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Lighting advice and feedback, please.

Discussion in 'Ask' started by J. Michael, Jun 30, 2020.

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  1. J. Michael

    J. Michael New Member

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    I've used Volt lighting in the past with good success but I'm struggling to come up with a good plan on my own home. We are in an urban neighborhood on a corner lot surrounded by a mix of homes from small to quite large plus multi-family units in a fairly dense mix. I want to light the house and landscape but avoid the feeling of "hey, look at me". The draft idea in my head is:
    East (front) elevation - photos 1 and 2: Wash walls with Wide splashes dimmed as necessary and a narrow Fatboy spot (what degree?) up the chimney. Two Max Spreads on either side of the front walk.
    South (secondary street) elevation - photos 3 and 4: Again, wash walls with Wide Splashes dimmed as necessary. (The large fan palm tree on the left is being removed).
    West (side yard) elevation - photos 5 and 6: diffuse uplighting underneath the back trees and camellias with Fatboys (5 or so?) using 110 degree beams and a Max spread path light at each end near gates. I'm concerned about creating too much light pollution next door as the neighbors are very close.
    North (back yard) elevation - photos 7, 8 and 9: Fatboys with 110 beams placed near the bed edges to gently light the plantings and brick wall. To uplight the very large pecan tree I would use a Big Par 36.
    Again, I want the design to look sharp but very much avoid looking ostentatious or overdone. I'm really struggling with wattage and beam angles, too. Thanks in advance for any feedback and suggestions. East elevation 1.jpg East elevation 2.jpg South elevation 1.jpg South elevation 2.jpg West elevation 1.jpg West elevation 2.jpg North elevation 1.jpg North elevation 2.jpg North elevation 3.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  2. Mesodude2

    Mesodude2 Active Member

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    Hi, J. Michael. Could you clarify how you’re planning to use the wide splash fixture?Are you planning to light the whole facade with those lights?
     
  3. J. Michael

    J. Michael New Member

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    That was my idea for the two facades (first four pics) that face the street - using the wide splash floods since they are dimmable. I've used the gentle splash before on another home to wash the walls instead of using spotlights and liked the subtle effect. Do you think spotlights would be better? I'm having a hard time visualizing placement as there are a lot of irregular surfaces and spacing of windows, etc. I just really don't want the house to look overlight. Help!
     
  4. Mesodude2

    Mesodude2 Active Member

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    Hi, J. Michael. You have a phenomenal home with terrific landscaping. It sounds like we have a similar mindset about lighting. I wanted to highlight my house so that it stands out but not to the point that it's distracting or shining into neighbors' homes. I also wanted to be mindful of light trespass into my own home. I sometimes recommend your facade lighting approach for homes where windows are spaced in a way that makes it difficult to avoid light trespass. I wanted to clarify what your plan was because you also mentioned highlighting the chimney with a spot. If I understand you, the chimney will be slightly more brightly lit than the rest of the facade. If that's what you have in mind, great. I also diagrammed some of your photos demonstrate alternative approaches to lighting your facade. In essence, I divided the front of your house into 6ths and I've avoided placing lights below windows where possible. I'd go with 38° 2W spotlights. Using glare filters and frosted lenses, I was able to both soften the light output slightly and dial back the brightness of the 2W bulbs. Btw, for your front walk, I think a single wide spread path light (with it's sixteen feet diameter pool of light) might be all that you need. However, if you're going for a more symmetrical approach, a pair of path lights with a smaller spread would be my approach.

    As for the rest of your home, I think you already have a pretty good idea of which areas and features you want to highlight. So if you are unhappy with the look of the wide splash lighting on your facade, there are plenty of other garden and architectural features on your home (that back wall in the back yard, for instance) where they'll work great. Btw, as an aside, the nice deep soffits on your house are ideal for puck lights. That may be more effort or expense than you want to invest but it's a great way to add lights discreetly. Just my two cents. Hope this helps address some of your questions/concerns.
     

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  5. J. Michael

    J. Michael New Member

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    Thanks SO much; that's immensely helpful. It sounds like either wide splashes or spotlights would be good choices for the front (east) elevation in your opinion, right? So, putting you on the spot - if it were your house, which would you do? Two other follow-ups if I can. First, basically same question on the south elevation (also facing a street) - wide splash or uplighting with spots - which would you do - or is it 50/50? Finally, for the big pecan tree - one 9W Big Par (I haven't used those in the past) or a couple FatBoys? Thanks for the tip on not overdoing the front path lighting. I really like the puck idea, too, but it probably isn't feasible for cost and logistical reasons. Thanks, again!
     
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  6. Mesodude2

    Mesodude2 Active Member

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    Glad to help. The challenge of lighting a house like yours is that there are so many remarkable features to both the house and landscaping that it’s tempting to want to light all of them (rather than the most remarkable ones). If it were my house, on the facade, I’d go with spotlights on the the house and I’d use the wide splashes to show off those sculpted boxwoods and other plants at your foundation. Spotlights appeal to me because you can adjust their glare guards and/or add filters and lenses to tweak the shape/effect that’s projected onto a surface to a degree that you can’t with flood lights. But since you’ll probably use the wide splashes somewhere anyway, why not experiment and see which approach you like more?

    I’d take the same approach with the south elevation. Spots uplighting the sections between windows and floods/wall washers for foundation shrubbery below those windows. I’d probably uplight that palm and/or the tree on that side of the house and maybe drop one of those wide spread path lights next to your security system sign. For the pecan tree, I think either would work but I’d probably go with the fat boys.
     
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  7. J. Michael

    J. Michael New Member

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    That's a great idea. I'll stick with my plan to order a mix of wide splashes and spotlights but try them both out in front and see which works better.
     
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  8. Mesodude2

    Mesodude2 Active Member

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    Have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment and make adjustments.
     
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