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12 volt rope light?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by NightLightingFX, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. NightLightingFX

    NightLightingFX LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    Have any of you guys ever incorporated 12 volt rope light in any of your projects? I have a small rock wall, no more than 2 feet high. My customer would like to accent it. I have never used rope light. I am wondering if I use rope light if I can create a consistant light along the wall, kind of like an inverse cove lighting effect? The next challenge would be to hide the rope light. The ground cover next to the wall is round river rock. Would I be able to lightly bury the the rope light with the river rock and still get some accenting on the rock wall? Also how long does 12 volt rope light last, and how effective is it? Any other suggestions on how I can accent the wall consistantly with only a slight amount of light. This is probably about a 50 foot long wall. I am looking at a low budget way of doing this. There is also alot of shrubs etc infront of the wall so wall washing is kind of tough. I could always up light on the wall with well lights and use screen to reduce the light, but that would be too expensive for this client. This is probably about a 60 foot wall, and a low budget customer but I want to try to help her out with something. What do you guys think
  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    I would give her a price using uplights, it is better for her to wait until she has the budget, than to do something less than profesional. the ropelights will go out in sections in less than a year, and are not very repairable.

    I have a client we built a nice deck for several years ago. it is Octagonal, with a nice deck pathway to it, and beautiful pergola over a square part. the deck was aprox. 10-12000 dollars. they have some beautiful landscape lighting, and we installed some downlights on the deck with a switch, along with some lights in trees to downlight as well. the effect was great.

    The homeowner, however, decided it was a good idea to install ropelights along the railings and such. They may think it is a great effect, but the light is harsh and it looks kind of carnivalish. Although it is thier deck and they can do what they want, It is frustating to be a part of creating something architectually pleasing to the eye and then having an addition that takes away from that. the rope light for you may do that very thing, and I would not reccomend you be a part of it.
  3. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    David... I would really question the aesthetics of using rope-light or any type of linear light in a natural setting such as you describe. I find that this kind of lighting effect best suited for event and commercial applications where you want to draw a lot of attention to an object. Linear light is effective at this because it looks so "un-natural" to our eye. We are used to light emanating from above or from fixed, discreet sources such as a light fixture.... to introduce ribbons or lines of light into a garden setting would be visually arresting. IMO.

    If you are stuck on that I would recommend you search out linear rope light products from Magic Lite here in Oakville Ontario. Their product lines include 'no neon', traditional rope light, and LED products. About the best in the business.

    Have a great day.
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    ok first you say she doesnt have the budget. Tell her kindly that it will take more money than she can part with to get a satisfactory result and tell her to let you know when she can possibly bring the budget up some.

    2 ft... hrmmmm thats a real short wall. Since its stone you can possibly use the wells. a few ideas.

    SPJ makes a brass wall wash fixture that uses a 13w incadesant bulb. You could bury this so its just above the rocks... VERY soft light with a nice warm glow. I have 2 of these at my home and use them for lighting my signs as well. Its not the best fixture in the world but it might fit her budget better and I have had it installed for 2 years here with ZERO probs... Not even a bulb but it is running at 10.4v here.

    If you were to even consider the rope light it should be concealed in a dadoe under the lip of its going to be really obnoxious.

    Deck lights... 10w deck lights mounted every 6 ft as high as you can on the wall.

    If you do uplight it... depending on the ambient light around the area consider a 10w 60 degree bulb with a lens to soften it. I really dont feel the whole wall needs to be lit up in most cases. Just accent it to show its there every 6-10 ft.

    one more option would be a wide photometric path light altho it may look tacky during the day. The Kichler 15443 comes to mind.

    Rememeber all this is without actually seeing the property or photos. In the future when you post design questions its a real good idea to include photos.
  5. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    I have used 12v rope light on a couple of projects but I don't think that your project would look good with this effect. I would look at maybe using a Unique Stellar fixture with a spread lens. I use these often for short walls and they work well. Use a 10 watt T-3 lamp.

    Good luck Ned,
  6. NightLightingFX

    NightLightingFX LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    I understand rope lights look obnoxious. I was wondering if I were to create some kind of inverse cove lighting effect from the base and up lighting with the rope light if it was possible. It sounds like it isn't worth my time to experiment. If the lights burn out fast I don't want to mess with it. Thanks for the input
  7. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    Ned, the lights last a very long time but the issue that you will have is this, if you make a cove for the rope light to lay in and shine up, it will fill with water and debris in no time and their goes your effect.
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    ohhh I forgot about the stellars.. As Burt knows this is one of my favorite new fixtures... very compact... easy to conceal and built very well. I think its about 2 inches by 4 or 5 inches. Very tiny wash light. It also comes with all the lenses you could need in the package and 25 ft leads. The prob you may have on this project is they are a bit pricey... I would say you would probably need 5-7 of them depending on how the wall is laid out and amount of light you want on it and how far you can place the fixture back

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