Landscape Lighting 101: How to start your landscape lighting design

 

As a homeowner, you work hard to make the inside of your home reflect your own unique style and personality. Unfortunately, some homeowners focus on their interior design so much so that they neglect the unique opportunities that can come from beautifying the outside of their homes.

A landscape lighting system can highlight the most unique elements of your home’s architecture, all while adding valuable curb appeal, security and even safety. But before you jump head first into selecting the perfect landscape lighting design for your home, it’s important to know exactly what your working with and what you’re looking for in a design.

How Will You Use Your Outdoor Space

Before choosing any outdoor lighting designs, consider how you will be using your outdoor space. Do you plan to illuminate your front walkway and entrance to provide security and safety at night? Or do you intend to light up your back porch to BBQ diner and entertain family and friends? The lighting design you choose will reflect the way you plan to use your space, so be sure you’ve considered all your needs before making a final decision.

To make the planning process easier, consider how you intend to use the following areas of your home after dark:

  • Front entrance
  • Steps
  • Driveway
  • Walkway
  • Patio or porch
  • Backyard
  • Pool
  • Trees
  • Unique architectural elements

Determine Lighting Style

Deciding on the needs of each area of your home will also help you determine what kind of lighting styles to use. If you plan to use lighting for a specific purpose like illuminating an outdoor dining area, you’ll want to use task lighting. If you plan to light up the entire landscape of your home, you’ll want to opt for overall lighting. If you want to illuminate a unique architectural feature on your home, you’ll want to use accent lighting such as spotlights or floodlights. If you have a diverse set of outdoor lighting needs, you may want to use a combination of lighting styles to create complimentary effects.

Set Up Lighting at Night

If you’ll be installing your landscape lighting design on your own, it is always best to position your lights after dark. If you set up your lighting design in the daytime you will not be able to see how the elements of your home – trees, shrubs etc., – act in relation to your lighting design. For example, one of your elements may cast a shadow that disrupts your overall design, or a misplaced fixture shines directly through your living room window.

Contact a Professional

Hiring a professional landscape lighting company can be very valuable for those looking to set up an outdoor lighting system for the first time. Our experienced team at Nite Time Décor Oakville can guide you through your options and help you every step of the way. From helping you explore the many ways to use your outdoor space, to helping you avoid DIY installation disasters, our team is here to make sure you find the landscape lighting design of your dreams. Contact us today to get started!

Four Reasons to Install Landscape Lighting

When it comes to landscape lighting, a lot of people tend to think of the aesthetic value it brings to a home, and rightfully so – as the right design can illuminate the best features of your home while adding curb appeal.

But landscape lighting does more than just give your home a beautiful glow long after the sun’s gone down, it also provides a range of other benefits including security, safety, comfort and utility. Continue reading below to find out just how beneficial a landscape lighting design can be for you.

Security

Illuminating the unique features of your home is one thing, but when it comes to the security of your home and the safety of your loved ones inside of it, nothing else matters. Fortunately landscape lighting helps to secure your home and deter from incidents like criminal and animal activity.

When installing a landscape lighting design that will help provide additional security to your home, it’s important to consider the location of your lighting design, the type of fixtures to use and the control settings that will benefit you most such as programmable timers and motion sensor technology.

Safety

One of the worst feelings is pulling into the driveway late at night and realizing you’ve forgotten to turn your porch light on. With no lighting outside to guide you, you slowly make your way to the door from your driveway, hoping to avoid sidestepping into your garden. Once there, you struggle to find the key you’re looking for. With a landscape lighting design, you no longer need to make that late-night navigation to your doorstep. Instead, programmable time settings and motion sensor technology will keep your driveway, walkway and front entrance illuminated at the exact times you need it the most.

Utility & Comfort

Aside from safety, security and aesthetic value, a landscape lighting design can also go a long way in providing utility and comfort. A beautiful backyard porch or patio is great during the daytime, but if you aren’t able to use it after the sun has set, you are missing out on a valuable living space in your home. This is especially true for smaller homes as an outdoor oasis can open your home up and create additional lounging and entertaining space. What’s more, a landscape lighting design also offers the comfort and relaxation of spending a warm summer evening out under the stars with family and friends.

Get These Benefits With a Professional Lighting Design

An outdoor lighting design offers a wide range of benefits to you and your home, but to get all of them in just one design, we suggest using a professional. Sure – a DIY project may seem fun, but when it comes to creating a safe and secure environment for your home, you’ll want to make sure your design is effective and the system is installed by experienced professionals. Our outdoor lighting experts can work with you to create a design that meets all of your needs. Contact us today to get started!

Keep Bugs Away with Landscape Lighting

 

If you thought your landscape lighting design only helped improve the look of your home, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that your outdoor lighting can do so much more for you.

Without question, installing landscape lighting around your home brings you a lot of aesthetic value and can improve your curb appeal dramatically, but your landscape lighting also triples as both a security element and also a deterrent for bugs.

Even the biggest outdoor enthusiasts can agree that time spent outdoors can be quickly ruined by a pesky swarm of bugs or worse yet, a determined group of mosquitos. Fortunately, landscape lighting can help keep those pesky bugs and insects away.

I’m sure you’ve had at least one experience where you turned on a light outside at night and witnessed a group of bugs swarm towards the light. To avoid this, the solution is as simple as changing the bulbs in your outdoor light fixtures.

On the light spectrum, different colours of light are seen at different wavelengths. Like humans, insects and bugs cannot see the entire spectrum of light. So, the higher the wavelength of the light, the less likely a bug or insect is to detecting the colour.

Warm Colours

Warm light colours such as red, orange and yellow have the highest wavelengths. So naturally, you’ll want to use warm coloured bulbs in your outdoor lighting design in order to deter large swarms of bugs and insects. Yellow compact florescent bulbs, sodium vapour bulbs and halogen bulbs are lighting options that tend to decrease bug and insect activity.

LED Lights

LED lights are another great outdoor lighting option for keeping bugs away, as they emit little to no ultraviolet (UV) light. Insects and bugs are able to detect UV light, so having bulbs that emit no light and no heat will help keep bugs away. When it comes to LED lights, the lower the Kelvin (K) temperature, the more yellow the light will appear.

Be careful when it comes to incorporating large or low quality LED lights into your lighting design, as once the temperature reaches about 6,000 Kelvins, the LED will start to emit a blue tint that bugs and insects will pick up on.

Make Smart Purchases

Knowing which bulbs to use in your outdoor lighting fixtures will go a long way in keeping bugs and insects away from your illuminated outdoor space, but sometimes a good price may be hard to pass up. Just remember when shopping for new bulbs for your landscape lighting design that the cheapest option may not always be the best one. That’s not to say you can’t find reasonably priced warm-coloured bulbs and LED lights, but it’s important to think about how the lights you purchase will contribute to, or take away from, the overall look of your outdoor space.

When it comes to bugs and insects, there is no way to keep them away 100 per cent of the time. If one insect picks up on a light, others tend to follow in the same direction. But taking steps to minimize bug presence will certainly get you closer to having a less bugs in your outdoor space. For more information on outdoor lighting design and how to use the right bulbs in your outdoor space, contact one of our lighting design experts today!

DIY Disasters: Common Outdoor Lighting Mistakes to Avoid

Spring is the perfect time to get outside and start setting up your outdoor space. For a lot of homeowners, this set up process usually involves a crafty DIY project that is sure to impress all your summer guests.

While DIY projects are a great outlet for creativity, they don’t always turn out the way you imagine they will. This is especially true when it comes to DIY outdoor lighting projects. When creating your own lighting design and installing it yourself, it’s important to know what will work and what will not work before spending large amounts of time and money. To help you avoid any DIY disasters this spring, we’ve compiled a list of the most common outdoor lighting mistakes.

Poor Placement

The purpose of an outdoor lighting design is to illuminate all the best features of your home long after the sun’s gone down. Unfortunately, poor fixture placement can completely take away from your home’s unique architecture.

At Nite Time Décor, our outdoor lighting experts carefully measure the distance between fixtures and place them in a way that creates a subtle and even appearance.

Low-Powered Lights

You may have created the perfect outdoor lighting design, measured it out diligently and perhaps even placed all the fixtures in the right places, but installing low-powered lights can cause any great design to fall flat.

With low-powered lights, the spread of your lights will be too weak to illuminate a large area, or the beam may only be able to light up a small portion of the object your trying to highlight.

To avoid low-powered lights, stay away from the cheap, low quality battery and solar-powered lights. Saving a buck or two may feel better on your wallet up front, but it will certainly cost you in the long run when you realize your outdoor lighting design is actually hurting your curb appeal.

Lighting Glare

Nothing is worse than installing an outdoor lighting design only to realize that it creates a cringe-worthy glare. Lighting glare can occur when fixtures are not placed properly, when you’re using the wrong fixtures or bulbs, or your lights and fixtures are not angled properly.

To avoid spending days using the trial and error method to avoid lighting glare, it’s best to have a professional outdoor lighting company like Nite Time Décor install your lighting design. Our experts know exactly what fixtures and bulbs to use, and how to angle them so they create the perfect lighting effect for your home.

Avoid Mistakes, Call Nite Time Décor

While a great outdoor lighting design can highlight your home’s unique architectural features and increase curb appeal, it can also provide and element of safety and security. So why leave something so versatile and important in the hands of anyone but a professional?

Our experienced team at Nite Time Decor will work with you to create the lighting design of your dreams, and handle every part of the installation process, so you can spend less time labouring over your lights and more time relaxing underneath them this season. Come see us today or call one of our lighting design experts, to get started on your next outdoor lighting project.

Lighting Tips For Outdoor Living Spaces

Many homeowners are trying to maximize their available living space and are expanding outdoors. These outdoor living spaces are meant to bring a portion of the indoors outside, so it makes sense that one of the ways homeowners and designers are accomplishing that is with outdoor lighting.

The ideas outlined below may be low-cost or DIY in nature, but they may require an outdoor electrical outlet. The professionals at Nite Time Décor would love to help you install these lighting systems and any required outlets. We can also install timers and switches so everything works like a charm!

Pendants

Pendants can add flair and whimsy to an outdoor room. Whether you’re hoping to create a relaxing space, something romantic, or light up an eating or sitting area, pendant lights can be a perfect fit. Pendant lights are perfect for task lighting over an outdoor kitchen. Why not try a pendant light, or a series of pendants, under a covered porch? Pendant lights don’t all need electricity. Try candleholders in a pendant style.

Pendants lights don’t have to be large or ornate. Whether you buy one, repurpose one, or DIY something utterly unique, it will be a conversation piece.

Outdoor Fireplace

Outdoor fireplaces can have a bit of high-end glamour to them, or be stark and utilitarian. Either way, they can serve a function as an outdoor pizza oven during the day and a source of romantic light by night. They also have an added bonus of providing some warmth on those cool spring and autumn nights as well.

Fire Pits and Bowls

These can be entirely simple affairs to something very classy, but if you love to sit around a fire in the evening, this might a good choice for your landscape. These come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, finishes, and price points. These can provide a crackling fire and be aesthetically pleasing, so you don’t have to sacrifice one to have the other.

Lighted Pots

This is a newer trend that we love. You can purchase lighted pots from a variety of big retailers and online. You can DIY something for a similar effect. We love these because by day you have the pleasure of enjoying the plants in the pots and at night the pots can add some soft light to your outdoor living space. These can be moved or repositioned as needed.

Focal Points

Outdoor living spaces may have a roof, or ceiling-like beams, but often they lack walls. Creating a focal point can be challenging, but this is great way to make the most of your outdoor lighting. Chandeliers are great in this respect as they can add a lot of flair and pizzazz without taking up any floor space.

Lanterns

Lanterns can have a slightly rustic or vintage appearance or can have a high-gloss shine. Some lanterns will be entirely functional (whether they use candles, oil, or electricity) and some will only be decorative. Whether they sit on a table or hang from the ceiling, lanterns can be a great way to add soft light to an outdoor space that feels comfortable and inviting but still a bit outdoorsy.

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

Fall Patio Lighting Design Ideas

Fall is approaching! The days are getting shorter and the kids are back to school, but there’s still plenty of outdoor entertaining time left in 2016!  Whether you’re planning a Harvest party, Thanksgiving get-together, want to decorate for Halloween, or just a romantic evening for two, the lighting experts at Nite Time Décor Oakville have put together a few ideas to help your patio look its best after dark this fall. As always, if you’re unsure about something, give us a call. We are happy to answer your questions.

Rope Lights

Rope lights are versatile and with proper installation are weather-proof so you can leave them up all year long. We love these for under small overhangs like steps or the edge of a deck, bench or railing. The trend is to hide the light fixture so a deck offers many groove and nooks to install rope lighting. LED lights are available in a variety of colours so if you’re having a themed party you can add some sparkle to the patio with these. If you’re having guests over this fall, ensure that changes in levels on patios and stairs are clearly illuminated for safety.

String Lights

If you’re looking for temporary pizzazz, string lights might be just the ticket. These are easy to install and can instantly transform your deck. String lights are available in a variety of shapes, lengths, and price points so whether you’re looking for something for Halloween (ghosts, jack-o-lanterns) or Thanksgiving (pumpkins maybe) or just romantic, you should be able to find what you’re looking for. We think these are a fun way to brighten your deck. String lights are easy to put up and take down. You don’t have to make a year-long commitment with these.

Trees

A popular landscape lighting design feature is to add spotlights shining up into the full foliage of a tree, or moonlighting by placing a light fixture high up in a tree so the light filters down through the leaves. But the leaves will be changing colour soon and dropping. Now what? You could adjust those lights once the leaves come down, or perhaps you can dim the lights using frosted or coloured lenses. This muted light can add a romantic feel to the landscape in fall. If you love decorating for Halloween, maybe you want to keep the spotlights on the tree’s naked branches and try to capture a spooky feel.

Dark Light

Don’t stress about lighting every corning of your yard. Once you’ve lit specific areas for safety, make use of those dark spaces to add contrast to the lighted portions of your yard and patio. The dark can act as a kind of privacy increasing the romantic or intimate feel. Use the dark to make the lighted spaces really pop and add a focal point.

Pathway Lights

The days are growing shorter, so if you plan to entertain this fall and haven’t yet installed pathway lighting – this is something we recommend. Not only does pathway lighting help guests find the pathways, but it might just keep them out of your gardens! There are a wide variety of pathway lighting options from solar stake lights to more permanent wired options. Fall is a great time to take advantage of end-of-season discounts at retailers.

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

Your Landscape Is A Canvas and Outdoor Lighting The Brush

One of the hottest trends in outdoor lighting design is the idea of painting with light. What do we mean by that? Painters use a variety of techniques to create a really dynamic painting usually. They employ colour, light, shadow, depth, and texture to add nuance and subtlety. Your landscape lighting can incorporate all those tools when creating a unique-to-you design.

A great landscape already has a lot of great texture, depth, colour, light and shadows. Your landscape lighting should enhance and highlight the features already present, but at the same you can create moods as well. Looking for a romantic weekday getaway? How about an inviting area for your teens or guests? The experts at Nite Time Décor can help.

There was a time when flood lights and some bright lanterns on a fence were considered thoughtful landscape lighting. With the growing affordability of LED lighting, the flexibility and colours available are almost endless. LED lighting allows landscape lighting designers to incorporate a lot of artistry. Also, by varying the placement, wattage, and angle of light sources designers can cast light and shadow to add depth or highlight texture in new ways that weren’t possible before.

The trend in landscape lighting artistry is to conceal the source of the light. The aim is to mimic natural light and reduce light pollution as much as possible. Homeowners are looking for unobtrusive lighting. This may be achieved by placing pathway lighting in the adjacent flower garden to highlight the unique features of flowers and greenery as well as provide safety for the walkway for instance.

Homeowners are increasingly extending their living space outside with outdoor kitchens and sitting areas. Smaller accent lighting and task lighting is preferred for these spaces rather than large single sources of light. Adding lights to columns, under benches or railings, or even under water are all popular. With LED lighting homeowners are also able to choose different colours if they wish.

Tips For Artistic Landscape Lighting Design

Blending – Designers strive to have the eyes travel from one zone to another without glare or underlighting safety areas. Instead of spotlights spread around the yard with gaping shadows in between, designers strive to have more subtle light that incorporates shadows and texture and depth, while still leaving room for focal points and accent lighting.

Depth – There are a variety of ways to place light sources around or in features to give depth to your night landscape. Adding lights to moving features such as waterfalls or trees swaying in the wind is a great way to add interest and depth.

Focal point – The objects or features in your landscape that draw the eye during the day shouldn’t be lost or obscured at night either. Whether this is a statue, column, pond, gazebo, arbor, or fountain, using well-placed accent lighting can really bring these features to life. Even a fence with great texture or colour can serve as an interesting backdrop.

Balance – Sometimes balance is simply symmetry, but it also incorporates the idea of consistency and proportion to your landscape lighting plans.

Safety – Don’t compromise on safety. Great design will incorporate those areas that require lighting to provide safety or security to your home and guests.

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

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.

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.