Category Archives: Landscape Lighting

Tools that get the Job Done

There might be a better way.

A good contributor to what makes our success is the equipment and tools we use to produce great lighting results. At Moon Glow we are continually investing in items to make us more efficient, effective and productive.

In 2017, a second bucket truck was added. With two of these types of vehicles in our fleet we are able to execute a great deal of holiday lighting installations on trees, homes and commercial sites. The large amount of on-board storage allows us to have a mobile warehouse of materials and tools for our landscape and holiday seasons. Each of these trucks is equipped with three ladders – one extension plus 6’ and 10’ step ladders.

We also elected to add a wire tracker to our arsenal. As the name would indicate, this tool is used for locating wire. Using this tool could lead to finding so much more – like a buried light fixture. When it comes to servicing lighting systems this tool is invaluable when seeking breaks in the wire.  Another benefit is the ability to map a site making future service calls easier with the knowledge gained from mapping.

Not all of the equipment we use is owned. Our rental partners provide us with an array of tools to get the job done. Extended lifts are necessary when we want to reach beyond the 35 feet offered by our trucks. We have also taken advantage of narrow trenchers and vibratory plows to efficiently install large amounts of wire.

It is important to us here at Moon Glow to be able to do the job right, in a tidy manner and on time. Having the right tools allows us to handle these tasks accordingly.

If you want to see us put these pieces to work for you, call Moon Glow today.

Trends: Patio Essentials

The dilemma with trends is that they come to pass. It is important to us at Moon Glow that we get behind a trend that will stand out and last beyond being a fad. Not to mention selecting based on quality. A few recent trends have lent nicely to the outdoor living movement, long term.

Bistro Lights

Also referred to as patio string lights, this style of lighting has seen a major upswing of usage.  Complimented by LED filament lamps to give a classic feel, these stringers can accentuate any patio.  A warm, welcome glow from overhead is inviting, not to mention its amazing appearance.  The key elements for us is that they are properly installed, durable and have a consistent colour output.  Lots of retailers offer this type of product, but we have discovered a few low-voltage options that will tie in nicely to your current system.  A simple switch can be added to provide separate control.

Outdoor Chandeliers

Another hot item that has staying power, but no, we are not referring to the crystal chandelier. Three and five bulb fixtures are the most common choice with several tasteful and timeless styles existing. Now with LED bulbs that make the simple conversion from line voltage to low voltage, we have a large selection.  A well-placed outdoor chandelier can set the mood just right or get everyone to the dinner table. A dimmer switch is the perfect complement for control.

BBQ lights

Not the first time we have brought this option up, but a definite patio essential! Mounting a switch controlled down-light to a structure and directing at the cooking area is one way to achieve functional BBQ light; another alternative and personal favourite is a table-mounted gooseneck design.  This fixture includes a convenient switch at its base, and an adequate amount of light to get the steaks cooked to perfection.

If you are inspired by these trends, give Moon Glow a call today.

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Reviving Your Lighting System

Outdoor landscape lighting

Over the previous season we encountered a handful of landscape lighting systems that, since installation, had been left untouched.  Needless to say, each of these sites required some attention.

At Moon Glow we take a great deal of pride in our ability to install a great design for you. But equally as important to us is our capacity to service systems that we may or may not have installed.

Regular maintenance is crucial

Like your furnace or air conditioner, a scheduled maintenance is a good way to keep everything in perfect working order. We understand that life gets hectic, so having your system in perfect working order ensures complete enjoyment during your down time.

It starts with:

  • Safeguarding seals and sockets to ensure that dampness issues don’t arise.
  • Cleaning the lens of a light fixture allows the bulb to present itself like it was new.

We also check to see that the bulb is in perfect working order.

From this service we move along to straightening and possible relocation.  In our Canadian climate, the freeze/thaw cycle means ground-mounted lights may shift out of position.

Moving fixtures may be necessary as the garden matures.  Plants grow.  Your lighting may require adjusting with this.

This could even mean a bulb change or the addition of another fixture to capture a now-larger specimen.

Tree-mounted lights need extra care and attention

We highly value the importance of servicing tree-mounted lights.

As trees grow, it is vital that we adjust the fasteners to keep the fixture from being in direct contact with the tree to maintain plant health.  Wire fasteners see the same service.

And last but certainly not least, don’t forget to replace the batteries in your timer!

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If your system is in need of a tune-up, please call Moon Glow today.

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Trends: Low Voltage Security Lighting

It’s been well documented that landscape lighting has a great impact on security and safety within residential properties. By creating safe passage, awareness of changes in elevation along walkways or just a well-lit area that provides a wall of light to keep the unwanted out, lighting lends greatly to the sanctuary that is your home.

To take it one step further, we now have available to us a line of heavy duty lighting made specifically for the commercial and industrial security market.

This line of simple fixtures is available in a finish similar to galvanized, and is rugged enough to take the site conditions expected.

  • Area lights (similar in appearance to traditional path lights) can be fastened to the top of chain link fencing to give high, bright coverage.
  • Rectangular wall packs are also available for areas that don’t have the fence to fasten to.

Both styles of light fixtures draw a small amount of hydro as they are lit with energy efficient LEDs. These LEDs are a bright white colour to ensure high amounts of visibility to not only impact intruders, but to also positively aid those using the yard. This light colour is also most effective for visibility for security cameras. In summary, these fixtures are high quality, glare free and targeted light.

For more information about this or any other landscape lighting ideas, contact us today!

Path Lighting Done Differently

When discussing path lighting, there will be many whose mind runs to Noma Moon Rays or a similar kind of product that they once installed at home. At Moon Glow, our thoughts turn to other opportunities to light the path. In fact, we often look at how we can light a path without a path light. Here are some of our favourite options:

  • Downlighting. In our opinion, when done right, nothing is quite as striking as downlighting. We look for options of downlighting from trees, soffits and other outdoor structures. From a tree, you will not only gain the obvious safe passage from this lighting technique, but also the allure of shadows from the foliage and branching. When trees are not available we go to structural mounting, always keeping in mind that the light source needs to be concealed as much as possible.
  • Post and Under-Coping Lights. In many home scenarios, we find that there is a narrow pathway to the backyard that has the outside of the wall on one side and a fence on the other side. This presents another unique opportunity to light the path. Under railings, on posts or as part of stone pillars or walls are also very popular for path illumination.
  • Last but not least is the most obvious – using a Path Light. Path lights are the most visible of any kind of lighting fixture, so we pay close attention to the style of your home, your input and any other property features to ensure a very complimentary product is installed.

To see what we have in store to light your path and property contact us today!

Lighting Never Takes an Off-Season

One of the biggest misconceptions about landscape lighting is that it disappears in the Winter. Quite the contrary – it actually just changes. As it does in Spring, Summer and Fall. Lighting is a four month display that highlights different aspects of your property with each interval of the year.

Every season brings about a new look:

Spring offers a fresh, new look with beautiful blooming flowers, vibrant colours and a reset of all things growing. Lighting showcases these features with an effective glow. As trees fill out lighting will highlight their foliage.

Summer is a time to enjoy the patio, a campfire or just a nap in the hammock. Your landscape lighting system will draw you back to the yard after dark to extend your outdoor enjoyment. Friday and Saturday nights in the summer never looked so good!

Fall brings about a new set of colours. Yellow, orange and red tones are set-off by warm, welcoming light. As the days get shorter, your landscape will come alive earlier in the evening hours. Soaking up the last barbeque or glass of wine never felt better with fall lighting.

In the Winter, there is good reason to use a variety of effects such as down-lighting, moonlighting and path lighting. The reflection from snow coupled with these features brings new life to the landscape despite the cold temperatures. Bare trees take on an elegant silhouette appearance unlike any of the other seasons. Lighting brings a glow to those long winter nights.

No matter the season, landscape lighting gives your property a great nighttime look. Call us today to start your four seasons of light!

New Lighting Technologies

Like many other industries, landscape lighting has seen its fair share of innovative-technologies introduced. These products add energy savings and options to make the control of your system easier and customizable.

LED continues to evolve and has essentially made halogen & incandescent bulbs a thing of the past. LED not only matches the look of traditional lamps but can also offer additional benefits like a greater array of colour tones, warranty, and (the obvious) incredible energy savings.

Transformers and timers have come a long way as well. We can now offer the ability to control your lights from a smart phone. As simple as a Blu-tooth connection for turning on and off, to the control of colour and brightness, phone apps can be a powerful option.

Devices also exist to add in the control of not only your low voltage system but also things like pond pumps, water features, and 120v outdoor lights.

If you wish to incorporate these technologies into your existing system or discuss how they would work with a new system, contact us today!

Light Pollution

I remember as a child growing up in the country, the sheer joy of being able to go outside and lay in the grass at night to look up at the stars. Mom and Dad bought me a telescope to enjoy the experience further. I also remember being guided up the road to my grandma’s house in the dead of night by the Northern Lights.

Today, many folks don’t get to search for the Big Dipper because it can’t be seen. The culprit?

Light pollution.

Increasing urban populations has led to more light requirements. The biggest issue here is that this lighting is often done poorly or just plain wrong. Light trespass, glare and clutter all combine as the elements of light pollution.

For our part and how it relates to landscape lighting, we focus on some key points so as not to contribute further to the amount of light pollution. Up-lighting is a major component of what we perform, but we are cautious to use shrouds, guards, lenses and not overly bright lamps to minimize or eliminate glare. It is also important to monitor our directions and angles. Path lights, post lights and linear lights are chosen because of their ability to throw light downward to an intended target and not spilled to unwanted places.

For more information on this topic, click here.

Anatomy of a Lighting Installation

For this blog post, we thought it would make sense to explain the process we use when it comes to actually installing a full lighting system. This is the stuff that ensures you have a well designed quality system for years to come.

When we arrive on site with our fixtures, bulbs, tools and plan, we start by flagging out the location of all of the lights we intend to install.

Fixture assembly comes next. We not only install the bulbs, but also lubricate the gaskets and put anti-corrosion compound on the bulb contacts or pins. We also install any ground spikes at this time as well as some other helpful items for glare control and effect.

Before our next step of digging in the wire, we have to perform some mathematics to ensure our power levels are solid. With LEDs this process has been greatly ‘dumbed down’, but it’s still important to have proper voltage over the length of the run to accommodate the lights we install.

Once we dig in the wire to an appropriate depth (not just below the mulch in gardens!), we can move to the next step which is fixture installation. Generally, we want to leave some extra wire for anything ground mounted to accommodate future relocation. If we are installing lights in trees we use stainless steel screws that will not be harmful. On decks, fences or more visible areas we take great care to eliminate the visibility of wire.

The transformer/ timer installation and connection is next. The location of this was pre-determined as we had to run the wire back to its location. It is imperative is that we plug into a working GFCI receptacle with an in-use cover. Then all that is left is to set the timer and test the system.

The last and most important piece is to revisit the site in the dark to fine tune the direction of the lights for optimized effect. It is possible to get very close to our targets in the day, but the night time visit ensures the greatest success. With this step complete we reveal the install to another happy customer.

If you want to see this process come to reality at your home, please contact us today!

Servicing Your Lighting Investment

It never fails – you’re driving down the highway when a little light appears on the display. Time for service.

Just like a car, your landscape lighting system needs service. Unlike your car however, there isn’t any sort of indicator as to when this needs to happen.

More often than not, servicing becomes a reactive process only. Proactive lighting service is seldom discussed, but it is essential every one to two years.

So, what could possibly need servicing on your lighting system?

  • Re-positioning due to frost heave and plant maturity
  • Tree-Mounted Fixtures require ‘backing-off’ of the fasteners to keep them from growing into the tree
  • Other Servicing includes cleaning the lens and inside of the fixture; lubrication of seals, application of an anti-corrosion compound to the bulb pins, and checking connections
  • Modifications like retro-fitting to LED bulbs, upgrading to digital timers or smart phone app-based controls

This Spring, contact us to service your lighting system so you can get back to enjoying beautiful evenings outside!

Want to spread your love of landscape lighting? A referral is the best compliment you can give! Feel free to share the post cards and business cards with your friends and family. We would be happy to meet with them.