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OT: Christmas lights okay for long-term tree landscaping use?

FearlessTheEggNoobFearlessTheEggNoob Posts: 452
edited January 13 in EggHead Forum
I want to wrap the trunk and lower branches of some interestingly shaped oaks in my back yard with white lights as part of my overall landscaping project. I like the intimate atmosphere it can create at night. It would only see special occasion use. I am at a point in my landscaping plan that I can run 12v wires with relative ease, 120v with increased but manageable difficulty. I want the lights to stay in place and be as zero maintenance as possible. Any suggestions, cautions, recommendations, or other insight on a project like this? First off, I can't even figure out what would be the best lights to use.

Comments

  • MaskedMarvelMaskedMarvel Posts: 1,112
    Either use LEDs or the large format string lights.  Regular Christmas lights will burn out and you won't want to deal with those  - take it from me.
    Large BGE -- Greensboro!


  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,054
    theres an island out front of my camp with solar led lights, they have been on a couple years now, some white, some blue
  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,239
    edited January 13
    +1 with @MaskedMarvel.  I had Christmas lights strung in trees for years, had to redo every couple of years - not only burn out, but squirrels chewed through the wires.  That could be an issue even with newer LED lights.

    I had landscape lighting installed last year, went with 12V LED lighting from Alliance Lighting. Virtually no maintenance, guaranteed for life, and I can daisy chain up to 60 lights on my existing circuit (which I will never do).  Not cheap, but really nice, and there are lots of kinds of fixtures to choose from.  The transformer is inside the house just plugged into an outlet in the back of the basement.
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • FearlessTheEggNoobFearlessTheEggNoob Posts: 452
    edited January 13
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 5,368
    I  recently strung up some lights to light up my patio area. 
    image

    The pic isn't great but you get the idea. The camera settings make it look like there is more light than there actually was. The LED lights strung across the patio were almost half price at target.com compared to Amazon Prime. The light they give off is not very bright, but they give off enough light for a nice ambience on the patio, and enough light that i don't need to turn on the floodlights when egging. Since they are LED's, I expect them to last a while. I have them on timers on every night. The ones on the trunk of the tree are regular christmas lights. Works well for my setup.


    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,239
    Perhaps this might fit my needs.
    LED Lights
    Look decent, but I would go for the 100 rather than 50 light strings - you will be surprised all the farther 50 goes!  And every plug is a potential for water getting in.
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,472
    edited January 14
    Skip the Christmas lights. What I had that lasted about 20 years was low voltage landscaping lights that I used to back light some beautiful trees we could see from our decks and screened porch. Like I said back light not front light. That gives a more pleasant soft appearance and since they are out of view you don't see all the bugs swarming around them which is a real turn off in the summer! Another option that is very attractive when you have huge old trees is moon lighting which is nothing more than a flood light mounted way up in the tree pointed toward the ground or mounted lower and aimed upwards depending on the tree characteristics. The shadows and diffused light from the leaves and wind are really pretty awesome at night. OTOH if you live in town and street lights pollute the night it might not work as well for you.
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • berndcrispberndcrisp Posts: 647
    edited January 14
    Turn off the lights and enjoy the night sky, nightime nature is much more enjoyable in the dark.

    Or, string together 500, mercury vapor lamps and contribute to the ongoing war against god's beauty.
    Hood Stars, Wrist Crowns and Obsession Dobs!


  • henapplehenapple Posts: 11,864
    We leave ours up year round
    2014-01-13-19-04-59-375510606.jpeg
    158 x 92 - 5K
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 5,368
    My HOA was all over me like white on rice for much less. 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • FearlessTheEggNoobFearlessTheEggNoob Posts: 452
    edited January 14
    Turn off the lights and enjoy the night sky, nightime nature is much more enjoyable in the dark. Or, string together 500, mercury vapor lamps and contribute to the ongoing war against god's beauty.
    Awesome Idea! Blast the F-Bomb out of that night sky! We're going LAS VEGAS in the backyard baby!
    :D B-) :D

  • stevesailsstevesails Posts: 949
    What dies your neighborhood association feel about Christmas lights all year?
    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 3,867
    edited January 14
    henapple said:
    We leave ours up year round
    image
    Vaughan, Ontario

  • FearlessTheEggNoobFearlessTheEggNoob Posts: 452
    edited January 14
    What dies your neighborhood association feel about Christmas lights all year?
    No, no, no. Were talking 2 or 3 smallish oaks in a privacy fenced backyard with some winding on the trunk and a few canopy branches. No curbside visability. Probably turned on less than once a month for get togethers. I am definitely not the light pollution offender where I live.

  • You must really be fearless. Around here the squirrels would make short work of the wire or else the racoons. I truly believe they destroy things simply to annoy. Oh we also have mink and while there are sea otters, they may not climb oak trees.
    I tried a solar powered lawn light near the bridge at our mountain home, and it did glow in the dark, perhaps there are brighter models.
    Good luck
  • Good call. I better keep my investment low in case they decide to destroy it.

  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,472
    edited January 14
     Around here the squirrels would make short work of the wire or else the racoons. I truly believe they destroy things simply to annoy. 
    I have read where coons in particular can sense the alternating current in electrical wires and that attracts them. In the winter I leave an electric dog dish filled with water for the birds, squirrels and what all goes bump in the night out there. Every year I find the cord has been chewed on but yet to find a cooked coon!
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • khristyjeffkhristyjeff Posts: 154
    Here's an example of backlighting like I think RRP is talking about.  You can check out more pics at uniquelighting.com.  Nightscaping is another company that offers low-voltage options.  We have a landscaping company and install some of these systems.  For me, "less is more."  It sounds like you're in agreement with that.  I only mention this because some of the photos they highlight on their websites look a bit overdone to me.  Good luck with your project.


    image
    s14.jpg
    600 x 400 - 76K
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 9,299
    You must really be fearless. Around here the squirrels would make short work of the wire or else the racoons. I truly believe they destroy things simply to annoy. Oh we also have mink and while there are sea otters, they may not climb oak trees.
    I tried a solar powered lawn light near the bridge at our mountain home, and it did glow in the dark, perhaps there are brighter models.
    Good luck
    I agree on the annoy part. At my parents house, I quite enjoy watching the squirrels throw acorns at the dogs barking like idiots. They have quite good aim. 
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