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Old 01-10-2006, 07:16 PM
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Design

I have been getting plenty of questions about fixtures, but no one has asked anything about design. You can install the best fixtures in the world but if your design is bad, you still don't have a quality landscape lighting system.

The first thing I look at is safety. I want to make sure that I cast some light on any drop-offs, like steps. Any grade changes should be illuminated so the client can move about safely at night. I also like to make sure that I light the walkways. I do this in many ways. Usually I will place fixtures high in tall trees and let that light filter through the limbs and branches. This is a great effect. Moonlighting, as it is called, will bathe a pathway and surrounding area with a very soft light. With this design eliment, we are trying to mimick a full moon. The one thing that must be avoided is the runway look. This is when people line the fixtures along a walkway. This is just ugly!!!

OK, got to go to the dinner table now, I'll get back to this later.
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2006, 10:57 PM
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yeah i agree the runway effect is ugly!!!!! what is a good light for moonlighting i have two sawtooth oaks i want to light for a design i'm doing for a customer i was going to just uplight them but i think the moonlighting will look even better how many lights do you put in the tree just one what is a good wattage etc... thanks
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Old 01-16-2006, 07:46 AM
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It all depends on how much area I am trying to cover. I use the Kichler 15087fixture with a 20 watt, 60 degree MR16 lamp. I rarely use lamps above 20 watts. If I am uplighting a large tree I might use a 35 watt and even on very rare occasion, a 50 watt, though the tree would have to be very large and tall. The trick is to get the light as high as you can in the tree. How tall are these sawtooth oaks?
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Old 01-16-2006, 06:22 PM
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they are aprox. 30'-35' tall btw this job is about 40 miles from the coast should i reconsider using aluminum and use brass or somethingelse
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Old 01-16-2006, 06:34 PM
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I would use brass only, when you are that close to the coast. Most quality manufacturers have brass fixtures available. If you look in their catalog, it will tell you what it is made from.
As for the tree, I would use a 35 watt MR16 with a 36 degree beam.
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Old 01-16-2006, 07:54 PM
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thanks paul for all the help!!
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:11 PM
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No problemo.

Here is something that every design should take into account. Light colors reflect light and darker colors absorb light.

This means, that if your walkway, driveway or wall is red brick or even a darker color, you are going to require a higher wattage lamp to acheve your desired result. A 20 watt lamp is going to look much brighter on a concrete sidewalk than it will on a red brick facad of a home.

Just something to think about.
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:29 PM
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o.k. my grandmother is going to let me design and install a system for her. here is the catch she has a white brick home with black shutters maybe use 10 watt what do you think? thanks
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Old 01-16-2006, 11:04 PM
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20 watt will probably be good. You would need 35 watt if it were a dark color.
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  #10  
Old 01-16-2006, 11:13 PM
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Paul,

Kudos you know your stuff. I am going to try that moonlight effect on a new customer that is looking to put some light on their driveway. He asked about pathway lights and I flat out told him no because I am working on a highend home and not a runway. I mentioned a lamp post because of the situation where there are no streetlights and the home is a least 100' off the road and he wants lights by the end of the drive. What would you do, Paul. I can email a pic of the home. We are heading there tomorrow to install the front foundation and pathway lights going to the home (18 lights total.) Look at escortlighting.com it is a small mom and pop company that offer some really nice pathway lights. They are kind of $$$ but you can sign-up to be a vendor. No $$ envolved.
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