Outdoor lighting predicted to be hot this season - 27 East


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Outdoor lighting predicted to be hot this season

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Matt Murphy designs outdoor lighting for events in the Hamptons during the summer.          CHRIS FOSTER

Matt Murphy designs outdoor lighting for events in the Hamptons during the summer. CHRIS FOSTER

Firefly Magic lights recreat the look of fireflies in your backyard or garden.     PHOTO COURTESY OF FIREFLYNEWS.COM

Firefly Magic lights recreat the look of fireflies in your backyard or garden. PHOTO COURTESY OF FIREFLYNEWS.COM

Outdoor lighting can make a space shine at night.    PHOTO COURTESY OF OUTDOOR LIGHTING PERSPECTIVES

Outdoor lighting can make a space shine at night. PHOTO COURTESY OF OUTDOOR LIGHTING PERSPECTIVES

author on May 13, 2009

Since summer is the season of outdoor cocktail parties and garden galas in the Hamptons, and it seems that everyone is vying for a way to distinguish their gathering as the “it” event, adding decorative outdoor lighting can really make a lawn, garden, balcony, deck or patio shine.

Lighting can transform an otherwise unremarkable space into a virtual wonderland, according to Matt Murphy, who has been designing lighting for outdoor East End events for 10 years. Mr. Murphy, who primarily creates temporary installations for events, said that lighting can add dimension and character to a property. He added that done right, lighting can also create the illusion that a space is larger then it really is.

“Outdoor lighting creates instant drama and ambience,” he said. “It makes every night feel like an occasion.”

One of the biggest advantages of outdoor lighting, Mr. Murphy said, is the way it can highlight one area while allowing another to fall into the darkness.

“I have found that a wash of light on a pool or pond goes a long way for both beauty and function,” he said.

However, those who are interested in outdoor lighting do not necessarily need to enlist the help of a designer to light up their yards. Every year there are more and more options available and sold at a variety of locales, including hardware stores, patio stores, chain retailers and online merchants.

One such popular online retailer is Firefly Magic, which makes Firefly Lights (fireflymagic.com). Years ago, Stephen Taylor made the first prototype of Firefly Magic lights—outdoor lighting that is designed to re-create the look of actual fireflies. At first, the lights were used only at theme parks and for special events, but shortly after debuting his product, Mr. Taylor found the residential consumer demand overwhelming and soon made it available to the public.

Mr. Taylor mused that his Firefly Lights are popular because they look so much like actual fireflies.

“People can bring, in essence, the fun and visual effect of fireflies into their backyard year-round,” he said during a recent interview. In fact, Mr. Taylor reported that Firefly Magic lights are so realistic that researchers at Tufts University have used them to lure species of fireflies.

The eco-friendly lights, which flicker on and off just like real fireflies, last virtually forever and are solar powered.

For those desirous of a little more help finding just the right decorative outdoor lighting for their little slice of heaven, there are companies that specialize in just that.

Huntington-based Outdoor Lighting Perspectives has been offering lighting solutions to East End homes for the past eight years, according to vice president Amy Dowling. She said that her company offers full service assistance throughout the entire outdoor lighting process.

First, representatives from Outdoor Lighting Perspectives will walk through a potential’s client’s property at nighttime to discuss what the owner really wants.

“It’s really hands on,” Ms. Dowling said of the process. “People love it.”

She added that while many spend a lot of money on landscaping a beautiful piece of property, the effect is lost when night falls unless that area is well-lit.

Ms. Dowling touted the other, non-aesthetic benefits of outdoor lighting. She said that in addition to making a walkway or patio look fabulous, well-lighted outdoor areas are also safer.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives products are also environmentally friendly.

“All of our systems are low voltage, and all are shielded so they are dark sky compliant,” Ms. Dowling reported.

Due to the faltering economy, Ms. Dowling said she expects to see an even more intense focus on outdoor lighting this summer as people opt to spend more time in their own homes rather than traveling.

As in in-demand lighting designer, Mr. Murphy agreed that outdoor lighting will become almost ubiquitous this year on the East End. He predicted that for this season, chains of bare light bulbs, similar to what is found at a carnival, will be all the rage.

“These lights nicely outline seating areas and instantly add a festive feel,” he said, adding that crowd favorites such as whimsical bird cages and paper lanterns will also illuminate his design selections this season.

According to Mr. Murphy, outdoor lighting is the way to go if one is hoping to make a party “pop.”

“It ensures that your beautiful property doesn’t go unnoticed,” he said. “It can be enjoyed around the clock and makes a lasting impression on guests.”

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