Fixture Selection Assistance

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Ganny, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. Ganny

    Ganny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I recently posted some pics on the "post your weekly photos" thread of my DIY backyard project. I made some rookie mistakes and am trying to rectify them. I need help selecting the right fixtures to finish off the job. I would like to purchase from Volt to the extent they have the right fixture (otherwise I will purchase from another manufacturer). I will post several pictures below and describe what lights currently exist and what I am trying to achieve. Thanks for your input!

    Picture 1 is of a trampoline with a row of Knockout roses below. I tried to place some 4-ft tall path lights in the roses but much of the light output was blocked by the foliage and I did not like the result. I removed the path lights and am thinking about attaching two spot lights to the two trampoline support poles in the middle of the trampoline that would point down and illuminate the roses (would install them at the top of the pole by drilling into the poles with self-tapping screws). I'm thinking about using Volt Top Dog spot lights with 60 degree lamps (probably 20w equivalent but possibly 10w or 30w equivalent). What do you think of this idea? If you like it would you use 10w, 20w or 30w equivalent lamps?

    Pictures 2 and 3 (a close up) show three Teddy Bear Magnolia trees with drift roses in front. Each magnolia is currently lit with Volt Infinity 20 LED Spot Lights (36 degrees and a light output closer to 25 - 30 watts each) that are on 12-inch risers to clear the roses. I previously had a single path light installed in the drift rose that is in front of the center magnolia, but based on other input I removed that path light. I wondering whether I can or should install one or more wash lights or down lights to fill in the dark areas between each magnolia and illuminate the roses. If so, what type of fixture should I use and where should I position them?

    Picture 4 shows two Liberty Hollies (one on the left and one on the right) with Needlepoint hollies in between and drift roses in front. Each Liberty Holly is currently lit with Volt Infinity 20 LED Spot Lights. Its completely dark in between the to Liberty Hollies and I would like some low intensity illumination for the drift roses and/or the Needlepoint hollies. What type of fixtures do I need and how should I position them?

    Picture 5 show a single trunk crape myrtal with two Knockout roses on each side and dwarf boxwoods in front. It is currently light with Volt Infinity 35 LED Spot Light. I previously had a path light dead center on the trunk but I removed it. Based on this day time picture, is a small hanging light (FX Luminare LS-12 with an LED SCB lamp from Illumicare to be specific) like Andy suggested the proper fixture to illuminate the area below the crape myrtal? If so, what equivalent wattage LED SCB?

    Picture 6 shows to Windmill Palms. I think I should uplight them. Is 36 degree bream spread appropriate? Should I use 10w, 20w or 25-30w lamps?





  2. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,321

    Ganny, Instead of advising you on individual fixtures, I will suggest a design principle for you to consider. You have a nice looking property, Lighting design is not just a matter of illuminating this "thing" and that "thing." It's about portraying a "scene." I would advise you to think about what scene you want to portray. For instance, maybe you want to illuminate every area of darkness.
    Or maybe you want to highlight certain areas or groups of plants and leave others in dimmer light or no light at all. My only specific recommendation is to tone down most of the spotlights. Most professionals rarely use a 20w equivalent spotlight / bullet directed onto one object closeup. And, in most cases, we only use 35w equivalents to direct light over a great distance like high into a tree or other high object.
  3. Ganny

    Ganny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Appreciate the recommendation. Would you suggest 10w equivalent spotlights in order to tone down or something else?
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  4. Ganny

    Ganny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    My current spotlight setup is 280 lm/36 degree beam for the Magnolias and Liberty Hollies. To reduce intensity I could change to one of the following: 130 lm/38 degree, 130 lm/60 degree, 195 lm/38 degree or 195 lm/60 degree. What would a pro choose?

    My current spotlight setup for the Crape Myrtals and Red Oak are 524 lm/60 degree. If I should also reduce intensity for these I could change to one of the following: 270 lm/38 degree, 270 lm/60 degree. What would a pro choose?
  5. emby

    emby LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 380


    First and fore most.....Glare shields are required to hide the light source from the main viewing spot. One or two fixtures produce a two dimensional lighting least three fixtures on some of those trees and plantings to produce a three dimensional lighting scene.

    Go to the home depot and by a role of black aluminum screen, cut into the same diameter of the fixture and place in fixture. Add more screens to help reduce your light output.
    Just a suggestion......and will work for you...:canadaflag:
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2014
  6. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Hi Ganny,

    My recommendation on the Magnolias and hollies would be to simply move the fixture back away from the base of the trees a bit. I don't think you need to reduce the intensity too much because the dark leaves of hollies and magnolias don't reflect nearly as much light as a "lighter" colored leaf. Darker, thicker leaves tend to soak up more light. By backing them away a foot or two, it will soften up the intensity of the beam directly below them and give a softer appearance overall.

    As I am writing this, I can't remember how big your crape Myrtals are, but I am assuming they are maybe 10-12' tall and wide at the most. I would probably go after them with a bit softer and wider spread, (around 200 lumens and 60 degrees). The Oak- If its a big boy, could require a variety of outputs and spreads. Softer and wider for fixtures closer to the trunk and more punch the further you get away from the trunk and closer to the outer drip line of the tree to reach more of the upper canopy. Without experiencing your property firsthand, it is sometimes difficult to nail down particulars. If you have trees that are foreground and background trees from a particular vantage point, you will want to vary the outputs and beam spreads in order to layer the trees visually, so they don't all became equally illuminated. Varying light levels within a scene are what bring interest to the composition and keep drawing our eyes deeper into it. If you have multiple vantage points, glare will be one factor to consider, but you must also consider that the tree that was an accent tree from one vantage point, may become the focal point of the visual scene from another viewing angle and will have to be lit accordingly. It looks like most of your trees are along the border and are fairly one dimensional. Using multiple lights sources (at least 2 cross lighting the trees) will reveal a far better interplay of shadow and light than a solitary light source alone.
  7. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    This is all just sad! I still am trying to figure out how any of you see this as a means to advance the industry??? No offense here "Ganny", but I personally would feel bad for asking for a ton of free advice from people who have had to try to make a living in this trade. Our experience and years in the business has all come with a cost. And, this is especially so with 'design' takes years to develop yourself as a professional and to master this craft.

    What's worse is the fact that many of these regulars on this site are so willing to give you the freebies. Maybe that's part of the overall master plan for devaluing the entire trade industry? Maybe this is part of this manufacturers master plan on helping the contractor-designer to be "more successful"? Give away your advice and teach DIY'ers how to do our jobs....that's smart business!

    It sure would be nice to re-visit all these topics and concerns in 10 years, so we can truly see the impacts of where our industry is heading. Like I said, it's likely too late to salvage the damages done by this earlier named manufacturer and others like them. This includes the damages done by those who support these manufacturers and to the industry itself for being so complacent.

    All I can say is that I'll be watching to see where your company's are at. Time tells everything. And lastly, back to "Ganny".....let's say you get all your questions answer and you didn't have to pay a dime for any of this "free" advice....then what. I can almost guarantee you that you will tell all of your friends how you did it yourself....."it was can get free advice from all the guys on LawnSite......don't pay to have someone do it for you".

    As I continue to's all part of this devaluing process. Products to homeowners/DIY'ers for the same price as advice....this is all wrong. What's guys will be performing "free installations"!!! :hammerhead:

    Just so you know....I'm likely to not even respond to any comments coming back on this post, as it's pointless. Spin it how you will.
  8. Ganny

    Ganny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Tim/Ken, thanks for great suggestions. I have been and will continue to play around with these and other suggestions until I get it right, but I believe I am making progress with the input I have and continue to receive.

    Avalon3, some people are too proud to ask for advice. I'm not one of them and don't feel bad for seeking advice on a forum that is designed for same. I am not seeking freebies and would gladly pay for advice (I just don't know anyone local to me to provide that advice or that would be willing to provide advice/design without doing any other work). Since I enjoy working in the yard, I would still choose to do the work myself even if someone offered to do the work for free.
  9. Avalon3

    Avalon3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    Ganny....I hope you understand that this is not a personal attack on you, but it's more related to the contractors and designers of this trade profession. Most seem to have little business sense and they don't think about the greater impacts of their decision making.

    I can fully understand you, as a homeowner and as someone who aspires to do these kinds of projects yourself. You are doing what we might all do.....research and try to find answers/solutions to your needs. But, if you are expecting professional results, then you should hire a professional to do so. The problem is that there are many homeowners out there....the number is growing....that expect many contractors to do things for "free"....for example, free designs, free estimates, whatever.....this is not a common practice in other businesses. You cannot ask for free dental services or free legal services, so why should we/the contractor do so? How are any of this profession....expected to make a decent living if we are supposed to be treated differently. I think the problem is that so many people look at the contractor like they are a 'handyman' service....someone found in the "Penny Saver".

    You had mentioned that you cannot find anyone locally in TX. There are plenty of guys in TX that do lighting. Will they have the proper experience??? I would say the same things with some of the guys who post on this they really have the proper experience to be considered a good lighting designer???? What I do know is that there is a lot of hype out there. My point is that if you are going to all of this trouble to find solutions and answers here, why not do the same in your search for a professional lighting designer/service that can work properly with you? Even if your state doesn't have the best guys doing this, then you can still find guys with specialized services that will serve you even if they are outside of your local area.

    I'm kind of surprised that no one on this forum has offered any contacts of someone in that region to help you. Again....this is part of the overall problem....they are too willing to just give you answers. Little thought to the overall impact of how this devalues the trade.

    Anyways, best of luck on the project and thank you for responding.
  10. emby

    emby LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 380


    I once found this site many years ago where many other individuals (some that are still here and others that are not) shared and offered advice to me when I first found interest in lighting.
    I learned because of other individuals teaching and sharing their knowledge much like a journeyman does with an apprentice and I thank all for that.
    I certainly did not become a professional from all this advice as their is a lot more to this gig as you know.
    I thought you were a pretty solid person when I met you a few years ago but honestly what has disgruntled you so bad that you are just plainly attacking other individuals. Just stirring the pot maybe or just losing your marbles....What ever it is Mark, I hope you are able to revert back to that kind and sharing individual you were when I first met you.
    I'm not going to start a pissing match with you Mark but I can't stop thinking about all the individuals (you included) that have offered advice via books, websites, blogs etc to help with lighting design and installation methods.
    I just don't get why you feel that you have to be the "someone" to change this small part of the world ( lighting community) or expect everybody to think and do what you feel it should be....
    Point taken and heard Mark, but I think its time to lay low for awhile so that your ego can shrink... I look forward to your next thoughtful brain fart bud...NOT


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