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Posts Tagged ‘down lighting’

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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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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I’ve been asked several times recently if outdoor landscape lighting increases the resale value of a property.  I decided to do some investigation to determine if there is a clear answer to this question.

The simple answer is yes it does, but only if lighting is part of a comprehensive landscaping plan that goes beyond planting a few bushes, to include structural features like lighting, fences, garden paths, fire pits, swimming pools, and ponds.  Outdoor rooms, terraces, and decks are also high-yield structural investments.  The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recommends that homeowners invest 10 percent of the home’s value in total landscaping.

A good place to start might be a landscape architect as they generally look at key areas of enhancement. A patio, a deck, a front walk, complementary plantings in the front yard, and exterior lighting are all desirable features with today’s buyers.

When most people think of lighting the outside of their homes, they usually just consider safety and security. Important considerations, however, lighting can be incorporated into an overall landscape plan that also adds to the overall beauty of your property. The lighting of steps, paths and walkways will make the grounds of your property safer; the lighting of the home façade, trees, and outdoor living spaces will add significantly to the aesthetics and make the home more inviting.  And there is the obvious benefit of added security by eliminating dark areas of the yard.

If you drive through your neighborhood at night, the home that will stand out the most is the one that has properly designed outdoor landscape lighting. You can’t really see the other landscaping features at night, but look how the lighting makes that house stands out on its own.  Now ask yourself – do prospective buyers do this before purchasing?  In today’s market, you bet.

The consensus is that a properly landscaped yard does in fact increase the value of a home somewhere between 15% and 20%.  Just like investing in a kitchen remodel and expecting a certain return, a total landscape remodel that includes a well designed and implemented outdoor lighting plan, is well worth the investment when it comes time to sell that home.

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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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Perhaps you’ve just invested in a covered patio for your back yard or you have an existing backyard living area. Now with it getting darker earlier, there are even fewer hours we can enjoy our decks and covered patio in the evening.

 

Copper flood light outdoor lighting fixture

Copper flood light outdoor lighting fixture

 

Now there’s a great solution – outdoor patio lighting and outdoor deck lighting. With proper lighting for your backyard structures, you can enjoy these areas well into the evening – well at any time all through the night.

There are a couple of types of outdoor lighting you can use. For your covered patio, we can either use up lighting or down lighting. Up lighting would be placed near the columns of your covered patio. This illuminates the entire structure without causing any light blinding.

The other type of lighting we can use for your covered patio or covered deck is down lighting. This type of lighting uses gentle lighting that illuminates downward and mimics the effect of the moon. Often a really nice effect is placing the down light in a tree so the light will not only throw light on the desired area but will also cast a pattern by illuminating down through the leaves of the tree.

 

Cast brass flood light outdoor lighting fixture

Cast brass flood light outdoor lighting fixture

 

This is why you want to use a professional lighting company. Professional landscape lighting and architectural outdoor lighting companies know how to place light to get the desired effect without causing any blinding rays.

When you’re selecting an outdoor lighting company, look for a company that will come out to give you a free estimate. No company should quote your investment over the phone without seeing the area, hearing your goals, and recommending a good solution to accomplish your goals.

At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives we take that a step further. We actually set up temporary lights to show you exactly what it’s going to look like. We come in the early evening and do all the work. You simply take a look and let us know if that’s what you want.

Give us a ring
(512) 247 – 1815

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Austin TX is alive this week with an expected 500,000 visitors for SXSW, High School Basketball Finals, and the Austin Kite Festival and of course Spring Break!! What a time to show off your properties to the outside world and no better way to do that than Outdoor Lighting. I have stated before in these blogs that it enhances value and aesthetics to your property.
A well designed lighting program can consists of lighting structures and columns, trees and shrubbery, flowerbeds, water features and just about highlighting what ever you can create on the exterior of your home. Using soft effects such as, down lighting, up lighting, vignetting, silhouetting, spotlighting, up lighting you can create an effect that is truly stunning.
Lighting is truly a smart and intelligent way to create value to your property. With all the visitors we will have in the city this week it would have been a smart move to have called Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Austin to install your lighting! Just remember it’s never too late to call us!! 512-247-1815

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