Leon Hordyk Talks Designing Outdoor Lighting with LEDs
For our fifth feature in the series, we asked Leon Hordyk of Shademaster Luxury Landscapes to participate in our Lighting Designer Q & A Session.
Leon specializes in landscape lighting at Shademaster which offers landscape design and construction services in Oakville and Burlington, Ontario.
What first attracted you to landscape lighting?
What first attracted me to landscape lighting was the transformation that takes place when daylight retreats and you can play with the different elements within the landscape. The subtle moods that can be evoked with touches of light in just the right areas. Gone is the harsh light from the sun, and softer calming light can be used to attractively light certain areas while hiding others.
What sets you apart from other landscape lighting companies?
I always start with a strong design first. And then look at how it will be installed. Often times you have to be very creative in order to achieve your design ideas, but most times it can be accomplished. We pride ourselves on clean and professional installation.
I also like to try new products and methods. While I have my tried and proven fixtures and other lighting tools, I often will try out new products in order to tweak my techniques. When good LED lamps emerged into our market, I embraced the technology and looked to incorporate them into my systems.
What was your most challenging project?
That would definitely be a winery with a retail store that was also combined with a second home for the owners. The commercial components had to be in the forefront with attention to adequate roadway and pathway lighting directing the customers to the retail area.
At the same time, it had to be subtle enough so that it did not look too commercial for the residential usage. The private resident area required a more refined touch with lighting on statuary and fountains, pathlighting and soft uplighting. The light levels also had to allow for large gatherings and parties.
Why did you first begin to experiment with LED lights in your designs?
I first started to experiment with LED because I was curious. Lower wattage and increased lamp life were the first appeals.
In 2007, I did some tinkering with LED lamps but found them to be inconsistent in color temperature and intensity. In 2008 we started using a lot of LED MR-16 lamps in uplighting and downlighting as the quality increased. Now, we almost exclusively use LED lamps in our designs.
What lighting issues did LEDs solve when you started incorporating the lamps into your designs?
Lighting with LED lamps gives you some extra flexibility in color temperature and intensity. There are a wide variety of color temps to create different effects. There are some low lumen lamps available to create softer scenes. The lower wattage consumption of LEDs also leads to more fixtures on a run and less wire used.
Which past, or present, lighting project truly defines who you are as a lighting designer? And why?
One of our first large lighting designs and installs was a wooded residential property with pool, water feature, etc. This project gave me the opportunity to use all kinds of lighting techniques. There was extensive use of moonlighting, uplighting and grazing on large coniferous trees. We really turned a corner design-wise and this was our flagship project for quite a while. We have had larger and more complex designs since then, but this still remains one of my favorite projects to design.
What do you see as being the future of the lighting industry? Challenges? Opportunities? Threats?
I see the near future of outdoor lighting to include even more efficient LED lamps with increased design possibilities. Smaller profiles, more fixtures designed specifically for LED and smaller transformers for LED installs. There is also a trend towards increased flexibility in lighting controls.
Keeping up with the trends and new tools available will make sure that you are not left behind in this industry.
What advice would you give other landscape lighting designers and installers about using LED lamps?
I would say to embrace LED lamps as they are the new norm and are here to stay. With the increased efficiency, flexibility in color temperature, higher lumen output and longer lamp life, they are definitely an asset to have in your design toolbox. The LED lamps today are much higher quality than even 5 years ago. But like any new technology, experiment with them first to see how you can use LED in your designs.
About Shademaster Luxury Landscapes
Throughout their more than 30-year history, discriminating customers have come to Shademaster Landscaping to create spectacular outdoor living environments. Customers appreciate their exceptional level of service and their insistence on upholding exacting standards.
As a result, Shademaster has cultivated rewarding and longstanding relationships with their clients and earned a leading reputation for luxury landscaping in the Oakville, Burlington and Ancaster area. Because of their commitment to excellence, Shademaster Landscaping has been recognized with numerous awards over the years. In particular, they were awarded the Dunnington-Grubb Award, the highest recognition of achievement awarded by Landscape Ontario.