Tag Archives: Landscape Lighting Layout

Choosing beam angle

When you set out to purchase fixtures you may be presented with options for bulbs or fixtures with various beam angles. To  choose the correct beam angle you must consider the distance between your fixture and your subject. You must also consider the size of your subject area.

Professionals also consider the power of the lamp (lumens) as well as foot-candle. We will not go into professional level detail here, but we will give you the information to make an informed buying decision. We will also provide handy calculators to help you determine the optimum bulb for your specific environment.

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How to Install Down Lighting

Do-it-yourself Down Light Installation

It is fairly easy to install lights on the ground around your house but placing moonlighting 30′ up a tree is a different story.  In this article we show the homeowner how to professionally install down lighting (moon lighting) using the correct components and techniques.

First of all we assume you have the skills and equipment you need to position yourself in a tree.  Installing down lights in trees is risky. If you do not have the skills and equipment to ensure your safety you need to hire a professional installer. 

Determine the location of the fixture

You’ll want to be at least 25′ in order to achieve the appropriate effect. Make sure the fixture will be located where glare will not spill over into the neighbor’s yard and cause light trespass.  The ‘beam spread’ of your fixture/bulb as well as the height of the fixture will determine the area that will be lit. If you need help with height and spread use our handy beam spread/angle calculator.

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How to Plan Landscape Lighting

 It’s All About the Plan

Most homeowners have what it takes to install basic landscape lighting. The job is simple enough; place some fixtures, run some wires, hang a transformer and connect everything. But you can’t just start placing components without a plan. We’ll review how to plan landscape lighting.  Once you have the diagram (with accompanying documents) you will have a much better chance of winding up with the system you envisioned.

We are going to assume that you will be installing a simple LED system. This means you will not have to worry about voltage loss and all of the things you’ll need to do to avoid it. If you insist on installing an incandescent system this process will work, but you’ll need to brush up on some of our other articles before you begin.

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What is voltage loss and how to avoid it

Low voltage outdoor lighting troubleshooting

When you are low voltage outdoor lighting troubleshooting, voltage drop is a key element to check. Of course there are obvious items to check such as bad connections. But when it comes to ensuring your system will last a lifetime, managing voltage loss is key.

Voltage loss is phenomenon that occurs when electricity loses voltage as it travels down a wire. Your voltage drop will depend on how long your wire is, the thickness of the wire and the number of fixtures on the circuit.

Create an efficient layout

The first thing to check when low voltage outdoor lighting troubleshooting is your layout. Daisy chain layouts are more susceptible to low voltage power loss.
Hub vs Daisy Chain Layout

 

Your fixture should be wired in ‘zones’. This allows you to keep all fixtures in an area the same relative distance from the transformer.  Group the fixtures close to the transformer (30′ or less) together, then group the ones that are slightly farther away (30′ to 60′) and finally group the ones the farthest distance  (60′ to 100′).

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Five approaches to landscape lighting design

Landscape Lighting Design Techniques

Most outdoor lighting systems call for a range of fixtures and styles. It is important to recognize which application will be appropriate for your specific area. Do your best to capitalize on the strong parts of your property.  We have listed five of the most popular landscape lighting design techniques below. The best designers employ all of these approaches when they are presented with a comprehensive outdoor lighting project.

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Keep the peace – Avoid light trespass and keep the neighbors happy

On occasion we’ll see a landscape lighting installation that is beautiful and does a great job of showing off the home and landscape. But the installers overlooked (or didn’t consider) light trespass.

Light Trespass Example
Office building illuminated by high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps shining upward, of which much light goes into the sky and neighboring apartment blocks and causes light trespass. Photo courtesy of Skatebiker.

Consider how your outdoor lighting system affects your neighbors. Many communities have rules regulating light trespass (or light pollution).

Choosing the optimum location for fixtures and using the correct beam angles will not only make your installation look better but it will keep you out of hot water with the neighbors.

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