or up in trees just doesn’t make the cut in our world. Design is about the affect of the light. At OLP, we have trained outdoor lighting designers that work with you to come up with the best system possible. We will ask you what you want the system to do and then we’ll design to accomplish it. Do you want a subtle light to on your deck and patio? OK. Do you want your house to stand out in the dark where passersby just say “Wow.” You got it.

It’s not difficult to find outdoor lighting fixtures, but not all lights are alike. If you want a lighting system that is dependable and long lasting, high-quality fixtures have to be used. Our fixtures are top of the line. They are solid copper or brass and have the latest lighting technologies. From LED to lighting control automation, we’ve got it covered.

If your lights don’t come with a warranty, they aren’t worth purchasing. A nice outdoor lighting system should have a warranty that covers all parts, the fixture, the bulbs, etc.

Lastly, our ongoing service and maintenance makes OLP different than the typical outdoor lighting company. We view our relationship with our clients as just that, a relationship. We don’t install the system and then forget about you. Our clients depend on us to come out to fix any issues, move fixtures if necessary, add on to the system and more. Whatever their outdoor lighting need, we’re there.

If you have any questions on outdoor lighting, please reach out to your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives office.

 

Just because the holidays are over, doesn’t mean your home has to go dark

January can be a tough month for me. I’m forced to accept the holidays are over and life goes on as normal. Nothing makes me realize this more than my neighbors taking down and packing up their outdoor holiday displays.

Tree downlighting also known as moon lighting

Tree downlighting also known as moon lighting

Whether it is candles in the windows and string lights in the trees or an all out Griswold family Christmas, a lot of homeowners do some type of outdoor lighting for the holidays. It not only looks the home look festive, but also more welcoming for friends and family. Unfortunately, when those lights are taken down, so does the welcoming appearance and the neighborhood goes dark again.

Permanent architectural and landscape lighting is a great way to keep your home lit all year round and making your home look welcoming isn’t the only benefit!

Outdoor lighting adds to the safety and security of your property. When travelled paths are properly lit you know longer have to worry about guests tripping and falling on rouge toys or sticks. And, having lights makes your home look like someone is always there. Intruders are less like to approach and don’t have the normally dark areas to hide in.

So what are the best areas to light around a property? The first is the front of the home. Having the façade lit will make a huge difference in making your home more welcoming for friends and family. For me, the most important space  is right around the front door where guests may have to wait a minute for the door to be answered. Take this portico for example, without the lighting the entire space would be dark except from the light inside. By using up lights on the front of the home and some column lighting, it’s the perfect spot to welcome guests.

The second part of the property to pay attention to is walkways. If you have paths that lead up to or around your home, you should have those lit. Path lights are the most common way to do this, but down lights are another options. By placing lights along the eaves of the home, or up in a tree shining down (an affect called moonlighting), your paths can be lit subtly.

If you have any interesting components of your property, like a fountain, statue or unique landscaping, you should consider adding some outdoor lighting. Those aspects of your property should be admired all day and night!

If you have questions on how to make your home more inviting with outdoor lighting, please contact your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

 

Just a Few Outdoor Lights Can Make a Big Difference

We’ve said it before and I’m sure we will say it again, but at Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we believe that outdoor lighting is all about the effect, not the fixtures. When creating an outdoor lighting design, we look to illuminate all the important aspects of a property without using too many lights. And just a few fixtures (whent they are the right fixtures) can make a world of difference.

Take this example of outdoor lighting in Birmingham for instance. The home’s brick façade is beautifully up-lit , enhancing the color and texture of the bricks. Additionally, the tree in the front yard was illuminated as well. How many lights do you think this takes? 10? 25? 20?

5.

5 LED lights was able to make this home this beautiful at night. The reason it took so few? Marlin Bennetch, of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Birmingham, used the right fixtures for the right effect. LED lights were his choice to reach the top peak of the home and make the brick look warm. A common misconception about LED is that it looks bluish-white, which you can see is not the case here. And the best part? It will cost $7/year for the family to operate.

Path lights are the most over-used fixtures. We’ve all seen the walkways that look like airport runways with rows of lights on either side of them. That is bad outdoor lighting.

pathway lighting

Proper path lighting should illuminate the path for safe travel

This pathway is an example of well design path lighting. As you can see, the entire path is well-lit to ensure safe footing. While you can easily see the path, your eyes do not go to all of the fixtures that are doing the work and that’s because there aren’t that many! At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we only use the path lights. Not only are they solid copper, but they have a wide light spread so not very many are needed.

When looking at an outdoor lighting system, if your eyes go to the fixture before the effect, that’s a sign that something is wrong with the design. If you would like to talk to a trained outdoor lighting designer about enhancing your property at night, please contact your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives office.