How To Choose an Outdoor Lighting Professional

Professional outdoor lighting for your home can provide several benefits. It offers curb appeal and enhanced safety for pathways, walkways and steps. Outdoor lighting allows you to extend the enjoyment of your outdoor living spaces long after the sun goes down and adds a layer of security against unwanted visitors.
When considering outdoor lighting there are several options to choose from. DIY products are available in big box stores and online. Solar lights are everywhere, but don’t provide a sufficient amount of light output to light a pathway properly. Line voltage lighting is an option, but a licensed electrician must install it and bulbs tend to burn out quickly.
(Not to mention a higher electricity bill.)
The Basics
A legitimate professional outdoor lighting system installation will include:
• A custom design plan
• Quality products (fixtures, transformer, cable, etc.)
• Thorough, meticulous installation
• Ongoing service to ensure that the system always performs in perfect condition
Outdoor Lighting Design Elements
Less is more with landscape lighting. Over lamping and poor placement of fixtures can wash out landscaping and create unnecessary glare for the homeowner. When working with a professional designer a needs analysis should be developed to determine the goals for the homeowner.
Pathway Lighting
Energy efficient path lights direct light downward to showcase pathways and highlight low flowerbeds. Avoid placing the fixtures in a straight line and be sure to choose quality fixtures that have a large light spread.
Up-Lighting and Grazing
Create that welcome home feeling in the evening hours by evenly up-lighting your home. Be sure to highlight those special architectural details that set your home apart. Extend the look of your home and add a pop of color by highlighting some specimen trees in the front yard.
Lighting for Outdoor Living Spaces
Daylight savings may be around the corner but a well-designed lighting plan will help extend your outdoor living into all four seasons of the year. Don’t forget the perimeter trees to create some depth in your backyard. You will most likely find that the evening hours are soon to be your most cherished!
Deck and Step Lighting
There are great options for under mount deck lights that don’t show much by day, but certainly give off a great deal of light at night. Rope lighting almost completely disappears by day when installed properly underneath a deck rail. It gives off a soft glow in the evening hours. Step lighting is an ideal way to keep your stairs safe by placing lights in the stairs themselves.
Festive and Holiday Lighting
What a great way to spice up your patio or pergola to create the perfect space to entertain. Your local lighting professionals have just the lighting solutions for you to get the party started whether you are shopping for temporary or permanent lighting solutions.
Choosing A Provider
Now that you have a basic understanding of what’s involved and what to expect relative to lighting solutions, do your homework. Come to the 5th Annual Collin County Home & Garden Show, Sept. 15-17 to talk to pros like And trust the pros, like Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Dallas, America’s most trusted source for professional outdoor lighting.

5 Professional Outdoor Lighting Design Tips

By: Paul Gosselin of NightScenes Landscape Lighting Professionals – Austin, TX
Almost anybody can stick some lights in the landscape of your home and it would be an improvement over not having any lights at all. In order to make it better though, a little time needs to be dedicated to the actual lighting design. Here are a few tips to take an ordinary outdoor lighting system to another level:
1. Don’t use the same fixture for everything. The most commonly used fixture for residential outdoor lighting is the “bullet” or spot light. This fixture can accept an MR16 lamp, either halogen or outdoor-rated LED, which can produce several different lumen levels and beam spreads, depending on the lamp. Unfortunately, we commonly see the same lamp in every fixture, which can be a bit boring. When using this type of fixture, don’t be afraid to use different lumen outputs and different beam spreads. You can even use different light colors these days with LED lighting.
2. Move some fixtures to different locations. We see this all the time where the installer will place a single fixture in front of each tree. Yes, this does look better than no light at all, but there is no imagination and no depth in the design this way. Try back lighting some of these specimen plants to generate some interest and dimension.
3. Avoid the runway look. An all-too-common lighting design mistake is lining a walkway with light fixtures, commonly known as the runway look. Try staggering path lights back and forth on both sides of the walkway, or you may try lighting on only one side.
4. Use more fixtures with lower lumen outputs. All too often we see people trying to save fixtures by using fewer lights, but using higher light intensity. This produces really over-bright spots with very dark holes between them, creating an unsafe situation on the property that just looks bad. A great lighting design uses different light levels throughout the landscape without black holes unless there is a dramatic reason for it. Keep in mind that these dark holes become very good hiding places for bad guys.
5. Experiment with the lights. Try different locations with different fixtures to see how you can get the best effects. I know that wide wash fixtures work better for grazing walls to enhance surface texture because I did some experiments. Using bullet lights against a wall creates what I like to call the “mark of Vorro” (instead of Zorro). If you’ve seen homes with a row of V looking light beams shining up on them, you can bet that they used bullet lights with 30 degree beam spreads and no lenses. Wide wash fixtures will create a nice wide, more diffused beam of light, eliminating the telltale V that is often seen in poorly designed lighting plans.
These are just a few very basic tips, but they will help you create a more visually pleasing overall lighting system. And to learn more, bring your pictures, plans and ideas to the Austin Spring Home & Garden Show April 1-3 and stop by booth number 643 to talk with NightScenes!