Any landscape lighting experts out there? - FFCars.com : Factory Five Racing Discussion Forum

 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Any landscape lighting experts out there?

I redid my landscaping a couple of months ago and now would like to add landscape lighting. The landscaper did a great job at a reasonable cost and I was planning on having him do the lighting. The bid came back at $12k. No way!!! I'm pretty sure I can do this myself. I have added fixtures to existing systems before. With the new LEDs it should be even easier. I found a company called Volt that seems to have high quality products at reasonable prices with lifetime warranties. Has anyone ever heard of them or used their products? My only issue is I have to cross 3 walkways. I know my landscaper ran feeder wires in advance but I can't find them. I hate to damage my new landscaping but I may have to unless he is nice enough to tell me where they are.

Any tips?

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 08:55 PM
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You could buy a metal detector for under a hundred bucks. It should be able to find the wires.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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You could buy a metal detector for under a hundred bucks. It should be able to find the wires.
great idea

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 09:42 PM
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I sell this stuff Keith. Excellent quality, and designed for Florida Salt Coastal Environments. Stuff will last forever.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 11:34 PM
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Doubt they were wires, more likely sleeves under the walkways. a little trenching dig should expose the pipe, and if he was paid to do them, ( it's a pretty standard item in landscaping ) he should have no problem telling you the location.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 12:20 AM
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
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Doubt they were wires, more likely sleeves under the walkways. a little trenching dig should expose the pipe, and if he was paid to do them, ( it's a pretty standard item in landscaping ) he should have no problem telling you the location.
Agreed...you probably just have a few pieces of pvc conduit strategically placed. Hopefully he knows where they are.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 09:30 PM
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It doesn't help you but I saw a neat idea about placing conduit on This Old House that would be easy to remember in the future. They were installing a new sidewalk and asked the homeowner how tall he was then placed the conduit that far from the front step.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 04:22 PM
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I was wondering when a lighting question would come up on the forum again. I recently passed a Lighting Certification test - it was the hardest test I have ever taken in my entire life, including Engineering school. Over 10 weeks and about 500 hours of personal study.

I certainly don't know everything about lighting, but I can help.

The link that Rob added is good stuff. The biggest/best manufacturers of LEDs for area lighting are Nichia and CREE, Rob's stuff uses CREE COB "chip on board" - they look like little fried eggs. One of the LED lights is available in both 2700K and 3000K, the 3000K is like the Halogens you are used to, and the 2700K is a little warmer (yellower.) Most people won't know the difference.

A disadvantage of LEDs - and I have this problem in my own yard - is that you can't easily switch the bulb from flood, to spot, to narrow spot, etc., like you could with the common MR16 halogens.

The stuff from Home Depot is OK - just stay away from the solar ones because the batteries die out.

NEVER buy a landscape light where you can directly see the LED itself. This pathway light seems to have the LED on the bottom:

Hampton Bay Solar LED Black Lantern Pathway Light (6-Pack)-NXT-1933 - The Home Depot

Thanks in part to some people I know personally, almost all lighting products now come with a Lighting Facts label. In your case, be sure all of the color temperatures match. (Light color)





Since the LED stuff draws much less power, the transformers are less of an issue nowadays. Just get one that suits your total load, and use the heaviest gauge wire they have at the store - this will increase the usable length of your run.

Other than that - experiement. Uplight trees, "graze" the stucco, brick, or siding on your house to add texture. Remember landscape lighting is a blend of safety and aesthetics. And by all means - highlight that metal artwork!!!!

_
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. I definitely will go with 2700k lights. I always liked softer colored light - one of the reasons I didn't like the early LED stuff. In reading the reviews on different fixtures it is clear that having a direct view of the bulb is a bad thing. Thanks for the reminder.

I think I will order a few different fixtures - walkway, spot and flood and connect them one at a time and move them around the yard to get an idea on what I will need to order.

The landscaper definitely said wire, not conduit. He probably was thinking old wire from the previous system that had become defunct. I'm sure I will figure a way to get to those wires.


Rob - that looks like nice stuff. I also looked at Vista lights but they were over $200 per fixture.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 06:11 AM
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Here's a little story you might be interested in…

A massive lightning bolt struck a tree in our backyard and blew it all to pieces about seven months ago. The surge travelled through the tree's roots and entered our landscape lighting wiring running next to the tree. It literally blew the three closest floodlights out of the ground and ultimately traveled back to the control box in our garage. The control box is a total meltdown. The surge went through the control box's power cord plugged into an outlet next to it (GFCI) and melted it down. Our uVerse outside interface is close by and the surge (via ethernet) got into our house and destroyed every piece of uVerse equipment we had as well as the AT&T wireless router/modem. Via the ethernet, it destroyed an Apple TV and through the Apple TV's HDMI connection, it destroyed all of the HDMI inputs (except one coming out of the side of the TV on as separate circuit) into our Pioneer plasma TV. Also, apparently by an HDMI connection, it destroyed a Pioneer receiver attached to the television.

This past weekend, I finally finished ripping out and throwing all of our landscape lighting and associated wiring and control box into the dumpster where it will remain. I am not replacing it.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
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Rob - that looks like nice stuff. I also looked at Vista lights but they were over $200 per fixture.
It is nice stuff. Will last many years. They hold patents on the wiring connectors and such. Retail wise, Coastal Source is in the same range, and a tad more in some cases. But as usual, I'll hook up my forum brothers. Gladly sell at cost plus shipping.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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It is nice stuff. Will last many years. They hold patents on the wiring connectors and such. Retail wise, Coastal Source is in the same range, and a tad more in some cases. But as usual, I'll hook up my forum brothers. Gladly sell at cost plus shipping.
PM sent.

The connectors look very clever. I'm surprised more companies don't do something similar. Splicing was by far the worst part when I added lights at my other house.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 06:38 PM
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PM sent.

The connectors look very clever. I'm surprised more companies don't do something similar. Splicing was by far the worst part when I added lights at my other house.
Pm replied.

I hear you. With this system, you simple have a pre-terminated Y that you connect the incoming power cable to the fixture, then Y off to the next, and so forth. Very easy, no splicing, and no corrosion or failure of the connections down the road.

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