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help me make my first purchase!

Discussion in 'Ask' started by Nathan Ellis, Jun 16, 2019.

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  1. Nathan Ellis

    Nathan Ellis New Member

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    For the past 3 weeks I have researched and tried to figure out what lighting fixtures would best suit my needs. However even with Volts videos, customer service phone calls, and customer submitted photos im still left with uncertainty and questions.

    One customer rep informed me that the difference between an MR11 and a MR16 fixture is the overall size of the actual fixture and also that a MR16 would be best suited to illuminate larger areas or objects where as a MR11 would be used for smaller areas or objects. That was my understanding between the two types until another rep informed me that a MR11 would illuminate the same as a MR16 but would be able to be hidden better do to the smaller size of the fixture. If you could clear this up for me id appreciate it!

    Now for the part in which I tracked you down for haha! My plan was to add 3 area lights in the mulch bed (4ftx12ft) to the left of the front door/porch. A 4th area light will be added to the right of the front door/porch once I get it mulched and add some sort of shrubs/flowers. The maple tree in the middle of the yard is roughly 15ft tall with a 6ft-8ft wide canopy. I was thinking of a spotlight placed in the mulch underneath to illuminate the canopy. Since the spotlight would be placed about 2ft from the trunk, I think I would need a 60 degree bulb but that's just a guess. The front door and stonework that's around it and continues to the top of the roof is the only main architectural feature of the house that stands out as the majority of the house is vinyl siding with a flat roof line. This is the area that id really like to hit a homerun with! At first I was thinking of using a spotlight fixture and if needed maybe 2. However I don't want there to be a visible "beam" effect if that makes sense, so maybe the correct beam degree would solve that? This concern brought up the idea of using a flood light fixture, but I wasn't sure if a flood light would be able to reach the whole way to the top and instead illuminate wider than I wanted. This stone work area is roughly 8ft wide x 12ft high. And technicaly with the light being placed on the ground I would need it to illuminate about 16ft upwards to reach the peak.
    Im open to plug in or integrated fixtures (although the luistana's shape/desighn look awesome) , wattage (house is on a dead end street with no other light sources near by).

    I want to place an order and start this project in the worst way! So your expertise based on my description and photos would be a huge help and greatly appreciated! If you think my plan needs altered by adding or subtracting a area or fixture let me know. Fixture, beam angle/wattage, and placement.... I will take it all

    Thanks Evan! 20190609_142806 (7)volt.jpg 20190611_110552 (9)volt.jpg
     
  2. Evan Kruk

    Evan Kruk Online Liaison Staff Member

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    Hey Nathan,

    I actually just replied to your message on Facebook as well! Hopefully, that cleared up the differences between the bulbs for you.

    Great idea on the path lights; they are ideal for bringing some area light to these entry paths and steps. A 60-degree angle would be an ideal starting point with regards to the current size of the tree. As it grows over time, you could increase the width of the beam angle and the wattage as well probably.

    I took the liberty of attaching a photo to illustrate some suggestions. With the proximity to your front door and being an entryway, I wouldn't recommend using floodlights right there. A few calculated spotlights would more than likely be your best bet. There are a few different design possibilities here (I marked where you could consider placing some linear hardscape lights for the steps aswell).

    (From left to right)
    Design A: Place (2) spots-lights up against the wall on either side of the door using surface mounts then, place (2) additional spot-lights on surface mounts towards the edge of the platform (at the corners near the steps) and angle them to direct their light towards the peak.

    Design B: Place (2) spots-lights up against the wall on either side of the door using surface mounts then, use gutter mounts or surface mounts to install (2) downlights to illuminate the top portion. The wire could be hidden in the gutter system and possibly the soffit.

    Design C: It is difficult to tell from the picture how large the lip is but, after placing (2) spots-lights on either side of the door, you could consider installing (2) linear hardscape lights on the top of the frame. They are quite low-profile (discreet) and would offer a very subtle, widespread light to highlight the texture of the stone.

    For the spotlights up against the wall, you could consider an MR11 as you've been mentioning for the discreetness and subtle, beautiful output (such as an All-Star Mini). Then, use MR16 fixtures for the ones placed further away (I'd recommend either an All-Star or a Fat Boy as the budget-friendly). For a hardscape light, I would recommend any of our solid brass linear lights.
     

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  3. Nathan Ellis

    Nathan Ellis New Member

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    Evan,
    Indeed I did get you message on the bulbs, thank you for that!
    I actually never thought about mounting the spotlights directly onto the concrete porch. That idea deffinitly has me thinking. 2 being placed at each corner closest to the door probably wouldn't be to noticeable seeing the fixture during the daylight, and running the wires off the respective sides of the porch right into the flower beds. mounting 2 on the corners of the porch by the steps tho might look a little funny? Although there's minimal traffic on my rural road, my house only sits about 50-60 ft from the road.

    What I had imagined for them was to place them in the mulch area right beside the porch. (currently to the right of the porch is just grass. however while adding lights I will also be adding a mulched flower bed that resembles the left side) I took a picture to illustrate what that looks like from a different angle than the previous post. Not sure what you think about that idea. If you think that would work, would you think id be capable of using regular ground steaks, or would you think some sort of extension would be needed to raise the spotlights up to porch level? And would you think 2 or 4?

    The reason I mentioned about the floodlight idea was because id like to try and avoid that "beam image" I see often when using spotlights. However being new to this, maybe the correct beam angle would fix this? Or maybe since whatever set up I use on the left side will be a mirror image of the right side.... so therefore the beams would almost "blend together" to form basically a full lighted area effect? Not sure if that makes sense.

    the hardscape light mentioned mounted on the top lip of the door is interesting as well! Just not sure how it would look with the wire running down the side of the door. But that's deffinitly something to maybe think about. If at all possible Id like to try and avoid anything mounted high at this point, unless theres no way around it.

    Am I going to be able to reach the peak with spotlights? Or do you think some sort of lights mounted high is going to be needed?

    I can't thank you enough for replying back! I think once I get my feet wet with these things and see what they do first hand, I will have a better idea for when I add onto other areas of the house!
     

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  4. Nathan Ellis

    Nathan Ellis New Member

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    Also picture #2... the red represents some sort of extension pole being used to elevate the spotlight to porch level.
     
  5. Evan Kruk

    Evan Kruk Online Liaison Staff Member

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    You could hide the fixtures behind planters, or even place them in the planters. MR11 fixtures could be considered for more compact, low-profile fixtures then you would just want to use brighter bulb options to account for the slightly longer distance.

    That idea could certainly work. Because your goal is to illuminate the upper portion rather than the lower columns, I would recommend placing the lights on extension risers (probably 12"). Personally, I myself favor floodlights when it comes to providing a soft blanket of light to reveal the texture of a natural stone wall but, given this scenario, I believe the glare into the home and nearby eyes could potentially be more than bothersome. But, if you placed Gentle Splash(s) on riser(s) in the spot you marked, used a frosted lens, and angled them to focus on the upper portion you may be able to accomplish it. By selecting the proper wattages (lumen outputs), you could certainly get an adequate amount of illumination to the peak.
     

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  6. Nathan Ellis

    Nathan Ellis New Member

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    evan,
    That's my mistake. Im actually wanting to illuminate the whole area of the stone work/door the whole way up to the peak. Ive read articles about flood lights being great selections for showing stone work and also the information about them around windows like you mentioned. Behind that door is a small landing where you would either go up steps to our main floor or down steps to our basement. Im not sure if that info would change your mind at all being that theres not a main living area directly behind those door windows. Not trying to convince you one way or the other, just trying to give as much detail as possible.
    We don't have the best weather around here, so planter boxes aren't always on the porch haha. I guess with all of that said, could you give me your best option or options with fixtures, wattage, beam angle, special lenses ect…

    thanks for everything evan!
     
  7. Evan Kruk

    Evan Kruk Online Liaison Staff Member

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    My apologies, by lower columns I was referring to the lower portions of the columns below the porch level (the less noticeable areas in regards to someone looking at your house), not the areas of stone on either side of the door.

    I would say the method which you already mentioned (illuminating from the sides while on extension risers) would be the best bet. With the additional details about the interior (knowing the glare would be less likely to bother you), you could also consider using the floodlights at those further corner spots on the patio. It would allow for a direct, all-encompassing blanket of light with both fixtures. But, I would more than likely still suggest the method with the lights off to the sides to illuminate the wall and keep your porch space clear. A good fixture to consider would be the Gentle Splash with a 3W LED 2700k (the most preferred color temp.) and either the frosted or diffused lens inserted (all lenses come included with the purchase of the light). I personally would use a 24-inch riser on each fixture for this scenario but, if you were unsure how high you wanted to raise the fixtures then telescoping risers may be a safer bet so that you can adjust in the field accordingly.
     
  8. Nathan Ellis

    Nathan Ellis New Member

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  9. Nathan Ellis

    Nathan Ellis New Member

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    Evan,
    Thanks so much! I will be posting pictures! ... and I'm sure at some point be back for project addition 2 sooner rather than later!
     
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  10. Evan Kruk

    Evan Kruk Online Liaison Staff Member

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    Glad to be of help! You can share any project photos that you have in our online gallery.