Category Archives: Planning Landscape Lighting

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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4 Landscape Lighting Trends for 2013

Sustainable design is on everyone’s mind these days. For both interior designers and landscape designers, there is an increasing emphasis on making ecologically responsible design decisions. Materials are chosen not only for their appearance, but for their carbon footprint; how much energy they use over the course of their lifespan. This sometimes translates into interesting and unexpected design ideas, both in the home and in the yard.

This focus on sustainable, or green, design has also impacted the landscape lighting industry. In particular, recent trends include significant use of LED lights and solar powered lighting. Homeowners will find this has resulted in new and exciting ideas and products for the home landscape.

LED Lights in the Landscape

LED Lights in the LandscapeLight-emitting diode, or LED, light bulbs are much smaller and brighter than traditional light bulbs, while using much less energy. Just a few watts of power can light up a long string of bulbs. Rope lights, clear plastic tubing with a series of lights inside, are a fun use of LED technology. Tucked under the edge of a deck, handrail or step, these subtle lights can be both unobtrusive and dramatic.

Walkways and paths can be lit much more efficiently and safely with LED lights. A larger number of low level lights creates more even lighting than a smaller number of high wattage, bright lights.

Lighting the Ground, Not the Sky

Lighting the GroundWith the extent of outdoor roadway, street and building lights present today, in many places, it can be difficult to truly see the stars in the nighttime sky. This is why we opt for subtle lights that diffuse long before they disrupt a black night sky.

Pathway and walk lights will typically have caps or hats directing light toward your feet, not your face.

Softer light is often the most effective approach for the landscape. Harsh, bright lights create a lot of contrast, making it difficult to see beyond the immediate circle of light. A softly lit patio or garden gazebo is a more pleasant place to be on a summer evening. Consult with a professional lighting designer to figure out the best light levels and effects for your landscape.

Enhancing Your Architecture

Enhancing Your ArchitectureGone are the days of bright overhead lights above your entry door, letting the interest of your architecture get completely lost in the darkness. Subtle lighting from lower points on the home can give enough light to guide you in and out safely, while bringing texture to your home (rather than the flattening effect of strong exterior lights).

A hidden benefit of this kind of gentle home spotlighting is that it creates fewer dark shadows around a home where trespassers could be easily concealed.

Giving an Overlooked Feature a Chance to Shine

Chance to ShineThat tree in your backyard that nobody pays much attention to? The one that seems boring during the daylight while it’s surrounded by colourful flowers and vibrant shrubs?

It’s unique geometry makes it a striking focal point for the evening. When illuminated, the shadows that are created can be quite dramatic, bringing forth a feature that might otherwise me overlooked.

Don’t Lose your Curb Appeal when the Sun Goes Down

The presence of this new technology means you can creatively light much of your landscape with very little impact on your electric bill. Underwater lights for fountains or pools and lights for decks, patios, paths and individual trees are only a few of the possibilities.

Landscape lights will make your backyard an enjoyable place to be at night. Contact us if you’d like to start getting more out of your property.

How to Choose a Landscape Lighting Contractor You Can Trust

Contractor You Can Trust

Choosing the right contractor for work at your home can seem like a challenging task. When you have a specialized project such as landscape lighting installation, it is hard to know where to start.

When reviewing proposals, remember that the lowest cost is not always the best choice. You will need to factor in the quality of the work, length of warranties, the materials used and operating costs.

To make this seemingly difficult process a little easier, here are some things to consider:

Contractor Experience and Credentials

Make sure the landscape lighting contractors you are talking to are licensed (however, outdoor lighting installers are not required to be electricians). Also, find out who will be doing the actual work in your yard- and inquire about the amount of experience they have.

Get references for the contractors. Word of mouth from friends or neighbors is always best, but online customer reviews are a good substitute. Just be sure there are more than one or two reviews.

Customer Lobby

Opt for specialist, rather than generalists. Many general contractors will say that they are qualified for a landscape lighting project. It is likely that they will then subcontract the work to someone else without you having a say in who they select.

Though that is not always the case, you may end up paying more for work without knowing for sure who is going to be doing it. It is often best to work directly with a specialized lighting contractor.

Warranties and Guarantees

You should have either a lump sum cost proposal or an itemized cost estimate from each landscape lighting contractor. Make sure that it includes a written warranty.

Professional contractors should be willing to guarantee all materials and labor for at least one year. This means that anything that goes wrong due to either faulty materials or improper installation would be replaced at no cost to you.

It’s a warning flag if the contractor is not willing to guarantee their work and products.

Quality of Materials

With a specialized company, you have the opportunity to get some light fixtures and features that might not otherwise be available to you. Your choices should be higher quality than what is available when shopping at your local big box home improvement store.

A good contractor will have some creative recommendations based on the specific style and needs of your home landscape.

The Latest Technology

Advance Lighting

Recent years have brought dramatic advances in lighting efficiency and technology. Light-emitting diode (LED) lights are becoming common for all types of outdoor use.

LED lights are much more efficient than any other type of light. The cost of the energy required for LED systems is insignificant.

An automated control system will also save you money and make life easier. Smart technology for your outdoor lighting should include timers for your lights to turn them on and off when needed, and a straight forward system for overriding your day-to-day setting if necessary.

Part of your contractor’s service should include programming them for you, & training you in their use.

Get Started

A little bit of research and investigation will help you select the best landscape lighting contractor for your project. That upfront investment makes the rest of the process much easier.

Working with a good contractor can be an enjoyable experience. The result should be landscape lighting customized to meet your needs, providing years of enjoyment and enabling you to spend more time outdoors.

If you’re interested in getting a consultation for your project from Moon Glow Lightscapes, contact us today.