Help lighting my home

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by pcrispy, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. pcrispy

    pcrispy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    I am ready to replace the Malibu lights that are currently on my home with something of better quality (probably Cast products), and more importantly, with better light control. Attached are a night pic of the current Malibu lights and a daytime pic. Notice how dark the upper part of the house is due to the beam spread, or lack thereof, with the Malibus (added to the fact that the surface is a medium to dark brick). They are 20w wedge base bi-pin that are at the mercy of the reflector built into the fixture. I would like to achieve something that would accent the house much better and possibly get some good light bouncing all the way off of the eaves on the tall sections. I had assumed that a 35w MR16 with a narrow (maybe 12° - 24°) spread might work good for the tall sections and some 20W 36° for the other areas. Can someone give me some suggestions and/or thoughts as to your thoughts on what would be a good solution. Thanks!


  2. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Messages: 187

    try to take the next set of pics at dusk with the lights on.
  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    are you sure your getting 12v to your lights now ?

    Cast lights would be a huge step up as would be kichler or hadco. Since you plan to do this yourself why not just purchase a few lights hook them to a battery and experiment untill you get the look you desire.

    You could probably go with 35w bulbs but i think it will be a bit bright. I would test this to see what suits your taste the most. I would probably start with 35 w in a narrow 12 or 24 degree on each side of thoes windows to the left of the door then use 20w to graze the walls where the eves are much lower.

    You should consider lighting the dark cubbys you got there with the large black holes. I think I would just do a basic uplight of this home then definatly place pathlights about 8 to 10 ft apart depending on the light selected but FIRST I would clean out the beds and run my wires and bury then BEFORE mulching. I could be wrong but the beds look like they got grass growing up in them from the pics I am seeing.

    Also avoid pointing lights directly at the house. Just seems like hot spots when you do that. Be sure to balance your project so the whole lighting picture comes together smoothly.
  4. pcrispy

    pcrispy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Bumper, good idea with the pic. It was definitely WAY dark by the time I took that pic, something like 1 1/2 hours after sunset.

    Pro-scapes, thank so much for the input. First, the pic was taken right after we had closed on buying the house almost exactly 1 year ago in mid September. I have attached a more recent pic from a during this summer. Obviously, this past year I have battled trying to re-claim the lawn because the Dr. and nurse that lived here before apparently did everything they could to kill the grass, and they also never trimmed, thus the grass in the beds. In this new pic, under the Japanese Maple there is still some Juniper ground cover which has since been removed. For one we hated it, plus I wanted to prepare the area to bury cables as you suggested before we mulch or add any new ground cover.

    The Malibu lights are what we got with the house and the large black holes REALLY bug me too. I plan on probably using only about 3 pathlights because the whole length of the curvy sidewalk is about 40 feet and I defintely don't want anything close to a runway. I would probably choose the New Orleans style pathlight from Cast, so I would hope that the spread would be sufficient. No, I am definitely not getting 12v to the fixtures. The cabing is 14 gauge with sketchy pierce point connections daisy chained style. At the ends I am getting about 10-10.5V. Again, thus the reason for wanting to do it right.

    Keep up the suggestions! The more I read and learn about this stuff, the more that I would like to do to make this perfect. Unfortunately that also keeps doublin and tripling my budget.

    Thanks a ton!

    PS, for what it is worth, I noticed after posting this pic that somewhere in scaling the size and resaving of my pic, the picture got brighter (lost some of the contrast) and got a bit of a yellow cast on the brick (and the grass should be a dark green, I busted my butt all summer to get it that way!). But anyhow, you get the idea even if the color isn't real accurate.
  5. pcrispy

    pcrispy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Here is the correct pic.

  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    pathlights on just the bed sides will not create a runway. I would probably use about 5 on this project in a smaller size like the cast mushrooms or china hats in a small size. If you go with a wider photmetric light like paul's popular moon and stars kichler one he uses alot maybe you could do 4.

    I would define the structure using up lights at the corners to start then consider doing something between the well altho this could easily become over lit.

    Look how we defined the structure in the linked pics then emphasied on the doorway and pillars to draw attention to the entrance. This was all done in 20w but notice how light colored the home is. 35w may work very well for you and then accent in the cubbys with 20w. If the light seems too hot try using a frosted lens with it.

    Every designer will do something a bit different. This is just ideas you can run with

    The walkway at this home was also 40 ft but had 8 paths. It was a winding darker walkway and it looked spectacular as you walked up it.
  7. NightScenes

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

    I'll try to chime in here. Just looking at pictures is hard though. I would go ahead and do the corners as you were saying. I say a bab 24 to start out with. If it isn't bright enough you can go up to a 35 watt lamp. Make sure that you use #10 wire to make your runs and that you have enough transformer to make these changes if you feel you need to. I would probably use a small wash light, like the Kichler 15396 in the cubby areas with a 20 watt lamp to cast some soft fill light. You might want to try a down light on each side of the doorway to emphasize the entry. You could use 20 watt lamps with 12 degree beams here to make it appear a little brighter. Then, about 4 or 5 path lights to accent the walkway in front.

    This brick is a little dark so it might be a little trial and error, but play with it a little since it's your own home and see what you like. Trying to design with only a couple of pictures is pretty hard to do. I usually walk the site and take about 80 shots when I'm designing. I take my notes while I'm there and then use the photos while I am at the design table to refresh my memory and usually come up with some different ideas.
  8. pcrispy

    pcrispy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Billy & Paul,

    Thanks for each of your inputs. It's nice to get advice from people with portfolios like yourselves. Paul, how are you suggesting doing downlights by the door? Do you mean to put the light up in the soffit area or actually on the wall above the door. Being brick and all, I'm not sure how to get the outside wire up and hidden if mounting to the wall, or all the way up in the soffit if that was what you were referring to.
  9. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    your eaves look dark enough to hide a wire almost. Going to be tricky to light the area without downlighting it. You can mount to brick as well. I find the best way to demo and preview downlights is to attach one onto the end of a telescoping pool pole like you would use for a pool vac or net.

    Only other way that comes to mind for lighting the cubby your entrance is in is using multiple smaller fixtures concealed in planters and such so they dont emit any glare to passing people. You could do some really low 8 inch tall planters to conceal the wire from the beds to the larger planters then insert a bullet light or something like a Kim vault light or even a well light perhaps. Im not sure I would do this at a clients home but would definatly do it at mine lol.

    I wont leave any wires at a clients home where they could be a hazzard. I dont even like doing tree lights with kids around even tho I attach them well to the trees. Get some more pics of the entrance area. Is there a line voltage fixture above the doorway now ? You can automate that right into your low voltage system and change the fixture or bulbs to compliment your new low voltage system.
  10. NightScenes

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

    I was talking about mounting to the soffit. You can run your wire up the gutter spout and then along the inside of the fascia. This usually hides the wire very well.

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