Archive for the ‘Rope Lighting’ Category

Silhouette Lighting

Silhouette Lighting

Even the most experienced outdoor lighting designer will normally illuminate the subject matter directly. We generally uplight houses, illuminate trees and landscaping, spot light architectural features, and directly illuminate sidewalks and steps. On some rare occasions, we are challenged to step out of the box and provide a more creative outdoor lighting design.

The pool shown in this photograph is a prime example. The customer had some large planters positioned directly in front of the pool house columns. The design begged for a soft wash of up light on the pool house. Unfortunately (or perhaps more fortunately), there was no practical way to illuminate the planters from the sitting area on the opposite side of the pool. This was obviously the perfect scenario to utilize silhouette lighting. We installed small LED box floods to wash the wall. They were placed directly behind the planters, thus creating the silhouetted look. The contrast was very pronounced, and created a very unique night-time mood.


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The 2013 Birmingham Home and Garden Show just concluded. The attached video made its debut at the show. All of these landscape lighting and architectural lighting projects were designed and installed by the staff of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives in Birmingham.

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GM Ribbon Lighting

One of my existing outdoor lighting customers from the Shoal Creek community called last week.  He stated that he has a very unique challenge that desperately requires some ingenuity in solving his problem.  He went on to say that he recently added a fence around the entire perimeter of his property in an attempt to keep deer from destroying his landscaping.  Additionally, he added a cattle grate at the end of his driveway.  Cattle grates by their very design permit cars to cross, however, due to the gaps in the grate, it deters animals from crossing it. 

What he failed to realize is that any guests trying to cross the grate at night are at a risk for injury.  One guest slipped and nearly broke a leg on the grating.  This led him to the realization that he needed some illumination, yet he didn’t want to install any harsh directional lighting, spot lighting, or pathway lighting.

Fortunately there was a very good solution.  We chose to use GM Lighting ribbon lighting.  The ribbon is  highly flexible and has LED diodes embedded inside the silicone.  We chose exterior warm white to nicely complement his existing halogen uplights.

Aluminum Channel

The next challenge was how to mount the ribbon.  The side walls were very rough recycled bricks.  There was no way that the ribbon could be installed directly to the brick.  We evaluated several alternatives, and then found the perfect solution—some 3/8″ aluminum channel.  This channel is actually designed to be applied to plywood to provide a nice edging, but it worked perfectly as ribbon lighting channel. 

A creative lighting design, some quality materials, a good solution, and a happy customer!LED Ribbon Lighting Installed in Channel

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Small Spot Lights

Accenting the stone columns and the pool

Outdoor Fireplace Light
Used to accent the detail on the fireplace
Large Flood Light
Notice the color match to the hardscape wall
Copper Slim Line Wall Light
Used to mount under cap blocks
Copper Wall Light
Used to illuminate “Lions Head” fountain
Copper Deck Light
Used to illuminate steps
LED rope Lighting defines an outdoor fireplace

We all know that the current economic conditions have severely impacted new home constructions.  We have found that many of our existing outdoor lighting customers have decided to make improvements to their existing homes rather than looking for new homes.  Many times these improvements involve pools, patios, and outdoor kitchens. 

By being experienced in all facets of accent lighting, we have been able to share in many of these projects with our existing clients and new ones as well.  Other companies that have diversified into outdoor lighting as a complement to their core businesses, will normally shy away from tackling hardscape lighting. 

With the proper choice of fixtures, and a lot of coordination with other subcontractors, hardscape lighting can be done effectively.

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Over the years, we have developed a customer base of over 1100 outdoor lighting customers.  That has amounted to over 1400 designs.  Without a doubt, we completed our most unusual and interesting lighting design to date.

The customer lives in the Eagle Point community in Shelby County outside of Birmingham.  We had previously completed uplighting at the front of his house, landscape lighting, and even some deck lighting.  When he called this time, he was excited to tell me that he had a “great challenge”  for me.  With some degree of trepidation I met him at his house.    He proudly showed me the wall ornament that he had just purchased—a large sun with a smiley face.  The challenge was to backlight the sun giving the impression of a sunrise…(and I thought architectural lighting can be challenging ?!@#).

After a few days of brainstorming, the solution became obvious.  We used some GM Lighting ribbon light.  We selected exterior warm white LED to give it a warm look.  Since the ribbon comes in 1 meter lengths, we cut a 12-1/2″ circle (yes, I do remember my geometry) and wrapped the ribbon around the entire circumference.  Since it was LED, the total wattage was less than 5 watts for the entire ribbon.  Some white paint on the face of the wood should reflect light through the mouth of the sun.

Finally we commenced with the installation.  No problems at all installing the ribbon on the wood, the wood on the wall, and the sun over the wood.  Still we kept our fingers crossed, hoping for a stunning night-time effect.

When I returned at dusk, the “WOW factor” was definitely apparent.  We had succeeded with the most creative outdoor lighting design that we have ever done.

Ribbon Lighting-Installed

Backlighting with Ribbon Lighting

Wall Art

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We recently received an interesting request from one of our trade partners, Signature Homes, of Birmingham.  One of their project managers advised that they are in the process of constructing new entrances at Chapel Creek, one of their new communities in the Hoover area.

His request was very simple, yet very challenging.  They had already purchased and received four multicolored plexiglass panels that were to be mounted on the entrance columns.  They wanted to showcase the vibrant colors of the sign, but not by spot lighting them with traditional bullet lights.  After an on site design consultation, we had a hunch that might be the optimum in creative solutions.  By holding the panel up to the sun, we noticed that it was translucent and allowed a fair amount of light to pass through it.  All we had to do was determine how we could backlight the panel.  Fortunately, the panel was mounted inside a cavity on the columns.  The cavity was approximately two inches deep, which precluded the use of traditional fixtures.  We decided to use some 12 volt rope lighting inside the cavity.  The rope lighting was configured in a very tightly wound “S” pattern. 

In theory, we thought we had a winning solution, but we had to wait until dusk to view the actual results.  Once darkness arrived, the results exceeded our expectations.

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