Northfield Case Study
By: Josh Miller
We recently installed a sprinkler system for the couple who just built a beautiful new home in Northfield. They tore down an old ranch on a large lot and hired a local builder to build their dream house. The property is on a quiet dark street in Northfield. A professional landscape architect was brought in to design the front landscape, pool, outdoor kitchen, and all the bluestone hardscaping. After we installed the irrigation system, they contacted me to talk about landscape lighting. I asked them a series of questions so I could better understand how they wanted to use their property and what the most important features were to them.
They wanted the outdoor kitchen, pool deck, and walkways to be well / safely lit. The backyard will be the place many gatherings, parties, and quiet nights will happen. In the front yard I was simply told, "use your creativity, we trust you." They also shared that the back half of the backyard would be landscaped in a future phase. I took the next hour to walk around the property taking notes, measurements, and photos.
I started going through everything I had from the initial appointment coming up with ideas on how to achieve everything the owners asked for and getting my creative juices flowing to make the front look great. The house is modern. It is white brick with stainless accents and lots of bluestone hardscaping. I decided to light the back yard with low profile stainless steel single direction recessed indicator fixtures. My goal was to safely light all the hardscaping transitions and high traffic areas without using path lights that would stand out. The back yard has its own transformer with room for expansion to accommodate phase 2 landscaping. We installed an astronomical timer so the lights would turn on a sunset and turn off at a predetermined time.
The front yard was more of a challenge. I wanted to make the house the most prominent with the multi stem trees and three pots accents to the house lighting. The house has multiple levels with a balcony and dormers. After reviewing the photos and thinking about how to light the main house, balcony, and dormers I came up with a solid plan. I was going to have lights on all three stories of the house. I used adjustable lumen wall wash fixtures on the ground level to light the lower and mid-levels of the house. The balcony above the front porch couldn’t be lit from the ground level without shining light directly into the house which wasn’t an option.
I decided to install two adjustable output mini wall wash lights with frost lenses on the back of two of the balcony posts. The wire had to be carefully hidden behind the downspout and the fixtures had to be installed backwards so they could be adjusted up to light back wall of the balcony. The two highest peaks of the house were not going to be lit properly with the ground mounted wall wash lights so I installed two small form factor fixtures with gutter mount brackets. The dormers on the third floor were lit with the same fixture we used to light the two tall peaks. We once again had to carefully hide the wiring behind the downspout and install three more gutter mount fixtures.
The two multi-stem trees were lit with multiple fixtures with shrouds and hex louvres. The goal was to hide the light sources from main viewing perspectives and making the trees look three dimensional. It would have been easy to install a single light but then the trees would have looked flat and only nice from behind the fixture.
Lastly, I wanted to accentuate the three pots on the property. There were two along the front walk near the house and one along the walk near the driveway. I couldn’t downlight the pots which would have been ideal, so the next best thing was to install 2-inch recessed indicator lights to up light the pots from below.
After the installation was completed, I set up an appointment to come out in the evening to make final adjustments and make sure the clients were happy with final product.
They were so happy and appreciative that we were able to make their property so beautiful and usable at night as it is during the day if not more.