Lighting palms between sidewalk and road

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by jdgent, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. jdgent

    jdgent LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    I need to light these palms that run between a sidewalk and a road. I'm leaning towards below grade PAR 36s, but I am concerned about glare to people walking, or driving. Is this the best way to do it? I want to light them without the fixtures being seen too much.

    20070323_1068.jpg
     
  2. JC Lighting

    JC Lighting LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    Vista makes a par 36 well light with an "ABS directional grate cover" model 5243 which comes with a halogen 35 watt "WFL" (40 degree beam spread) lamp. The Photometric Guide says it will give you 4 feet wide beam at 6 feet high. I can't tell for sure from your photograph but seems like it would work. I would place the well light about a foot or so out from the trunk to wash the trunk and get a dramatic effect on the palm fronds.

    Note that the actual beam spread is 25 degree by 35 degree and emits somewhat of a rectangular beam. You can rotate the lamp to get the best coverage of the palm. Since the par 36 source is 4 1/2 inches it will create more potential for direct glare than the smaller 2 inch MR16 however, this can be minimized by the grate and by pushing the lamp housing further down into the well cylinder. Both of which change the actual beam spread. Another trick to reduce glare (and brightness) is to put metal window screen in the well above the lamp. It acts like a mini hex baffle. You would have to perform night time trial and error tests in the field to get the best results. The screen and grate will also reduce the amount of leaves, mulch, etc. that come in direct contact with the lamp. A well know problem with many par 36 well lights. If you use the screen cut it a bit larger that the diameter of the well and curl the excess under. This will ensure it stands off the lamp an inch or so in the middle and therefore be more effective. Do not use the Vista 5242 with the incandescent 4414 lamp as the lamp life is only 800 hours vs 4000. I'm sure that other members have MR16 solutions as well.

    Good Luck, Jim C.
     
  3. DMAN

    DMAN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    Hey Jim,

    Good to see you here!! Things just starting to thaw out finally.

    Darron
     
  4. jdgent

    jdgent LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    Thank you Jim. In your opinion should I use one fixture centered at the road side or two, one on either side of each palm? Maybe a twenty watt lamp, rather than a thirty-five? Again, I thank you for your time.
     
  5. JC Lighting

    JC Lighting LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    A lot depends upon the client and how "proud" he/she is of their status in life. Also, how much light in general they like and how much ambient light there is at this location.

    Taking a typical cut at all the above, I would use one fixture on each tree centered on the road side. The main reason is that there is nothing around the tree to conceal the source of light and having 2 or more fixtures at the base of each tree (even if the glare is minimized) would become overwhelming to the viewer thus losing the effect of the design. Also, usually the main viewing perspective of the front of the house is from the road as one drives up and walks to the front door. That's why I'd place the one fixture on the road side.

    I'm guessing that the ambient light at this location is somewhat low and so a 20 watt halogen (I'm not a big fan of the 25 watt incandescent) may work just fine. I have to admit however, that I would stay with the 35 watt lamp because you've only got one light on each tree and you lose so much of the light to the deep well and grate (and screen if you use it). Also, the 35 watt is easier to get.

    A word of caution here. The carriage lights on the garage and house will kill the whole thing if they are too bright. Home owners pay a lot of money for these fixtures so I always integrate them into the design. Depending on the overall look I usually ask them to put in 25 to 40 total watts in each fixture and a dimmer. I suggest that they set the garage a little less bright than the light at the front door. The worst thing is to have 2 to 4 points of bright light ruin your fine landscape lighting design/install.

    Good Luck
    Jim C.

    Darron, thanks for telling me about this forum. I've learned a lot already. Good news about the temperature. Nothing like getting back to work.
     
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    jim excellent advice. JD Jim is dead on about the carraige lights. We too have had them kill our overal portrait. I almost always ask clients to place 20w bulbs or do it for them and they are usually much much happier with the end results.

    I didnt see any mention of street lights in the original post. This will have a tremendous impact on the amount of light you need to use to get a dramatic effect.

    I too would probably use 1 light per tree street side but the client may want the trees to look equally bright from the home side as well. Try to minimize glare as mch as you can by using a louvered fixture or grate. You dont want people walking down the sidewalks to get blinded either. Another option for hiding the fixture a bit from the road would be a few decorative rocks or something to draw attention away from the light. Im not a fan of below grade fixtures in mulch areas at all. Not just for the saftey aspects but mulch on top even with a cut off hides your lights.

    My advice to you would be to place a lamp in the evening and get the clients approval. It may save you from reconfiguring it later. We do this in questionable circumstances where we either need to test our design because we are realativly new to lighting still or show the clients we got a better solution than what they are asking for. Whatever you decide to do be sure you leave yourself some room for expansion and wattage increases for when the trees grow.

    Jim I grew up in Gilroy. I hope to bring my wife to the Garlic festival and to see monterey and big sur and san fran this summer. Hope to meet up with you.
     
  7. jdgent

    jdgent LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    Thanks guys. I am new at this, but getting up to speed quickly with all the help of the best in the business. My first install is complete and I will be sharing photos once I get better at dusk/night time photography. The photo I sent is my second install. At this home we are concentrating on the front. And yes, the sconces are fully loaded with 70W bulbs. Thanks again.
     
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    eeeek.... Dimmer switch or smaller bulbs or ask the client if they are interested in some of the up and down scones...I had a hard time convining a client of this one time but I simply turned off the blinder lights (the line voltage glare bombs) and placed demo lights at the base. Instant sale!
     
  9. JC Lighting

    JC Lighting LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    Billy,

    I grew up in Louisiana. I just sent you some contact information via your web site. Contact me when you come out.

    Jim C.
     
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Jim I didnt get it.
     

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