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volito
05-03-2011, 10:58 AM
I understand this is a touchy subject for a lot of people "do to the fact it's a means for making a living". I am a lifetime DIY at an early age of 45. I been this way all my life and learned many things along the way etc "Fix computers, make web-pages, train dogs, entertainment centres" to list a few. I also belong to a few forums and contribute whenever I can.

This is what brings me to this forum as I been reading on outdoor lighting. I am about to set up a system for my home and figured I post what I am doing and maybe get some ideas or criticism about my project. I believe I got enough knowledge to go ahead and come out with a nice system. I understand a lot of people don't like to give there knowledge and I FULLY respect that! I just figured I give it a go!

Any way I am just going to tackle the front of the house because rear is another whole project in the future....

I was thinking of doing three zones to keep voltage problems to a minimum.

zone one I'll call front of house- was thinking off putting 5 well lights not 100% sure specific placement yet" point up at walls..

two spot lights pointing up at the the "circle" points to detail the roof architect a bit"

Ill leave it at this for know to see if I am heading in right direction and I need more pics.....

emby
05-03-2011, 03:02 PM
Illuminate all that beautiful forest area. Looking at your picture you would see the entire outline of your residence with the top parts of the forest lit. It would also provide some lluimination in your back yard. Kill to birds with one stone.Ensure to use different beam spreads and wattages to create some contrast and depth.
Light the front door and provide some light along your path to lead your guests safely to the front entrance too.
Just my 2 cents.

Ken

drewguy
05-03-2011, 03:42 PM
I personally prefer lights on the landscape to the house, and you have some nice plantings to work with -- the weeping cherry (?) to the left, the ornamental grass in the middle, and the whole area on the front right that could create nice views from inside the house.

volito
05-03-2011, 03:58 PM
Posted via Mobile Device

Thanks for the quick replies. Interesting on the background trees. House is located in a four season location so haven't thought that far yet as they are still doormant shrubs and trees. There is also a big bed to the left and anice med tree in front but have to get more pics. I guess as ling as I keep debt and it would look fine correct.

volito
05-03-2011, 04:11 PM
Posted via Mobile Device

Thanks for the quick replies. Interesting on the background trees. House is located in a four season location so haven't thought that far yet as they are still doormant shrubs and trees. There is also a big bed to the left and anice med tree in front but have to get more pics. I guess as long as I keep depth and different beams and wattage it would look fine correct.
Posted via Mobile Device

volito
05-03-2011, 10:39 PM
some more pics still need pic off other side and tree on right ...

volito
05-04-2011, 11:35 AM
ok I decided to break into the business and use my house as a example. Been on this forum for a while reading many many post and learning my way around and picking up good tips. Going to purchase different fixtures and lamps and get some hands on with the above house "nice big project to experiment with :)"

The technical part is pretty much downs as a DIY been into many fields... Of course studying every day to learn more on lighting.

Thanks for any advice that was given - awesome sight

This house I purchased is in an area where landscaping lighting is a must and from the looks of it seems nobody is getting professional help :0 so I figure I learn and see what happens.

benjammin
05-04-2011, 01:03 PM
Are the existing path lights just crappy solar ones?
House and landscaping looks good and should be a fun project making it look great.

volito
05-04-2011, 01:34 PM
Yes solar one came with house. Ya nice project still researching and studying. Also looki g where to get supplies. A lot of landscaping biy in photos yet and huge yard.
Posted via Mobile Device

volito
05-04-2011, 06:05 PM
I know a lot said stay away from big chain stores and I agree! there landscaping ligjts are horrible. On the other hand just noticed they carry a company called Hinkley thoughts "decent. Crappy. Good"? " think I seen it mentioned somewhere in the 100's of threads"
Bit pricey and up there with companies recommended and used by members here.

Thanks.
Posted via Mobile Device

David Gretzmier
05-04-2011, 08:53 PM
I think it is fine for DIY guys to ask on here, but often times they don't take direction very well. but I will try. To start, I only use mr-16 well lights in turf. in beds, it makes more sense to use mr-16 type uplights on stakes. to make the house look good, for me, I count 11 uplights next to windows and 3 gutter mounts to cover the whole house. you can use less, but you will have obvious dark spots. the ornamental trees will respond well to uplighting, and I do think you could use wall washers on some of the grasses, but lighting grasses is pretty tricky.

You won't need path lights on the sidewalk if you light the house properly, as the reflected light will provide plenty of ambient light to see. but maybe you could use paths on the driveway beds if you need to walk and get the paper or mail in the evening.

If you truly want to give your self freedom to make your property look awesome, I would purchase a 1200w 12-22 trans and mount it on the side of the home to be able to do the front and back with one trans with room to put dozens of fixtures.

volito
05-04-2011, 09:26 PM
Awesome thanks 11 across front of house next to windows just play with placement till they look right correct? Not sure where gutter mounts will be placed? I appreciate ur input and will definitely get one big transformer or 3 small ones to cut down on distance.

I also have to add more pics off the other 2 beds way upfront.

Thanks again.
Posted via Mobile Device

Lite4
05-05-2011, 07:10 AM
I see 12 uplights on the house. Not MR16 though, the beam spread and hot spots are too harsh, even with lensing, especially on white walls. I still prefer the good ol Par 36 VWFL on architecture with a soft diffusing lense. Call me old school, but it works. I use the MRs everywhere else though.

starry night
05-05-2011, 08:02 AM
This is merely a question, not a challenge: Why do you guys believe that every blank space on the front wall needs a spotlight?

steveparrott
05-05-2011, 09:00 AM
Here's a rough mock-up, best to project the MR-16's through some foliage to make the house illumination more interesting (couldn't show that in the rendering too easily). Also, if it's in the budget uplight the trees in the backyard to provide an illuminated bacdrop for the house. A tree light from the right lights the garden bed. Other path lights (not shone in the rendering) would highlight the paths and planting beds near the house. Also a light mounted on the roof to the left to hit the top peak.

volito
05-05-2011, 11:31 AM
wow thanks you all for your help!

I can see what firefly is saying about the beam being harsh looks kind like a broadway play. Maybe with lower wattage bulb will tone it down a bit.

Thanks steve for the great pic awesome software wish i had that to test different scenarios would make this much easier. Looks great love the trees in background. My worry is I need to think this thru so everything will look just as good in winter when trees and shrubs are empty.

I am not worried about blank spots that much... guess I am looking for a soft look and balance and depth as most of you talk about....

I appropriate all the advice given and especially the picture. I will concentrate on house and background tree for now until I upload more pics as there is more to the right bed and on on the left not shown.


One question before I go the two bulbs suggested above will they fit in any spot. I ask this because picking a fixture is another whole story. I will love to pick all fixtures and be ale to swap out bulbs to get the right balance and depth "hope I make sense"

volito
05-05-2011, 12:46 PM
here is a few more pics...still not front beds :(

David Gretzmier
05-05-2011, 02:29 PM
I hate the warranty isues with par36's. even with the new "helogen" I am still changeing them at 3x the rate of mr's. I do agree the spread is better and softer, but I pull back the mr's and all folks seem happy with it.

Lite4
05-05-2011, 06:34 PM
I hate the warranty isues with par36's. even with the new "helogen" I am still changeing them at 3x the rate of mr's. I do agree the spread is better and softer, but I pull back the mr's and all folks seem happy with it.

David, what brand of PAR have you been using? I am just curious, my pars way outlast my MRs. I have been replacing more MR16s (not too many anyway within the year warranty period). I just rarely have any issues with the PAR. Maybe I have just been lucky with the GEs and the fact I have probably a 3/1 ratio of MRs to Pars.

volito
05-05-2011, 08:32 PM
I know a lot said stay away from big chain stores and I agree! there landscaping ligjts are horrible. On the other hand just noticed they carry a company called Hinkley thoughts "decent. Crappy. Good"? " think I seen it mentioned somewhere in the 100's of threads"
Bit pricey and up there with companies recommended and used by members here.

Thanks.

Posted via Mobile Device

So far can get my hands on hinkley and advantage any thoughts :)

Also see manufactors only deal with companies but I need something to start and learn with :)
Posted via Mobile Device

Lite4
05-06-2011, 09:03 AM
So far can get my hands on hinkley and advantage any thoughts :)

Also see manufactors only deal with companies but I need something to start and learn with :)
Posted via Mobile Device

Talk to Alan at Landscape lighting World. They are a sponser here and have the big clickable icon just above this dialog box. Pretty good equipment and prices. Better than Hinkley in my opinion.

volito
05-06-2011, 09:40 AM
Talk to Alan at Landscape lighting World. They are a sponser here and have the big clickable icon just above this dialog box. Pretty good equipment and prices. Better than Hinkley in my opinion.

thanks tried that a few days ago via email with a few other top brands. Just don't get replies...tough to break in as with any business...Guess I can start with decent quality and switch over as doors open...

Thanks again for your time

volito
05-06-2011, 09:56 AM
I think it is fine for DIY guys to ask on here, but often times they don't take direction very well. but I will try. To start, I only use mr-16 well lights in turf. in beds, it makes more sense to use mr-16 type uplights on stakes. to make the house look good, for me, I count 11 uplights next to windows and 3 gutter mounts to cover the whole house. you can use less, but you will have obvious dark spots. the ornamental trees will respond well to uplighting, and I do think you could use wall washers on some of the grasses, but lighting grasses is pretty tricky.

You won't need path lights on the sidewalk if you light the house properly, as the reflected light will provide plenty of ambient light to see. but maybe you could use paths on the driveway beds if you need to walk and get the paper or mail in the evening.

If you truly want to give your self freedom to make your property look awesome, I would purchase a 1200w 12-22 trans and mount it on the side of the home to be able to do the front and back with one trans with room to put dozens of fixtures.

ok still researching, reading and studying...
question think it is best to go with one large trans or 2 or 3 small to cut down on distance? there is power on both side and in middle of home. I was thinking use sides for driveway and two beds on either side of street and middle for house and front bed....
Just to not worry about any voltage drop or distance issues.

Thanks again everyone for input. Hope I can return the favour one day....

drewguy
05-06-2011, 10:08 AM
3 transformers will give you more flexibility in terms of switching--say you decide you don't want the light on in back because kids are sleeping but want to leave front on, or path.

volito
05-06-2011, 12:16 PM
just curious gutter mount! where? and link to example?

thanks

niteliters
05-06-2011, 12:47 PM
This is merely a question, not a challenge: Why do you guys believe that every blank space on the front wall needs a spotlight?

agreed, I have spent some time in that rut :)

emby
05-06-2011, 01:04 PM
100 percent agree with you on not illuminating the residence. My only suggestion is this: Simply take a few of those 400 watt halogen work lights (you know the ones on the yellow or red tri-pods) and stand them up at the edge of the forest and aim them up onto the canopies of the large trees. Then go out to the front of the house and observe. This will provide you with a small glimpse of what can be done by focusing your design onto those wonderful group of trees that are essentially the back drop to your canvas.
Just my 2 cents

Ken

volito
05-06-2011, 01:19 PM
Not illuminating as in all spots :)

Going to experiment with trees.
Posted via Mobile Device

volito
05-07-2011, 06:53 AM
sorry some more questions....

is it ok to over size wire just as a precaution on lengths?

LED fixture is totally different then halogen?or can you just use an led bulb and swap?

what are different ways to dim bulbs if you want different looks?voltage drops?changing for lower wattage?

thanks again!

starry night
05-07-2011, 08:55 AM
I just looked at the website you have in your signature. Do you live in this home?

M&S_Lawncare
05-07-2011, 10:37 AM
I just looked at the website you have in your signature. Do you live in this home?

I would say he owns it and had a "professional" out for a lighting estimate and was shocked at the cost so he wants to be A diy'r !!!

I would seriously look into having this project done by a licensed professional as he will have to warranty and guarantee his work..

volito
05-07-2011, 11:33 AM
I would say he owns it and had a "professional" out for a lighting estimate and was shocked at the cost so he wants to be A diy'r !!!

I would seriously look into having this project done by a licensed professional as he will have to warranty and guarantee his work..


LOL not even going to go there yes I own the house it is a second home ! and no didn't get scared from a contractors price..as far as I can tell you don't even need a license to do low voltage wiring......


anyways been a DIY my whole life and made those websites you see in my signature being a DIYer....and repair build computers.....renovated my first home form beams up...electrical, tiling, plumbing,brick work from being a DIYer.. And guarantee if I wanted to do this project and start a business i'll have it done in less then a month "project' and a professional website" and Low voltage certificate form manufacturers or wherever you get it.

Did I mention my digital electronic degree..

Now that we got my resume out of the way and we where introduced. If you ever need my assistance I would be glad to help you instead of getting insulted about a DIYer.....

I also believe product comes with lifetime guarantee or 15 yr..So what is he going to guarantee the wire and connection he is going to lay...

I believe what the other guys say stick with it is an ART forget the labor and technical stuff......I can show you a few technical things.....

sorry forum had to vent

volito
05-07-2011, 11:49 AM
I just looked at the website you have in your signature. Do you live in this home?

Its a second home use it on weekends and whenever I can get away from city. The website I made for renting weeks as it is a popular vacation place up eastern PA...
The other is another DIYer project ;)


Run many businesses :) as a DIY

emby
05-07-2011, 09:50 PM
Hey Vincent,

Back forest area: Run 120v out straight back from house to the edge of forest area. Mount/ bury transformer vault.

Transformers: Q-Tran : Q-VAULT-5
Q-BAG
Q-SET-900-120/12-3X25

In Ground/Well Fixtures : Vision 3 : IG1B-AGED-STP-0-0-0-H1
Every 10- 15 feet along the perimeter under drip line of trees in sod area.

Up lighting: Vision 3 : FL1B-AGED-C4-K1-0-L2-0-H1
These can go into the forest floor to up-light the trunks and lower foilage. You will require lots. Use various beam spreads such as Narrow spots, narrow floods, and some floods.

By running 120v out to the transformers you will eliminate the need to purchase larger landscape wire. For control now you will have the opportunity to integrate the landscape lighting system into your home automation.

A budget of $15,000- $20,000 should allow you to complete a wonderful scene for your property.

Have fun and be creative with your light source. Landscape lighting is very cool.

Oh and if you would like someone to come to site to give you a hand I would be more than willing for a reasonable fee of course.

Ken

starry night
05-08-2011, 08:22 AM
Yeh, yeh, Ken. LLI, AOLP, LO? I bet you got those from some manufacturer.
Maybe Campbell soup.

David Gretzmier
05-08-2011, 09:53 AM
ah, I think my first post sums up what I would do on the house. as far as why you illuminate the residence properly first and foremost, and go all the way across, I have always chosen to highlight the hard surfaces on a home to completely eliminate dark areas for thieves to break in the home. while I love the art of this business and love to illuminate trees and create shadow and all that, If I leave a home vulnerable to thieves I have failed, period. The thing any lighting person should do is make the home secure first ( entry points), then safe ( walkway and especially walkway elevation changes, ), use ( ambient/deck and entertainment lighting ) and only then should art come into play.

I have never had a home robbed at night that I have lit, and If I do in the future, I know that I did everything I could do to scare the bad guy off.

If people fall and I did not advise them to light steps or walkways, I have failed.

If people cannot use thier outdoor space to have a conversation with friends or grill because I did it improperly, I have failed.

I see too many homes that try to make trees and statues look good and do not address the above areas first. If the homeowner chooses to do that, fine, it is thier money and thier liability, but it is always supposed to be our job as lighting professionals to tell folks that art should be the last priority, not the first.

emby
05-08-2011, 01:20 PM
Lets try to remember that we are all here to learn and share experiences. We all have different methods of lilluminating but this forum should be a positive experience not one of negativity. Play nice in the sandbox.

Ken

David Gretzmier
05-08-2011, 03:34 PM
*trucewhiteflag*

I'm all about there being different methods. as long as the priorities are kept straight, as in every lighting book I have ever read has prioritized it, we are all fine here. I hope we agree that there are right and wrong ways to do things.

but I agree there are different right ways of doing things. I think everyone always thinks that their right way is the rightest. :)

emby
05-08-2011, 04:22 PM
Everything is ok here David. I totaly agree with the priorities you stated. I always look at this forum as a path to learning and sharing and most of all having fun shooting the breeze about landscape lighting !!!:canadaflag:

Kenjamin

volito
05-08-2011, 04:47 PM
Talk to Alan at Landscape lighting World. They are a sponser here and have the big clickable icon just above this dialog box. Pretty good equipment and prices. Better than Hinkley in my opinion.

Thanks went with them !

S&MLL
05-08-2011, 08:56 PM
Thanks went with them !

Wouldnt mind a nice weekend get away at your house. PM me a price for friday-sun mid june. Thanks (dont forget the lawnsite discount)

volito
05-09-2011, 09:27 AM
Wouldnt mind a nice weekend get away at your house. PM me a price for friday-sun mid june. Thanks (dont forget the lawnsite discount)

NP Keep in touch- let me know when!

just mention lawnsite and I'll definitely remember and take care off you.....

Big project going to do it little bit at a time in zones....Have a big backyard project in between....

Thanks again for the help!

niteliters
05-09-2011, 08:58 PM
100 percent agree with you on not illuminating the residence. My only suggestion is this: Simply take a few of those 400 watt halogen work lights (you know the ones on the yellow or red tri-pods) and stand them up at the edge of the forest and aim them up onto the canopies of the large trees. Then go out to the front of the house and observe. This will provide you with a small glimpse of what can be done by focusing your design onto those wonderful group of trees that are essentially the back drop to your canvas.
Just my 2 cents

Ken

nice 2 cents Ken :clapping:

volito
08-27-2011, 09:03 AM
Thanks went with them !

Ok been months and figure I come back and give my review of "Landscape Lighting World"

I agree with some other members that said "I like to post good reviews! as most only do bad ones"
and "This company is great and product is way better than any local chain store product"

Just wanted to come back and say there customer service is outstanding and the products are way above the quality your going to get in any local chain store. For any DIY's here for the extra pennies trust me it is well worth it.

This product will last way longer than anything your going to get at your local store and the company stands behind there product no questions asked!


Thanks Landscape Lighting World! great job helping the little guy and DIY's with outstanding customer service and product


Look forward to doing business in the near future!