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Outdoor Lighting as Art

(ARA) - In the old days of landscape lighting, the philosophy was "never reveal the source of the light." That's because most outdoor lighting fixtures were plain, utilitarian and unattractive.

Those days are gone, thanks in large part to the on-going trend towards creating beautiful, functional outdoor living spaces.

"Homeowners are demanding lighting options that are both lovely and illuminating," says Lance Lindsay, a California artist whose Stone Manor Lighting pioneered the concept of outdoor lighting as art. "Lighting plays such an important role in creating an outdoor environment, why shouldn't it be as beautiful as other elements of the décor?"

Lindsay spent 17 years building Stone Manor estate overlooking Malibu's famed Paradise Cove. When it came time to light the exterior of his masterpiece, Lindsay couldn't find outdoor lights that did justice to his labor of love. He decided to create his own garden lights and Stone Manor Lighting was born.

Each Stone Manor light is handmade of sculpted bronze or solid copper and molded high-quality leaded stained glass. Lindsay designs all the products and skilled artisans individually sign and date select fixtures. Their products have appeared everywhere from Disney World to the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

Lindsay offers the following advice when planning your outdoor lighting:

  • Choose incandescent lights over halogen. While halogens do produce a lot of light, they can burn hot and can also distort the color of plants, flowers and décor. "We use incandescent lights in most of our fixtures," Lindsay says.

  • Start with lighting the main "living space" - often a deck or patio - of your outdoor environment. You want to light it well enough to be safe, yet artistically to create a specific atmosphere, Lindsay says. Wall sconces, rated for outdoor use, can be placed on deck railings, posts and even the side of your house. You can create a magical effect by placing a series of miniature Faerie Lights, shaped like bowing buttercups or squat mushrooms, in flower pots arranged around a deck.

  • Outdoor cooking areas require ample light, and fixtures that shine light down onto the cooking area are best. Stone Manor's Bronze Sunflower design can be mounted above a grill. Its 35-watt halogen bulb ensures good illumination. Or consider a Buttercup Vine Light, mounted on flexible copper tubing that can be bent to fit around trees or posts.

  • For paths, walkways, pools or water features, fixtures should pour light down onto the walking area, rather than reflect up into the eyes. Garden lanterns are great for this purpose. "Our customers have also created some stunning environments using our dragonfly and luna moth-themed lights," Lindsay says.

  • Uplighting (positioning fixtures on the ground and directing them upward) and front lighting (placing the light source in front of an object) are the most popular ways to draw attention to the front of your house or a beautiful tree, trellis or gazebo. Forego the old canister-style lights in favor of something more dramatic - like Stone Manor's Sunflower Flood or Tulip Cluster uplights.

  • Finally, dare to be different, Lindsay advises. Want to line your deck banister with Buttercup Vine Lights? Do it! Dream of hanging a chandelier above your hot tub? Stone Manor Lighting makes it possible with three patented styles of chandelier that are rated to withstand the rigors of outdoor use. Made with high-fire medical test tubes protecting the bulbs and sockets, the chandeliers can withstand a coastal storm or blizzard, Lindsay says.

To learn more about outdoor lighting as art, visit www.stonemanorlighting.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Editor's Note: Stone Manor has hosted celebrity weddings and served as the setting for commercials marketing such upscale brands as Martha Stewart products, Jaguar, Lexus and Mercedes.

For more landscape lighting ideas, please read these articles:

Unique Landscape Lighting Fixtures

Landscape lighting techniques

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