In this article, we take a closer look at the outside lighting in this fabulous Kent home. We look at the practical elements of outside lighting and we talk about Lutron Homeworks QS lighting control systems.
Outside lighting can add so much to your outdoor space. For example; it can allow you to enjoy your garden for longer periods, providing practicality, security and safety.
In this article, we look at:
- Outside Lighting Circuits in this Kent Home
- Outside Fittings
- Lighting Control System – Lutron Homeworks QS
- Astronomical Programming and Geofencing
- The Impact of Artificial Lights
- Our Design Services
- In Conclusion
- Further Reading
Outside Lighting Circuits in this Kent Home
There are 34 outside circuits in total, grouped into nine distinct areas: front gates, driveway, front garden, rear garden, side gardens, pool area, patio area, garages and driving range area.
By grouping the circuits into areas, we can provide “rooms” of external light and we control the lights accordingly. For example, the lights at the front gate are astronomically controlled to turn on 15 minutes before sunset, meaning that the gates are lit for visitors and guests. The driveway lights, however, come on in a “wave” effect when a break-beam triggers that someone is coming through the gates.
Normally the outside patio lights are on a very low level to provide an atmospheric scene, but when the “entertain” mode is activated, they increase in intensity to allow for dining on the patio. Similarly, the pool lights pick out the pool as a feature when entertaining.
There are a host of options available when designing outside lighting schemes, from spikes to spots, wall lights to walk-overs. A tip is to first start by thinking about the area to be lit. Once you have done that, find a fitting to create the effect you want, rather than trying to jemmy a fitting that you like into an area where it may be unsuitable.
Lighting Control System – Lutron Homeworks QS
Controlling the outside lighting is critical to getting the right results. Have you seen outside lighting that appears to have been thoughtfully and creatively designed, but which is gaudy because there is no subtlety to the control?
When you use a lighting control system to control the outside circuits, you open up a host of creative and practical options.
With all load types catered for, the system can accommodate anything you’d like to add. And thinking more broadly about your outside space, we can also add the control of fountains, irrigation, pool roofs, fans, Christmas lights and so on.
Astronomical Programming and Geofencing
An exciting feature of the Lutron lighting control system is the ability to include astronomical events. This means, for example, that the lighting will adjust for the changing dawn and dusk times in your location. So whether sunset is at 4pm in the winter, or 9pm in the summer, the system will adjust for the correct sunset/sunrise times.
With geofencing, the Lutron Homeworks QS app controls your lighting based on your location. When the system detects that you have arrived at home, it can perform specific events. For example, turning lights on, starting the water-fountain, adjusting the temperature of your home etc. When you leave, the system can power down the fountain, turn off lights and even notify you of any lights that have been left on etc.
The Impact of Artificial Lights
There are very real concerns about the impact artificial lighting is having on the natural world. With the right design and programming, we will ensure that your outside lighting provides you with beautiful and practical lighting, whilst having a minimum impact on the environment. It may be counter-intuitive to think, but adding circuits and controlling your outside lights correctly may actually be better than having a few high powered, high-level floodlights.
When we design our garden lighting schemes, we use a mixture of low and higher-level lighting. Uplights are kept to areas where they will have a pleasing aesthetic effect. We ensure that the light is largely retained by the feature that is being highlighted. In other areas, we use low-level lighting to ensure that the lighting does not become an unwanted nuisance to the natural world or other people.
When we program and commission our systems, we use the lowest possible light levels. This keeps the scheme as modest as possible, whilst still providing the features that are needed, such as aesthetic, practical, safety and security. Since we use mainly low voltage fittings, dimmed correctly and well-programmed, we also ensure that the system is energy efficient.
With astronomical programming, we ensure that lighting comes on and goes off at the appropriate time each day of the year. And with geofencing, we can light only those areas that you may need when the system detects you have arrived at home. When you leave, the system will turn off any lights that are not needed. We will address everything possible to ensure that the lighting system is responsibly designed and programmed.
Our Design Services
There are three elements to our design work; the aesthetic, the electrical and the control design.
It is essential that adequate consideration is given to the electrical design. When we undertake an outside lighting project, we complete a comprehensive electrical design. We calculate load, we design the circuit protection and we specify the containment and installation materials. This ensures that all of the safety considerations are addressed in advance. We are NICEIC Approved contractors, meaning that we have are continually assessed as electrically competent.
In addition to the electrical design, we provide a control design. This includes the specification of the control equipment and the programming strategy.
In Conclusion – Kent Outside Lighting Project
When planning your outside lighting, think about the project from three perspectives. These are the electrical element, the aesthetic design and the control system. In addressing all of these areas, you will have a safe system, that looks amazing and is practical to use.
Our Kent client is delighted with his outside lighting install. He says that it has given him a whole new set of outdoor “rooms” to enjoy.
For more information about lighting control, please see our article Why Upgrade to Lutron Homeworks QS or our projects Lakeside Home and Crestron Controlled Winter Garden. Here is our article about Lutron Alisse Keypads.
Team members on this project
Guy and Dean.