Flagpoles and tall trees may require a 30-degree lamp or optic depending on the height. The beam spread of the lamp will widen and soften as it rises. Wider trees and walls may require a 60-degree lamp or optic. Some contractors use the 60-degree lamp to achieve a dramatic “V” pattern on a wall. Wider beam angles such as a 100- or 120-degree can be used as wall washers to create backlighting effects. Since these wider beam angles have been introduced into the market, contractors are able to use a simple adjustable uplight for many applications.

Since there are so many options in lighting and irrigation, you need to be the expert! One of the biggest mistakes that can be made by a contractor is to simply drop off a lighting/irrigation manufacturer’s catalog and advise the client to “pick out what you like and I’ll install it.” Instead, it is important to advise them. Carry a notepad and keep customers talking to gain a clear understanding of their lifestyle and how they plan to use their outdoor spaces when professionally illuminated and/or irrigated. By asking appropriate questions, customers will be open to communicate how they feel about the task at hand. This will set you apart from the 10 other installers out there.

Lastly, consult with the lighting and/or irrigation manufacturer for additional design expertise and product guidance, if needed.

The simple table below points out the similarities between lighting and irrigation. This will help any landscape contractor understand the basic lighting and irrigation concepts.

Irrigation & Lighting – Technical Similarities Irrigation

Lighting Water meter

Vacuum breaker Controller Valve Pipe

Pipe fittings Sprinkler heads Transformer/power supply

Fuse or circuit breaker (on transformer) Photocell and/or timer

Terminal block (on transformer) Cable

Cable connections Fixtures

Multidegree nozzles Beam angles on lamps

Kevin Smith is the national technical support and trainer for Brilliance LED LLC, one of the original landscape retrofit LED companies that is dedicated to the landscape lighting industry. 31

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