A couple of technique questions

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Southern Night Lighting, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. Southern Night Lighting

    Southern Night Lighting LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    Question 1

    When lighting up a front of a house with gables that protrude out into the landscape how do you suggest lighting them. Down lighting from the top of the gable to wall wash or up lighting to wall wash. This particular gable is entirely stone with a window that consists of a 30" casement, a 4" fixed and a 30" casement mulled together to make one big window. I don't want to create a glare on the window but would like to wall wash the entire space.

    The one thing that I was thinking was to use well lights on each corner of this area and let the light follow the lines of the gable up to the peak. I just want to make sure I know all the techniques that can be used before deciding what to propose to the client. Any suggestions to give this area a dramatic effect... Please see attached pic.

    Question 2

    This also is for a gable, however it is over the front door and it is 2 stories tall. I was going to use the same technique as above with 2 well lights on each corner to have the light meet the roof to the peak, however there is a gable detail that would look great if it were grazed with light. Any suggestions to give this area a dramatic effect... Please see attached pic.

    Question 3

    On the back of the house there isn't much space to place lighting in the ground. There are 2 turrits that are 2 1/2 story high with an area that pops up above the first 2 stories - please see attached picture. As of right now I have put in well lights on each corner of the turrit to shine up however it will not illuminate the pop up area. Any suggestions to give this a dramatic effect.

    I would really appreciate any of your suggestions. We really don't have anyone here to talk to about technique and are learning as we go. We just don't want to make any mistakes that could be costly to the homeowner.


    Exterior (front) 1.jpg

    Exterior (front) 3.jpg

    exterior (lakeside) 1.jpg
  2. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 439

    I always prefer uplighting. With stone and custom brick work the shadows and unique little details seem to stand out more in my opinion. If you place a 36 degree well light on the corners, close to the home with the fixtures angled nearly straight up, I think you'll get the look that your going for.

    One thing to keep in mind with the gable over the front door.....the two existing fixtures on either side of the door will create two large shadows if you place your fixtures too close to the wall. You can eliminate a lot of this by moving your fixtures further away from the wall. The downside to this is that you loose a lot of the stone detail that you would be able to capture with the fixtures close to the home. In certain cases where my client doesn't like those shadows, I'll move my fixtures back and to the right or left (depending on the side the fixture is on) by 2-3 feet to eliminate those shadows. The upside to this though is that you'll be able to capture the entire gable pretty clean.
  3. Southern Night Lighting

    Southern Night Lighting LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13


    Thank you so much for taking the time in order to give us some ideas. We really appreciate you sharing your valuable knowledge and experience.

  4. XB-70

    XB-70 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Much as uplighting can be dramatic, it is having a terrible effect on our ability to view the stars. I used to do up-lighting and my customers loved it. But, a few years ago, I took up astronomy as a hobby and I realized just how much it was impacting our ability to see the night sky.

    Now, I have a completely different approach: I carefully explain to my customers how to light to see what you want to see, not to see the lights themselves. Putting a 2,000 watt mercury vapour light on the side of a garage only serves to blind people.

    I now put a lot of cut-off lighting all around walkways. I've used rope lighting (which is quite cheap) to great effect under soffits and behind/inside gables. It gives a nice, warm glow to a building - highlighting everything without glare. I've also used it under the railings of decks. This has an amazing effect of letting people look up at the stars at night while still seeing their feet on the deck. One couple even remarked that it made the place more romantic!

    Great and responsible night lighting done well actually saves the customer a lot of money in the end. Too much light and non-cut-off fixtures make it hard for people at night to see anything but the light itself - it's like driving into the sunset.

    DarkSky.org has resources and approved lighting techniques here: http://www.darksky.org/resources/

    So, please think of the night sky when you plan your lighting with your customers.
  5. Firefly Lighting

    Firefly Lighting LawnSite Member
    Posts: 98

    Southern Night- Lighting the front fascia of homes is fairly simple, keep the fixtures close to the house so that they graze up the fascia and not into the windows, a par 36 36 watt wfl will do the job 90% of the time. I don't think that anyone here is talking about installing a 2000 watt fixture and a 36 watt fixture in the up right position is not going to contribute to the Dark Sky problem especially if all the light is ending at the sophet. I have a lot of experiance with downlighting from the sophet to illuminate the fascia and would not recommend doing it if you are just starting out, mainly because it is a real pain in running wires. If I were you I would look at attending some of the manufacturers training seminars as they can be very beneficial to someone just starting out.

    Good Luck!

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