Step Lights – Tips from a Landscape Lighting Designer

Step lights on deck, by Twilight LandscapingThere are many design considerations when choosing a step light for your project. To help navigate through the many choices available, we turned to a professional landscape lighting designer.

Flush Mount vs. Surface Mounted Step Lights

According to David Bilik, owner of Twilight Designs in Las Vegas, flush mount (recessed) step lights are often the fixture of choice when used indoors. He credits this to how easy it is to cut into and run wiring through drywall, especially when installing step lights after construction is completed. “While planning ahead is helpful,” says Bilik, “there are many products available for running wires post-construction.” He recommends 110v wiring to fish through walls and attics or low voltage wiring when 110v is not an option.

For less penetrable surfaces like concrete and stone, surface mounted fixtures are ideal because they mount directly to a wall or flat surface. These step lights commonly have a profile of as little as 3/4-inch up to 3-inches and a trajectory that directs light at the wall or at the surface below.

Open-Faced, Louvered, Shrouded Step Lights

Open faced, louvered and smooth step light faceplate stylesRegardless of whether you are using a flush or surface mounted step light, you must consider the type of cover (or faceplate) the fixture has. Bilik says that in his experience, most covers will fall in one of three categories, each with its own series of benefits:

  • An open-faced step light will offer the most amount of light with only a frosted glass lens to soften glare from the bulb. There is nothing to deflect or redirect the light with an open-faced step light, so proper placement is crucial as to whether or not the fixture will complement the design elements of the area, or overwhelm the space. Avoid this by mounting the fixture to the left or right of a staircase instead of on the face of a step.
  • Louvered fixtures have a cover that functions much the same way as an air vent in your home or car would. They have a grated cover that directs the light down. Although a louvered faceplate blocks the most amount of light, it is ideal for mounting on the front of a step as they mount flush with the surface and block all glare.
  • Shrouded fixtures capture the light coming out of the front of a fixture and redirect it down, focusing the light on the ground where you need it most. However, even with flush mounted fixtures, the shroud itself still sticks out making this fixture unsuitable for mounting on the front of a step.

Retrofitting Step Lights

Although LED fixtures are becoming more popular, a lot of step light fixtures are still outfitted for conventional light bulbs, but this does not mean that you are saddled with inefficient lighting. Retrofitting a conventional fixture with LEDs is sometimes as easy as changing a light bulb. “Look for LED bulbs that are direct replacements for their conventional counterparts, and use socket adapters when necessary,” says Bilik.

Many step lights are universal in size, meaning they are designed to fit within a single gang electrical box. For landscape lighting designers like Bilik, this makes the process of upgrading to LED step lights simpler and more cost-effective for the client.

 

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The Bay Lights photo credit James Ewing

The Bay Lights Project Will Dazzle at Super Bowl 50

The Bay Lights photo credit James Ewing25,000 LED lights, intricately programmed on a network of complex algorithms, will soon dazzle the San Francisco Bay area on the largest LED light sculpture ever created. But it won’t be the first time.

In March of 2015, after a two-year-long display, it was “lights out” for the beloved Bay Lights Project, an iconic architectural light sculpture dreamed up by non-profit organization Illuminate.org and made reality by renowned artist Leo Villareal.

The original project, which ran from March 2013 to March 2015, was deconstructed when the permit expired, allowing the city to do maintenance work on the cables. Illuminate immediately went to work raising the $4 million needed to ensure that the bridge would be re-lit.

Thanks to their efforts, an upgraded and reinstalled sculpture will dazzle once again on January 30, 2016 where it will afterwards be gifted to the State of California. (more…)

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Artwork of the Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel LED Lighting Renovation

Artwork of the Sistine ChapelIn November 2014, the spotlight was on the heavens, maybe even in the way that Michelangelo envisioned it himself. One year later, Osram sat in the spotlight for their role in the innovative lighting solution that made it possible.

500 years after its completion, The Sistine Chapel underwent a lighting renovation that has changed the way we see this historical masterpiece. Finding the right product and installation that offered a glare-free experience with no degradation of the original artwork was no small feat.

With strict oversight from the Vatican conservators, global lighting manufacturer Osram, along with a variety of project partners, designed and installed a custom LED lighting solution for the chapel. Some of the features of the award-winning installation: (more…)

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Green LED light bulb

Our 5 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2015

Our goal at Pegasus Lighting has always been to offer lighting information to our readers that is helpful, informative and inspiring. Sometimes we nail it, sometimes we don’t.

Before diving full-speed into 2016 we like to step back and reflect on our work over the past 12 months. While measuring the success of the blog is hardly an exact science, with a few simple metrics we’re able to come up with a list of the 5 most popular blog posts of 2015.

Like the year before, our most popular posts were a hodgepodge of DIY lighting projects, current events, and inspirational photo-centric lighting posts:


#5. The Ultimate Guide to Garage Lighting (with Infographic)

Ultimate Garage Lighting, A Buyers Guide with InfographicYour garage might be your lair, your storage room, a place to park your car, or all three. Whichever the case, this Ultimate Guide to Garage Lighting shares some ideas that will help you define the space, and provides lighting product suggestions for each one. Read more.


#4. Surprising Ways to Get Rid of Bugs at Your Next Outdoor Party

Did you know that dryer sheets and clear bags of water are known to repel insects? This blog post reveals a handful of pretty cool (and surprising) ways to deter pests. Read more.


#3. Weekend Warrior: LED Retrofit Recessed Lighting, Part One

Weekend Warrior LED Recessed Lighting ProjectLast summer we launched our Weekend Warrior series which consisted of lighting projects that can be conquered in one weekend or less. In this popular post, our President and CEO Chris Johnson shares how he added LED recessed lighting to his bonus room. Read more.


#2. 27 Things to Do with String Lights

Paper origami cubes folded around string lights
via Wit and Whistle

There are almost endless creative projects to make with string lights, and in this blog post I rounded up 27 of the most memorable applications I’ve seen. Read more.


#1. Green Light Bulbs Show Support for Our Nation’s Veterans

Green LED light bulb
Our most popular blog post rallied views in October, when one of the nation’s largest mega-retailers launched a campaign that involved switching out one light in your home with a green light bulb. Read more.


2015 was a year chock full of big changes at Pegasus Lighting and we bid adieu to this landmark year with a proud sense of accomplishment and anticipation at what lies ahead in 2016.

As always, a big THANK YOU goes out to all of our readers and loyal customers who read and share our content.

What do you want to see on the Pegasus Lighting blog in 2016? 

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Battery operated LED fairy lights in decorative setting

Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

2015 Holiday gift guide, stocking stuffers

Stockings brimming with novelties, gadgets and various goodies are one of my favorite holiday traditions. Small, unique and inexpensive gifts make perfect gifts for holiday stockings.

You’ll find some of my favorite stocking-stuffer lighting gifts below (all under $20!), along with a few bonus ideas that will add some jolly to your holly.


Solar LED Mission Umbrella light stocking stuffer

Clip one several of these solar-powered lights on a patio umbrella, tent, gazebo, awning, etc. to create an outdoor party atmosphere.

Solar LED Mission Umbrella Clip Light, $6.90
HOLIDAY2015 Eligible!


Super magnetic puttyThis is nothing like the putty I used to get in my stocking every year. Set the putty near the magnet and it will “come alive” and stretch itself out to reach it. Wild!

Super Magnetic Putty, $15.00


Battery operated LED fairy lights in decorative settingCall me biased, but these fairy lights have appeared in just about every gift guide I’ve done. I love them for decorating all year round and with the current discounts and promotions, you can load up on these for yourself too!

Battery Operated LED Fairy Lights, $14.90 $11.90,
HOLIDAY2015 Eligible!
(more…)

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Holiday gift ideas for Do-It-Yourself'ers

Holiday Gift Guide: DIY Enthusiasts

2015 Gift Guide - Holiday Gifts for DIY Enthusiasts

Do you have a Do-It-Yourself’er in your life that refuses to hand over a holiday wish-list, leaving you scrambling for ideas?

The trick to good gift-giving is seeking out things that match the DIY’ers project personality. It has been my experience that DIY’ers fall into three categories, and you may recognize your friend or family member in one or more of them. I call them Dreamers, Renegades, and Perfectionists.

The Dreamer: Gifts for DIY Creatives & Thinkers

This type of Do-It-Yourself’er always has an idea, a grand plan for the Next Big Project. Everything they see gives them inspiration. They enjoy building and repurposing, but the real fun for The Dreamer is coming up with the idea. Look for gifts that harness their creative energy:


Sketchbook for DIY'ers to record ideas and plans

Make sure all of those killer ideas get recorded in style with a large sketchbook that has plenty of room for notes, drawings, and measurements. A pocket-sized sketchbook is another must-have, because you never know when inspiration will hit.

Colorful Pastels Hardcover Sketchbook, $10.95


Artistic prismacolor pens from Blick

Naturally, sketchbooks need something to write in them with. Premier pens like these Prismacolors come in a multitude of colors and sets in all price ranges.

Prismacolors, prices start around $25 (more…)

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