The last time you drove through the entrance of your development on the way to your home, was it beautifully lit? Or could you barely make out the name of your neighborhood on the sign?
When you live in a development or complex governed by a home owner’s association (HOA), you’re automatically part of the governing body. That means you have a say in how your neighborhood is lit.
Your home is your haven. It should be a beautiful, welcoming, safe place, from the minute you pull up to that pretty iron front gate until you pad off to the pool for a late-night swim. But often, HOA common areas are left in the dark.
Let’s take a look at five considerations where improved HOA landscape lighting can make a big difference.
The front gate. This is your welcome home every day, and the place where guests and visitors get their first impression of your home. Sadly, it’s often poorly lit or completely in the dark.
Some HOA entrances feature outdated lighting that glares in your eyes, blinding you the way headlights on high beam assault you when you’re driving.
Others feature beautifully landscaped signs that announce the name of the development: Rolling Oaks. Hidden Lakes. Magnolia Trail. Lovely during the day, but at night, they’re in the dark.
These beautiful entrances should be attractively lit, to welcome residents and visitors alike. They should make you proud to live here.
Gate entrances can be lit with a tasteful combination of uplighting and downlighting. Landscaping around the entrance that looks beautiful during the daylight should shine at night, too. It’s part of what makes you happy to return home.
At Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah, we’re not just light installers. We’re designers. Artists. In fact, that’s the most fun part about this job.
It means we know about things like balance.
That’s why you won’t find awkward dark spaces in our HOA landscape lighting. While some landscapers will simply focus on lighting trees, forgetting the stuff that’s in-between, we don’t.
We’ll light those nice stands of ornamental trees by your front entrance, but we’ll also light the wall in between with a nice soft wash of light. Just so everything looks nice and balanced.
When we light your impressive entry sign, we’ll also nestle 2-to-4 watt LED lights into the bark mulch around the flower beds to light them nicely, too. Balance.
If there are tall perennials growing in the beds, we’ll use bullet lights with directional uplighting to gain a bit of elevation. You’ll see the light — not the fixtures.
In a HOA, six houses might share a common area. This area typically includes paths leading to the clubhouse, pool or jacuzzi.
At night, they’re often dark. Because they’re technically residential areas, no codes specify that they have to be lit. So this is where some builders take short cuts with lighting.
When these areas are lit, I often see large, obtrusive fixtures. That just spoils the beauty of the space.
More appropriate? Much smaller fixtures that are skillfully hidden. Where a builder might have installed a clumsy fixture with a 150-watt bulb, I’d choose a subtle fixture, concealed, with a 4-watt LED lamp. (More on the benefits of LED lighting later.)
Community pathways and stairways need to be safe and visible. Downlighting installed overhead in trees or on gables can offer a wide swath of soft, but safe illumination.
Dark steps? A great solution is to install lighting into the vertical part of a stair, called the riser.
Concrete step lights, or tread lights, fit right into the stairs and focus light downward onto the step immediately below it. They offer enough light for safety, but the light is subtle enough that it isn’t distracting.
Because the fixture itself is set into the step, it’s barely noticeable in the light of day.
Fountains, waterfalls and ponds are part of the daytime delight of many HOA neighborhoods. Why not light them and enjoy them in the evening hours, too?
A lot of people have been afraid of LEDs, worried the light they offer is cold and blueish. That used to be a valid concern, but these days, it’s just not the case. The quality of LED light is identical to halogen.
Here’s where you’ll see the big difference: in your electric bill.
Landscape LED lighting uses a fraction — 15 to 20 percent — of the electricity we use with halogen or incandescent bulbs. The switch will save your HOA money very quickly.
And while Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah recommends replacing halogen bulbs once a year, we replace LED bulbs only when they fail. (And many of today’s LED bulbs are rated to last 50,000 hours.) That’s a lot of bulb-changing time saved.
Yes, the initial cost comes in a little higher than your traditional halogen landscape lighting. But thanks to a longer lasting product and dramatically reduced energy consumption, using low-voltage LEDs in your HOA landscape lighting will actually save you money in the end.
You want your home and the area around it to be safe, without obnoxious motion sensor lights glaring on and off triggered by the slightest movement.
The answer? Dimmable lighting.
Dimmable lighting is exactly what it sounds like: timers control the brightness of your outdoor lighting. Dimmable landscape lighting creates a wash of illumination that can be safely, efficiently and inexpensively on from dusk until dawn.
Leave lights on all the time? That will cost a fortune and waste a lot of energy, right?
Not with energy-efficient LED lighting. Remember? It uses just 15-20 percent of the electricity we use with halogen or incandescent bulbs.
Well-lit homes and HOA common areas won’t be a target for criminals if they’re softly illuminated.
An area that’s beautifully lit all the time — whether it’s 9 p.m. or 2 a.m. — will still be bright enough to deter anyone looking to intrude, whether they’re burglars or just annoying trespassers.
I know what you’re thinking. Your HOA is peaceful, quiet and comfortably dim. Won’t all this light you’re talking about shine in my window, glare in my eyes or pollute the nice dark Utah sky?
Nope. We thought of all that, too.
Outdoor landscape lighting doesn’t have to contribute to light pollution, if it’s installed with skill and artistry.
The trick is to light very deliberately — including targeted downlighting — instead of just spraying light everywhere. Each light has a purpose. And it doesn’t have to pump out a lot of wattage to make an impact.
It’s all about where you place the fixtures, their angle, the color and temperature of the light.
Sure, if you’re not skilled at this, it’s easy to overdo and contribute to light pollution. We use LED landscape lighting, with bulbs that produce warm white lighting. We choose bulb types and wattage that provide the amount of light needed, with no excess.
We use fixtures that direct light where it needs to go — not in peoples’ eyes or into your living room window. Fixtures come in a wide array of light distributions, so there are plenty of options.
And we use glare shields and “eyelids” so the light goes where it’s supposed to go. These solid caps above the bulbs concentrate light only where you want it.
HOA accounts are a unique blend of residential clients who want topnotch service and high-end lighting effects and commercial clients who have to keep a sharp eye on their budget.
At Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah, we cater to both sides.
We use the highest quality copper and brass fixtures in the industry, guarantee our work and fixtures and approach every outdoor lighting installation as if it were a high-end piece of art. Because it is.
Our LED lighting systems deliver the highest level of technical capability while offering substantial cost savings in the long run.
We don’t just install your lighting system then disappear. You won’t need service very often with our high-quality systems, but when you call us, we’ll be there.
With Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah’s annual landscape lighting service agreement, a lighting professional will visit your HOA property once a year to readjust and clean fixtures, trim and maintain surrounding turf and plant life to ensure proper light beam spread, re-bury exposed wire as needed, Inspect transformers, reset any timers and controls, if necessary.
We’ll take care of you.
If you decide your HOA needs artistic, professional lighting, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call at (801) 440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or fill out our simple contact form.
Located in Sandy, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah serves customers throughout Utah’s residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper and Holladay. Our outdoor lighting portfolio includes projects from Salt Lake County and Utah County, to Davis County and Summit County — and beyond.