Help with first Job

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Litemeup, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Litemeup

    Litemeup LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    :waving:Hi All,
    I'm new to the world of landscape lighting. I do some landscaping and Maintiance. I have a customer that wants to replace their lighting and could use some help picking one that is dependable - low maintance - will last.
    the Hubbell's (that i did not install ) are 2 years old and they have nothing but trouble from them. So thanks for any help you guys can give.
    they have one under each large Shrub and one uplight at far right tree.Total of 4 lights. This is my first Post so go easy on me guys.*trucewhiteflag*




  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    ah, such a loaded question. everyone has thier first job, so I'll help you out. try to do some research on HOW to do this job as far as wiring ,connections, fixture placement, load and voltage ranges. Check out your nearest irrigation supplier and get in a beginner class that is offered by several landscape light vendors. After you know HOW to do this, THEN start looking at the WHAT on products. The best products in the world will fail miserably if you wire this system wrong, period.

    I know, I know, it is way more fun to go find pro-quality stuff and gee whiz over it. try and separate yourself from everyone else and learn how to wire and install properly before you stick one fixture or lay one wire in the ground.

    Your local Irrigation supply company will stock some line of fixtures or trans you can use to install. Please learn how to do this first and you will create a reputation for doing good lighting work.

    oh, and if Lowes or Home depot sells it, don't use it.
  3. Litemeup

    Litemeup LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    the customer need this by May 15th.

    Soooo i don't think ill have that amount of time, and i have been researching your forums and have some ideas on what to use but could always use some experts advice. I will be installing something because they won't wait and we live in a extreme rural area and after all i won't come looking for you if i screw up, its my butt on the line not anyone Else's.
  4. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,173

    Having a lighting system that will last and perform properly for years comes down to this.* 95% of lighting system failures are a direct result of using poor or improper connections and wiring and power management tecniques.Most of the time it has nothing to do with the fixtures.* Even homeCheapos, if wired correctly will last for as long as the fixture holds together.* How long will that be,* could be one year or it could be 5. It just depends on where you live. The sole purpose of using a quality solid brass fixture is to extend life to your system assuming you have already wired it correctly by giving it that added weather resistance and durability you don't find in a box store piece of junk. Another key to the longevity of a lighting system is periodic maintenance. Regardless of what you buy it will need some degree of ongoing maintenance. There is not a fixture out there that is a plant it and forget it fixture. In the outdoor elements, EVERYTHING needs some attention at some point to maintain performance and longevity.

    So heres the bottom line. Lighting systems with all the best components will perform no better than the box store crap if you install it the same way. If you are not going to take the time to learn the correct way to install these fixtures, the only benefit to giving your customer high end durable fixtures will be that I can reuse them when I have to sell them a system overhaul when yours fails. Sorry to drop a bomb on you, but these are the facts and I am constantly overhauling lighting systems and repairing disinformation from contractors who dupe trusting consumers.
  5. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    50% of my current work is redoing other contractors work. Learn it right the first time or people like Tim, I, or a host of other people here will be re-installing the job. The bigger issue is the bad reputation that follows any contractor who does incorrect work or never learns the trade. You will find much info on this forum to help you. I would suggest Nate Mullen's book on landscape lighting for starters, it will help you get going with the least amount of problems. I'm sure Joey from Unique can hook you up if you contact him. You have taken the first step, just keep at it and learn the trade. Good Luck with your job!
  6. Litemeup

    Litemeup LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Thanks for the info it is usefully. But----:confused:
    I can see that i will not get anything from you as to what light to start with.
    Soooo who wants to come and install these lights in lower Arkansas for little or no money ( 5 Lights and a Budget of $1,000.00 that includes labor and fixtures) or less. The type of customers i will have aren't going to spend that much on lighting they just want some because there is none (street lights or such.) I do know they want better than Home Depot and Lowe's. and I have some water proof and explosion Proof wiring knowledge.

    none the less i would love to go to some classes. anyone know where in Arkansas. :usflag:
  7. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    Order 5 coppermoon spots and call it a day.

    If you already have a suitable trans then 1000 dollars is more then enough for 5 fixtures installed.

    If you need to provide trans then go with a powdercoat Kichler 15384

    You should tell them to take that 1000 and get there roof cleaned though
  8. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    I would say a good start would be a Unique Brass Knight bullet or some thing similar. Up lighting is a great starting point but you really need to understand that you are the lighting expert (in the eyes of the client) and you may need to educate the client as to what and why you light the way you do. Many times I will show up and the customer will already have a plan in mind, based on all the bad lighting they have been exposed to. It is our job as lighting designers to point them in the right direction. The jobs they have been exposed to most likely will have a light in front of every tree and a bunch of path lights. That is the worst way to light most jobs. Can you put a light in front of every tree? Absolutely. Can you use a bunch of path lights? Absolutely. The question you should be asking yourself is: Do I want to be a lighting installer or a lighting designer? A lighting installer typically does what the client wants based upon all the bad lighting they have seen. A lighting designer takes charge of the situation and educates if necessary the client into understanding the difference you can make in their outdoor environment. I usually don't talk about others, only why I am different and what I have to offer. I am not afraid to walk away if necessary, and that comes with time and experience. Learn your trade and strive to be the best you can be at it and you will most likely be VERY successful.

    Just remember one thing: Lighting installers are a dime a dozen. Great lighting designers are a rare commodity.
  9. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    That's funny! LOL!
  10. Litemeup

    Litemeup LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11


    Thanks at least i have something to go on.
    Remember this is redneck country with a attitude down here lol.

    We like to look good just not Millionaire Good.:hammerhead:

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