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Thread: Backyard lighting suggestions

  1. #1

    Default Backyard lighting suggestions

    I have a fenced portion of my backyard where I'd like to add some lighting. It's about a 70 yard long x 30 yard wide area. It's open and flat. My house is centered at the front of this portion and is 45' wide. I'd like to add 2 or 4 light fixtures to the back of my house to flood this area with light. So I would like enough throw to reach back 200+ feet but flood the area as much as possible. If I have to compromise, I'd rather short the throw to flood as much as possible up closer to the house. I would be willing to mix and match light styles to overlap coverage; 2 short, 2 long. Lights would be mounted 12-14' above the ground. I am far enough out in the country that the only light at night is the moon and stars. Currently, the house only has 1 fixture in the back. It is a two flood type bulb fixture by the back door. They cover the 10'x10' concrete pad/porch, but are pretty much a joke for backyard lighting. I am more concerned with performance over budget. If they consume so much power they throw a breaker at the local powerplant or if a plane attempts to land in my backyard... that would be awesome. I'll likely be asking some questions in the flashlight forums as well, but I don't even know where to begin for the house lighting. I'll have an electrician do the install and wire everything up. I just need to know what to buy. If someone could point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* FRITZHID's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    well this leaves alot of open territory. size of fixtures, wattages, instant-on or warm up, and color indexing. for large flood and distance, HID is best, but has drawback of warm up time, fluorescent is good for local lighting but not throw and has the drawback of poor cold weather operation. LED can be good for low power use and instant light but require multiple emitters, cooling, and can be quite costly. and each of these have their own special quarks as well. give us a few more details and we will do what we can to suggest the best lights for your application. @ the moment however, i'm thinking HID would probably be best for your application with the info given.
    if your not wearing a #12 welding screen than it ain't bright enough! "Hand-Sun H.I.D." 55w & 75w(for sale), Rocky 3w LED, Stanley 109 35w mod'd, Maxa-Beam Gen II, 55w hid/100w incan Vector Twin, 400w MH long arc, 100w MH mid arc. Amondotech n30.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    I'm not too worried about the size or wattage. I want performance. "Warm up time" is pretty vague. If it were a second or two, that would be okay. If it were 5 minutes like the lights in a school gym, that would not be acceptable. I need cold weather operation capabilites and don't want to fall to short of my 70 yard throw goal. Fluorescent doesn't sound like it's for me. Explain the downfalls of LEDs a little more if you could. I just need more lights? Could you link to a few options? I really like LEDs. But if HID will get it done for a fraction of the cost and doesn't have a crazy warm up time, then that might be the way to go. I'm not worried about having obnoxiously large lights hanging off the back of my house. Thanks for the reply.

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    Flashaholic* FRITZHID's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    well then i guess it comes down to $. how much do ya wanna spend?
    if your not wearing a #12 welding screen than it ain't bright enough! "Hand-Sun H.I.D." 55w & 75w(for sale), Rocky 3w LED, Stanley 109 35w mod'd, Maxa-Beam Gen II, 55w hid/100w incan Vector Twin, 400w MH long arc, 100w MH mid arc. Amondotech n30.

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    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    Personally I would recommend two 400 watt metal halide flood lights. They do take a little while to warm up but they're much better than gym lighting. And the best thing is their low cost, unfortunately the same can't be said for your electricity bill.

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    Flashaholic* JohnR66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    Sounds like the lighting might be for outdoor activities rather than constant on security lighting. If so, ordinary PAR type halogen lighting might work. Eight or ten 100 watt bulbs positioned around the yard would work. At 200 feet out, you really need to get electricity and fixtures to the back of the yard rather than try to beam light from a distance.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by FRITZHID View Post
    well then i guess it comes down to $. how much do ya wanna spend?
    Depends on the bang for the buck. Maybe $1000? I could go a little more if it's going to be an awesome setup. But if I can't get 90% of that performance for $300-400, then that makes more sense to me. What do I need to spend to get it done?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR66 View Post
    Sounds like the lighting might be for outdoor activities rather than constant on security lighting. If so, ordinary PAR type halogen lighting might work. Eight or ten 100 watt bulbs positioned around the yard would work. At 200 feet out, you really need to get electricity and fixtures to the back of the yard rather than try to beam light from a distance.
    It won't be a constant on type of application. I'll likely have my standard flood light that is already there on one switch and these on another. They would be just for outdoor activities. I don't have security issues in my area unless you count wild animals. And positioning them around the yard would definately be an issue. That's simply not going to happen. I know it's unlikely I can get that much throw with the flood capabilites I want shooting from one side of the rectangle, but I'd like to get as close as I could.

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    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by FullAuto View Post
    ... I am more concerned with performance over budget. If they consume so much power they throw a breaker at the local powerplant or if a plane attempts to land in my backyard... that would be awesome. ...
    If that's true, forget LEDs, forget fluorescent. You want HID, if you can tolerate the warm-up time... I light one side of our yard with 2 x 39W HID 30-degree flood lights (PAR 30) mounted at about 16 feet up. So that's about 5000 lumens. Looking out, I can't see much at 200'. So you'll need serious lumens, and serious narrow beams. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably get a few 70W, 100W, or 150W 15 degree CMH PAR38 lamps and see how that works... Not a cheap experiment, and there's no avoiding the warm-up time as far as I know...

    That said, a wall mounted fixture shining out 200' creates really crappy lighting at that distance. You'll be able to see the raccoons, but it's not a place you want to be yourself because the glare will be nasty. Simply put, good lighting 200 feet out from a 14 foot high fixture is not going to happen...
    Jim

  10. #10

    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    I love this thread...I wish I could help with LEDs, but, you'd have to be handy and have some tools and basic electrical knowledge. LEDs if designed right with reflectors and proper heat sinks can pinpoint exactly where you want the light, low voltage, low wattage. If you buy commercial, Metal Halide is the way to go. However if you like to tinker...(I think soldering is the toughest part), and if you like DIY projects, LEDs can lead to a brilliant yard at night with little wasted light.

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  11. #11

    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    What is a realistic warm up time? I want a commercial light. I'm not going DIY anything like this.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* FRITZHID's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by JacobJones View Post
    Personally I would recommend two 400 watt metal halide flood lights. They do take a little while to warm up but they're much better than gym lighting. And the best thing is their low cost, unfortunately the same can't be said for your electricity bill.
    FYI, 400w MH ARE gym lighting.

    my personal recommendation would be 2 400w MH stadium lights, as high and far apart from each other as possible aimed toward the center/back end of field, and 2 100w MH flood lights mounded high and center with beam pattern just overlapping. this will provide near instant lighting with the 100w (1.5-2 min full brightness) and the 400w (3-5 min to full brightness) kicking the light downrange, lighting the entire area with 1000w total power use, great color rendition, low-med glare, and lowest cost for materiel. you could even leave the 100w floods on as security lighting. do-not use HPS for these will give you the orange barf glow that we all despise, and Merc-vapor will not give the lumens/color needed for your application. Incan/Halogen won't have the lumens/w NOR the lifespan that HID MH will, you'll be replacing bulbs Far more often then you'd ever desire, especially in the higher wattage ranges.
    if your not wearing a #12 welding screen than it ain't bright enough! "Hand-Sun H.I.D." 55w & 75w(for sale), Rocky 3w LED, Stanley 109 35w mod'd, Maxa-Beam Gen II, 55w hid/100w incan Vector Twin, 400w MH long arc, 100w MH mid arc. Amondotech n30.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* JohnR66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    I like HID as well, but the fixtures needed to beam some of that light to the back of the property won't be cheap and they will need a few minutes of time to warm up to full brightness.

    Since the lighting is for outdoor activities, the usage time will be much lower and electrical costs will not be much of an issue. Ten halogen floods and spots should do the trick. The bulbs and fixtures should not cost any more than $200.

    I see the new type of halogen PAR bulbs are showing up in the stores. They are based on a technology that allows them to produce the same amount of lumens with less wattage (IR reflective coating?). 1500 lumens from a 75 watt PAR reflector bulb is not too shabby and lifetime is improved as well. I based the cost on this type of bulb (about $10 each).

    The problem with beaming the light to the very back of your property is when facing your house, it will be like having several cars with high beams blinding you. Getting them up as high as possible is desirable. Also this "beamed" light will carry on for a few hundred yards and can make light pollution for other neighbors (if any).

  14. #14
    Flashaholic kingofwylietx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backyard lighting suggestions

    If you are interested in the MH route, then check into the 320 watt version. I have been told that the 320's are more efficient than the 400 watt units. I have not verified this myself, I am just passing on what a customer of mine told me.

    Also, you might look at induction lighting. It is very efficient, the bulbs are supposed to last as long as LED's, and they offer low color temperatures (vs MH).

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