Category Archives: General

Landscape Designers Ride Momentum from Early Spring

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After several lean years during the recession, followed by the slow revival of the home-building and commercial-construction sectors, landscape designers are finally feeling like their industry is surging, with customers jumping on trends ranging from outdoor kitchens to landscape lighting to sustainable elements. A mild winter meant an early start for these professionals, who are optimistic the brisk business will continue throughout 2016.

It’s a simple question, just four words. But it speaks volumes about the optimism area landscape designers feel about the 2016 season.

“The golden question we’re hearing is, ‘when can you start?’ Not ‘let me get back to you,’ but ‘when can you start?’” said Stephen Roberts, president of Stephen A. Roberts Landscape Architecture & Construction in Springfield. “We haven’t heard those words much the last eight years, but we’re starting to hear them. People want to pull the trigger and go.”

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They’re also increasingly looking to install artistic landscape lighting, also known as architectural lighting, a niche popular in the South that is coming into its own in the Northeast. As opposed to powerful floodlights, landscape lighting uses a variety of smaller accent lights to highlight the features of a home and yard. “Outdoor lighting is being requested a lot more, with the LED lights available now,” Roberts said. “Those are more energy-efficient, and more people are gravitating toward them than in the past. They’re coming up earlier in the conversation, instead of something being added on in the future; people are asking for lighting up front.” All these features reflect national landscaping trends, according to Corinne Gangloff, media relations director for the Freedonia Group, which studies landscaping trends. She writes that, “as part of the outdoor living trend, homeowners create outside kitchens and living rooms, and businesses extend outdoor areas to expand their seating space. Urban communities increasingly create ‘parklets,’ small green spaces that may feature flower beds, container gardens, walking paths, water features, seating, bird-watching opportunities, and statuary. Some communities have used these parks as a way to address the issue of abandoned homes in blighted neighborhoods, tearing down the structures and replacing them with this type of public green space.”

Source: Landscape Designers Ride Momentum from Early Spring

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Shedding Light on Sustainable Desert Gardens | The National

MRH-238LEDWhile doing research on sustainability with regards to landscape lighting, I found an interesting article on The National web site. The writer, Jane Aldersley, talks about the environmentally friendly benefits of LED lighting given the extremely low energy consumption of today’s LED technology. This was not surprising since it is well known that LED energy consumption can save upwards of 80% in energy costs when compared to traditional incandescent or halogen lighting. However, Ms. Aldersley provides a fresh view on the extended sustainability benefits of quality LED  outdoor lighting, benefits that may be even more important to environmentalists and nature lovers alike. By using quality LED outdoor lighting fixtures,  gardens and landscapes can be enhanced and plantings will be able to grow, mature, and develop over time since these fixtures will not need to be replaced every few years. Using low quality fixtures that require replacement or frequent maintenance creates ongoing problems associated with digging up the gardens, reburying cable, and disrupting the natural environment of the landscaping.

It occurred to me that Ms. Aldersley may not have been aware that to achieve the ultimate sustainable garden, the use of quality LED outdoor lights made from SOLID COPPER would provide benefits long after the 10-year window she mentions in her article. Our P.M. Lighting line of solid copper fixtures are designed to last a lifetime, not just 10 years,  and the LED components can be easily replaced when they finally do burn out. Simply stated, our fixtures will outlast any LED component and it makes sense to be able to upgrade and replace just the LEDs in the future instead of having to replace the entire fixture. LED technology will continue to improve over the next several years so why get locked in to old technology or be forced to replace your fixtures when the LEDs wear out?

The bottom line is that LED technology and solid copper fixtures are the perfect combination to achieve the ultimate, truly sustainable, eco-friendly outdoor lighting system available. A few excerpts from the article and link to the site are below for your convenience.

The city gardener: Shedding light on sustainable desert gardens

PHOTO COURTESY GLOBAL LIGHT & POWER

“With the right low-energy LED fixtures, lighting can become a fantastically sustainable element in garden design – not only by minimising [sic] the amount of power used for illumination but also by enhancing textures, shapes and silhouettes, creating a captivating nightscape without the need for a lot of thirsty plants.”

“Aside from the gorgeous effects and low power consumption, let’s also remember another huge benefit of LED lighting – good-quality fixtures last for about 10 years without maintenance or lamp changing. Therefore, all these wonderful sustainable lighting features can remain interference-free, while the plants or materials naturally grow, age and change texture and colour. This is the beauty of using natural materials, and one of the driving forces behind the concept of sustainable design. Combine this with intelligent plant selection and the tiny power consumption of LED, and you have the potential for the ultimate sustainable desert landscape.”

Jane Aldersley is a landscape lighting specialist working exclusively with LED lighting. She has been working within the UAE landscape industry since 2007.

via The city gardener: Shedding light on sustainable desert gardens | The National.

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Landscape lighting design takes shrewd eye, technical skill

From The National Post

The intensity of color, the refinement of shadow, the synergy of shapes — such phrases are usually reserved for fine art classes or a Group of Seven tour through the Art Gallery of Ontario. But today they are the catch-phrases of a new breed of artist: the landscape lighting designer. What once was perceived as the last thought for residents after buying or building a property has now become a design priority. That is, if one wants to fit into the aesthetic zeitgeist of Toronto’s neighborhoods, which are being slowly lit up one by one.

Handout

Landscape lighting design can be described as “painting with light” — when lighting serves as more than a basic function and reinvents the outdoor space.

“No one tells Michelangelo to only use 250 colours when he really needs 300 to create a masterpiece,” says Bill Cradock, owner of Starlite Lighting Concepts. “It’s the same with landscape lighting. The most challenging thing about it is that the client may not share your vision. But it’s got to be done right.” Mr. Cradock describes his craft as “painting with light,” a talent best appreciated when the lighting serves more than a basic function and actually reinvents the outdoor space: “We cast the shadows of trees on to driveways, recreate the light of the moon or the sun, and allow a homeowner to feel as though the outside is an extension of the inside of their house.”

Scott MacKinnon of Light Emitting Design (LED) says North American cities are lagging Europe in this field. “European architecture is lit up so that pedestrians can walk through the city at night. Toronto is definitely a work in progress, but it’s a trend that’s really increased in popularity.”

Mr. MacKinnon, who used to light films, including Focus with William H. Macy, says LED bulbs open up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to illuminating outdoor spaces. “No one wants blinding floodlights at the back of the house,” Mr. MacKinnon explains. “With LED lights you can really control exactly where the light is going and there’s no ultra-violet rays or swarms of bugs because the bulbs aren’t hot.”

Handout

What determines how something is lit, however, really depends on the property, the landscape itself and the personalities of the people who live there..………

…………. And herein lies the art of lighting. “It’s just something,” Mr. Cradock says, that “you have to have a feel for.” Or maybe these artists are heeding the call to light up the darkness one household, one cottage, one poolside patio at a time.

Read the entire story and related material at the National Post by clicking on the following link:

http://life.nationalpost.com/2012/10/17/landscape-lighting-design-takes-shrewd-eye-technical-skill/?__lsa=9d09-a7ef

 

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Outdoor Lighting Tops List of Most Popular Outdoor Living Features in ASLA Survey

15 Hot Outdoor Design Trends

Survey identifies the top three outdoor design elements, and five most popular features of each.

By Charlotte O’Malley

Outdoor living spaces for entertaining and relaxing will be in high demand during 2014, according to the Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects in January-February 2014. The survey gathered responses from 179 landscape architecture professionals across the country who specialize in residential design, and asked them to rate the expected popularity of outdoor design elements as well as popular features for each. Check out the breakdown:

ASLA Survey Snapshot

Source:American Society of Landscape Architects, 2014 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey

For complete list of most popular outdoor design features and full story,  visit 15 Hot Outdoor Design Trends – Builder Magazine.

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Which Outdoor Lighting Is Right for You, LED or Low-Voltage Halogen?

County Living Magazine

A Resource Guide for Home, Health, Work & Leisure

Which Outdoor Lighting Is Right for You, LED or Low-Voltage Halogen?  February 11, 2013

Outdoor lighting can be a highly efficient way to add curb appeal, safety and security to your home each and every evening – even when you’re not at home.But what kind of outdoor lights should you buy, LED or low-voltage halogen?

One is halogen. One is LED. Can you tell which is which?

In short, either can work and make your home look beautiful and lived-in with the right outdoor lighting design. Both have distinct advantages, and both have the ability to highlight all the best parts of your property. The chart below is a quick summary of key differences between LED and low-voltage halogen outdoor lighting.

What the image above shows is that when planned and installed correctly, and with the right fixtures and bulbs, LED and halogen lights can create the same desired effect. You’ll notice the color of both bulbs is very similar, and that’s because of the quality of bulbs used. High quality in both low voltage and LED lighting will provide a color rendering index CRI of over 80, which is what’s needed for outdoor lighting applications. Make sure you check your fixtures’ CRI, as older LED technologies may produce a substandard light.

Energy efficiency is important when choosing an outdoor lighting fixture. For residential lighting, LED takes the cake on being more energy-efficient and longer lasting than halogen, cutting down on maintenance costs as well. And even on properties where primarily halogen lights are used, it is recommended that LED outdoor fixtures be selected for hard to reach areas like up in trees or on the peaks of the home. The reason? To cut down on maintenance and bulb replacement and the cost for repair if needed. Where halogen fixtures come out on top is the initial price. Halogen’s initial price is lower, where the initial investment in LED’s can be rather expensive, depending on your needs.

The bottom line is that both LED and Halogen are good options. It’s important not to overlook the proper design and installation of the lighting, regardless of the technology. Careful planning of the location of the lighting and the effect that it creates are often overlooked.Some homeowners work late or travel a great deal. Many of them really enjoy the flexibility that a Lighting Control Automation system provides. Lighting Control Automation allows your home to look lived in even when you are away, with preset controls to manage your lights – both inside and outside. You can change the settings anytime remotely using a computer or smart phone with Internet access.

Comparisons: Halogen vs. LED Outdoor Lighting

HALOGEN LED
Bulb Life 5,000 hours 40,000 hours
Energy Usage Low Lower – 80%
Maintenance Low Low
Installation Easy Easier
System price Low up front cost Higher up front cost

 

via Which Outdoor Lighting Is Right for You,LED or Low-Voltage Halogen?.

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Landscape Architect & Specifier News Feature

P.M. Lighting’s PM7XLC path light was recently featured in Landscape Architect & Specifier News magazine as a world premier item. This solid copper 11 inch path light is excellent for large scale projects when a standard path light will not provide the impact or illumination required. This fixture can handle up to a 50 watt halogen bi-pin lamp and it comes in an LED option as well. Check out the full issue of Landscape Architect & Specifier News at   http://landscapearchitect.epubxp.com/i/82632

Featured in LASN Magazine

 

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Copper and Brass Comparison

One of our dealers recently asked us to help him explain the differences between copper and brass to his clients and why we use copper as the primary material for our fixtures. We want to share this with our readers to expose a few myths and misconceptions about which material is best for outdoor landscape lighting. This may be a lengthy read but hopefully you will find the information useful.

Copper vs. Brass

When comparing copper to brass luminaires, both materials are good choices for the fixture composition but copper offers a few key advantages over brass. Remember, brass is a composite typically comprised of copper and zinc (usually about 70% copper and 30% zinc). The zinc provides hardness to the alloy which makes brass an excellent choice for parts where the softer copper is not suitable for such applications as screws and knuckles. Obviously, when you have 70% of the brass makeup costing say $6800 per tonne and 30% of the makeup costing $1835 per tonne (current prices on the LME on 10/5/11), brass should naturally be a less expensive material than 100% copper. The two primary reasons brass is used in products are, 1) certain applications need harder materials such as mentioned earlier with screws for example. 2) brass can be polished to a beautiful finish for lamps, doorknobs, etc. and the zinc helps resist tarnishing, especially important for indoor lighting fixtures and decorative hardware.

 Now for the good stuff.  There are 2 very meaningful advantages I discuss with my clients locally which seem to be important to these homeowners.

First, copper is one of the few materials that will truly stand the test of time, which is one reason why copper is used for roofing, plumbing, and historic structures that have been around for years (think of the statue of liberty). The information below provides a little insight to this but the real difference between copper and brass is in the last section regarding the effects of corrosion.

Copper and copper alloys provide superior service in many of the applications included in the following general classifications:

  • Applications requiring resistance to atmospheric exposure, such as roofing and other architectural uses, hardware, building fronts, grille work, hand rails, lock bodies, doorknobs, and kick plates
  • Freshwater supply lines and plumbing fittings, for which superior resistance to corrosion by various types of waters and soils is important
  • Marine applications – most often freshwater and seawater supply lines, heat exchangers, condensers, shafting, valve stems, and marine hardware – in which resistance to seawater, hydrated salt deposits, and biofouling from marine organisms is important
  • Heat exchangers and condensers in marine service, steam power plants, and chemical process applications, as well as liquid-to-gas or gas-to-gas heat exchangers in which either process stream may contain a corrosive contaminant
  • Industrial and chemical plant process equipment involving exposure to a wide variety of organic and inorganic chemicals
  • Electrical wiring, hardware, and connectors; printed circuit boards; and electronic applications that require demanding combinations of electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties, such as semiconductor packages, lead frames, and connectors

Effects of alloy compositions on corrosion

Coppers and high-copper alloys (C 10100 – C 19600; C 80100 – C 82800) have similar corrosion resistance.
They have excellent resistance to seawater corrosion and biofouling, but are susceptible to erosion-corrosion at high water velocities. The high-copper alloys are primarily used in applications that require enhanced mechanical performance, often at slightly elevated temperature, with good thermal or electrical conductivity. Processing for increased strength in the high-copper alloys generally improves their resistance to erosion-corrosion.

Brasses (C 20500 – C 28580) are basically copper-zinc alloys and are the most widely used group of copper alloys. The resistance of brasses to corrosion by aqueous solutions does not change markedly as long as the zinc content does not exceed about 15%.

Above 15% Zn, dezincification may occur.

Source: http://www.keytometals.com/article16.htm

As you can see, since most traditional brass composition for our industry has 30% zinc (twice the 15% mentioned above), dezincification will occur over time which depletes the zinc from the material and leaves the remaining part porous and weak.  See below from Wikipedia.com

Leaching of Zinc (dezincification)

The most common example is selective leaching of zinc from brass alloys containing more than 15% zinc (dezincification) in presence of oxygen and moisture, eg. from brass taps in chlorine-containing water. It is believed that both copper and zinc gradually dissolved out simultaneously and copper precipitates back from the solution. The material remaining is a copper-rich sponge with poor mechanical properties, and color changed from yellow to red. Dezincification can be caused by water containing sulfur, carbon dioxide and oxygen.

The second advantage of copper over brass (and many other materials used for lighting products) is the true sustainability of the material from an eco-friendly perspective. I say “true” because many companies tout their products as being environmentally friendly and sustainable but if you cut through the chatter and see what sustainable really means, you will see copper is a standout from other materials. Yes, you can technically recycle the plastic and aluminum products but the feasibility of this does not make financial sense. Brass, being an alloy is not as pure a material as copper so copper is the more likely material to end up being recycled … AND the material holds its intrinsic value time after time, a key to true sustainability. In other words, copper at the beginning of the production stage and at the end of the product’s lifespan, will maintain a significant portion of its value, making it desirable and, therefore financially feasible to recycle. This material will truly sustain itself over time.

By the way, there are many types of “brasses” and then you have the “bronze” materials, all of which are alloys or composites (see the link below for more on this). Each has its advantages and disadvantages for certain applications but for landscape lighting, copper is, in my humble opinion, the absolute best choice for the highest quality and affordability in professional lighting. The purity and sustainability of copper, coupled with the beautiful patina finish that naturally occurs over time can’t be beat. Lastly, copper fixtures and LED are a natural combination when considering true environmentally friendly options.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass

Happy Selling!

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