Category Archives: Outdoor Lighting

Lighting Your House for the Holidays

lighting-your-house-for-the-holidaysThe holidays are a time when family and friends gather at each other’s homes for nights of eating, drinking and being merry. While the festivities are, of course, of central importance, it is also an ideal time to show off your house to its best advantage.

Here are a few ideas on how to accomplish this task by simply using light:

Highlight a decorated entrance –  The first step in welcoming guests into your home is by creating an inviting entrance with wreaths, garlands and lighting the whole thing with colored bulbs. Not only does it make your house stand out from the others in the neighborhood but it also makes it a whole lot easier for your guests to find. A lighted snowman or other holiday figure by the door will also add to the festive mood.

Add plenty of holiday-themed lights – The more of these decorations, the merrier is our philosophy. For those homeowners who want to add tons of color to their exterior décor, there are any number of differently colored lights that can be used. Simply accentuate a part of the exterior landscape or even create a kaleidoscopic vision on the side of your house. your imagination is the only limit.

Line the walkways with lighted candles – Similarly, a candle-lit walkway also evokes the holiday spirit. In addition, a lighted walkway will safely guide family and guests to the front door of your home.  In the backyard, they are also important as guideposts for leading guests to other holiday decorations dotted around the yard. Use solar-powered walkway lights to make the task as easy. maintenance-free and affordable as possible.

Spotlighting those special decorations – While spotlighting is a great – albeit usually subdued – lighting feature to use during the rest of the year, you can really add a dramatic holiday touch to your home by adding a few more spotlights around the property that highlight your reindeer family on the front lawn, a creche under a secluded bush or some other holiday-themed feature.

Create other focal points – If you are fortunate enough to have a front light post, it makes an excellent place to add some spiral holiday lights. Not everything has to revolve around the holiday, however. Use holiday lights to create a focal point around an existing outdoor art piece, fire pit or other area of interest.  It is an invitation to visit that space for your guests and provides an outdoor meeting place during parties.

Keep the interior lighting subdued – After all the excitement outside, you may think that you should continue the radiant holiday theme into the interior. On the contrary, however, it pays to keep it subdued. In our opinion, your family and guests would rather concentrate on the food and conversation in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

As you can see, there is a multitude of options for lighting your home both inside and out. It takes some thought, time and effort but the results can be truly stunning.

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Filed under Accent Lighting, Decorative Lighting, Exterior Lighting, Holiday Lighting, Lighting, Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor Lighting and the Style of Your Home

outdoor-lighting-and-the-style-of-your-home

The short days and long nights are back in session. It’s a time many homeowners (and renters!) really begin to notice just how well (or not) their driveways, pathways, and porches are lit at night. Having a well-lit exterior makes a home safer to navigate, more welcoming, and more versatile.

But with so many different types and styles of exterior lighting available on the market, finding the right options for your property can sometimes feel overwhelming. The following is a short breakdown of the primary types of outdoor lighting and how to choose options that best match your home’s style and lighting needs.

  • Post Lanterns.  Post lanterns are dramatic standalone exterior lights that are sure to make a dramatic statement whether you put them along your driveway or in the middle of your back yard. These standout lights are ideal for bringing much-needed brightness to outdoor entertaining areas, such as near a pool entryway or grilling stations, but shouldn’t be used for more intimate spaces or where you want a more subdued aesthetic.
  • Outdoor Wall Lights.   Wall lanterns and sconces can be easily attached to any exterior wall to provide an effective and efficient source of indirect uplighting and downlighting. These wall lights are available in a variety of styles and materials so that you can match the unique look and feel of your house with the right style. Of course, most people find the best look comes with a bit of a mix and match. Consider using dimmable wall sconces near often utilized spaces, such as above an outdoor seating area, windows, and doors. If you have your address numbers attached to your home, wall lights are an ideal solution for illuminating them ensuring your friends and delivery drivers never miss your address. LED lights are ideal for these uses thanks to their long life and enhanced energy efficiency.
  • Outdoor Hanging Lights. Outdoor hanging lights, also known as pendant lights, are often used more to enhance curb appeal and act as an interesting design element than to provide general lighting — although they certainly can be used as task lighting in the right circumstances. These style lights have perhaps the greatest range of materials, colors, and styles as you can opt for everything from Eastern-inspired bamboo lanterns to more industrial-based designs. Whichever style you choose, be sure to stay consistent with all your outdoor hanging lights to keep a more cohesive appearance. For a truly intimate appearance, consider adding an open flame torch or its flameless LED cousin near porches, gazebos, and similar spaces.
  • Flood Lights.  Flood lights are generally not chosen for their appearance, but rather for security purposes. Flood lights are generally built to be equipped with a motion sensor so that whenever a person or large animal enters a defined space, they cast out a bright light over the area. Flood lights don’t come in too many options, as they are more of a utilitarian accessory, but you can still find the right shape and color to match your home’s architecture. For best effect, install all flood lights a minimum of 9 feet off the ground both so that they cannot be easily accessed by would-be intruders and can create the widest possible field of illumination.

Before purchasing and installing any of the above lights, grab a friend and walk through your property at night with a flashlight and all other lights turned off. Experiment with how the flashlight interacts with your exterior features and landscaping and use this as a basis to map out your lighting options.

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Filed under Exterior Lighting, led lighting, Light, Lighting, Outdoor Lighting

LED Pool Lighting

led-pool-lightingWhether you already have a swimming pool, or whether it’s still on your wish-list of things to do around your home and garden, making the best use of your space is key in getting the most out of your investment.  You may even have toyed with the idea of having a swimming pool and discarded it with the usual arguments – it’s too cold for too much of the year, and it’s too dark to enjoy swimming by the time I get home at night.

Use Your Outdoor Space All Year Round

Although you may wish to close your pool for the late fall and winter if you live in a particularly leafy area, a good pool heater can make all the difference when it comes to using the space all year round.  It’s a very European thing to continue to swim outside in a heated pool throughout the colder months, so embrace your inner Scandinavian, and do investigate whether a solar or electric heater might enable you to use your swim space for most of the year.

Get The Right Light

More crucial still, especially if you’re concerned about just being able to use your pool on the few warm weekends through the summer as you work so late, is to get the lighting right.  If your garden and pool area is as much social as family space, it’s important to get this spot on both from a practical and an aesthetic point of view.

One form of lighting that covers both of these concerns in one is LED.  Economical to run, these energy efficient lights have the advantage over other cost-effective methods through providing a brighter light altogether, and a considerably enhanced bulb life-span.  Advances in LED technology also mean that you’re now looking at a softer ambient light available in red, green and blue as well as traditional white.

The savings on your energy bills are not to be disregarded either; even if you’re looking at an outlay to upgrade or even install poolside and underwater LED lighting, the savings over even a relatively short period of time will mean that your costs are covered and then some by the time you may be looking to upgrade again.

In terms of where to situate your lights, if you’re looking at regularly using your pool at night then you will want to consider underwater lighting as much as poolside visibility, if only because there’s something just a little creepy about stepping into a completely dark pool!

Additionally, although bulbs will need to be changed – and you will have to drain your pool to do this – the average lifespan of an LED bulb is so impressive that it’s better calculated in years rather than the 50,000 or so hours you’ll get from a single item on average.  You could even schedule replacement every third winter or so as part of essential off-season maintenance if you wished to enjoy seamless and trouble-free lighting throughout the months your pool is in use.

Additional Things To Consider

Don’t neglect enhancing the rest of your poolside area with subtle lighting, especially if your plans include summer pool parties for friends and family.  If you’re stuck for inspiration, blogs and photo streams can give you ideas about what you can achieve with lighting, or even how to design your own pool in your back yard prior to booking that contractor.

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Filed under Exterior Lighting, Light, Lighting, Outdoor Lighting, Pool Lighting