Warm weather in North Texas signals a start to the season for days spent by the pool and outdoor cookouts. The party does not have to stop when the sun goes down. In addition to adding to the safety and security of your property, outdoor lighting can help create the right atmosphere for everything from relaxing nights under the stars to lively family gatherings by the pool.
Clint Sneddeker with Enlightened Outdoor Lighting explained where most people miss the mark is not creating layers of lighting.
“So many people just do one-dimensional lighting,” Sneddeker said. “They will just put a few lights on the shrubs or something like that. They really miss out on the wow factor, what we call magazine-quality lighting.”
Gavin Mandt with Apex Construction said highend lighting is more common in the Metroplex than in Texoma, but it is starting to make its way into the area.
“They are used to the basic contractor-style lighting around here,” Mandt said. “But outdoor living is taking a boom. People are wanting covered porches, bigger decks and add-ons to hang out at the pool. Everyone here wants to stay in the shade a little.”
Mandt went on to explain one of the benefits of proper outdoor lighting is that it allows people to enjoy their backyard at night when temperatures are cooler.
Local real estate agent Sara Rutherford with Keller Williams North Country said outdoor lighting is a selling feature right now.
“If it is done correctly, it really enhances the attractive features of a home at night,” Rutherford said. “A few years ago, you would only see it in highend neighborhoods, but it has grown in popularity recently.”
Sneddeker explained one of the newest advance - ments in outdoor lighting includes lights that are recessed into the ground.
“It’s great for people that really value their grass,” Sneddeker said. “The mower can go right over top of it, you don’t end up with kids tripping over it, it’s just out of a human’s way. It’s seamless and hidden but still provides excellent lighting.”
Both Mandt and Sneddeker mentioned the benefits of using mercury vapor bulbs, which give off either blue or green light.
“It’s great for plants with great design and texture, like a magnolia tree,” Sneddeker said. “Instead of creating a glare off of the white blooms, the green light helps enhance them and makes the white blooms pop at night.”
Mandt said another way to avoid harsh lighting is to install lighting high in the trees.
“You can have them on atomic timers, so you don’t have to worry about daylight savings time,” Mandt said. “There are also photocell lights that turn on at dusk and back off at dawn.”
Sneddeker said the main difference between an indoor lighting system and an outdoor system is the voltage of the bulbs.
“The outdoor systems we install are really low voltage systems,” Sneddeker said. “A regular system is between 110 and 120 volts and we convert them to 24 volts because there is a lot more versatility in moving flower beds and things like that. We use 100 percent LED products, which allows us to showcase the house, landscape and architecture but still remain eco-friendly.”
In addition to the aesthetic reasons for installing an outdoor lighting system, Mandt explained there are safety and convenience reasons as well.
“When there is lighting, you have fewer trips or falls and you can see if there is a snake around,” Mandt said. “If you are hosting a party, everyone can see and if you install your lights high up in the trees you don’t end up having the bug problem. That way you can enjoy your night.”
Sneddeker explained the biggest challenge he faces in his business is explaining to people why proper outdoor lighting is a valuable investment.
“We are usually the last guys there after the landscape people and pool people,” Sneddeker said. “At that point, their budget is usually tight so they choose cheaper options just to get lit. But they really need to choose lights that won’t corrode and will stand the test of time. These fixtures are out in the elements, in the flower beds, 365 days a year. We always make sure that we use solid brass fixtures and LED bulbs that are guaranteed to last for 50,000 hours. The fixtures come with a lifetime guarantee.”