How To Create Zones For Landscape Lighting

Outdoor lighting has come a long way very quickly. Not only can we offer customers a variety of colours, beam spread, and intensity of light, we can create zones that can be controlled by scenes (twilight, dinner party, security, etc.) or control individual fixtures all right from your phone or tablet.

Zones are created by grouping fixtures placed close together on a single line from the transformer. Each zone then can be controlled independently depending on the intended use. Outdoor lights used for security will likely be needed all night and turn off at dawn. Lights for special events or just while you’re outside on patio could automatically shut off when you go to bed. Create a timed light show to music if you want. We can create as much versatility as you want if that flexibility is built into the design.

How To Create Zones
Draw a rough diagram of your yard and make note of any features you want to highlight at night such as a fountain, pond, statue, etc. Those individual items you want to light up at night will need their own electrical lines if you wish to control them separate from other zones. Identify which parts of the yard require specific kinds of lighting. Pathway lighting for safety. Downlights in the tree for entertaining. Uplights along the foundation to highlight the house façade. Spotlights for the garage for security. These all need to be installed on separate lines in order to control them individually. This way, you can have the security lights on all the time, and only turn on the lights in the tree when you have company over. This allows you to conserve energy and only use the lights you want when you need them.

Limit Zones
The more zones you have, the more complicated the design becomes and intricate the electrical work. The fewer purposes you have, the easier the lighting will be to install. You can have some fixtures pull double duty. For instance, the path lighting for safety could also be used for aesthetics when you have friends over. When all the other light for entertaining turn off, the path lights for security will remain on.

Controlling Zones
You will be able to control which zones remain on all night and which turn off early. You don’t need to completely light up the front yard to deter thieves. Our Nite Time Décor experts can create a design that will meet your specific needs while delivering a unique look you’ll be proud of for years to come.

Know that you can control zones to turn on and off with the different seasons, or to coincide with your own sleeping patterns. Prefer to stay up late on Fridays and Saturdays, but have the lights turn off earlier the rest of the week? You can do that. You’ll also have the option to turn the lights off manually.

Have questions about outdoor lighting? We would be happy to answer your questions or help you design a truly unique lighting plan for your home or business. Contact our outdoor lighting experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs

How To Create Moon Lighting In Your Yard

Planning a special backyard party or a romantic evening for two? Moon lighting is versatile and a very hot trend. The experts at Nite Time Décor can help you create the mood you’re looking for by mimicking the natural moon light that’s truly unique and suits your needs.

Moon lighting is an attempt to recreate the natural light of a full moon. So whether it’s overcast or not the proper phase of the moon over Oakville, you can enjoy the romantic light any night of the week or month. Moon lighting is subtle and can be done badly if the lighting is too bright, placed incorrectly, or incorporates too narrow a beam.

To create moon lighting, fixtures are placed high up in large trees and the light is pointed down through the branches and foliage to the ground. Whether the intent is give light to a deck or patio, or highlight the foliage on the ground, moon lighting is subtle enough to create a romantic mood, but bright enough to provide a measure of security in a dark corner of the yard. Moon lighting might just be the thing that sets your yard apart from all your neighbours.

Moon light is popular because it casts a romantic, whimsical, or otherworldly effect whether you’re in the heart of a country or in a big city. Fixtures placed high up in the foliage remain hidden even during the day. Moon lights can be placed on timers like any other outdoor lighting, and using LED technology means the increase on your hydro bill will be minimal.

We wanted to share a few tips on placing moon lighting. Placing moon lighting on your own will require climbing high in trees which carries an element of risk so please use caution, or give us a call. We would love to help you create the look you want.

  • To create more shadows and a softer light, place fixtures very high in the tree (20 – 30 feet) next to the trunk. The lights need to be this high in order to shine light through enough branches and foliage for the desired effect. Placing fixtures that high up in the tree will ensure they are not seen during the day.
  • For fewer shadows and brighter light, place lights near the edge of the canopy and closer to the ground. Hiding wire along the branches without harming the tree can be tricky. Be careful.
  • Natural moon light is very dim, think 4 – 6 watts. If you want to mimic natural moon light keep in mind how bright the fixtures will be, and the colour might also be a consideration. Choose LED lamps with a wide and frosted lens will help.
  • When attaching the fixtures and wires to the tree, allow for the tree’s growth. Wire affixed with staples will eventually become pinched as the tree grows around the staple and become embedded. Outdoor lighting is typically installed to last, but a tree will grow around wires and fixtures that are fixed too closely to the bark. You can have your moon lighting placed on a timer just like the rest of your outdoor lighting.

We’d love to answer your outdoor lighting questions or help you design a truly unique lighting plan for your home or business. Contact our experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs.

5 Outdoor Lighting Tips For The Cottage

The cottage is a quiet, restful, home away from home. The cottage is not the city, so you can’t use outdoor lighting in the same way. A big percentage of outdoor lighting in the city is for security, but being able to see the stars (minimize light pollution) is what people want from the cottage. Here are some tips to help you choose appropriate outdoor lighting for that weekend getaway.

1. Point Light Down
In order to preserve that view of the starry night sky, keep light pointed down. Using shields, covers, or downlights will help keep the light off the sky. This doesn’t mean you can’t put a light over the front or back door, but you may want to skip the uplighting to highlight the façade on the front of the house or avoid the spotlights pointed up at trees for curb appeal.

2. Use Lower Wattages
Another aspect of preserving dark skies is to use dimmer lights at the cottage than you would in the city. Our experts can recommend a variety of fixtures to accommodate this.

3. Lights On When Needed
The point of the cottage is that it’s supposed to look different than the city. Maintaining the dark sky is important to many cottagers. Only leave outdoor lights on when they’re in use. Ask our experts about motion sensors and timers so that lights aren’t left on unnecessarily. Consider a self-imposed light curfew and have all lights off by 11PM for instance.

4. Security Is Still Important
Security at the cottage is important too. Unlike in the city, often the cottage will have uneven terrain, steep slopes, and other hazards including shorelines, docks, and forest paths. Ensure that where sure footing or staying on the path is important that appropriate lighting is provided.

Those after-dark swims are heavenly but not if someone twists an ankle on the way because they stepped off the path or fell down the stairs. This doesn’t mean your security lighting be entirely utilitarian. There are a lot of options to provide safety lighting in attractive and appealing ways. We have some creative pathway lighting tips here.

5. Lighting Work Areas
Are there areas where you do work after dark? A nighttime fishing trip or a late night barbeque may all require additional outdoor lighting on a deck, dock or boat house. Motion sensors may be just the ticket for areas where activity at night is more sporadic.

6. Keep It Simple
You might want to skip the chrome or polished fixtures for something more traditional. Choosing a black or pewter finish means the fixtures will blend in at night when not in use. Ornate and intricate fixtures will look out of place in a rustic cabin or cottage. Instead, consider fixtures that incorporate reclaimed wood, or textured natural elements.

7. Don’t Want Electric Lights?
Some cottage owners prefer not to have electric lights at the cottage at all. Nite Time Décor Oakville has a variety of solar powered lighting options to choose from that will provide safety and keep the get-away atmosphere you want at the same time.

We are more than happy to answer your outdoor lighting questions or help you design a truly unique lighting design for your cottage, home or business. Contact our experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs.

Patio Lighting Design Ideas

These warm summer months have everyone outside and enjoying the warmth after dark. Whether you’re relaxing with family or planning a special event or dinner, plan for your patio lighting to help create a space you’ll want to use all season long!

From simple string lights to the more complicated sconces, we have a design idea for your budget. We have provided some general ideas below, but the sky is the limit if you’re thrifty and enjoy upcycling or contact our experts at Nite Time Décor in Oakville to get a polished professional look that will last for years to come.

String Lights
String lights offer a lot of versatility and have the added bonus of generally being easy to install. String lights are available in LED in a variety of colours. Fairy lights are fun when wrapped around plants, posts or in a tree. Incandescent bulbs offer the sought-after soft white light. Be sure the lights are rated for outdoor use, or plan to take them down after each use.

Stringing lights over a sitting area or patio table creates an ethereal outdoor ceiling. Remember, you want the lighting to encourage people to linger — not dine and dash, so a little light can go a long way.

The Catch: Unless you’re using solar lights, string lights need to reach an outdoor outlet.

Pendants
Pendants are very versatile. Whether you’re looking for an upcycled bohemian creation or something sleek and polished for an outdoor kitchen, pendent lights are a great option. Hang a pendant light (or two or three) from a tree branch over a table. Upcycle a hanging light for the evening over a sitting area or table for that special event. Pergolas offer ideal structure to hang a pendant light. Hang a pendant light just for the night, or choose a style with some flair and let it stand as a focal point of the patio area during the day as well.

The Catch: Most pendant lights will need to be taken inside for the winter, or taken down with each use if not rated for outdoor use. They will also need to reach an outdoor outlet.

Sconces
Sconces create reliable light whether mounted on a wall, post, or railing. Sconces come in a variety of styles and sizes, and can cast light up or down as desired. These all-weather fixtures offer security lighting for doors, steps, or pathways as well. If a historic or vintage look appeals to you, sconces may be the way to go.

The Catch: These will usually require a professional to install and are difficult to change out if you want a different look next summer.

Stair Lights
Small one and two step stairs can be more problematic than larger staircases, because people can miss that the stairs are there. Be kind and add some lighting to those one and two step changes on your decking or down to a pathway. Recessed lighting is popular but usually requires professional installation. LED rope lights are effective used this way if an outlet is nearby. Landscape lighting can also be effective if the lights are placed in the adjacent flower bed so that light and not shadows are cast on the stairs.

Nite Time Décor Oakville specializes in helping our clients design a truly unique lighting plan for their home or business. Contact our lighting experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs.

Tips For Lighting Ponds and Pools

Whether a pond or water feature was installed to offer serenity or drown out urban sounds, why not enjoy it into the night as well with some well-placed outdoor lighting? Pools require lighting at night, not only for those night-time swims, but for security and safety of family and guests.

Whether you’re hosting parties or just want a relaxing environment to unwind, lighting your pond or pool will never leave you disappointed if you go to the experts at Nite Time Décor Oakville.

The great thing about lighting a pond or pool is that the eye is drawn out into the yard from the deck or patio. Adding pathway lights or lighting other features can not only provide safety, you can create a truly unique atmosphere or add ambiance to the overall feel of the space.

Pool Lighting Tips
The standby incandescent lights, one in the shallow and one in the deep end, are slowly fading. By far, the more popular option for underwater pool lighting are LED and fiber optics. These more advanced technologies are more expensive initially, but they use less electricity, require less maintenance, and will last longer. They have the added bonus of being available in different colours, or changing colours depending on your own desires. Want a red glow for Canada Day? LED or fiber optics can do that for you along with other visual effects.

When choosing a light colour for your pool, keep the colour of the pool liner in mind. Light surfaces tend to reflect light while darker colours absorb light.

Don’t forget to add light to the environment around the pool. Adding dimmer more subtle underwater lighting in the pool can be offset by using softer lighting to the surrounding landscaping features such as pathways, decks or trees. This will help create a truly unique look, but also attract light-loving bugs away from the water.

Pond Lighting Tips
There are two ways to light a pond: underwater or the exterior. If you want natural moonlight to light the pond surface, avoid using any underwater lights. Underwater lights can also be placed behind water features or sculptures instead of underneath for an extra pop to create a focal point. With underwater lighting, a little goes a long way.

Solar lights might be a great compromise with the softer light they cast in combination with a deep water light pointing at the surface of a pond. The light will catch the ripples on the surface and cast a glow over the entire space.

Be wise when choosing fixtures as you need components that are not only water tight but will last underwater. Fixtures that are submerged or in constant contact with water (from a waterfall for example) will fail if cheaply made or flimsy components are used. Use solid brass fixtures from a trusted source like Nite Time Décor Oakville. In the long run, you’ll be happier and save yourself a lot of headaches if you use a quality fixture the first time.

We’d love to answer your outdoor lighting questions or help you design a truly unique lighting plan. Contact our outdoor lighting experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs.

Landscape Lighting Terminology

So you want to add some lighting to your landscape or extend the time you can spend on your deck. Whether you’re hoping to DIY the project or have it done professionally (we hope you’ll chose Nite Time Décor Oakville) you’ll better know what’s available and the different techniques used if you’re familiar with the terminology and lingo the professionals use.

Understanding these terms and the various lighting techniques, you’ll understand that the options are almost limitless with some imagination and creativity.

Up Lighting

Up lighting is basically shining or pointing a light fixture up. Whether the fixture is placed at the bottom of a wall or fence, or part way up a pillar or tree, placing the light can be used to create shadows or silhouettes and create indirect light and enhance curb appeal. These types of fixtures are usually low voltage lights and are available in solar, halogen and LED. There are a lot of options and a wide variety of fixtures and finishes to choose from.

Down Lighting

Just like the name suggests, down lighting focuses light down. Whether the fixture is placed under the eaves of a house, under a bench, or uses a shield or hood and placed along a pathway, the light is pointed down. The light may be placed in such a way during the day that it’s virtually unseen.

Wash

Wash lighting is used to create a subtle glow over a broad canvas such as a wall, fence, or row of bushes. The colour of the canvas may amplify or mute the light and different colours of light can offer fun variety – a splash of red for Canada Day for instance.

Shadowing

Light casts shadows and when done on purpose can create a fantastic play of light on dark and highlight a variety of features around your yard. Shadows are often used to create moon lighting and silhouettes. When placing new lighting, be sure that unwanted shadows are not created that hide or partially hide important features such as stairs or pathways and become a safety hazard.

Silhouetting

Silhouetting is exactly what you’d expect. This technique is most effective when light is placed between a planting or other feature and a light coloured wall. Silhouettes provide indirect light (much like a wash) but the shadows created can be a kind of art all on their own.

Grazing

If you have a home with a great textured façade such as stone, grazing can be used to cast light upwards from the ground using shadows to highlight the feature.

Spotlighting

Is there one feature in your yard that you want to stand apart from the rest? A spotlight can make a single feature the star of the show. Often two or more spotlights are often used to make use of shadow and light from different angles.

Moon Lighting

This is a newer trend in outdoor lighting where designers try to mimic natural moon light usually by placing a light high up in a tree and allowing the natural movement and shadows of the leaves to cast subtle light on the ground. This is a great technique for a patio or walkway.

We’d love to answer your outdoor lighting questions or help you design a truly unique lighting plan. Contact our outdoor lighting experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs.

Highlighting Architectural Details

Thoughtful outdoor lighting design is more than shining direct light on a walkway or up a tree. Creatively making use of light and shadow can make a professional design stand out from a DIY project. Especially for high-end homes, outdoor lighting can almost pay for itself in increased value and curb appeal. Lighting the architectural details of your home can give a sense of depth and scope, and blend into the landscape lighting to create an inviting outdoor space after dark.

Our design experts consider a wide variety of factors when planning a unique-to-you outdoor lighting design, but below find a few tricks of the trade and imagine them in use around your own home. Some of these ideas can be implemented fairly easily as a DIY project, but we would love to save you the time and effort and create something truly stunning you’ll enjoy for years to come.

3 Things To Consider In Design
Architectural lighting has three main considerations for designers. The first is aesthetic appeal, we want your home or business to really stand out and catch people’s attention. Second, we want to consider the function of the space. A pub will need to be lit differently than a soccer field than a country estate. Third, we want to make sure we are efficient in our use of light so that we don’t illuminate vacant spaces unnecessarily or create light pollution.

Balance
Symmetry is employed by architects and home builders a lot, so it makes sense to also employ it when designing your outdoor lighting plan. Consider lighting trees on each side of a wall or feature to create a longer or more expansive appearance. Lighting only the house and excluding the landscape can create an unnatural look, but also include some uplit trees or statuary to add depth.

Shadows
Shadow can be just as effective as light in highlighting architectural details. Moving the fixture closer to or further from the wall creates different looks with the shadows. Craggy or uneven surfaces such as stone veneers can provide unique shadows and patterns.

Where the light is aimed can dramatically change up the atmosphere of the lighting. Placing a fixture at the base of an exterior wall aimed toward another wall highlights the façade or expanse of the feature. Placing a fixture close to the base of the wall pointed up can highlight the edges of beautiful stonework or angles. Placing the fixture a few feet away from the wall or feature aimed at another wall provides a subtle light and the shadows can create visual depth.

Mix Up and Down LightsWhether you want to highlight a feature or hide it should be considered. Mixing up and down lights helps draw the eye in predictable ways. Pillars and columns, unique peaks, chimneys and dormers should all be considered. Soffits and eaves commonly trap light which could be useful if your goal is to reflect light or accentuate height, but could create the opposite effect depending on whether you’re using up or down lighting.
We’d love to answer your outdoor lighting questions or help you design a truly unique lighting plan form you home or business. Contact our lighting experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs.

How To Pick A Motion Sensor

Motion sensors have been around for a while, but there are a few new technologies that make them more useful and more efficient than ever before. Newer advances include having a motion sensor light connected to an alarm system or video camera, and being able to send you an alert on your smartphone when it detects motion.

Whether you’re looking to install a motion sensor for security or added safety on walkways or doorways, motion sensors mean you don’t have to remember to flip the light on or off. Especially if you’re installing a motion sensor for security, only having it come on when it’s needed can save money on electricity bills.

Distance
How far away do you want the motion sensor to detect movement? If you’re installing the motion sensor on a walkway between houses or buildings, the range doesn’t need to be great. Being able to adjust the distance and range setting can be helpful if you only want the light to come on when there’s a car in your driveway and not with every passing vehicle on the road. If you need the motion sensor to detect movement a fair distance away, some models can detect movement up to 70feet away. You can purchase the model that best suits your needs. For best security, the higher end models with longer ranges are preferred.

Range
Motion sensors now come in a range of degrees of detection. Most sensors come equipped to detect 240degrees. Some models will offer a full 360degrees of motion sensors and some only 180degrees. Again, it really depends on where you intend to place the motion sensor as to which model suits your needs. A narrow walkway mounted on a garage or the side of a home doesn’t need a full 360degrees, likely a semi-circle 180degrees is sufficient. Ideally, motion sensors are installed 6 – 10feet high in order to get the range of degrees required so be sure to take that into account.

Layering Security Lighting
You can install a photocell along with the motion sensor so the motion sensor will only turn on at night, or have the photocell determine how bright the light needs to be depending on how late or early it is.

Motion sensors for outdoor lighting are available with two different kinds of sensors. Active sensors use sound waves to detect motion. These can be tripped by a passing animal, car or leaves in a storm — any movement. Passive sensors use heat to detect motion so are more likely to only trip when a human passes within range. You don’t have to light a walkway for the neighbourhood skunk or racoon if you don’t want to. Combining these two types of sensors depending on placement might be a valuable strategy. Obviously, there’s less threat of a racoon stealing your car or television, but you might be interested in scaring off a furry bandit from getting into your trash cans every night.

The greater range of motion needed, the greater the distance needed, is where the high-end models really shine through and offer a variety of settings and guarantees that make the extra money worth your peace of mind
If you’re looking to have some or all of the lights around your home or business fitted with motion sensors and/or photocells, we would be happy to help you create a plan that best suits your needs and the needs of your property.

We’d love to answer any questions you may have about outdoor lighting. We can help you design a truly unique lighting plan for your property. Contact our lighting experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs.

Creative Pathway Lighting Tips

Looking for some creative solutions for your pathway lighting this season? Don’t settle for the ho-hum out-of-the-box look most of your neighbours are using. Outdoor lighting is a great way to highlight the character and design of your home, but don’t forget the pathways. Whether it’s your front walk, the path to the pool, or the sidewalk to the back deck, all of these areas can come alive at night with effective use of pathway lighting.

1. Glow Not Glare
You want to highlight the unique details of a stone path or the walkway garden you’ve spent so much time on, not blind your guests. Pathway lighting should provide subtle light to help people navigate the walkway easily but still make it attractive – the walk to your back deck is not a crime scene so don’t light it like one.

Tip: Select fixtures that direct light at your feet not in your eyes. This might mean a cover, shield, or other decorative device that directs the light to the ground.

Tip: There are a wide variety of lights available on the market from whimsical to minimal to historic. Whatever you prefer, try to keep the same theme with style and materials throughout.

2. Avoid Row Upon Row
You don’t need to direct guests down a runway, so don’t light your pathways like one. Instead of placing your lighting row on row making sure each fixture is precisely the same distance from all the others in a straight line, why not mix it up? By alternating sides, you can guide guests down the path in a subtle way that lets you highlight the landscape elements you’re proud of. Use natural curves or angles as a guide of where to place pathway lighting instead a rigid design.

Tip: If straight lines fit the style of your home go with that, but don’t be afraid to hide a light in a bush or ornamental grass next to the path. Light the path from the side here and there. Mix it up.

Tip: Space fixtures as much as 10 to 15 ft apart, depending on the length of your pathway, to guide people instead of direct. Place a bollard, pillard or other type of light that’s brighter than the pathway lighting to provide a focal point.

3. Mix It Up
Mixing up the styles of lighting, three kinds of stake lights on a single pathway, is not wise, however mixing up the height of the pathway lighting is a great way to highlight details. There are three main types of pathway lighting: downlighting (stake lights are an example – the light is pointed down), recessed or paver lights (the light is mounted in the walkway or recessed on the edge of a pathway or other fixture), and pillars, bollards, or something similar.

Tip: Set lights slightly back from the edge to highlight plants along the walkway.

Tip: Adjust the height of the light in relation to the plants surrounding them. The light should be slightly taller than the plant. And use a low light to highlight your favourite ground cover plants.
We’d love to answer your outdoor lighting questions or help you design a truly unique lighting plan form you home or business. Contact our lighting experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs.

5 Ways To Increase Curb Appeal With Outdoor Lighting

Whether you’re getting ready to list or you want to maximize the investment in your home, outdoor lighting is a great way to create instant curb appeal after dark. Why spend hours creating dramatic or appealing landscape details to let all the work go unnoticed when the sun goes down? There are a variety of outdoor lighting options to fit every style.

View a gallery of homes with great curb appeal after dark with some of the lighting solutions we’ve provided for our clients.

Front Door
Lighting your front door is essential for security, but don’t settle for only functionality. Make your front door (or porch) the focal point of your night time curb appeal. Adequate lighting is important for your own safety and for evening guests.

Fixtures next to the front door that are old (or look worn) can be replaced for an updated well-kept look. For a single door entrance, you might opt for a single fixture to highlight the door and house number. If you have a double door, symmetry is a great way to focus attention by adding two fixtures on each side.

Porch
Many homes have front porch lights that are too small to create an eye-catching focal point. Your home’s front door or porch should be welcoming and warm. Consider replacing tiny fixtures with larger pieces to make a great statement. Consider an eye-catching pendant light or recessed lighting beneath the eaves. Why not wrap LED lights around the front rails or highlight (and provide safety) for front steps.

Don’t forget to add matching containers for your porch or steps if you have space. Add lights to the containers to provide subtle lighting for a welcoming entrance.

Front Walkway
Avoid having the lighting along your front walkway look like it’s a runway. Your front walkway can have a modern look with clean lines or more of a magical feel at night just by adjusting your outdoor lighting fixtures. Using shields or glare guards are an easy way to point the eye downward providing safety lighting while highlighting details such as stone pathways. Add a romantic feel by placing lights in the garden along the pathway providing shadow light instead of direct safety lighting.

Landscaping
Many homeowners spend a great deal of time and money on creating and maintaining front flower gardens. Whether it’s a few well-designed containers or elaborate gardens that take up the entire front yard, don’t let it all be hidden after the sun goes down.

Uplighting (point lights up) creates depth. Casting shadows by putting light in front or behind a tree or shrub can cast light on a pathway or extend the look of your yard. Downlighting is best for security and aesthetics. The eye is drawn down to the landscaping details without overpowering the other aspects of your outdoor lighting for curb appeal.

Architectural Features
Every home has unique architectural features you can highlight or accent. Century homes often have peaks, scroll work, or other unique features that can increase curb appeal by day or night if lit appropriately. By uplighting, using a flood or wash light on the ground looking up, the height of the home is accentuated. Adding downlights near the eaves can help highlight modern lines.

Wash lighting is very effective on vertical surfaces, and depending on how it’s used, can make even a straight wall appealing at night.

Light up your landscape! Call Nite Time Décor today!