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ckstou
08-27-2010, 12:19 PM
Hello Everyone,
My name is Chris and I'm new to this site. I've been lurking for a few weeks and I love soaking in all of the expertise that you offer. With regards to lighting, I am a DIY'er. I understand that this is mostly for pros but I'm going to ask for help and hope for the best. Thank You in advance.

I have a row of 20 arbovitae's as a privacy hedge along the side of my property line. I have tried lighting them with well lights (par 36 25W VWFL). I put each well light in between every two trees. I'm not very happy with the look, however. The trees on the right are fuller and soak up so much light that it is barely visible. I have between 6-10 inches in front of the trees to play with. Any Suggestions? Again, Thanks in advance.

Chris

Pro-Scapes
08-27-2010, 12:47 PM
Bed edge needs to come out. Your much too close to the plants in my opinion. I would also ditch the wells in favor of a stake mounted fixture and do some seasonal or other smaller plantings to help conceal the lights. Not sure your par 25watt lamp is going to cut it especially if your not in the upper 11v range.

steveparrott
08-27-2010, 01:43 PM
I agree with Pro-Scapes, widen the bed, and replace wells with bullets if you can. This image is not a great example - I would position the bullets aiming between each bush (eliminating the hot spot). Using a narrow spot would add contrast to the scene.

klkanders
08-27-2010, 05:01 PM
Take the well lights out and save them for some other trees on your property. Make your beds more interesting in front of your arborvitae. Get some curves going and maybe add some plants and boulders (great for helping hide fixtures as well) for more interest. This will allow you to move your fixtures out farther for a more subdued light. Try a rectangular wall wash fixture on them spaced far enough apart to leave some shadowing in between.

Good Luck!

BrandonV
08-27-2010, 05:21 PM
also a heads up from a tree guy's perspective, need to thin those out. take out ever other one, when they start growing together they'll brown/die out where they touch leaving them weaker.

Pro-Scapes
08-27-2010, 07:03 PM
Take the well lights out and save them for some other trees on your property. Make your beds more interesting in front of your arborvitae. Get some curves going and maybe add some plants and boulders (great for helping hide fixtures as well) for more interest. This will allow you to move your fixtures out farther for a more subdued light. Try a rectangular wall wash fixture on them spaced far enough apart to leave some shadowing in between.

Good Luck!

wow what an original idea lol

Tomwilllight
08-27-2010, 08:33 PM
After deciding what you are going to light the next big question you should ask is "where can I locate my luminaires so they will have the longest effective throw that will achieve my design goals?"

Throw is the distance between the light source and what is lighted. The inverse-square law describes how quickly the intensity of the light is reduced as the light source is moved away from the object lighted.

This means that the decision to place the uplight BETWEEN the arborvitae automatically gives the light just a little more throw and can help the designer to avoid "hot spots".

Hot spots may appear on the part of any tree or shrub that is closest to the light, or that is located perpendicular to the beam. Hot spots are a problem created by too much light on too little area and/or the area is too reflective.

Steve's suggestion works because it lengthens the throw of the center beam and lessens the possibility of lighting a branch or leaf that reflects a maximum amount of light because of it's orientation.

Certainly, there are other ways to deal with this problem; you can use a lower wattage lamp, use a lens to defuse the light or use screen to lower intensity. But each of these are more complicated and take more time than just putting the light in the right place the first try.

In your case, I agree with both Pro-Scapes and Mr. Parrott, you should make the bed wider... you will have more throw and your lighting will look better.

Tom

Reference <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverse-square_law>

ckstou
08-27-2010, 09:33 PM
:)First Off, I want to thank you all for your advice. I just have a couple more questions.

1. What would you think would be the minimum distance between the fixture and the arbovitaes? I can widen the bed but not by much.

2. Should I use bullets with 20W 60 degree mr-16's or a wall wash type fixture?

3. BrandonV - are you sure about the arbovitaes? It took four years to finally get some privacy now I have to take some out. Does it make a difference that they are Nigra and not Emerald Green?:confused:

Thanks again to all of you

Chris

Tomwilllight
08-27-2010, 09:50 PM
#1 I don't know. Move them around until it looks good to you. This is lighting design... not auto mechanics.

#2 Try both bullet and wall wash if you can. It's not that great an investment. You may find there's a reason they're called "wall washers" and not arborvitae washers.

As for lamps... Try all you can. 20W 60, 20W 40 and spot. Find out what you like.

#3 Brandon is right, the crowding will eventually be a problem. I've had many clients accept the dead branches for privacy. Your call again.

Tom

Pro-Scapes
08-27-2010, 10:50 PM
You might be able to just thin out selected brances as needed.

There is an awful lot of turf in front of that bed so I see no reason you cant just bring the bed out 24 to 36 inches. It will be alot more appealing too with some smaller bedding plants in front of it.

klkanders
08-27-2010, 11:19 PM
You might be able to just thin out selected brances as needed.

There is an awful lot of turf in front of that bed so I see no reason you cant just bring the bed out 24 to 36 inches. It will be alot more appealing too with some smaller bedding plants in front of it.

Billy don't forget my boulders as well! :) I thought you would get a kick out of me going along with your idea. lol Still got that brown bed edger?

Poster:
If you don't mind me asking why can't you move the beds out? Do you have sprinkler heads along there? If so they can be relocated along the new bed lines.

Pro-Scapes
08-28-2010, 08:24 AM
Billy don't forget my boulders as well! :) I thought you would get a kick out of me going along with your idea. lol Still got that brown bed edger?

Poster:
If you don't mind me asking why can't you move the beds out? Do you have sprinkler heads along there? If so they can be relocated along the new bed lines.

Still got it altho the head is gone. I lent it to a friend and his crew decided it was capable of going thru 100 yr old oak roots.

Im a huge fan of using boulders. They look attractive. Give us a nice place to hide lights. Require the ocasional rainfall to wash them off and wont grow to block my lights!

ckstou
08-28-2010, 11:58 AM
Keith,

The reason I am reluctant to move the beds out too far is that I don't have that much room. I've posted a few pictues to show you. In the first picture, I have 17 feet of grass space between the trees and the walkway. In the next 2 pics you can see that there is only 6ft. between the trees and the shed.
Again thanks for everyones advice.:)

Chris

steveparrott
08-28-2010, 12:20 PM
I think you can work with the bed space you have. Just position bullets at the edge of the bed in line between the trees.

I don't like the idea of wide floods, instead keep the beam fairly narrow with the intention of leaving the front surface of the trees in relatively darkness. This provides a lot of contrast in the scene and better conveys a nighttime effect.

Here's an individual similar tree to show what I mean. (Design by John Garner, Southern Lights).

ckstou
08-28-2010, 04:19 PM
Thanks for your time Steve.

As a matter of fact, thats exactly the look I wanted. I think Brandon is right when he suggested that I trim the trees. I think that is part of the problem. I need a little space in between each tree. Are those bullets angled toward the tree? If so do you suggest two fixtures per tree?

Thanks,
Chris

Pro-Scapes
08-29-2010, 08:59 AM
Thanks for your time Steve.

As a matter of fact, thats exactly the look I wanted. I think Brandon is right when he suggested that I trim the trees. I think that is part of the problem. I need a little space in between each tree. Are those bullets angled toward the tree? If so do you suggest two fixtures per tree?

Thanks,
Chris

depending how you place them you could use 3 fixtures per 2 trees.

I would just eliminate that small cubby betweeen the shed and bed and plant an ornamental in there. Bring the rest out about 18 inches at least. It will not only give you room to reposition the lights as the arbs grow but also allow you some nice colorful plantings in there too.

klkanders
08-29-2010, 10:04 AM
depending how you place them you could use 3 fixtures per 2 trees.

I would just eliminate that small cubby betweeen the shed and bed and plant an ornamental in there. Bring the rest out about 18 inches at least. It will not only give you room to reposition the lights as the arbs grow but also allow you some nice colorful plantings in there too.

Billy is on it again. :) Choosing to light up a row like this will require many fixtures.

It must be a pain to mow around the shed and the walls. The landscaper in me suggests taking your bed line out and around the shed as well. I know you were not asking for landscape advice but there it is. :)
Good Luck!

steveparrott
08-30-2010, 10:33 AM
Thanks for your time Steve.
Are those bullets angled toward the tree? If so do you suggest two fixtures per tree?
Thanks,
Chris

Chris,

This tree had two bullets - one on either side, both positioned slightly towards the back. Of course, you don't have that option when the lights are positioned forward of the trees. That's why I suggest narrow spots (probably 20W, 12 degree) so you don't spill across the front center of the tree.

The Lighting Geek
08-30-2010, 11:23 AM
I am in agreement with Billy and Steve. I think you should should always design with lighting in mind and not adjust the placement of your fixtures to fit your landscape. I would extend the beds halfway to the sidewalk for these reasons: You need to add interest to the beds in front of the privacy screen and Keith mentioned. Any time you have the up lighting as everyone is proposing, you need to visually connect it to the ground or the plants will appear out of darkness. By increasing the bed size, you will soften the screen effect with shrubs and provide an opportunity for area lights (a path light with a 24-36" stem). Now with the proper plant material and soft down lighting(from the area lights), you can shift the visual use of the privacy screen to providing a back drop to your new bed. Consider a fountain or yard art if you will, to give the space purpose, and help to minimize the screen's visual importance. You have a sidewalk, why not remove all of the turf and make a nice simple garden with a fountain or something. You can add stepping stones to the shed. You will have nice daytime view and an even better view at night. Everyone seems to have turf up to a fence or privacy screen. Why night a light garden instead?

The Lighting Geek
08-30-2010, 01:22 PM
This is probably not what you want but it gives you an idea of what you could do with that space. These happen to be in an arc.