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View Full Version : Very Wide Ground Gutter - uplighting ideas


anthem
07-20-2007, 10:56 AM
Ok, working with the landscape lighting people, we've come across a problem on this particular project. Trying to uplight a brick house (that also has four large columns up front). Anyhow, the problem is that the ground gutter is 44" wide, so the nearest that we can get to the house is 44". Uplighting from 44" is a huge problem with glare from the flanking windows looking out at night.

Does anyone have any ideas that they've done to uplight a house, or columns that you've had large ground gutters in the way ? We've considered chipping out the ground from the brick gutter and running wire closer to the house and attaching it directly to the ground gutter. Since the Cast (of Kichler) bullets probably won't work, has anyone maybe used the tree light screwed down or to the brick wall, or perhaps the niche light ? Any ideas on what people have done or fixtures they've used would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

irrig8r
07-20-2007, 11:18 AM
Is there a way to downlight instead?

Eden Lights
07-20-2007, 12:16 PM
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=190912

anthem
07-20-2007, 12:32 PM
Saw that thread. The owner is considering downlights for the columns as the electrician has prewired for those up in the a-frame of the house to get to columns. The house is similar to the picture in that thread in style but even larger. Columns are 30" by 26ft.

Owner is reluctant to mount downlight in cans from the soffits though. The cornice work up there is amazing. It's like 14 piece cornice work with little and large dentil blocks, etc, etc. I can understand not wanting anything cut out of the cornice. It's enough that they didn't eave vent and decided to seal the attic and make it conditioned space rather than have soffit vents. . .

I think lighting the space like the porch in front is doable from some distance, however when its right up to the house brick and not the patio - then it gets dicier as someone looking out the window will immediately get hit with the glare. . .

Any other ideas. Appreciate them all.

anthem
07-20-2007, 01:22 PM
Perhaps also asking if anyone has used a fixed pillar light/wall mounted light and pointed it upwards for uplighting instead of walkway lighting ? The disadvantage is that it is fixed to never be moved again, and there might be some inflexibility in terms of only having dispersion characteristics vs positional. However, most of the lights that are put in are meant to never be moved again anyway. .

Has anyone used like a Kichler/Hunza Pillar lite/Cast niche lite pointed skyward rather than downward ? What were you issues with using it in such a manner that you had to sacrifice ?

Eden Lights
07-20-2007, 04:32 PM
We need some pictures to really help, but it sounds that anything on the ground would be a no-no: poor physical appreance, glare, and improper fixture mounting locations. We need alot of pics to help on this one?

anthem
07-20-2007, 06:19 PM
Eden - fair enough. Photo the house in question from a few weeks ago before the brick gutters went in. The brick gutters are now in, which complicates things. Large and very complicated, which is why a lot of people are trying to wrap their heads around it.

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s153/anthem_photo/20070524DSC_0029.jpg

We are contemplating like the Kim Minivault, and/or the cast with the canopy attachment to be attached to the actual brick. Only downside is that it /is/ a gutter and the water will run through/around it. . . Advantage of a wall mount is that it will be out of the gutter water path, but most wall mounted lights are fixed and you are locked in to that position forever. . . The second item is getting wiring to the actual position of the lights, although that generally is not a problem - just a function of time/effort (read $). Positioning and aesthetics is first. . .

Chris J
07-22-2007, 03:12 PM
This picture is not helping your case much. We need some current photos, which show us exactly what the problem is.

Pro-Scapes
07-22-2007, 11:48 PM
definatly need some close ups of the area in question. Since the pilars are a static object and will not grow or be swapped out for a different planting in the future a fixed location fixture should be fine as long as its placed properly. Where were you planning on putting the Kim vaults ? We have used these in multiple applications but usually surface mount them on a ledge or other hard surface where a bullet light on a flange just would not be strong enough.

anthem
07-23-2007, 12:23 AM
Will try and get some pictures of the brick gutter tomorrow when on-site. The columns aren't the problem, its uplighting both sides of the house.

As of now, the consensus is to use a Cast Bullet mounted onto their surface mount canopy. Looks like the best option is to mount it on the actual brick surface gutter. The wall would be a better location, but with the mount, it would be about 2" off the wall and ideally we would like it located about 8-12" off the wall (not as 'hot' a spot).

We were toying with the minivault as it may look better to have an actual round fixture on the surface rather than a bullet protruding up out of the gutter. It'll all be covered from the front with some foundation planting anyhow so how it looks behind the bushes may all be moot. There are other issues as the part of the brick gutter 1ft away from the wall has a slight slope down which might make the minivault mounting a bit more difficult.

We also have the issue with materials. The runoff from the roof is copper, so there may be some galvanic corrosion issues as well. Bronze should fare better than some other materials, but only time will tell how the water runoff in the gutter will affect a bronze base/mount.

There was also a discussion between the lighting designer and landscape person of whether to uplight under the windows/sill or uplight between the windows to wash the wall. I think we've all decided to wash the wall as there is more texture there. We're also going to move from the 24degree mr16's to the 12degree to see how they look on the inside portion of the house flanking the columns as the cornice detail is about 34' up and the 12 degree spread may look better.

Basically if we choose the masonry screw the bullets into the brick, we're stuck and thats what the homeowner is going to have to live with (outside of cutting the leads and redoing). Having some sort of flexibility would certainly be better.

And this is just the architectural part. . . haven't even gotten to the landscape part which should be fraught with less tricky situations.

Pro-Scapes
07-23-2007, 08:57 AM
with a 34' rise on thoes pillars yes a 12 degree would probably be the ticket depending on the spacing... a look at a simple photometric chart would be good for that.

I would need to see some pictures of these brick gutters before I would place a reccomendation. The Kim valuts do surface mount very solidly. You remove te bottom plate... Drill it out... reassemble light and then anchor it down with stainless hardware and some sealant on the bolt hole. Have 8 out in the field like this so far with zero probs.

The prob with a surface mounted bullet is if its hit or kicked from te side by the landscapers thats a lot of leverage on thoes little masonry anchors.

Im off to cali for a week yall... Try not to kill eachother while Im gone.

Eden Lights
07-23-2007, 09:03 AM
Will try and get some pictures of the brick gutter tomorrow when on-site. The columns aren't the problem, its uplighting both sides of the house.

That would help me alot, since I have never seen such a thing.

As of now, the consensus is to use a Cast Bullet mounted onto their surface mount canopy. Looks like the best option is to mount it on the actual brick surface gutter. The wall would be a better location, but with the mount, it would be about 2" off the wall and ideally we would like it located about 8-12" off the wall (not as 'hot' a spot).

Decide at night with the final fixture choice, lamp, lens, and etc. I am guessing 10-14".

We were toying with the minivault as it may look better to have an actual round fixture on the surface rather than a bullet protruding up out of the gutter. It'll all be covered from the front with some foundation planting anyhow so how it looks behind the bushes may all be moot. There are other issues as the part of the brick gutter 1ft away from the wall has a slight slope down which might make the minivault mounting a bit more difficult.

Use a stake mounted fixture because of maintenance issues and cost and use the budget to do something nice somewhere else.

There was also a discussion between the lighting designer and landscape person of whether to uplight under the windows/sill or uplight between the windows to wash the wall. I think we've all decided to wash the wall as there is more texture there. We're also going to move from the 24degree mr16's to the 12degree to see how they look on the inside portion of the house flanking the columns as the cornice detail is about 34' up and the 12 degree spread may look better.

While I think that you guys need to do a night time setup together, I would get a general smooth uplighting of the facade: 40 degree floods with prismatic spread lenses and then come back in do detail or accent lighting of architectural elements with the narrow beams on top of the floods. An example that we use all the time is chimneys: 20 watt 40 degree with PSL at the base at about 12" from brick, stone, and etc. then directly behind that at about
24" I will have a 20watt 12 degree aimed at the top 1/3 of the brick, stone, and etc. This provides the accent of the element that your looking for while providing smooth illumination that will separate from most other designers.

anthem
07-23-2007, 12:05 PM
Thanks for the replies guys. Yes, a nice group of us have been outside at night for two nights tweaking and moving lights around to see what the best effect would be.

OK, here are pictures of the brick gutter. Ignore the lights that we leaned up against the brick as a couple of us were moving lights around to determine what the best effect was.

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s153/anthem_photo/BrickGutter1.jpg

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s153/anthem_photo/BrickGutter2.jpg

As you can see the gutters are about 44" wide from the house out. This goes around the entire house except the front where the columns are.

Yes, there are some concerns of maintenance or what not people kicking the bullets as they are only going to be mounted on three masony screws into the brick. The minivault might be better in that regard, but the mounting area isn't completely 'flat'. The actual brick gutter is graded down so its at an incline away from the house by a few degrees. A gimbal inside a well/minivault may work, but a bullet might function better. . .

Has anyone sidelit columns out on a front portico ? We have front uplighting on the columns which illuminates the cornice up above, but since there is portico there as it turns the corner, we're debating sidelighting the outside columns to have illumintion on the cornice detail on the side of the portico, othterwise it appears to be a 'broken' as it moves from the portico to the actual house.

Lite4
07-23-2007, 10:58 PM
Just my thoughts. I would core drill the brick and insert 3" pvc class 200 pipe for sleeves. I would either bore under the brick or run the lead in the joint before they mortar it. I would then insert a Vista 5275 well light in the sleeve and blamo, your good to go. A flush mount light with a 12-24 degree spread. Best of all this light is low profile and very serviceable.

David Gretzmier
07-25-2007, 12:34 AM
sheesh, why do you builders do this- build it, then ask questions. this could have been easily done before the gutter. I'm on two ideas- the coring thing, wires in mortar joints. or surface mounting out 10-14 " using an mr-16 spot with a knuckle to aim. yeah, someone can kick it, and you have to pull wires through the outside wall, which is probably drywalled and insulated now, but that is the only option that lets you aim the fixtures. face it, folks kick my fixtures in the ground every day, and with a gutter 44" wide, they should have no excuse. that's a HUGE path to NOT kick the lights on the house.

You could build out some brick wells to house the lights, and mount on the gutter, and put wires in the mortar joints. say, 2 bricks deep, 1 brick wide, and 4 bricks tall. this would hide the fixture, shroud the source of light, and keep people from kicking the light. make it drain if you do this !

I like a flood beam 24-36's more than narrow, but that is a personal choice, the person owning the house needs to see the difference at night to make that call.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-30-2007, 11:07 PM
This problem project is a great teaching tool! Plan ahead, Design in Advance, Contract everything from the start and then sit back and let the pros do their work!. Sometimes the best ideas cannot be done simply from a lack of pre-planning. Don't wreck the house!

Best of luck.

ChampionLS
07-31-2007, 01:18 AM
www.eveningstarlighting.com cULus listed! :usflag: :canadaflag:

NightScenes
07-31-2007, 07:57 AM
This has got to be a joke. You're not saying that those things are going to light up the side of this house, are you?

Pro-Scapes
08-01-2007, 09:51 AM
sure 4 w to light 3 story pillars... The well light recessed would work good or if you want more protection consider the kim mini vaults and have the masons cut you the needed holes.

anthem
08-01-2007, 10:40 AM
Core drilling and having a PVC sleeve sounds like a great idea, as does just recessing an adjustable well light like a minivault, well star, etc. There are going to be recessed well's under some brick arches for the rear already. The only PIA thing about the gutters is that it isn't on a gravel bed. Core drilling would involve going through the brick paver a small layer of mortar and 4" of concrete to get enough depth. Now, the issue is that there should be no water to go through the well light and down to the gravel drain pit below as this is a functioning gutter (to get water away from the house). Having wall mounted fixtures that you could aim is a possibility(like they use for store signs), but it doesn't gain you anything in terms of not being knocked around since they need to be near ground level.

The reality of the situation is that most landscape/architectural lighting is thought of after the house is completed, or during the landscape process. No doubt, some are done during the design/architectural phase, but I'd venture to guess that the majority of landscape lighting is done when the landscape is being addressed. . .

I seriously doubt those lights would work uplighting in this particular application. You need/want bulb/power flexibility to accomplish what needs to be done here.

Pro-Scapes
08-02-2007, 12:21 AM
if there is going to be that much standing water in the gutters with poor drainage perhaps you need to use a submerisble fixture ? I would imagine with the recessed lens on most of these keeping them clean could be a hassel. This is an excellent learning endeavour for all of us. I dont like the idea of a well light with all the water running thru there and the possibility of standing water. If you do the well light drainage must be provided in my opinion.

The mini vaults from kim are built like tanks and sealed fairly well... Not sure how they would hold up to standing water tho.

ChampionLS
08-02-2007, 12:52 PM
sure 4 w to light 3 story pillars... The well light recessed would work good or if you want more protection consider the kim mini vaults and have the masons cut you the needed holes.

No, they will not light up 3 story pillars- Can't help you there. At 4 watts, they will light up about 3-4 feet- Primarily just as a soft accent. My reason for showing you these pictures is that it is possible and easy to do.

What are your bricks laid on? How much room do you have to work under the bricks? 90% of the time, we'll remove the soldier course, or a series of bricks in linear fashion. Install the circuit cable and replace the bricks. Measure the spacing for your lights, and then core drill at that location.

anthem
08-04-2007, 09:38 AM
Pro-scapes, thanks for the note. It is drained fairly well as its a gutter with fall. The only consideration is that it isn't 'moisture' but will have flowing water going through. . . We considered a submersible fixture like a lumiere atlantis as well, but most submersibles actually require the unit to be fully submerged (probably for heat dissipation). It is kind of ironic that a submersible is frequently not rated for non-submerged applications.

The Kim mini/lightvaults are built very very well and sealed adequately. As long as you can shed water, they should be fine. But yes, having them under several hours of running water will tax any installation/fixture - so yeah it is a tricky situation in that regard. That and the Kim's are all aluminum which is usually a good thing, but with copper runoff in this particular application is a real bad thing. You would want to stick with copper first, and then bronze next. Brass and aluminum will suffer from heavy galvanic corrosion.