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Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Top 10 mistakes in lighting

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 LiteGuardsâ„¢ in planter areas. The subterranean environment create the most maintenance problems – avoid it if possible.