Lighting

We now have a new website dedicated exclusively to Outdoor Lighting. The Outdoor Lighting Expert.Com is loaded with information such as:

This site has a blog format and will be constantly updated with tips and information. Whether you want to Do It Yourself or call in a professional, The Outdoor Lighting Expert will help you travel the maze of options that are now available to you in this ever changing market. 

Landscape Lighting Ideas Dallas: Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

BY Maria Bargellini

Dallas Landscape Lighting Contractor

Not all outdoor lighting design are created equal. Landscape lighting is not about throwing a few lights on the ground and pointing them up a wall. There’s proper technique, classic design, and many more factors. One important factor is the outdoor lighting fixture itself. Here is an example of a outdoor lighting fixture that is used by some less creative and training installers. This first picture is what is commonly seen today around town. It is a 120v “outdoor lighting fixture“–or at least that’s what they think. This type of fixtures in wrong wrong wrong. The bulbs are too big, too noticeable, and worst of all- the fixture is not approve for use in an upward position. It even says so on the fixture.

 

The reason it’s not supposed to be pointed upward is to not allow water to enter the fixture. Water entering the socket will rust corrode the interior socket. In most case the components will oxidize and will no longer make the necessary contact with the bulb. It also makes it more dangerous to change the bulb.

Why you shouldn’t use them

  • Exposed bulbs that get hot
  • Sockets will rust when water enters
  • Not approved for this application
  • Not an attractive outdoor lighting fixture
  • They are usually installed 24″ from the ground and if there aren’t any shrubs planted they can be very distracting and unappealing

 

Outdoor lighting fixtures that point upward should be encased in glass that should be properly angled toward a drain hole that will release the water. If you currently have these fixtures installed on your house you will have some maintenance issues on your hands such as some of the following:

  • Constant changing of bulbs
  • unreliable performance
  • possible shorts
  • re-sealing fixtures to the home to prevent leaks
  • Light angles that are too wide
  • Unflattering light
  • Low angle ability
  • Too much concentrated light

If you need help or have questions about your Outdoor Lighting in Dallas please feel free to call us at 214-257-8155.

Landscape Lighting Dallas: Indoor and Outdoor Lighting Dallas

Your home is more than likely the biggest investment that you will ever make in one lifetime – which is the reason why it pays to pay attention to the smaller details like indoor and outdoor lighting. Lighting is not particularly expensive when you compare it to purchasing new siding, a wood deck and furniture, however it can make all the difference in how your home looks and feels. It can completely change your paint color, open up a room or make it feel more comfy. Outdoor lighting as well as indoor lighting fixtures have come a long way from the old brass gold colored fixtures. They are available in highly decorative shapes ranging form the insanely modern to copies of rare antiques.

Now you can’t  talk about fixtures without talking about bulbs, which are referred to as lamps. Lumen output, foot candles, energy ratings—all the terms can make you nuts. Make sure you visit a showroom to get a better understanding of what different light bulbs look like when lit. Fluorescent lights deserve mention and they have made many improvements to the color of the light but the have a long way to go. And although they conserve energy because of the mercury inside them, discarding them is an issue. You can find more about fluorescents here. Click here for an article on the Best bulbs by popular mechanics. Are compact fluorescents better? Click here for more. There are dozens of bulbs available.

Indoor Lighting

Lighting should work around your furniture. Figure out your furniture placement first and foremost. You can make your fixture a focal point, like a chandelier or use things like low voltage recessed lighting to high light other focal points. A lot of people think recess cans should be equally spaced when in fact the spacing is irrelevant to what you are trying to accomplish. If you have visitors that compliment your light spacing you need new friends. Highlight artwork, seating areas, graze textured walls or architecturally interesting areas-as for the spacing forghetaboutit.

Outdoor Lighting

Although there are some beautiful fixtures available for the most part you should see the result of the fixture without seeing the source. Care should be taken that there aren’t any glare or hot spots. You want your lighting to showcase your yard or home not smack your guest in the face with 20-50 watts of blinding light. Install your fixtures to highlight textures, artwork, interesting plants and colors. Installing lights in the trees to highlight focal points like fountains and statues below. First figure out what you what to light, then how much of it you want or need it to be lit and then you go shopping for the fixtures. Pre-packaged lights at the box stores are OK but overall the quality and effect is just not there. Solar lights have also come a long way but the light output still hasn’t reached the level of low voltage fixtures. In addition if the light is a deep shade it will not collect enough light to function properly.

If you have any questions or would like to request a Outdoor Lighting Demo please call us at 214-257-8155

Outdoor Lighting Dallas:  Choosing Outdoor Lighting fixtures

Landscape Lighting by Dallas Curb Appeal

There are many types and brands of outdoor lighting fixtures to choose from. Here is some information to help you in choosing which types of fixtures you want to invest in for your Dallas Landscape Lighting.

Length of time you will be in the home

  • If your are only going to be in your home for another 1-5 years- is a lifetime warranty worth it? The ROI (return on investment) just isn’t there.
  • If you are or are planning to retire in your home than I would definitely choose fixtures that carry a lifetime warranty. These fixtures are made to withstand the test of time and will be a better investment.

Available budget

  • Landscape lighting fixtures are not all created equal. If you want fixtures with a lifetime warranty but it’s just outside your budget you can go with a less expensive landscape lighting fixture with a 3-15 year warranty and when your budget allows- you can have the fixtures replaced with ones that have a lifetime warranty.
  • You can also buy less fixtures but increase the wattage of your transformer to accommodate additional fixtures in the future. If you want landscape lighting for both your front and back yards you can also increase the wattage of your transformer to accommodate all the fixtures on the property. Keep in mind that the lights can only be run off of 1 timer, meaning that all the lights will turn off and on at the same time.

Finishes

  • Specialty finishes like Verde, which are hand painted can add to the price both for the additional labor required to produce them and the freight to get them as they are usually not in stock.
  • Solid and spun brass landscape lighting fixtures are the most popular finishes used today. They can range in warranty from 10 years to lifetime.
  • Copper landscape lighting -either you love it or hate it. It’s a bright shiny color initially and over time it will give you a nice patina finish. This is purely a personal aesthetic choice.

Maintenance and Adjusting

  • Ah maintenance. Landscape lighting has to be maintained in order to properly function and look it’s best. As your landscape grows your needs change. Larger shrubs, and growing trees can change your lighting needs over time. Path lights may need extension to make them larger, bulbs may need to be changed to widen angles, etc.
  • Path and area landscape light can be easy to change the bulbs. They can also be hard or require tools to change. If you are maintaining your own lights ask to be shown how to maintenance them and how difficult it will be to change the bulbs.

Bulbs

  • Low voltage landscape lighting bulbs or lamps come in many different wattages and beam spreads. When dealing with fixtures that are in hard to reach areas, do yourself a favor– splurge on good bulbs. MR16′s are rated in colors, beam angles and hours. The average life hours can range widely starting at 1,000 hours up to 18,000. Prices also vary widely, as much as $10 difference. Trusted brands like GE are a safe investment.
  • Tree lights have to be considered first and foremost. If they are installed up in the canopy you or yourDallas landscape lighting contractor will have to climb up on that tree to change the bulbs. This service is considerably more than changing bulbs on the ground. Depending on the type of fixtures you have installed these bulbs can be upwards of $40 just to buy and over $100 to have changed. Generally, the higher the fixture the more it’s going to cost–if there’s special equipment needed hold on to your socks when you get the bill.
  • Consider LED landscape lighting for hard to reach spots and in cases when you will be using more than 10 fixtures to save on electricity.

If you would like a complimentary night time demo or have additional questions please feel free to call Dallas Curb Appeal, your landscape lighting experts at 214-257-8155 for more information.

Outdoor Lighting: Path Lights and Area Lights

Outdoor Lighting Path Lights and Area Lights

Path lighting should not be confused with airplane runway lights. The most common mistakes and least attractive way to install pathway or area lighting  in Dallas is to use too many fixtures, fixtures that are too dim, improperly spacing your outdoor lighting fixtures, and installing them in flat grass covered areas where they stick out like sore thumbs and are hard to keep the mowers away from. You can find tons of DIY articles and videos online that will show you how to slap them in but unfortunately they fall short on design. If you are thinking about doing it yourself peruse the neighborhood first at night and see for your self what good and bad lighting looks like.

What not to do with your Outdoor lighting

Do not use too many lights–depending on the fixture and conditions you should be able to get away with spacing your light 5-15 feet apart. Take heed to make sure that any steps or elevation changes are properly illuminated and take priority over all your pathway lighting. In addition, any other tripping hazards such as uneven sidewalks should be illuminated or eliminated. Most local ordinances designate that anything under 4 inches to be a tripping hazard.

The difference between Area lights and Path lights

Area Lights--The biggest difference is that Area lights have their stems in the middle of their hats (hood or cover) allowing for a circular pattern on the ground that will illuminate both the path and the space around the stems.

Path Lights--have their stems at the end or edge of the fixture. Pathway lights throw light onto the pathway surface but not beyond.

Solar Lights have not come as far as I had hoped. The lights emitted have uneven light distribution and have weak output.

Doing it right

By off-setting your pathway fixtures you will illuminate more surface area. By properly spacing them you will give your path an elongated appearance. In this case less is more. Another issue is maintenance–not lighting maintenance but lawn maintenance. Weed whackers and mowers can wreak havoc on fixtures by nicking wires and off centering your outdoor lighting fixtures. A way to combat that problem is to install edging along the path and fill the area with either mulch, stone, or plant material. I like Giant Liriope myself, because  it will mask the prominence of the fixtures.

If you are ready to install landscape lighting–pathway lights or otherwise please feel free to contact us to set up a nite-time lighting demo. See the lights in action for yourself.

Outdoor Lighting Dallas–Up and Down Lights

Up and Down Outdoor lighting fixtures might look similar but are not constructed in the same manner.  Most down lights are made exclusively for tree and structural lighting where the  lights are mounted pointing downward. Up light type outdoor lighting fixtures are used in the ground exclusively to point light upwards, usually to graze the side of a house, column or tree.

Quality up light outdoor lighting fixtures are engineered to drain water using specially shaped lenses that are made to drain toward holes to keep the light free of standing water.

Down light type outdoor lighting fixtures are also engineered to drain water but in a different way then up-lights. These fixtures are not meant to be used for a purpose other than what they were intended for. The outdoor lighting fixtures can look very similar but they do not operate in the same manner. Water will likely enter the outdoor lighting fixture if it is not positioned and used correctly.

Outdoor Lighting in Dallas

Lighting your front yard can make a huge difference in how your home is viewed. If you are lucky enough to live in a section of your street that does not have any street lighting you can take your house  from invisible to “here I am”. Adding lighting has many benefits-here are a few below.

  • Activates your visual world–If you can’t see it–is it even there?
  • Safety and Security–Home invasions plague even the best of  neighborhoods. Illuminating your home can help deter would be burglars because they will often chose a darker house that has less risk of being seen.
  • Curb Appeal–Lighting can make your house look wider, or taller, it can add dimension and showcase texture and architecture.
  • Visually connect spaces
  • Changes the feel of your home

What not to do when lighting your home.

  • Don’t light in front of windows-this will produce glare and make the viewing area uncomfortable inside
  • Light your neighbors property–It’s always better to make nice with the neighbors. Keep your lighting away from their field of view.
  • Traffic obstructions–definitely do not point fixtures where they can impede vehicular movement
Outdoor Lighting

You’ve Invested too Much Time On Your Home Not To Show It Off At Night!

Whether you want something subtle or want to be the stand out house in the neighborhood, Dallas Curb Appeal can help you enhance your homes appearance at night as well as during the day.

Incorporating Outdoor Lighting into your Landscape Comes with Many Benefits:

  • Enhance your Homes Curb Appeal
  • Add Security without harsh spot light glare
  • Highlight Architecture
  • Showcase your Home
  • Enjoy the Outdoors Longer
  • Safely light pathways for adventurous kids
  • Add Value to your home
  • Entertain outdoors and invite more friends home
  • Timers and photocells come standard. No worrying about turning lights off at night.