Lighting Trees | Landscape Lighting Design by FX Luminaire

Without a doubt, the most exciting part
about landscape lighting design is lighting trees. There are so many types
of trees and so many options available to you from FX luminaire. Let’s take a
look. This is the backyard at the pool house area.
Wow this is great! Nice open spacious backyard a lot of good lighting opportunities back here. What was a favorite part of yours in this property here? We were able to light
some of these really nice large oak trees and redwood trees. You know they
kind of lend themselves to lighting but getting the right angles and all that
was was really fun in this project. Now, with a tree that large how do you know
how many fixtures to use? It’s become one of those things where you
kind of go a little bit off feel but generally with anything of good diameter
you need at least two lights but with a lot of these trees we did three to four
on them just because of their of their size. If you try to just do one light on
a large oak tree you only see half the tree and it really doesn’t look very
good. That’s that’s what I found on trees as large as this you really need
multiple fixtures to be able to compensate for the various
viewable angles. Correct yeah, and that’s that’s one of the big concerns you
always have to make sure that you take into account where is this gonna be
viewed from? And since this is a kind of a sweeping landscape, it’s viewable from
almost all sides so we kind of had to hit those trees from all sides. And on
that same topic I love how you used hex baffles in all the fixtures just to cut
down an even more glare. Yeah you know you can get by without them but anytime you’re gonna get within a few feet of that fixture especially in your pathways
or anything hex baffles are a must, because that’s
one thing that kind of really ruin a good install is that bad glare that you can
get so yeah hex baffles are not very expensive. It’s a good, good investment. So tell me about the down lighting that you did in those large trees. How do you
decide how many down lights or where they’re gonna go in order to create the
effect that you’re creating? Down lighting is an
important aspect especially in the in a sitting area like that. You can only
accomplish so much with up lights more from the artistic side but to get some
actual functional light it’s important to get some down lights, and so this area
I don’t think would be the same without having some nice down lights in that
area. As far as how many, you can definitely overdo it sometimes and we
wanted to make sure that we did just enough so that they have a nice usable
light but almost like it’s not there. You don’t know where it’s coming from kind
of be able to hide the lights and just see the effect of it. I love the effect
of natural down lighting because it makes things feel more comfortable and
inviting. It also creates a lot less contrast that I find as we’re moving
throughout the property, so I really enjoy that. Now when you’re installing a
fixture way up in the tree, what are some techniques that you use to be able to
get it there and make it last there for a long time? A few things are
really important that you do obviously trees grow, and so you want to make sure
that when you’re securing it, you do it in a way that allows for growth and
there’s a few different methods of doing that, but one thing you don’t really want
to do is just pin it as hard as you can to the tree it may look good for a few
weeks or months but pretty soon that wire is gonna get embedded or break and
you may get a short or something so paying attention to those little things
are always good. Definitely using things that won’t rust or corrode, so stainless
steel components. I even like to use the zip ties that allow them to provide room
for the cable to move up it as the tree grows in terms of length as well as to
allow you to be able to add to your maintenance plan to to allow for the
growth of the tree as well. Yeah, and I agree. And that’s a method we’ve recently
adopted and we’ve had really good success with that same method. So Mike we’re at the center of the driveway here, it looks like a roundabout section of
the driveway, and this looks like a pretty important section of the area. Can
you tell me about it? Yeah, absolutely. This is a very important part of the
part of the area and it has a beautiful Ironwood in the center,
which is a very desirable tree it lends itself to lighting very well. So
we have several aspects of lighting we have up lights, we have hanging down
lights, soft hanging down lights, we have directional down lights pointed in order
to all kind of do their own job and really bring all aspects of the lighting
to full bloom in this area. Well that’s a great point about they’re all doing their own job. So what what job specifically are the up lights doing
here, the in-grades? Okay the in-grades now these give us a nice spread
of lighting and kind of shows the texture of the underneath of the tree.
You see the benefits from that from you know all the underside of the beautiful
tree and all the all the foliage and everything like that. Now use three of
them why three? Well, there’s actually four here. In this type of an area it’s very important from all angles and there’s
going to be people viewing this from every side and I don’t want there to be
a weak side so I try to give it 360 degrees of coverage. Great, so why use
an in-grade as opposed to more of a stake mounted up light? Well I just prefer not being able to see the source of the light ever. The KG is
actually one of my favorite fixtures it’s virtually bulletproof it cannot be
a maladjusted by errant landscapers. You can step on it and all kinds of things
and it won’t change the adjustability of it. It fits virtually imperceptibly to the ground, you can’t see in it, it’s fully
adjustable, it’s just a lot of things that I really appreciate about it and it
keeps performing the way you intended. Great, so let’s move to another category
the directional down lights. You have JB’s there. Right. How many are here three?
Yeah. And why use directionals like that? Well, the specific advantage of that in
here is because of its being an Ironwood and a lot of the western trees have
really beautiful bark, you know the client really likes to see that
accentuate the beauty of this one it is such a focal point of when you’re coming
in and those really give you the ability to be able to see the texture of the
tree the beauty of it and it kind of focuses a little bit higher so you have
the underneath part lighted and then you have the downward light so it kind of
encompasses the whole nature of the tree. Now, how do you know where to aim those
directional down lights? The best, most surefire way is to come at
night and kind of adjust it but I mean just through experience and things like
that you might have to do some fine-tuning at night but you’ll be happy
with the result. So you mentioned you’re concerned about
the glare and the in-grades. How do you get rid of the glare from from up in the
tree like that? Well all of those fixtures come with a pretty substantial
shield which is fully adjustable so you have to be kind of cognizant of where
the people are going to be viewing the tree from most likely, but generally was
such a shield, it’s shielded so strongly that you can prevent the source of the
light from being in your eyes. And do you use the branches themselves as a
glare protection? That’s a very good point. There’s a lot of branches you
can kind of hide it back in the nooks and crannies behind there to let the
tree kind of work for you in that aspect. That’s great
information Mike what about their pendants I see maybe five or six
pendants around the tree where are they aimed and what function are they doing? Well, I really love the pendants because they kind of hang from the tree and they
kind of flow in the wind and at night they’ll give you the nice flowing
shadows, but their main purpose for me is to give kind of the outer lighting the
general light kind of analogous with a wall wash basically in this
instance where it will kind of give us a soft general subtle lighting around the
exterior. Now, with three different categories in-grades, directional downs,
and the pendants, are they controlled independently? Yes they are. And what value does that give you? It’s always good to be flexible, you know, to be
able to adjust like if we have a party at night we can have them all on
and everything like that and then you know the individual controlling
gives you flexibility as far as a nightly aspect or just to be able to
have the change the color or either the intensity of the light. You know my
favorite way to zones areas like this would be to turn off the in-grades at let’s say 11 o’clock but keep the pendants on throughout. That’s right and it just gives you a soft light so a lot of people have security
concerns you know and they can still be able to see through their yard and make
sure that you know. It’s just really beautiful and soft at night I
really like that aspect. I do too Mike, thanks for showing me So Chris tell me about the lighting plan that you developed here around this
tree area. What we did was we took into consideration where this tree sat on the
property. There’s a road that comes in from this direction, there’s a sitting
area behind us there that the family spends a lot of time at, so we wanted
this tree to be visible from multiple angles. How many fixtures did
you decide here? We decided that three to triangulate it would be the best course
of lighting it. And what effect does up lighting create for the homeowner? What they’re gonna be able to see with the up lighting from this position in this tree
on the property is, that deck is raised. If we were to do down lighting it’s gonna
light below the tree in the canopy they’re not really gonna see it from the
deck this way when they’re going up it’s gonna light up through the canopy and
they’ll be able to see it from multiple angles. Interesting. So now I also noticed
that you elected to use in grade KG fixtures as opposed to a typical stake
mounted like an NP or FB. Correct.
Why in grade versus stake mounted? We went with the in grade here because the railing allows you to come
forward enough that if there was the above-ground bullet style up lights, they
can cause glare issues when someone looks down. This way, this fixture here
the KG well light is just throwing light directly up, so there’s not that
glare issue. I like I like in-grades as well because it allows the light to
start right at the base rather than if you have a stake mounted fixture light
doesn’t really start until the first foot or so, so you’ve a lot of darkness
down at the base of the trunk. Correct. What about maintenance? Does it save on maintenance a little bit or cost an extra bit? No the KG well light
is a great fixture. The maintenance guys aren’t going to kick it and knock it out
of alignment, they’re not going to break the stake. It’s definitely a good choice
for this property. So here we basically have a typical palm tree.
In this case it’s a big wide palm tree. It’s a canary palm and what we wanted to
do was light it evenly give it some depth and dimension. It’s an anchor point
for yard, so when so just putting one big fat light on it and kind of flat
lighting it we chose to use two of the NP up light fixtures. And so and so why just two in this area? Well you’re really not
gonna see it from the back and we didn’t want to see a the beam from the front so
this gives us enough depth and character and it gets the job done because we
didn’t know if you’re gonna go with a wide wash light or something a little
bit more compact and in this case the NP it gives us kind of both. How so? Well, because we were gonna go with just a regular you know LED and just give it
the warm tone and call it good but when we did the lighting demo we used
some color so we use ZDC and that did two things really. One, it gave us an option to change the color on the palm tree and what we’re looking for
is just a warm look and we were able to get the exact pop that the customer was
looking for. In fact, they didn’t even know they were looking for but once
we started experimenting with color they saw that. So, in my experience with using
color, it’s kind of you could go bright color and really make it wow and you
know patriotic colors with the red and blue if you wanted to in this case yeah
but one of things we want to do is we wanted to make it subtle but yet make it
pop and so what we’re able to do was just warm up the trunk of the tree by
using a little bit more of the brunt of the orange scale to highlight the
brown in the trunk. Okay so when you’re adjusting that hue and maybe the saturation you really like to finesse that to really make all the colors pop. Yeah I mean I like to try and give you a high definition lighting appeal so that
when you’re looking at the landscape everything kind of has its own place but
then certain things pop out at you. Well that’s a great tool to use
because it’s not just those I call them the Vegas colors where they’re very
intense. It’s a combination of those for the special events when you
need them but really let’s go back to a white that you need for it in every day
event or every day evening. And that’s really the benefit of having ZDC because
you can have these special events and you can always bring it back to white. Yeah, it gave us a lot of options. There’s a optics kit on the ZDC
which gives us a nice wide beam spread as well. Okay so that gives you the
flexibility of color as well as allowing you to have that wide spread to
highlight the large canopy. Yeah so we can hit most of the canopy and give us a nice warm tone on the trunk. Great, well done.
Thank you. Trees are key to most landscape design. Trees are traditionally illuminated with
up lights with a special focus to ensure all areas of the tree are highlighted
from the various viewing angles. use long shrouds or hex baffles when the
light source is visible to your general audience. Focus on lighting the trunk and
branching structure of a tree instead of the leaves. Always ensure the tree is
properly pruned. When you install down lights within a tree canopy you can achieve a very dramatic moon lighting look. Because trees are vital to most
landscapes, they can be illuminated with color to create fun looks and themes. I hope you learned some new techniques for
letting trees today. For more information, go to


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