Landscape Lights look odd?

CaroleOHJanuary 4, 2014

I posted this over in the landscape design forum, but I honestly think you all can give me just as good advice as this is a design issue!

We've recently had landscape lighting installed throughout our yard and one area we wanted illuminated was the approach from the street. We don't have street lights, so this area in particular is very dark at night.

We have a two tiered planting bed with hostas and other perennials and I wanted the rocks illuminated because they are a very nice landscape feature.

This is what I got. These are path lights and the one to the far left is elevated about 24" from the ground. I think they look silly. I do not like how they look in the daylight. I'm attaching a picture from the summer and one I took with the lights recently installed. Granted it's winter, but it's winter a long time in OH so this is my reality 4-5 months a year. The red flags are just from this install - they will be not there all the time.
This is a shot of the same general area without snow!

Here's in the winter but showing the lights

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I agree they look a bit silly. I would have used smaller spot lights along the front to illuminate the rocks. At least the wiring is now there and it shouldn't be too hard to change out the low voltage fixtures.

If it really is very dark on your street I would even consider running some full voltage wires from the house and placing a couple of lamp post by your driveway entrance.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 5:22PM
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I installed pagoda lights (link below) in the garden along our walkway paths. They're pretty inconspicuous among the plants, but I'm pleased with the amount of light they give off (more than you think and low to the ground). I think it would be easy to switch out your lights for pagoda lights, and you'd get lighting that would highlight your pretty stone and still provide good functionality.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plain old pagoda light for paths

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 5:43PM
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Awm03, how long have you ad your light in? I'm looking for solar lighting that gives incandescent type lighting also since I don't want the maintenance sometimes associated with plug in. Have you had problems?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 6:43PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I would try out LED spots or floods to shine up on the rocks and maybe some up on the trees...they offer enough of a halo that it will help light the way.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 6:49PM
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We have a rock wall along our driveway and we had the landscaper install uplights at the base of the rocks. You can't see the fixtures unless you're standing next to them and they do a great job of lighting the stones. We also have some further out in the yard uplighting some of the trees.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 7:04PM
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I just got them installed about 8 weeks ago. They're not solar -- I wanted a stronger light so no one trips on winding stairs, but didn't want to light up the yard like an airport runway either. A 60 watt bulb or its equivalent does the job perfectly.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 7:06PM
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These lights from Lowes would have served your purpose better. You're trying to wash the face of the rocks, so in effect, the rocks become the surface that reflects the light.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:00AM
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What did they say about them? I'm surprised there was no discussion about what would be done and you being able to choose the fixtures.

If you replace them, make sure you know what color the light is going to be. They are making very bright bluish white lights now, probably LED, that give a cold harsh look to things and can even look kind of eery. Not the best choice for a traditional home, imo.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:48AM
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I agree that they look goofy. Like your landscaper was trying to get by with the least amount of work possible - looks like he just walked along, sticking these things (a couple of inches in the ground) willy-nilly. And with Ohio's freeze-thaw cycle, I would expect these tall lights never to remain standing straight up.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 12:19PM
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Definitely need something lower. I just want to add my 2 cents about the type of bulb. We just replaced the bulbs in our lampost light-we got CFLs but they're 'daylight' feature-which is apparently the CFL equivalent of LED in coloring-it's very blue and we don't like the coloring.

The streetlight across from us was also recently updated to the LED color-the blue/white light and while it definitely provides more light, it is very eerie and cold. Makes me long for the old yellow lights! But then, I've noticed new car headlights are also that blue/white-so perhaps us old people just have to get used to the new reality.

However, yes, OP-you definitely need something shorter than those tall stalks. I like the positionable uplights shown in a post above.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 12:23PM
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Oh I miss the warm lights already. Hate the thought of all the streets and lamp lights going psychedelic white.

Those car lights are dangerously blinding. They ought to be outlawed. What are they thinking. I'm surprised the insurance industry isn't all over it.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Just a FYI on the lights. The ones that aim straight up are always covered in bark dust and dirt. It coats the lenses making it really difficult to remove the dirt film. It also makes the light not very effective. So get the ones on a stake like the first pic that Beverly is showing. And if these are low voltage look at the new LEDs. You get more light illumination for the wattage. Because, as you probably know, transformers are rated to a maximum number of wattage.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:16PM
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carol, I don't mind the location of the lights but the design does nothing for your style of yard. I can't tell from the photo but do the fixtures cast the light downward? I feel something more decorative is needed and you should enjoy seeing them as you enter your driveway, whether it's winter or summer time.
My guess is the installer maxed out on wattage and used the the number of lights that the transformer (and run of wire) allowed. As others mentioned, I think you need more lights added. Adding a couple of lamp posts would look nice but if you want to stick with low voltage then just add up-lights below the rock wall and some around the trees.
Check out a few landscape sites, or visit a local dealer, and you'll see the difference in the amount of light you get from each fixture. Pathlights tend to give a nice glow and only emit enough light to see what's at your feet.

pesky1, 'daylight' and 'warm white' is available in both LED and CFL's. What's difficult for me is finding a warm-white CFL or LED that can be used in an outdoor, enclosed fixture. I had to go to 3 stores the other day to find one.
Most people think the LED comes only as a bright blue white but that is no longer the case.
If you want an LED bulb in you lamp post I suggest buying one that is listed as 'warm-white' and you'll get the warm yellowish glow most people prefer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Info for pesky

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 1:21PM
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My folks have had lights similar to this in a couple of homes, currently a few around the turnaround. They have a kind of green/bronze patina, very natural looking (well, kind of 60s/Jens Jensen looking) I love them. They look cute with snow on top, too. I think they'd go well with your rocks. Here's kind of what they look like:

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 2:27PM
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Caroleoh, you are right about your lights. They are too spindly and too tall. Is it possible the company assumed you will be planting something bigger and bushier in those areas, and installed what they did to antipate the need for higher lights?

Whoever said up thread she did not want her house looking like a runway, I have to laugh....we have installed a lot of bright lighting in our back area...snakes live out there and I am hoping the light will scare them away.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 7:30PM
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That's a good point but, if so, why wouldn't they ask? There are low growing perennials in place no shrubs. What discussions took place for the design? The lack of communication baffles me.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 7:54PM
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Thanks for all your comments, we did talk about the fixture but he wasn't real specific and I figured he knew what he was doing so I'd let him do this thing.

They are LED lights and the color isn't blue, so that's a good thing. I'm not too worried because he will swap them out for whatever we want. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't being overly difficult with making him swap them out.

We probably shouldn't have done this project in the winter as my plantings are all gone and actually that photo was from a few years ago, so the actual plants have grown and I've added quite a few.

We have a spot light under the tree on the right side like what was posted earlier, so I think I'll have him swap out the path lights for spots.

These lights are pretty expensive and we're doing the front and back yard - over 30 lights, so we didn't go hog wild on the approach area.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 1:56PM
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