Check Out My Most Recent Projects
LED Lighting Design
Every Property Is Unique
A good landscape lighting design does so much more than show that your yard did not simply disappear with the fall of night. Not every feature must be lit and certainly everything should not be lit the same way, but what is lit should be done so in a thoughtful and cohesive way. An effective outdoor lighting design contains multiple levels of light from well-lit focal points to dimly lit areas of fill light. The various levels of light are what draw your eye across the scene and create visually stimulating and dramatic results.
I always look to use light to create an outdoor room. A space that can be viewed and enjoyed from the inside and experienced from the outside, but also ties both inside and outside together. The boundaries of this new outdoor room are created by casting light on perimeter elements, trees and shrubs, structures, artwork, and the ground plane to tie everything together.
Great lighting should evoke an emotional response – feelings of security, comfort, excitement, and joy. These effects are achieved utilizing the highest 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, are what create the best overall results.
Every property is unique, and every Night Owl design is custom to that property. The design process often involves numerous revisions to dial in exactly what the homeowner is looking for. Communication is key! Call me today to schedule a consult and see why Night Owl Landscape Lighting stands head and shoulders above the competition!
Execution And Communication
Like anything, a plan is just a plan without proper execution – and communication. Once a contract is agreed upon, a timeline is set for the install. Any coordination that must occur between landscapers, electricians, builders, and any other trade is determined at this time and connections are made. Often times power, conduits, and other wire accommodations must be handled in advance of the lighting installation and that is why upfront communication is key. Once materials have been ordered a firm date will be determined, and the installation will get underway.
Fixtures are installed per the plan and are given extra lengths of wire so that they can easily be adjusted during the night time focus session that follows every Night Owl installation, or as the garden grows. Every path light I install receives an upgraded, heavy duty 3-prong stake mount to ensure that the fixture remains straight. In 7 years of designing and installing outdoor lighting systems in southeast Wisconsin I have found that none of the stakes supplied with path light fixtures will hold up to the freeze/thaw heave of our soils. I make sure the install is done right the first time, so you don’t have to deal with the eyesore of leaning fixtures lining your beautiful walkways and patios.
Exceptional care is given to protect cables by utilizing conduit wherever there is a risk of digging such as annual beds and bed edges. In many other instances the cable is run along a building foundation to be out of the way of future garden renovations.
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. That evening we will review the system, make any necessary adjustments, and discuss the use of any optional control devices.
The last step is discussing the necessary maintenance procedures to keep the system producing optimal results. We can either set something up for ongoing care of the system or detail the steps that will be required from the homeowner to protect their investment.
Landscape Lighting Is An Investment
Outdoor lighting is an investment in your home and in your lifestyle. Like all investments it must be taken care of to continually function at its highest level. 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. The reality is that landscape lighting exists in a living outdoor environment and is subject to the whims of the four seasons.
The plants that surround, and are the subject of, the lighting system are some of the most important aspects to consider when thinking about maintenance. As plants grow, it becomes necessary to reposition fixtures and/or prune trees or shrubs to retain the original design intent. In some instances, perennials may need to be shifted. When down lights are installed in trees the mounting hardware needs to be backed off every other year in most cases – depending on the growth rate of the tree – to prevent the tree from enveloping the mounts. I have six years of experience working at a nursery and want to make sure your plants are healthy and looking their best. When your plants look their best, so does the lighting!
General cleaning of all lighting equipment is critical as well. Although LED lamps do not get as hot as halogen, there’s still plenty of heat on the lens to bake on mineral deposits from rainfall or irrigation heads. Various organic debris also falls from our trees, shrubs, and perennials adding to the problem. When this occurs, the light output is diminished and must be addressed. Each fixture holds a specific lamp that is chosen for its output and beam angle. A dirty lens gets in the way of the lamp doing its job, and as a result, the overall design is affected. 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!