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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The warmer weather has arrived and while you’re busy cleaning windows and sprucing up the inside of your home, don’t neglect your outdoor lighting. This is not a glamorous task, but it won’t take long and you’ll reap the rewards all summer.
While each fixture is unique, most have components that easily removed and cleaned. Knock out the bug carcasses and spider webs, and if you can’t take the glass inside you can haul a small bucket of warm soapy water outside. If you have questions about how to clean a fixture from Nite Time Décor Oakville, our experts are on hand.
Always check the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning before you begin, and disconnect all power sources before removing fixtures or components. Cleaning Outdoor Lighting Fixtures
Read through the manufacturer’s booklet for washing instructions. If the booklet is long gone, try checking online.
Lightbulbs can be removed and wiped clean with a damp cloth. Avoid getting the bulb socket or the end of the lightbulb wet.
Some components may be removed easily, others may require a screwdriver. Any you can take inside, wash in the sink with warm soapy water and rinse clean.
Chemical cleaners, unless recommended by the manufacturer, can leave a filmy residue on glass that leaves the fixture looking dull. Some cleaners may contain mild abrasives that will mark the glass or finish. Some recommend vinegar and water. Use your best judgement.
If you need a ladder to reach an outdoor light fixture, ensure the ladder is sturdy and the footing secure before beginning.
Some tiki torches are lit with natural gas or propane. These can be cleaned but remove the gas connection before cleaning the head.
There are a variety of metal cleaners on the market. For light fixtures that are made from copper or brass, use the appropriate metal cleaner and wipe clean.
Spring Cleaning Tips For Outdoor Lighting
Since you’re out cleaning the outdoor lights, why not do a visual check to identify and fix any potential problems. Here are some general things to watch out for. Remember to always call a professional if any of this is beyond your know-how.
Check all the lights. Do they work? Some bulbs may simply need to be tightened and others may need to be replaced. This is a great time to do that while you’re thinking of it.
Check around the lighting, especially ground or garden lighting. Have any bushes or greenery grown enough to block or cast shadows? Trim or prune back what you need to. Did all the surrounding flora survive the winter? Have any branches or limbs come down that need to be tidied up? Have high winds or winter snowfall shifted the lighting? Take the time to readjust it if you can, or call a professional.
Wiring and cords are sometimes susceptible to damage from the weather, rodents, pets and other things. Do a visual check and ensure everything is in top shape. Repair any damage if necessary.
Have a look around the yard. Is it time to upgrade or change out some fixtures? Builders often install fixtures that are too small to save costs, now might be the time to swap those out. Tired of cleaning dead bugs out of light fixtures? Maybe it’s time to put up outdoor lighting bugs aren’t attracted to or can’t get in to.
If you are looking to upgrade or need damage fixed, let the experts at Nite Time Décor Oakville help you create just the look and function you need.
Landscape lighting is a sophisticated and versatile way to add thousands to the value of your home. Not only that, but landscape lighting adds both curb appeal and an added element of safety to your property. When it comes to landscape lighting there are hundreds of different options to choose from. Spot lights, flood lights, wall washes, directed upwards, or downwards, coloured or subtle, and of course LED versus incandescent.
LED lights are more environmentally friendly, and save you money in the long term. But that doesn’t make them right for everyone. There are many elements to consider when making the decision to either install LED landscape lighting, or transition your current landscape lighting to include LED lights.
Before You Install
Before you book an installation date, think about what you want to get out of your landscape lighting. If safety, and visibility is what you are after, LED lighting will get the job done. If design focused aesthetic landscape lighting is your goal than traditional, incandescent bulbs may be for you. However, on both sides of the spectrum, incandescent and LED lights can be customized to suit your needs.
LED versus Incandescent Lifespan
LED Lights offer an incredibly long lifespan. If you live on a large property that requires a significant landscape lighting, LED lights will save you money. Some LED bulbs have an operational lifetime of up to 100,000 hours! This is the equivalent of eleven years at continuous use, and 22 years at 50% operation!Imagine only having to change your bulbs once every decade!
Furthermore, because an LED light operates differently than an incandescent bulb you will be expending less energy. LED lights operate by emitting lighting diodes. Over extended periods of time this will save you a lot of money on your lighting bills! In fact, LED lights function at an 80-90% efficiency level. This means that 80-90% of the energy’s electrical output is directed to making light, and only 10-20% is lost to heat production. Meanwhile, these numbers are flipped on when talking about incandescent bulbs, which operate at a 20% energy efficiency, losing 80% to heat production.
There’s a reason that LED lights are considered to be the most environmental choice. Not only do they allow you to expend less energy, but they are also made without the use of toxic chemicals. Fluorescent light bulbs contain materials like mercury, which is well known for its dangerous side effects. LED Lights on the other hand are completely recyclable. Outfitting your home with LED landscape lighting allows you to decrease your carbon footprint, eliminate costly bulb purchases and changes, and reduce your lighting bill.
LED lights are a versatile design material. An expertly installed LED landscape lighting system will respond to your lighting needs while taking into account your design preferences. Furthermore, LED lights are designed to operate at their best in both extreme heat and extreme cold, making them perfectly suited to Ontario’s extreme climate. You won’t be left in the dark regardless of the season.
Is there anything worse than having annoying bugs ruin what might have been a relaxing evening on your patio? Well, yes, but not when it’s happening to you! Bugs are an undeniable part of an Oakville summer, but that doesn’t meant that have to ruin your relaxing backyard oasis! Use cleverly installed, custom landscape lighting to repel the bugs while at the same time increasing your curb appeal and adding thousands to the value of your home.
Bugs and insects are attracted to light. You’ve known this since your first camping trip as a child. There are ways that Nite Time Decor Oakville can install landscape lighting to decrease the likelihood of these pesky creatures getting in your way!
Why Do Bugs Head Towards The Light?
Have you ever looked into why bugs are attracted to bright objects? While there is no one single scientific explanation, there are several theories. To some bugs, bright lights are seen as emergency beacons, or safe havens. Bugs instinctively go towards light objects thinking that it is a safe space. Another theory is that bugs use sources of light as navigational tools. For example, on a long trip they will keep the moon on their right side. While this works incredibly well for country bugs, encountering a bright circular light, such as a flood light by your garage confuses bugs. When you see a moth repeatedly circling a light, this is an attempt to keep what they think is the moon always on their right side.
Keeping Bugs from Swarming Your Landscape Lighting
One way to prevent a small army of bugs from circling around your landscape lighting is to simply move the lights. Relocate your navigational landscape lighting to areas where swarming bugs simply won’t bother you. Our installation team is experienced at using different styles of light, and clever installation techniques to ensure that you have light directed to where you need it.
Choose Motion Activated Lights
Another way that you can reduce bug annoyances is by employing motion activated lighting. Not only will you be helping bugs make their way to their destination by not confusing them, but you’ll also save on electricity by only using the lights when you need them! Motion lights are especially useful in foot traffic areas, for example main entrance ways, garages, side doors, and back patios. They are also an important safety feature that can alert you to unwanted guests during the night.
Consider Yellow Lights For Your Oakville Landscape Lighting
Due to the fact that bugs are naturally attracted to ultra-violet light, consider installing lights in a yellow light, or infra-red spectrum. Because they won’t be able to see them as well, fewer bugs will be attracted to them. While this won’t repel the bugs altogether, it will reduce the number of bugs that are hanging around your landscape lighting. You might also consider using citronella candles, ceiling fans, and if you feel compelled – bug zappers. Combined, these tips will significantly reduce the annoyances associated with swarming bugs during a hot Oakville summer.
Outdoor lighting can be a beautiful and valuable addition to your home. Not only will it accentuate the unique features of your house and garden, but it can extend your living space to the outdoors. With winters seeming to get longer and the summer months getting shorter, it’s important to take advantage of the beautiful weather by stretching the hours you can spend outside. Unfortunately, in the summer outdoor lights draw insects, and who wants to keep shooing moths away instead of enjoying a cool drink and a warm breeze?
Good news! There are ways you can minimize the effect your landscape lighting has on these pesky bugs.
Why Are Bugs Attracted to Lights?
Though different insects are attracted to lights for different reasons, here are some of the most common (though not necessarily scientifically accurate) theories:
a. Unnatural light interferes with an insect’s ability to navigate.
This theory suggests that nocturnal insects, such as moths, use light sources like the stars and moon to navigate by aligning themselves at a certain angle relative to the source. Because unnatural light sources like lightbulbs are stationary and closer than the moon, the angle changes, so it’s difficult for the moth to keep itself on course.
b. Bugs think lights are food.
Insects seem to be attracted to ultraviolet lights and certain flowers (food source) emit UV light.
c. Insects think a light means the path is clear
Some insects think that the light means their flight path is unobstructed. This could explain why certain bugs seem to purposefully fly right into a sizzling hot light bulb.
So, What Can Be Done to Keep Insects Away?
There are a few ways to minimize inviting insects to your party:
1. Decrease Ultraviolet Output
If indeed it is the UV that attracts the bugs, consider using LED lights. While they produce a small amount of UV radiation, they emit less than traditional bulbs.
2. Reduce Bulb Wattage
Bright lights seem to draw more insects, so installing a bulb with a lower wattage and therefore a softer light may help. If you do need a bright light, like in a security light, for instance, ensure you don’t place a seating area within the light’s reach.
3. Turn Your Lights On Later
While not ideal if you’re having a party, having your landscape lighting turn on at least one hour after sunset may decrease how many bugs are attracted to the lights. There are some insects that only come out at dusk, so turning them on later may alleviate some swarms.
4. Proper Light Position
Try to make the swath of your outdoor or landscape lighting as narrow as possible, highlighting only what needs to be highlighted. The more light is emitted, the more bugs it will attract.
Following these tips will help to minimize huge swarms of bugs, but unfortunately not completely eliminate them. The professionals at Nite Time Décor will help you position your landscape lighting properly to ensure you are able to make the most of yard.
Landscape lighting will add to the beauty of your home and gardens, but before you think about lighting design, you need to know about the popular types of fixtures. The style and purpose of each type of outdoor lighting fixture is often designed around the bulb it contains and will therefore determine where it will be best placed to highlight the best features of your yard.
Dome fixtures come in all sizes and shapes and are often used for lighting paths, driveways or low shrubs. They project light downward, making them ideal for sidewalks since they illuminate hazards without blinding the person walking, and they are often set on top of stakes, making placement and repositioning easy. Most solar fixtures are domed shape because the solar panel is contained on the top of the dome. Solar dome fixtures are often made of plastic, as they are relatively inexpensive, but low and regular voltage dome lights are typically made of copper or aluminum and use a quartz halogen bulb.
Bullet fixtures are so named because of their shape and are used for spotlighting. Small bullet fixtures often are used as part of a low voltage landscape lighting system and often contain an MR-16 bulb, which is the same kind as the old slide projectors used. These fixtures can also be powered by solar energy and will often have an LED bulb, but because of solar lighting’s often minimal light output, they are best used to spotlight a small plant or sign.
Larger bullet outdoor lighting fixtures are often powered through regular household voltage and contain typical spotlight and flood light bulbs, making them ideal for highlighting your home’s architecture or large tree.
Box Light Fixtures
Like dome fixtures, box light fixtures project light downward, but are set at a taller height, to brightly illuminate a large area. Square in shape, these lights are often used for security purposes and are typically wired into the high voltage of your home for maximum light output.
Canister, or well light fixtures are so named because they are set into a heavy 4-6 inch canister often made of PVC, and then are slightly buried into the ground. These types of lights are popular for highlighting your home’s façade or large trees and shrubs. They are different than the bullet fixtures in that it produces a wide swath of light, instead of spotlighting. The bulbs they often use are PAR36 which can be used with regular or low voltage landscape lighting systems.
Whichever type of outdoor lighting fixtures work best with the needs and design factors of your home and garden, remember that you get what you pay for. Quality of the fixture (plastic vs. cast aluminum vs. copper) makes a difference on how long your fixtures will last. Bulb quality also needs to be a consideration when purchasing a fixture because a mercury vapor bulb, while more expensive, could last up to 5 years, unlike cheaper halogens, which might only last one season.