A Bright Idea

Complete Outdoor Development Unearths Your Home’s Hidden Potential

Guru is defined as teacher, tutor, mentor, yet when the term is applied to Darryl Cook, the Landscaping Lighting Guru, none fit quite as well as the Hindu meaning – dispeller of darkness. The Branch Texas sat down with said Guru who shed a little light on a topic we clearly knew very little about…the intricacies of lighting.

Meeting at the home and headquarters of both Darryl and his company, Complete Outdoor Development, LLC, it is clear that design suits his lifestyle quite well. Tucked into a hillside respite off Hwy 46, Cook, his wife Karen and son Grayson have a home that speaks volumes to what can be accomplish with a well-laid and lit design plan. The multi-structured dwelling is perfectly positioned into its natural setting. Impressive light fixtures of Darryl’s own creation (custom pieces available to clients upon request) pepper the property both inside and out, incorporating things such as fishing baskets and industrial pipe.

Local residents may have spotted the billboards for the Complete Outdoor Development popping up around the area recently. The ads may be new, however, Cook and his crew have actually been brightening our area and beyond for 30+ years – even playing an integral part in those famous Riverwalk Holiday Lights that have now become a staple of seasonal celebration in the Alamo City. Today, holiday lighting for both commercial and residential continues to be a specialty for the Guru.

Landscaping lighting really is the (pun intended) difference between night and day. “There are so many options that bring beauty. Not only the light we use, but also the absence of light and the effect that comes with combining the two,” says Cook. “Details such as direction and color tones can be used to significantly enhance the appearance of trees, walkways and water features to name just a few. Investing in lighting on the façade of your home is a way of presenting yourself to your neighborhood while also providing personal enjoyment.” Indeed, outdoor entertaining can be taken to a new level with a beautifully lit space.

It is unfortunate then to realize that lighting outside of the home is possibly one of the last investments a homeowner might think of and budget for when building or renovating. Priorities start inside the home and oftentimes by the time the outside comes into mind the budget has been exhausted. It takes many homeowners years of experience to understand that planning out external lighting can be just as integral in creating the home of your dreams and can add tremendously to curb appeal and home value.

Although, most homes could benefit greatly from brightening their outdoors, well, it’s a luxury when it comes to the expense. Yes you can DIY your landscape lighting, absolutely! There are solar lights and light kits and all sorts of things at your local hardware store. They can and may suit all of your interests and needs, DIY is fun and if you have a creative eye, by all means take a stab. However, take heed, Cook warns, that many of those lighting kits have a lackluster functionality that make the products require ongoing replacement and typically lack the dramatic results you could accomplish by using a professional. “When you put bad fixtures in, it can do a disservice – yet starting out right will be an asset. Pay now or pay later.”

Cook is an expert, aka guru, in landscape lighting, but don’t let the company name fool you. Outdoor lighting is his company specialty, but indoors Cook has also worked with many clients to create premium ambiance inside as well. “You invest so much on a painting, statue or architectural detail for your home, but not in quality lighting design and so half the day these expensive features are hidden in the shadows,” says Cook.

Whether working with the Guru or tackling it yourself, here are a few take home tips to consider:

LED is Key: As a directional light source, LED (light emitting-diodes) bulbs are more effective at directing the light where you’d like it to go, perfect for spotlighting an important piece of art, or creating ambiance. Not to mention, LED bulbs do not radiate heat like incandescent and halogen bulbs do and can last up to 50 times longer. It’s a smart and efficient way to light a home yet so many homeowners may still be opting for the initially less expensive option. They also have no infrared, which is what draws insects to light making it ideal for outdoor spaces.

Safety in Timing: It’s great to have all these fabulous lights around our home, but who will remember to switch them on and off, and quite frankly it can be tiring. Adding an Astronomical Digital Timer to your lighting plan allows you to set your system to go off when you want it too, now with many having the capabilities to work with your smart phone, a benefit when warding off uninvited guests when you are away from home.

The Natural Enemy: Just as you would expect from anything that has to brave the elements, the same goes for lighting – it takes a beating. From flooding to ant invasion (ants love electricity – who knew?!) Cook and his team have faced it all and have tried and true systems to overcome even the harshest elements. However, just as nature can be an enemy to your lighting, you too can be harmful to nature. Cook emphasizes being eco friendly in all his projects and urges DIYers to pay careful attention to ensure all fixtures set on natural foundations such as trees will not cause lasting damage.

It seems that there is just no limit to what is possible for those who have finally gotten bitten by the lighting bug. It really becomes a no brainer – if your budget allows, then it is time to call a Guru and get plugging.

Find out more about the Complete Outdoor Development, LLC, by visiting www.landscapelightingguru.com,

call 210-710-7737 or email: info@landscapelightingguru.com.