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EveningIllumination
05-26-2010, 10:23 PM
Hi All,

I meet with a prospective client today and she would like her palms lit.
1. Does anybody here know the name of these palms-the small ones(there is one royal palm)? (so, I can do some homework on size, rate of growth etc.) she - couldn't remember the name of them and the landscaper was not there (AGAIN!)

2. I am thinking that recessed ground MR16 fixtures would be best
a. B-K Lighting Adjustable Well Star -- I like the adjustability of this fixture but being in South Florida ants could be a problem.
b. HK Lighting's MR16 well light - for the same reason as B-K
c. Unique's Nova -- Love this fixture but only goes to 20W and I am sure that I will need to bump up to 35W in 5-6yrs and possibly 50W later on.
d. Nightscaping's vermeer fixture - I LOVE this fixture too - only problem the lamp is not adjustable.
Anybody know of a fixture that will accept a MR16 up to 50W that is fully enclosed and the lamp is adjustable?

3. How many fixtures would you use per tree -- I am thinking 4 per tree but am wondering if 3 would do an adequate job?

I am including photos from the site. Any and all info and thoughts are greatly appreciated.
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f343/EveningIllumination/MBucko/MBucko009.jpg
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f343/EveningIllumination/MBucko/MBucko008.jpg
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f343/EveningIllumination/MBucko/MBucko005.jpg
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f343/EveningIllumination/MBucko/MBucko004.jpg

ThankYou - Have A Great Day!

GreenEarth808
05-26-2010, 10:38 PM
they look like date palms to me...not the pygmy date (pheonix robelinni) for sure.

RLI Electric
05-26-2010, 11:14 PM
Vista 2170 BSO or 5270. Good up to 50 watt. Hold LED lamps nicely tooThumbs Up

Az Gardener
05-27-2010, 02:24 AM
Yes those are Date Palms they grow about a foot a year and the roots will encase and possibly crush in ground fixtures. We used a FX well fixture with some 35 watt pars to light up some that were about 30 tall. Looks great to us and the client but based on what gets posted here others would consider it not well lit :dizzy: We don't like to be blinded or see the lights a a focal point rather have them accent the landscape. To each his own.

Another thing is you can't position them exactly the same on each tree and expect to get the same effect because the trees don't grow perfectly straight. We found it best to temp wire the lamps and move them around at night to get the desired effect and the bury the fixtures the next day.

We have maintained this home for 15 years now, so every other year we pull up the lights and cut back the roots. A copper sleeve would be nice to repel the roots but its a pain to chase the copper sheets down and cut it to size plus there are about 40 of these palms on this job. Every time its time to do it again I swear I'm going to do those sleeves but I just never get around to it.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
05-27-2010, 02:32 AM
What type of lamp adjustments are you looking for that cannot be accommodated by the NS Vermeer Fixture? The lamp in the Vermeer is held in place by a c shaped bracket and offers the ability to aim the lamp within the fixture. I would say it provides about 20 degrees of adjustment from vertical.

Have a great day.

steveparrott
05-27-2010, 10:02 AM
Maintenance of well lights for this project could be a nightmare. I suggest two MR-16 bullets (http://www.cast-lighting.com/products/fixtures/directional-lights/7/).

I also suggest positioning the two fixtures at a 120 degree angle from each other relative to the trunk. This leaves an unlight portion of trunk on the viewers side (enhances depth and sets a nighttime mood).

Start with 20W 60 degree, positioning fixtures about 18" from trunk and aim to graze trunk while illuminating the entire canopy. Consider cross lighting (e.g. left fixture illuminates right side of canopy, etc.). This enables you to better illuminate the trunk and ensures complete canopy illumination even when the tree is small.

EveningIllumination
05-27-2010, 11:05 AM
Bob - I will look into Vista
Greenearth - Thank You

Az Gardener - How many fixtures per tree did you use? Is there a 360degree of the trees? Do you think a brass fixture would repel the roots like the copper does? DO you have an ant problem?

James - The bracket in the NS Vermeer is loose and can not be tightened down to hold an aim. I am thinking if I could aim the lamp I would be able to position the fixture a little further, right from the start, from the trunk and as the tree grows the lamp could be tilted as needed. I am not sure how much degree of tilt that would require.

Steve - 2 fixtures per tree? These trees have a 360degree viewing - the property is a corner lot and the drive goes right through the center of the lot so, these trees can be seen from all angles. I hesitate to use bullet style fixtures because I think anything sticking up out of the ground will be a hazard and a lawn maintenance nightmare.

Thank You all for your time and advice.

sprinkler guy
05-28-2010, 03:20 AM
EveningIllumination,

Take a look at the FX RP well light. Goes up to 50 watts, and has a very adjustable gimble set for the lamp. The fixture housing also comes with a set sleeve. This fixture is designed so that it could be poured in concrete. Not suggesting that here, but with the sleeve, annual maintenance would be pretty easy. Fill the sleeve with a pre-emergant, then each year lift the light out of the sleeve, clean out any intrusive roots, and apply more pre-emergent. Sealed at the bottom, so ants shouldn't be a problem.

With 360 degree view, how many lights per tree were you planning? The RP with a composite cover instead of the brass is pretty competively priced.

Pro-Scapes
05-28-2010, 12:58 PM
a bed should be defined on the back sides of the trees. It looks like a really nice property. I too would then use bullets. I just did 4 of these palms just like steve said but opted to use 3 fixtures per tree triangulated since they were viewable from 360 degrees.

If your client wants to see them from every angle you will need 3-4 per tree. Plan ahead with your system capacity and wiring to be able to bump the wattages up later.

Keep in mind ambient light conditions and client's desires as far as brightness will affect the end design. Since you are unsure of what to do I would do a mock up on at LEAST 2 of these trees.

If your going to light the taller ones in the same way you will need a narrower lamp (24 or 12 deg???) with more punch dependant again on the clients desires. I did 3 about this size with 35w 24 deg and the effect was fairly subtle an pleasing to my clients with a fair amount of ambient light.

fl-landscapes
05-28-2010, 01:16 PM
yup date palms, Not canaray island but likely sylvester dates. That tall one doesnt look like a Royal. Far away so tough to say. Frond looks more like a Foxtail because the frond spread 360 degrees out like a foxtail also the trunk isnt smooth like a royal and the trunk isnt larger at the base. Picture is taking from far away from that tree....I could be wrong

steveparrott
05-28-2010, 01:47 PM
Steve - 2 fixtures per tree? These trees have a 360degree viewing - the property is a corner lot and the drive goes right through the center of the lot so, these trees can be seen from all angles. I hesitate to use bullet style fixtures because I think anything sticking up out of the ground will be a hazard and a lawn maintenance nightmare.

To clarify my advice. As a general rule, I like to illuminate objects in ways that convey nighttime - meaning, areas of dark and light that mimic a single light source (like the moon) with little or no ambient lighting. This means that parts of a tree would not be illuminated.

Illuminating a tree trunk from all sides is essentially re-creating day-time lighting. Illuminating it so that the front or a side is dark looks much more natural.

Choosing which side of the trunk to leave dark is a creative challange - especially when it will be viewed from many angles. Keep in mind that the worst angle of viewing is the angle that shows the trunk fully illuminated.

Also note, that for projects like this (where many trees will be viewed in a single lighting scene), all the trees should be lit consistantly (shadowed sides the same). All lighting should make some sort of visual sense.

Regarding bullets vs. wells - many reasons to choose bullets - easy to move as the tree grows, no problems with stuff acummulating on the lens, and no ants in the fixtures.

Az Gardener
05-28-2010, 05:33 PM
Regarding bullets vs. wells - many reasons to choose bullets - easy to move as the tree grows, no problems with stuff acummulating on the lens, and no ants in the fixtures.

Except they will never hold the direction you pointed them because everyone from the lawn guy to neighborhood kids to the fed ex guy will bump them at the very least, if not worse. My suggestion, no bullets in turf, ever.

steveparrott
05-28-2010, 05:36 PM
Except they will never hold the direction you pointed them because everyone from the lawn guy to neighborhood kids to the fed ex guy will bump them at the very least, if not worse. My suggestion, no bullets in turf, ever.

The bullets needn't be in the turf - 18" from the tree at most.

Pro-Scapes
05-28-2010, 08:30 PM
Steve I do agree with the contrast your speaking of. When I did my date palms with 3 fixtures there was a definitive contrast. There was much left unlit. I had a canopy of light within and the outer views of the trees showed the perfect silhouette of the fronds. It is SOOO hard to get the pictures do to 2 metal halide post lights near by. I wish you or Mike could shoot this job for me it really did come out stunning. When we tried to shoot it last week before we left on vacation it was pretty windy. Now we have had clouds daily so the sky has been less that co-operative.

Pro-Scapes
05-28-2010, 08:31 PM
Except they will never hold the direction you pointed them because everyone from the lawn guy to neighborhood kids to the fed ex guy will bump them at the very least, if not worse. My suggestion, no bullets in turf, ever.

Never in the turf but bullets are the way to go in my opinion. This is why I said define a bed edge on the back side of the trees. You could even then do small plantings to soften the look of the fixtures.

RLI Electric
05-28-2010, 09:33 PM
How bout that? Never knew there was more than one type of palm tree. Learn a little everyday. As for lighting the tree, artistic interpretation. I hate seeing a tree partially lit, I like the line of the tree softly lit with the canopy lit glowing above it. But that's just me.

EveningIllumination
05-29-2010, 01:31 AM
pro-scapes - I would LOVE to see a couple of pictures. when you said you lit three trees this height with 3 35w fixtures did you light 6' trees with that much light? or were they the height(20-25') of the queen palm - I think it may be a queen and not a royal palm there in the back of the first photo. I am not aiming to uniformly and brightly light these trees but rather softly light from the ground up. The roughness and strong characteristics of the trunk are going to produce a lot of shadowing and contrast and the nature of the palm fronds will produce the same in the top portion of these beautiful trees. I don't want the tops to appear to be "floating" from any angle - that would be unnatural and unattractive. I am not sure of the ambient light right now so, I will need to take a ride out there one night this weekend.

Bob - that's funny you didn't know there were different kinds of palm trees, there a several hundred different varieties. It's a little overwhelming trying to identify the plant material here in South Florida. Like for this particular property we have to decide if we are wiring for a 20yr plan or 30+ yrs. At the distances I have to run 12/2 will accommodate going from 20w to 35w but, have to go to 10/2 for 50w if we do 4 fixtures per tree because, these trees grow at a rate of about 1' a yr and will take years to reach the height to need 50w. I can think of worse problems though.


"a bed should be defined along the backside of the trees" - why just the back? fixtures will be placed in a circle around the tree.

Thank You all for your time and thoughts.

Pro-Scapes
05-30-2010, 11:26 AM
pro-scapes - I would LOVE to see a couple of pictures. when you said you lit three trees this height with 3 35w fixtures did you light 6' trees with that much light? or were they the height(20-25') of the queen palm - I think it may be a queen and not a royal palm there in the back of the first photo. I am not aiming to uniformly and brightly light these trees but rather softly light from the ground up. The roughness and strong characteristics of the trunk are going to produce a lot of shadowing and contrast and the nature of the palm fronds will produce the same in the top portion of these beautiful trees. I don't want the tops to appear to be "floating" from any angle - that would be unnatural and unattractive. I am not sure of the ambient light right now so, I will need to take a ride out there one night this weekend.

Bob - that's funny you didn't know there were different kinds of palm trees, there a several hundred different varieties. It's a little overwhelming trying to identify the plant material here in South Florida. Like for this particular property we have to decide if we are wiring for a 20yr plan or 30+ yrs. At the distances I have to run 12/2 will accommodate going from 20w to 35w but, have to go to 10/2 for 50w if we do 4 fixtures per tree because, these trees grow at a rate of about 1' a yr and will take years to reach the height to need 50w. I can think of worse problems though.


"a bed should be defined along the backside of the trees" - why just the back? fixtures will be placed in a circle around the tree.

Thank You all for your time and thoughts.

Sorry I used 2 35w fixtures on the tall ones. You can see light on the canopy from 360 and the truck is also visable from 360 altho it has some contrast to it. There was also a cluster of palms in this bed. It was 3 trees with a total of 7 bullets on it.

3 fixtures with 20w 60 degrees on the shorter dates but mine nearly hung back to the ground. I am trying to find a picture worth posting here. The ambient light killed them all. If you want go ahead and email me and I will get you some that are not what I would call posting quality

When I said a bed should be placed along the back I for some reason thought it would be a driveway along the front ?

steveparrott
08-20-2012, 08:23 PM
Funny this thread came up - I'm in the middle of optimizing a photo shoot I did last week at the Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico. Here's one very cool detail - more later.

S&MLL
08-20-2012, 11:51 PM
I wonder how much unskilled labor is per hour in Puerto Rico
Posted via Mobile Device

steveparrott
08-20-2012, 11:58 PM
A few more pics from Bahia Beach - by the way, designed by Juan Salazar and Edgar Torres of Caribbean Landscape Products. This was a tough shoot, 100+ degrees, fire ants, over 500 acres and 1,000+ lights - took 2 nights - 10 hours shooting - still didn't shoot it all.

Lite4
08-21-2012, 08:53 AM
Beautiful as usual Steve. Love the boardwalk through the forest. They did a nice job.

The Lighting Geek
08-21-2012, 09:50 PM
nice job and pics, Steve.

S&MLL
08-22-2012, 02:28 AM
Steve question for you. Some of those palms around the pool look really close to water. Is the nec followed down in PR? If not what do they go off of?

steveparrott
08-22-2012, 10:39 AM
Steve question for you. Some of those palms around the pool look really close to water. Is the nec followed down in PR? If not what do they go off of?

I don't know what codes they follow, although all the work was done (and is maintained) by licensed electricians.

RLI Electric
08-22-2012, 09:22 PM
Gotta knock my fellow electricians, most don't have any idea of the 10 foot rule. First thing I saw when I saw the palms but didn't want to say because depth perception is tough in these pix. ;)

steveparrott
08-22-2012, 09:56 PM
Gotta knock my fellow electricians, most don't have any idea of the 10 foot rule. First thing I saw when I saw the palms but didn't want to say because depth perception is tough in these pix. ;)

While I know that NEC has the 10-ft. rule, keep in mind that local electrical inspectors may interpret the code as they wish. (Yes, I understand that the inspector can get in trouble from his organization, but there seems to be some leniency there). If the inspector is willing to sign off on the installation, then the installer is free to do so.

Of course, many municipalities and states are very strict, but many are not.

Keep in mind that, from a safety standpoint, putting low voltage (under 30V)fixtures near water features (and any other location) does not present a health and safety risk (according to the definitive study by the IEC in 2005 - the work of this organization is the basis of many UL standards). History also bears this out - no serious injuries from contact with voltages of less than 47 volts for at least the last 40 years.

There are many advocates of increasing the voltage limit in UL 1838, and eliminating the 10-ft. rule, but these efforts have been blocked for decades by certain interests.

To be clear, I'm not advocating that anyone violate NEC. In all our instructional materials (included product sheets mandated by UL) we cite the 10-ft. rule.

The 10-ft. rule has been a significant obstacle for creating good lighting design - how would you otherwise light the palm trees in the pool islands for this Bahia Beach project?

I understand that the AOLP and other organizations that set standards, can not fly in the face of NEC, but I also think that there should be some recognition that in about half of the United States inspectors don't enforce this rule - and lighting designs are better because of it.

S&MLL
08-22-2012, 11:45 PM
Steve if your not getting on a plane soon I would. Might be a hurricane headed your way down there

RLI Electric
08-23-2012, 07:28 AM
Like it or not, if you are going to be a professional, you have to follow the Code. I understand the silliness of it but you have to follow the Code. I understand the design REALLY needs it and everyone will benefit from it but you have to follow the Code.
I appreciate the desire to make the design right, the picture come out as beautiful as it can be and the client to be as happy as possible but you cannot bend the Code as you deem fit or unfit. If you have a licensed contractor doing this and YOU know better than they do, let them know. It is the right thing to do.
I admit I am nauseated by the fact that the out on this seems to be ,"well, a licensed guy installed it and the inspector didn't pick it up." No excuse. SM&L saw it, I saw it and now others have seen it. I say again I can go to any major manufacturers gallery (contractors too) and see this design with a major Code flaw displayed proudly and for all to see.
I try to explain to landscape architects, interior designers and regular architects that I will install to the best of my ability. If I see a violation, I will mention it to them out of earshot of the client so they don't embarass themselves. If they don't care or say it's stupid then I will expose them and make them look inept so the client knows who is really concerned about not only the functionality and beauty but also the safety.
I remember talking with a painter one day and he said he will still use lead paint. My face must have been shocked because his excuse is that sometimes you really need to get it done with less coats of paint. I let anyone I know that considered using this guy of the possibility of what can go on their walls.

Lite4
08-23-2012, 09:09 AM
Like it or not, if you are going to be a professional, you have to follow the Code.

I thought they were really more like "guidelines" Yarggh (famous pirates quote)