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Palm Tree Lighting

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by EveningIllumination, May 26, 2010.

  1. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Messages: 1,275

    To clarify my advice. As a general rule, I like to illuminate objects in ways that convey nighttime - meaning, areas of dark and light that mimic a single light source (like the moon) with little or no ambient lighting. This means that parts of a tree would not be illuminated.

    Illuminating a tree trunk from all sides is essentially re-creating day-time lighting. Illuminating it so that the front or a side is dark looks much more natural.

    Choosing which side of the trunk to leave dark is a creative challange - especially when it will be viewed from many angles. Keep in mind that the worst angle of viewing is the angle that shows the trunk fully illuminated.

    Also note, that for projects like this (where many trees will be viewed in a single lighting scene), all the trees should be lit consistantly (shadowed sides the same). All lighting should make some sort of visual sense.

    Regarding bullets vs. wells - many reasons to choose bullets - easy to move as the tree grows, no problems with stuff acummulating on the lens, and no ants in the fixtures.
  2. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Except they will never hold the direction you pointed them because everyone from the lawn guy to neighborhood kids to the fed ex guy will bump them at the very least, if not worse. My suggestion, no bullets in turf, ever.
  3. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Messages: 1,275

    The bullets needn't be in the turf - 18" from the tree at most.
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Steve I do agree with the contrast your speaking of. When I did my date palms with 3 fixtures there was a definitive contrast. There was much left unlit. I had a canopy of light within and the outer views of the trees showed the perfect silhouette of the fronds. It is SOOO hard to get the pictures do to 2 metal halide post lights near by. I wish you or Mike could shoot this job for me it really did come out stunning. When we tried to shoot it last week before we left on vacation it was pretty windy. Now we have had clouds daily so the sky has been less that co-operative.
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Never in the turf but bullets are the way to go in my opinion. This is why I said define a bed edge on the back side of the trees. You could even then do small plantings to soften the look of the fixtures.
  6. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    How bout that? Never knew there was more than one type of palm tree. Learn a little everyday. As for lighting the tree, artistic interpretation. I hate seeing a tree partially lit, I like the line of the tree softly lit with the canopy lit glowing above it. But that's just me.
  7. EveningIllumination

    EveningIllumination LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    pro-scapes - I would LOVE to see a couple of pictures. when you said you lit three trees this height with 3 35w fixtures did you light 6' trees with that much light? or were they the height(20-25') of the queen palm - I think it may be a queen and not a royal palm there in the back of the first photo. I am not aiming to uniformly and brightly light these trees but rather softly light from the ground up. The roughness and strong characteristics of the trunk are going to produce a lot of shadowing and contrast and the nature of the palm fronds will produce the same in the top portion of these beautiful trees. I don't want the tops to appear to be "floating" from any angle - that would be unnatural and unattractive. I am not sure of the ambient light right now so, I will need to take a ride out there one night this weekend.

    Bob - that's funny you didn't know there were different kinds of palm trees, there a several hundred different varieties. It's a little overwhelming trying to identify the plant material here in South Florida. Like for this particular property we have to decide if we are wiring for a 20yr plan or 30+ yrs. At the distances I have to run 12/2 will accommodate going from 20w to 35w but, have to go to 10/2 for 50w if we do 4 fixtures per tree because, these trees grow at a rate of about 1' a yr and will take years to reach the height to need 50w. I can think of worse problems though.

    "a bed should be defined along the backside of the trees" - why just the back? fixtures will be placed in a circle around the tree.

    Thank You all for your time and thoughts.
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Sorry I used 2 35w fixtures on the tall ones. You can see light on the canopy from 360 and the truck is also visable from 360 altho it has some contrast to it. There was also a cluster of palms in this bed. It was 3 trees with a total of 7 bullets on it.

    3 fixtures with 20w 60 degrees on the shorter dates but mine nearly hung back to the ground. I am trying to find a picture worth posting here. The ambient light killed them all. If you want go ahead and email me and I will get you some that are not what I would call posting quality

    When I said a bed should be placed along the back I for some reason thought it would be a driveway along the front ?
  9. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Messages: 1,275

    Funny this thread came up - I'm in the middle of optimizing a photo shoot I did last week at the Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico. Here's one very cool detail - more later.

  10. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    I wonder how much unskilled labor is per hour in Puerto Rico
    Posted via Mobile Device

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