Posts made in July 2021

Outdoor Lighting Design: Achieving Your Home’s Full Potential

 

There are many ways to illuminate a house or property with lighting, whether for aesthetics, security or other practical reasons. Not only are there multiple methods, there are myriad companies and individuals willing to do it. But will the results all be similar or is there more to consider? The reality is that outdoor lighting design is much like interior design. Almost anyone can claim to be able to do it, but there are very few who have the professional knowledge, experience and creative abilities to understand how to really utilize the features of a home to make it stand out, look good and achieve its full functional and aesthetic potential.

What Factors Should Be Considered for Outdoor Lighting Design?

When it comes to outdoor lighting design, there are many factors that should be taken into consideration. The first is the overall goal. What is the property owner trying to accomplish and what does that particular person like, aesthetically? Everyone has different goals (i.e. security, curb appeal, lighting of certain areas, etc.) and unique aesthetic preferences, so every design is unique.

Some people prefer very subtle lighting accents on specific features while others want their home visible from space and as bright as possible. This is where a good, experienced designer will gather all of the information necessary to create a design for the customer that fits their specific needs and desires.

Next, comes the task of taking meticulous notes and pictures of the house, property and areas needing to be illuminated. For the purposes of this article, let’s stick with home illumination design. Is the home a 1-story, 2-story or something else? What color is it and what color is the trim? Are the walls and roofline relatively flat or are there a lot of architectural features protruding from surfaces that will need to be taken into account?

What about the landscaping? What kind of trees, plants and flowers are there to consider? How close are any bushes or trees to the home? What kinds of shadowing techniques could or should be used? How many circuits must be planned and how much voltage drop will there be in the design? These are just a few of the important factors that must be considered on an individual basis to create an optimal outdoor lighting design plan for every client.

Bringing Form & Function Together

Beautiful outdoor lighting design is the result of creativity, experience and technical knowledge. Anyone can install a DIY-lighting kit purchased from a big box store or internet site, but having it look great, function properly and stand the test of time and weather is another thing, entirely.

A good outdoor lighting designer will know how to use the proper light fixtures, lighting colors, angles of light dispersion, shadowing techniques, brightness, and vantage points to perfectly install the right lights in the correct places, to create a design that is beautiful and effective. They’ll understand how to create even lighting plan for the entire system, one that does not fade with voltage drop or make the lower levels of the home too bright, while the 2nd story is too dark. This is where experience really pays off.

Did you know that the traditional amber color of most lights will make a pink house appear orange or a grey house look blue? The proper color and shade of a color are key factors in outdoor lighting design. You want to accentuate the colors of the home, trim, features, and plants and trees. It’s easy to cast some light on all of it and make it look like a dull, uninspired scene in the evening. But making it look even better at night, than it actually appears in the daytime, is the real trick! Technical knowledge and creativity are what are necessary to make form and function work together behind the scenes. You must have both. The last thing you want is a design that detracts from your home’s curb appeal, that fails to accomplish your goals or a beautiful design that is dangerous, or does not work properly.

Illuminated garden at night

Safety First Always

Installing outdoor lighting, even when it is low voltage, is a task that should not be taken lightly. While low voltage systems are much safer than line voltage, they can still shock, cause a fire, and be dangerous. All too often, we have come across the unfortunate results of a fire in a garage, at the transformer or in a yard that was the result of improper installation or overloading of a circuit on a transformer that had a malfunctioning circuit breaker.

A very simple mistake is to strip too much jacketing off of wire endpoints that mechanically fasten to the transformer. We’ve seen this before with a client. The endpoints of wiring in his system were almost touching, causing an arc whenever the transformer was powered on. Over time, that arcing started to melt the plastic transformer, subsequently setting fire to it! This was a combination of improper materials, improper installation and inexperience. Fortunately, this individual only had some drywall, painting and a new lighting system to replace. It could have been much worse.

Hall of Shame (and Regret)

The last thing anyone wants to do is to invest a significant amount of money into the illumination of their home and have regrets the very first evening they see those lights come on. Following are a few homeowners who may have wished that they had called a professional, experienced designer with a good reputation to help them with their outdoor lighting design.

 


Call the Pros at Pro Lighting Outdoors

Avoid regrets and headaches. When considering installing outdoor lighting for your home or property, always call a licensed outdoor lighting professional who has dedicated their life to their trade. At Pro Lighting Outdoors, we work with our customers to tailor every lighting project to their individual needs, and strive to make every single project turn out as close to perfect, as possible.

Here, the owner is your first and last point-of-contact. He has created and implemented thousands of beautiful, effective lighting designs and prides himself on getting it just right for his customers. So, for your next lighting project, contact a pro: Pro Lighting Outdoors. Call (904) 924-4496 or email us at prolightingoutdoors@gmail.com for a consultation.

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Who to Choose for Outdoor Lighting?

 

When considering outdoor lighting for your home and/or property, it can be confusing deciding who to call, and when comparing quotes, who to choose. The pool company offered to add lighting to the backyard, then the pool enclosure company did the same, followed by the landscaping company, and even the paver company! So, who should you choose for your lighting? After all, those contractors did a good job with the pool, patio and backyard landscaping, and that should be expected because they’re experts. This same principle applies to outdoor lighting contractors – specialized experience and licensing are key.

A Bright Idea: Hire a Lighting Company to Install Outdoor Lighting

You would imagine that most people would probably not hire a lighting company to build their pool, install pavers, or do their gardening. Unfortunately, all too often, we get calls from people who have just spent thousands on a new landscape lighting system that has stopped working or is having other problems. They cannot get the company that installed the system –often a contractor serving a specialization other than lighting–  to return a call or follow-through with an appointment to rectify the situation.

Then, all too often, we have to deliver the bad news that costly repairs or even replacement will be necessary in order to get things working the way they should. Faced with no choice, the customers are forced to throw good money after bad. To follow are a few suggestions for how to avoid these headaches and get the best experience and results when it comes to installing outdoor lighting.

 

  • Driveway and walkway lighting

Don’t Be Upsold or Undersold: Only Use a Licensed Outdoor Lighting Contractor

First, let’s explain why seemingly everyone offers other services besides what they are specialized in and licensed for: the upsell. Landscape lighting is sold in big box stores and online, and there are plenty of youtube videos about it, so why not earn extra income selling it to customers?

Customers are not aware that a license is required in Florida to install outdoor lighting. The reason for this is because there are so many critical elements to consider when working with electrical components, wiring and transformers. When installed incorrectly, a system may not work, work only sporadically, and/or might even destroy itself in a very short period of time.

Worst of all, improperly installed lighting can even cause a fire where the faulty wiring, fixtures or transformers are located. We have seen this before and provided expert opinions for insurance companies, attesting to the unlicensed and improper installation of lighting. Not surprisingly, a primary reason why so many implicated contractors do not want to return when things go wrong is simply because they do not know what to do.

“Outdoor Lighting for Less” is Not Always More

Next, let’s talk about how some contractors can seemingly offer outdoor lighting for less than a licensed and highly-specialized outddor lighting company. The answer is simple: Generally, the lighting packages they offer are simply not high quality. While a dedicated lighting company specialist such as Pro Lighting Outdoors uses only quality engineered products, and tests all fixtures and lamps before putting them in use, other companies simply purchase the lowest priced fixtures and lamps they can find. They may work fine when brand new, but over a relative short period of time, they may go out, seals may fail allowing moisture inside, or the fixtures, not plugged from the bottom, enable vegetation or insects to get inside.

Better by Design: A Professional Outdoor Lighting Contractor is Always Your Best Choice

Finally, we come to lighting design. When we create an outdoor lighting design for a house or back yard, we are drawing from years of experience and knowledge and thousands of hours of training and dedication. This provides us with foreknowledge of exactly what the final outcome will be before we ever start installation. Ultimately, this is the difference between a house that reflects proper lighting techniques –shadowing, brightness, aversion of light into windows, proper illumination of key features of the house, yard, etc.– and one that doesn’t.

Think of it as the difference between getting a picture from someone who paints or draws in their free time, and someone who has dedicated their life to it. The person doing it on the side may paint a decent-looking portrait from time-to-time, but the professional artist will be able to take on the same task and create a result that is much sharper, more detailed, and ultimately much better-looking.


Call the Pros at Pro Lighting Outdoors

Avoid regrets and headaches. When considering installing outdoor lighting for your home or property, always call a licensed outdoor lighting professional who has dedicated their life to their trade. At Pro Lighting Outdoors, we work with our customers to tailor every lighting project to their individual needs and strive to make every single project turn out as close to perfect as possible. So for your next lighting project, contact a pro: Pro Lighting Outdoors. Call (904) 924-4496 or email us at prolightingoutdoors@gmail.com for a complimentary quote.

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