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Archive for the ‘LED Lighting’ Category

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?

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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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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.

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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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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

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LEDs are upwards of 80 percent more efficient than incandescent lights, but they comprise only a very small percent of retail sales.  One research report I read says LED is less than 10% of retail bulb sales.  With all the “talk” about greener codes and standards, better energy management, and general awareness of environmental issues, why the dichotomy?

As a designer, I see two major issues holding the consumer back.

First, there is the technology itself.  There are lots of choices available on shelves with different bulb types, light output, beam width, and color temperature.  The choices can be confusing.  If not done correctly, this can lead to a lot of expense with sub-par results.

Color temperatures between 2700K and 3000K provide the warmth familiar to most homeowners, while temperatures between 4000K and 5000K work well for mostly interior daylit rooms. LEDs with a color rendering index (CRI) exceeding 80 will produce the best color output.

There are a number of performance and testing websites to help get accurate information on LED products, including the Department of Energy, but the best way is working with a professional and doing on site testing for your specific application.  Every home exterior and interior is different and one light that works well in one case, may not work as well in another.  Height and width of object lit, distance from object, area size, all will impact the final result.

The second objection is price.  When we discuss an outdoor lighting system, LED can add as much as a 20% surcharge to the overall system price.  LED bulbs are more expensive than their incandescent counterparts and this has a direct effect on consumer acceptance and adoption rates.

Some interesting research worth noting.  In 2002, a study by D&R Research found that about 10% of the homes had converted to some form of efficient lighting.  By 2012, this number had increased to nearly 30%.  Their forecast stated that in another 10 years, the percent of homes with energy efficient lighting would be around 60%.

What this means is that manufacturers will be able to mass produce product and prices will begin to fall.  We’ve seen this repeatedly in the past (i..e. computers) when technology gains widespread acceptance.

Prices will fall, technology continues to improve.  With multi-year warranties and decade long lifespans, LEDs have made lamps a long-term investment that can exceed the life expectancy of the fixture it illuminates.  Whether you do it yourself, or work with a professional, researching the right LED product is time well spent.  The results of lower energy consumption and reduced ongoing maintenance costs are real and available today.

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It’s been a busy spring for us. Lots of new clients and we are grateful. One of the more popular trends that we are getting lots of calls on is for lighting outdoor living spaces. Decks, patios, outdoor kitchens, dining areas, water features, seems like everyokumpne is doing construction projects to enhance their back yards.

Finding lighting to enhance these spaces is an essential. Trying to entertain in the dark or off “porch lights” just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you are planning a project of this type, here are a couple ideas on how to complete the look with elegant outdoor lighting:

Safety: One of the absolutes of nearly every project is dark stairs and railings that drop off into darkness in the back yard. This picture is an example of a project we just completed. Notice at the bottom, the small step down into the kitchen area. We added some LED strip lighting on the stair riser to safely light the area so no one will trip entering this potentially dark area.

Downlighting: It’s interesting to see our clients struggle with grilling in the dark or dining on a dark table. Again, looking at our sample work, you see a series of small fixtures installed in the rafters of the pergola to provide lighting for cooking as well as bar top eating.

Aesthetics: Consider some LED strip lighting tucked up under the bar or cap of a stone wall (or wood railing) as we have done here to really make your spaces pop. Notice both the bar front and far back wall are washed with soft ambient LED light. You can even add color changing LED that’s controlled with a remote and you’ll have the coolest back yard in the neighborhood.

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