Lighting Up Texas
By Bernie Granier, StarShine Of Texas
This Texas lighting project was completed in six weeks, and boasts more than 160 lighting fixtures fed by 1,500 feet of 12/2 cable and powered by five transformers. The contractor lit the home’s columns and a wall fountain using 6.5-watt, 24-degree LED retrofit Cast well lights. To run the wiring for the fixtures, workers core drilled and performed horizontal boring under the hardscape. To up-light the home’s facade, the crew installed 6.5-watt, 60-degree LED retrofit lamp bullet lights. The Italian cypress (middle photo) was up-lit with a 35-watt, 12-degree MR16 halogen light. The soft light throughout the front of the bed comes from two Cast wall wash lights with 24-watt wedge base lamps. To highlight the architectural details of the second floor, workers mounted two Compact wall-wash lights with 20-watt bi-pin (G4 base) lamps to the roof.
This massive lighting upgrade project in Tomball, Texas challenged StarShine of Texas to transform a 5-acre landscape into a dazzling display of lighting prowess. StarShine was given a free hand and complete artistic license by the homeowners, with the only stipulation being, “Make their property look amazing at night!” No
small request, but one that was accomplished brilliantly, as recognized in 2011 with four awards from the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals (AOLP).
StarShine Of Texas was initially called out to the home on a service call for an existing 60-fixture outdoor lighting system. After repairing some wiring issues and replacing burned-out halogen lamps, StarShine owner Bernie Granier asked the homeowners if they were happy with the lighting system.
Without hesitation they told him they were not, so Granier suggested some changes and additions. The homeowners eagerly accepted, and thus the upgrade began.
StarShine started the project by relocating all of the existing fixtures and adding 100 more. They raised the down-lighting in the trees from 14 to 30 feet, and sometimes more depending on the location and need; they then added extensive down-lighting throughout the rest of the property. They also replaced all of the palms around the pool due to freeze damage, and relocated some of the shrubbery in the front landscaping to locate fixtures in optimum spots.
Overall, the project was completed in six weeks, and employed
additional trade specialists, including plumbers, electricians, and a water feature expert. The company performed all of the fixture work itself, utilizing two crewmembers to bury wiring as needed. In addition to the 100 additional fixtures the company installed, they also ran more than 1,500 additional feet of 12/2 direct bury cable, which was wired to five transformers.
The palms were all up-lit to create a wall of light that would provide privacy by preventing neighbors from being able to see through them at night. Around the perimeter of the pool area, the company down-lit from the mature trees for aesthetic and safety/security purposes. The Canary Palm (far left) was lit using a 4.5-watt, 10-degree integrated LED light.
Upgrading The Existing System
The existing system consisted of a mix of various transformers and halogen fixtures. StarShine reused the majority of the fixtures but re-lamped 95 percent of them with LED retrofit lamps from Ushio and Coppermoon. The majority of the additional fixtures were Kichler LED bullets fixtures. To light the columns in the front of the house and the wall-mounted fountain, they installed Cast well lights with the bronze grate and MR16 LED retrofit lamps. In areas where the fixtures would be seen, they installed a Cast MR16 bullet light. To illuminate the larger portions of the beds they added Cast wall wash fixtures.
One of StarShine’s non-lighting duties was fixing an electrical problem caused by faulty wiring. They used a scaffold and winch to disassemble the fountain to run new wiring into it. Following the repair, they replaced the existing fixtures with four submersible 4.5-watt, 35-degree integrated LED fixtures, as well as replacing the pump. Following this, workers sandblasted and repainted the fountain. In addition to the fixtures inside the fountain, they installed four 4.5-watt, 60-degree integrated LED fixtures in the bed around it to add additional light to the bowls and the basin.
Fixing Existing Problems
Moreover, none of the property’s water features were working when the contractor arrived, so they had all three of them repaired and installed auto-fill valves. To complicate matters, the existing lighting in the large white fountain was spliced within the feature, causing the transformer to trip any time the fountain had water in it. To fix this issue, StarShine had the fountains completely disassembled to redo the lighting wiring.
The lighting crew installed Cast wall wash 24-watt wedge base lamps to light the bed to the left of the walkway; the sago (center) was up-lit with twin 35-watt, 60-degree halogen lamps.
To create a color change, workers planted 100 flats of petunias and snapdragons, topped off with more than 15 yards of mulch. In addition, StarShine added two 8-foot Pindo Palms, replaced eight 65-gallon Pygmy Date Palms, six 14-foot Queen Palms, three 15-gallon Ligustroms, and relocated two 65-gallon Japanese Blueberries and several dwarf yaupon hollies. Due to the massive size of the palms used in the replacements, it took five men to plant them using a Bobcat skid steer.
To create a more private setting, six down-lights were installed. The landscape crew planted ligustroms in this area to hide a wellhead. Overall, one 1,200-watt Cast Master Series transformer, two 600-watt transformers and two Unique 900-watt transformers are used to light the entire project.
Multiple Award-Winning Project
Impressively, this project was finished in less than two months and completely transformed both the landscape and lighting for the entire site. What started out as a simple service call turned into a stunning upgrade of the entire property, reaffirming the adage: It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Not only did the homeowners love the project, but so did the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals (AOLP), which awarded the project with no less than four awards at its 2011 Annual Conference & Expo, including the Award of Merit Best Residential Lighting and the Award of Merit Best of Show Lighting.
The foreground tree is a 65-gallon pygmy date, and in the background grows a Fiji Palm. The Pygmy date is lit with three 4.5-watt, 60-degree integrated LED fixtures and the Fiji is lit with four 35-watt, 24-degree halogen lamps.
Lighting Materials List
· 6-watt LED retrofit lamps
· 6.5-watt Kichler LED fixtures
· 8.5-watt Kichler LED fixtures
· 18-watt wedgebase lamps
· 24-watt wedgebase lamps
· 20-watt halogen bi-pin (G4 base)
· 1,200-watt Cast Master Series transformer
· Two 600-watt transformers
· Two Unique 900-watt transformers
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December 12, 2013, 4:50 pm EST
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