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Mar 20, 2013

Lighting Tips

Ten-Step Guide to Perfect Outdoor Lighting Design

The changing seasons, like the changing characteristics of matter, present dichotomies and the challenge in life is learning to find a successful balance.  Cultivating the right lighting design is all about a successful balance. Our outdoor lighting how-to guide will help you to establish and maintain a splendid outdoor oasis to be enjoyed year-round.

Capitol Lighting Respects the Night with Champion Illumination

The trend toward outdoor living continues with expanding decks and patios and customizing outdoor kitchens for outdoor entertainment.  Also, fireplaces, fire pits, and space heaters are being added to extend outdoor living well beyond the spring and summer months.  To make these areas as comfortable, safe, and maintenance-free as possible, great lighting is key.

Capitol Lighting’s Expert Advice for Lighting Up Outdoors

The conditions are perfect for outdoor lighting installations. Learn how-to customize the perfect outdoor lighting design and : Follow along with our

Ten-Step Guide to Perfect Outdoor Lighting Design

1.  Consider the areas to be illuminated:

•General lighting for decks, porches and patios.

•Accent lighting for gardens, fountains, statues and unique architectural elements.

•Security lighting for walkways and driveways.

•Decorative lighting for home entry zones.

2.  Choose your power supply and be sure that all outdoor and landscape lighting fixtures are compatible with the system.

3.  Choose landscape lighting fixtures more for their lighting effects rather than their aesthetic appeal.  The decorative features of landscape lights should be secondary to the objects they illuminate. With a good lighting design, landscape fixtures will provide understated elegance to the outdoor environment during the day, as well as at night.

4.  Decide which system works best for you:  Low voltage lighting provides softer more luxurious illumination, while LED is extremely energy-efficient, low-maintenance and most durable.  Incandescent bulbs typically last 1,000-2,000 hours; fluorescent bulbs may last 10,000-15,000 hours; and, LED bulbs may last 35,000-50,000 hours.

5.  Make sure to power your lighting with the appropriate transformers and wiring. If you are thinking about adding to your outside lighting system, choose power sources that will accommodate the additional fixtures.

6.  Automated timers and motion- or heat-sensitive controls make your home appear occupied during the night and save on energy costs. Locate timers and controls in areas where they are easily accessible.

7.  All outside lighting fixtures and accessories must be selected to withstand the elements, including sun, humidity, rain, ice and snow.  Check that all items are waterproof and UL-approved for outdoor use. Copper, brass and composite fixtures are excellent for homes near the seashore where salty air may be a factor.

8.  Think about landscape lighting as part of your planning and construction in a new home environment.  Outdoor lighting designers should coordinate with landscape architects and electricians.

9.  Traditional wall lights such as wall lanterns bracketing main entryway doors help you to identify visitors and ensure their safety.  They are also appropriate for rear and side entrances and over garage doors. Be sure to select post lanterns and wall brackets that are proportional to your home.  When in doubt, size up.  Fixtures appear smaller from curbside viewing than most people would imagine. * *

10.  Take care to avoid glare and pointing fixtures into your neighbor’s property. Curb “light pollution” with shielded fixtures that focus illumination downward.  Most outdoor fixtures may be easily focused to light the environment for safety, security and aesthetics while protecting other areas from unwanted glare and profuse light. * * *

**Rule of thumb for sizing outdoor wall lanterns:  The height of the lantern should be based on the height of the door.  If brackets are to be installed on either side of the door, they should measure about one-fourth the height of the door.  If using only one lantern, size up to about one-third the height of the door.

***“Dark Sky” Compliancy and light pollution:  A man-made culprit, due mainly to poor lighting design, is a phenomenon called “light pollution.”  Light pollution is any adverse effect of artificial light, including sky glow, glare, light trespass, light clutter, decreased visibility at night, and energy waste.  Many of Capitol Lighting’s trusted manufacturers offer “Dark Sky” versions of their outdoor lighting products, which “collar” the light bulb around its base to block superfluous upward emissions of light.

Capitol Lighting’s professional lighting consultants will help you in selecting everything from timers and outdoor hanging pendants to path lights and post lanterns.  Work with the experts to devise fabulous landscape lighting designs and prepare your outdoor environment with quality security lighting customized to enhance the beauty of your home.