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Planting Bed lighting design help

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by EveningIllumination, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. EveningIllumination

    EveningIllumination LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    Here is the planting bed at the front corner of the property. The homeowner said "It just doesn't pop and highlight the beautiful plants we put in". I am not sure what is the best approach for this isolated bed. I am thinking about 3-4 MR16 uplighting bullets under each magnolia and 2-3 up lighting the bougainvillea in the middle. Then an Endeavour/Expedition (Unique's) area light between the bougainvillea and magnolia on both sides of the bougainvillea. How do you think this will look? Any and all design ideas are welcome and appreciated!!


    Thank You - for all your time and ideas.
    I hope things are going well for all!!
    Have A Great Day!
  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    The planting bed looks much to busy during the day in my opinion. I would reduce the numb er of plants (your fixture placements based on the photo you presented look like a nightmare both to install and maintain)

    To me that bed doesnt hold a candle to what looks like a great looking house.
  3. EveningIllumination

    EveningIllumination LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    I was able to go out today and try a few things with this bed. Here are a couple of photos of what I came up with. I really like the look of the expedition area lighting between the uplighting of the magnolia and bougainvillea - provided that the actual fixture has a longer sided top to block that glare. What I used here was a Unique Saturn path light on two brass extensions. Any and all suggestions or comments are welcome and appreciated!!


    Thanks All.
    Have A Great Day!!
  4. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 381

    Those magnolias are a killer huh? That foliage looks so dense can you even effectively uplight? Would it make sense to wash those trees? I am assuming that they never drop the leaves either? I saw a cool pathlight from Hunza that wasn't crazy expensive. Combination pathlight and washer and the fixture is a little taller than most. It may get you a bit higher over the plants and allow you to "wash" down on to them. Being able to angle the throw of light may be beneficial there.
  5. Tim R.

    Tim R. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 87

    I would put more emphasis on those red plants on the corners, crotons? I would try to make the light filter up through those to mark the edges of the bed. I like the tall endevours in the beds if you could get a handle on the glare. 4' would probably be tall enough for those shrubs instead of the taller 5-6' and would help with incidental glare. I would not uplight the magnolias, the brown bottom of the leaves always make these trees look like they are dead. Do a soft wash further out on those and I think it would look ok. The Crepe looks ok the way you have it. A soft wash of light through the bed so the colors blend would look good. Its a tough one.
  6. EveningIllumination

    EveningIllumination LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    I started out with 4 bullet uplights under the magnolias and they looked terrible - actually would have been great for Halloween, very gothic. So I pulled them out to light from the outside and they look much better and it also lights some of the other colorful shrubs in the bed. What is the shortest distance above the top of the shrubs and still get good light distribution? Thank You all for your input and time - I appreciate the help.
  7. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Posts: 1,196

    Very tough to light a garden bed of this type - so much variation in foliage height and type.

    I suggest to first focus on illuminating the border (small bushes). This reveals the nice oval shape and provides a visual foundation for the garden. Nearly impossible to uplight these plants so path lights are the only way to go. They should be spaced about 5-6 ft. apart and set just behind the center line of the bushes - they should encircle the entire bed. Be sure to use path light free of direct glare.

    Next, we want to reveal the taller plants:

    1. Use wide-enough beams to reveal the entire shape of each plant.
    2. Position fixtures to uplight from the back and sides - not front-lit from the perspective of the house and road (think: rimming the plants with light). This will create a more nighttime ambiance and reduce problems with excessive brightness on lower branches.
    3. I don't think it's necessary to position fixtures into the turf. Again, focus on uplighting from the back and sides. Keep wattages very low. Use spread lenses for lighting the lower bushes. Try to blend beams from adjacent fixtures.
  8. Chrysalis

    Chrysalis LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    This one is very simple!

    Whatever you do, do not even think twice or let the homeowner know you were thinking of sticking a path light on 2 extensions 4' in the air. :)

    Need a little diversity as well as more subtleties so do 3 Kichler Hammered roof paths in new brick finish along the front, not perfectly symmetrical or centered though. Keep in mind maintenance also. The Unique Pulsar? you have placed out of the bed will get sliced and diced by a mower in now time and paths sticking out of hedges tend to get shredded by a trimmer all too often.

    For spots use:

    2 - 12.4W 60 Degree Kichler Aluminum LED fixtures, 1 on each Magnolia
    1 - 4.5W 35 Degree "" "" "", on the bougainvillea

    and be done with it. It will give you a good range of temperature and you will get a good ambient light for the rest of the plants / area from the 12.4's on the magnolias for the other landscaping. It looks to me from the picture that most of those other plants except for the Ti's will be destroyed in the frost we will have in a couple of weeks anyways.

    Tell homeowner to keep them Magnolias fed well too or else they go south real fast!

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