Landscape Lighting Basics

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
I've been hired to install some landscape lighting at a couple of homes. I have never done this and wondered what the basics might be. Looking for ideas and or typical mistakes made by others. Both customers just want to shine light up onto trees and maybe the front of the house.

I plan to install a 120-12 volt transformer outside plugged into a GFI on a wall switch inside the house. Maybe I will use a astro timer to turn it on/off every night. Or am I better off plugging into a GFI and using a time clock at the transformer?

Voltage drop is not an issue as there are only a few fixtures (4, 5 maybe 6) and the distances are pretty short say at about 50 foot max from the transformer.

Any recommendations for wire size, fixture brands (are the big box fixtures something to avoid?). How deep does the LV wire need to be buried? What is a good splicing method where the fixture connects to the LV cable? Are flower pot handholes the way to go?

Thanks in advance for any responses.
 

Rewire

Senior Member
are you working with a landscaper or alone? Stay away from the box store junk. Draw out your lighting plan then meet with the owner at dusk with some portable lights of flashlights to simulate what you will be doing.The dewalt portable flashlight works great as it is easy to adjust.
 

buzzbar

Senior Member
Location
Tacoma, WA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I would use LED fixtures. They're getting much more affordable, and bulb replacements won't be necessary.

Also, anchoring the lights is important. The cheapie 'Malibu' lights always eventually fall over.
 
I would use LED fixtures. They're getting much more affordable, and bulb replacements won't be necessary.

Also, anchoring the lights is important. The cheapie 'Malibu' lights always eventually fall over.
I have heard that LED's are not suitable as "up" lights, as they create little heat and won't melt off snow....OP is in Mass....lots of snow. Again, this is only what I've heard, not sure about facts.
 

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
are you working with a landscaper or alone? Stay away from the box store junk. Draw out your lighting plan then meet with the owner at dusk with some portable lights of flashlights to simulate what you will be doing.The dewalt portable flashlight works great as it is easy to adjust.
Working alone. what does that mean....Dewalt portable flashlights are easy to adjust?

What is a good brand of fixtures and transformers at a reasonable cost?
 

buzzbar

Senior Member
Location
Tacoma, WA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I have heard that LED's are not suitable as "up" lights, as they create little heat and won't melt off snow....OP is in Mass....lots of snow. Again, this is only what I've heard, not sure about facts.
Don't know about keeping snow melted, but LED lights do generate heat. But Massachusetts gets much more snow than Washington state!
 

mark32

Senior Member
Location
Currently in NJ
I too like Hadco, for fixtures and transformers. Kichler is another great company but they are pricey. Whichever brand you go with, as others have and will say, stay away from HD and Lowes for LV landscape fixtures.
 

edward

Senior Member
It all depends how much their budget is.

I always get good multitap 12-22 volt transformers (vista lighting), i always install multiple 8-2 for my main feeds then branch out with #12 to the fixtures.

You can get aluminum fixtures, coated with brass or solid brass fixture. Solid brass expensive but will last a very long time.

http://www.uniquelighting.com/
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Voltage drop is not an issue as there are only a few fixtures (4, 5 maybe 6) and the distances are pretty short say at about 50 foot max from the transformer.

Any recommendations for wire size,
Voltage drop is an issue.

You have to do the calculations for voltage drop based on the wattage of each fixture.


Keep in mind that just five 20 watt lamps at 12 volts is about 10 amps of current.
 

Riograndeelectric

Senior Member
another member here recommended Vista pro lighting.
I used it to replace the previous fixtures installed 8 years ago.
I was very impressed the quality of the lights.
I ordered the LED . I installed the lights in summer of 2011.
no complaints or go backs.
 

Dolfan

Senior Member
Low voltage is only good for a certain height or lighting pathways. To shine up a tree, use a RAB bullet fixture on a mighty post (green or black). Use a CFL daylight bulb to give it a white effect. For real tall trees, add a couple of 150 Metal Halides so that you can see the house from a block away. :eek:Have the homeowner hire there gardner to trench the yard up, so that you can get the PVC deep in the ground. Put it all on a digital time clock and your set.
 
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