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Fire Pit Lighting Part Two: Seat Wall Lighting Fixtures

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Fire Pit LightingAs the weather continues to get warmer, spending time outdoors is surely sounding better and better, and what better way to enjoy a spring night than around your fire pit. Seat wall lighting around your fire pit will add a great dimension of lighting to your living area after the sun has set.  There has already been a fire pit lighting post in this blog, but that post focused more on the downlighting and pathlighting aspects that make your outdoor living area shine at night.  This post will focus on a specific aspect of fire pit lighting: seat wall lighting.

Seat wall lighting is the use of small fixtures embedded in a stone wall.  These unique fixtures are quite small but actually provide a significant amount of light to the surrounding area. The fixtures themselves are barely even visible during the day and at night. They make the living area much safer at night as well as bring a unique look to your fire pit seating.

The look of these fixtures at night is spectacular.  They provide light on stone walls or steps which creates a great aesthetic look at night. Shadows on the rocks create a unique and classy feel that will make you want to spend more time by the fire pit. The light also reaches the ground, which increases the safety of the entire area around a fire pit and its seating. If your fire pit already has a built in stone seat, seat wall lighting will greatly enhance the look of your outdoor area.

An important aspect to seat wall lighting, especially around a fire pit is the installation of the fixtures themselves. Our lighting technicians take great pride in their installation methods.  There is no doubt that installation is difficult. Wire must be drilled through concrete and hidden adequately.  The fixture itself must also be installed flush on the wall, which also often proves difficult. McKay technicians have many years of experience of installing these fixtures and making it seem as though the fixture is.

If you are interested in learning more about seat wall lighting for your fire pit lighting project, please call a McKay lighting designer at 402.389.3424.  Our designers will work with you to create a look that you will be proud of.  With the weather getting warmer, time around the fire pit sounds great. Take the first step to making your fire pit area safer as well as making it look great at night with a free consultation from McKay.

LED Lighting: Subtly Enhancing a Blue Spruce with a Cool White LED Bulb

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

While we like to stay away from using colored lenses at McKay Landscape Lighting, adding a Cool White LED bulb to a Blue Spruce can be a subtle and natural way to bring out the tree’s color at night. Some lighting companies use colored lenses to enhance the colors on specific projects, but at McKay we prefer to stick to the basics. Many times adding too much color can create an unnatural and  over-saturated look. Using a Cool White LED bulb can add a subtle enhancement to a tree like a Blue Spruce, and really make your yard colorful at night.

Cool White LED Lighting

By using a Cool White LED bulb under this Blue Spruce, we were able to bring out the tree’s natural color at night. The bulb itself is not blue, it’s white, but is does not have the warm undertones of a traditional white bulb. The cool undertones of a Cool White LED bulb provide just the right amount of enhancement to add some contrast and interest to the Blue Spruce pictured here.

This subtle enhancement looks great when the rest of your yard is green, but also in winter!  Imagine this tree with some snow, when the rest of the trees are bare. It can truly be the focal point of your yard all year round!

At McKay Landscape Lighting, it is truly our eye for detail that sets us apart from competitors. We like to stick with what we know works, but are also willing to add some enhancements and specialty lighting where we see would make a difference for our clients. Our years of experience help guide us when deciding what fixtures and bulbs to use on each project.

If you have a Blue Spruce in your yard that could be enhanced by using a Cool White LED bulb, contact us today for a free consultation! Spotlighting a tree like this can really be the focal point of your landscape lighting project and add some contrast to the rest of your yard! For more photos of unique specialty lighting, visit our specialty lighting gallery here.

Commercial Wall Lighting: Bring Unique Lighting to Commercial Properties

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Outdoor Wall LightingAn earlier post outlined some of the unique advantages of lighting an outdoor wall surrounding a homeowner’s property.  Of course, many home will not have a prominent wall surrounding their property.  Instead, perhaps the entire neighborhood is surrounded by a wall.  This wall provides security and also improves the overall look of the neighborhood.  Commercial wall lighting will improve both the security and the aesthetics of the wall.

Often, commercial walls will be lit by overpowering high-voltage lighting.  This commercial lighting overpowers the wall and the surrounding area.  The high-powered lights flood the area, blinding passersby as they glance toward the wall. Instead of using high-powered commercial lighting, McKay uses low-voltage lighting, providing a soft light on the wall. This type of low-voltage commercial wall lighting allows the wall to be adequately lit, but it allows the wall to look great at night.  Whether the wall is brick, stucco or a metal fence, McKay will make it look spectacular at night by bringing light to nuances within the wall that high-powered lights would otherwise overpower the structure.

Low-voltage commercial wall lighting will also bring an improved sense of overall security. By eliminating potential dark spots around the entire area, a lighting system will eliminate potentially unsafe areas. Not only will the entire property look great, but it will also be much safer as would-be intruders are encouraged to move on to less-lit areas. Creating a wall of low-voltage lighting will keep dark areas lit, but with a soft glow instead of an overpowering flood of white light.

Similar to residential wall lighting, McKay’s designers are experts on determining the correct spacing at light wattage to make sure that the wall will look great.  Using their many years of experience, McKay designers will work with you to make sure that your vision is met when designing your commercial wall lighting project.

Whether you are looking for commercial wall lighting for your neighborhood or for another type of property, contact a McKay designer and they will work with you to make the property look great at night.  For more information, visit our website and schedule a free consultation.


Residential Outdoor Security Lighting: Keeping your Residence Safe at Night

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Outdoor Security LightingOne of the most important aspects to any outdoor lighting system is the outdoor security lighting aspect.  Comparing before and after pictures of residences with outdoor lighting systems is perhaps the most effective way to show the importance of lighting to the overall security of a home.  By providing light to dark areas, McKay designers work with you to make sure that your home is safe from any potential intruders.

There are a number of different aspects to residential outdoor security lighting.  Of course, adequately lighting paths and steps keep homeowners safer at night by preventing trips and falls.  Also important is providing light to dark areas. Lighting dark areas eliminates spots where intruders may hide.  Of course, there is a relatively low likelihood of an intruder ever in your yard, but it remains important to be 100 percent confident that you are doing everything to make sure that your home and property are safe

Depending on a client’s needs, McKay can create a  lighting design to ramp up the overall security of your home.  As can be seen in the picture above, lighting the entire area around the home was important to the client.  By providing much light to the side area of the home, the clients can rest easy knowing that their outdoor security lighting is doing its part to keep their home safe.

There is an art to blending outdoor security lighting into the aesthetic aspect of a lighting design.  Low-voltage lighting allows the homeowner to experience an elevated level of security, but also lets them enjoy their system, instead of constantly dealing with high-powered commercial lighting that can so easily flood a property with light. Instead of dealing with annoying motion-sensored lights, your property can be transformed from a large dark area to a beautifully lit property that no criminal would ever try to trespass on.

If outdoor security lighting is important to you, contact a McKay Lighting designer today.  Our designers will work with you to strike that blend of security and beautiful aesthetics.  We will work with you so that when we are done lighting the property, you will be sure that your home is as safe as possible.  To view more pictures of examples of outdoor security lighting, visit our Security Lighting Gallery.


Outdoor Wall Lighting: Residential Wall Lighting

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Outdoor Wall LightingAn outdoor wall can make a large property look tremendous. However, a beautiful brick wall begs to be lit up by by low voltage lighting, not overpowered by high voltage commercial lighting.  McKay lighting designers have lit many walls in many different ways. Some longer walls don’t need as much light, such as walls surrounding a neighborhood.  Others, such as the wall pictured, command more lighting.  This post will focus on residential outdoor wall lighting, as pictured and a subsequent post will focus on more commercial uses for outdoor wall lighting.

Different homeowners have different preferences, thus McKay Lighting designers will work with you to create an effect that the homeowner can enjoy.  For security reasons, more lighting around a yard may be quite important.  But if security is not as much of an issue, a few lights on a wall may be adequate. As described in a number of prior posts, our designers will work with you to create a look that you can be proud of.

If you are looking for a stronger sense of security, outdoor wall lighting will help create an overall safer backyard.  By lighting dark corners and entry points to your backyard, a strong outdoor wall lighting presence will encourage would-be intruders to move past your home.  Not only will strong lighting on a wall make your home safer, but it will add aesthetic beauty to your property.  Perhaps your outdoor wall has unique brickwork and lighting this wall will make your property stand out at night.

Softer lighting can also be used on outdoor walls. All of McKay’s lighting systems use low-voltage lighting, but just a few soft lights on a wall can create a unique effect at night.  Instead of lighting the entire wall, a few lights in prominent places along the wall can create a beautiful look.  Of course, this option would be more useful for larger properties with longer walls.

If you are interested in learning more about McKay’s outdoor wall lighting, do not hesitate to contact one of our lighting designers at 402.289.3424.  An outdoor wall is an important aspect to large properties and keeping it adequately lit is just as important. Our professional lighting technicians will expertly install your system so that the spread of the fixtures adequately covers the wall and our designers will make sure that your opinion is used in the process of making your entire property look great with outdoor wall lighting.

Outdoor Deck Lighting Part Two: Unique Deck Lighting Ideas

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Deck Lighting Omaha NE The previous post in this series focused on traditional outdoor deck lighting, but this post takes a different approach and looks at a few unique deck lighting ideas.  The post will show some of the more popular unique deck lighting fixtures that McKay has used in our designs. If none of these fixtures catch your eye, you can contact a McKay lighting designer and we will work with you to bring your vision to your deck.

The first fixture spotlight is our unique hand-blown glass globes.  While there have been other posts about these unique lighting fixtures, those focused on the use in traditional gardens.  These globes are used as hanging decorations on the deck.  Smaller than many of the globes used, these hang at eye level and look as though they are floating in midair at night. Larger globes have also been used in other areas of the deck, specifically as the centerpiece of an outdoor table. The hand-blown glass globes are certainly a unique deck lighting idea that will bring a colorful flair to your deck area.

Deck Lighting Omaha NE

Another unique deck lighting idea is the use of another hanging fixture.  These fixtures, pictured below, are perhaps more practical than the hand-blown globes described above as they provide downlighting to the deck area. This hanging fixture can be hung from a pergola or any overhang above a deck. The fixture has a unique look, but also provides great lighting to areas of a deck that may not receive light from other downlights. Often a pair of these fixtures can create a great effect at night.

McKay prides itself on the installation of these unique deck lighting fixtures as well as its traditional deck lighting fixtures. Obviously, each of the lights must receive electricity from a wire.  McKay’s lighting technicians are specially trained to hide these wires within a deck.  While this is not always an easy process, McKay’s technicians have years of experience in deck lighting installations. You can be sure that your deck lighting will not only look great at night, but will also look cleanly installed during the day.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, if you do not see any unique deck lighting ideas that catch your eye here, please contact a McKay lighting designer.  They will work with you to create a finished product that you will be proud of. Please contact McKay at 402.289.3424 to learn more about our unique deck lighting designs.

Outdoor Deck Lighting Part One: Creating a Unique Outdoor Living Area

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Outdoor Deck LightingSimilar to an outdoor kitchen, your deck extends your living area outdoors. As the weather continues to warm up, we are all likely looking forward to spending more time on our decks with family and friends. Outdoor deck lighting is necessary if you hope to extend those hours with family into the evening.  A perfectly lit deck will invite you to spend more time outside during the cool nights of summer.

McKay has much experience lighting a number of different types of decks.  From tiny decks with a simple table and chairs to large decks with large pergolas and many seats. This blog post will focus on more traditional outdoor deck lighting ideas while Part Two will detail some of our more unique designs and fixtures.

McKay uses specially designed fixtures to enhance the look of your deck.  One type of these fixtures (clearly seen in the photo) are installed onto prominent posts of the deck.  These fixtures provide light close to the ground and have a relatively large spread of light.  Not only do they make the deck look great, but they also greatly increase the safety of the deck area. By providing light to all areas of the deck, these fixtures create a traditional yet great look for your deck.

Another outdoor deck lighting design tactic that McKay uses is downlighting. As pictured above, there are lights installed in the nearby tree that shine lightly onto the deck area.  This provides a softer, larger spread of light on the deck area.  McKay tries to hide these fixtures as much as possible, so that the light seems to “appear” from nowhere.

If there are no trees near the deck, the actual house is another option to provide downlighting to the deck area. Fixtures can be installed on the house, but unlike a traditional light fixture, these fixtures will provide low-voltage lighting to the deck and not flood it with high-powered commercial lights. Another option is to install downlights on an overhanging pergola.  If the deck has a pergola, McKay fixtures can be hidden to provide a soft downlight on the deck area.

A final use of downlighting, as pictured above is grill lighting. If you have a grill on your deck, then you may know the struggle of grilling after sunset.  An outdoor grill light will adequately light your grill from above while once again not overpowering it with high-voltage commercial lighting.

If you are interested in learning more about outdoor deck lighting by McKay, please contact our office at (402) 289.3424.  There are also many more pictures of traditional outdoor deck lighting ideas here.

Lighting Your Outdoor Living Area: Fire Pit Lighting

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Outdoor Lighting Omaha, NEAs spring slowly approaches, we will be spending more and more time outside.  But with the cold start, spending time around your fire pit may be a better option and McKay specializes in unique fire pit lighting for your outdoor living area. A fire pit is an aspect of your outdoor living area that you can only enjoy at night. Why not let McKay professionally light it and enhance your enjoyment of the area.

One of the most popular design tactics for fire pit lighting is seat wall lighting.  This lighting is installed under ledges so that the actual fixture is hidden. These small pictures are well-hidden, but provide plenty of light to the area. Often the light is installed in a way that creates a very aesthetically pleasing look with shadows around the rock ledges.  While the looks great, it also makes the area much safer at night. Pathways are closely lit and corners are adequately lit to prevent stubbed toes.

Just like many other McKay Lighting designs, downlighting is used to provide adequate light to the entire area.  This soft light will not overpower the fire pit area, but will instead provide enough mood lighting to ensure your relaxation around the fire pit on cool spring nights.  This type of fire pit lighting can be installed in trees around the outdoor living area or even on a home if that is near enough to the fire pit. Downlighting can be used here as a secondary lighting source along with seat wall lights and path lights.

The picture included in this blog post includes fire pit lighting with pathlights.  Pathlights are another popular way to keep your fire pit adequately lit at night.  These lights will provide lighting closer to the ground. Like seat wall lights, this kind of lighting will greatly improve the safety around the fire pit area at night. Like downlighting, they create a low mood lighting in the fire pit area that will allow you to use the area after dark.  McKay’s designers will perfectly place these fixtures so that the correct amount of light shines around your fire pit and surrounding seating.

If you are interested in bringing some unique fire pit lighting to your outdoor lighting, contact one of McKay’s lighting designers.  They will work with you to make sure that your views are taken into account so that you can be proud of your fire pit area.  And although spring is taking a long time to get here, remember that nights sitting around the fire pit are coming soon.  Don’t delay in contacting McKay at 402.289.3424 to receive your free consultation.


Water Feature Lighting Part Two: Submersible Lighting

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Omaha, NE outdoor lighting

Our last blog post focused on pond lighting from above and around a pond. However, this post focuses on a different lighting design tactic of submersible pond lighting. These specially designed fixtures are installed within a pond and shine light from under the water. While McKay designers usually prefer to use downlighting around water features, these fixtures can be used to create a unique look at night.

The accompanying picture displays a unique water fixture with some submersible lights.  The lights are completely hidden so that the light almost “appears” from under the water. The underwater lights, along with some strategically placed downlighting can make a water feature the focal point of a property.

The fixtures used by McKay are of the highest quality, like all of their other fixtures.  With a number of different designs, a McKay designer will work with you to make sure that your pond will look great at night and that your lighting system will work for many years to come.

McKay prefers to use submersible lighting as a complement to downlighting around a water feature.  There are few cases where submersible lighting alone can create enough light to make the water feature shine adequately.  For this reason, both submersible lighting and downlighting are often used by McKay designers.  The picture on the right shows a unique pond where a fixture could be hidden yet provide a nice light on the pond.

Unfortunately, submersible pond lights, create a little more maintenance than a normal McKay fixture.  These fixtures can get dirty with mud from within the water feature and not shine as brightly as they should.  They also run a higher risk of becoming damaged from being always submersed. Nevertheless, there are certainly instances where the maintenance is worth the aesthetic beauty of the submersible underwater lights.

If you are interested in learning more about the differences between submersible lighting for a pond and other techniques that McKay uses, please give one of our designers a call at 402.289.3424.  They will be happy to discuss your specific needs and what they think will make your water feature look great at night.  McKay is confident that the combination of downlighting and submersible lighting can make your water feature look tremendous at night.


Water Feature Lighting Part One: Downlighting

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Pond Lighting

Water feature lighting has become a popular way for homeowners to showcase their water features and the surrounding area. While many use submersible pond lighting, McKay prefers to use downlighting to showcase the water feature. Instead of creating glare from within the water, our designers prefer to light from above with low-voltage lighting.  This creates a unique effect on the water and makes it shine beautifully at night.

Often, McKay will place fixtures in the trees surrounding the water feature and aim them at many different areas of the water feature.  The lights are almost “hidden” and the light comes from an area not many may notice.  However, if trees are unavailable or are too tall, McKay can also make the water feature look great.  This picture of water feature lighting involves using fixtures on the ground, but trying to camouflage them as much as possible.

In the picture, McKay’s designers tried to hide the lights as much as possible.  Although they are still somewhat visible, the light is spread evenly at focuses the attention on the water feature instead of on the fixtures. The water and surrounding area really “pop” so that it is one of the main features of the entire backyard.

A water feature is an investment of money and space in your backyard. Making sure that you can enjoy it at all hours is where McKay will work with you to create a design that will make it look great at night. Our designers will work with you to light areas of the water feature that you think will look best.  Of course, our lighting designers have many years of experience so that they know how to make the water look great if you are not sure how you want it to look at night.

McKay’s preferred method of water feature lighting is downlighting.  However, part two of this series will explain some of the benefits and shortcomings of submersible lighting.  Check back for our next post detailing some of the pros and cons of submersible lighting. As always, if you are interested in learning more about water feature lighting from McKay, contact us at 402.289.3424 and we will work with you create a great design that you can be proud of.

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