Light Up Your Landscape: 5 Top Tips from a NJ Lighting Pro

This outdoor lighting guru knows how to make any residence shine at night...

Michael Deo Lighting Mansion in May
Any home can look like a million bucks when Michael Deo lights its exterior.

Have you noticed that some homes stand out under the night sky and others disappear? One of the most dramatic improvements you can make to your residence and property is adding even the simplest outdoor lighting.

Michael Deo, owner of NatureScape Lighting, is once again getting rave reviews for his work at the Mansion in May designer showhouse and gardens. Michael has created the magnificent lighting throughout the gardens as well as the spectacular outdoor lighting of Alnwick Hall, also known as the Abbey, site of this year’s fundraising event.

He skillfully illuminated the exterior of the circa-1904 brick mansion with high-CRI LEDs for warm tones, cleverly utilizing 52 integrated LED fixtures that consume less than 300 watts.  This outdoor lighting project was quite a feat and mansion guests, as well as passersby, agree that it’s a WOW element.

An ardent supporter of the Mansion in May fundraiser for 11 years and a contributing designer to the last six mansions, Michael says, “The Abbey is a mansion unlike any other. Extensive ornamental moldings accentuate every window and door. When washed with light, these intricate yet bold details produce intense shadowing which presents an opportunity for subtle balance.”

Based in Millington, NJ, NatureScape Lighting (908-647-8004; specializes in environmentally responsible landscape illumination. “I use my lighting expertise and horticultural knowledge to create breathtaking outdoor spaces that come to life in the evening,” he says. “By using darkness as my canvas and light as my paintbrush, I reinterpret evening landscape.” Importantly, he says, some plants change not only with the seasons, but over time…and this affects how they react to illumination, an important consideration when designing outdoor lighting.”

Here are Michael Deo’s Top 5 Tips for a Successful Landscape Lighting Project:

1. Choose a company whose sole focus is lighting. Their specialized technical knowledge and artistic vision is critical to the overall success of your project.
2. Bring the lighting designer into your project as early as possible. Not only will you save money, but the inclusion of certain types of fixtures and effects is possible only during construction.
3. Make sure to tell your landscape lighting designer how you use your property after dark. How often do you entertain? Large or small groups? Formal or informal vibe?
4. Invite your designer inside your home. Landscapes are viewed more often through interior windows than from outside. In which rooms do you sit most often? Do you like to look out the window while doing dishes or reading the paper?
5. Plan ahead for optimal results.

• Don’t plant too close to the foundation because light needs space to spread out for a softer, more even effect. (When plants dictate fixture positioning, hotspots and black holes often result.)
• Ask your landscaper/builder to install conduit under walkways.
• Think about lighting when making plant choices. All plants react differently to light. Some, like Japanese maples, produce a magnificent lacy effect. Others, like magnolias, are extremely difficult to illuminate properly.

Sponsored by the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center, the May 1 – 31 Mansion in May fundraiser will benefit the Center for Nursing Innovation and Research at the hospital. For ticket information, and to preview mansion spaces through an interactive tour, visit


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