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Landscape Lighting Irrigation & Lighting — The Similarities By Kevin Smith


The need for irrigation and the need for lighting are so different … yet so similar. Some people might consider both a “nice to have” while others would definitely consider one or both a “need to have.” Whether for convenience, safety or functional utility, irrigation and lighting do go together!


While sprinkler systems have nozzles with different spray patterns and precipitation rates, a good lighting system uses projection lamps in many wattages and beam angles.


Most irrigation contractors use a precipitation chart with a sprinkler system design to ensure head-to-head coverage. Lighting contractors should use photometric charts to select the correct lamp for the job.


MR-16 2700K 30° 4W Candle Power = 692


Distance 2 ft 4 ft 6 ft 8 ft


10 ft 15 ft 20 ft 30 ft 40 ft 50 ft


1' 1" 2' 2" 3' 3" 4' 3" 5' 4" 8'


10' 9" 16' 1" 21' 5"


26' 10"


Foot-Candles 173.00 43.25 19.22 10.81 6.92 3.08 1.73 0.77 0.43 0.28


The following reviews a few lighting basics. Beam angles in projection lamps are normally available in three styles: 15-degree, 30-degree and 60-degree. Some manufacturers are now also offering 100- and 120-degree lamps.


Replacement lamps are not the only source for beam angles. Back in the halogen days, contractors were taught to design using the lamp and beam angles to create the effect. Many manufacturers are now offering integrated LED fixtures with built-in and exchangeable optic packages.


From a design perspective, thinner objects such as pillars, some statuary and topiary trees may require a tight 15-degree beam angle or optic. This may also be used in some contemporary applications to create light beam sculptures on walls.


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