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Thread: Anyone have any experience in landscape lighting?

  1. #1
    Jun 2008
    Richmond VA

    Anyone have any experience in landscape lighting?

    As I have stated in a few other posts, I plan on attending school to earn my BLA.
    But just recently I have discovered the small niche of Landscape Lighting and it seems very appealing.

    My father is a Master Electrician and my younger brother just earned his journeymans card.
    We have been discussing over the last 2 days, the possibility of starting a business together as a landscape architecture/lighting design and build firm after I earn my BLA.

    Does anyone have any information they could share? Does one need to have a special certification or education in landscape lighting?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Dec 2006
    At a banquet last December, I sat next to one of my firm's lighting subconsultants. He worked for many years in movie lighting before branching into landscape lighting and now runs his own firm. You will probably take a course in electrical systems for your BLA. A co-worker took a few classes in electrical circuitry while working on his MLA and now does most of the electrical plans for landscape lighting. Most BLA/MLA programs do not go into too much depth with this (it's usually assumed that engineers would be doing this) but there are landscape designers who do this work.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
    Dec 2006
    Los Angeles, California
    As licensed landscape architect in the state of california I only specifiy fixture/housing type, location of fixtures and operating system. If you do nothing but low voltage you generally do not need to do a wiring plan and it is direct burial.

    On large projects you just do the schematics and then have the electrical engineer to the techinical plans.
    Looking for Sanity
    In this Crazy Land Of Ours

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
    Jul 2006
    Tip of the Iceberg
    Quote Originally posted by fullboat View post
    Does anyone have any information they could share? Does one need to have a special certification or education in landscape lighting?......
    1. Some LA specifies only the lighting fixtures (for fixtures that are readily available in the market) and show the locations in the plans. Others design it by themselves (for a unique class of lighting fixtures) the size of luminaire, its color, desired lumens, etc. - then let the suppliers do the fabrication. LA specifies the materials that match its LA designs.

    2. The design of the wiring system/circuit diagrams (i.e., sizes of the wires, layout, load computations, panelboard, etc) are done by professional electrical engineers.

    3. Electrical engineers are required to have degrees and certification or licences before they can practice the profession. Some locality allows master electricians for small loading electrical lighting.

    4. An LA can also get EE certification provided it passed the criteria and requirements in item 3.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
    Oct 2003
    A Dog in a Hat
    The people that do lighting for our design projects come from our Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing department. I think most of them are electrical engineers by training but have experience working with landscape architects.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian prana's avatar
    Aug 2001
    SERA Architects-Portland
    Check out a program called Visual. I have used this for the last few years for mostly parking lot, sidewalk and trail lighting in larger commercial and master planned communities, but I have done a couple of private residences with smaller landscape lighting with pretty good success. It doesn't get into the wiring part of the practice, but maps your foot candles and works in 3D to be able to show light spillage (which there shouldn't be any if you are a good designer!!)

    You will find lots of information on the Dark Sky website. Good guidelines.

    And most large lighting manufacturers will have their files online that plug into the Visual software. Others will just take a phone call and have them emailed to you.
    "You can measure the health of a city by the vitality and energy of its streets and public open spaces.-- William H. Whyte..

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