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Thread: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

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    Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    We're considering a major remodel of our front. Lots of earth to move, so it will be the largest home expense we've had. The lighting accounts for $6,000 of the estimate. Each step has a light and there are lights for the retaining walls. I'm not against the lighting, but what are your thoughts on the following:

    1 - I'm very handy, but not interesting in back breaking jobs. After the pavers are in, could I just run my own set of electric lights? Maybe ask them to bury some conduit for me. I see where removing caps makes installation not a hassle, so it's more about running wire to an outlet that won't look goofy.

    2 - Can I get enough brightness from solar vs electric? Posts from 2010 say now, but it's 2017, so maybe better solar lights are available?

    3 - I see that removing caps from the wall or step areas is not that big of a deal - actually my son works for this hardscaper and although's it's tedious, he's done it as well. I'm wondering if there are solar lights that I could drop in there, instead of running wires? I realize I might be replacing them over time, but for some reason I'm not convinced that electric will be hassle-free either. Maybe I'm wrong.

    4 - I've seen the solar paver lights, where the light is the size of a paver. Simply dig out the paver and replace it with a light. Any good? By good, will it provide enough light for a front walk? Stay in place, etc.?

    Any other thoughts? Recommend brands, etc.?

    Thanks
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    Pyrodav's Avatar
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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Look no further than here. Have your contractor run the initial electric to plug your transformers in and run it all yourself. It is all low voltage and they are bright! You can push a spade shovel in the ground and move it side to side to make a slit to bury your wire. I would research and call Volt. Landscape Lighting | LED Outdoor Lights Bulbs | VOLT Lighting
    7000k Viking fiberglass Bermuda, Sand filter w/glass, Pentair SuperfloVS, Pentair IC20 swg
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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    I'm also looking at landscape lighting - so I was watching this thread. I'm specifically path lights, step lights, and something for under the countertop on our kitchen which I'm assuming is along the lines of what you're looking for Josey. I've done path landscape lights before, and it was pretty easy, but hadn't done what you're asking under retaining wall caps / steps. I was contemplating buying from LED a big box store - my first lighting quote from a landscaper was $6k as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by joseywales View Post
    3 - I see that removing caps from the wall or step areas is not that big of a deal - actually my son works for this hardscaper and although's it's tedious, he's done it as well. I'm wondering if there are solar lights that I could drop in there, instead of running wires? I realize I might be replacing them over time, but for some reason I'm not convinced that electric will be hassle-free either. Maybe I'm wrong.
    I've never heard of Volt, but it looks intriguing - I've tried solar in the past and the batteries seemed to burn up after a year or two where they wouldn't stay on much at night, so I'm planning on hard-wired. Are you at all worried about what options you have 5 years from now if the light fails? It looks like pretty much everything screws into the top of the block under the cap, so the only wait to replace something would be to take the cap off. Not a huge deal on a retaining wall, but on a countertop, this could really be quite ugly...right?
    Derek - November 2016 Build, Fill, Cover, and Close. Starting Equipment for the first time in Spring 2017: 26K IG 20x40 Vinyl, All Pentair: IntelliFlo VST 2, Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge Filter, EasyTouch 8, IntelliChem, IntelliChlor IC60 SWG, MasterTemp 250K NG Heater, GloBrite LED lights, Autelis Automation Integration, CoverStar Leading Edge Automatic Cover, Dolphin Quantum Robotic Cleaner, Interfab G-Force 2 slide, Interfab T7 diving board

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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Path and overhead lighting can be resolved by Mr. Beams. They run LED's off of batteries and last around a year before replacing the batteries. They all communicate to each other and are bright. Once one detects your motion they all kick on. They have a wide variety of wireless lighting. No wires,long lasting batteries and bright light is what turned me onto them. I use the Volt system for things like my flag pole and longer throw needs.

    Mr Beams Wireless LED Lighting | Outdoor Indoor Lights

    Mr Beams Path Light - YouTube

    Mr Beams Lighting, pair it up! - YouTube

    Amazon sells them in different configurations.
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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Do you have a drawing? $6,000 is a bit much for most homes I'd like to see the plan and what it includes.

    In my limited experience the designers use many more lights than you really want or need.

    That said you can use volt and similar products which are expensive or you can go to home depot and get landscape lights for much less.

    Mr Beams looks good but they have a limited product line and don't look like they have accent lights and up lights for many landscape applications.

    Most of the solar appears to be rather ^&%&^&%^.
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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post

    That said you can use volt and similar products which are expensive or you can go to home depot and get landscape lights for much less.
    I do a good bit of Hardscape. You are correct that Home Depot does have lights for less. I will say the quality and materials used is not even in the same ballpark though. Volt and others are geared more toward professional and commercial applications and when you hold one in your hand vs. the box stores it is obvious. Also the transformer themselves are housed in better material.

    I guess it all comes down to budget and preference. I've learned my lesson about buying things over and over trying to save a buck. You get what you pay for.
    7000k Viking fiberglass Bermuda, Sand filter w/glass, Pentair SuperfloVS, Pentair IC20 swg
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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Just finished our front yard (new concrete, lawn, planting beds, etc). I had contractor run direct burial wire and conduit and then finished lighting install myself after plants and trees were in but before weed barrier and mulch was installed. All plug and play so everything installs very quickly.

    To be truthful, low voltage led fixtures are so efficient and energy cost effective, Id pass on solar unless you have some problem running power. A 12vt 200 watt transformer will light both front and backyard easily due to the very small led draw from the newer low voltage lights available. I have 10 pathway lights and 3 floods for the trees and it barely consumes 12watts total power. Pathways consume 0.5watts and floods are 2 watts each! House is lit now lit up like a christmas tree.
    18,000 gunite pool/spa combo. Pebble tec, iaqualink rs8, cl580 filter, aquapure 1400, 400k btu lx heater, 10 solar panels, jandy 1hp, 1 1/2hp, and 2hp stealth pumps for circ, spa, waterfall

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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Pyrodav:

    You are too kind to the HD products like Malibu. There is no comparison at all. The quality of the Volt is far superior. They are not even in the same class and I should have made that point. On the other hand to some price is everything.
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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    Pyrodav:

    You are too kind to the HD products like Malibu. There is no comparison at all. The quality of the Volt is far superior. They are not even in the same class and I should have made that point. On the other hand to some price is everything.
    Price is definitely a consideration to most. After seeing the 6K price quote I thought to myself "I could light my house up like a prison with that amount" $1000 on lighting equipment, rent a gas powered edger to make the slits in the ground for the wire and you could really have some nice lighting. That saves $5k for outdoor kitchen, beautiful 30' aluminum flag pole, nice outdoor furniture...Oh what I could do with 6k
    7000k Viking fiberglass Bermuda, Sand filter w/glass, Pentair SuperfloVS, Pentair IC20 swg
    Raypak 106k, Dolphin s-200, Taylor k-2006c, Taylor k-1766, Speedstir, Little Giant cover pump.

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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Electric with LED lights is the way I would go. I did all of mine for about 600 bucks front and back. I should add that after changing mine from halogen lamps to led the longevity of the light has increased by a X1000. I went cheap and bought Paradise lights from Amazon. The 50 watts lasted about 2 years at first but after changing the bulb I haven't replaced a single one in probably 3 years. You do get what you pay for but I could not see spending 200 dollars a fixture. I could buy 20 lights and still be ahead.
    Approx 11K Gal. 10'X30' Semi free-form IG - 6 ' raised spa w/6 jets - 10' circle sun shelf with 1 bubbler - Waterfall - 3 / 1.5 HP pumps - Polaris 280 Cleaner - 3 Pentair Color LED Intellibrite Lights - Pentair 400K Master Temp - 2 Valve Actuators - 5 Fiberstar Mini Laminars - 1 Fiberstars 2004 Illuminator - 2 Skimmers - 6 Returns - Caribbean Blue Pebble Tech - 600+ sq ft kool decK - Auto Fill - 2 Boston Acoustics VOYA RK5 Outdoor Rock Speakers - 2 TIC Corporation TFS5CN 6.5-Inch 150-Watt Terra-Forms Rock Speakers - Apple Airport Express - 1 Awesome View.

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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    I just did my deck, steps and retaining wall with Kichler LED
    6 deck post lights
    4 stairway strip 4 lef
    7 retaining wall 12 led
    6 pathway lights
    200' 12awg wire
    $2300 shiped. Then about 5 weekends of fishing wire around the deck. I will post pics once i clear out my uploads folder

    I am picky on LED color temperature and found the Kichler product was most accurate. If your going to buy online, do a sample of the colors to make sure your happy.
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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Are you guys buying the LED bulbs from volt at $16/each? Seems that you can get a 6-pack or more on Amazon for about $30 or less, and I didn't look too hard. Are there differences between what volt is selling and the Chinese LEDs that are on Amazon?
    Derek - November 2016 Build, Fill, Cover, and Close. Starting Equipment for the first time in Spring 2017: 26K IG 20x40 Vinyl, All Pentair: IntelliFlo VST 2, Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge Filter, EasyTouch 8, IntelliChem, IntelliChlor IC60 SWG, MasterTemp 250K NG Heater, GloBrite LED lights, Autelis Automation Integration, CoverStar Leading Edge Automatic Cover, Dolphin Quantum Robotic Cleaner, Interfab G-Force 2 slide, Interfab T7 diving board

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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Wow. I need some to time to digest. This thread was quiet, then exploded. I've actually redesigned the entire remodel. We were looking at a lot of excavation, but in the end it was partly the expense, but the sheer mass of it that deterred us. They won't have to move a ton, so we'll save a ton

    To be fair to the contractor, he suggested dropping the landscape lights, but said keeping the step lights made sense. So, 12 step light and 5 retaining wall lights would be $4,100. Still that seemed like a lot. We decided to pass on all the lights and we'll just deal with it afterward, so these ideas are great.

    We do have an outlet on our porch, but there doesn't seem to be a clean way to get there (i.e. you'll see the cord running from the transformer, or the transformer itself on the porch). We could perhaps bury conduit under the newly installed porch, but still a cord runs up the wall. Running a line to a garage wall could be the answer.

    The critical lighting is for the steps. there will be nine steps, with 6" risers, and a retaining wall on either side. It's like a tunnel and only one side (the railing side) gets sun, but gets it all afternoon. I have 3 cheap motion LED solar lights providing plenty of light right now. For the price, these things do a great job and have lasted almost a year. The lights I have don't have the dome, so these might be newer, or a different model, the style is nearly the same. The motion feature works without delay and they turn off promptly. Pretty neat. Great if you need to light your way around the outside of a deck, or to a shed, but don't want it lit up all the time. https://www.amazon.com/Frostfire-Wir...ds=solar+light
    18' AG pool, 7,646 gallons, Sun from 11:30AM-2PM.
    Pentair Dynamo 1hp pump, Intermatic Timer (6/17)
    Pentair Sand dollar filter - 100lbs, 35gpm
    Pentair Lil' Shark cleaner, TF-100 Kit
    Raypak 206A 200K, BTU gas (6/17)

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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    I like the idea of Mr Beams. To be honest, I like electric, but I just don't trust it. I'm sorry. I feel like even if I do it myself, I have time/money invested, then some freakin' chipmunk decides to have my wire for lunch. So here's one challenge. What's the cleanest way to attach a light to a retaining wall? I was thinking the cap stones would provide the easiest access and because the lights would be on the hand rail side, i have 5 or 6 inches to work with. SO the lights could attach under the stones, then stick out 5 or 6 inches, without getting in the way. the cheap solar lights I have now stick out 5 inches from the wall, with no issues.
    18' AG pool, 7,646 gallons, Sun from 11:30AM-2PM.
    Pentair Dynamo 1hp pump, Intermatic Timer (6/17)
    Pentair Sand dollar filter - 100lbs, 35gpm
    Pentair Lil' Shark cleaner, TF-100 Kit
    Raypak 206A 200K, BTU gas (6/17)

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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Another vote for Volt and LED bulbs from Amazon then do it yourself, its what I did. For about $500-600 I am sure can can light up you whole space
    19,xxx gal gunite pool ,Fafco Solar, Pentair; Intelliflo VS Pump, EasyTouch Control System, Clean & Clear Plus Filter,ScreenLogic2, IntelliChlor Salt Chlorine Generator, 3 IntelliBrite 5g LED lights and 1 Color Cascade LED Light Bubbler. 3 deck jets and 1 sheer decent waterfall

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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    In response to the question of the difference between the bulbs from Amazon for $6.50 vs the $16 bulbs from Volt.

    I suspect both bulbs are made in China.

    The big difference is that the Volt bulbs are listed by ETL (equivalent to UL) while the Amazon bulbs are not. So technically you can't use the Amazon bulbs near a pool because they are not listed.
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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Anyone ever have issues long term, with faulty wiring, rodent damage, etc.? We don't live in rural, but we do get chipmunks and squirrels.

    Also, since we've seriously reduced the remodel. i really only have steps and maybe a garden to light up. More concerned about the steps, so not sure it's worth all of the effort for wired lights.
    18' AG pool, 7,646 gallons, Sun from 11:30AM-2PM.
    Pentair Dynamo 1hp pump, Intermatic Timer (6/17)
    Pentair Sand dollar filter - 100lbs, 35gpm
    Pentair Lil' Shark cleaner, TF-100 Kit
    Raypak 206A 200K, BTU gas (6/17)

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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by joseywales View Post
    Anyone ever have issues long term, with faulty wiring, rodent damage, etc.? We don't live in rural, but we do get chipmunks and squirrels.

    Also, since we've seriously reduced the remodel. i really only have steps and maybe a garden to light up. More concerned about the steps, so not sure it's worth all of the effort for wired lights.

    Nope, never had of the sort. And my backyard backs up to a big undeveloped area
    19,xxx gal gunite pool ,Fafco Solar, Pentair; Intelliflo VS Pump, EasyTouch Control System, Clean & Clear Plus Filter,ScreenLogic2, IntelliChlor Salt Chlorine Generator, 3 IntelliBrite 5g LED lights and 1 Color Cascade LED Light Bubbler. 3 deck jets and 1 sheer decent waterfall

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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    I have lighting in my hardscaped wall, deck steps and deck posts. Everything is hardwired back to a 500 watt transformer.
    I tried to post 3 photos but it looks like only 2 will fit? If i will attach a night shot of the deck.
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    Re: Lights for front walk way (pavers), retaining wall, Solar? Electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by dw886 View Post
    Are you guys buying the LED bulbs from volt at $16/each? Seems that you can get a 6-pack or more on Amazon for about $30 or less, and I didn't look too hard. Are there differences between what volt is selling and the Chinese LEDs that are on Amazon?
    I buy my MR16 LEDS from Amazon. I have yet to replace one in over a year of use. I have them on from sunset to sunrise.
    Approx 11K Gal. 10'X30' Semi free-form IG - 6 ' raised spa w/6 jets - 10' circle sun shelf with 1 bubbler - Waterfall - 3 / 1.5 HP pumps - Polaris 280 Cleaner - 3 Pentair Color LED Intellibrite Lights - Pentair 400K Master Temp - 2 Valve Actuators - 5 Fiberstar Mini Laminars - 1 Fiberstars 2004 Illuminator - 2 Skimmers - 6 Returns - Caribbean Blue Pebble Tech - 600+ sq ft kool decK - Auto Fill - 2 Boston Acoustics VOYA RK5 Outdoor Rock Speakers - 2 TIC Corporation TFS5CN 6.5-Inch 150-Watt Terra-Forms Rock Speakers - Apple Airport Express - 1 Awesome View.

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