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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To Zone, Or Not to Zone… Important Landscape Lighting Design Question

Preliminary Landscape-Outdoor Lighting Design with Zones

One of the first questions a landscape lighting designer or contractor must ask a client is how they intend to use their outdoor space – and what the primary motivation is for them to be adding this new lighting. One of the mistakes that inexperienced lighting designers make is to assume how the client will be using their outdoor living space and lighting. After all, the client is the one who lives there 365 days per year and not the designer.

Landscape and outdoor lighting provides aesthetics, safety, security, and usability for a homeowner’s property. Oftentimes, homeowners will want the lighting for all four of the above categories or as few as one; e.g., security. If security lighting is the primary purpose, then chances are the homeowner will want to have the lights operate from dusk to dawn – and from a control standpoint you would only have to have one zone.

 If the primary purpose of the lighting is for aesthetics only and the homeowners go to bed around 11:00 PM every night, then there’s no point in increasing their electricity bill to operate the lights until 3:00 AM if they are not awake to enjoy them. The same thing can be said for usability of the outdoor living space. If the pond has been drained for the winter and there are three-foot deep snow drifts on the back patio, most homeowners will not be outside barbecuing in the dead of winter – and probably will not be using their lights quite as much. As far as safety, most homeowners do typically like to leave a few of their lights on all night long whether they be carriage lights by their front door or a few landscape lights to light the way along the sidewalk. 

 

All of the zones have been programmed to turn on and off automatically, but the homeowner can turn off any of these zones manually using this 8-button switch. So even after the installation of the low-wattage LEDs, no energy will be wasted at this homeowner’s house.

 Most homeowners typically want to control their back yard lights separately from the lights in the front yard – and they typically have their front yard lights operate for a few hours longer. We have also installed quite a few systems where the homeowners operate the path lighting all night long but have the uplighting for the house and trees turn off at midnight or earlier. We once did a landscape lighting installation for a former Denver Bronco offensive lineman. We had lit up his kids’  jungle gym but he wanted to be able to turn those lights off when he had get-togethers at his house with his team mates. He didn’t want anything to get broken – neither the play equipment or his fellow team mates. For smaller properties that require fewer landscape lighting fixtures, there is typically not much of a need for separate lighting and control zones – and separate zones can unnecessarily drive up the installation cost for a small system. For larger systems, however, separate control zones can help a homeowner save money on their monthly electric bill while also helping the environment. 

Come See Us at the CAI Spring Showcase & Trade Show

Come see us at the 2011 CAI Spring Showcase & Trade Show – Friday April 29th from 7 am to 4 pm (Booth # 104) at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum – 7711 E. Academy Blvd. in Denver. The theme of this year’s event is Traveling Through Time with Your HOA.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives (OLP) of Colorado will be exhibiting the latest in ceramic metal halide, LED, and induction fluorescent lamp/fixture technology for a wide range of typical HOA lighting applications including area lighting (street, park, walkway); signage/monument lighting; and stairwell/building lighting.

The new induction fluorescent technology offers increased performance life (up to 100,000 hours) with dramatically lower operational (up to 50-percent energy savings) and maintenance costs. Further, it offers a vast improvement over High-Intensity Discharge (HID) fixtures with respect to nighttime visibility and color rendering.

One of the new programs that OLP of Colorado is offering is a Free Energy Savings Assessment – so that HOA’s and building owners can assess retrofit and replacement payback periods for different lamp technologies. So if you are involved with a community or an HOA, please plan to stop by and see us.

Park Lighting Project Completed for Piney Creek

LC40 Lamp Post at Entrance to Piney Creek Picnic Area

Our company, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado, just completed its latest lighting project at a community park – the Piney Creek Park near the intersection of East Orchard Road and South Joplin Way in the City of Centennial.

The picnic area next to the beautiful lake and water feature in the Piney Creek Park had been without functioning lighting for several years. The six four-foot tall bollard lighting fixtures  that had been installed there previously were vandalized and damaged beyond repair. The home owners’ association (HOA) realized that they needed a different lighting solution that would not only deter vandalism but also enchance the beauty and usability of the park throughout the year.

What we specified and installed are the 14-foot tall, LC-40 pole lamp posts (150W Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH)) manufactured by our national company in Nashville, Tennessee. The lamp posts are made of cast and extruded aluminum – and for this installation they were powder-coated black for an elegant and traditional look.

What really sets these lamp posts apart from any other installation you’ll see in Colorado today is the use of the Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) bulb technology. These CMH bulbs with a life of 18,000 hours generate 12,000 lumens while producing a Color Rendering Index (CRI) ABOVE 90! What that means is that the flowers, trees, and rocks, etc. look the same way illuminated at night as they would appear during the daytime. What a concept! And unlike regular metal halide bulbs, CMH bulbs never experience any sort of color shift; i.e., the CMH bulb will always provide a pure white light from the first day it is turned on until the day it burns out.

As a comparison, the current LED technology can generate at best only 50 lumens per watt while the current CMH technology can generate 80 lumens per watt. LED technology is rapidly improving but it still has a way to go to compete with CMH technology where you need to have a lot of light (lumens) at the ground level.

All of the lamp posts were mounted on four-foot deep, two-foot diameter concrete caissons with engineered rebar cages to withstand the higher wind loads that we encounter along the Colorado front range. I’ve attached some additional photos of the construction phase as well as some additional nighttime photos taken after the installation.

LC-40 Lamp Post Closeup at Piney Creek Park

 

Raising the First of Three Lamp Posts in Piney Creek Park

Piney Creek Park Lighting

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives LC40 Lamp Post - Piney Creek Park at Sunset

Innovative Lighting for Backyard Sport/Game Courts

Sport-Game Court Illuminated with Low Voltage Lighting

People who live in Colorado are very active and many families throughout Colorado have installed sport-game courts in their back yards for family fun. Many communities, however, have very stringent regulations as to the placement and usage of these courts. Additionally, many communities do not allow the courts to be illuminated in the evening with line voltage (120V) lights (typically 150W metal halide).

Several years ago a homeowner approached us in this predicament and we performed an evening lighting demonstration with our low voltage quartz halogen fixtures.

Close Up of Low Voltage PAR36 Lighting Fixture

Our copper BB-01 copper flood lights with glare shields were painted black to blend in with the court’s fencing and netting – and the lights were conveniently controlled by the use of an all-weather switch next to the court. In previous years we have also illuminated a back yard ice rink in the mountains by mounting these same fixtures in trees and other strategic locations for very-spirited hockey games.

Our most recent installation was illuminating the sport court (with the Colorado Avalanche logo) shown at the beginning of the blog. Interestingly, the previous homeowner who had this court installed was one of the best goalies in NHL history – and he will forever be known in these parts as Saint Patrick!

The current homeowners use the court extensively and now they can actually see the volleyball net as well as the basketball nets at each end of the court! The low voltage lights and the anti-glare shields direct the light only where it’s needed – totally eliminating glare or light pollution into neighboring properties. As always with lighting, less is usually best in there’s absolutely no reason to light up a back yard court to the same lumen level as Invesco Field at Mile High. With this low voltage lighting system, the people using the court can see just fine thank you – without blinding their neighbors next door!

Low Voltage Fixture at Sunset