Serving Toronto, Oakville, Mississauga, Newmarket, and the greater 905 area
15 Romina Dr, Concord, L4K4Z9
Mar 29 2017

Should you light trees from underneath or from the side?

A rule of thumb is to light evergreens from an angle and light deciduous trees from below. But it really comes down to viewing areas, sight lines, desired effect, and how well all the lights fit together in the overall design. You may want a given tree to draw the eye more or less, and should adjust the angle of light accordingly. There is no right or wrong approach, just personal preference.

An evergreen tree lit from an angle, and a deciduous tree lit from directly below.
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The photo to the right shows an example of both options on side by side trees so you can compare.

The evergreen tree (left) is shown with the light cast at an angle from a short distance away from the tree. This highlights the tree’s surface and shape, and creates a texture of shadows within the tree itself. The farther the point of light, the less pronounced the shadow effect, so generally you want to find the “sweet spot” that maximizes the highlights. The thicker and more dense the tree, the more this effect stands out. This is often the only way to light an evergreen because its thick foliage will block too much of any light that comes from below.

The deciduous tree (right) is lit from directly below, with the light being cast up inside the tree. With large trees, this results in less of the tree’s overall volume being illuminated when the tree is in bloom, because the lower leaves block some of the light from getting through. You can see how the evergreen is catching more light than the deciduous tree at this point in the season. However, when the tree is not in bloom then the light still skims all the way up the trunk and beautifully light the branches, highlighting the tree’s unique shape and silhouette. This gives the tree different effects throughout the year, and much more impact during the months it is not in bloom. It’s also amazingly lovely for a tree that will be coated in snow or ice during winter, because the light will literally sparkle across its branches.

On the other hand, if the light on the deciduous was from a distance, the tree would “pop” more and be brighter when in bloom, especially in colourful Autumn. But it would fade more into the background in Winter and Spring. That’s the main thing to keep in mind: when selecting a lighting angle for a deciduous tree, you are effectively picking which seasons you want the tree to take centre stage.

Mar 20 2017

We service all outdoor lighting systems

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Toronto service van
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When you see the OLP van pull up, you know great service has arrived.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Toronto can service your existing low-voltage outdoor lighting, or add new components like timers and controllers. We can even add more lights to any system that will blend in harmoniously with the lighting you have now, for a seamless addition that feels like it was always there.

No matter what brand of outdoor lighting you have now, we can help with everything from annual tune-ups to wire repairs.

We offer bulb replacements, conversions to LED, fixture relocation and re-designs, timer programming, transformer upgrades, and more. We service all forms of outdoor lighting, including both LED and halogen systems. We can service any residential lighting systems all across the GTA and beyond, so whether you are in Toronto, Oakville, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Aurora, Markham, North York, or anywhere in the 905 area, we are your local low-voltage lighting experts.

It doesn’t even matter if you know what kind of lights you have now, or who originally installed them. We service and maintain every brand, even the old ones that are no longer in business. No label? No problem. From high-end solid copper lighting to big box store plastic specials, we service it all.

Just give us a call, and one of our lighting service vans will be on its way.

Mar 14 2017

LED outdoor lights cost less than $1 per year

How much does the electricity cost for low voltage outdoor lights? Here is an easy answer, plus a way to calculate the exact cost of your own outdoor lights.

Money Lightbulb
LED outdoor lights for just $1/year

Here’s a rule of thumb: LED outdoor lights cost $1/year to run from dusk to dawn every night. Yes, that’s all! That’s based on 3W LED landscape lights running an average of 10 hours per evening.

So if you have 10 lights on your landscape, a good guess is they cost $10 per year if you run them from dusk to dawn every night. If you only run them from dusk to midnight, they’d cost even less.

Want the details? To start with, let’s find the cost per Watt. Imagine a 1 Watt light running from dusk to dawn every night all year. How much electricity would it use, and what would it cost? Let’s do the math!

  • 1 Watt x 10 hours (dusk to dawn average time) = 10 Watt-hours per night
  • 10 Watt-hours per night x 365 nights = 3,650 Watt-hours per year
  • Divide by 1,000 to turn into Kilowatt-hours (kWh) = 3.65 kWh per year
  • Off-peak electricity cost is 8.7 cents per kWh
  • 8.7 cents x 3.65 kWh = 31.8 cents per year

All together, that works out to be less than 32 cents per Watt for a whole year of use from dusk to dawn. It also means a typical 2 or 3 Watt garden/path light would cost less than $1 per year.

Now let’s look at the cost for an entire LED landscape lighting system. Let’s say you had 5 garden/path lights, 5 up-lights for trees, and 5 deck lights, all with typical LED bulbs:

  • 5 garden/path lights at 2.8 Watts each = 14 Watts
  • 5 up-lights for trees at 4.7 Watts each = 23.5 Watts
  • 5 half-moon deck lights at 1.5 Watts each = 7.5 Watts
  • 14 Watts + 23.5 Watts + 7.5 Watts = 45 Watts total
  • 45 Watts x 10 hours per night = 450 Watt-hours per night
  • 450 Watt-hours x 365 nights = 164,250 Watt-hours per year
  • Divide by 1,000 to turn Watt-hours (Wh) into Kilowatt-hours (kWh) = 164.25 kWh per year
  • Off-peak electricity cost in Toronto is 8.7 cents per kWh
  • 8.7 cents x 164.25 kWh = $14.29 per year

Your entire landscape lighting system of 15 lights running dusk to dawn every night would only cost $14.29 per year total. That’s less than $1 per fixture for the entire year. That’s not “pennies a day”, it’s “pennies a month”!

So don’t let the rising cost of electricity keep you from having lovely landscape lighting. For less than $1 per year you can add beauty and safety to your property, and enjoy your outdoor living spaces more every night.

Mar 10 2017

When painted lights are the right choice

We generally advise avoiding outdoor light fixtures that are painted. Paint on fixtures is usually used to hide its sins, like low grade aluminum or plastic fixtures that simply won’t survive out in the elements. But there is one case where powder coating might actually be the right way to go.

Powder coated copper fence light
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When possible, it’s usually better to select a metal fixture that will develop a suitable patina but will also never corrode. As a rule of thumb, that means solid copper or cast brass for dark fixtures, while bright finishes can be made from stainless steel or solid billet aluminum. The paint will inevitably fade or discolour after years out in the summer sun and winter snow, and it’s not a suitable way to protect against corrosion with outdoor lights.

But sometimes, powder coating a fixture is the best approach when trying to hide it in plain sight.

When it comes to outdoor lights in gardens, solid colours stand out more than a natural patina. For instance, the mottled dark browns and greens of weathered copper will vanish into a landscape far more invisibly than a solid black painted fixture, because no surface in nature is a continuous solid black. Against the deep browns of the soil and the mixed greens of the garden, copper stays hidden while solid black draws the eye.

Powder coated copper fence light
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But against a solid single-colour surface, such as a painted wall, the most invisible approach can be a painted fixture. Invisible is not always best, but if that is the goal then paint can be the right solution. The photo to the right shows our solid copper BB08 half-moon surface light that has been powder coated with the same paint that was used on the fence.

The photo is a close-up, but from normal viewing distances throughout the yard the lights just vanish against the fence. Then during the evening they come alive with a lovely wide-throw waterfall lighting effect that’s just stunning.

The paint will someday require touching up, which is the way of all paint. But for the years in-between touchups this offered the best way to have fence-mounted fixtures that are effectively invisible.

We can powder coat any fixture we install, and can match any colour including PMS colours. Whether it’s to blend invisibly against a painted wall, or to have outdoor lights that exactly match your logo, we can custom paint and install every style of outdoor lighting in exactly the finish you desire. (We have colour-tuneable LED bulbs, too, so we can not only match the paint to your logo but also match the light colour too.)

Mar 09 2017

Outdoor Lighting at the 2017 National Home Show and Canada Blooms

See what’s new and exciting in outdoor lighting at the 2017 National Home Show and Canada Blooms in Toronto from March 10-19, 2017. Drop by booth #1406 to see outdoor light fixtures and discuss design ideas.

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You can see samples of exciting new fixtures just released and never before available in Canada. See the difference between fixtures made of copper, brass, stainless steel, and billet aluminum. You can view different colour temperatures for lights, and see all sorts of different styles of lighting effects.

Professional lighting designers will be on-hand throughout the entire show to discuss your upcoming lighting plans and answer all of your questions. Bring photos or sketches of your landscaping ideas, and we’ll help with specific ideas and suggestions for your unique property. Or if you’re just in the dreaming phase, we can talk about first steps or how to plan in advance to save money on your future lighting.

While you’re there, grab a flyer for special package offers for complete LED lighting packages. And don’t forget to sign up for a free at-home design consultation, for which you’ll also get an exclusive coupon for an extra discount just for Home Show visitors.

We love to talk about lighting, so drop by the booth and say hi!

Mar 01 2017

See outdoor lighting at 2017 Spring Home Shows

The Spring Home Show season is upon us once again! Home Shows can be a really fun way to browse for decorating tips, gardening ideas, furniture trends, cooking tools, and much more. And of course they are the perfect place to view outdoor lighting ideas and meet for free with a professional lighting designer

Here are the Home Shows around the Greater Toronto Area and 905 Region where you can view outdoor lighting this Spring…

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National Home Show and Canada Blooms
March 10 to March 19, 2017
Booth #1406
The Enercare Centre in Exhibition Place
100 Princes’ Blvd., Toronto, ON M6K 3C3

2017 Newmarket Home & Lifestyle Show
March 31 to April 2, 2017, 2017
Booth #155-156
Ray Twinney Recreation Complex
100 Eagle St. W., Newmarket, ON, L3Y 1J4

2017 Milton Lifestyle Home Show
March 31 to April 2, 2017, 2017
Booth #32
Milton Memorial Arena
77 Thompson Rd. S., Milton, ON, L9T 6P7 (just South of Main St)

2017 Oakville Lifestyle Home Show
April 7 to April 9, 2017
Booth #149
Glen Abbey Recreation Centre
1415 Third Line, Oakville, ON, L6M 3G2

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2017 Aurora Chamber of Commerce Home Show
April 21 to April 23, 2017
Booth #178-179
The Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex (SARC)
1400 Wellington Street East, Aurora, ON, L4G 7B7

2017 Mississauga Lifestyle Home Show
April 28 to April 30, 2017
Booth #463-464
Hershey Centre
5500 Rose Cherry Place, Mississauga, ON, L4Z 4B6

At the outdoor lighting booth remember to pick up the flyer for discounts on complete outdoor lighting systems to save money. And if you are thinking of having outdoor lights installed this Spring, remember to sign up for a free at-home design consultation and get a bonus coupon for a special extra discount for early installs.

TIP: How to attend Home Shows for FREE. If you’d like to attend any or all of these Home Shows, just contact us and we’ll gladly send you free passes. No charge, no obligation, just tell us how many passes you’d like.