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What sort of lighting do you think I need

Discussion in 'Ask the Landscape Lighting Experts' started by John Martin, Sep 21, 2022.

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  1. John Martin

    John Martin New Member

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    Hey there,

    We are revamping our front yard after the previous owner let it go crazy. We have planted our new plants and have our beds laid out. I have never had ANY landscape lighting at all in any home I've owned so I am clueless about what to do.

    I am thinking I need a couple path lights on the front walk to the stairs, 1 or 2in the small bed in front of the porch, a couple in the larger bed along the front window, and perhaps one near the fireplace on the corner. I also think a couple upplights to highlight the front wall would be nice. If you all have a couple recommend options I'd appreciate it and look forward to your responses.

    Please see the attached photos for what it looks like:

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  2. John Martin

    John Martin New Member

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    Oh, and here is a before image of what it used to look like last fall.

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  3. Dirk Yamamoto

    Dirk Yamamoto New Member

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    I always caveat by stating that I'm not a professional...;-) That's an awesome house transformation, especially with the new porch addition! Some thoughts:
    - If it was me, I'd add a path light on both sides of the stone wall by the stairs. Keep it symmetrical (i.e., equidistant from the wall). Depending on which path light you choose, you can cast the light fairly far and can easily illuminate the sidewalk between the steps and the gate. I used Coneheads with 3W bulbs and chose to have "puddles of light" (vs. overlapping). To me, 3W is still fairly "subtle". I use 2W in my backyard, where I wanted super-subtle.
    - On the flag side of the yard, I'd add another path light closer to the chairs (so, two path lights on that side vs. one on the other side). I like keeping path lights in mulched beds and suggest placing them so that plants/shrubs won't encroach too much over time.
    - I illuminated the columns on the front of our house, but don't have a great solution for you as the stone walls are there and it'll be challenging to uplight without casting weird shadows due to the shrubs and the ledge effect from the porch trim. Maybe there's a way to use downlights, but I have no experience with that. Or, maybe add small sconce lights to the two columns on either side of the steps?
    - I would purposely choose a larger transformer than what you think you need, to allow for future expansion...

    Good luck!
     
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  4. Robert Mason

    Robert Mason Member

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    Deck lights around the inside perimeter of the fence would be another option. The fence is low enough that glare would not be a problem, there would be nothing to trip over and the bulb options are the same as the path lights. Just a thought. Bob
     
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  5. Mesodude2

    Mesodude2 Active Member

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    Just to add to the excellent suggestions already given, I've diagrammed one of your photos to illustrate a couple of different approaches I might take. First approach is all uplights. The second approach is centered on soffit lighting. In the first scenario, you'd uplight the siding areas indicated by staking your fixtures a good foot and a half or so away from the facade of the house. Because it looks like the slats in your siding are fairly pronounced, you'll need that distance in order to avoid the striping effect that occurs when fixtures are close enough to graze the wall with light vs washing the wall. The gutter mounted lights should will be far enough away to allow you to light to those upper areas effectively. On the lower level, if you place fixtures just inside of the bed with the liriope, you should be fine. If you're concerned about the lights being blocked by plants, you can always purchase risers. You'll want to have the fixtures closer to the front of the stone columns flanking your steps and the stone section to the right of your steps. That way you can really highlight the texture of those stone areas. I would go with compact spots or well lights for the stone columns. In fact, because the footprint of your facade is fairly modest, I might go with all compact spotlights. IMO, you don't need full size fixtures to illuminate your house effectively.

    Second approach is all soffit lighting. Everyone seems to be intimidated by soffit lighting. But if you're handy or you know someone who is handy who can safely install the lights (either surface mounted or recessed), you'll have all of your lights up off of the ground and the lights from the first level soffits will softly illuminate the facade, the steps, the walkway and the garden beds. Because you've got nice deep soffits and it looks like you can access both the upper and first level soffits fairly easily, I think it's worth considering that approach. HTH

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