By Steve Counter
Good companies are always looking for ways to add value for their customers. The best ones are able to grow their business while doing it. Bahler Brothers, a design-build firm in Connecticut, has discovered that outdoor lighting adds substantial value to their masonry projects. Combining masonry and lighting extends the hours their customers can enjoy their outdoor living area. This was the case with a recent Bahler Brothers installation in Massachusetts that won a 2016 Hardscape North America Project Award in one of the residential categories.
“Seven years ago, our company focused solely on hardscaping,” says Jen Kloter, project designer at Bahler Brothers. “Now, half of our projects include lighting installations. There’s been a definite trend in clients wanting to take full advantage of the outdoor living spaces we’re creating. We’re not just selling lights — we’re selling extended time for families to enjoy their hardscaping. Combining lights with masonry is a tremendous added value.”
Outdoor lighting solved a unique challenge at the Massachusetts residence. The property includes 7,000 square feet of Techo-Bloc’s Blu 60 pavers in the backyard and 2,400 square feet of natural stone and segmental walls, including 12 retaining walls. This extensive hardscaping provided ample room for large gatherings, but the homeowner also wanted intimate areas where his immediate family could enjoy the space without feeling overwhelmed.
“We selected each of this project’s 80 individual lighting fixtures based on the effect we desired,” says Kloter. “All lighting in this project is function driven. The large space can be transformed into intimate areas when the homeowner uses an app to illuminate just one lounging or dining space at a low intensity.”
All lighting materials, including the Luxor lighting system manufactured by FX Luminaire, were purchased from SiteOne Landscape Supply. The Luxor is a tech-driven system with zoning, dimming and color-changing capabilities. All lights have a unique group number and can be controlled through a mobile app. A slider bar within the app controls each light group’s color and intensity.
“Our SiteOne representative was a big help in getting us the right fixtures and lighting system to achieve our desired effect,” says Kloter. “He provided lighting training, made suggestions, helped with design and connected us with FX Luminaire to take care of tech issues. Our partnership with SiteOne gave us the help and training needed to sell, install and troubleshoot this project.”
Project highlights include:
- Lights embedded in pavers near the pool house and under the deck are designed to highlight the home’s architecture.
- Low stone walls near the pool and fire pit double as seating during large gatherings. Lights were mortared into the stone for added functionality.
- A 9-foot-tall flight of concrete Irregular Steps by Rosetta was installed with path light fixtures to accent each step.
- Stone walls retaining the playscape area have several light fixtures below them in the landscape bed that offer a wider spread of light in a wash effect.
- Significant trees on the property are lit, including a Japanese maple near the fire pit. A bullet light sends light up into the tree’s canopy, where it becomes reflected light and adds illumination to the intimate fire pit area.
“The result is an impressive hardscape installation with outdoor lighting that extends the homeowner’s enjoyment of the space,” says Kloter. “What’s more, the space can be easily adjusted for large or small gatherings by using smart technology. All of this adds a lot of value to what could have simply been a large masonry job.”
Steve Counter is director, Category Management — Lighting & Irrigation for SiteOne Landscape Supply.