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starry night
04-15-2011, 10:01 PM
Ok fellas, I've been studying for about a month so far in preparation for adding landscape lighting to my business.
I've read a lot including manufacturers websites and the archives of this forum. My eyeballs are spinning in my head.:dizzy:

I've seen grazing and washing. It's torroidal cores and ampacity. Color binning and lumen degradation. It's about constant current drivers and galvanic corrosion. And there's RGB, AOLP, CLVLT and .........OMG.......

Wouldn't it be easier to go Lowe's and a get a few Malibu's.?

The Lighting Geek
04-15-2011, 10:58 PM
On the outside it seems easier than it really is. Many people believe that great landscape lighting is simple and easy. It is and it isn't, as you have been finding out. Hang in there, it will all make sense one day, grasshopper. :)

You should also check out AOLP.

starry night
04-15-2011, 11:27 PM
On the outside it seems easier than it really is. Many people believe that great landscape lighting is simple and easy. It is and it isn't, as you have been finding out. Hang in there, it will all make sense one day, grasshopper. :)

You should also check out AOLP.

I should have put in a couple :laugh: :laugh:
I was only being half-serious. Yes, there is much to learn and I'm enjoying the challenge. After, I learn the technical side, I am looking forward to using one of my assets, my natural eye for good design.

Thanks Tommy.

David Gretzmier
04-15-2011, 11:52 PM
what most folks won't tell you is how much better you will get with time if you care. I look back at the jobs I did a decade or two ago, and I can't believe I did that. even 5 years ago, I was still learning alot. The trees I uplit 5 years ago don't look near as good as the ones I do now. when I rebulb many now, I find myself moving fixtures to correct things I did wrong. I will also confess, even after all these years, I still can't seem to get moonlighting right, but I still try from time to time. perhaps in another decade or two I'll have that nailed down.

The goal should be to make every job better than the last.

starry night
04-16-2011, 09:07 AM
Thanks for your comments David. I know what you are saying. I feel the same way about some of the landscape design I did years ago. While it was not bad, it was not nearly as sophisticated as I can do now.

I'm really excited about the prospects of lighting in my market because there are many upscale homes, including a resort area, but lighting is untapped.

bcg
04-16-2011, 09:26 AM
I will also confess, even after all these years, I still can't seem to get moonlighting right, but I still try from time to time. perhaps in another decade or two I'll have that nailed down.

David, what is it you struggle with here?

jlouki01
04-16-2011, 06:22 PM
Anyone can string some lights together power the transformer on and out will come light.

My learning curve has constantly been new installation techniques. Finding creative ways to hide and install fixtures.

You can learn how to wire stuff up in a book or at a 35.00 Vista class at your local JDL. It's the "oh shoot did I just drill that hole there?" stuff that will improve what you are doing.

It's an easy addition on the outside but if you are going to be good at it you will almost need to drop other stuff to focus on lighting.

starry night
04-16-2011, 07:11 PM
Actually that is my plan: to focus on lighting. (Although, I see YOU do much more,)

NightScenes
04-16-2011, 08:23 PM
Once you get the basics, it's trial and error time. Do yourself a favor and get a bunch of lights. Bullets, washes and others and just play with them at night. You'll soon see what it takes to get the effects you want in your designs.

Best of luck to you,

starry night
04-16-2011, 09:40 PM
Thanks for the tip. That sounds like a great idea for learning what effects one can create with various fixtures and lamps.


(I have to get a new avatar. You lighting guys are too sophisticated for Alfred E. Neuman.)

David Gretzmier
04-17-2011, 10:52 PM
as far as moonlighting, I can't seem to make it look good. the glare, the trees, the only success I have is downlighting fountains,statues, arbors, swings, or water features directly under tree branches. when I put fixtures in trees just for trees or lighting paths, and aim them down, it never looks good to me. I see photos where it can look good, but mine never look like that . maybe from one angle, but for me, the glare seems everywhere even with hex louvers.

I worsen my learning curve by shying away from these projects because I have had so little success doing it. I tend to push uplighting because I do that well and have confidence in my abilities there.

ajslands
04-17-2011, 11:09 PM
So since weare on the topic of learning and such,
how is pond lighting done?
I've always been told not to poke a hole in the liner. I've also been told water and electricity don't mix.
But I don't wires coming out of the water.
So what is the best way to do this?

Also for tree lighting (downward lights) how do you wire up the tree and actaully conceal the wire.

As you can see, I'm still novice and only being 18 I think that's normal (I hope so)
so since we're semi on topic- could someone please assist me.
Thanks
-A.J.
Posted via Mobile Device

bcg
04-18-2011, 12:08 AM
as far as moonlighting, I can't seem to make it look good. the glare, the trees, the only success I have is downlighting fountains,statues, arbors, swings, or water features directly under tree branches. when I put fixtures in trees just for trees or lighting paths, and aim them down, it never looks good to me. I see photos where it can look good, but mine never look like that . maybe from one angle, but for me, the glare seems everywhere even with hex louvers.

I worsen my learning curve by shying away from these projects because I have had so little success doing it. I tend to push uplighting because I do that well and have confidence in my abilities there.

How high are you mounting your fixtures? What fixtures are you using? What about cowls? What kind of trees?

I love to moonlight, I love the effect so I'm trying to see if maybe there's something that we can suggest to help you get the effect you're after. I mount my downlights at least 25' up in the tree, sometimes 30' - 35'. Most of the work I've done either from a lift or a 32' extension ladder, sometimes I have to get the climbing gear out to get where I want to. I've found it super important to get them high enough that you can get at least a 45* angle on them and to use the longest cowl you can get. I've done a lot of it with the Kichler LED fixtures with the long cowl but because it's only on 1 side, I still have some glare issues from some positions, getting them higher usually helps. The Cast downlights are awesome for cutting glare and I've also used some Unique fixtures with an add on cowl that works pretty well.

bcg
04-18-2011, 12:11 AM
So since weare on the topic of learning and such,
how is pond lighting done?
I've always been told not to poke a hole in the liner. I've also been told water and electricity don't mix.
But I don't wires coming out of the water.
So what is the best way to do this?

Also for tree lighting (downward lights) how do you wire up the tree and actaully conceal the wire.

As you can see, I'm still novice and only being 18 I think that's normal (I hope so)
so since we're semi on topic- could someone please assist me.
Thanks
-A.J.
Posted via Mobile Device

Use fixtures that are meant to be in water, they'll have longer leads so you can make your splices in a dry place. There's got to be a hole somewhere for the pump wiring, this is where you want to come in. If you have to make a splice in the water, use a waterproof heatshrink connection or an epoxy pack.

I use stainless screws and black zip ties to mount my wire to trees. Leave a little slack on the screw so the zip tie isn't tight against the tree and water can drain/dry out. You can't hid it completely but if you put it on the "back" side of the tree, it won't be noticeable.

David Gretzmier
04-18-2011, 08:48 PM
I have never punctured a liner to do a pond or waterfall light. I lift and hide the wires under existing rocks. but to each his own.

I have gone up trees using anywhere from a 22 foot to 40 foot ladder and done tons of climbing. and I have used the longer shields. In the end, the result has always been just ok, but the glare is terrible. the higher you go, the greater angle I can see the source. it only really works for me when there is a clear distinct path under the tree, that I know folks won't be seeing the downlight coming or going.

The clients have always been happy, but I see pictures of other folks that do this, James in particular, and the effect is awesome.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-19-2011, 01:21 AM
For those of you with a passion for tree mounted downlighting (moonlighting) I have some 'inside information' from a very reliable source... There will soon be a completely new fixture on the market, designed specifically for mounting in trees and downlighting effectively. This new German engineered, German manufactured, machined brass, stainless hardwared, tool-less design, IP68 rated, cULus listed fixture is simply 'da bomb'. It will truly be the architectural/specification grade tree mounted downlight that we have all been waiting for.

I can't wait to be able to start installing them.

ajslands
04-19-2011, 01:39 AM
Next question:
is foot candles still a common measurement?
Posted via Mobile Device

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-19-2011, 03:12 AM
Next question:
is foot candles still a common measurement?
Posted via Mobile Device

Answer: Yes.

steveparrott
04-19-2011, 05:19 PM
So since weare on the topic of learning and such,
how is pond lighting done?
I've always been told not to poke a hole in the liner. I've also been told water and electricity don't mix.
But I don't wires coming out of the water.
So what is the best way to do this?

Also for tree lighting (downward lights) how do you wire up the tree and actaully conceal the wire.

As you can see, I'm still novice and only being 18 I think that's normal (I hope so)
so since we're semi on topic- could someone please assist me.
Thanks
-A.J.
Posted via Mobile Device

I think you'll like this article on moonlighting (http://www.cast-lighting.com/learning/articles/3_article_Landscape-Lighting-Imitates-Nature).

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-19-2011, 06:21 PM
I think you'll like this article on moonlighting (http://www.cast-lighting.com/learning/articles/3_article_Landscape-Lighting-Imitates-Nature).

That is a really well done piece Steve. A great asset for anyone who is doing 'moonlighting'.

Thanks.

benjammin
04-21-2011, 12:38 PM
That is a really well done piece Steve. A great asset for anyone who is doing 'moonlighting'.

Thanks.

+1
Thanks again.

Tomwilllight
04-26-2011, 03:52 PM
as far as moonlighting, I can't seem to make it look good. the glare, the trees, the only success I have is downlighting fountains,statues, arbors, swings, or water features directly under tree branches. when I put fixtures in trees just for trees or lighting paths, and aim them down, it never looks good to me. I see photos where it can look good, but mine never look like that. maybe from one angle, but for me, the glare seems everywhere even with hex louvers.

Downlighting from a tree is a gigantic 3-D puzzle that must be solved to be effective. Every tree is another puzzle. Some trees are more "generous" and offer more places to hide your luminaires. I'm going to try to break this very complex process into reasonable chunks.

A few suggestions for downlighting:

Decide which direction needs the MOST protection from shroud brightness and glare. Then determine if there is a direction where you can direct your shroud brightness without concern. (Most likely not... unless your are very lucky)

Is it possible to light one tree by hanging a light in an adjacent tree? This can be very useful in a stand of trees.

Place your fixture carefully: you need a good branch with enough room below, free of limbs and foliage, to allow the light to spread out and soften some. You will often have to do some pruning to make this happen. (Moonlighting is beautiful but don't try to moonlight through any near by foliage.)

I ALMOST NEVER MOUNT DIRECTLY TO THE TRUNK. You'll have to lift the front of the luminaire high to avoid a hot spot right below the lens. Think ANGRY light for the 1st 3 or 4 feet out from the front of the lens.

Try to mount your luminaire on the "shoulder" of the limb. This will ease your shielding problems as the branch will block the view of the inside of the shroud for almost 180 degrees. Keep "angry" spill entirely off the branch. A fixture with a side-mounted knuckle will help a lot. I usually use the Vision 3 FL11. If I'm really lucky there will be a usable smaller branch on my larger branch that is sticking up. Then both branches help with shielding.

Don't try to "reach out" too far - you will only compound your glare problems. I like to point straight down or angle back in toward the trunk a bit. I reach out only if I'm certain there is no possibility of glare for the neighbors.

Don't try to light the entire trunk below - only the bottom half. You'll use uplight to do the top half and to soften any too warm/angry spots.

Do pick some foliage (sufficiently distant from your luminaire) to downlight through for that lovely "moonlight" effect. Plan to uplight the nearby foliage to soften the downlight brightness in the canopy.

You don't have to light the entire tree. I often use partially lighted trees to "fame" a scene. Mystery should always be part of your design.

The best situation is for the Designer to employ an arborist who "gets it" and will mount the lights for the Designer at night. That's when it gets to be real fun.

Hope this helps. Questions?

Tom

NightScenes
04-27-2011, 10:36 AM
Well done Tom, thanks.

Tomwilllight
04-27-2011, 02:31 PM
I think you'll like this article on moonlighting (http://www.cast-lighting.com/learning/articles/3_article_Landscape-Lighting-Imitates-Nature).

This is a very well written article on MoonLighting with excellent photographs and illustrations. It's certainly worth study. Steve and I may disagree on a couple of particulars... but hey, that's the real world.

Tom

emby
04-27-2011, 05:35 PM
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emby
04-27-2011, 05:37 PM
What another awesome description of describing that technique.
Many thanks Tom for sharing with all of us

Ken
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The YardSlayer
05-29-2011, 11:01 PM
The best thing you can do is get hooked up with Unique Lighting Systems. They far surpass all others in landscape lighting products and support. They will help you along the way and are THE BEST hands down. I am sure i will get a few responses from this reply but i invite them. Bring it!! :cool2:

starry night
05-30-2011, 12:32 AM
The best thing you can do is get hooked up with Unique Lighting Systems. They far surpass all others in landscape lighting products and support. They will help you along the way and are THE BEST hands down. I am sure i will get a few responses from this reply but i invite them. Bring it!! :cool2:

You own stock or somethin' ? Oh wait,,,,,didn't they get sold to Toro? That's it; you own Toro stock.

The YardSlayer
05-30-2011, 12:42 AM
You own stock or somethin' ? Oh wait,,,,,didn't they get sold to Toro? That's it; you own Toro stock.

Thats all you got???? Toro bought them. Explain how that makes them NOT THE BEST.. Try again
Posted via Mobile Device

The YardSlayer
05-30-2011, 12:43 AM
Posted via Mobile Device

The YardSlayer
05-30-2011, 12:45 AM
I posted that to help you out and thats how you show your appreciation??
Posted via Mobile Device

starry night
05-30-2011, 09:13 AM
Thats all you got???? Toro bought them. Explain how that makes them NOT THE BEST.. Try again
Posted via Mobile Device

I'm new on this forum, yardslayer. Haven't seen you post during the time I've been on here. I wasn't disputing anything. I only have my learner's permit.

Lite4
05-30-2011, 09:17 AM
Thats all you got???? Toro bought them. Explain how that makes them NOT THE BEST.. Try again
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Funny, I used to make this same stance. Until I finally realized there are a lot of really good manufacturers making great equipment. Except for a few specialty fixtures it's mostly personal preference on which brand you are loyal too.
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indylights
05-30-2011, 09:49 AM
I agree with Tim. I have engaged in some pretty long debates over the merits of various distributors and manufacturers, and I have come to realize it's a pretty pointless discussion. Guys are going to use what they want to use and that's their decision. I do find it funny though, how someone who has never posted on the lighting board comes over and his first three posts in three separate threads are about how great a certain line is regardless of what the thread is about.

Steve, on point, that is a great article on moonlighting. Very well done.

Scott Maloney
Sunflower Landscapes

The YardSlayer
05-30-2011, 10:48 AM
Indylights theirs nothing funny about it. The man said his head was going to explode over all the information. Im sure we all felt that way at some point. So in my case my horizon distributor laid it out on the table and said Vista or Unique. I vent with Unique and they have been great. The facts are that as far as quality of fixtures,transformers,hubs,wire,support,education,design,etc no one beats Unique. He asked for help and i gave my opinion just like everyone else.