KNOWLEDGE2024-03-02T09:25:46-06:00

FAQ’s

FAQ’s

I see AOLP on your website, what is it?2024-02-14T11:06:36-06:00

AOLP, which stands for the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals, is an organization of lighting professionals who work together to better the industry.

The Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals (AOLP) makes it it’s mission to ensure quality outdoor lighting installation and standards. Not all lighting companies are the same, and not all are members of AOLP. Those companies that are members of this organization have taken the initiative to set themselves apart by increasing their education of the outdoor lighting industry and proper installation techniques. When looking to hire an outdoor lighting professional look for those who are members of AOLP – a list of members can be found at www.aolponline.org.

Throughout the United States, there are no clearly defined national standards for low voltage outdoor lighting. In most states, the test given to license low voltage contractors has little or nothing to do with the actual work that they perform. AOLP feels this lack of standards has a profound impact on the safety and quality of services that we provide. AOLP has created a standardized certification test to address the lack of standards that presently exist.

CLVLT:

The Certified Low Voltage Lighting Technician (CLVLT) exam is administered by AOLP. The CLVLT exam measures the knowledge and capabilities of the applicants and is specifically for 12-volt systems. The test consists of a written exam and seven half-hour labs. Upon receiving a passing grade, applicants are listed as Certified Low Voltage Lighting Technicians (CLVLT).

COLD:

Primary goal is to promote design excellence and to allow for the development of an individual’s own lighting design style. It is our intent that each individual learns and re-learns the concepts presented, so that progressive change is made in the thought process of an individual design. Also, we will be looking for each participant to get more involved over the four-year period by offering input to the group.

The following bullet points highlight this programs purpose:

  • To incorporate and ensure “good and responsible” lighting design practices
  • To offer advanced levels of landscape lighting design training and instill professionalism to our designers
  • To gain industry recognition and market exposure for our members and AOLP
  • To understand and communicate the “emotional” impact of a landscape lighting design
  • To address growing regulatory concerns and trade related issues

Light It Right is CLVLT Number 1275 and COLD Number 1727 (1 of 2 in Texas). As outdoor lighting professionals we are proud of the work this organization does on behalf of companies like ours and ensuring the future of the industry.

Why is it important to use a Lighting Pro?2024-02-16T14:16:38-06:00

When using a lighting pro you have a better chance of success with your lighting system.

There are numerous design aspects to consider when undertaking and designing a landscape design from scratch, lighting being one of them.

When working on a new (or refreshed) landscape design it is understandable that for you, the landscape architect or designer, the landscape and planting is number 1. After all, the landscape and plants are your specialty. So when it comes to the landscape lighting, use a lighting professional to design your lighting plan – allow that part to be taken off your plate.

For those homeowners who are taking on this project yourself, we recommend that you do not use your landscaper who mows your yard every week or the one who does your seasonal color. Often times they really do not know how to create a professional lighting plan correctly, and you will be the one who pays dearly.

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Knowledge

Yes, landscape architects and designers are incredibly knowledgeable about all things landscape design, there is no debating that. However, when it comes to the landscape lighting, the one aspect that will make their hard work shine at night, their plans tend to fall short. Not by the fault of the designer, they are not a lighting expert. One only knows what they do best, as lighting designers we would never attempt to create a landscape design, so it should not be expected for you to create a lighting design.

A lighting expert will be able to take the landscape plan or blueprint and construct an amazing lighting design that will accentuate every aspect of the plan – often times even include ideas that you may not have even thought of. Those who are Certified Outdoor Lighting Designers have an increased education in outdoor lighting. Not only can they design an amazing plan, they also are able to place lighting in areas others cannot, or would not have thought of (like a basketball goal or driveway) – not all lighting designers are equal, look for those with COLD (Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer) after their names. When you see COLD after a lighting designers name you can rest easy knowing that designer has spent years perfecting his/her craft . There are not many COLD designers in the country, however they are the cream of the crop.

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Quality

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When you hire a lighting expert to create your dream lighting plan, you will receive the highest quality products on the market. Certified Outdoor Lighting Designers have access to lighting products that a landscaper or a weekend warrior will not. A lighting designer will have the ability to have fixtures custom designed to their exact specifications when needed.

Quality is the number 1 area that clients and designers end up losing money – going for that lowest bid. Low price is not better, most of the time the cost may be less up front, however you will pay more, over and over, in the long run. When it comes to home improvements, feeling like you got a “deal” should not be the end goal – feeling like you got the “best” should be.

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.” – John Ruskin

Technique

In the last 5 years there have been more people entering the lighting world – this is in part to LEDs finally becoming reliable. Simple LED lighting systems are easier to install than the halogen systems were. There was a lot more math involved with the old halogen systems since runs can only have so much power on them and transformers should only have 80% load, etc. (a lot of technical jargon really).

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Lighting experts have the proper training and education (look for Certified Low Voltage Lighting Technicians) to correctly install an outdoor lighting system. Yes, your landscaper will say “Oh, I can do that too, I’ll do it next time I’m doing your yard.” More times than not, that person will then either go 1 of 2 places – a Big Box Store and buy your lights off the shelf (the DIY kind), or to a supply house and guess at what they need. Well, now he is going to install said “professional” lighting system and has no idea what he is doing. He runs the wire and uses the wrong connections, balances out the system incorrectly, looks at the transformer like it’s an alien from another planet.

Now you have a lighting system, but do you really? Nothing has been installed correctly, the fixtures look cheap and haphazardly placed, no real thought went into placement. If something breaks will he be able to fix it? 9 times out of 10 the answer is no and you end up calling an expert like Light It Right to make repairs, and most of the time our solution is…. rip it out and start over. Technique is a large quality issue, you did not receive the quality you were expecting.

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort” – John Ruskin

Lighting experts posses the skills required to properly install outdoor lighting and use the correct tools need to create a successful design. Even better – a lighting expert can create designs and systems that no one else could dream of – only because they have taken the required time and effort to learn their trade (they are also nerds when it comes to lights).

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When Bad Lighting Happens to Good People

In our over 15 years in the lighting industry we have seen it all! We hate to see bad lighting happen to good people, it is a terrible feeling having to tell someone to rip out something they spent their hard earned money on, but it happens all the time.

In our years we have seen:

  • Transformers plugged into AC units (this has caused fires)
  • Extension Cords with wire “Plugged” into the Prongs
  • Indoor Wire Nuts Used Outdoors
  • Tape Used to Connect Wire
  • Tape to hold Fixtures together
  • Wire Run on top of the Grass
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  • Wire Connected to Extension Cord                           Improper Transformer Installation

These are just a few examples of what we have experienced. None of the above situations should be happening – they are not only against any code, they are dangerous. Low Voltage lighting, like most outdoor lighting, is relatively safe, however when installed incorrectly things can go wrong, very quickly.

Remember, always use a lighting expert when it comes to your outdoor lighting needs. Allow us to create the ultimate lighting design for your landscape design. We guarantee your landscape will outshine everyone else on the block!

Locate a Lighting Expert in Your Area: Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals

Will Outdoor Lighting benefit my Landscape Design?2024-02-16T14:21:10-06:00

Yes, lighting will elevate your landscape design to the next level.

Landscape design is all about using plants to create art. Just as art falls into classifications, landscape designs fall into styles, of which there are 4 main architectural styles* : Italian, French, English, and Modern. When the correct architectural lighting design is implemented, these designs aesthetics are accentuated at night. Ensuring the correct lighting fixtures and design techniques are key to guarantee the lighting is benefiting the design, not obstructing it.

The Styles

The 4 main design styles each target certain design aspects :

  • Italian: It’s all about that ARCH
  • French: It’s all about that ROOF
  • English: It’s all about that ENTRANCE
  • Modern: It’s all about those LINES

Italian

Arches are prominent all over Italy, Roman architecture is filled with aqueducts. Whether the house itself has arched roof lines, or the garden has arched trellis’ or pathways – arches are king.

When trellis’ are used for climbing Ivy or as a decorative piece over a pathway it is key to use a fixture that will be able to be hidden, or nestled, right into the Ivy. Even though small, the correct placement, wattage, and style will create a wonderful glow through and over the Ivy, even in its infancy the Ivy will be shown in its best light. Fixtures like Auroras’ Cyclops are great in this application – they are tiny, easy to hide, and can be completely customized to be built exactly how the lighting designer specs.

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When archways are built into the home itself, the awe and amazement those arches create is magnified at night, with the correct usage of lighting, of course. For the grandest appearance, up lighting is the way to go! Light coming up from the bottom creates a dramatic, almost haunting, effect. Not many lighting designers have the ability to core fixtures into the paver, or sidewalk material, however those like Light It Right, who have the experience and correct tools are able to accentuate these areas. Large fixtures are not always the way to go, depending on the size of the arch and the area smaller fixtures, cored, will create that dramatic effect, with minimal foot print.

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French

Ahh, the French – always grand and luxurious. When you think of France you think Chateaus and those dramatic roof lines. When landscape designers are designing in the French style, roof lines and porticos are tied almost seamlessly into the landscape – almost like there is no end or beginning for either.

When looking at the gardens at Versailles, the Louvre, and the Tuileries Garden statues are abundant, grand fountains pull you in, and numerous gravel labyrinths will turn you around. Of course for residential design the scale is much smaller, however by no means less grand. Statues create a unique lighting opportunity – depending on where the statue is locate it can be down lit, up lit, or even lit from within.

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Fountains – now these are fun for lighting designers! There is so much that can be done with lighting to make a fountain pop and look just as grand as ones in Paris they are modeled after (or brought in from). Lighting can be placed at the pedestal and illuminate the basin from the bottom, or if it is a circular fountain, lights can be placed evenly spaced around the entire fountain to highlight any intricate detail that may be along the side. The greatest WOW for fountains is lighting installed in the water itself – at night a lovely glow comes from with in and creates the dream like feel that walking through French towns creates.

Labyrinths – no one does these better than the French, so why not immolate them. Walking through the Gardens of Versailles is like entering a different dream at every turn, and it literally is, each area is dedicated and designed differently. Labyrinths are unique and rare to start, and even more so here in the US, so why not use a unique and different fixture along these magical, wondering gravel walkways? Bollards provide that unique look and feel these areas require – they are path lights, however not typical path lights. The style bollard Light It Right implores is not your Mother’s bollard either – these are custom designed bollards that create art on the ground. Nightscaping Bollards look like sculpted art during the day – no bulky black pedestal here – but at night art comes to life!

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English

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Just as lovely as an English Rose! English country homes have some of the grandest entries, just look at Highclere Castle ( home of Downton Abbey) and Buckingham Palace. Imagine your arrival home includes a long drive up and fully landscaped drive to your front entry surrounded by soft and subtle landscape including Boxwoods surrounding each side of the front door. When designers are working to create a lovely English garden, the entrance is the focal point – it is all about welcoming your guests to your home. Lighting is a key part of this, how can one welcome their guests when their guests cannot see where they are going? Lighting the along the drive up the from will usher your guests exactly where they need to go. Using soft wash lighting and accent lighting along the free flowing landscape will keep in the English theme of less structure. The wash style lighting will create a softer glow, whereas spot lighting will punch light more into one area, rather than allowing it to spread out. The lighting should allow the flowering plants, boxwoods, and other greenery speak for themselves, and not overpower them with shadows.

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Modern

Just like in anything else considered Modern – the Lines are everything! Along with keeping to the crisp line styles, modern ties the personality or usage of the owners, more than any of the others. The style bends to the user, not the other way. Technology is highly integrated with systems like Lutron, Savant, and Control 4. When working with a professional lighting designer they will know to zone out the lighting system to be operational on any of the aforementioned control systems.

Outdoor living is king – more and more people are taking the inside outside – full kitchens are built, outside, living rooms, outside, and homeowners are spending an increased amount of time outside than inside. With the sergeancy of outdoor living, landscape design and lighting has been forced to react and make the landscape able to withstand more usage. Lighting products have become more “rough and tumble” to be able to withstand a hit from a football, or be clobbered by a lawn mower. Lighting specification is number 1 within the modern landscape design style and process – knowing the intend use for every area will determine the proper lighting product for that area. Along a pathway – will any one be really using it, will an area light be a trip hazard, if so perhaps a low profile fixture, like a Sterling Riley, or ClaroLux Fasano are the way to go. Does the owner like to sit out in the arbor at night and enjoy looking over a lake or pool – arbor lighting should be added to increase the enjoyment of that area.

 

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Landscape design is an intricate art form that requires a designer to take aesthetics, function, and use all into account to create a clients dream property. There are many different styles a designer will implore: Italian, French, English, and Modern are just broad categories used to categorize a look and feel. Architectural and landscape lighting may not have specific design styles, however with correct techniques and fixtures in place, lighting highlights and adds dimension to a landscape plan that would normally plunge into the darkness of the night.

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*4 Architectural Design Styles by Rachel Gibbs, Lanson B Jones Houston, TX

Will my lights be blue?2024-02-14T11:08:07-06:00

Not all LEDs are created the same, but they have come a long way from their initial state.

Only if you want them to be! LEDs have come a long way from where they first started decades ago. There are various color temperatures to pick from, warm white all the way to blue. So, if you want the blue light, sure it can be blue, if you don’t than no it will not. You can even have Color Changing LEDs!

Will my electric bill go up?2024-02-14T11:08:13-06:00

Nope, not with LEDs.

Now that LEDs are reliable they are the only bulbs Light It Right uses. With the use of LEDs the uptick on the electric bill is minimal, maybe a few cents, you won’t even notice; whereas when halogens where used you could actually see the increase on the bill.

Will my yard suffer any damage?2024-02-14T11:08:37-06:00

You will barely know we were even there!

Short answer, No. It may appear that when we are trenching your yard that there is no way that grass is going back in the same spot. Well the way we do it at Light It Right you bet that grass goes right back into its spot. You may see some trench lines but those will go away once the grass settles back in.

How Do I Reset My Timer?2024-02-14T11:47:26-06:00
My Lights are all off, what do I do?2024-02-14T11:50:05-06:00

You can check your transformer and timer to ensure they are both on and functioning correctly.

My lights are blocked by my landscape2024-02-14T11:08:56-06:00

Lighting does need some TLC after it goes it, and landscape care is one thing that needs to be done.

Yes. If you have immature landscape when your system is installed you will need to have your lights adjusted and relocated once the landscape matures. This is a simple process and it will ensure that your lighting is looking its best and the original purpose of the lighting is still achieved.

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