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landscape lighting

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by GrassmasterB, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. GrassmasterB

    GrassmasterB LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 201

    are there any good brands of solar powered landscape lights? most of the ones i have seen are pretty dim at night. could that just be their placement in relation to the sun or is there just not enough power?
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    The quick and easy answer to your first question is no. There aren't any good solar outdoor lighting. And I doubt there ever will be.

    The solar outdoor lighting that does exist doesn't use actual lighbulbs - they use LEDs. Just open one up next time you see one (they open up easily) and you'll see the tiny little LED they have in there that is trying to replace a 40w lightbulb.

    Understand that with traditional path lights used in low voltage outdoor lighting, we typically use 40w halogen light bulbs. I don't care how efficient of a solar panel you have, you're never going to be able to invent a solar panel THAT SMALL that can trap enough energy in one day to make a 40w bulb light up for any significant length of time.
  3. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    Sheesh Jim! You use 40 watt bulbs in your path lights???

    For path lights, I think we usually only use around 10 watter's, and those usually put out plenty of light.... Maybe 20 watt bulbs on occasion, but the only time we've ever exceeded that is on up-lights that are lighting the front of a house, and most of those are 35W. We used some 50W bulbs on the last install, but that was the first time for anything that heavy.....

    Are you getting enough light splashing off of the house to light the walk?

  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    The path lights I use usually have the option of 20w or 40w bulbs. I usually use the 40w because I am spacing them a ways apart. I think most people space them too close.
  5. advancedlawnsolutions

    advancedlawnsolutions LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    I really appreciate a well designed light plan-- Its cool. In my area the market is pretty open down here in SC and I think folks will buy it once they see how much better it makes there place look, and understand the advantages. The problem I'm having is finding out how to get started. Where can I get some GOOD training? Come on guys help me out ! ! I'd really appreciate it!
  6. kalyeah

    kalyeah LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    Can anyone tell me how deep you bury the wiring for landscape lighting?
  7. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    Any supplier that sells quality lighting will usually hold classes on installation. Some are free, some charge $100.00 or more.

    In beds you can bury low volt wire just below the mulch. If you're going below a lawn area I would go at least 6" to be safe from aerators, edgers, etc.
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Henry had the right answer. Most suppliers of Low Voltage Outdoor lighting (e.g. irrigation supply stores, landscape supply stores) hold classes periodically. I've never had to pay for one.

    I will add this though; there are some good books out there that will teach you as well. My favorite is "Trade Secrets of Professional Landscape Lighting" by Nate Mullen. AWESOME book! It even gets into stuff that most books never even thought of - like how to market to the husbands and how to market to the wive's. It gets into the psychology of selling to each of them. It has more detail and practical knowledge than any other book on the subject that I've read.

    Also, Ortho puts out a decent, and inexpensive book called "How to Design and Install Outdoor Lighting". It's a pretty thorough book.
    Henry had the exact right answer to that question too. Ditto.
  9. advancedlawnsolutions

    advancedlawnsolutions LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    Thanks Guys !! Hopefully one day I will be able assist you with some advise and information. :waving:
  10. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    There are basically two schools of "professional" landscape lighting out there (not including the crap they sell at Home Depot).

    You can head down the trail blazed by Nightscaping, and followed by a few other reputable manufacturers such as FX Luminaire and Vista, who all conform to UL 1838, or you can turn to the dark side, and follow the advice of Nate Mullen. Check out the reviews of his books on Amazon.com. They're really funny.

    There is some major disagreement over methods and theories between the two schools. Nightscaping emphasizes safety. I can't say the same for the other approach.

    Whichever method you're first exposed to will likely be the one you stick with. I'm obviously a Nightscaping fan, in fact I'm a Nightscaping Registered Contractor.

    Nightscaping products are custom made, mostly in the US, mostly by hand. After you get into it a while, and want a custom fixture they can make the modifications you want. Their transformers (Power Centers) are warrantied for life. The tech support from the company is great.

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