Monday, June 8, 2009

Adding deck lights a simple way to enhance outdoor living

(ARA) - As summer rolls in and guests show up, the benefit of having outdoor living space for relaxing and entertaining becomes readily apparent. Homeowners love having extra space where they can hang out, and outdoor environments are a huge plus for those trying to sell or rent out a home.

Overall home improvement project budgets are shrinking in 2009, while low-cost improvements are growing in popularity with both residential homeowners and landlords who want to give their properties a little added boost, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Outdoor lighting is a popular improvement. In addition to traditional landscape lighting, deck lights, post lights and recessed path lights extend the livability of outdoor decks and patios, and offer a low-cost update with the benefit of improving the usability of outdoor spaces.

"Today it seems that the more practical the upgrade, the better. And lighting is an easy upgrade that adds instant function, ambiance and value," says Jay Savignac of Aurora Deck Lighting.

"In a down economy, people stay home more. They entertain at home more. This makes usable spaces more important than ever, and outdoor living areas remain one of the top areas for home improvement," Savignac says.

Taking your backyard deck or patio from daytime roost to night time entertainment space is easy. In fact, there have never been more product options available to homeowners for lighting up their deck or fence, and creating an inviting and usable outdoor area for night time enjoyment.

Savignac says homeowners can easily install outdoor lighting in just one weekend, or even less time if they opt for lights that don't require wiring, such as solar options.

Best of all, outdoor lighting products can be installed without the aid of an electrician and, in most communities, no permits are required. Homeowners have a variety of options to consider:

* Post lights are easy to install on the tops of deck posts and fence posts. They can be positioned directly on top of posts or mounted on the rails using special mounting brackets. Their distinctive "lantern look" offers an elegant finish to decks, and post lights are available in a variety of styles, sizes and colors that work with all sizes of posts on both decks and fences. Matching post caps are also available.

* Post lamps mount vertically on deck or fence posts and offer spot lighting, which can add security and safety in dark areas or near stairs. Post lamps on fences are a popular addition that fence builders say add value and security, as well as dramatic effect.

* Special "stair lights," like the Pyxis from Aurora, mount easily into the vertical riser on a stair to provide downlighting for safety and sure footing.

* Recessed deck lighting, like the Aurelle from Aurora, is a new product that can install under seating, in deck floor boards, or even overhead inside patio covers to add lighting using the same concept as recessed lighting indoors.

Outdoor lighting projects are easy to complete. Homeowners can choose from solar options that have no wiring requirements, or low-voltage lighting that works off a transformer and operates from a standard 110 volt power source. Outdoor lights can run off a timer or can be wired into light switches in the home for maximum control.

Your own outdoor lighting plan can be as simple or as complex as you desire. Aurora has transformers that can handle up to 50 lights, although accent lighting using as few as four or five lights can make all the difference in creating an outdoor living space that can be readily enjoyed at night.

Best of all, you can create a custom look that works for you, adding light in cooking areas, near stairs or gates, or along bench seating where guests congregate.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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