led lighting

I just spent a day undoing a previous lighting system so I can install a new low voltage LED landscaping lighting system. The previous system was installed by the home owner and featured a more eclectic approach to lighting. They had some very interesting garden led light strands with strands of copper making metal globes around Christmas style lights in trees, a couple of solar powered LED push in light towers, and three LED lights on a timer set at the base of three trees.

The strands in the trees were just the right size when they left for the season but the trees grew over the summer and with the season being nice and wet this year, they grew a lot. The trees gained about a foot or more each in height and double to triple that in diameter. The light strands were pulled so tight they actually cut into the bark and the tree had begun growing over them. Two of the strands had snapped from the stretching and the last one was at the breaking point.

The push in LED lights were the kind you buy and stick wherever you want light at night. They had degraded in power to the point of being virtually invisible at night and one had been gnawed on by some animal and was broken in two. None of them really threw enough light any more to be considered a light source because the plastic had also fogged up from the climate so whatever light they did still produce was more of a faded ambient glow of about 6 inch radius.

The lights placed by the tree roots didn’t take into account the growth rate of root structures. As trees grow taller and wider, their base and root structure has to increase by a greater ratio to maintain balance. Some trees grow and expand evenly and some, like those at this customer’s house, grow erratically and grab anything in the area with their roots as they do so. The lights were twisted around and pointing off into space and two of them had the lifters broken so the lights were hanging on precariously by the electrical wire alone.

When the customer left for the summer months their yard looked perfect. Unfortunately Florida yards tend to grow amazingly fast during the summer season and what was a perfect fit became . . . not so perfect by the time they returned. So the first part of a new lighting system was a day removing the old lighting bits and pieces. And it is safe to say, the savings for doing it themselves and using low cost materials is now viewed in an entirely new perspective.

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