In a previous post I mentioned that for landscape lighting designers “our goal is simple”. While this is true, our job, is not so simple. I have to reference again the presentation to landscape architects on outdoor living spaces. In one of the presentations on landscape lighting design, the presenter went into all the subtle nuances of fixtures, beam spreads, junction temperatures of LED chip sets, and color temperatures of lamps. Some of the architects eyes rolled back in their heads and they were lost. The question is, did the presenter overcomplicate it? The answer is both yes and no.
First, I will say no. The reason I say no is because everything that was discussed in a forty-five minute presentation on landscape lighting design was spot on.
Secondly, I will say yes because it was too much for most of the landscape architects. They were given years worth of information in a forty five minute presentation. So much information in such a short amount of time that a lot of them tuned out and didn’t get back into the presentation until it came back to what they understood. What they wanted to understand is, “How will this make my project look good?”
The reality of this for anyone thinking about lighting is there is too much behind the scenes for you to do correctly to get the right effect. It is our job as a lighting/design build company to not only specify what fixtures go into the scene but to also to know why. A colleague of mine once said, “we move stuff around until it looks good.” There is a lot of truth to that. Landscape lighting is an art and it is open to artistic interpretation. Landscape lighting is also a trade. A trade, that requires electrical licensing in Connecticut to install. We, the professional lighting design/build contractors know all the equipment and code requirements to get to the point where we can “move it around until it looks good.” We have done our own testing and research. We don’t take a manufacturer’s “word” for reality. We have found what works and we rely on the products we use to ensure that our lighting systems are built to last. I think as professionals sometimes we may oversimplify exactly what we do.
The overall effect of what you can achieve with your landscape lighting can be increased dramatically by having a lighting/design build company work with you. A landscape designer or architect should never have to worry or even think about what kind of fixtures do they use in a particular situation. If they ask a manufacturer’s sales rep they will only get the standard company line that the rep has to give.
If the landscaper works with the lighting design/build company they will get the proper fixtures in the necessary places. They will get the wiring done safely and effectively to National Electrical Code requirements. More importantly, the end user will have a system that was installed to effectively light the landscape and last for years to come. Everyone wins in this scenario.