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Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988


    This q is for the non-demo guys. I have been doing some consults, and want to know if anyone can recommend tips for the following:

    Does anyone install up to certain points, for example, to hubs or just home runs, leaving leads unburied? I have about 16 fixtures to place in a back zone, with tons of plant material and I'd like to think I can easily make changes on the night I aim, and then go back and make everything permanent. This would include not attaching my leads up trees yet, and not burring leads from hubs.

    I am used to the safety of the demo for confirmation.
  2. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Safety Schmafety.... jump in there and install that system. Use your experience and your gut to do the best you can. Create something new! Then preview it and tweak it and aim it and adjust it. Then tell the client it is ready and have a lighting ceremony to make it festive!

    Git er done!
  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Mike I use an above ground all the time on large installations. This is especially handy when clients question the design or your performing a new element. I cant ever recall making major changes tho. Its more of a sales point and a point to get your clients to do it they way your recomending

    I think latley we have just been burying it but leaving quite a bit of slack especially around landscapes that are inmature.
  4. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    I just bury and go. I am the designer, they trust me.
  5. NightScenes

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

    I bury everything but leave about 5' of wire at each fixture. This allows for minor adjustments and plant growth. Have confidence and go Mike.
  6. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    Leave the wire above ground until you've completed your night set/focus.

    I've tried to leave "enough" wire to adjust focus but I always end up pulling yards of wire out of the ground to get an even better effect. It may be crazy but I worry a lot about becoming a "cookie cutter" designer. If the wire is above ground, I can move lights around and try things I've may never have tried before. This keeps me fresh and interested and ensures my clients get my best.

    I'm not alone, Greg Yale and Jan Moyer both leave their options open and wire above ground until the focus is complete.
  7. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    I'll try to be more confident, thanks everyone.

    Tom, I've been calling it, "Gonna come back and aim these tonight."

    Do you refer to it as "focussing" to the client? I'd like to use as much professional-sounding language as possible. I'd like to explain it as an evening of "project focus," etc., when we come back to "clarify the effects" by aiming and positioning, and adjusting brightness levels, etc.

    If anything is iffy, I could explain this, and leave the leads above ground as I feel the need.

    I've been using your phrase "responsible lighting" a lot lately (thanks) and I use "light trespass" a lot now, too. I got that from James.

    The best language I've found is in Nate's book, like defining lighting objectives, POV, etc. I think I have to read my Moyer book again and examine her language (it's been a while since I cracked that thing open).
  8. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 284


    I use focus because that is what it is called in professional Theatre and Architectural lighting. Light trespass is also a technical term and defined by the IESNA - Illuminating Engineering Society of North America -

    You'll find that Jan uses terms that are understood throughout the lighting profession. Her book is a tough read but everything you need to know is there. You may want to take a look at my review of her 2nd edition -

    I think it's about time that the Landscape Lighting industry do what all other facets of the lighting world has done - adopt a common set of technical terms. But that's an issue for another day.
  9. Tomwilllight

    Tomwilllight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    A note on Mock-ups. There is no more valuable thing you can do for yourself or your client.

    First, mock-ups always sell... I'm assuming your presentation is competent and efficient.

    Second, you have the opportunity to watch the client see your light... Watch very closely, you can see when they really get it and that will tell you much more about how they react to light. This is sometimes very hard to do... depends on the client and how much you can engage them in a conversation about the light. Let them see your love of the light...

    Third, Strut your stuff... I usually light anything but what I should obviously light; I like to show them something they haven't noticed in their garden. Often it's something small and hidden... until I reveal it to them. Their perception of how big the job will expand.

    Fourth, Make their garden appear larger by lighting in depth... Suggest, tease, entreat, surprise... Make them want to move to see better or more clearly.
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    I knew my doing this sometimes is not a hairbrained idea. It really does work and you will see the results from it. Downside is it sometimes requires a reset of the aim after burial if the fixtures get disturbed.

    I dont always do the above ground but there is times where it does come in very handy. I guess like Tom I have found myself pulling up wire sometimes. My helpers and wife think I am Anal about my adjustments.

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