Designing With Slack

Friday, February 1, 2013


We have all come to understand that landscapes change, trees grow and shrubs get wider. But sometimes, when a lighting plan is put together, only the initial installation is taken into consideration. Building a lighting plan that is physically adjustable over time can make changes and updates much easier and more cost effective.

Main Wiring

Laying out the wiring is obviously one of the most critical points of any lighting plan. After choosing the method that you are going to use for a plan (T, Daisy Chain, Spoke) simply add extra. Instead of only wiring to the places that are going to have fixtures, add extra to areas that may need light in the future.  Wiring can get expensive so be sparing, but at least bring a run to the area.


It is very easy to put a fixture where it is specified, cut the wire, splice and stake. Adding an extra coil of cable or not shortening the wire at all will allow for movement of the fixture over time. For instance, a tree will generally get wider at its base and canopy. Having the ability to move the fixture outward with the tree will save future wiring additions and tracing.


If you already like to move fixtures around or don’t decide exactly where a fixture goes until you fully check the system at night, you may want to choose a stake that is easily removable. Instead of the single spike stakes that are usually used, try a three prong flat-topped stake that gives a good base, yet still allows for easy removal.


Adjustable dimming and future fixture additions can be much easier on a system that digitally allows the addition for it. Choose a system that will allow you to actively dim a fixture throughout time to adjust for growth. Also, go with the largest lumen output available initially and dim it down. That way you can tune it over time for the needs of the season, structure, and vegetation.

Designing a system with a few physical additions can make immediate and long-term adjustments a lot easier. Adding room for future improvements can bring future business as well as make a system grow and cultivate with a property. Implementing these easy tips can save a lot of headaches and time for you and your customers down the line.