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Archive for the ‘Outdoor Lighting Fixtures’ 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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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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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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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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This client has an interesting antique bench on the side of her front yard that they enjoy.  Shaded by several large oak trees, this is a secluded part of the yard, but very dark at night.  Using several LED up lights to highlight the nearby canopies and one down light spot pointed at the back of the bench, we provided an elegantly lit oasis they can now enjoy into the evening.   Another satisfied customer from OLP of Austin.

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We were called out to this house because the homeowner was unhappy.  “my street is dark, my neighbors are dark, my house is dark” were the first words we heard when we met.  After some consultation and a night time demonstration, this recently became one of our latest customers to go with LED lighting on the front of their home.

The street is way below the house so we knew that down lighting from the trees was not going to work.  Instead we chose to up light both the front of the house and the tree canopies.  These large oak trees now with 30′ canopies now appear to tower high above street level.  We were also very pleased with the look on the facade of the house.  The homeowner had a standard white limestone rock common to many Austin homes and when lit with LED lighting provides a very rich, elegant look.  We were pleased with the results.

LED Landscape Lighting making a difference

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