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NiteLites, is an industry leader in the low voltage outdoor landscape lighting field specializing in both residential and commercial installations. The company has been in business since 1998, and has grown from a single office operation to a nationwide franchise operation with more than 30,000 installations. NiteLites of Jacksonville, operated by Mr. Trevor Rosendahl, has been active in many types of lighting installations all over Jacksonville and the Southeast. More information can be found at www.nitelites.com.

Trends in Outdoor Lighting

If you have been thinking about adding outdoor or landscape lighting to improve the exterior appearance of your First Coast or North Florida home, you may be wondering about the new trends in outdoor and landscape lighting. Outdoor lighting trends have made many new types of fixtures and options available, so you will have quite a bit of variety to choose from when selecting your exterior lights.

Several prominent trends have emerged in the Jacksonville and Northeast Florida areas in recent years. Some lighting trends have been designed with security in mind; others have emerged because of an increased interest in backyard entertaining. Other homeowners are primarily concerned with energy savings. No matter what your outdoor lighting objectives are, you can find lighting fixtures that will give your home's exterior a modern, sophisticated appearance.

For those who are interested in energy savings, solar lights are a great choice. While the selection of solar lights was once limited, there are currently many attractive and functional styles to choose from. Since solar outdoor lights are powered by sunlight, they do not require wiring installation. They can also beautify your home without adding to your monthly energy bills.

Although solar lights are energy efficient and easy to install, they do come with a significant drawback - they do not give off nearly as much light as other types of outdoor lighting fixtures. This may work well for you if your lighting will be decorative, but it may pose a problem if you want to create sufficient light for backyard entertaining or security purposes.

If you are more interested in enhancing your home's security or entertaining guests, LED or incandescent lights may be a better choice. These types of lighting fixtures provide much brighter light than solar powered fixtures, so they can be used to make sure your home's exterior is well lit, even on cloudy nights.

Of course, these types of lights pose a challenge for many homeowners. Electrical wiring must be installed to power these lighting fixtures - if you possess basic wiring knowledge, you can complete the installation job yourself; otherwise, you will need to hire a professional electrician to install your outdoor lighting for you. Also, 12 volt and 24 volt incandescent lights will increase your energy bill, so you can expect to pay more each month to power these lighting fixtures.

Lantern lighting has become a popular trend among home owners in Jacksonville and North Florida. These lights are significantly easier to install than other types of outdoor lighting, because the wires run underneath a patio roof. With a good installation manual and a weekend afternoon to to spare, you can easily create plenty of light for backyard entertaining or security. Also, this type of lighting gives you another advantage - the wires are out of reach of small children, so they are safer than other types of outdoor lighting fixtures.

Recessed lighting is another trend that has emerged among First Coast and Northeast Florida home owners. These lights are installed so they are flush with the surface of deck floors, steps, and garden floors. This helps create a refined look for your outdoor space, and prevents wires from being exposed. Keep in mind that recessed lights can be a challenge to install, since the wiring must be buried in the ground or run underneath deck flooring. If you are not entirely confident about your wiring skills, it is best to hire a certified electrician to install your recessed lights - this can help prevent safety hazards, and can reduce the need for maintenance tasks down the road.

Colored lights have also become popular in recent years. Be careful with using colored lighting, because the wrong choices can make your outdoor space appear garish and unattractive. White or soft white bulbs should be used for the majority of your outdoor lighting. If you want to use color to add visual interest to your outdoor space, be sure to use colored lights sparingly. Blue, yellow, and green lights can all be used to highlight areas of your home without making your lighting scheme appear amateurish.

You can use these new trends in outdoor and landscape lighting as a springboard for your own unique, visually appealing lighting scheme. With a bit of time and research, you can create outdoor lighting that will provide security, beautify your home, and make backyard entertaining more enjoyable.



Jacksonville Landscape Lighting Techniques

Well-planned landscape lighting adds elegance and beauty to the looks of the house.  Outdoor lighting can hide obvious landscape problem areas while highlighting the positive features by just illuminating the right thing.  Spotlighting brings out textures more effectively while using different angles can be more dramatic.  You can use underwater lighting in water features and ponds, with the light source placed back from the area to be illuminated. Use of colored lighting to highlight a tree or using the brighter lights around tennis courts, pools, and other activity areas increases the visibility and at the same time is safer also. Silhouette lighting, provides the special effect by illuminating large outdoor surface areas like walls using a wash light fixture. This causes objects in front of the lighting to appear as silhouettes. The landscape lighting ideas are endless in the Jacksonville market.

Low voltage landscape lighting increases security and safety by lighting paths, pools, drives and entry areas. Landscape light types are usually mounted on built-in stakes, and are flexible and movable. Low-voltage landscape lighting systems have several advantages. Most importantly, low-voltage landscape lighting equipment is easier to install. Except for the transformer that's connected to a 120-volt circuit, the entire system runs on harmless 12-volt current. Another advantage of low-voltage wiring is lightweight and can be laid on the ground or buried just below the surface. Once installed, 120-volt systems are relatively permanent, while outdoor landscape low-voltage lighting fixtures can easily be relocated if one wishes to change the lighting scheme. Another advantage of low-voltage lighting equipment is that it can be less costly than high voltage applications.

There are many installation techniques, placement and combinations, which can increase home security, safety, and enjoyment. For example you might like to consider the solar powered landscape lighting, which completely eliminates wires and transformers. And because there is no wire, these lights can be placed at the exact desired location. These solar lamps have a photoelectric panel that charges a battery during daytime and when the sun goes down, a light sensor or photocell activates the lamp. Added advantage with the solar powered landscape lighting is they are low cost and flexible plus its illumination is very low and very soft adding elegance to the entire set-up.

Another low-voltage alternative to explore is the new fiber optics lighting. In fiber optics lighting individual strands of ultra-pure glass conduct light from remote sources. Underground plastic coated fiber optic cables are very flexible in laying as they can be molded into concrete walkways or walls and have been popular in brick paver applications.  These are a very versatile light choice as fiber-optic fixtures can be placed wherever needed. Since no electricity or heat is transmitted through these cables, fiber optic lighting is ideal as it provides maximum protection against fire.


Outdoor Lighting Glossary

Accent Lighting: Comes in many designs including down light, flood light, mini-accent and well lighting. Accent lighting highlights landscaping, trees, architecture and more.

Ambient Lighting: General lighting that lights up an entire space.

Area Lighting: A landscape lighting term that refers to the lighting of large landscape areas, usually with floodlights.

Ceiling Mounted Fixtures: An excellent option for entrances with a porch or portico to help more adequately light the area.

Deck Lighting: Step lighting makes using stairs safer and easier by reducing shadows. Rail lighting adds ambiance and safety for night gatherings. Post mounted fixtures can be used to highlight a deck and also increases comfort and ambiance during evening use.

General Lighting: Substantially uniform lighting of a space without providing for special local lighting requirements like task lighting or accent lighting.

Fiber Optics: Thin flexible fibers of glass or other transparent solids to transmit light signals.  

Floodlight: A broad-beamed high intensity artificial light source.

Hanging Fixtures: Grand entrances and tall porches lend themselves to hanging fixtures. In order to insure adequate lighting, safety for taller guests and good distance from a swinging door be sure to hang the fixture high enough. 84" from the floor is a general guideline. Lamps and Chandeliers specifically made for outdoor use are becoming a popular decorative accent to outdoor porches, pools, cabanas and other covered outdoor spaces.

Incandescent: Light emission by a heated filament.

Landscape or Garden Lighting: A decorative accent within a garden or landscaping to add interest and shed light on your beautiful space.

Lantern or Wall Mounted Fixtures: These can be used at any exterior door around the home including garage, basement, back and side doors, adding safety and security around entrances. Larger homes and homes with larger front entrances lend themselves to larger fixtures and/or to a fixture on each side of the door. Smaller homes and single doors are better suited with smaller lanterns or a single lantern.

LED: Light Emitting Diode. A small electronic device that lights up when electricity is passed through it. LEDs are energy-efficient and have very long lives.

Low Voltage: Although "low voltage" is generally defined as anything below 30 volts, low voltage lighting systems usually operate on 12 volts and sometimes 24 volts.

Path Lighting: Highlights walkways through your yard, adding safety and beauty. A “Spread light” style is used to define the edges of a path where the grass or garden meets the walkway. Bollard lighting is taller and used to mark an entrance or path.

Post Mounted Fixtures: These are used to illuminate an entrance/pathway or near a driveway to make locating the driveway safer and easier.

Recessed Lighting: A small light fixture recessed that usually concentrates the light in a downward direction.

Security Lighting: Lighting that is used to protect people and property. When properly employed, security lighting eliminates shadows near buildings and provides even landscape illumination for pedestrian safety.

Silhouetting: A landscape lighting technique used to create a distinct outline or silhouette of plants or other objects.

Solar Lights: A portable light fixture composed of an LED, a solar panel and a small rechargeable battery. Outdoor solar lamps are used for lawn and garden decorations for general illumination.

Spotlights: A lamp projecting a narrow, intense beam of light directly onto a specific area.