A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: Uplights


I was at the Golf Club’s Golf Board of Governors meet-the-candidates forum last night and Pat Newmark and I were sitting down about to chat. She looked at me with a penetrating stare and said, “Phil, I agree with a lot of what you say, but I don’t think you’re right about uplights”.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve met Pat before, but when she says something like that, in her proper schoolmarm voice, you listen. So I sat up a little bit straighter and she continued, “Have you been to La Quinta in the desert, and seen those palm trees lit up?”.

NOT appropriate for Rancho Santa Fe

Wups! Yes, I knew exactly what she meant. La Quinta is full of stately huge towering palms and they are very nice, for a city. But I fully agreed with Pat, it isn’t at all appropriate for Rancho Santa Fe.

So I owe Pat a debt of gratitude for making me realize that some people might have misunderstood my stance on uplighting.

What I meant was, low lumen lights (unlike lights that light up a tall palm which are very powerful), lighting up short decorative bushes and trees. For example:

Low lumen path lights and uplights

The two path lights on the left are about 20″ tall, and the two uplit palms on the right are about 4′ and 5′ in height. This is a nice low light-intensity view for what otherwise would be pitch black darkness.

The new proposed lighting regulation limits all outdoor lighting to outputting a maximum of 500 lumens per fixture. For reference, the path lights above were 425 lumens and the uplights were 400 lumens (LEDs). I think 500 lumens is a reasonable limit for landscape lighting, although I also think 500 lumens is a bit low for lights attached to a house. This fixture, for instance outputs about 900 lumens:

An approximately 900 lumen light.

By the new regulation’s own conversion chart, a 500 lumen light is equivalent to a 31 Watt incandescent light, which is pretty dim. So, maybe some tweaking between what is allowed for landscape lighting and what can be allowed for outdoor lighting attached to a house is needed.

Anyways, I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t misunderstood about uplighting. As I mentioned in my own candidates forum, regulating lighting is complex and the devil is indeed in the details.

After a cordial chat, I think Pat and I agreed on pretty much everything, and, for what it’s worth, I’ll be voting for Pat Newmark for Golf Board of Governors. If I’m elected in my election, I hope to be working alongside Pat and others to resolve the important issues between the Golf Club and the Association at large.