Bad Lighting... this could be funny!

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike & Lucia, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. Mike & Lucia

    Mike & Lucia LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    This could be fun, and funny. My marketing material needs some examples of bad lighting, or common mistakes. Especially those made by homeowners and inexperienced contractors. I have my own ideas, but thought maybe some of you could share examples of things you come across.

    Example: a run of pathlights in a straight row where the first is too bright and the last is way too dim because of improper wiring.

    I've got some great pictures in my material of glare bombs.

    Anybody care to help out? Thanks.

  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    lets see... in my short career as a lighting technician I have seen some great ones. I think alot of this has to do with being from Mississippi and so many "country folk" using good ol methods.

    Duct tape instead of wire nuts or grease tubes.

    As Mike said the good ol daisy chain (just proposed to correct this at the local hospital due to lights being dim)

    Speaker wire in place of lv cable to extend the leads of a light (same job with duct tape) ((maybe the installer robbed this from his vehical???))

    1 light working out of 10 in a runway landing strip lighting job.

    Plastic malibu lights attached to trees with electricians staples

    Extension cords run half way around a house for power.

    Numerous solar "lights" PS if I get more light output out of my cell phone you need new lighting.

    Countless unburied wires.

    Im sure the list goes on and on for guys that have been doing this a long time.

    Notes on these jobs. The speaker wire and duct tape job was reinstalled with new cast lighting. The plastic malibus stapled to a tree was converted to a 10k cast install. The extension cord and 1 light out of 10 working job is a cheap skate doc who patches his lights up weekly and is across the street from one of our nice cast jobs.
  3. jlouki01

    jlouki01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 453

    The light blue solar lights are my favorite. Why waste the time or money buying those stupid things!
  4. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    Mike, since I think you are looking for photos, here's one for you. This is the typical crappy lighting situation on steroids.

    small 1.jpg
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    holy cow lol. Yeah Im sure we all see thoes inds of jobs all the time paul. Sad thing about layouts like that is we have several reputable landscapers in our area doing the same freakin thing. Some with solar some with daisy chained. A few of em are even using nice kichler lights or FX then killing the whole job by a poor design and no knowledge.
  6. ChampionLS

    ChampionLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,066

    Hey Paul,

    While that looks funny down in Texas... Imagine that up here in the North East.. looks fine in the summer, (unless a landscape crew mows them over)... then winter comes and all those lights are covered in snow, bent/broken and corroded.
  7. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Central NY
    Messages: 1,582

    I dont do lighting, but we mowed for a guy this summer, he had a paved driveway about 200 ft. long, he ran lights (similar to nightscapepaul's picture) about every 10 feet on both sides (trimming nightmare). The kicker is he wired the lights accross the driveway with an extension cord duct taped to the driveway. He made sure to tell us to be careful running it over with the mowers!! I dont know what he does when snow falls!?!
  8. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    I am planning to take more photos and start a file showing this wonderful and imaginative lighting. I have seen $2 mil homes with these solars planted like this and it drives me crazy!! Why would you want to make a home like that look like it belongs in a trailer park?

    I drove by a place the other day and had to pull over. I was going to take pictures but I forgot my camera at the office. They had par lights mounted in trees about 10' up. It looked like hell and this was during the day!! I don't even want to think about what it looks like at night! I will be shooting that this week as well as another where they not only are using par fixtures but the fixtures have compact fluorescents in them.
  9. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    first off Anthony... you said they look fine in summer... RRRRRR hit the brakes. They dont look fine at any time of year.

    Matt... I would probably drop that acct. Its only a matter of time before he blames you for the failure of his half (butt) excuse for a lighting system. Better yet. Find a reputable lighting contactor in your area and have him market to this gentelman.

    The worst part about some of the things paul is mentioning is some rather reputable landscapers are doing it. I am still trying to get landscapers to realize they can sub work out to me and make just as much if not more than if they do it themselves. I have what i feel is to be a pretty lucrative refferal program and an on going bonus for and project that stays under maint by me.
  10. High Performance Lighting

    High Performance Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    from So Cal
    Messages: 326

    Why dwell on all of the poor lighting that is out there. We all know it exists. Some prospects don't know that quality outdoor lighting exists until they see it. Then there is no reason for comparison since they can simply connect the dots themselves. Market , design and install quality and they will find you.

    There are a few reasons why someone wouldn't go ahead with quality lighting

    Cannot afford (Yes even some people who own multi million dollar homes cannot afford it)
    Have no interest or don't see the value
    Have had a bad experience with a previously "professionally" installed system

    This is all bad news for the pro who offers quality.

    the good news is that there are enough homeowners out there who do want quality and a ready willing and able to pay for it. You should be working on marketing systems that draw these people to you. Notice I didn't say that you should be soliciting them. It is much easier to sell to someone who is pre-disposed to buy from you then to try and convince someone that the $100 set of solar lighting they have in their front yard pales in comparison to your $20,000 professional brass and copper system. You can try and teach a pig table manners but you're just going to be wasting your time and you will only end up annoying the pig.

    Contrary to what may be taught in some seminars you will never be able to make a great living with landscape lighting if you are selling it as an add on or a loss leader to convince a prospect to go ahead with a large landscape project.

    Some may believe that these lighting seminars that are encouraging general trades to offer landscape lighting services are hurting the industry because they are attracting them for all the wrong reasons. For instance you've probably seen the ads that say make $2,500-5,000 per day. Some leave the seminar all pumped up feeling it's easy money. If their motivation is simply to make a quick buck then the thought comes to mind that they don't need to buy the overpriced fixtures and transformers from the sponsor distributor/manufacturer . Hey they can make even more money by home making some PAR-36 lights from sewer pipe or buying low grade off shore generics that have no brand name. Just get the black boxes from the big box stores to power em up. After all they did teach me in the seminar that it's the bulb that does the lighting not the fxture right?

    You get the idea.

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