LANDSCAPE LIGHTING WORLD® FORUMS

Need advice, please!!!

Discussion in 'Ask' started by Jpierce, Feb 4, 2020.

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  1. Jpierce

    Jpierce New Member

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    B796F9B7-86CC-40C9-84DB-E959FD866E9C.jpeg Please give me your advice on the best way to light the front of my home, including the trees in the lawn. In regards to the home itself, I was wanting to light up the crepe myrtles on each end of home and trees next to porch (Yellow)
    Also thinking about lighting up columns and dormers. (Red)
    I also didn’t know if there should be lights on the actual home (Green)

    Please advise on which lights would work best for each structure. I really appreciate all input and drawings.
    Thanks in advance. I do not know how to get those pics turned correctly. Sorry
     

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  2. Mesodude2

    Mesodude2 Member

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    Love your home, Jpierce and what a fantastic setting! It looks like you already have a pretty decent lighting plan in mind. I've diagrammed one of your photos and I've also included a photo of my own urban front yard for which, coincidentally, I recently began installing lighting. I think almost all of Volt's spotlights would work on any area of your house but for the dormers and columns, I'd personally go as low profile as possible. That's because they are the fixtures closest to the entrance of your house. The All-Star mini spot should work great.You'll want gutter mounts for the dormer lights and for the column lights, you'll probably want a six or twelve inch riser to raise the light above the shrubbery in your front beds. If you have a cap or lip at the base of your columns (as I do), risers will make it easier for you to illuminate the columns more evenly. If it's in your budget, go for telescoping risers, which will allow you to adjust the fixture height as nearby plants grow.

    Because you have those nice broad expanses of wall (marked in green) on the facade of your house, you have a variety of lighting options. I'd probably go with a wall wash fixture like Volt's Gentle Splash or the Wide Splash. Tough choice here, though. The Gentle Splash is lower profile but the Wide Splash offers broader coverage (possibly more than you'll need on those areas) and is manually dimmable. Spotlights with fairly wide beam spreads (60° should work, I think) would work here as well. If you wanted to go really low profile, you could even use well lights. For the shrubs and trees near the front of the house, spotlights with 38° beam spreads should work well.

    For the trees at the entrance to your driveway, I'm recommending mini spots for the crape myrtles. For the larger trees, I'd go with more robust spotlights for the trunks and well lights aimed at the outer canopy of the trees. In my front yard (see photo), I'm using Top Dog spotlights to flank front and rear areas of the oak in the center of my yard. I've done this so the effect can be enjoyed from both the street and from inside the house. Volt offers a variety of choices depending on your budget and the effect you want to create. I've also installed a couple of Salty Dog well lights which I highly recommend in your case. They allow you illuminate structures, trees or other plants while enabling you to hide your light source below ground level. When it's time to mow the lawn, you can trim around them rather than worry about a mower knocking them over. One of the many great aspects of having a huge yard is that you can position well lights some distance away from the drip line of the tree and illuminate the foliage in ways that you can't with a smaller yard (such as mine). I've tried to illustrate this by diagramming some possible locations for well lights in your front yard. If it's in your budget, I would encourage you to use a variety of lighting effects for your trees and shrubs. Perhaps single uplights for some of the smaller trees and shrubs and cross lighting (for a more three dimensional effect) on larger trees. I've installed moonlighting high above tall shrubbery on the side of my house and the effect is phenomenal. Downlights mounted in either or both of those huge trees in your front yard, would make your property look even more stunning, I think.

    Finally, a word or several about light level and light trespass. It appears you're in an area where there are no streetlights close by and the ambient light level is low at night. I'll tell you from experience the last couple of weeks during my install, a little bit of light goes a long way. I probably have about 20 lights total on my house and yard and the max wattage fixture I'm using is 2W. The brightness level varies depending on the type of fixture but these lights pack a powerful punch. Only if I had very tall trees or a four level mansion would I use anything brighter than what I have. The first thing I noticed when I turned my lights on is that there's a huge amount of reflected light. Light bouncing off the facade, the shrubbery, tree bark and limbs, light bouncing off the columns and the roof of my portico, light from my path lights bouncing off the front walkway and driveway. Light bouncing off boulders in the yard. If you don't already have a wall sconce or overhead light on your porch, I think you'll find that the light aimed at your four columns will illuminate the walls beneath your porch roof very well. My whole front yard faintly glows from indirect light, which is exactly the effect I was hoping for. The thing you want to keep in mind when you're aiming lights at the house is, light trespass (especially for those dormers). My solution, if you really want to illuminate the dormers, would be blackout curtains or shades for rooms where people sleep. Anyway, hope some of my tips are helpful. Good luck and have fun. It's been a challenging but rewarding project for me.
     

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    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
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  3. Jpierce

    Jpierce New Member

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    Mesodude2, thank you so much for your input. You made some great points and some ideas I have Not thought about. Thanks again.
    Evan, do you mind taking a look at this home? I would live your input also.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
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  4. Evan Kruk

    Evan Kruk Online Liaison Staff Member

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    @Mesodude2 hit the nail on the head, excellent recommendations all around; from the fixtures and placement right up to the black-out curtains:cool:. Great point about the ambient light from the fixtures as well, it is definitely something people do tend to underestimate when selecting wattages. I myself am also someone who prefers lower LED wattages for subtle outputs.

    I think I may be a bit confused but, just to confirm, the color coordination was for the sake of your planning yes? I always prefer to be honest and --if you were considering a multi-color landscape lighting system-- if not done meticulously (ex. blue light on a waterfall/coy pond, or green light on a palm canopy) or temporarily for an event/holiday, it can just make your house look like a tacky "fun house" for lack of a better term. Which would kill me inside with such a beautifully balanced home!:oops: Just double-checking.
     
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  5. Jpierce

    Jpierce New Member

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    Haha, no, the coloring system was just intended to identify trees, structures, and wall of house. It wasn’t intended to be colored lights.
    So the all star minis are recommended for dormers, crepe myrtle at driveway, and porch columns. What particular light would you recommend for the larger crepe myrtles on each end of home and the trees on each corner of the porch?
     
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  6. Mesodude2

    Mesodude2 Member

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    For those trees I’d recommend either the in-grade Salty Dog (with a glare shield or grate) or any of the spotlights other than the Infiniti series (which I would only use for those two large trees in your front yard).
     
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