Ideas for lighting a cupola

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by jnewton, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. jnewton

    jnewton LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    My client wants me to light her cupola (man, something sounds wrong there). This is my fourth paying job and each one has had a different challenge.

    I've lit dormers before, but they were only a few feet from the gutter that I used to mount the lights. This cupola is a good 15-18 feet from the gutters, and the roof is cedar shingled. I'd rather mount the light(s) close to the ground if I can, for maintenance reasons, but I'll do what it takes to get the cupola to look good.

    Any suggestions? Will a couple of 12-degree MR16s mounted at the corners of the garage do the trick? Or should I be looking at something like Unique's Gemini mounted directly on the cupola?

    To put this into context, this is the first of potentially three phases in this job. In the first phase, the client wants me to light the facade of the home, several large Shagbark Hickories in the front yard, a couple small specimen trees where the front walkway meets the street, and a few trees in the back yard (to add depth to the scene from the front viewing perspective). Phase II and III will involve a large patio and lots more trees in the back yard.

    Thanks in advance for your help. I appreciate it that you guys take the time to help a rookie.

  2. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    I would suggest that any projection style fixture/lamp that you mount on either the gutters or the ground will cast a bit of light across the shingles of the roof before they reach the cupola.

    This might not be such a bad thing if the dormers and the roof line on the far side of the home were being highlighted in a similar manner. If only the cupola is to be lit, then you would be left with an asymmetrical lighting pattern on the roof which might look awkward.

    My first inclination would be to light the entire roof line from the gutters with gentle, soft washes of light. Then you can use a couple of BABs & lenses to cross light the cupola. By softly lighting the entire roof line, you will remove that annoying look of a dark, heavy structure hovering over the well lit perimeter of the house. Too many lighting guys ignore the roof lines and focus solely from the soffits to the ground.

    Best of luck
  3. jnewton

    jnewton LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Thank you, James. I worry about that too – the disembodied cupola hovering over a large black space. It wouldn't take much to cast a soft, gentle light across the shingles. I'll play around with it tonight and see how that works.
  4. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Unique has a pretty cool looking gutter mount and small format soft flood fixture. I haven't used it myself, but have been intrigued. Nightscaping has the Constitution fixture that comes with an integral glare/cutoff shield for shaping the light output. Nightscaping also has the relatively new MiniWashLiter which would work well in this application.

    Here at my home I lit the roofline, and two dormers by simply mounting some vista 4243's directly to the shingles at the gutter line. Amazing what such a small amount of light can do to highlight a home.
  5. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    JNewton, Maybe you can gt the lights closer tot he cupola utilie our Polaris MR-11/20w Bi Pin fixture. It is small and sleek and should have enough pop to light just the cupola. Otherwise James idea is the best. I would cary a theme of soft lighting the roof line all th way across the home's roof line and then highlight the cupola. The stellar would be a great option here.

    Here is a decent example, this job was done by Ryan Hughes of TWilights By Design in IL.

  6. jnewton

    jnewton LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Forgive my ignorance, but would you ever mount a light directly on a wood-shingled roof? It would be great to get the light a few feet away from the cupola, but I assumed that the shingles were off limits.
  7. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933 know thats a good question J. I probably would not mount the light on wood shingles, the light can get pretty hot. Maybe you can use a standoff bracket??
  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Yes, it is possible, but you have to be very aware of heat signatures. Keep in mind that the flashpoint of pine/cedar is somewhere around 700 F.

    I have mounted directly to cedar shakes several times with the Nightscaping Artisan (MR16), Constitution and Mini-Wash Liter (xenon 10w or 20w). Each of these come with nice stand off brackets as part of the fixture.

    The really tricky part is effectively and safely hiding and routing your wire runs along the roof.


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