A California Landscape Architect Needed Help Mounting His Sports Lights on Six Existing Wooden Poles for Tennis Court Lighting

Access Fixtures fields lighting inquiries and questions from architects, electrical contractors, general contractors, and property managers all day, every day. We recently took a call from a superintendent of a landscape construction company in California that builds outdoor kitchens; water features; masonry features like walls and fire pits; and sport courts like outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and bocce courts. The superintendent was asking about the options for mounting sports lights or area lights on wooden poles.

The superintendent was looking for clarity on specifications given to him by his landscape architect. They were putting together was a large landscape project that included lighting for a tennis court. Part of the project called for installing tennis court lighting on six existing wood poles. The project superintendent was calling to make sure the mounting hardware specified for the LED luminaires was sufficient for the project. It was a good thing he called.

Reasons Metal Poles Are Commonly Used for Area and Sport Court Lighting

Most sport court lighting is mounted on top of metal poles. Metal poles are durable, relatively inexpensive, and can come in custom colors. Engineers and architects tend to prefer metal poles because the mounting hardware is standardized. Engineers can easily evaluate the pole specifications, determine if the poles will meet weight and wind requirements, and then place an engineering stamp on the drawings. Similarly, contractors prefer metal poles because they are shorter and easier to handle than wood poles. The bases of wood poles must be buried deeper in the ground, which means the wood poles are longer, heavier, and can be difficult to stabilize once the bases are buried.

Reasons to Use Wood Poles for Sport Court Lighting: Outdoor Tennis Court Lighting

Wood poles are selected for a number of reasons. A popular reason is their low cost. For instance, if wood poles can be garnered from trees on or near the installation site, they will likely be less expensive than steel poles. In the case of the landscape construction project near San Jose, the wood poles were already installed on the site and were in the right location.

Sometimes existing poles can be grandfathered, while new metal poles might have to conform to updated code that factors in height and/or light trespass restrictions. For the San Jose area project, there wasn’t a way to make the steel poles less expensive than the existing wood poles.

Mounting Brackets Used to Mount LED Area Lighting and Sports Lighting on Wood Poles

Single-Point-Wood-Pole-Bracket

Single-point wood pole bracket

There are a number of mounting bracket solutions for wood poles. This project incorporated 1000 watt metal halideequivalent LED luminaires used for tennis court lighting attached to the wood pole mount via a slip fitter. There are three different wood pole mounts that could hold a 23” box cast aluminum LED luminaire with a slip fitter mount. Each is shown below.

 

Single-Point Wood Pole Bracket for Sports Lighting or an Area Light

The single-point wood pole bracket attaches to the wood pole at one point. This is the wood pole bracket the customer’s architect specified for the tennis court lighting. The single-point wood pole bracket only attaches to the wood pole via two bolts.

 

Twin-Point-Wood-Pole-Bracket

Twin-point wood pole bracket

Twin-Point Wood Pole Bracket for Sports Lighting or an Area Light

The twin-point wood pole bracket attaches to a wood pole at two points, one above the other. It also employs as many as five bolts. This is a more durable way to mount a luminaire to a wood pole than the single-point bracket. If there were two or more heavy light fixtures being mounted on a wood pole, the twin point wood pole bracket would be preferred to the single-point wood pole bracket.

 

Wraparound Wood Pole Bracket for Sports Lighting or an Area Light

Wraparound-Wood-Pole-Bracket

Wraparound wood pole bracket

The wraparound wood bracket comes in two sizes: One for 7-inch to 10-inch diameter wood poles and another for 10-inch to 13-inch diameter wood poles. Wraparound wood brackets surround the wood pole and clamp into place. Additional bolts can be used to anchor the wraparound wood bracket to the wood pole. This the strongest and most durable way to mount a luminaire to a wood pole. While only the wraparound wood bracket for one luminaire is shown here, this bracket can equipped to handle as many as four luminaires.

 

For This Project, How Were the Tennis Court Luminaires Mounted to the Wood Poles?

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Architect’s plan for wood pole mounting

The architect plan, shown in the image on the side of this page, specified the single-point wood pole bracket. To confirm that the single-point wood pole bracket could hold a 23” box cast aluminum LED luminaire with a slip fitter mount, our lighting specialist submitted the drawing to an engineer who works with these brackets. The engineer said the mount was more than sufficient, but not with the lag bolts shown in the drawing. The single-point wood pole bracket required bolts that went all the way through the pole and had washers and nuts on the other side. That was a simple solution.

What Brackets Do You Need to Make Your Lighting Project a Success?

If you have questions on area lighting, sports lighting, and/or the poles and brackets required to successfully execute the project, call an Access Fixtures lighting specialist at 800-468-9925.