Big Improvement in Landscape Lighting Design

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by steveparrott, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    I'm very excited about a new trend among some of the best designers - that is the use of wash lights at very low light levels - especially for garden beds and small to medium-sized plants.

    For years, one of my pet peaves was when designers would put a bullet near a small bush and expect to achieve a nice illumination of that and surrounding plants. Instead, they got a hot spot on the bush and a distracting and unpleasant affect on the overall lighting scene.

    Now that nice wash lights with flexible mounting options are available; and that these lights can be dimmed down to as low as 5%; the designer now has the ability to provide a very subtle, soft-edged, low-level illumination. This type of light, as applied to these small gardens and plants provides just enough light to allow the plants to emerge from the darkness - but not so much light that they appear unnatural or distracting.

    As I hear more experiences of designers using dimmable lights, I hear them say they almost never use the lights at full brightness - in fact, on many jobs they find that 10% or 20% is the right level for certain parts of the property. This is huge for our profession - it's making us all better designers. I don't think we appreciated how little control we had - now that we have so much.
  2. Classic Lighting

    Classic Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    I agree with all of your points. We are now able to pinpoint the exact lumens needed rather that having to make 200 or 300 lumens work. I wonder what's the next big thing in lighting design?
  3. AmericanNational

    AmericanNational LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Your first point made me chuckle because it is just so true; outdoor lighting designs have to be much better and luckily, they have been lately. Great post, Steve.

    Bruce Gold
    American National Sprinkler & Lighting
  4. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    I have been using 10 watt lamp or LED equivalents for years. The most difficult part for a good designer is to get the budget necessary to use more softer and diffused light sources rather than fewer brighter ones. My go to is a 20 watt BAB or it's equivalent, and frosted or linear lenses.

    I had a chance to play with the cast, FX, and other adjustable fixtures recently at the International Landscape Lighting Institute, Jan Moyer's Intense Course in Troy, NY. We were all very impressed the flexibility these fixtures bring to the design pallet. Talk about fine tuning a job, this is a whole new animal now.
  5. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Jans really stretching out the term international
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Now if we could only impress upon the fixture manufacturers the importance of providing us with flexible mounting options and a variety of glare control options for their fixture lines, then we could expect to see even more improvements in effect. Just sayin'.....

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