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steveparrott
02-18-2010, 02:50 PM
Hi Guys,

For those with the time and interest, I'd appreciate some comments and feedback on a new article I've written about the goals and principles of landscape lighting.

Am I neglecting anything, or do you disagree with any points?

http://www.cast-lighting.com/about-cast/landscape-lighting/

Thanks

P.S. this is not a sales piece and doesn't promote any product.

RLI Electric
02-18-2010, 03:30 PM
Steve, I think you did a great job on the article. Is it for the contractor or the end user? I have been thinking about this lately and the thing I might mention is that with the goals that you mention there is also artistic approaches to it. There are "many ways to skin a cat" so to say. One designer may approach the composition completely different than another. This is a good thing and not a bad thing. As long as the clients needs are met and fulfilled, that is the most important. Some may like a Picasso, some may like Hudson River School but the people here should not be providing "the starving artist solution". I don't know if this feedback helps at all.

steveparrott
02-18-2010, 04:16 PM
Steve, I think you did a great job on the article. Is it for the contractor or the end user? I have been thinking about this lately and the thing I might mention is that with the goals that you mention there is also artistic approaches to it. There are "many ways to skin a cat" so to say. One designer may approach the composition completely different than another. This is a good thing and not a bad thing. As long as the clients needs are met and fulfilled, that is the most important. Some may like a Picasso, some may like Hudson River School but the people here should not be providing "the starving artist solution". I don't know if this feedback helps at all.

Thanks, good feedback. The article is primarily aimed at the sophisticated homeowner. It's surprising how many times I get calls from homeowners who tell me they spent hours on our website learning about landscape lighting. I think that whatever we can do to engage the homeowner is time well spent. I would like to see more contractors' websites that share wisdom and passion in ways that elevate our craft in the minds of our clients.

RLI Electric
02-18-2010, 04:34 PM
Steve, if you visit my site www.rlielectric.com maybe you can come up with some ideas that I can tweak it a bit. I would like to make the site as nice as possible and if there are any thoughts to make that happen it would be greatly appreciated. Actually, that goes for anyone. Thanks

Pro-Scapes
02-18-2010, 05:41 PM
Steve,

That is a really good article. I can see alot of Installers and designers looking at as if it were written in Greek. When I wrote my last 2 articles I tried to keep things simple for the guys. No doubt yours is aimed at the educated client or designer who has no problem comprehending longer words.

When our website crashed a few weeks ago and couldnt be recovered I took this as a sign from above that it was time to move on and reflect the higher position we are in today vs several years ago when we built our site.

I am planning an educational page with articles I have written and links to others articles on it to help the educated homeowner realize the full potential of what can be accomplished with light. I have finally gotten thru to an interior designer I can accomplish with light the same thing she accomplishes with color.

She can make a room feel playful...calming...energetic and inviting with her colors and decorations. We can do much the same thing with light.

Kudos on the new article. Another one well written.

Lite4
02-18-2010, 08:52 PM
Good article Steve, check the content before release there are a few typos. Overall, very informative. Might be a bit much for the casual reader and you may lose them half way through with some of the technical and artistic insights, but the person who is really looking to learn about the "art" will appreciate the article and I am sure will give them a new perspective about our craft. Kudos

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-18-2010, 08:53 PM
Really well done Steve. :clapping:

indylights
02-18-2010, 09:41 PM
Steve,

Excellent article and I would not dumb it down (for lack of a better term). It is time as an industry that we elevate standards in product, installations, aesthetics, and results in order to keep professionals as the go to source for these trades. I for one am sick of everything having to be at a low common level where everyone can understand or perform the function, no matter what the activity. I had a coach in high school who used to tell us every day either you practice and get better or you get out, and I really think that needs to be said to a lot of people in our industry. If an experienced installer looks at this article like it is written in Greek they should be in another profession. (sorry for the long winded rant but this is a pet peeve of mine).

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

Pro-Scapes
02-18-2010, 10:51 PM
I don't think he should dumb it down either Scott but, I have also seen some REALLY talented lighting guys who could not keep up with an article like that. Do you think just because someone is artistic or can visualize a project they should have a high reading comprehension ?

Is there some kind of hidden link between using big words and creating a pleasing experience of a property at night?

Just because I wrote my article in an easy to read way does that mean I am not helping people by trying to make them choose quality over cheap hardware?

indylights
02-18-2010, 11:03 PM
I don't think he should dumb it down either Scott but, I have also seen some REALLY talented lighting guys who could not keep up with an article like that. Do you think just because someone is artistic or can visualize a project they should have a high reading comprehension ?

Is there some kind of hidden link between using big words and creating a pleasing experience of a property at night?

Just because I wrote my article in an easy to read way does that mean I am not helping people by trying to make them choose quality over cheap hardware?

Billy,

To answer your first question, I didn't think it was at that high of a reading level, and I feel most educated professionals would know the majority of those terms.
To answer your second question, no.
To answer your third question, no.

I choose to directly answer questions from those who ask me. Back to the point of the thread. Again, excellent article Steve.

David Gretzmier
02-18-2010, 11:15 PM
Love the article Steve. I also like the order of your list from security 1st, safety 2nd, task 3rd, and aesthetic 4th. I think too often the talk, photo's, and general argument among lighters is #4.

I think many, If given a free hand, would prefer to light a property focusing only on #4. ( OH, The trees- That statue ! That swing ! That water, the rock... ) And if the home or walkways happen to get some light in the pursuit of a lighting masterpiece, so be it. and then the place got robbed or someone fell because they could not see steps.

Many times we rag on the bread and butter of lighting. But I think your article was spot on.

Pro-Scapes
02-18-2010, 11:31 PM
Billy,

To answer your first question, I didn't think it was at that high of a reading level, and I feel most educated professionals would know the majority of those terms.
To answer your second question, no.
To answer your third question, no.

I choose to directly answer questions from those who ask me. Back to the point of the thread. Again, excellent article Steve.

I did not think it was that high of a reading level either. I did not have a problem reading it.

I have a multi millionair client. We did over 40k in lighting for him over the course of a year. I spent a LONG time writing up what I thought was a great proposal for him.. It was very readable. I had help from an english major. After a page he looks at me and says I dont understand it. Give it to me in English.

Just because someone knows terms doesnt mean that they can put it together into comprehension.

Pro-Scapes
02-18-2010, 11:37 PM
Love the article Steve. I also like the order of your list from security 1st, safety 2nd, task 3rd, and aesthetic 4th. I think too often the talk, photo's, and general argument among lighters is #4.

I think many, If given a free hand, would prefer to light a property focusing only on #4. ( OH, The trees- That statue ! That swing ! That water, the rock... ) And if the home or walkways happen to get some light in the pursuit of a lighting masterpiece, so be it. and then the place got robbed or someone fell because they could not see steps.

Many times we rag on the bread and butter of lighting. But I think your article was spot on.

David your right. Part of what I did when I took my absence from here is revisit jobs I have done in past and think of how I might do them different now. When I first started I focused primarily on getting the home all lit up. I encourage you guys who have been doing this at least a few years to revisit your first few projects then a more recent one and see if you can tell the difference. It was really eye opening to me to see how my placement has changed over the years. I went from measuring out 16 inches and slamming a light in to creating things that make my clients Jaws drop. Now if I could just figure this camera thing out I would be all set.

steveparrott
02-19-2010, 09:09 AM
I was curious with the references to reading level, so I found this online tool to assess reading level for text: http://www.addedbytes.com/code/readability-score/

My article rates slightly above a 12th grade level.

Checking levels for various publications:

6th Grade - TV Guide, The Bible
8th Grade - Readers Digest
8th - 10th Grade - Most popular novels
10th Grade - Time, Newsweek
11th Grade - Wall Street Journal
15th - 20th Grade - Academic papers
Over 30 - The government is covering something up
(source: http://juicystudio.com/services/readability.php)

Pro-Scapes
02-19-2010, 09:43 AM
Funny the Bible is rated at a 6th grade level. They must be using simple passages from the NIV vs KJ version.

I attended Church regularly and find alot of it harder to comprehend than your article which is rated at slightly above 12th grade.

I just scored my design article that will be coming out next month in Landscape/Hardscape magazine. Before the editor gets her hands on it It scores Upper 11th grade. I am curious after she makes subtle changes how it scores. My transformer Article as submitted was also 11th grade. I didnt compare them yet but several changes were made by the editors which simplified it.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-19-2010, 09:53 AM
That is a very cool tool Steve. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I just plopped in the text of a presentation I recently gave on marketing and sales tips for lighting contractors. Result was a 12.5

I can see how this would be a fairly handy tool for those of us to write articles and prepare presentations, helping us to tailor the message to the intended audience.

Thanks.

RLDesign
02-19-2010, 10:56 AM
Hello Steve,

Great article. I use your website and materials to educate my clients (new&existing), ECs, and myself. I always am trying to better myself and my crews. I do find some contractors to be trunkslammers, and that sucks for the industry because the professionalism and creativity and relationship is lost. I sometimes feel like some contractors throw their lights into the ground like spears... but I also know that our company was there at some point. We all grow faster or slower, dependent on our exposure to various pieces, training, and info. I think forums like these do not need to be a pissing contest or filled with so much EGO, but they are and it is entertaining. I like to help those around me, because I was helped in the past. I know there are some that read at certain levels and others that have a higher vocab. I thought your article was spot on, and most clients would find it helpful. My owner of my company might think it is long, but I find that it would help me sell light. We are all in the business of selling light, and describing the artform takes a little bit of text in order to put a dollar sign and number after that text in a proposal/estimate. I put links in my proposals and email them with photos, and that helps the client see the number!! I do think the drama is quite entertaining, but I don't get it.

Talk soon.
Tanek
Reynolds Lighting

Photo is of my bambino and I in front of one of our outdoor showers.

Alan B
02-19-2010, 12:07 PM
Very nice article Steve, I liked everything about it. To me keeping the writing professional helps elevate the profession.

I realize you can't say everything/touch on all areas in a 1 page article, but if you were to add somemore, I think the following point is very important for the asthetic/balance section :
-something about no relying on just uplighting. To me the majority of landscape lighting installs, esp from the non-dedicated pro's, are up lights. Yes uplighting is easier/less expensive to install, but the incorporation of downlighting, hardscape lighting, integrating/coring fixtures into post, walls, soffits, etc is what makes the good design great. It provides balance. Plus is night sky, green friendly.

James, Billy, Tommy and many other top pro's here do a lot of integrating which is one of the things that I really admire in their work. The downside is it takes a client with $ and an installer with the know how and effort. That said its one of the biggest missed aspects of most installs/designs.

Great article.

Sincerely,

Alan

David Gretzmier
02-20-2010, 12:31 AM
Most theologians agree the NIV version of the bible is 6th grade level. New american standard and KJV are closer to 11th and 12 grade level.

I love the clients who let you do stuff to drop jaws, but I love a well uplit house to keep bad guys away. and to show off what folks paid a few bucks for.

I could be wrong, but I am not aware of any of the homes I have uplit in the past 15-20 years have ever been robbed, at least I know the homes I still rebulb and maintain have not.

Agreed that uplighting is not dark sky friendly, and overdone.