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

Aug 17 2016

The 5 questions to ask any outdoor lighting company

How do you pick an outdoor lighting company? Naturally, I think you should definitely choose OLP if you live anywhere near the Greater Toronto Area. But let’s imagine you live far away. What advice would I give for selecting the best outdoor lighting company near you?

Of course, you’d want a company that offers high quality products. But they all claim to do that. So before I even looked at any fixtures or designs, I’d ask these 5 questions first:

Discuss your lighting goals on-site with designers

1. CAN I SEE YOUR INSURANCE?

The very first step is to eliminate the risk of an under-insured or non-documented crew working on your property. If there is an accident, make sure you won’t be at any risk. You should ask for verification of active liability insurance coverage of at least $5,000,000, and up-to-date Workers compensation coverage and WSIB.

2. DO YOU SUB-CONTRACT ANY WORK?

Many general landscape contractors use third parties to do the actual work, and this is often the case with outdoor lighting. But then you have no assurance of who will actually be working on your property and what their qualifications are. Plus it leads to “finger pointing” if something goes wrong. I’d strongly advise you to only consider companies that have their own on-staff designers, installers, and maintenance crew.

3. IS OUTDOOR LIGHTING YOUR ONLY BUSINESS?

A lot of companies just dabble in outdoor lighting, especially when times are slow. But think of it this way: no matter how great your plumber is, you wouldn’t hire them to do your interior decorating. Companies that only do lighting part time generally don’t have access to the highest quality fixtures, nor the same range of solutions. Instead, they’re likely to want to sprinkle the same bullet lights everywhere — the old “I only have a hammer, so everything looks like a nail” problem.

4. WHO STANDS BEHIND YOUR WARRANTY?

A warranty is only as good as the company backing it up. Ask how long the company has been in business, but just as importantly ask what happens if they go out of business? Is there a national or international network in place to back up their warranty and continue service?

5. DO YOU OFFER A NIGHTTIME DEMONSTRATION?

Outdoor lighting is a highly visual thing. Not long after installation, your fixtures will become invisible to you during the day. But the nighttime effect is always front and centre. Seeing the actual proposed lighting effects, at night, right on your own property, can sometimes be the only way to be sure the design is right for you. Don’t rely on a 3D rendered walkthrough, either, since those are notoriously inaccurate compared to how the actual effects will look in person.

Only after asking all 5 of the above questions would I want to see any fixtures or start talking about designs. If you can’t get the right answers to the above, it’s better just to look somewhere else (such as one of the 60 Outdoor Lighting Perspectives locations all across the United States).

Of course, if you need outdoor lighting in the Greater Toronto Area then you can get great answers to all of the above questions if you give us a call. Just saying.

Jul 21 2016

How long do outdoor light bulbs last?

Outdoor landscape light bulbs generally come in two kinds: LED and halogen. A quality LED outdoor bulb can have a “rated life” many thousands of hours longer than a halogen bulb, but what does that mean for real-world expectations?

Upgrade outdoor lights to LEDOne factor that affects the life of your landscape light bulbs is whether you run them from dusk to dawn or just from dusk until a fixed time (e.g. dusk to midnight).

Here are some rule-of-thumb rough numbers for LED outdoor lightbulb life expectations for landscape lighting in the Greater Toronto Area, based on rated bulb life, average dusk/dawn times here in the GTA, and our years of experience:

LED bulbs, Dusk to Dawn = 5-10 years

LED bulbs, Dusk to Midnight = 8-15 years

LED bulb packages often claim even longer lifespans than that, but many LED bulbs are using technologies that haven’t even been around as long as their lifespan claims, so everybody is just estimating at this stage. For instance, the LED bulbs we currently use claim an expected lifespan of 60,000 hours (25+ years if operated from dusk to midnight), but only time will tell.

One thing I’ve noticed is that LED bulb life claims keep going up and up, even when the bulbs themselves are unchanged; the only difference is the number of hours printed on the box, which makes me a little dubious. Also, even with longer and longer claimed lifespans, the warranties seem to stay at 5 years. Hmmm.

Turning to traditional long-life halogen bulbs (which claim anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 hours expected life), here are our expectations for their real-world working lifespans, again based on our years of experience:

Halogen bulbs, Dusk to Dawn = 1-2 years

Halogen bulbs, Dusk to Midnight = 2-3 years

Encapsulated and non-encapsulated LED bulbs
Encapsulated LED bulbs (left) last longer

Those of you with halogen bulbs are probably probably thinking “I’ve had my bulbs for many years and they still all work great!” But one factor to keep in mind is the way in which halogen bulbs fail. LED bulbs usually fail in one step (basically they work one day and fully stop working the next). On the other hand, halogen bulbs usually fail slowly over time. Sometimes they suddenly stop working if they are damaged or completely burn out, but more often they just slowly become dimmer and more yellow over time. It’s so slow you might not even notice, until you change the bulb and suddenly WOW it’s so much brighter.

So you might think your current halogen bulbs are working great, but you may be surprised at how much dimmer and more yellow they are compared to that first night.

That’s why we recommend changing halogen bulbs even when they are still technically lighting up at night. You should change halogen bulbs every year (for dusk to dawn systems) or at most every two years (for dusk to midnight systems). That way your outdoor lights will always look fresh and new.

Jul 19 2016

Outdoor lighting for stone paths

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking certain fixtures are only for certain applications. Deck lights go on decks, pond lights go in ponds, garden lights go in gardens, and so on. But of course, most fixtures can be placed in a huge variety of locations for an equally huge variety of effects.

One lovely example of such an effect is placing a solid copper path/garden light into a rock bed. The combination of natural elements (stone and copper) is truly lovely during the day, and it lends an organic “softness” to an otherwise hard area.

Darkened copper path light mounted in rock gardenThese photos are from two Greater Toronto Area area properties (one in Richmond Hill, the other in Kleinburg) where we recently designed and installed outdoor lighting. In both cases, copper path lights were used to great effect by mounting them among the rocks and stones adjacent to pathways.

At the first property (pictured above right, click for larger version) in Kleinburg, the nearby garden wasn’t a suitable light location due to a tricky corner and tight spacing of the hedge against the hardscape. But a BB07 with ts wide-effect lighting was the perfect solution when mounted directly into the rock bed itself. Not only does it illuminate the nearby pathway nicely, but it also highlights the fantastic texture of the stones, a perfect pairing in this great mix of hardscape and landscape.

Also, as you can see from the photo, we installed the pre-darkened version of this solid copper fixture. While copper will naturally develop a dark patina, in this case the bright shiny copper would stand out too much during the time before it darkened. That’s why we also offer any copper fixture in a pre-darkened finish. It’s still an unpainted fixture so there’s no worry about fading or peeling paint; just natural copper that has been darkened so there isn’t that initial period of bright shiny copper where it would be too distracting on the landscape.

Copper path light mounted in rocks to light path along the side of the houseAnother recent property where the same fixture was used to great effect in a rock bed (pictured right, click for larger version) was a home in Richmond Hill with a long hardscape-and-stone pathway down the side of the house leading to the back yard. There was no suitable option for lights attached to the house, and in this case both neighbours got to share the same lighting solution placed in the “river of rocks” running between the houses.

The result was a truly lovely effect combining safety, beauty, and the efficiency of lighting two paths at the same time.

Great lighting designs often incorporate an element of small surprise to delight the eye, and find a creative solution to lighting challenges.

Jul 18 2016

The amazing half-path/half-flood outdoor light

Recently the lighting designs for two different properties called for one of my favourite fixtures: the half-path/half-flood light.

A half-path/half-flood light looks like a normal pathway fixture during the day, but at night it’s something else entirely. With a standard path light, the effect shines the same in all directions. That’s great for gardens, walkways, and many other places. But a half-path gives off a semi-circle of light on one side, with flood effect on the other side. It’s the perfect way to highlight a plant, stone, statue, or other small feature adjacent to a path.

The “BB07F” is a solid copper half-path/half-flood light, and it’s amazingly versatile due to an adjustable-effect top made from solid spun copper. It’s available in many heights, and is hand crafted in the USA exclusively for Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

I often use the flood aspect to highlight rocks and gardens along paths. But recently, I used the flood side of the half-path fixture to create shadow shapes and a burst of extra illumination on fences at a pair of lovely properties in the Greater Toronto Area.

Poolside lighting in Richmond Hill with half-path/half-flood outdoor lightsFor the first property, the BB07F half-path lights were used to line a pool as part of a back yard lighting design in Richmond Hill. (See picture to right; click for larger version.) Fence mounted lights were not suitable due to a tricky eye-line problem with some seating areas. However, there was enough space in a rock garden surrounding the pool that I could place half-path lights there without creating any trip hazard.

This resulted in a beautiful effect of lights surrounding the pool and also reflected in it, with lots of light cast down onto the walking area around the pool. A great combination of beauty and function. Also, the half-path lights make a lovely shadow pattern along the fence to add visual interest.

Guests seated on the other side of the pool are treated to a pretty light show with unique shadow shapes, ripples of light reflected in the pool, and no glare.

Garden and fence lighting in Toronto with a half-path/half-flood fixtureA second property, in downtown Toronto, had a small garden near a pathway but still some distance from any other suitable fixture location. It was important to down-light the path since it was close by the main entrance to the yard and also near some concrete steps and a pool. Safety first!

A standard path light might have made the area safe to walk, but not quite comfortable due to the “looming” darkness surrounding it. Once again the half-path saves the day! (See picture to right; click for larger version.) The path effect from the half-path light illuminated the gardens and pathway perfect, and the flood effect side not only gave a burst of extra light for the garden but also washed a large area of the fence with inviting light. A single fixture was perfect to light the garden, the path, the fence, and to mark the edges of both the stairs and pool. What an incredible combo, all from one fixture.

Now the path is comfortable to walk, and the garden and fence make a beautiful highlight to enjoy from both the pool and inside the home.

Technical note: in both of these cases, the fixture used was the BB07F-24, a solid copper half-path/half-flood light with a 6.5″ spun copper top and a 24″ copper shaft. Many other sizes including custom heights are available. Contact us today for a free on-site lighting consultation and estimate to see how this or any other fixtures can help you see your own home in a new light.