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!

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.

Outdoor Lighting Trends 2017

With the snow almost melted and your backyard lawn starting to show signs of life after a long winter, you may be eager to start sprucing up your outdoor space. But don’t forget about one of the key elements that makes that space the oasis it is – your outdoor lighting!

2017 brings with it new outdoor lighting trends that are sure to be staple elements of many outdoor lighting designs this summer.  Whether it’s time to replace a few fixtures around your patio or you’re looking to totally remodel your whole backyard, knowing what options are available to you will certainly help in choosing the right outdoor lighting design.

LED Lighting

LED lighting is not necessarily a new trend, it actually rose to popularity a couple of years ago. With that being said, advances in LED lighting technology has have made this lighting choice even more popular today.

Not only do LED bulbs work for a wide range of designs due to the variety of warm and cool light colours available on the market, but they also use less energy than traditional light bulbs and they last longer too! When you incorporate LED bulbs into your outdoor lighting design you can feel good about conserving energy, saving money and spending less time on lighting maintenance.

Moonlighting

One of the best ways to relax during the summer months is lounging outside on a warm night looking up at the stars and the moon. Unfortunately, the stars and the moon are not always visible. Luckily, you can create that moonlit ambience with your landscape lighting design. A moonlit lighting design uses down lights to simulate the natural light of the moon.

Installing the lights at the right heights and using glare guards are critical for achieving the perfect moonlit effect, so you’ll want to contact a lighting professional to help with the design and installation.

Outdoor Chandeliers

Just as it’s important to have at least one statement décor piece inside of your home, it’s now also trendy to have one outside of your home too!  An outdoor chandelier can be just the statement piece you’ve been searching for in your outdoor space.

Whether you’re entertaining party guests or spending time with family in the backyard, an outdoor chandelier is sure to be the envy of the evening, and will likely be a great conversation starter as well.

To find an outdoor chandelier that suites your home’s lighting needs, contact one of our experienced team of lighting professionals today.

Lanterns

Lanterns are always a popular outdoor lighting choice, but each year it seems the lantern craze takes on a new twist. This year, it’s chic lanterns that are getting all the attention. This modern take on a timeless design can give your outdoor the cool, sleek look you’ve been searching for.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next outdoor lighting design, browse through our photo gallery to see some of these outdoor lighting trends in action. If you’re ready to start your next landscape lighting project, come see us today or call one of our lighting design experts. We’d love to help you create the lighting design of your dreams for your home or business.

Spring Cleaning: Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

It’s officially spring, and that means you’ve probably already started your home spring cleaning routine. While your busy cleaning out closets, wiping down windows and disinfecting countertops, there’s one part of your home that often goes unnoticed – your outdoor lighting fixtures.

It’s easy to forget that your outdoor lighting fixtures need a little maintenance every now and again. But when they do get the maintenance they need, it does wonders to enhance their appearance, their durability and it improves the quality of light they give off. This spring, remember to set some time aside for cleaning your outdoor lighting fixtures. Follow these simple steps for performing safe maintenance on your outdoor lighting system.

Unplug

Before cleaning your outdoor lighting fixtures, make sure all the lights are turned off and the power supply is shut off.

Remove Bulbs

Before cleaning, remember to also remove the light bulb from the fixtures. Once this is done, you can set all the parts aside to begin cleaning.

Use Soapy Water

Fill two buckets with warm water and add in a splash of dish soap. Wipe the outside of the fixtures and glass (without light bulbs) with a damp soapy cloth. Use a clean cloth with clean water to wipe away any soapy residue and then dry thoroughly.

Use Glass Cleaner

For extra clean glass, you can use glass cleaner to make sure you remove any built up residue so your lights are shining at their brightest.

Polish Metal

When all fixtures are clean and dry, you can apply a little polish to metal areas to clean and protect the finish.

Reassemble

When all parts of your outdoor light fixtures are dry, you can reassemble your fixtures if required.

In just six easy steps, you can give your outdoor lighting fixtures the spring cleaning they deserve and ensure they be in great shape for as long as possible.

If you have any questions about outdoor lighting maintenance or installation, or if you want to learn more about any of our outdoor lighting services, feel free to contact our friendly Nite Time Décor associates by phone at 1-800-952-3006 or by email at info@landscapelightingoakville.com.

Designing With Outdoor Solar Lighting

Solar lighting is popular because it won’t increase your hydro bill and is usually easy to install and move. Solar lights are available in a variety of options from small pathway lights to wall-mounted lamps and security lights. But not all solar lights are created equal. You really do get what you pay for. The solar lights purchased from a discount chain store will perform differently than the high-end lights installed by our experts at Nite Time Décor.

There are some important factors to consider when choosing solar lighting for your outdoor lighting design.

How Solar Lights Work

Solar lights use solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. The electricity is stored in a battery within the light. All the normal rules to prolonging the life of a batter will apply. If the battery isn’t fully charged, the light will be dimmer or run for a shorter amount of time. A battery that is consistently under-charged will wear out faster.

Placement Is Important

This really can’t be emphasized enough. Solar lighting is only as bright and reliable as the sunlight powering it. If you live in a climate that receives rain four or five days a week, as an extreme example, then solar lights might not be the best choice. If you want solar lights along a pathway that’s in shade most of the time, you might be disappointed. Please account for these variables in your design.

There are some solar lights units that come with the solar cells separate from the light itself, so only the solar cell needs to be in full sun, the light does not. This may be an option if you are really set on solar lights in shaded parts of your landscape.

How Do You Need The Light To Function?

When choosing a solar light, consider where and how the light will be used. You can work around lights placed in the shade by purchasing a unit with a separate solar cell. Solar lighting for aesthetic purposes will not need to shine as brightly as security lighting for instance. If a guest misses that plant you really love is not as important as illuminating the stairs or the pool deck for instance.

Read The Manufacturer’s Specifications

Solar cells are designed to receive a specific amount of sun to produce enough electricity to power the light for the stated period of time. If the solar cells don’t receive the amount of sun they will not perform as stated. This could include the realities of the climate or location you want the lights to work in. This could also be affected by plants growing to obstruct the solar cell or even bird droppings.

Another consideration is to check if replacement bulbs or batteries are available from the manufacturer. When choosing a light unit, consider how long the manufacturer reasonably expects it to last under normal use.

Expect Seasonal Differences

Solar lights are generally less efficient in winter due to limited sunshine. Design and placement of the solar cells for winter lighting should be considered. Expect solar lights to perform 30%-50% less efficiently in winter than in the summer months. And make sure the solar lights you use are rated for all season usage.

Let the outdoor lighting experts at Nite Time Décor in Oakville shine a light on your landscape. Contact us today to help you plan a dynamic lighting display for your home or business.

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.

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!