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Old 03-21-2014, 01:55 AM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Lighting Design Dilemma

So here's a dilemma I often have: I'm lighting up a newly planted tree. Let's say it's an 8' tall and 5' wide 'Coral Bark' Japanese Maple. It's 8' x 5' now. So I could use a fixture with a low intensity and a 35 degree beam spread on it and it would illuminate it just perfect for now. My problem with this first scenario is it won't be illuminated properly in 5 years.

In 5 years or so I know that tree will be more like 15' tall and 12' wide. So if I were going to plan for growth, I'd install a fixture with medium intensity and a 60 degree beam spread. The problem with this second scenario is that it will be too hot / too bright to start off with. Too intense for the small, young tree - for the next few years.

Now this is a dilemma that is more unique to those of us who install fixtures without replaceable lamps. Obviously, if I'm using a fixture with a replaceable lamp, this isn't a problem. You would just change the lamp in a few years. But assuming you're using fixtures with a fully potted lamp that can't be changed out. Would you install the fixture that will look best NOW? Or the one that will look best LONG TERM?

I've always figured you illuminate for what is there NOW. And you can always talk to the client about upgrading in 5 years, if the relationship is still there. But I'm curious what you all would do when faced with this dilemma.
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Old 03-21-2014, 07:16 AM
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Lite4 Lite4 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post
So here's a dilemma I often have: I'm lighting up a newly planted tree. Let's say it's an 8' tall and 5' wide 'Coral Bark' Japanese Maple. It's 8' x 5' now. So I could use a fixture with a low intensity and a 35 degree beam spread on it and it would illuminate it just perfect for now. My problem with this first scenario is it won't be illuminated properly in 5 years.

In 5 years or so I know that tree will be more like 15' tall and 12' wide. So if I were going to plan for growth, I'd install a fixture with medium intensity and a 60 degree beam spread. The problem with this second scenario is that it will be too hot / too bright to start off with. Too intense for the small, young tree - for the next few years.

Now this is a dilemma that is more unique to those of us who install fixtures without replaceable lamps. Obviously, if I'm using a fixture with a replaceable lamp, this isn't a problem. You would just change the lamp in a few years. But assuming you're using fixtures with a fully potted lamp that can't be changed out. Would you install the fixture that will look best NOW? Or the one that will look best LONG TERM?

I've always figured you illuminate for what is there NOW. And you can always talk to the client about upgrading in 5 years, if the relationship is still there. But I'm curious what you all would do when faced with this dilemma.
I think you answered your own question Jim. Use a fixture with a removable lamp. I know you are a loyal kichler user, and they do make lamps in varying wattages and beam spreads I believe.

To answer your question more directly. Make it look good now. You can always modify the design on a later service visit, by changing out the fixture. If you feel you need to use the brighter luminaire, just back it away from the tree a bit and move it closer as it grows.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:30 AM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Originally Posted by Lite4 View Post
I think you answered your own question Jim. Use a fixture with a removable lamp. I know you are a loyal kichler user, and they do make lamps in varying wattages and beam spreads I believe.
No. I love the fact that their lamps are imbedded in the fixture and their drivers are potted. It rains a lot in Oregon. Waterproof is really important.

I tried out a CAST light that Steve sent me a few weeks ago. Had it out in the ground for 3 weeks before we removed it. When I removed it, it was so full of condensation inside the fixture and lens that it was ridiculous. I can only imagine what that much water inside a fixture does over time. Actually, I don't have to imagine. I've removed so many failed lighting systems with sockets and other internal parts so rusted out that you couldn't even replace the lamp. So I'm not going there. I like the Kichler fixtures. And I don't care to turn this into a debate about brand. You use what you like, I use what I like. It's all good. To me, the disadvantage of not being able to change a lamp is outweighed by the advantage of knowing my lamp and driver will be totally protected in our wet environment.

Anyway, aside from changing brands - how would the rest of you handle this scenario? Install for now? Or the what the tree will need a few years from now?
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:49 PM
bcg bcg is online now
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I install for now but tell the customer during the design consultation that these trees will need additional lamps in the future. In your situation, you could install the single 35* lamp and later re-purpose it primarily for trunk and internal structure illumination and add 2 - 3 60* lamps to catch the rest of the tree.

If you've managed their expectations up front, it'll be an easy sell later.
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:14 PM
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emby emby is offline
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I install for now but tell the customer during the design consultation that these trees will need additional lamps in the future. In your situation, you could install the single 35* lamp and later re-purpose it primarily for trunk and internal structure illumination and add 2 - 3 60* lamps to catch the rest of the tree.

If you've managed their expectations up front, it'll be an easy sell later.
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:17 PM
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Ensure you have capacity on your transformer and run a wire for future required fixtures. All landscapes change year to year. Plan accordingly. That's why your a professional. The cost is minimal to the client and to you. Really a no brainer.

Ken
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:54 PM
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting is offline
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What the rest said, light for now, alter later as needed. But I have to ask, what are you doing trying to light a Jap. Maple with only one fixture? Doesn't matter the size or the species, you just cannot properly illuminate a tree with one fixture. As I tell people all the time, if you want it to look one dimensional, use one, two dimensional, use two and if you want it to look three dimensional use 3 or more fixtures. This is especially true with ornamental trees like Japanese maples. No sense worrying what it will look like in the future if you are not making it look great now.
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Old 03-21-2014, 08:11 PM
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I would make it look nice now, always...

It's a easy fix later down the road
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:52 PM
KindGardeners KindGardeners is offline
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Jim,

Can you find, or create an additional fixture location? 20' from the trunk? If it's a lawn, a random boulder/obelisk can protect/hide a 15732/15701, while providing distance to get the whole tree in frame.
Combined up & side lighting can look nice, too.
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:09 PM
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trailboss trailboss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post
No. I love the fact that their lamps are imbedded in the fixture and their drivers are potted. It rains a lot in Oregon. Waterproof is really important.

I tried out a CAST light that Steve sent me a few weeks ago. Had it out in the ground for 3 weeks before we removed it. When I removed it, it was so full of condensation inside the fixture and lens that it was ridiculous. I can only imagine what that much water inside a fixture does over time. Actually, I don't have to imagine. I've removed so many failed lighting systems with sockets and other internal parts so rusted out that you couldn't even replace the lamp. So I'm not going there. I like the Kichler fixtures. And I don't care to turn this into a debate about brand. You use what you like, I use what I like. It's all good. To me, the disadvantage of not being able to change a lamp is outweighed by the advantage of knowing my lamp and driver will be totally protected in our wet environment.

Anyway, aside from changing brands - how would the rest of you handle this scenario? Install for now? Or the what the tree will need a few years from now?
Jim, I'm glad you created this post! This has been something that I have struggled with as well. Some species of trees grow so fast...kinda tough to go back in a few years and change the fixtures per tree, especially when there are a lot of trees in the landscape.
I met with my FX rep last week to get more info. on the Luxor system. Looks like it might be a good fit in some cases, having the ability to change the intensity per fixture.
I do agree with the other posts to light for now. However, having a landscape background and knowing how it will rapidly change, makes me plan future lighting changes.
Good Discussion!
Steve
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