Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio creates tree lighting that makes even old man willow blush

Outdoor architectural and tree lighting in San Antonio

Outdoor architectural and tree lighting in San Antonio

Tree lighting is definitely one of the best ways of emphasizing your landscape and residence in terms of outdoor lighting. Proper design and application can create a surreal layering effect, from light dancing along pathways to up a driveway, to using uplighting to focus the illumination on a specific conifer. With tree lighting the choices are as endless as the trees mother nature has blessed us to work with.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio creates ethereal tree lighting within many of its outdoor lighting applications. The key is to work with the natural lines of the tree you are lighting. Dense trees do not make good candidates for lighting because they not only snuff out the light, but are quite difficult to light. When choosing a tree to light you look for character, size and ultimately how the limbs are formed. An ideal scenario occurs when limbs branch over one another, in layers, and you can light the upper branches and let the light trickle down and envelop the area you are trying to illuminate. This technique creates a hauntinglydreamy effect.

Tree lighting with exposed cording is dangerous and unsightly

Tree lighting with exposed cording is dangerous and unsightly

Not only is there a method to the madness when it comes to tree lighting, there are important safety issues as well. We see tree lighting all the time that is just an accident waiting to happen, with exposed cords, drop cords and wiring that has grown into the tree wounding the bark and branches and causing it to be susceptible to diseases and insects. Outdoor lighting Perspectives of Nashville recently covered the subject of tree lighting in this informative piece… http://outdoorlightingnashville.com/2011/07/26/outdoor-lighting-perspectives-of-nashville-proves-it-is-good-to-fool-with-mother-nature-in-terms-of-tree-lighting/

This cord has actually grown into the tree, which leaves the tree damaged and vulnerable to disease and insects

This cord has actually grown into the tree, which leaves the tree damaged and vulnerable to disease and insects

When we install the tree lighting we make sure there are no exposed wires that may inhibit lawn work and maintenance and risk an injury. We also treat the tree with special care and  consideration and never cause damage that could deteriorate the tree in the future. This is why it is crucial to make sure a professional lighting specialist installs your outdoor lighting, in every aspect. After all your home is the single most expensive investment in your life, why trust your outdoor lighting that is supposed to enhance this investment’s beauty to an amateur?

Tree lighting by Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio

These mesquite trees take tree lighting to a new level, simply breathtaking

Texas has many trees native to the state that make excellent specimens for tree lighting such as the Hackberry tree, Walnuts, Maples, Oaks , Palm trees and of course the breathtaking Mesquite tree. San Antonio is fortunate to have so many beautiful specimens that are candidates for tree lighting. Whenever we enter the property of a prospective client we anticipate the outdoor lighting installation like an artist would a blank canvas.

When considering the prospect of adding light to trees within your landscape Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio has compiled a list of do’s to prepare you with the knowledge to ensure your professional outdoor lighting specialist covers all the necessary areas of importance.

Do balance the lighting so that the effect is seen in the overall application. Outdoor lighting that promotes unity and harmony within the landscape will help you achieve an overall effect, instead of spots of light that have no rhyme or reason.

Do try to layer the effect with tree lighting on multiple branches to get that haunting, dappled effect that is so aesthetically pleasing.

Do make certain the tree you are lighting is treated with TLC so as not to become damaged and vulnerable to disease and insects.

Do keep lines and powers  sources  invisible to the eye as much as possible to ensure they do not hinder the effect or become a safety hazard.

Do choose the candidates for tree lighting carefully, to get the biggest “bang” for your buck. It is also crucial not to go overboard on lighting trees, remember, less is always more.

Do choose an outdoor lighting specialist with experience with tree lighting.

No matter what type of outdoor lighting design you choose, tree lighting can give you stunning effects. Contact Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio to learn more about tree lighting as well as landscape and garden lighting. Call (830) 624 – 1300 or send us an email at sanantonio@outdoorlights.com

You can  also see more tree lighting by visiting  our landscape and garden lighting photo gallery to see more at http://san-antonio.outdoorlights.com/local/gallery/landscape-garden-lighting.html

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Open Your Pool up to all its Possibilities by Adding Pool Lighting

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Pool lighting by Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio

During the warm seasons from spring all the way into the autumn, temperatures can soar into the late evening hours. With that in mind, wouldn’t the addition of lighting to your pool and water recreational amenities such as your  spa be a great way to extend the hours you are able to use your pool? I know there are many evenings where it is so hot and balmy there is nothing you would love better than to jump right in and cool down, unfortunately that isn’t a possibility if you are in the dark.

Pool lighting can transform your entire property

Pool lighting can transform your entire property

Another example of evening use in your pool would be that of entertaining. When hosting friends or family over for dinner and conversation wouldn’t it be great to be able to carry that evening out to the poolside? Imagine the cook-out , dinner party and celebration possibilities you are missing by keeping your pool in the dark. Pool lighting is an effect that can transport your mood. Pool lighting can make your landscaping, hardscapes and  all areas surrounding your pool take on a whole new persona in the evening. Pool lighting effects can range from dreamy to electric.

A lighted water feature will become the focus of your landscape

A lighted water feature will become the focus of your landscape

Water features such as waterfalls, and decorative ponds also benefit from lighting. A trickling water feature is hypnotic during the day, when light is added to that same water feature, the result is breathless. A lighted water feature by Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio will soon become the focal point of your landscape.

If you are ready to extend the use and beauty of your pool or water feature with the addition of stunning outdoor lighting, call Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio today to learn more, go ahead, take the leap. 830) 624 – 1300 or email us @sanantonio@outdoorlights.com

Low Voltage vs. 120 volt and Solar Lighting

I was recently asked by a female homeowner to explain the pros and cons of low voltage landscape lighting versus line voltage lighting or solar lights you can buy at a large super store. Not wanting to be highly technical I told her the following:

The standard line voltage landscape lights can sometimes be very harsh. They use a high watt bulb and if not aimed just right, they can leave bright “hot spots” on homes or trees. Line voltage or 120 volt systems also use higher wattage bulbs where the energy consumption can be quite significant, especially if they are turned on for several hours. The installation of line voltage lights is also much more invasive to a homeowner’s property. The cable has to be buried very deep which usually involves heavy trenching and requires new landscaping. Lighting systems using 120 volts also take longer to install.

The solar lights that can be purchased at a super store have a very limited life span. They are often times made of plastic and not designed to be a fixture that will be kept for a long time. I explained that the light output was really more of a “glow” rather than actually lighting something. Although they are energy efficient because they use no power from your home, their inabilty to create any usable light makes them a waste of money and time. Another big draw back is that on over cast or rainy days, the batteries will not recharge enough to create even a dim glow of light.

I told this homeowner that the best of both worlds could be obtained through a low voltage lighting system. The fixtures we use are wired into a transformer which used 12 volts which is much safer thatn 120 volts. The light output is usally better than that of a line voltage system and it uses less wattage which saves energy. Since our fixtures are low voltage, we can use them in areas that other fixtures can’t be used, such as wet areas. The placement of our lights is carefully designed so that there are no hot spots or bulbs shining in your eyes as you drive by a house. The installation is minimally invasive to your property; everything is done by hand so no deep trenching is involved.

She appreciated the information and decided that a low voltage lighting system was the best choice for her. I really appreciated the fact that she wanted to be educated a bit on the types of lighting she had heard about.

OLP to speak in Chicago at the ASLA annual meeting

 Outdoor Lighting Perspectives  (OLP), a leader in residential outdoor lighting systems, is happy to announce they will be speaking at the American Society of Landscape logoArchitect’s (ASLA) annual meeting in September 2009.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives has been chosen to speak at the ASLA 2009 meeting on Friday, September 18, 2009, in Chicago, Illinois. Winston Edwards and Jim Hilliard of OLP will present “Night Sky Ordinance Compliance is Easily Met with Eco-friendly Low Voltage Lighting Systems.”

“The dark sky movement has been gaining popularity in the last few years;” said Winston Edwards, a lighting specialist with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives. “Through this presentation, our goal is to educate the members of the ASLA on what dark sky ordinances are and the reasons behind them. Despite what people may think, dark sky ordinances don’t aim to eliminate outdoor lighting all together. They strive to find a balance between appropriate amounts of light and the ability to appreciate the starry skies.”

In the presentation, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives will describe how proper landscape lighting design will provide efficient illumination to an area as well as comply with dark sky ordinances. Some topics of discussion include direction, intensity and the spread of light.

olbOutdoor Lighting Perspectives (OLP), a part of the Outdoor Living Brands franchise corporation based in Richmond, Virginia, is America’s largest full-service outdoor lighting specialist and part of the Outdoor Living Brands franchise company based in Richmond, Virginia. OLP has redefined the outdoor lighting category through the application of innovative landscape lighting, exterior architectural lighting designs and eco-friendly technologies. OLP installers offer no-obligation consultation, as well as complimentary illumination demonstrations, in the latest concepts in outdoor lighting to enhance the beauty, safety, and security of a home. For more information, visit http://www.outdoorlights.com.

Lighting with LED

LED, or Light Emitting Diode, is the next big advancement in the technology of “lamps”, or what we commonly know is the “light bulb.”  LED’s are exciting because they are light sources that use only a fraction of the energy and have ten or more times the lifespan of incandescent or florescent bulbs.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

B & B Manufacturing, our Landscape Lighting Fixture supplier, recently attended the 2009 LIGHTFAIR in New York.  LED lighting is right around the corner for applications in residential landscape lighting.  Very soon, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio & the Hill Country, LLC will be offering LED fixtures as part of our fixture choices.

Mark Severance of B & B Manufacturing was kind enough to share these insights with regard to LED applications.

“It is important to remember that just because the technology is capable of producing LED lighting that competes with halogen and HID (high-intensity discharge,) it doesn’t mean there aren’t serious considerations to using LED’s.  First and foremost are costs.  Quality, and I stress ‘quality’ LED fixtures are quite expensive.  In fact they are 4-5 times as expensive as standard halogen low voltage.  It’s also difficult at this early evolutionary stage of outdoor LED fixtures to determine a quality fixture from a piece of junk.

“You might have someone argue that lower wattage LED fixtures require smaller (cheaper) transformers and less wire but even when you consider these costs reductions the hard product costs (to the installer) of a standard low voltage installation nearly triples because of the increased fixture costs.”

What does that mean to the cost of (your) installation?  In order to  make the same operating profit per installation, I would have to raise the fixture price of a standard 20 light installation of $4500 to a 20 light LED installation of $13,500.  Obviously, I would not sell many of these jobs!  Even if I reduced my operating profit by a third and offered the installation at around $9000, the benefits to you, the home owner, are not substantial.

The return on your investment as the customer (considering utility rates and reduced maintenance costs due to fewer bulb replacements) is between 10-12 years.

These are the realistic pros and cons of LED’s.  However, we are still going to make them available to you, our customers, so that those who are jazzed about LED’s and are willing to spend the money have this option available.

Truthfully, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives wants to be a company of innovators, and LED’s are innovative.  That’s why, as LED fixture prices come down in the next few years, we will be ready to supply our customers with LED fixtures that make sense not only emotionally, but financially as well.

Replace your own bulbs, or take the scheduled maintenance plan?

Whether it’s for automobiles, home heating and air conditioning systems or landscape lighting systems, ROUTINE SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE is the key to keeping things running in tip-top shape.

At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio,  we recognize and applaud the do-it-yourself homeowner who wants to maintain their own OLP installed Landscape Lights.  That’s why we offer these tips and suggestions for replacing your bulbs:

Be sure to use quality lamps (bulbs) with the same wattage and flood angle as those that came with your original installation.

For the large PAR 36 (headlight style bulbs) in well/canister lights:

  • GE or Phillips Brand
  • 4000 hour rated life
  • PAR 36, 12-volt (low voltage bulbs)
  • Screw Terminals
  • 20 watt, 35 watt, or 50 watt, as was originally installed
  • Wide flood (30 degrees), Very Wide flood (55 degrees), or Narrow Spot (8 degrees) as was originally installed
  • Generally not available at Home Depot/Lowe’s.  Buy from a quality lighting store
  • Cost will run from $10-$15

For the small Bi-pin halogen bulbs in Path and sign fixtures:

  • Osram Sylvania Ministar S Halogen
  • 4000 hour rated life
  • 10 watt, 20 watt, or 35 watt as originally installed
  • G4 or G6 bi-pin base
  • NEVER EVER TOUCH THE GLASS WITH YOUR BARE FINGERS!!  (oils from your skin will dramatically shorten the life of the bulb)
  • cost will run $6-$12

For the MR-16 (projector style bulbs) in small spot light applications:

  • GE or Osram Sylvania
  • BAB (flood beam) or ESX (narrow beam) 20 watt, FMW (flood beam) 35 watt, or EXN (flood beam) 50 watt
  • GU5.3 Bi-pin base
  • 4000 hour rated life
  • CG (Cover Glass) preferred
  • Cost will run $5-$8

Of course, changing the bulb is only part of the periodic maintenance, and a complete inspection of the system should be accomplished at this time.

Many homeowners desire the complete servicing package that our Scheduled Maintenance Plan offers.  When we do a bulb replacement during scheduled maintenance, we take care of all the following items:

  • Bulb replacement with bulbs matching the original installation
  • Trim shrubs to ensure illumination is not shaded by plant growth
  • Treat fixtures with fire-ant retardent
  • Re-aim fixtures correctly for those that may have been bumped or moved
  • Re-bury exposed wire
  • Check Voltages
  • Check Transformer connections

Our service plan runs $19/fixture, and includes all the service mentioned above.  When a homeowner is on our maintenance plan they only pay for the scheduled maintenance, and any additional service calls for system repair are free for the length of the plan.  That means the $90 service call charge is waived!

The Length of the maintenance plan is dependent upon how late each homeowner runs their landscape lighting system each night.

  • Systems that run until around Midnight = Annual (1 year) Service Plan
  • Systems that run until 3 am = 9 month Service Plan
  • Systems that run all night = 6 month Service Plan

These lengths equal the average service life of a 4000 hour quartz halogen bulb.

When the typical service call costs $90, plus $19 per bulb replaced, you can see how quickly the costs can add up, which is why the Scheduled Maintenance Plan is easily the way to go!

If you haven’t taken advantage of our Scheduled Maintenance Plan, call us today at 210-971-8759 and have your system brought back up to the level of performance you had when it was originally installed!

Scott Bellamy, President

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio

Why we are the Best Value

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio has everything necessary to meet your residential and business landscape lighting needs.

In today’s world, businesses often throw out buzzwords like “Quality” and “Value”.  At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we take those terms seriously.  With that in mind, we’d like to share what we mean by “Value”.

WHY WE ARE THE BEST VALUE

OUR DESIGNS. Even if a home is built using the highest quality materials, without a well thought-out blueprint the final reslut is compromised.  We use certified lighting designers.  They listen carefully to your concerns and what you want to accomplish with your new lighting system.  then they will develop a design to achieve your goals.  Best of all, you are able to see the design at night before you decide if this home improvement investment is right for you.

OUR FIXTURES.  Light fixtures are perhaps the single mosst critical component of a lighting system.  the following are the three basic considerations for choosing a light fixture:

  • Which lamp will achieve the desired effect?
  • which fixture can best accomodate this lamp?
  • what is the quality of fixture materials?

We exclusively use corrosion-resistant materials such as hand-spun copper and cast brass.  Our fictures can stand up to years of harsh outdoor settings – rain, fertilizers, sun exposure, etc. – that could easily destroy other products such as those made of steel or aluminum.  although we can source painted fixtures, ours will not fade, chip or peel – ever.

OUR TRANSFORMERS.  Often termed the “engine” of a professional outdoor lighting system, we use commercial-grade multiple volt transformers.  with a multi-volt unit our installers can select the proper startig voltage to ensure perfect and balanced illumination – regardless of the individual fixture distances.  Also, unlike lesser units, our transformers are “potted,” which means the electrical components are completely sealed with epoxy to prevent corrosion.

OUR INSTALLATIONS.  Outdoor lighting is our focus, and our installers are fully trained with the primary goal of leaving your property in better condition than they found it.  nearly all work is done by hand with careful attention to costly plantings and hardscaping.  If you can’t tell the installer was at your home, we have succeeded.

OUR MAINTENANCE.  The single biggest complaint customers have about the home improvement sector is poor maintenance and seervice after the sale.  We are not like most contractors because we want a long-term relationship with you and take pride in prompt, capable servie even years after the initial installation.  We offer ongoing and very cost-effective maintenance programs, where each year the lighting system is completely checked out and all lamps are replaced.

OUR LIGHTING CONTROL.  We offer standard on-off options and also are an exclusive provider of LCA – Lighting Control Automation.  This allows you to set the on- and off- times once and never change them again.  Should you, for both convenience and security reasons, want any number of interior lights controlled, we can accommodate these needs as well – during the initial installation or years later as your needs change.

OUR STRENGTH.  We are the numbe one provider of professional outdoor lighting with a worldwide location count approaching 100.  Since 1995 we have grown to be the category leader by providing the best overall value.  We walk the talk.

Scott Bellamy, President

Outoor Lighting Perspectives of San Antonio

210-971-8759