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Archive for the ‘Tree Lighting’ Category

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.

http://www.outdoorlighting.com/transformation

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.

 

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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:

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Recently, OLP of Austin donated a complete lighting package to be auctioned off at the annual Play Bingo fundraiser benefitting the Center for Child Protection.  The Center for Child Protection, a nationally accredited children’s advocacy center, is the first contact for children in Travis County who are suspected victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and for children who have witnessed a violent crime.

By donating the seven light system, OLP was proud to be a part of the money raised at the auction.  These funds will help provide funding for the Center for the upcoming year.

After the auction, OLP arrived at the winning bidder‘s house to install her new lighting system.  We completed the installation in a day and she loves how the LED lighting enhances her front yard.

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We were recently called out to a home on a service call.  It’s a large yard with 4 transformers and close to 50 different fixtures installed.  The customer pointed out various problems to us that certain lights are not working – mostly centered on the main portion of the backyard.  We quickly got to work.

We quickly determined it was some type of power or cabling problem.  When we opened up the main transformer, the first thing we noticed was a burnt smell – not a good sign.  Turns out one of the 3 circuits had fried itself and was not functioning.

That’s when we really started investigating.  This transformer was a 900w transformer.  Transformers are rated to safely run about 80% of that output, or 720w.  By counting up the total wattage of the lights installed on this transformer, we were right at 700w, safely within upper limits.  Then we noticed 2 lights in a pond that were not installed by us.  We traced it out and sure enough, the customer had added an extra cable in our transformer and added those 2 lights on his own.

Innocent enough until you realize 2 extra lights at 35w each added 70 watts to a system that was already fully loaded.  The extra strain of now running close to 800w of output eventually with time caused major damage and a circuit meltdown.

The takeaway:   If you already have a lighting system, don’t randomly add to it without first taking some precaution.  If necessary, get help from a professional to adequately size the lights you want to add and ensure that you have the capacity.    Your lights will stay on and brighter much longer if you do.

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LED PAR36 bulb –

We recently returned from the Outdoor Lighting Perspectives annual conference.  Certainly, the biggest news on the technology front was the introduction of a new LED PAR36 bulb.

Some of the features of this bulb:

  • 6watt (over 80% reduction in power consumption)
  • 3000 degrees Kelvin (warm white)
  • 50,000 hour rating (compared to 5,000 for halogen)
  • 5 year warranty

The light quality?  Side by side against a new halogen bulb, the light output (temperature) is so close that it’s hard to tell one from the other.  This light is also an easy retrofit in existing fixtures using PAR36 halogen bulbs.  Benefits:  the energy efficiencies saves electricity and super long burn rate lowers maintenance costs.  Typical payback on an LED conversion is less than 2 years.

LED bulbs replacing the MR16 bulb is also available now and an LED retrofit bulb for path lights will be coming in April, 2012.

Clearly, LED technology has finally arrived for Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

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Color of trees - color rendering index CRI

Tree lighting Austin

When you’re doing garden lighting, landscape lighting, or even architectural lighting, one of the things you’ll have to decide is whether to do uplighting or downlighting. Hopefully you’re working with a lighting designer that can make the best recommendations for you. With outdoor lighting, likely they will suggest mostly uplighting but there are also some areas with your landscape where downlighting makes a lot of sense.

Uplighting serves a more practical purpose. When lighting your home, you want the illumination to come from ground up. From a practical standpoint, with uplighting, the light more fully illuminates the area where you walk and live. Also, the amount of light will be greater at the lightsource then at the distant point that is illuminated from that fixture. So, naturally, with architectural lighting, you want the light source to be closer to the base of the house or structure than at the roofline.

Palm tree lighting Austin

Palm tree lighting Austin

Hearing the word uplighting might conjure up images of bright blinding spotlights impeding your vision. But, with professional outdoor architectural lighting, this is not the case at all. The outdoor lighting fixture we use to light your house will most often be a well light. The well lights are usually placed in landscaping and the shape of the fixture directs the light toward your home and away from your eyes.

With landscape lighting, downlighting often makes the most sense for aesthetic and other reasons. With low plant garden lighting, downlighting will illuminate the most beautiful part of the plant which is often the top of the plant. Also, landscaping often “lives” in an area where uplighting might get in the eyes of the beholder. For lighting low plants and paths, we usually use our copper path light.

So, you want the light source close to the most important part of the area being illuminated. You don’t want the light shining in your eyes at any time. And you never want a spotlight effect. Good outdoor lighting should have a natural effect. It should make the item look similar to how it looks during the day.

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Well light lens cover

Well light lens cover

When we think of outdoor lights, we generally think of fixtures that are relatively resistant to sun, weather and the other outdoor elements. Indeed most are relatively resistant. But, there are a couple of things that an outdoor fixture can’t resist – falling leaves and fire ants.

We all know fire ants are pests – especially when they build a nest in a high traffic area around our home. But, sometimes they can be bigger pests when they build nests around low traffic areas – right  inside the outdoor lighting fixture near the house or in a tree bed.

Fire ants will actually crawl up inside the lighting fixture with nesting materials such as dirt and make their nest inside the fixture. At best, this can cause the fixture to short out. In the worst case scenario, this can cause a fire. Either way, it’s an expensive proposition when $25 could have avoided that and avoided other problems as well.

Purchasing lens covers for your well lights will not only keep out insects, ants, and insect nests, but they will also keep out leaves, debris, brush, snow and other things that could fall in the fixture.  They are made of tempered glass which maintains the white light of the bulb and you can install them yourself, or we can install them for you.

If you have a lighting system from another source and are experiencing maintenance issues like this, call us at (512) 247-1815.  We do service existing systems.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives well light near a tree

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives installed well light near a tree

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