Outdoor Lighting OverviewTypically outdoor lighting in Kansas City has been used in a landscape lighting, or home lighting function. Landscape lighting in Kansas City most frequently reflects lighting landscapes of shrubs, trees, gardens, or landscape features. There are several types of fixtures used for this type of lighting. For groupings of shrubs, a broad-angle lens is used to highlight the entire area equally. Landscape lighting with this method can make a seemingly dark, colorless area come alive with warm light, accenting the natural colors and features of the landscape. Narrow-angle fixtures are used in landscape lighting for up-lighting trees. Generally these types of fixtures are conical in shape. Outdoor lighting with this type of landscape lighting features use fixtures that can highlight trees as short as 10’ up to 100’ and even more. The effect on a landscape at night using this type of lighting is dramatic, accenting the scale of the home. Path lights are used along walkways and along the borders of landscapes and/or pool areas. These come in a “mushroom” style most frequently. The path lights are placed along the side of walkways to help traffic to and from the home. Outdoor lighting of this nature is being used more frequently in Kansas City outdoor lighting systems because of the added safety and adding warmth to the home. These outdoor lighting fixtures generally stand between 12” and 18” high and have a stem or narrow pole with a “hat” on top. The landscape light emitted is directed around the lighting fixture, but not upward. Other path lights and some garden lights are meant to be hidden from view, while emitting the light. An example of this is when a small fixture is installed on a step or walk, accenting the step and walk, but not featuring a large, stemmed fixture.
Outdoor Lighting UsagesIn Kansas City, outdoor lighting settings, these types of applications are becoming more common. This is generally because of longer front walkways, which often involve multiple steps. At night, if these steps occur at a distance from the home, there is very little light, if any, to help guests navigate the path or steps. Outdoor lighting using a stemmed fixture or small path light can highlight these steps and create a safer, warmer approach to the home. These same stemmed and smaller path lights are used as outdoor lighting frequently around pools. Sometimes there is not enough lighting outdoors emitting from the home to light the areas around the pool. So, to help make a more beautiful and safe environment, these path lights are used around the perimeter of a pool deck to highlight the border of the living space so guests don’t fall into the landscape. Landscape lighting can also be used on garden areas or shrubs/trees around the pool. This type of lighting outdoors is effect, is softer in the sense that there is enough light in the garden areas to light the edges of the pool deck, but the actual outdoor lighting fixture or landscape lighting fixture may be hidden from sight. In Kansas City, outdoor lighting systems utilizing landscape lighting plans such as these usually use all of the types of fixtures. Lighting systems like these can be added any time of the year.
Outdoor Lighting OperationsOutdoor lighting and landscape lighting operations are very simple. All of the aforementioned functions of outdoor lighting and landscape lighting operate either on a timer or photo cell or switch. Homeowners have the option of programming their outdoor lighting systems to turn on/off at any given time. The benefit to this is cost savings when using incandescent or traditional bulbs. For example, a homeowner in Kansas City would have their landscape lighting system turn on around 9pm in the summers and turn off around midnight. In the winter, this same Kansas City lighting system would turn on around 5pm until midnight. LED bulbs in outdoor lighting systems, while more expensive initially, offer landscape lighting with very low energy usage, so their utilization is becoming more popular. Many homeowners with LED bulbs in their outdoor lighting systems operate the system on a photo cell, where a light sensor turns the system on at dusk and off at dawn. Even while operating this lighting system far longer than timed system, the homeowner saves much more in energy usage with the LED outdoor lighting system. On larger systems, some homeowners prefer to have path lights and step lights turn on/off at dawn/dusk while also having a separate circuit, or grouping of lights operate on a switch. In this case, the transformer, or electric supply box for the lights is plugged into an outlet. The homeowner uses a simple light switch to turn the system on/off. The switch for this type of lighting system can be indoors or outdoors.
Safety/Security LightingMost homes have dark areas on the sides or back. To deter would-be burglars, outdoor lighting in these areas makes a lot of sense. These types of systems usually have fixtures mounted on the home shining down into the dark areas. Corners of homes are most commonly used as the mounting place for this kind of outdoor lighting. As law enforcement lists outdoor lighting as one of the strongest deterrents of crime, this kind of lighting makes sense. On occasion, motion-sensors are used. Although, given the high number of critters in Kansas City, lighting systems with a motion sensor are frequently turned on as rabbits, cats, opossums, and raccoons wander through the neighborhoods. It makes more sense to have these outdoor lighting fixtures turn on/off with a photocell and use LED bulbs, which are more energy-efficient and last longer.
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