Landscape & Irrigation


Landscape and Irrigation is read by decision makers throughout the landscape and irrigation markets — including contractors, landscape architects, professional grounds managers, and irrigation and water mgmt companies and reaches the entire spetrum.

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customer mentions they like to entertain a lot, that statement might be a hint to use a dramatic approach, rather than a "safety and security" approach. Ask the customer some lifest yle questions, such as: Where do they spend the most amount of time? How do they use their outside areas? Public spaces such as front yards may need more dramatic illumination to show off the architecture. Backyards are typically more private areas, and the client may ask for a calmer and warmer effect. Lighting can create the mood or destroy it. Your client will tell you how they feel about light if you ask them. This will set you apart from the "10 light set" installers. With your skill, you should have no trouble designing a lighting system if you are asking the right questions. The following are additional tips for designing with light. Language One challenge in describing lighting is the language we use. When talking with fellow lighting designers, it's great to use technical terms — but it's easy to lose your customer with this language. Understanding your audience is extremely important. Sharing your design concepts with customers in a non-technical way will pay off in the long run. Viewing angles Knowing the viewing angle of the object that you are lighting is crucial. There are installations where a fixture was installed "per plan," but the fixture is on the wrong side of a block wall — and the light effect was not viewable from the customer's patio. It's also helpful to observe an object you want to light from multiple angles; move around the area (indoors and/or outdoors) with the customer. Tactics for small areas If the proposed area proposed to light is quite small, it might feel even more cramped if you only light architecture and plants within that area. A method used to make small spaces feel bigger is to capture objects that are farther away, but still in view. This strategy will help draw your eye out to a focal point rather than the immediate space. This same concept can be used to light focal points in a landscape that are far away. Layering Layering light within a landscape lighting plan creates a dramatic look. Achieve this effect by using different lighting methods, such as uplighting, downlighting, backlighting, and path lighting. Hardscape plans Build hardscape features to accept the lighting you plan to install. For example, use a large capstone for a knee wall to help disguise the light source. Or install an LED light strip underneath the ledge of an outdoor kitchen just by planning and having a slightly larger overhang. The options are endless when designing the hardscape around a lighting plan. Designing with beam angles Just as a sprinkler system has nozzles with different spray patterns and precipitation r a te s , a go o d l i g h t i n g s y s te m u s e s projection lamps in many wattages and with different beam angles. Beam angles in projection lamps are normally available in three styles: 15 degree, 30 degree, and 60 degree. Some manufacturers now offer the option of 100-degree and 120-degree lamps. Thinner objects such as pillars, some statuary, and topiary trees may need a tight 15-degree beam angle or optic. This beam angle may also be used in some contemporary applications to create light beam sculpture on walls. Flagpoles and tall trees may need a 30-degree lamp or optic depending on the height. The beam spread of the lamp will widen and soften as it rises. Wider trees and walls may need a 60-degree lamp or optic. Contractors often use the 60-degree lamp to achieve a dramatic "V" pattern on a wall. Wider beam angles such as a 100 degree or 120 degree can be used as a wall washer to create backlighting effects. Since these wider beam angles were introduced, contractors can now use a simple adjustable uplight for many applications. Managing shadows In exterior lighting, shadows can be a good thing when accenting plants onto a wall or side of a building. This effect adds texture and depth to a design. Another example of good exterior shadows would be downlighting a tree. The goal of downlighting is to emulate what the sun does during the day. Recreating this look at night can add stunning beauty to an area. The lights mounted up in the tree will cast light through the lower branches, creating small shadows on the ground. These are good shadows — when the wind blows, these shadows dance on the ground. For additional lighting design expertise and product guidance, consult with your lighting manufacturer of choice. And remember, when designing with light, always start by asking "Why light?" Article provided by Brilliance LED, a manufacturer of high- performance landscape retrofit lamps serving both commercial and residential markets, and a leader in the LED and Green Industry. For more information and design tips, visit Landscape and Irrigation September 2017 11 Backyards are typically more private areas, and the client may ask for a calmer and warmer effect.

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