Celebrate National Outdoor Lighting Month in Colorado

national-outdoor-lighting-month-2013-logo@2x-c7e66e50Autumn is a beautiful time of year in Colorado with warm days and pleasant evenings. As the sun begins to set earlier and earlier, there is no reason to stop using  your beautiful outdoor spaces that you’ve enjoyed throughout the rest of the year.

That is why Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado is helping to support and promote National Outdoor Lighting Month throughout the month of October. Coinciding with the end of Daylight Saving Time (that occurs on Sunday, November 3rd), National Outdoor Lighting Month will be an annual consumer awareness effort to educate homeowners about the safety, security and lifestyle/property enhancements that outdoor lighting can add to their homes.

To support the educational aspect of the campaign, a free guide on How to Choose An Outdoor Lighting Professional can be downloaded from the website. The guide provides helpful design tips on pathway lighting, up-lighting and grazing, outdoor living space lighting, deck and step lighting, and festival lighting. The Guide also provides helpful tips on product selection, installation guidelines, and on-going maintenance considerations.

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Outdoor lighting can also add to the curb appeal of any house this time of year. Anyone who has ever tried to purchase or sell a house this time of year can also attest to the value that outdoor lighting can bring to the real estate transaction. Which house will get noticed more – the house with only one carriage light or the one that is beautifully illuminated that basically says welcome home?

You can read more about National Outdoor Lighting Month in a recent article in Turf Magazine.  If you have any questions about lighting techniques or how outdoor lighting can add to the beauty and usability of your home, please call us at 303/948-9656.

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Creative Ways to Conceal Landscape/Architectural Lighting Fixtures and Wiring

Column Lighting Dilemma - Shrubbery.jpg

Column Lighting Dilemma – Shrubbery at Columbine Valley Project

It seems like every new lighting design and installation has its own unique challenges, and some jobs have more than one. At this recently completed low voltage LED landscape/architectural lighting project in Columbine Valley, the homeowners of course wanted to uplight each of the four columns for dramatic effect. The inner two columns were easily uplighted with the Outdoor Lighting Perspectives BB-03 6W LED well lights with tempered glass lens covers – and those fixtures were mounted at ground level.

Stick-Light Solution for Lighting Column That Is Blocked by Shrubbery

Stick-Light Solution for Lighting Column That Is Blocked by Shrubbery

However, it was not possible to use our standard ground-mounted well lights for the two outer columns since the shrubbery in those locations occupied the entire space in the planting bed. Fortunately, our company’s manufacturing facility recently released the newest fixture in our product line, the BB-02 6W LED, also known affectionately as the stick light. This barely visible fixture can be installed where no fixture has gone before, it can be custom manufactured to any height, and it is available with several beam spreads. The best news of all is that the lighting effect from this fixture looks identical to our BB-03  6W PAR36 LED bulb/well light.    

 

 

 

Column Lighting Dilemma - Hardscape

Column Lighting Dilemma at Columbine Valley Lighting Project – Hardscape

In the back yard, we also encountered another dilemma for uplighting the four primary columns. The area next to the columns was surrounded by hardscape and there was no pre-wiring of any kind. In new construction, we can coordinate the installation of lighting with the concrete/hardscape contractor so that the lighting fixtures can be flush-mounted and all of  the wiring routed through pre-installed conduits. Fortunately, our experienced installers can typically find a way to install and conceal both the lighting fixtures and the wiring on a project where the hardscape has already been installed.

Well Lights Concealed in Flower Pots to Uplight Columns

Well Lights Concealed in Flower Pots to Uplight Columns

The easiest way to hide well lights if they cannot be flush-mounted into hardscape is to plant them like a plant in a flower pot.  And yes, you can water and fertilize the actual plants in the flower pot without damaging the lighting fixture. That’s the easiest way to conceal the lights but how do you hide the wiring? The good news is that most extensive hardscaped areas have drains to channel the water out into the yard from the upper story of the house – and that’s how we were able to get the wiring to within 6-feet of where the lighting fixtures were installed. To run the wiring from the drains to the pots required grinding out grooves in the mortared joints and running the 18-gauge wiring to the lighting fixtures up through the bottoms of the flower pots. The wiring in the grooves was then held in place and sealed by using a high-quality caulk.

At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado we’ve started our 15th year in business, and we can almost always find solutions to the most difficult lighting design and installation problems. Many of our customers ask us after an installation has been completed:

How did you do that? We don’t see any wiring or anything disturbed on our property. All we see is the beautiful lighting effect.

As the owner of a lighting company, that is one of the highest compliments that a customer can pay to our company and our installers.

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Outdoor Lighting Still Rated Highly in 2013 ASLA Top Outdoor Living Trends Survey

Enjoy Your Landscaping in the Evening with Outdoor Lighting

Enjoy Your Landscaping in the Evening with Outdoor Lighting

In the 2013 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), 95.1-percent of the respondents across all categories rated lighting (#3 in the rankings) as one of the most in-demand items for the coming year.  

Ranked ahead of lighting were fire pits/fireplaces  (97.0-percent), and grills (96.3-percent).  The most popular outdoor design elements were outdoor living spaces (94.5-percent), gardens/landscaped spaces (94.4-percent), and outdoor recreation amenities (76.3-percent).  

As we tell all of our customers, it is important to have the design elements in place first before completing a lighting design. That way we can conduct an evening lighting design demonstration to actually show you how your property will look after dark. That’s the best way to ensure that you’ll be receiving maximum enjoyment of your property during the evening hours.  

Now that it’s finally Spring in Colorado (I think we just jumped directly to Summer), Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado has begun scheduling evening lighting design demonstrations. So give us a call 303/948-9656 if you would like to see how beautiful your landscaping can look after dark! 

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See the Latest LED Landscape Lighting Products at the 2013 Colorado Garden and Home Show

CGHSLOGO-4cThe 2013 Colorado Garden and Home Show starts two weeks from today – so plan to visit our Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado exhibit (Booth #1442) to see the latest in LED landscape and architectural lighting products and services for your home and property.

The show details are:

  • Colorado Garden and Home Show
  • Colorado Convention Center – Downtown Denver
  • February 9 – 17, 2013
  • Hours:
  • Saturdays 10:00 am – 8:00pm
  • Sundays 10:00 am – 6:00pm
  • Monday – Friday 12:00 Noon – 8:00 pm

The 9-day long Colorado Garden and Home Show is the oldest, largest, and most prestiguous garden and home show in the Rocky Mountain West – with over 600 exhibitors, 14 landscaped gardens, and educational seminars. The show is run by a non-profit organization that provides horticultural scholarships to students as well as grants for landscaping projects throughout Colorado.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado is a full-service outdoor lighting design, installation and maintenance company for residential, municipal, and commercial projects – and we design and install lighting automation controls as well. Of course we still design and sell low voltage quartz halogen systems, and the great thing about our lighting products is that we can retrofit any of the fixtures we have already installed to LED whenever the homeowner is ready. We are also happy to provide lighting energy audits to show the homeowner how much they could save in electrical costs by converting to LEDs. We are glad to do this for any OLP or non-OLP systems.

We are proud to be exhibiting for the fourteenth time at this wonderful show – and we hope to see you there.

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Outdoor Lighting Again Ranked in Top 5 by 2012 Landscape Architecture Trends Survey

Landscape Lighting Makes Outdoor Spaces More Inviting after Sunset

While it’s certainly no surprise to those of us here at Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado, a recent survey of residential landscape architects has again ranked landscape and outdoor lighting as one of the top 5 trends for outdoor living features. In the 2012 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), lighting (outdoor and landscape) was ranked #5 (93.1-percent) as being somewhat or very much in demand. The list of the most popular features across all categories follows below:

  1. Grills                                                  97.4%
  2. Low Maintenance Landscape      96.6
  3. Fireplaces/Firepits                          95.8
  4. Dining Areas                                    95.7
  5. Lighting                                             93.1
  6. Water Features                                89.9
  7. All-Weather Outdoor Furniture      81.2
  8. Pools                                                 79.2

We’re very pleased of course to see that residential landscape architects are beginning to stress the importance of professional landscape lighting to their clients. Surprisingly, most college bachelors degree programs in landscape architecture only require one course in lighting, and most of the students we’ve spoken with tell us that they wished their programs included more. Typically, landscape architects receive more exposure to lighting after they’ve begun their career and taken advantage of the outreach and educational programs offered by ASLA and lighting companies such as Outdoor Lighting Perspectives. The good news is that whatever we’re doing, both landscape architects and homeowners are becoming more aware of the importance and necessity of good landscape lighting.

What Is the Proper Way to Illuminate a U.S. Flag?

 As Memorial Day 2012 approaches, it is once again a time to remember and honor those men and women who gave their lives while serving their country. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the fallen who helped preserve the liberty and freedom we still enjoy today.

Many homeowners like to honor all military veterans and current enlistees by displaying a flag on their property from dusk to dawn, and many choose to display it during the evening by installing lighting.

The U.S. Flag Code states that –

It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during hours of darkness.

The Congressional Research Service in interpreting the U.S. Flag Code said that –

It would seem that the display of the flag in a respectful manner with appropriate lighting does not violate the spirit of the Flag Code since the dignity accorded to the flag is preserved by lighting that prevents its being enveloped in darkness.

Unfortunately, far too many homeowners will hang a U.S. flag on a bracket by the front porch, and when the front porch light is turned off – the flag will remain in darkness until sunrise. Fortunately, most homeowners who have actual flagstaffs on their property, realize that the flag must be lit properly.

Lighting Scheme for Residential Flag Poles

Most residential flag poles are up to 20 feet tall, and for this application low voltage quartz halogen or LED lighting will work just fine. As you can see in the drawing to the right, for flag poles in the 14- to 20-foot range and for a typical flag size (3- by 5-feet), we recommend the use of two well lights installed 180 degrees apart to uplight the flag pole and flag. Regardless of which way the wind is blowing, the flag will always be properly illuminated.  For shorter flag poles with the well light mounted less than a foot from the flag pole, sometimes only one well light will be sufficient. This is especially the case for installations in or near the foothills where the prevailing wind is typically from one direction most of the time. 

At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we’ve also learned through experience that the wide flood bulbs do a much better job of ensuring that the flag is illuminated properly. While the narrow spot bulbs will make the flag really stand out when it’s exactly in the right spot, the wide floods seem to work better the other 95-percent of the time.

So display your flag proudly, have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend, and last but not least – save some time to remember what the holiday is truly about.

 

 

Do People Actually Light Up Their Chimneys?

Chimney Lighting in Cherry Hills Village

Well, believe it or not – they do and for good reason. Most landscape and architectural lighting professionals tend to develop their list of favorite things to light up, and for us it has been residential chimneys. Many custom home builders in the Denver market (Suderman Homes, Bond General Contractors, etc.) have also taken chimney design and construction to a whole new level. And since the chimney is the highest and most visible architectural feature of the house, it definitely creates a focal point of the house and property – during the daytime and after dark with lighting.   

Close-Up of Lighting Fixture

On some houses, the chimney is not visible on the exterior of the house until it emerges from the roofline. With regard to lighting the chimney, that creates a challenging but not insurmountable problem with mounting the lighting fixture to achieve the proper lighting effect. In the photo, you can see a close-up of our factory’s cast brass spot light (20W MR16) that is mounted in the copper gutter along the eave of the home. After the fixture develops a patina, it will blend in perfectly with the rest of the gutter.

The good news is that most chimneys are visible on a home’s facade all the way to the ground level, and these of course are much more easy to light up. For this configuration, well lights can be installed in the ground to provide up-lighting on the chimney. 

Oftentimes, surprises can occur during evening lighting design demonstrations when you are setting up the lights for the chimney. On several occasions we have awoken nesting birds and have irritated bats. But the most memorable occasion was when we set up the lights for the chimney and noticed an impish gargoyle sculpture playfully smiling back at us. We still have homeowners ask us whether we were the ones who lit up the gargoyle down on so and so street. So just remember, with evening lighting design you are painting with light – and there’s absolutely no reason that you cannot make it whimsical and playful.