Fixtures don’t matter!

Fixtures don’t matter!

by Mike Gambino,

That was the quote taken from a recent post on a landscape lighting message board forum. Total CRAPOLA with a capitol C.

I’ve heard this nonsense sales pitch for many years usually from those guys who use cheap or even home made light fixtures and sell on low price only. I would run not walk if someone used this line while attempting to sell you product or a custom designed and installed outdoor lighting system.

Although quality and functionality of fixtures are not the only consideration when judging a landscape lighting system they should be pretty darn high on the list.”Pretty” fixtures are usually decoratively and aesthetically interesting but most times not effective and durable enough to stand up to mother nature.

Cheap fixtures also come with cheap components such as sockets that fail prematurely, hardware that strips or decays and does not keep the fixture firmly locked into position. Changing light bulbs also becomes a chore when removable parts become pitted, rusted and frozen together rendering the fixture unusable.

The founding fathers of landscape lighting F.B. Nightingale and Bill Locklin both taught that the fixture should be camouflaged, hidden or concealed in the landscape and that the fixture itself should not be the focus of attention but the lighting effect and the lighted subject should be.

I totally agree with this and have been practicing these methods for over 20 years in my outdoor lighting designs. But to say fixtures don’t matter is downright foolish and irresponsible. Fixtures need to be durable and weatherproof as they are exposed to all sorts of severe environmental conditions.

I have always largely equated the quality of a lighting designer/ installer by the products they recommend and specify. Anyone worth their salt will only use products tested and proven to perform and stand the rigors of time as you are only as good as the products you install.

Simply put that if you want to pay cheap prices then you will get cheap products and more likely a pretty poor and problematic and uncreative installation.

I have taken out thousands of cheap fixtures installed by others that have failed over the years. Some have been totally unsafe and should have never been used for the application. Low voltage lighting has an inherently low probability of shock hazard. However the potential for fire is real when products of questionable quality and durability are used.

Pictured below is only a small representation of that.

Do you think the owners of these failed landscape lighting products believe that fixtures don’t matter ?????

This transformer is not rated for landscape lighting use and was installed without safety precautions in place. It melted down and could have caused a fire or harm to persons

This fixture has lost its paint, is totally pitted, unsightly and ready for the trash heap

This fixture has lost it's paint, is totally oxidized and is broken

This cheap transformer is completely eaten away with rust and is unsafe

Wire nuts not intended for direct burial use compromised this cable and the integrity of the entire system

Enough said.

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