View Full Version : requesting help

07-16-2009, 08:26 PM
I would appreciate any advice you guys have to offer. First, I understand this is a professional lighting forum, I understand and appreciate the collaboration, support, and constructive criticism you guys give each other. However, I find myself, for the most part a diy'er, needing some advice so I thought I would turn to you guys for any suggestions, tips, and advice you can give. I have a ewings about an hour from my home and I assume that would be a great place to purchase the equipment, is that correct? I am interested in a fairly small scale lighting system, but enough to accentuate the home, property, and provide increased safety. I will attempt to provide pics. Also, I have just had the landscaping, sidewalk and an irrigation system installed , this is why I have trench lines throughout the yard and turning to you. At this time, I just can't have it professionally done. Also, the lawn was stressed and doesnt look the best, but is improving. Any design or install advice is greatly appreciated.

07-16-2009, 08:30 PM
here are some additional pics. thanks for any assistance you can give me.

07-16-2009, 11:03 PM
Thoes boulders are incredible. What I would suggest in that area is most likley beyond the scope of a DIY in that I would do a multiple layered effect and show thoes off with some downlighting.

On the house it is all up to you on your tastes and desires. I would start by looking back thru some of the photo threads and see what kind of effects your after. I would probably do a basic washing of the home and keep it pretty subtle. Downlight 30 ft or more up in the tree at the entrance to the walk and a downlight in the peak above the garage. I would probably also add some other tree lights elsewhere as well depending on the hieght and location of them.

I am going to be passing thru north bama tmrw on our way to TN

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
07-16-2009, 11:28 PM
Those mature trees near the driveway and around the back are perfect for tree mounted downlighting (moonlighting) but I would not recommend this for a DIY'er to attempt. You will need to get above 30' to make it look good and that is just not safe unless you have the proper tools, equipment, training and experience.

For the house, what Billy said... :)

Best of luck

Chris J
07-16-2009, 11:32 PM
Give me a call JB, I'll tell you what to do.

Mark B
07-17-2009, 12:16 AM
Look who else is lurking around.. Are you staying out of trouble?

07-17-2009, 12:16 AM
hey guys, thanks for the responses. I have looked at several threads with pics and am in awe of what lighting can do to a property. I will continue to browse the forum as well as other websites and searches. The boulders are one of my favorite parts of the property. I still have more landscaping and ideas for that area to increase its appeal and enjoyment. Do you guys think it would be feasible to do most of the ground level lighting and have a pro do the downlighthing? I may be able to have access to a boom truck if that makes a difference. I have sent a lot of work to a guy who has one and we have become friends. I could probably rent his under his supervision. Once agina thanks for the suggestions and keep em coming.

Chris I sent you a pm.

07-17-2009, 11:21 AM
You are probably no more than 3 or 4 hours from us. I would be happy to do your downlighting for you if you have problems finding someone you can trust in your area. Feel free to contact me thru my website should you be interested.


David Gretzmier
07-18-2009, 01:31 AM
I too would accent the boulders. accent on the porch columns uplight, and have a gutter guy move that gutter drop off the front and onto the side of the column. soft wall washers on siding, mr-16 20 watt 60's on stone, well lights up on a few of the better branched trees.

07-18-2009, 09:35 AM
Wow, very cool boulders! They look like a coiled up dragon sleeping under your trees out there or 4 of the sand worms from the movie Dune,....but I digress. A layered scene is definitely in order there as Billy stated. I would downlight from the trees also making the boulders the focal point and the objects with the highest illumination levels. When doing this, many of the front trees will have their trunks silhouetted against the stone. I would back light and cross light some of the trees by the rocks there using some uplighting to further contrast the trunks of some of the larger trees with the dark background of the surrounding woods at night also. The uplighting will help illuminate the upper canopies also and give you a feeling of space when you are among them. This would be a primary gathering area if it were my place. I would probably ditch the burn barrel though in exchange for a more traditional fire pit-:laugh:

07-18-2009, 10:11 AM
David and Tim,
Thanks for the advice. I think I am really starting to get an idea of what to do.I also love the boulders. I also plan on making this the primary gathering place for friends and family at my house. I still have some landscaping and hardscaping to do in the area, however I want to keep itas natural as possible. Does anyone have recommendations on brand or model of lights to use? There's a ewing's about an hour from here and of course the big box stores. But from what I have read, it may be best to not purchase my lighting from them. Once again, thanks so much for the advice and I will consider removing the burn barrell from the area....lol
I've been meaning to do that for about a week now!

David Gretzmier
07-18-2009, 12:27 PM
Everyone has thier favorites, but In your case and my experience-

Ewing sells the FX line and thier store brand. Fx's transformer is one of the best. on 300 watt, get one with a photocell. In my Judgement, that is really a 400 watt trans you can load to 300 watts safely. most other 300's I'd stick to 240watts max. Thier wire is probably about what you would pay online when shipping is figured into the equation. But Superflex online is the easiest wire to work with. it is worth a slight premium for me. Fx's bullets have a tendancy to lose the tightness to the outer o-ring. water gets in there and they fail. ewing's aluminum bullets leak at the wire entrance point and corrode the insides in about 3 years. Fx's path lights are good, but you need more washers and bullets, maybe only a few paths.

I'd reccomend Landscape lighting world's brass top dog bullets and coppermoon's 890 washers. copper moon and Landscape lighting world also have some good paths. You may not be able to buy coppermoon direct, but I can sell you some if you can't get them. Griffin is the Landscape lighting world sponsor here, and you can pm him, or go to his website. He also sells wire and Volt trans, but that is your call based on price and shipping . I think Fx's 300 watt is a good deal, and then the 600 watt and up I go Volt. Coppermoon also makes a good trans, but In my review of them I found some issues. Your call.

07-18-2009, 08:07 PM
I prefer Unique or Vista, especially the Unique transformers.

07-19-2009, 08:27 PM
most items worth using in terms of longevity would not be readily available to you at a cost effective point. By the time you factor in everything at list pricing from connectors to wire to lamps to transformers to other associated accessories you could just about have someone come in and do it right the first time without the trial and error. Also consider the cost of tooling and such.

The hook it up and see how it looks method might work fine for ground mounted hardware but once you get 30 ft and higher in those trees it becomes a real hassle. I'm not saying you could not do it yourself but I am saying that by the time you may buy fixtures you do not need or do the trial and error thing you might find it much more cost effective to bring in someone with alot of downlighting experience.

It will defiantly show in the end results.

07-19-2009, 08:32 PM
thanks Tim, I appreciate the comments. To all that have commented, I have looked over all your websites that are linked and am simply amazed by the work you guys have done. In my area there are not a lot of houses that are showcased with lighting the way you guys have done. It truly is an artform. I am beginning to get excited about my project.

07-20-2009, 01:51 PM

I would tell you that our products are some of the best your money can buy. They are proven with 100's of thousands of fixtures and transformers being installed on projects around the world for many many years. But I will also be the first to tell you that we build our products for the professional installer and it would be best to hire a guy in your area like Billy Bradford to do the job and not hassle with the trial and error and potential errors related to improper installation techniques. You can't put a price on piece of mind knowing the job has been wired, tested, designed, and installed properly all while knowing you have a reliable source to call upon should you need to service or add to the system.

Although you may find a distributor willing to sell you the homeowner "professional" grade products at a discount it doesn't ensure you the ability to get the most out of those products. Make sure that the distributor is also willing to explain how to test those products for voltage and amperage and sell you those tools needed to do so. Also make sure he/she explains wire methods, load capacity ratings, and proper connection making. Its also best to know that the person you are relying on, in this case the distributor, has some field knowledge and experience. Buying the products is the easy part, installing them so you can get your full moneys worth and being happy with the system for the life of the home is a whole other deal.

Best of luck!!

07-24-2009, 06:20 PM
When measuring wattage for my transformer do I add the max wattage for each fixture or add the buld wattage I plan on using. Reason I ask is I have been looking at brochures online and some of the fixtures I've likes are 50 watt but I will probably only use 25 watt or so bulbs. Thanks for the advice
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07-24-2009, 06:40 PM
Just add the wattage used......get a total and then add 20% to that number and base your transformer size off of that figure. We go by an 80/20 rule, 80% load nad 20% wire and connection loss/resistance. Call me again if you have questions.

07-25-2009, 01:24 PM
Edited. I deleted the post.