Lighting up your home is a large undertaking, but with the proper outdoor lighting design, the hard-to-light features of your home don’t have to disappear in the after-dusk landscape. The benefit of Nite Time Décor’s outdoor lighting service is that we can help illuminate and accentuates the unique aspects of your home like gazebos, flagpoles, sheds and other outbuildings.
Flag Pole Lighting
Flagpoles are often a source of pride for many individuals and businesses and we’d love to see yours any time of day! Here are our best tips!
Well Lights Add A Natural Look
To get a more subtle, natural look, try well lights. These little fixtures can be hidden in the ground or shrubbery around your flagpole in order to illuminate it from below. What’s more, well lights will give a sense of grandeur to the flagpole as they emphasize the height. You’ll need more than one to fully light up the structure, however. Generally, depending on how bright you want it, two well lights are enough to create the right level of illumination.
Use Spotlights From the Base
If you want to produce more light than well lights offer, try installing spotlights at the base of the flagpole. Residential and commercial needs will differ so be sure to consult our experts first. Using one light will provide a dramatic, sharper effect. Using two lights, intersecting from opposite directions, can provide a softer lighting. The method you choose may depend on the lighting currently used to illuminate the rest of your business or home’s façade.
Light the Flag Directly
If you don’t want to emphasize the height of the pole, try an uplighter. These can be attached directly to the pole, further away from the ground. This is used to make the flag pop out as an important feature of your yard.
For flagpoles that are beginning to peel or become weathered, uplighting may be a good option. It’s a great method to use if you don’t want to draw attention to a flagpole that needs to be replaced or repainted.
Remember, you want a gentle light that highlights the flag and/or the pole, not a theatre spotlight effect in an otherwise dark yard.
Every Good Gazebo Deserves To Be Used At Night
Gazebos can breathe life into any yard gathering, particularly when properly lit for nighttime entertaining.
The first thing to consider when designing a gazebo lighting system is wiring and electrical requirements. If you hire one of our electricians, you can be sure that your commercial or residential gazebo lighting system will be properly hooked into your electrical panel.
Our technicians will take care of installing the wiring underground to prevent tripping. We can also decide whether it’s best to hook it up to an outdoor outlet or an interior circuit.
This is not a job you want to attempt on your own. The professionals at Nite Time Décor are trained to handle complex electrical work. Our team of designers and electricians are here to give you the best consultation and continued maintenance for your outdoor lighting system.
Lighting the Interior
Something like a chandelier or our down light would be perfect for lighting the interior of your gazebo. Either of these fixtures allow for stylish lighting that illuminates the area without creating too much glare.
Remember to consider voltage when planning for interior gazebo light fixtures in your outdoor lighting design. There are some activities that will require brighter lighting. If you are planning on reading, playing boardgames or cards, you’ll want the option of adding brighter lights to tables or seating areas.
Exterior Gazebo Lighting
Lighting the perimeter of your gazebo is all about accenting the right features. When you’re conceptualizing your gazebo lighting, decide what sections of the gazebo’s structure you want to highlight.
Think about up lighting versus down lighting. Down lighting has the benefit of also illuminating the interior, as well as the exterior. Don’t forget to light the pathways and entrances to your gazebo. You want to make sure that your guests don’t trip on the way to your gathering. These can easily be incorporated into your outdoor lighting design and will help improve safety as well as ambiance.
Think about coloured lights if your yard has an insect problem. Coloured lights are less likely to attract bugs than bright yellow or white lights.
Lighting Up Backyard Sheds And Rural Outbuildings
From time to time, we need to access these buildings after dark – whether you’re searching for a shovel for that surprise snow fall or you need a spare part, or you want to add additional security to a darker part of the yard, outdoor lighting can be very handy!
Floodlights and spotlights are perhaps the main go-to, along with unattractive bare bulbs over doors, but you can ensure these buildings are just as secure and attractive as the rest of your yard at night.
Rural outbuildings and backyard sheds are well-suited to motion-sensor lights that can also be equipped with a timer so they only come on if there’s movement and only at certain times of day. Then you can set it and forget it.
If you have any gardens or plants, highlighting those can also be attractive – particularly if this is a building with a great façade, garden, or placement in the yard. Pathway lights around the front or on the pathway to the building can add safety while still being attractive.
Custom Designed and Installed Landscape Lighting
For the best advice for your outdoor lighting design, contact one of our Nite Time Décor experts today! We have over 25 years of designing and installing professional landscape lighting throughout Halton, Hamilton, Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga, Ontario.
How to Create Natural Outdoor Lighting Effects For Your Gardens
Many people think of the illuminating the front of their house for security or safety or curb appeal, but don’t forget to softscape gardens. You’ve worked hard to make your garden spectacular during the day, why not also enjoy them at night!
Come nightfall, a garden takes on a different and even enchanting feel. However, it’s hard to enjoy your beautiful garden if you can’t see it very well! Aside from simply planting white flowers, you can make your garden glow in the evenings with professionally designed and installed outdoor lighting.
Growing the perfect garden is not an easy task. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to create a garden that you’re proud to show off to friends, family members, neighbours and those just strolling by. With a garden that you put so much energy into, why let it go unnoticed after the sun has gone down? With a landscape lighting design, your beautiful garden won’t fade into the darkness of the night. Instead, it will be on display for all to see at any hour of the day or night.
If your garden deserves to be illuminated at night with natural outdoor lighting effects, consider installing a landscape lighting design using at least one or more of these lighting types and techniques.
Here are our expert’s top 10 types of outdoor lighting for your garden:
Often used for narrow gardens along the perimeter of your property or in trees, these lights can create a warm and inviting ambiance as part of the outdoor lighting on your property. These lights can be hung along fences, in pergolas, or even directly on the branches of trees. The soft glow or gentle twinkling can evoke a bit of fairy magic or romantic elegance.
Up Lighting Creates Depth
This landscape lighting technique can create depth and show off the varied textures of your garden features. To achieve this a light is placed in a lower position and directed up at the feature being accented. This effect works well with trees, foliage or other taller garden features.
Down Lighting Mimics Natural Moonlight
As the name implies, this technique is the inverse of up lighting. A light is placed above the feature being accented, illuminating it from above. This type of landscape lighting is quite popular and especially effective at creating a natural effect, showing off the garden features in a way that mimics how it would be seen on a bright evening where the moon and stars are shining bright.
This technique can also be used in the branches of a large tree to light up the tree and the gardens below. This type of outdoor lighting not only illuminates gardens, but provides good general area lighting.
Highlight The Tall Flowers First
Consider adding downlights to nearby fences or posts. This should be a narrow light, not a glaring spotlight or floodlight, to add height to the design. Be sure to consider balance and symmetry where possible. From there, you can move into smaller areas and focus on highlighting individual plants.
Ensure Garden Lights Enhance Overall Outdoor Lighting Design
It’s tempting just to add outdoor lighting to the pathways around the garden, but there’s so many more possibilities than that to really show off your yard and gardens! A beautifully lit garden will look out of place if the rest of your property is under-lit or features few too many fixtures.
Do – Use lights to improve the safety of garden walkways.
This will ensure that all areas, especially those that change levels (steps and stairs) receive the right level of lighting to prevent trips and falls.
Do– Prevent glare.
Use shields to ensure that the light is properly directed.
Do – Illuminate shrubs and other shadowy areas to improve security.
Shining a light on these areas will eliminate possible intrusion points and improve the overall safety of your garden and yard.
Do– Make use of uplighting for a natural look.
Uplighting draws the eye upwards, giving the plants in your garden the illusion of size and grandeur.
Do – Get creative with specialty lighting and coloured bulbs.
Coloured lights can add unique textures and effects to you garden, highlighting the shades that appear naturally on your property.
Do – Consider daylighting lighting options.
When planning your garden lighting design, be sure to take dawn, dusk, and evening activities into consideration. This is when you’re most likely to be utilizing your garden for parties and social gatherings. Play with effects in these lighting situations in order to produce the perfect mood.
Do – Consider Small Areas
Sometimes the biggest impacts can be made through the smallest lighting improvements. Consider highlighting smaller features or areas of your garden in order to increase the “wow” factor of your design.
Do – Create And Make Use Of Shadows
Allow moving foliage and shadows to add interest and create depth to avoid a flat-looking design in your yard. Know where you want to draw a visitor’s eye and create a visual surprise! Make sure that you avoid positioning any beams on open trellises, bare trees, or spindly branches.
Do – Use Hoods And Light Shields
Many pathway and post lights come with hoods or light shields to help direct the light down. Play with the height of these to create visual interest without blinding guests as they walk by or annoying neighbours.
Do – Experiment With Wattages And Beam Spreads
Use different wattages and beam spreads in order to create a truly unique lighting experience in your garden.
Tiki Lights Add Flair
These fixtures are versatile and cast great light. Nothing creates a more romantic ambiance than candles with their flames flickering in the breeze, creating shadows and reflections. They add that magical feel to your garden, but still have style.
Why Use A Professional Installer For Your Outdoor Lighting System
When it comes to lighting your outdoor garden, professional installers will have a variety of options of lighting products and light sources.
At Nite Time Decor, we use state-of-the art lighting fixtures and systems that are perfect for homes, patios, pools, walkways and gardens. Our professionally installed systems are “line volted” which uses the same reliable 120 volts your house uses. These are placed and left in one place.
To get the most natural outdoor lighting results in your garden, we recommend contacting a professional landscape lighting company like Nite Time Décor, located in Oakville, Ontario. Our lighting design experts will listen to your needs and help you create the perfect outdoor lighting design for your garden and property.
Create Visual Interest That Works At Night And During The Day
Give some thought to placement with pathway lighting along your gardens. Avoid straight lines down both sides of the path which can resemble an airport runway. Instead, stagger them while still giving light for safety but strategically choosing which plants are illuminated.
Haphazardly throwing a few spotlights amongst the shrubs will leave you ultimately disappointed and will not look natural. While there are no hard and fast rules for garden lighting (every garden is different, after all!), but doing so shouldn’t ruin the look of your garden during the day.
The ideal garden lighting installation is inconspicuous and looks natural – you notice the lighting effects at night, but the fixtures don’t attract your attention during the day. This landscape lighting design is difficult to achieve when working with solar power fixtures as the solar batteries require direct sunlight in order to charge during the day.
Low-voltage lights or energy efficient LED lighting fixtures are a much more economical and natural aesthetically appealing option.
Position Light To Shine On An Angle
It doesn’t matter whether the light source is positioned above or below your garden, just make sure that most of the light is positioned to shine in on an angle. Direct front lighting is very unnatural and can wash out your landscaping. Angled and side lighting results in better modelling and will create a more interesting shadow effect in the end and look natural.
Create Pools Of Light In Gardens
When lighting large flower beds for a natural lighting effect, many professional designers will choose to use many smaller lights rather than one large lamp. When placed correctly, these lights will create soft overlapping pools of light rather than one harsh beam. These areas of overlap can be places where you need stronger lighting for cooking, reading, etc.
Contact Nite Time Decor
You spend a great deal of time, effort, and money on your garden. Make sure it looks lovely long after the sun has set with sophisticated outdoor lighting from Nite Time Decor.
If you are looking to create a natural outdoor lighting effect on your property and garden, contact us today to receive a custom quote from one of our professional designers. We service homeowners in Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Halton and Hamilton region.
What Is Moon Lighting And Why Does It Remain So Popular?
There’s nothing more beautiful on a breezy spring night or warm summer evening than moonlight whispering in soft beams through tree boughs to your deck below. With landscape lighting, you won’t have to worry about clouds blocking your moonlight ever again with a simple technique. Read on for our tips for getting this beautiful permanent moonlight.
Moon lighting imitates the natural light of the moon in your yard. This type of lighting is subtle, elegant, and creates a ton of ambiance.
What Is Moon Outdoor Lighting?
Moon outdoor lighting, generally speaking, isn’t used for security or for task lighting – it’s soft, utilizes the natural movement of the trees so you’re looking for that sweet spot of providing light without being bright or harsh. Light cast down from above, often filtered through trees and other features, results in a soft, full moon glow, regardless of the actual moon or the weather. As such, a tree with a large canopy is the best candidate for a moonlighting installation.
One of the reasons moonlight is so beautiful is its subtlety. The soft glow from a round silver sickle creates ambience and romance in a way that bright yellow outdoor lighting cannot. So, when you’re mimicking the moon with your Nite Time Décor landscape lighting, imitate its softness as well. Use low voltage landscape lighting to create your moonlight effect.
Create A Layered Design For Natural Effect
Where the “moonlight” looks most natural and gorgeous will depend heavily on your home’s unique features and landscaping. You’ll want the effect somewhere close to a heavy traffic area, so that you can enjoy it while relaxing on the deck. If you’re choosing a tree, pick a tall, full tree to make it look like natural moonlight has been caught in its boughs.
The moon and stars produce amazing natural light at night, but it’s a layered light. To create a realistic effect with your landscape lighting, you want several lights criss-crossing each other in your tree, angled down to the ground. One light won’t get the shimmering moonlight effect, and will be too harsh a light source.
Placement For Best Recreated Moonlight In Your Yard
When recreating moonlight, the effect is diminished if guests can see the fixture casting the light (because it’s obviously not the real moon). Attaching the fixtures within the tree hides the mechanics from view, offering light without a visible source other than the moon above. A good height to use is about 20-25 feet up into the tree. The dappled shadows on the ground, particularly in the lower, silvery blue tones will make your guests forget about lighting fixtures.
The other benefit of securing the fixtures high in the tree is that you avoid the glare that comes from lower angled lights. Bright, lower placed lights are harsh and stark on the human eye, and certainly would not create the moonlight effect that you want to achieve with your outdoor lighting.
Moonlighting doesn’t always have to be from trees. Sometimes it can be from the tops of your roof, patio, or gazebo in order to create a layered and beautiful moonlighting effect. This will always depend on your unique lawn design. A Nite Time Décor specialist can help you figure out what areas are best for your moonlighting locales.
What If You Don’t Have A Tree
Many of our tips for moonlighting refer to placing lights in trees and taking advantage of the natural movement of the leaves to create a dapples or filtered light. But what if you don’t have a large tree, or a large tree in the right place? That’s OK. Moonlighting doesn’t always have to be from trees.
Choose a location that has a considerable amount of height over the rest of your lawn. Moonlight effect won’t be believable unless it’s higher than most of your other architectural and natural features. Consider the tallest feature you have on your lawn that is within reach of high traffic areas such as your roof, patio, pillars or columns, gazebo, etc.
Take Advantage Of Other Landscaping Elements
If you have any water sources – whether it’s a pond, pool, fountain, or otherwise, moonlighting can create a fantastic effect on a reflective surface. Moonlight glimmering on water has been the source of poetic imagery for generations, so why not include that lovely ethereal scenery in your yard? Position your fixtures so that they’re in an architectural or landscape feature close enough to the water to create a shimmering design on its surface.
Shine lights from your trees or shrubbery nearby so that the water glistens off of the surface.
Choosing The Right Colours
Moonlight has a silvery blue tone to it that can be difficult to mimic with outdoor lighting services. The best way to imitate the tone is with slightly blue lights. Be careful with the shade of blue you choose, though. If you use too much blue the illumination will appear artificial, tacky, and provide a nightclub vibe. A light blue tone will do the trick, by creating a silvery blue tone that is closer to how the human eye perceives moonlight.
Choose a blue that is subtle, silvery, and low. When this filters through branches or onto the ground, the colour will hit the human eye in much the same way that moonlight does, creating the same colour perception.
Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting
When you are trying to imitate moonlight you need to use low voltage, softer lighting. You don’t want something that’s too bright, because it won’t look natural. If you do want bright lighting for security purposes, use these in other areas of your property in which you don’t want the natural feel. For example, you could use bright lighting on pathways or cast onto textured walls, rather than use the bright lighting for the down lights in your trees.
Don’t over light and use too many fixtures. Only install as much lighting as will build a light glow across your lawn. You want it to illuminate your yard enough to protect against intruders, but not so much that it will be bright and overwhelming. It’s a hard balance to find, but a Nite Time Décor specialist can help you out.
What Kind Of Fixtures Are Used To Create Moonlighting?
Flood lights are the most common products used. These will need to be placed at different angles and areas of the tree, depending on what you want to highlight. For lighter and less shadowing, ask your outdoor lighting service to mount the lights near the edge of the canopy and closer to the ground.
If you want to highlight just the tree trunk, place a light lower in the tree, just above the trunk and point it straight at the ground.
Does Moon Lighting Harm The Trees?
Some DIYers will use staples and hammer the wires to the tree. This isn’t terribly professional looking but it is effective in the short term. However, the staples do cause injury to the tree. The staples aren’t great for the wires either. Trees grow. A couple of years after installing those moon lights, the tree may have grown enough to damage or destroy all that hard work and now you have to cut into the tree to remove or replace the wires.
We use specially designed hangers that keep the wires secure and intact without harming the trees at all.
Leave It To The Pros
What part of hanging lights in a 25 foot tall tree (that’s a really long way up!) and running electricity across your yard (to code) sounds fun or easy to you? No one wants to spend his or her weekends or holidays engaging in something that could easily lead to an injury, cause damage, or fail to work as you want it to. This should be the time to relax, after all.
The best way to get landscape lighting in the Oakville, Mississauga, Burlington and Hamilton areas to fit your needs is to hire a professional. Seasoned experts can tell you exactly what fixtures will provide the most appealing aesthetic effect for your lifestyle and needs, and how to enhance the usefulness of your yard after dark, as well as the safety, security, and curb appeal of your home.
The warranty and lifetime maintenance is another huge benefit and the peace of mind knowing it was done properly and professionally the first time and won’t cause damage to your landscaping!
For any outdoor landscape lighting job that needs doing, we can do it for you! Don’t wait to enhance the night time beauty of your home. Contact Nite Time Décor for your complimentary quote, more information, or to book a consultation.
Landscape Lighting 101: Planning Outdoor Lighting, Even If You’re Not A Pro
Planning your landscape lighting can be a difficult and daunting experience. You may not know where to start, and the idea of devising a design that will provide an efficient, effective, secure, and visually appealing lighting system can be cause for anxiety. This is particularly true if you’ve never attempted to plan a system before.
As a homeowner, you work hard to make the inside of your home reflect your own unique style and personality. Why stop there! Designing and decorating the outside of your home, including lighting, offers the opportunity to show off your home in the evening and help it stand out in the neighbourhood.
A landscape lighting system can highlight the visually appealing architecture of your home and its natural elements, all while adding valuable curb appeal, security, and enhancing safety. But, form follows function.
Take a minute to read through this important list of considerations before you start planning your new outdoor lighting system or speak to one of our lighting specialists about installing a lighting system for you.
Plan for Living
Figure out which areas of your landscape and property you use most. Then decide which of these you will want to use at night, if it isn’t all of them. From there, you can plan your outdoor lighting to highlight these areas for safety and security so you can continue enjoying the great outdoors after sunset.
Decide where there are “risk zones” in your yard. Pick areas that need to be lit up for safety reasons, such as steps, around the pool, dark zones, and other areas where guests may be in danger of tripping. This has the benefit of adding security from trespassers.
How Will You Use Your Outdoor Space?
Before choosing any outdoor lighting designs, consider how you will be using your outdoor space. Do you only want security and safety lighting for your front walkway and entrance? Or, would you like to light up your backyard to enjoy BBQ dinners and entertain family and friends? Consider areas including, front steps, driveway, patio, porch, backyard, pool, or other unique architectural elements. The lighting design you choose will enhance the way you use your space, so be sure you’ve considered all the ways you’ll use your outdoor spaces at night before making your final decision.
Illuminate Points of Interest and Unique Features
Just as every homeowner is unique, so too is every yard unique. It’s important that you find the unique features of your yard and accentuate them. This is also the perfect time to express your personal style and tastes for passers-by.
When planning your outdoor lighting design, you should think about placing the fixtures so that your gardens and landscape is appealing regardless of the time of day. Think about any alterations or changes that you make to your yard with the seasonal shifts.
Determine Lighting Style
Deciding on the needs of each area of your home will help to streamline the decisions on what kind of lighting and lighting fixtures to install. You may want task lighting over the bar-be-que. Maybe you want to brighten up the darkest parts of your yard for security with strategically placed floodlights. Perhaps you’ll want to install uplighting for your trees or illuminate a unique architectural feature on your home with spotlights. You’re not limited to one style. If you want one type of light for the bar-be-que area, that same lighting doesn’t have to light up your dining area.
Let one style and brightness complement another. This is where smart technology and creating zones for your outdoor lighting design planning comes in!
Creating Landscape Lighting Zones Maximizes Versatility
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.
Using LED technology, landscape lighting is available in a variety of colours, beam spread, and intensity. Zones allocate a particular focus or intended use and each zone will complement and blend into another. Smart technology allows you to control individual fixtures with your phone or tablet.
There have never been more options for style and versatility.
Each lighting zone will be grouped on a single line from the main transformer and each zone can be controlled independently, depending on any number of factors. For instance, security lighting can be programmed to come on at dusk and turn off at dawn – set it and forget it.
Smart technology can also automate the lights on your patio or pool to suit your lifestyle. If you need lights for special events or while you’re outside on the patio, you can set those to automatically turn off at a particular time, or even create a timed light show to music to enhance the occasion.
How To Determine The Best Zones For Your Outdoor Lighting
You might create zones based on the proximity of the fixtures to one another or a particular feature (fence line, building, hot tub, or tree in the yard), or based on their function (security, pool, cooking). If you are creating zones based on function, you might want to craft a design where you can leave your security lighting on all night, but be able to shut off your garden lighting before you go to bed.
We recommend that you begin by drawing 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 will need their own electrical lines if you wish to control them separately from other zones.
Next, 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 security around the garage.
This design draft will allow you to conserve energy and only use the lights you want when you need them. Want to know where to start when designing zones and choosing fixtures? Keep reading.
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.
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.
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.
Basic Design Principles For Custom Landscape Lighting
Usually, the home is the focal point of a landscape lighting design, but other areas of focus can be included. A good design will tie these separate elements together to establish a cohesive appearance.
Be sure to avoid a flattening effect by only adding outdoor lighting to the front of your home. Instead, create a three-dimensional viewing experience by adding depth and contrast through lighting multiple angles.
Maximize your home’s nighttime potential. Many home builders install minimal lighting, so the effect is utilitarian rather than aesthetic. Upgrade the look of your home by highlighting its architectural features and landscaping to create a unique-to-you effect day and night!
Strategically placed landscape lighting directed at the shadows in your yard can increase the security of your home. Don’t forget your pathways, driveways, walkways, and stairs — they also need adequate lighting to provide safety for family and guests. If you have a pool or another feature that could pose a safety risk, proper lighting is a must.
Never accept a light fixture that’s only functional, search for the fixture that’s functional, looks great, and provides just the right kind of light. Many of these fixtures can pull double duty and provide light for multiple purposes to maximize your investment.
Types of Outdoor Lighting
In order to better understand your outdoor lighting design needs, consider the following outdoor lighting classifications:
Decorative Lighting: Adds overall value to your home by illuminating areas of your yard where you can socialize with family and friends. Our tiki lamps provide a nice downlighting effect and will enhance the mood around the pool or near the BBQ.
Landscape lighting: If your garden is the envy of the neighbourhood, why not show off all its features with lighting? Try our mini wash light for garden areas or our above-ground well light for trees or fountains.
Security lighting: Illuminating a large area will help to discourage trespassers. Sensors or timers will be effective once you determine where there are “risk zones” in your yard. Select areas that would benefit by being lit up for safety reasons, such as steps, around the pool, dark zones, and other areas where guests may be in danger of tripping.
Consider the Effect of Your Landscape Lighting
Rather than simply considering what the fixture looks like, you should be thinking about what desired effect you are trying to achieve. Common techniques are grazing, silhouetting, spotlighting, moonlight effect, and cross lighting.
Consider factors such as the height of the feature you want to highlight, the type of feature (hardscaping areas like fire pits, walls, and ovens, or natural landscaping), the colour of the feature, and the type of texture. Texture will enhance the effect of the lighting by creating shadows.
Layered Lighting Essentials
Layered outdoor lighting means even if you want to entertain on the patio every weekend and your spouse simply wants a quiet space to read, you can accommodate both activities effectively.
Ambient Lighting: This type of lighting provides enough illumination for comfort. After dark, our outdoor lighting expectation is that the light will be softer, more nuanced. Ambient lighting may be as simple as a ceiling fixture in a covered porch or pillar accent lights on a back deck. Ambient lighting is the backdrop, the basic first layer that all the others are built upon.
Task Lighting: Task lighting makes outdoor activities safe. This may include security lights for a garage or pathway. Typically, headlights help us see the driveway well enough, but what about the path to the house or yard? Will someone unfamiliar with the yard lose their step?
Lighting pathways isn’t the only type of task lighting. Remember that spouse who wants a quiet corner to read? Why not place a light looking over their shoulder from behind mounted in a friendly tree or landscape feature? String lights hung artfully over an outdoor table or kitchen create great atmosphere.
Accent Lighting: Water and electricity aren’t good bedfellows normally, but there are many attractive underwater lighting options for the pond or pool – and don’t forget decorative fountains. Accent lighting is great for special trees, vases, art, or unique yard features. But why highlight the puny tree that cost you $25 when you could highlight architectural detail of your home instead?
Remember that a single accent light on a tree will only highlight one angle. You’ll need to add lights to all the viewable sides. If everything is highlighted, then nothing is highlighted. Selecting specific features to highlight, less is more, will be more effective and dramatic than filling in every corner of your yard.
An expert in landscape lighting will consider how the space is used, how a feature will be viewed, and will choose fixtures and fixture placement to avoid you and your visitors being blinded by the light or stumbling in the dark.
Consider the greener options to help the environment and your bank account. LED lights may be more expensive at the initial purchase, but will save you in the long run – especially with the many lights needed for landscape lighting.
Hire a Professional Landscape Lighting Installer
The best way to get well-design professionally installed landscape lighting in the Halton, Hamilton, Mississauga, Burlington or Oakville area to fit your needs is to hire a professional like Nite Time Decor. Our seasoned experts can help you plan and tell you exactly what fixtures will provide what effect, and how best to enhance the usefulness of your yard, as well as the safety, security, and curb appeal of your home. The warranty that comes with a professional installation is another huge benefit.
Don’t wait to enhance the night time beauty and safety of your home. Contact Nite Time Decor for your complimentary lighting demo and quote today.
Outdoor Landscape Lighting Tips For Your Best Pathway
Why Light Up Your Pathway?
We want our homes to be welcoming places for our family and friends, even before they enter through the front door. Whether getting out of their cars or walking up your street, you can make your home look friendly and inviting with attractive outdoor lighting for your home, pathways and walkways.
Another reason is safety. When planning outdoor lighting of your home’s pathway, you want to consider the safety of your family and guests so that they can easily navigate your yard or front entryway area at night.
But don’t settle for the ho-hum out-of-the-box look everyone else is using. Outdoor lighting is a great way to highlight the character and design of your home while keeping everyone safe. From 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.
Path lighting doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but you should consider a few things before you buy.
Tips For Pathway Lighting
When choosing what type of lighting best suits your needs, form should follow function as designers say. What do you need the pathway lighting to do? Are you lighting a path for aesthetic reasons or is there a safety element involved as well? Are there gardens along the path that could add diverse tones or shadows?
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. Use a low light to highlight your favourite ground cover plants.
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.
Professional or DIY?
There can be a significant price difference between a professionally installed outdoor lighting system and one done DIY – with good reason. You’re not just paying for the better fixtures, wiring, timers, etc. but you’re also paying for the expertise of the professional designer and installer.
Purchasing a DIY lighting system, whether solar or electric will often be less expensive than hiring a landscape lighting professional – no question. But the lighting kits often aren’t as hearty as what the pro’s would use, leaving you in the dark after a season. The cheaper the kit, the less reliable the lighting will be.
The great thing about hiring a professional outdoor lighting specialist is that they bring top-quality fixtures, wiring, timers – everything you’ll need plus they’ll install the system. There’s no willy-nilly placement. A pro will create ambiance and mood and make the most of your home and gardens. They know all the products available and have an eye for perfect placement, not only to make it look beautiful, but safe.
How much maintenance?
Depending on how many fixtures you have, maintenance on a professionally installed outdoor lighting system could be minimal from replacing burnt-out bulbs to removing debris and leaves or trimming back bushes to keep your lights from over-heating. Replacing individual fixtures or the whole system will depend on the level of warranty your fixtures have and the quality you’re looking for. Cheaper ones made of plastic could last a couple of seasons, whereas high quality brass fixtures could last for decades.
The fact that custom landscape lighting fixtures are such high quality and will last for decades, you likely won’t need any heavy duty maintenances for many years to come (except for cleaning, which you can do yourself if you wanted to).
If you’re thinking of going DIY with your outdoor landscape lighting for your pathways, here are some of the most common design faux-pas we see.
This is one of the most common DIY path lighting mistakes – assuming that it’s all about symmetry. Placing lights parallel to each other on either side of a path creates an unattractive landing strip effect. Not only does this lack subtlety, but it will cast shadows and leave dark spots that can be disorienting.
The Hollywood Premiere
With this outdoor lighting mistake, we’re never sure if there’s a movie premiere, a car dealership or someone signaling to extraterrestrials. Using lights that are too bright or beams that are improperly focused can cause unwanted light pollution for you and your neighbours, which is especially hazardous when the glare affects safe navigation of pathways.
Slick Design vs Quality
Most outdoor lighting kits from your local hardware store are designed to catch your eye with a slick design and finish, and the actual quality of lighting and fixture construction is secondary. Also, kit lighting isn’t engineered to take into account custom power requirements or runs of various lengths, which means you will find yourself constantly replacing bulbs and fixtures.
With these kinds of path lights, you definitely get what you pay for. For some people, they aren’t able or don’t want to invest in quality outdoor lighting and are happy to replace what they have every year or two. Ultimately, the point is to draw attention to attractive lighting and not necessarily attractive fixtures.
Watch Your Step
Even if a DIY-er accomplishes an effective pathway lighting setup, we often see major safety issues when it comes to step lighting. Whether it’s at the front door or the deck area, steps are sometimes left in pools of shadow in between lights – or worse – they’re not lit at all. Improperly lit steps in a nighttime lighting design is worse than no outdoor lighting at all, since a person’s eyes become accustomed to a certain amount of illumination which makes unlit steps seem even less visible.
Set It and Forget It
We assume that the culprits of this mistake never have their chimney cleaned or their furnace serviced either. A lack of maintenance of your outdoor lighting will start to show in the number of burnt-out bulbs or in power lines that come to the surface of the soil or mulch. Plants and shrubs that border the pathway may grow over a fixture to the point that you forget it’s there.
All of this creates further hazards at night, and decreases the value of whatever investment you made in your system.
We love to hear our clients’ DIY design ideas and translate those into a lighting system that makes a home look spectacular at night. A professionally-designed system doesn’t have to break the bank to get the results that you want, and the added services available to keep your system humming will ensure that you will enjoy it for years to come.
Contact Nite Time Decor Today!
We want your home to shine from the street – day and night! Why not chat with our expert team at Nite Time Décor Oakville for a professional evaluation of your home and yard. We’ll take care of the details to ensure everything is done right the first time, and you can sit back as the compliments from neighbours and guests pour in! Call or email us today for a free consultation and light demo. We serve homeowners and businesses throughout Halton, Hamilton, Oakville, Mississauga, and Burlington, Ontario.
Enhance your backyard water features with these awesome outdoor lighting ideas for pools, fountains and ponds.
Outdoor lighting isn’t limited to lawns and gardens. What about those water features that you love so much during the day? Having a beautiful water feature in your yard is lovely to enjoy – the sound and sight of water can have a very calming effect. Using landscape lighting is a great way to admire your waterfall or pond even after the sun goes down and seems to transport your yard to a world of sparkling magic and ethereal beauty.
Adding some outdoor lighting to your pond, fountain, pool, or other water feature opens up many new opportunities for visual impact at night. Water features are often focal points of yards, gardens, and patios and should be properly showcased!
Highlighting your water feature can also provide a beautiful backdrop for nights spent socializing or just soaking up the relaxing sounds of the water. Nite Time Décor Oakville provides you with landscape lighting design and services that you won’t forget. And neither will your friends – they’ll be talking about it for years to come!
Creating the perfect lighting for your water feature isn’t quite as easy as setting up a spotlight. Safety also needs to be considered since electricity and water don’t mix well so hiring a professional is imperative.
We’ve compiled this helpful list of lighting ideas for your pool, hot tub, ponds and other backyard water features.
Submersible Lighting Adds Drama To Water Features
Submersible lights are placed below the surface of the water in a basin and then directed back towards the body of water. Ponds and fountains look especially beautiful when this type of lighting feature is used. Adding submersible lighting creates a shimmery effect, as well as illuminating any fountain streams. This can look very magical and be quite awe-inducing when done properly.
You can even enhance the effect by adding colour filters to your submersible. This is a fantastic way to show off creativity, as well as add a vibrant, trendy effect to your landscape water feature.
How To Keep Your Pool Safe At Night
Oakville pool lighting is more than just about aesthetics – it’s also about safety. However, safety does not need to come at the expense of the natural beauty of your landscape lighting.
Inground well lights around the edge of your pool will dramatically increase the safety of your yard. These lights highlight the edges around your swimming area, particularly areas that may be slippery or wet.
Well lights from Nite Time Décor Oakville also contributes to the aesthetics around your pool. If you have plants surrounding your pool, the well lights can create gorgeous shadows and silhouettes to add to the ambience.
Make your pool a warm and inviting location for a summer dip. Whether your pool is in-ground or above ground, outdoor pool lighting will create a look that is not only warm and inviting, but safe.
As noted above, submersible lights are common in pools and are often found at various intervals in the pool below the water line. These are a fabulous feature, but don’t let your imagination stop there!
Foliage Landscape Lighting
To give your landscape lighting a natural ambiance, consider placing the landscape lighting in the garden areas around your pool. If this isn’t an option, why not plant some flower beds along the pathway around your pool? The foliage connection is a nice design element that will help enhance your outdoor lighting and tie the entire look together.
A great landscaping idea is to place an ornamental tree in the yard with a four to five foot garden bed around it. Place some lights in the planting area and they will cast a warm glow into the pool water.
If you have large trees in your yard, why not place one of our down lights in them so they can shine directly on to your pool? The natural movement of the lighted leaves create fun shadows and other elements that help diminish the feel of the city in your back yard.
And of course, if you have a pool waterfall, you simply cannot neglect it. Ask us for more information on how to highlight water features!
Tiki Lamps can give your pool the accent lighting that your backyard has been lacking, while providing a nice amount of light to see with. The great thing about tiki lamps is they don’t have to be lit every night, only when you need them, and can be moved around the yard if desired.
And of course, if you have a pool waterfall, you simply cannot neglect it.
Let Your Pond Looking Its Best Even At Night
Lighting up a pond can be a tricky task. However, ponds are a special kind of feature of your commercial or residential yard that can look absolutely gorgeous when lit properly.
Perhaps the first thing people think of with a water feature at night is keeping everyone safe. But this can be easily achieved without sacrificing aesthetics. Of course you’ll want to make sure the perimeter of your pond is clearly visible at night, but how can we do that and still keep things looking amazing?
We can go back to the submersible lighting idea as outlined above. Placing lights in the pond looking up or into the centre of the pond can be quite attractive, particularly in combination with fountains and other features. The downside of this is that you won’t get the natural moonlight reflecting on the surface of the water.
Less is often more with underwater lighting, so this is usually used in combination with fountains, waterfalls, and sculptures.
Again, like with the pool, you can place lights in the surrounding foliage to catch the movement of the leaves while still illuminating the edges of the pond or the surface of the water. Subtle white lights are a great choice here because ground level lights can cast a glowing reflection across the water or mimic moonlight when cast down from a nearby tree.
Lighting Water Features With Surrounding Landscaping
You don’t need to overdo it. Lighting around the edge of the pond, highlighting protruding rocks, or small channels is an important safety consideration that doesn’t have to be garish or harsh.
Hiding lights among rocks around the pond can be a great way to provide subdued, but effective, lighting. Many restaurants or event halls with ponds tend to have bridges over the water. Place lights along the bridge to highlight the edges of the water while creating a romantic feel.
Coloured filters on the lights can also be quite nice. Subtle blues or yellows can provide natural tones to glow from the surface. A silvery blue is great for creating that moon on the surface of the pond look that’s so appealing at night. Avoid colours that are too bright or bold, particularly for commercial properties.
Keep Your Hot Tub Looking Romantic Even After Dark
Hot tubs are becoming more and more affordable, but they’re another water feature that needs to be lit properly to keep friends and family safe. If your hot tub is on a deck or some other raised platform, be sure the change of levels and stairs is clearly visible.
Again, surrounding the hot tub with recessed lighting is a great idea that’s both subtle and safety conscious. Submerged lights in the hot tub, coloured or white, create an exotic and romantic feel after dark.
Don’t Neglect The Pondless Patio Fountains
Some of us don’t have the space or time to maintain a pond or pool, but we love the soothing sound of water particularly at night. Many of the commercial patio fountains come with lights, but if yours doesn’t, why not add a string of (outdoor-rated) string or fairy lights? Give your small fountain that ethereal or other-world look after dark and create a nighttime focal point on your patio!
Overhead Deck Lighting
This type of outdoor lighting can give the illusion of moonlight, and we all know that swimming in the moonlight is a magical thing. Overhead lights can be mounted in surrounding trees or on gables and soffits of surrounding buildings.
Lights can be mounted right in your deck and pointed upwards to create an interesting effect. These lights can be installed in existing decks of all types including many concrete decks. Deck lights of this type can really help to accentuate surrounding architectural or garden features in a fresh way that is very attractive. In-deck lights can also be a safety feature by showing you and your guests where the edges of the pool deck are.
Stair Tread Lights
Since pool areas are often accessed with a set of stairs, why not take advantage of this and install lights under the edge of the treads. This is a great feature to have that not only looks great, but also helps improve safety for those navigating the stairs.
Lighting on and around adjacent buildings is usually a good and economical way to add lighting to your pool area. If this building is part of the pool area – an outdoor bar or shed for example – there are many options for lighting these types of buildings.
For a structure like a pergola, string lights can create that bistro feel, or up lights can highlight the structure’s architecture.
Lighting Choices For Water Features
The standard incandescent lights are still available, however investing in LED lighting will result in fixtures that are more energy efficient and adaptable. With LED you can add colour filters more easily to change with the seasons or for special holidays.
Low voltage lighting combined with water features creates a subtle and appealing visual. It’s neither overpowering or glaring but still provides enough light to answer safety concerns. Use the surface of the water to reflect the light over a greater distance instead of high-powered lights. Low voltage will get the job done, and continue to encourage safety.
Leave It to the Pros
Nite Time Decor Oakville has over 50 years of combined experience creating unique-to-you landscape lighting designs that will accentuate your backyard pool and water features so you can enjoy them all day and night.
A lot of thought and planning is involved in designing beautiful landscape lighting for your water features and pool which also requires professional skilled installation too.
There are a lot of electrical wires involved with adding any type of lighting, which can be a fire hazard. On top of that, combining those wires with water can make for a very “shocking” experience, so a licensed electrician is strongly recommended if you plan to do it yourself.
At Nite Time Decor, we are very knowledgeable about our products and can definitely help you find lighting options that will bring out the best in your landscape and water features. And, we will look after all of the electrical work too!
If you already have landscape lighting but would like an update, we can help with that!
Bring your pool and other water features to life with Nite Time Décor custom landscape lighting services. If you’re ready to gain the most unique and dramatic water feature lighting, contact us today for your complimentary quote and lighting demo. You’ll be happy you did!
With the month of May here and almost gone, that means COTTAGE SEASON has started!! Whoop! Why not make the most of your home away from home even after the sun has gone down and install some outdoor landscape lighting!
If you are a cottage owner, there’s a good chance that you spend more of your weekends at the cottage than you do in your own backyard in the summer. Most cottage goers prefer the natural light of a starlit sky or and roaring campfire.
While you might use your cottage to get away from the city and enjoy the great outdoors, it’s important to remember that landscape lighting can keep you safe and secure while also allowing you to maximize your usable space.
Because of these benefits, we recommend installing a landscape lighting system around your cottage. If you’re hesitant to this idea, you’re not alone. That’s why our lighting experts have outlined the 7 best ways to use landscape lighting for the cottage so you can have all the benefits that an outdoor lighting design offers while not compromising on your outdoor experience.
Being able to see the stars is what people want from the cottage so minimizing light pollution is paramount. Design follows function, my friends.
Point Light Down
Many cottages are in designated “dark sky” areas, which means that property owners need to be extra-careful about the type of lighting fixtures they choose to use. In order to preserve that view of the starry night sky and soften your landscape lighting, keep lights pointed down.
Lighting from above downwards on your landscape is how the moon shines and looks natural. Using shields to shine the light downward as opposed to up toward the sky will help create a calm and subtle ambiance in your outdoor space and help you avoid light pollution.
Downlight Prevents “Light Trespass”
If you have neighbours nearby, down lighting will also keep you from shining light onto your neighbour’s property while trying to illuminate your own. Light trespass, or accidentally lighting your neighbour’s property with your outdoor fixtures, can cause quite a bit of tension in cottage country. To avoid this, don’t over-light. Instead, opt for low wattage downlighting effects to ensure a subtle, manageable glow.
Using fixtures that are low to the ground such as stake and post lights may be a happy compromise that allows your family to safely navigate the yard or pathways at the cottage without blocking your enjoyment of the night sky or the moon on the water.
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 cottage or avoid the spotlights pointed up at trees for curb appeal.
Use Lower Wattages
You don’t want to miss out on the fireflies, shooting stars or seeing the Big Dipper at night, so using dimmer lights at the cottage makes sense. Not all fixtures can accommodate lower wattages, not all locations can accommodate this (pool or dock lighting for instance needs to remain bright).
Solar powered lights might can be the perfect compromise here.
Lights On When Needed
Timers and motion sensors can be super helpful at the cottage. Regardless of what lighting options you choose it is helpful to have them controlled by a timer. Timers can help to save energy and minimize the impacts of artificial lighting. Not only will your human and wildlife neighbours appreciate it, you’ll have better control over your hydro bills.
This way lights only come on when needed or when you want them to, and you won’t forget to turn them off! Plus, it can help security if it appears there are people there all the time and not just on weekends.
Maintaining the dark sky is important to many cottagers. Consider a self-imposed light curfew and have all lights off by 11PM for instance.
Safety and Security Is Still Important
Safety and security at the cottage is important too, but the risks may look a little different than in the city.
Use lighting for pathways, steps and docks
Providing a safe environment for your family, friends and guests is one of the biggest benefits of installing landscape lighting around your cottage. The last thing you want to do during a weekend away is take a trip to the emergency room for an injury that was obtained due to poor visibility.
Cottages are notorious for uneven terrain, exposed roots, steep slopes, docks and ponds, unfamiliar paths, etc. Ensure that where sure footing or staying on the path is important that appropriate lighting is provided.
Pathways, steps and docks are three of the most important areas to illuminate to create a safe outdoor environment at the cottage.
Before installing your landscape lighting design, take a moment in the daytime to walk the perimeter of your cottage and scout out any areas that could present a hazard in the dark – ascending, descending or uneven areas, stairs, pathways or the dock.
Light Up Signposts and Address Markers
Don’t forget the signpost or number for your cottage. Whether it’s a weathered sign nailed to a tree, a dedicated post, or some numbers next to the door, make sure this is clearly visible at night. This not only helps your family and friends find your cottage after dark, but it’s essential should emergency services ever be required.
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 that don’t cause light pollution. There are a lot of attractive plastic and resin options that will require less maintenance and withstand the elements better than metal like cast iron.
Lighting Task Areas
Cottagers love to make the most of their vacation, which often leads to lots of late night BBQs and impromptu bocce ball tournaments. Or lighting the area around the deck, dock or boat house. Ensure these areas and activities take place in well-lit areas with professionally installed task lighting.
Motion sensors may be just the ticket for areas where activity at night is more sporadic. This way you have light, but only when you need it. The most important consideration here is safety, but also keep in mind where the light is directed to keep the skies dark.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to a landscape lighting design for your cottage there’s one important thing to remember: the cottage is not the city. Because of this, you should not treat your cottage landscape lighting design the same as the outdoor lighting you have at home. When creating a lighting design for your cottage, use a ‘less is more’ approach that allows you enough light to be safe but not so much that you’re outshining the moon.
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.
In the city you set up outdoor lighting so that you can enjoy your landscaping and architectural features, but while you’re at the cottage you want to enjoy nature. It’s hard to see the stars and the fireflies when there are lights everywhere. Another consideration is the impact excessive lighting can have on wildlife behaviour when artificial lighting is added to their natural habitat.
One more consideration – extra lighting means extra bugs. Bzzzzz!
Don’t Want Electric Lights?
Some cottage owners prefer not to have electric lights at the cottage at all. Depending on the layout, location, and the soil conditions of your cottage property, it may be impractical to run wiring to things like the dock or along steep pathways.
For these areas consider using battery or solar powered lighting fixtures. While they may not be as bright, they may be perfectly suited for this type of application. For other lighting consider using LED fixtures to save on energy. LEDs may have a higher initial cost, but they will typically require less energy and less maintenance over their lifetime, resulting in a net benefit.
Selecting Fixtures for Your Cottage
There’s a lot to consider when selecting outdoor lighting fixtures for your cottage. While you want the style to compliment the cottage feel, you’ll need to be careful about what materials you ultimately decide to use.
Exposure to moist air can quickly take its toll on stainless steel components. As such, our Nite Time Decor outdoor lighting experts recommend using bronze fixtures. While brass and copper fixtures will rust and corrode, bronze fixtures are far more resistant to moisture and wind. What’s more, they’re often designed with a rustic feel, making them the perfect option for cottage life.
Contact Nite Time Décor
Your cottage is meant to be your sanctuary away from the city, and if you’re not a lighting professional, creating an outdoor lighting design and performing a successful installation can become a lot of work. And we all know cottages are meant for relaxing weekends away. And if you choose the wrong design you leave yourself open to over-illumination that will take away from the whole cottage experience. If you install the design incorrectly you could spend hours trying to find a solution by way of trial and error.
At Nite Time Décor Oakville, our lighting professionals can help you choose the perfect design for your outdoor space and install it quickly and correctly, so you can enjoy your lighting design right away. Whether you’re looking to get a design installed right away or just have questions about where to start, contact Nite Time Décor today.
Whether you enjoy summer barbeques, entertaining guests by your pool or just relaxing on the deck after dark, you’ll want an outdoor lighting system that can create just the right ambiance for your specific needs.
The outdoor lighting experts at Nite Time Décor Oakville have put together our top 12 patio and deck lighting design tips and ideas to help you make your outdoor living space feel like an extension of your home.
Planning your Outdoor Lighting Design
When it comes to creating a lighting design for your backyard patio or deck, it’s always best to think through what exactly you want to do on your deck or patio. Is it mostly for entertaining or for your own enjoyment? Do you enjoy eating meals on the patio, reading at night, or just having relaxed conversations? What do you need light for? What effect do you want the lighting to create? Once you know how you use the space, decisions on how to illuminate it will be much easier.
You always want to measure twice, cut once as the saying goes. It’s no fun to come up with this grand design and then have to backtrack on things because it’s not what you needed or won’t work in that space.
Some aspects of your patio are simply functional, and some features just look nice. Balancing both is important!
Always Keep Safety A Priority
Do you have walkways or stairs that require additional lighting at night? Any steeper slopes that you or your guests need to be able to navigate at night? Any posts or pillars, doors or other obstacles that should be highlighted? Pools or ponds? Don’t compromise on safety.
Do you need task lighting? This will be brighter lighting to do work by, but you may not need it to be on all the time. Consider a light to cook by at night by the bbq, or a light for the shed or back gate.
The market for outdoor lighting continues to grow and many fixtures provide adequate safety lighting without sacrificing aesthetics.
Use Outdoor Lighting Accent Your Patio’s Best Features
What structural or architectural aspects of your deck or patio are you most proud of? Why let those details remain hidden after dark? Think back to when you first bought your home. What made you fall in love with it? Was it the textured façade? The pillars? The gazebo? The many levels to the deck?
Highlighting these unique architectural features will help add character and depth to your outdoor illumination design.
Gazebo Lighting Ideas
As with any outdoor lighting system, lighting the perimeter of your gazebo is all about accenting the right features. When you’re conceptualizing your gazebo lighting, decide what sections of the gazebo’s structure you want to highlight. Looking for some inspiration? Then surf over to our gallery page and check out some of our recent work.
Think about up lighting versus down lighting when planning your exterior illumination. Down lighting has the benefit of also illuminating the interior, as well as the exterior. Our product page has a variety of lighting options to peruse when adding gazebo lighting to your outdoor lighting design.
Don’t forget to light the pathways and entrances to your gazebo. You want to make sure that your guests don’t trip on the way to your gathering. These can easily be incorporated into your outdoor lighting design and will help improve safety as well as ambiance.
When Lighting Your Patio, Consider What’s Around It As Well
When planning a lighting design for your patio or deck, make sure to look at what landscaping elements are nearby. Is there a beautiful garden that would create a warm and inviting ambiance if illuminated? Is there a tree that would serve as a spectacular focal point if string lights were hung from the branches?
Highlighting these elements not only allow you to show off all the hard work you’ve put into landscaping your property, it also adds an additional layer of depth and character to your patio lighting design.
Romantic Al Fresco Feasts
Take your main evening activities into account when brainstorming ideas for your outdoor lighting system. If lingering over a fine meal is your idea of a great evening, then bring the indoors outside with attractive hanging lamps or a chandelier. A small hanging fixture designed for outdoor use can provide a romantic bistro-style setting. A larger pendant light attached to a solid patio cover or an overhead pergola beam will add soft down light for a larger table arrangement and create a grand dining experience for the outdoors. A fixture that includes a fan can add a nice breeze for your guests on the more sultry summer nights.
If a more indirect lighting option is preferred, consider the addition of recessed spot lighting combined with a dimmer switch. These can be installed within solid patio covers or attached to pergola beams and enclosed in weatherproof casing.
Add a Tropical Touch
Much like the hypnotic glow of a log fire, an arrangement of our Nite Time Decor Tiki lamps can add a warm down-lighting effect that will transport you and your guests to a romantic and relaxing cottage setting.
Tiki lamps are really fun because they add the sense of real flickering flames rather than artificial light. Placed strategically around your yard or patio, they produce gorgeous natural shadows. This simple addition to an outdoor lighting system is relatively easy to maintain.
You could also purchase torch lamps from your local hardware store. These cheaper products are a good option for those who want the ambience but don’t have the budget to install professional landscape lighting.
Choose Fixtures That Are As Unique As Your Patio
Once you’ve determined what you need the outdoor lights to do (and it’s OK if “looks great” is its only function), identified fun architectural elements, task lighting needs as well as safety concerns, now it’s time to really look at fixtures and ambiance! This is where the art comes into your outdoor lighting design.
The small, well-thought-out details will add personality, intimacy, and even a little bling (if that’s what you’re looking for) to your deck or patio! Task lighting, underlighting (think benches, railings or stair treads), and movable fixtures are all small detail elements that can have a big impact on the overall mood and ambiance of your space.
Rope Lights Combine Flexibility And Aesthetics
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 grooves and nooks to install rope lights. 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.
A close cousin of rope lights are string lights. These are fun and easy to install, they’re portable, and often fairly affordable for even a one-time use for that special party. You can also get solar-powered string lights so you can place them and forget about them for the whole season (make sure you get waterproof, rated for outdoors, string lights).
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 Christmas lights 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 without making a years-long commitment.
Mimic Moonlight On Nearby Trees
Moonlight for outdoor lighting is a popular landscape design feature is to add spotlights high up in a tree so the light filters down through the leaves. This muted light can add a romantic feel to the landscape with light filtering down onto your deck or patio through the waving leaves. This type of light casts a wide path, but doesn’t have to be harsh or glaring.
Moonlight techniques are subtle, elegant and creates a beautiful ambiance around your yard and patio. The goal for well-designed landscape illumination should be to try to mimic moonlight, not the ambiance of a night-time game at Rogers Centre.
Be Sure To Match The Existing Décor And Aesthetics
Thoughtfully consider what the existing features and aesthetics are and work with them. The result will extend your living space outdoors seamlessly and add value and appeal to your patio or deck.
Outside of structural elements that often won’t change much or at all, you can use outdoor lighting to create specific aesthetics or a kind of ambiance with the thoughtful selection of fixtures to create ethereal, natural, or dramatic chic (as examples) effects.
Knowing what type of atmosphere you want and need will definitely influence your choices and ultimately create an effect you’ll love for years to come.
If you’ve decided on dramatic chic, there are a couple of techniques to keep in mind. Under illumination is one method that will create an urban, stylish feel.
To use this technique on your patio, choose colours to accent your patio—optimally colours you have in your garden. Then, pick the features of your patio that you want to under light. The best options are usually the patio itself, permanent furniture, or even gazebos and ponds. Once you’ve done that, position your Nite Time Décor fixtures underneath the chosen features so that the entire base is washed in a soft glow.
Under lights provides added safety as well as aesthetics. By highlighting the bases of fixtures, you’re showing your guests where there are potential trip hazards.
Want your patio or deck to have an enchanted magical feel possibly with fairies hiding in the shadows or playing among the foliage? Small pinpricks or lights hidden within foliage (gardens, planters, hanging pots, etc) produce the appearance of a magical gathering within. Use this technique throughout your yard to extend the suspension of disbelief in your enchanted garden paradise.
Lighting Where Feet Tread Creates Subtle Ambiance
A continuing trend in outdoor lighting are fixtures that are low to the ground or recessed flush with a deck or walkway. This light isn’t so strong that guests are blinded, but by hiding the recessed lights among foliage or along the outside edge of stair treads, you create a pop of unexpected light shining all the attention on the texture, colour and shadows, or even something as basic as to highlight the safety aspects of your deck.
Get Started Today
Illumination solutions from Nite Time Decor will beautify and highlight any backyard patio or deck! Create a look that’s as unique as you and your home that you’ll love for years to come! Why not extend your living space outdoors? Contact our outdoor lighting professionals today for more information or to book an appointment!
Top 10 Landscape Lighting Ideas to Maximize Your Outdoor Living Space
Maximizing your living space is about more than renovating your basement. Have you looked outside for other possibilities? If you have a backyard, deck or patio space, you can extend your living space outside and create an inviting oasis you can even enjoy after the sun goes down with unique-to-you outdoor landscape lighting.
Our Nite Time Decor experts have put together our top 10 list of landscape lighting ideas that work well in any backyard and patio.
Illuminate Pools and Water Features
To create a true backyard oasis, your landscape lighting design should illuminate more than just your porch and dining area. If you have a unique feature in your backyard, such as a pool, hot tub or water feature, make sure it gets the attention it deserves – even after dark.
A pool or water feature gives you the opportunity to get creative with your landscape lighting design. Instead of simply casting light on the water, work with different lighting techniques to create ambiance and depth. For example, a lighting design for a pool might use up-lighting on surrounding trees to cast a cool mood-setting reflection on the surface of the water.
To learn more about how to light up pools, ponds and other outdoor water features, read “Outdoor Water Feature Lighting Ideas: Pools, Hot Tubs And Ponds” article.
Illuminate Plants and Gardens
You work hard to create and maintain the beautiful gardens and landscaping around your home, so why let these great aesthetic features go unnoticed after dark? With a landscape lighting design that illuminates your trees, gardens and shrubs you can add a sense of depth and ambience to your outdoor space.
If your garden deserves to be lit up at night with beautiful natural looking outdoor lighting effects, read this article “Creating Natural Outdoor Lighting Effects For Your Gardens” to learn about some additional landscape lighting ideas including lighting types and techniques.
Light up Trees
If you don’t have a pool or a unique water feature in your backyard, chances are you have a tree, or a number of trees, that add character to your outdoor space. Tree lighting is a great way to give your backyard oasis the wow-factor you’ve been searching for.
When it comes to illuminating trees in your outdoor space, there are a number of different techniques that will create their own unique lighting effects. If integrating trees into your landscape lighting design is an option for you, consider techniques such as up-lighting, down-lighting or overall lighting.
Highlight Decks and Stairs
Illuminating hardscape features such as decks and stairs can go a long way in creating warm ambient light effects while also improving the safety of your outdoor space. Installing landscaping lighting on your steps, posts and rails will help distinguish changes in elevation while adding depth to your backyard oasis. Better yet, if your porch, patio or stairs are made of stone, integrating light fixtures will cast a warm light and emphasize the unique texture of the stone.
Light Up Pathways
Pathway lights are great for general safety and way finding. When it comes to designing effective and aesthetically pleasing pathway lights, don’t place them too close together as this will create a runway effect. At Nite Time Décor, we recommend lining the lights along garden pathways at regular well-spaced intervals to improve visibility. Our area lights work beautifully for this technique. Also, when it comes to brightness, less is more. Be subtle and avoid blinding your patrons.
Outdoor Kitchen Lighting
With the recent heatwaves we’ve been experiencing in Ontario, it is becoming more and more convenient to have an outdoor space for food preparation. Outdoor kitchens can be as simple as a bar-b-que or as elaborate as a brick oven or full kitchen set up with running water. You could almost include outdoor bars in with these as the lighting needs would be similar.
Most homeowners have a grill as a minimum and these range from a small, simple propane or charcoal grill to expansive, multi burner grills with side burners and outdoor counter space. Proper outdoor lighting when it’s time to cook is essential, and as the days get shorter, this will be even more important.
Overhead Grill Lighting
Outdoor lighting brings you more than just aesthetic value, and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to illuminating your outdoor cooking area. Placing a light above your outdoor grill is the best place to start.
Weather your firing up the BBQ or flipping your food to perfection, you need to be able to see what you are doing. Illuminating your outdoor cooking area will not only help you keep an eye on your food, but it will also help you see any safety concerns that are present while cooking – helping to keep you safe and free from injury. An overhead task light is the best way to get enough light to cook properly on your grill.
Your overhead (or task) lighting should be fairly bright with a true white light in order to see what you are cooking accurately. It’s also helpful to have this light on a separate control or a dimmer so that when the cooking is done you can have the right ambiance for a truly enjoyable dining experience.
Dining Area Lighting
While increasing visibility around your outdoor cooking area is very important, so too is illuminating your outdoor dining area. Nothing’s worse than sitting down for a beautiful dinner on the patio, only to realize halfway through the meal that the sun has gone down and you can no longer see the plate in front of you. Illuminating your outdoor dining area with task lighting will let you enjoy those fun family dinners long into the evening.
The lighting needs for an outdoor table are much different than the task lighting for food preparation. An outdoor dining area should be lit well enough to encourage conversation, but not so bright that it’s uncomfortable. Finding that right balance can be tricky and vary for different groups. We often install dimmers to make the lighting options more versatile and adjustable.
One common solution for the dining area is an outdoor ceiling fan with speed controls and lights with dimmers. The fan can help to keep those unwanted pesky mosquitoes and flies away.
You could also consider getting tabletop lamps that are rated for outdoor use, or overhead pendant or chandelier lighting. When choosing the right task lighting design for your outdoor dining space, it will largely depend on the desired ambiance of your space and how much you are looking to spend.
Additional landscape lighting ideas include:
Accent lighting can help to create the right ambiance in the dining area. Some ideas include under-counter lights. Some LED tape lights just under the edge of a counter can be a very appealing effect. String lights can also be used as accent or general lighting for that outdoor bistro feel. Wall sconces can also be added to highlight attractive outdoor architecture and add to the overall lighting plan.
An outdoor cooking and dining space is wonderful this time of year. Not only do you get to enjoy this fabulous warm weather, but you can keep your house cool by cooking outside. Proper lighting for this outdoor space will make it attractive and welcoming for your guests as well as making food preparation more enjoyable and easier.
Outdoor pendant lights have been popular and continue to remain so with many low-cost options now available across a variety of retailers. Be sure the light is rated to be outdoors and water proof. Pendant lights are great for sitting areas, a dining table, or outdoor kitchen area. Choose a fixture that provides soft warm light or a brighter task lighting depending on your placement.
Pendant lights are also great a focal point for your outdoor space. Don’t be afraid to be creative and try something new to really bring your outdoor space to life.
Outdoor fireplaces are another fixture that’s popular in outdoor living spaces. These can be simple and utilitarian or elaborate and high end. You can cook by them or simply lay back and relax by the natural light of a contained fire. These are available in a variety of shapes and colours and utilize wood, gas, and other fuels.
Fire Pits and Bowls
If a full-fledged outdoor fireplace won’t fit your space for whatever reason, there are a nice range of fire pits and bowls available as well. The added benefit to these fixtures is that they’re often easily relocated to a less conspicuous location during the daylight hours.
This is a great way to have a fire when you want it and have the container be very stylish and match the rest of your outdoor décor—but not be in the way or obtrusive when not in use.
Enhance What’s Unique About Your Space
Many outdoor spaces lack walls and can sometimes be challenging to create an eye-catching focal point. Do you have overhead beams, posts or pillars, something unique or interesting in your outdoor space? Do you have a wall with an interesting texture that would make great use of shadow and light? These might all be a great starting place to place some lights to highlight what’s already there.
Contact a Professional
When it comes to your landscape lighting ideas, design and installation, a lot is on the line. Whether you want to create more outdoor usable living space in your backyard, create the perfect ambiance for entertaining, or increase your safety and security, proper landscape lighting design can accomplish all of these things at the same time.
Our lighting design experts at Nite Time Décor can work with you to design beautiful natural lighting effects and professionally install them around your home to ensure your vision becomes a reality. We invite you to view our gallery to see our one-of-a kind designs.
The Best 30 Do’s and Don’t of Landscape Lighting Design
To help you create the best landscape lighting design for your property and backyard, our experienced landscape lighting experts have compiled a list of over 30 landscape lighting Do’s and Don’ts. We encourage you to read this list before planning your next design, making any purchases and installing any bulb, fixture or wire.
Why is this important?
Landscape lighting systems have become increasingly popular among homeowners. Think back to the last time you took a drive through any residential neighbourhood after dark. Chances are the majority of homes you passed by had some form of landscape lighting. This is because today’s landscape lighting systems provide homeowners with a wide variety of benefits. Sure, there’s the obvious aesthetic benefit of illuminating the unique architectural features of you home, but there are many other benefits as well. Some of these additional benefits include added safety, improved security and an increase in the overall value of your home.
With all these benefits provided by effective landscape lighting system, it’s no wonder that outdoor lighting has become a popular area for homeowners to focus on. However, if you do not have knowledge of current lighting design trends, techniques and best practices, you may end up with an ineffective and tacky-looking design. Worse yet, if you opt for a DIY installation, you could wind up creating potential safety hazards around your home and property.
Here is our list of Do’s for landscape Lighting:
Do install outdoor lighting
Many people spend a fortune on a beautiful landscape, only to have it shrouded in darkness come sunset. However, it’s the nightscape that creates some of the most dramatic effects on your yard, so don’t miss out on a beautiful landscaping opportunity!
An outdoor lighting system can increase the time you have to enjoy your beautiful property. What’s more, your landscape is often the first thing a visitor will see at your home, and as the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a great first impression. An outdoor lighting system will show your guests and neighbours that you care about your home’s appearance, both outside and inside.
Do use professionals to design and install your outdoor lighting system
You wouldn’t let an amateur build your house, so why would you trust your outdoor lighting to some hardware store clerk?
We’ve all been to a house where a poorly positioned spotlight blinds us as we pull into the driveway. Our Nite Time Décor experts can take that spotlight and reposition it so it showcases a portion of your landscaping (rather than startling your visitors!). A professional knows how to do things properly. They know how voltage works and how to work with it. Professionally installed outdoor lighting system is just that – a system. Not a haphazard spew of randomly placed lights.
Do use a variety of lights
Using the same kind of lights – same colour, same intensities – in all areas of your landscape lighting design will not help you achieve the aesthetic look you’re likely going for. Using the same lights across your whole system will make your landscape lighting design appear dull, flat and un-textured.
We recommend using a variety of lights that have different lighting angles, colours and intensities. This is not to say that you should use red, green and every colour under the rainbow, but rather that you should incorporate a variety of soft, warm colours throughout a number of areas around your home and property to create depth and ambiance.
Do use the right amount of fixtures
When it comes to the fixtures in your landscape lighting design, less is not always more. In fact, when homeowners try to cut costs by skimping on light fixtures, it often ends in disappointment. Sometimes, homeowners will opt to increase the brightness of their bulbs instead of purchasing and installing the appropriate amount of fixtures needed for their landscape lighting design. When this happens, it creates a stark contrast of extreme brightness and extreme darkness in your design. This is far from the ideal lighting style you are likely looking to achieve, and will act as more of a distraction than anything else.
If you are looking to cut costs, we recommend installing your landscape lighting system in phases or zones. Start by illuminating the area closest to your house and work your way out. This will help make the installation easier, less costly and will guarantee that each zone is illuminated in just the way you want it.
Do focus on your home
Before positioning outdoor landscape lighting around the natural features of your yard, light up your home. Highlight the walls of your house and the architectural features that make your home unique. This offers better security and safety, as well as a beautifully elegant backdrop for the rest of your outdoor lighting.
Do start by lighting the front elevation of your home
Starting your lighting at a higher elevation will help you set the balance of your lighting design. From there, you can move into smaller areas and focus on highlighting individual plants.
Do take your entire property into consideration
When installing garden lights, make sure that they mesh with the other fixtures in your landscape lighting design. A beautifully lit garden will look out of place if the rest of your property is under-lit or features few too many fixtures.
Do use lights to improve the safety of garden walkways
This will ensure that all areas, especially those that change levels (steps and stairs) receive the right level of lighting to prevent trips and falls.
Do prevent glare
Use shields to ensure that the light from your Burlington landscape lighting system is properly directed.
Do make use of multiple layers
As with many other areas of design, complexity in layers adds beauty to the overall effect of your landscape lighting. Using layers in an area of lighting adds depth and three dimensions to your outdoor landscape lighting. For instance, positioning several spotlights from different angles against a statue can create silhouettes and layers to offer a detailed lighting effect, which would not have been accomplished with only one light.
Do illuminate shrubs and other areas to improve security
Shining a light on these areas will eliminate possible intrusion points and improve the overall safety of your garden and yard.
Do make use of uplighting for a natural look
The uplighting landscape lighting technique draws the eye upwards, giving the plants in your garden the illusion of size and grandeur.
Do down light pathways
Proper pathway lighting with down lighting are highly underrated, and also very rare. It’s difficult to find situations in which you can adjust your landscape lighting so that a path is lit from above. So, if you find the opportunity, take it. This is a gorgeous way to add illumination and safety, and has the added appeal of being uncommon in outdoor lighting.
Do consider daylighting lighting options
When planning your garden lighting design, be sure to take dawn, dusk, and evening activities into consideration. This is when you’re most likely to be utilizing your garden for parties and social gatherings. Play with effects in these lighting situations in order to produce the perfect mood.
Do maintain your outdoor lighting
For example, say you install our lovely area lights or tiki lamps and during one summer, there is a particularly violent windstorm. This could cause your lamps to be knocked out of alignment, causing the light to be splayed haphazardly throughout your yard. Or, after several years, maybe a light bulb burns out or electrical cords start creeping their way into view.
Luckily, professional landscape lighting installation companies are committed to providing you with quality customer service long after the installation has been completed. Visit our Service and Maintenance page for more information about how Nite Time Decor can continue to help you as the years go by.
Do consider LEDs from Nite Time Décor
LEDs are more than just the latest fad in trendy energy conservation. They really do the trick for offering beautiful outdoor landscape lighting while saving you money on your hydro bill. Though the initial start up cost appears pricey, the amount of money you’re saving in electricity more than makes up for it in the long term. Nite Time Décor has done the savings breakdown calculations on LEDs for you if you’re still not convinced.
Garden and landscape Lighting Don’ts – Be careful to avoid these mistakes:
Don’t forget the second story
While you’re figuring out how to light up your home, don’t forget to include the second story. With this, you’ll also want to include any peaks, pillars, overhangs, and other aspects that will look ethereal when illuminated above your lawn. Elevated lighting helps your lawn stand out in the night.
Don’t ignore small or dark spaces
Many homeowners focus purely on the larger, grandiose aspects of their landscaping. However, the small details are sometimes what can provide the loveliest accents to outdoor lighting.
Find the little areas in your garden that are easily forgotten, and offer them dignity in beauty through lighting. The benefit of this is also added security. When you light dark spaces, you create fewer holes for intruders to sneak through. Consider highlighting smaller features or areas of your garden in order to increase the “wow” factor of your design.
Don’t over illuminate
One of the major and most common mistakes that Nite Time Décor Oakville sees is the issue of over lighting. The beautiful thing about outdoor landscape lighting is that it doesn’t have to work hard to light up an ebony night.
Think of the moon and stars in the country – they are beautiful not because they ignite the brightness of the sun, but because they glitter and shimmer in a way that illuminates without blinding. Produce a similar effect with your landscape lighting design, and you’ll quickly leave the realm of airport tarmac and enter into an ethereal realm of splendour.
Don’t unintentionally create shadows
When you combine light without balance the result is unintentional shadowing. Lighting one area while leaving another in shadows doesn’t just look visually uneven, it will also reduce the safety and security of your property.
Don’t distract with light
Remember to direct light away from windows in order to reduce glare. Failure to do this could result in unwanted light reflections on your yard.
Don’t use 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.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Use different wattages and beam spreads in order to create a truly unique lighting experience in your garden.
Don’t light for a runway
Countless numbers of homeowners make the mistake of lighting pathways and driveways with fixtures positioned in a straight line. This is boring, and tends to make your garden walk or driveway look like an airplane landing strip. Get creative with the placement – stagger the lights a bit to gain a more aesthetically pleasing outdoor lighting experience.
Don’t ignore limitations
Everything has its limits. When you’re choosing fixtures for your home, make sure to understand the limitations of both your home’s design, as well as the limitations of the fixture itself. Sometimes what you had envisioned for your home’s outdoor landscape lighting design just won’t work within the inherent boundaries of the architecture of your house. That’s okay: there are always solutions. And whatever solution you find is bound to look more beautiful for being perfectly tailored to the needs of your home.
Don’t isolate areas of your property
It can sometimes be difficult to decide what areas of your home and property are most important to include in your landscape lighting design. If you do not plan out your design correctly, you may end up isolating areas of your outdoor space. Take walkways and trees for example. These are common areas to illuminate in a landscape lighting design, however if you light up only these areas, and leave the surrounding areas completely unlit, you will isolate the space and create adverse effects.
To ensure you are not creating an extreme lighting contrast, we recommend incorporating other areas of the larger landscape into your outdoor lighting design. This can be as simple as placing lights in the plant beds and trees along the outer edge of your property.
Don’t forget your neighbours
In the dark, it’s easy to forget that your property is not isolated, and any addition of light can potentially affect the people next door. The form of light pollution caused by a glaring or unshielded outdoor lighting system is called light trespass. Not only will your neighbours find it annoying to have their sleep disturbed by your lights shining into a bedroom window, but it may also present a safety hazard if their steps and pathways are obscured by the glare from your home.
As you do your own thinking about the kind of lighting design you want, consider your neighbours with these tips:
Do aim before you fire
Every light should only illuminate the intended area and should never be directed along common lines of sight. When lights are improperly aimed, the resulting glare reduces rather than improves our eye’s ability to see at night and could cause danger.
Most fixtures you use should be adjustable, especially lights that are mounted at or above eye-level.
Lights that are vertically mounted, such as PAR lights and other types of spotlight should always be aimed at less than a 45 degree angle, and never straight out. While doing this, pay attention to the direction of the light and what other nearby areas might be affected.
Do shields up!
All good lighting designers will tell you: The thing to admire about a good lighting design is the effect it creates, and not the bulbs or fixtures used. If a bulb is clearly visible, then it is causing glare and it will throw light into unwanted areas, such as your neighbour’s yard.
Professionally designed fixtures that are intended for use in an outdoor lighting system will always be shielded. This allows for placement of the fixture in such a way that the beam can be accurately focused without exposing the bulb. It also prevents light from bleeding into surrounding areas. If your existing lighting uses an unshielded floodlight or other type of bulb, you can purchase shields to fit most sizes of fixture.
Don’t rely on solar lights
Solar lights may seem like a great, environmentally-conscious option in theory, but the fact is there are some downfall to using solar lights as well, and if you want to have a consistent and effective landscape lighting system, it’s best not to rely solely on solar lights. The main problem here comes from the inconsistency of the effectiveness of solar lighting. While they might work great in the summer months when the sun is shining bright for the majority of the day, you will see these lights perform 30-50 per cent less efficiently in the winter.
If you are looking for environmentally and energy-conscious ways to illuminate your outdoor space, we suggest using LED lights. LED lights use a fraction of the energy that hydrogen-based bulbs use and are reliable for use all year long. On top of that, LED lights also provide a wide variety of colour options to choose from.
Avoid making mistakes in your garden lighting design by planning your approach with a professional.
Do contact a professional
Whether you’re simply planning your next landscape lighting design, or you have a chosen design that’s ready to be installed, it’s best to contact a professional landscape lighting company.
At Nite Time Decor, our experienced team of landscape lighting professionals can help you design an outdoor lighting design that is perfectly suited to your home and property. We service homeowners and businesses throughout Hamilton, Halton, Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga, Ontario. Contact us today to get started!