From day to night – lighting done right

One of the things we offer is a free nighttime demonstration so that you actually get to see what a particular lighting design will look like for your home and property – prior to an installation.  That eliminates all of the guesswork and surprises – and you will know exactly how much you will have to invest to achieve that desired lighting effect.

Most of our typical lighting installations in Colorado range in price between $3,500 and $6,500. Not surprisingly, most homeowners have no idea how many lights they may need or want – or what their investment range might be until we do the evening lighting demonstration.  And that’s perfectly OK because we do not want you to purchase a lighting system sight unseen.

Additionally, we do our nighttime demonstration for these other reasons:

  • It is your house, not our’s – and you know best how you would like to have your house and property illuminated in the evening.
  • Exact placement of the fixtures can be determined in order to safely light steps and other hazards, and to effectively light architectural features.
  • We can show you several different lighting options that you may not have considered previously.
  • The evening lighting demonstration is an event that your entire family can participate in and provide input to the lighting design.

Here is what you will see.

 

Outdoor lighting Colorado before and after
Outdoor lighting Colorado before and after

My Landscaper Did My Landscape Lighting But It’s Never Worked Right

Inferior Quality Low Voltage Bulb

I certainly do not want to pick on landscapers, but one of the most frequently heard comments at the recent Colorado Garden and Home Show was – my landscaper did my lighting but it’s never worked right.

During the last two weeks, I evaluated two lighting systems that coincidentally had exactly the same fixtures.  The low voltage path lights were manufactured by a well-known national lighting manufacturer that had rolled out a lower-priced line of fixtures for landscapers to use. The path lights use the incandescent T5 wedge-base bulbs that have an average life of only 500 to 1,000 hours. In addition, the manufacturer states that these fixtures are rated for damp locations (somewhat sheltered from the weather) instead of wet locations (snow, rain, sleet, etc.). The fixtures have no lenses to protect either the bulb or the socket from moisture, moths, and spider webs – and that degrades the bulb life even further.

Making the situation in both installations even worse is the fact that the installers used the daisy chain method of installation – that’s when numerous fixtures are connected in series one after the other on the same circuit. Invariably with that wiring technique, the installer typically sets the voltage higher than it should be to ensure that the light at the very end of the circuit receives enough voltage to light up. What that also means is that the first light in the series is receiving 14, 15, or 18 volts – and since the bulbs are only rated at 12V – the first bulb starts burning out very quickly causing a domino effect down the line.

In one of the locations, the landscaper installed over a dozen step lights in poured concrete steps and patios – and it appears that no sleeves had been installed so that the system could be rewired if necessary. More problematic is the fact that as the concrete continues to cure over time, it will react with and break down the protective insulation and eventually corrode the wiring.

Outdoor lighting systems can last a lifetime if high quality products are used and professionally installed – and it’s very disconcerting to see a beautifully landscaped yard with an inferior lighting system. Sometimes we can come up with a cost-effective solution for the homeowner to remedy the lighting system – but sometimes we almost have to start from the beginning.

Landscape Architects Select Lighting as Top Outdoor Living Feature for 2011

Landscape Lighting Makes Outdoor Living Spaces Warm and Inviting

A recently published survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects asked residential landscape architecture professionals to rank the relative popularity of a wide variety of design features to be included in outdoor living spaces in 2011.  Lighting was selected by 96.2% of the landscape architects, making it the most popular feature to be included in upcoming outdoor living projects. Ranked below lighting were fire pits/fireplaces, seating/dining areas, barbecue grills, and installed seating. Based on our experience, we know that most homeowners also need landscape lighting after dark to safely reach their outdoor firepits and seating areas, and to have adequate  lighting for both barbecuing and dining outdoors.

Landscape lighting not only makes your outdoor setting warm and inviting but it also allows you to enjoy your outdoor oasis from day into evening.

Colorado Garden and Home Show Is Less Than a Month Away

The 52nd annual Colorado Garden and Home Show is less than a month away. So plan on visiting with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Colorado to see the latest in outdoor landscape/architectural lighting, lighting control automation for energy savings and convenience, garden lighting, LED lighting fixtures, and do-it-yourself high-quality, customized lighting packages for the hands-on homeowner.

Our Updated Home and Garden Show Exhibit

February 12 – 20, 2011

Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO
Booth #1442

The Colorado Garden and Home Show with over 400,000 square feet of exhibit space, 45,000 square feet of gardens, over 600 exhibitors from 25 states and Canada, and 60,000 attendees during the nine-day show is the largest home and garden show between the Mississippi River and the west coast.

Stay tuned for more information about the show and our exhibit and products.  We hope to see you there!

Custom Low Voltage BBQ Light

Custom BBQ Light

One of the advantages of being part of a large national/international lighting company is our ability to craft and install custom low voltage landscape/architectural lighting fixtures for our clients when the need arises. Last week we did a project for a customer who asked during the installation if there was a way to illuminate his barbecue grill. The customer wanted the ability to turn the BBQ light on and off separately from the rest of the landscape lighting system. The other requirement was that the customer did not want the lighting fixture attached in any way to the fence.

Our factory manufactures the copper BBQ lighting fixture assemblies with the black rubber all-weather switch and bulb socket assemblies. Our crew modified the assembly by installing a slightly larger copper flood head and mounting it at a 45-degree angle. By using an additional length of copper as well as one of our company’s heavy-duty underground PVC anchoring stakes, we were able to install the entire assembly behind some ornamental grasses.

The copper once it develops a patina will blend in nicely with the surrounding vegetation and fencing. The design and installation of this BBQ lighting fixture pretty much summarizes the goal of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives – and that is to emphasize the overall lighting effect with functional, unobtrusive, and durable lighting fixtures.

Custom Lighting Fixture Next to BBQ

Sleeves Make Landscape Lighting a Lot Easier

Examples of 1.5-, 2.0-, 4-inch diameter sleeves

Many homeowners this time of year are contemplating or even starting home improvement and landscaping projects, including new walkways, patios or driveways. With any type of hardscaping project, please make sure that sleeves are installed beneath any new concrete or brick pavers so that irrigation pipes/control wiring, lighting wiring, and speaker/sound system wiring can be installed at any time after the new hardscaping surfaces have been completed. Above you can see examples of the typical sleeve diameters used for most residential installations.

So what are sleeves exactly? They are heavy-duty polyvinyl chloride (PVC) conduits through which sprinkler irrigation and other wiring can be easily run whenever that phase of the project is ready to begin. Typically, hardscaping contractors will indicate the positioning of the sleeve(s) by a “vee”-shaped notch in the edge of a sidewalk or driveway for example. This saves a lot of work searching for sleeves as well as a lot of unnecessary disruption to the surrounding landscaping.

Since sleeves are relatively inexpensive compared to the increased time and labor cost of boring under a wide driveway, for example, my recommendation is to always install more sleeves than you think you’ll ever need. The other rule of thumb is not to use the same sleeve for both electrical wiring and irrigation pipes, for obvious reasons.

In fact today our crew was doing a lighting installation at a community entrance where the sleeve under the street has become a major headache. The original landscaper installed only one 4-inch diameter sleeve under the street – and then proceeded to run both the 2.5-inch irrigation pipe and all of the irrigation control wires through that same sleeve. Of course, the water and the electrical wiring should have been in separate sleeves. If that had been the case, our low voltage wiring could have easily been pulled through the wiring sleeve. As it is now, we’ll have to investigate other options including directional boring at $18 to $20/foot.

Community developers should also plan on providing line voltage power either behind entrance monuments or nearby to facilitate the installation of irrigation controllers, outdoor landscape lighting systems, and holiday lighting.

So the next time you’re planning an outdoor project, please do not forget the sleeves!

Landscape Lighting, Foxes and Bears! Oh My!

Mama bear at outdoor lighting installation

As an outdoor lighting contractor in Colorado, we’re truly blessed to be able to see some of the most beautiful locations  and wild animals in the country. Our latest installation was no exception. Located at one of the highest residential sites on Cheyenne Mountain (yes that Cheyenne Mountain that is the home to NORAD), we just completed the back yard landscape lighting installation this past week. We first met mama bear and baby bear last summer when we completed the outdoor lighting system in the front yard.

Mama bear and baby bear at outdoor lighting installation

The site has a magnificent view of Colorado Springs below and the great plains beyond. During the day you can hear the carillon playing from the Will Rogers shrine and in the evening at 10:00 pm you can even hear taps being played from the Fort Carson army base. When we’re there in the evening to aim lights, we typically see the family of foxes.
We installed 30 lighting fixtures in the back yard to illuminate a patio, paths, and a beautiful water feature. In the front yard we installed 23 lighting fixtures to highlight the paths, trees, and rock outcroppings.
It’s definitely a pleasure living in Colorado!