Exterior and Site Lighting Design Guidelines
Exterior lighting includes any lighting that is mounted outside of livable building areas such as in landscaping, parking areas, along walkways and paths, on the outside of building walls, under eaves and patio covers, under open shed covers and within 3 feet of the openings in buildings where the opening is not regularly closed (such as breezeways and entry courts.
Zoning Interpretation Regarding Exterior Lighting in ESL (pdf/282kb/2pp)
To achieve low scale requirements exterior lighting can either be:
No power at plug Tripped breaker or GFI Reset circuit breaker in main panel or the GFI usually located in a bathroom, garage or kitchen.
GFI keeps tripping Ground problem or defective GFI GFI’s are notorious for nuisance tripping. Use a high grade model such as the Hubbell #GF5252I.
1. DON’T OWN A VOLTMETER:
Don’t own a volt meter – Trying to install anything electrical without a digital volt meter is like trying to install an irrigation system without a shovel or to eat soup with a fork – it can be done but having the right tools makes it a lot easier.
2. DIDN’T OFFER THE CLIENT A RANGE OF OPTIONS:
With proper planning and cabling, lighting can truly be done in phases. Also, don’t determine what the client should spend on lighting; present the options and let him decide the value of light.
3. A LACK OF SWITCHING FLEXIBILITY:
A lighting layout must reflect the different uses a well-designed landscape will provide: i.e., entertaining, at home alone, or away from home. There are some areas (BBQ) you should light only when they’re in use.
4. DID NOT USE WATERPROOF SPLICE:
We don’t care what brand you use; just make sure the connection is waterproof (no black tape…please!). Poor system performance results when splices corrode, creating electrical resistance.
5. NOT ENOUGH SOURCES OF LIGHT:
Trying to illuminate large areas / objects with too few fixtures of large wattage results in nasty glare and unbalanced effect. The neat thing about 12v fixtures is their micro size allowing them to be installed anywhere.
6. VOLTAGE DROP:
Layout logistics rule of thumb: 100′ / 100 watts per 12 gauge cable. To minimize voltage loss and add functionality to the project, insist on having adequate 120v outlets for transformers, catering and other outdoor functions.
7. USING OVER 80% OF CAPACITY IN INITIAL DESIGN:
Clients always add lights; they rarely delete lights. Leave room on the transformer size for that eventuality. Also, our RS-20 can be upgraded to an RS-35 with a simple lamp change.
8. NO THREE-DIMENSIONAL LIGHTING EFFECTS:
Use vertical elements to downlight (moonlight), area light or trellis light. This is the most efficient and elegant type of lighting; it’s also the most under-used. This effect gets fixtures out of harm’s way.
9. THE USE OF PATHLIGHTS TURF:
Regardless of brand, fixtures prefer not to be mowed, fertilized or watered. When possible, use downlights or wall lights instead of pathlights or place them in planter areas only.
10. TOO MANY WELL LIGHTS:
To minimize maintenance, use well lights only in turf areas; use regular spotlights or LiteGuards™ in planter areas. The subterranean environment create the most maintenance problems – avoid it if possible.
Ambient Light Lighting throughout a space that produces general illumination.
Ampere (amp) Unit to express the flow quantity of electricity. Analogous to gallons per minute.
Baffle An accessory that prevents light from producing glare at certain angles.
Ballast Auxiliary unit used with HID lamps to provide the power to start the lamp and regulate the voltage, current & waveform while it is in use. A ballast is required for each HID lamp.
Brightness A negative term associated with glare producing luminaries. (more…)
The Laser Landscape Light combines laser and holographic optical elements to produce stunning lighting effects you must see to believe. Simply point the fixture toward trees or bushes to watch your outdoor landscape come alive with thousands of twinkling lights. The fixture comes in a beautiful bronze finish, is easy to install, and is weather-resistant. (more…)
A common mistake made by many is to replace existing lamps with lamps of higher wattage than those originally installed. As an example, Mr. Smith has a low volt system with a 600 watt transformer and 25 fixtures illuminating his landscape. All of the original fixtures had 20-watt lamps in them for a total load on the transformer of 500 watts. (more…)
This will help the life of your system!
Typical of most every mechanical appliance, the components of the landscape lighting system will require periodic maintenance in order to keep the system operating at peak performance. The wise Lighting Installer will incorporate a Lighting Maintenance Program into his or her offering. Maintenance will typically include lamp replacement, fixture, transformer and cable inspection, cleaning and repair.
Lamp life is rated in hours of operation. If lamps are rated for 4000 hours at 12 volts it means that at 4000 hours, 50% of the lamps are still working and 50% are not.
How many times have you changed a burned out light bulb in your lifetime? Fifty times? One hundred times? What did you do with all the old bulbs? If you’re like most people, you simply tossed them into the trash can and forgot about them. It is the right time to think about LED light bulbs and their competitive advantages!
Well…those ordinary light bulbs, the ones you’ve been tossing into the trash every month for years, contain highly toxic gases. And while those light bulbs sit in a landfill, they’re joined by millions more broken, discarded bulbs, and the mercury inside all of them slowly leaches into and poisons the soil. Comparing with traditional lights, LED light lamps are more environmentally friendly. (more…)
FX products are manufactured in southern California where we comply with the world’s toughest environmental, labor and work place safety regulations. We are proof positive that an American company can still compete very successfully with foreign made brands. We win the game with superior quality, delivery and support.
REAL EFFECT LIGHTING NOT HARDWARE STORE TOYS
Unlike plastic / metal kit lighting, the FX system is comprised of architectural grade components engineered to be specified and installed by professionals. The effects shown on this page cannot be performed with “kit” lighting.