Having guests over for a party this summer?  Certainly a growing trend is to move the party outdoors.  There’s something about hanging out poolside with friends that makes for a fun evening.   This trend is growing and makes outdoor living spaces; decks, patios, pools, outdoor kitchens, one of the hottest segments of the remodeling business.

We meet people all the time that have spent a lot of money in their back yard. One area you don’t want to forget about, or push off till the end of the project, is outdoor lighting. Without good quality lighting that matches the new environment created in the yard, the whole project will just fall flat. Imagine a cool new patio deck and pool lit only by a couple of cheap porch lights hanging by the back door. Ugh!

There are now tons of creative and interesting lighting fixtures and techniques that you can deploy to really “finish” the back yard and make your parties hum. A good start is always consulting with a designer to help you sort through some of the options. Consultations are usually free.

Outdoor string lighting

Outdoor string lighting

Always start with some good landscape lighting for areas like trees, paths, and stairs, to set the mood with some soft lighting.  Around the living spaces there are some very creative fixtures available now that you can find by searching some of the home style websites.  Use your designer to bring both areas together in terms of lighting color, intensity, and effect.

One of the more popular ideas we’re seeing more and more is string lighting.  Much like a lot of restaurant patios, string lighting can provide an ambiance for the back yard that’s unmatched with other lighting fixtures.  We suggest using a commercial grade product for a long lasting quality installation.  Another consideration is the bulb.  Some like the old style “edison” incandescent bulb.  Others go with energy efficient LED bulbs.   Here’s a sample of string lighting under a pavilion canopy using LED bulbs on a dimmer.  Imagine what this kind of lighting in your back yard might look like, eh?

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives has been installing landscape lighting for over 20 years.  We have enhanced thousands and thousands of homes in that timeframe with elegant outdoor lighting that always enhance the homeowner’s outdoor living spaces.

We wanted to capture the process that we go through with our clients from the initial consultation up to the final installation.  To do this, we decided to do an “HGTV” style video documenting every step of the way, including the BIG REVEAL at the end.

This particular customer lives near our Augusta, GA office.  But whether it’s in Augusta, or our own office here in Austin, TX, or any of the 53 other OLP locations, you can rest assured knowing our process is the same.

We hope you take a moment to watch our show and catch the inspiration that professionally installed landscape lighting provides.


If you like what you’ve just seen and are thinking of adding landscape lighting, please give us a call.  We’d be happy to come transform your yard,  just as we did for our client Pam.


There are boutique hotels that are inviting and unique. Lone Star Court Hotel is a new hotel in Austin that provides a retro-Austin feel and a great place to gather. The hotel includes a large open courtyard with a bar, outdoor seating and fire features. The outdoor courtyard is the heart of the hotel with live music nightly.

When it came to the hotel outdoor lighting, they turned to Rick Johnson of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Austin to enhance the safety and ambiance of the space. With great outdoor spaces throughout the entire property, Rick installed an outdoor lighting system that included both classic and more modern lighting applications.

LED lighting in hotel stairwell

LED lighting in hotel stairwell

When evaluating the space, a potential safety concern was noticed on the open rail stairwells. There were no lights! Small LED down lights were installed on the side of the handrail posts to provide the needed light for guests to see where they are stepping.

Rick used three different lighting techniques to light the beautiful trees on the Lone Star Court Property. One of, if not the, most common way to illuminate a tree is uplighting which was used on the majority of the trees at the hotel. Uplighting consists of fixtures being installed at the base of the tree shining upward and is a great way to highlight the tree. In addition to uplighting, Rick and his team installed moonlights and decorative lighting. Moonlights are installed up in the branches of the tree shining downward, resulting in beautiful shadows mimicking the effect of the moon. The decorative lights that were set in trees were LED tube styles lights.

Throughout the property, there are a number of walkways and paths as well as a few walkway bridges. LED path lights were used around the sidewalks of the property while pond lights were installed under the walkway bridges.

This is just some of the lighting that was used at the Lone Star Court Hotel, but Rick’s favorite happens in the heart of the property: the courtyard. Hanging under the pavilion in the center of the outdoor space, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Austin added 5 lines of commercial grade string lighting. Using an incandescent “Edison” bulb on a dimmer, Rick was able to provide the high end party lighting that LSC pavilionthe hotel was looking for.

If you have questions on hotel and hospitality outdoor lighting, please contact your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives office.

We constantly run into installations of outdoor lighting in Austin that have gross mis-application of both fixture and light output resulting in poor design. Sometimes the consumer installed, sometimes a contractor did, but the end result is just bad lighting.

Understanding outdoor lighting is not an easy subject to grasp. Showing off a fixture (either real or by picture) or even showing photo metrics that measure the amount of light output from a particular fixture won’t do it for most people. They can’t grasp how that fixture you are showing them will translate into a well lit patio, backyard, or other section of the home.

So what is the best way to show the value of a quality lighting design? How about a big price tag with a whole bunch of light fixtures – throw more lights into the mix and of course you’ll end up with “good” lighting design in the end, right?  Looking at lighting this way, you lose the value of what lighting design is all about. It’s important to have an understanding that good design creates a nice visual display but also provides energy efficiency in lighting only what needs to be lit, or should be lit. Using the wrong bulb on a particular application can lead to disaster. Wasting money on extra fixtures and the energy they consume needs to be understood so resources (either cost or energy) are not wasted.

The methods to project this of course depends on the type of lighting and project under discussion. A real world display (night time demo) works well to solidify concept design. Referencing other sites with similar lighting to show effect is useful. Another method is before and after photos to educate on the basics. And finally there is computer rendering that works, but doesn’t always show realistic representation, when it might just be easier to show a picture.

Outdoor lighting can be a beautiful thing if done correctly. Do some homework and get some basic education before jumping into any lighting project. If you are unsure, find a design company that understands these and other pertinent concepts and can demonstrate more to you than just “let’s throw a lot of lights out there”.  

If you haven’t seen this website, it’s a great source for decorating and remodeling project ideas.  Published by homeowners and professionals it’s categorized nicely into different areas of the house for easy reference.  I’m proud to say that we were selected for a “2013 Best of Houzz” award for our reviews, ideabooks, and some of our project photos on landscape lighting.

Here’s a sample slideshow highlighting some of our recent work with outdoor lighting:

Lighting a commercial stairwell can be a bit tricky.  We were already working with this new hotel in Austin on their landscape lighting when they asked us about the stairwells.  After construction, they realized the stairwells were too dark and this presented both a potential security, as well as safety problem.  Not to mention that local codes require it, but that’s a side point.  They had already found the LED light fixture and we accepted the challenge to install over 90 of the lights in 6 separate stairwells.

The challenge with 3/8″ steel is finding a way to first get a drill bit through and then how to hide the wire inside the railing.  We decided we could actually use the inside of the handrail to drop from one light to the next.  We did burn up several hundred dollars in drill bits, but in the end, we had virtually no exposed wiring.  Incidentally, the chosen fixture uses a 1.4w LED downlight bulb.

Here are a couple pictures to show off the end result:

LED lighting in hotel stairwell

LED lighting in hotel stairwell

LSC stairwell 2

This past weekend, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Austin was proud to participate in the Center for Child Protection of Austin’s annual “Play Bingo” fundraiser.  We donated an entire outdoor landscape lighting system, complete with installation, for the silent auction. 

The Center for Child Protection is the only nonprofit in Travis County involved in the investigation of crimes against children.  They provide services such as forensic interviews, therapy, and parenting education at no cost to families.  The center’s mission is to reduce the trauma to children during the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases.

We’re happy to announce that the winning bidder contributed over $1,200 for our lighting system, making us very proud to be part of the total money raised at Saturday’s auction.  These funds will help provide needed funding for The Center for the upcoming year. 

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Austin provides complete design, consultation, installation, and service on all lighting systems.  We cover the entire Travis County area.