Outdoor Lighting Process

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The Outdoor Lighting Process

Landscape & Outdoor Lighting Design

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Professional outdoor lighting design beyond expectations.

Specific elements and textures are chosen to be lit, and those certain elements may be lit in different ways. Creativity turns your best outdoor features into cohesive art. Effective outdoor lighting design combines an array of light levels, from well-lit focal points to dimly lit areas of fill light. This draws your eye across the scene and create visually stimulating and dramatic results.

Effective design ties together both inside and outside spaces. Landscape lighting creates a magnificent outdoor living space that you, your family, and friends marvel at while inside and experienced by all while outside. The boundaries of this outdoor room are created by casting light on perimeter elements, trees and shrubs, structures, artwork, and the ground plane to tie everything together.

In many circumstances, effective outdoor lighting will allow us to safely navigate your outdoor spaces, such as walkways, pathways, and hardscape elements like retaining walls and steps. Also, an additional benefit of landscape lighting is home security.

Great lighting should evoke an emotional response – a combination of security, comfort, and excitement. We achieve this by utilizing high quality lighting fixtures, controls, and LED lamps to ensure the longevity of the system. These components, coupled with extensive knowledge of light and outdoor lighting design, create the best overall results.

Every property is unique, and every Night Owl design is custom to that property.

Landscape Lighting Gallery

Lighting Installation

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The night focus session.

After a lighting plan is agreed upon, a timeline is created for the install. Often times, outdoor lighting projects are one section of a master plan. I frequently coordinate with landscapers, electricians, and builders. Communication is important because certain property aspects like power, conduits, and other wire accommodations must be coordinated in advance of the fixture installation. Once materials are ordered, a firm installation date is determined. Fixtures are installed during the daytime and per the plan.

I install fixtures with extra lengths of wire because the fixtures may need to be adjusted later. Following every Night Owl installation, we setup a night time focus session to make any final adjustments.

In 10 years of designing and installing outdoor lighting systems in southeast Wisconsin, I often find that the the freeze/thaw heave of our soils can demolish cheap path light stakes. Therefore, I install path lights using upgraded, heavy duty 3-prong stake mounts to ensure that the fixture remains straight.  I make sure the install is done right the first time, so you don’t have to deal with the eyesore of leaning fixtures.

Extra care is given to protect cables by utilizing conduit wherever there is a risk of digging such as annual beds and bed edges. In some instances, the cable is run along the foundation to avoid future garden renovation activity.

When all the fixtures are connected and mounted – be they in trees, on walls, or in the ground – the landscape is cleaned up and restored to its original condition. Together, we make any final adjustments during the night focus session. I may also need to teach you how to use control devices if that is part of your outdoor lighting plan.

The final step is discussing maintenance procedures to keep the system optimal. I am open to teaching homeowners how to protect their own investment. Many clients opt to utilize my on-going maintenance services.

Lighting Maintenance

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Landscape lighting exists in a living outdoor environment.

The reality is that landscape lighting exists in a living outdoor environment and is subject to the whims of the four seasons. Despite taking precautions by using the best materials and installation practices, plants still grow, dirt and debris accumulate, and people or animals can come into contact with fixtures and knock them out of alignment.

Plants are often the subject of the lighting system. They are often the most important aspects to consider when thinking about lighting maintenance. As plants grow, it becomes necessary to re-position fixtures and/or prune trees or shrubs to retain the original lighting design intent. In some instances, perennials may need to be moved. Tree-mounted down lights may need adjustment every two years because as trees grow, they can envelop the mounting hardware. The growth rate of the trees is a factor too.

I have six years of experience working at a plant nursery, and I want to make sure your plants are healthy and looking their best. When your plants look their best, so does the lighting!

A dirty lens prevents a lamp from doing its job, and as a result, the overall design is affected. General cleaning of all lighting equipment is critical as well. Although LED lamps do not get as hot as halogen, mineral deposits from rainfall or irrigation make bake onto the lens. Organic debris can also fall from trees, shrubs, and perennials. Specific lamps are chosen for specific fixtures depending on the desired light output and beam angle. Transformers must also be checked for tight connections and to ensure that they have not become homes for insects of small critters.

Gardens live, breathe, and change. Make sure your lighting systems stays one step ahead and is putting its best light forward!

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