The most "bullet proof," and "brightest" I've seen are the 400W metal halide lights you might find in the ground around flagpoles.
Now, if your trees / shrubs are fairly small, and you only wish to light the area under the branches to, say, 4 ft. off the ground.... sort of accent the underbrush... then the low voltage garden lights with the 'glass mushroom' tops are hard to beat. The 'mushroom' diffuses the light, so you don't really see the fixture- yet the underside of the leaves is nicely lit woth a diffuse, soft light.
Uplights for trees need to be mercury vapor. They offer the silver (moon glow) effect that most people like. The bullets can be mounted remotely from the ballasts (say, up in a tree). They'll last 5-7 years without being touched. You can use regular outdoor floods but they are much better as security lighting on a motion light hanging on the side of a garage.
My 70 year old mom and every handyman in the country puts in the Malibu low volatge light. You need to separate yourself from the crowd of wannabes. The low voltage stuff lasts 1-2 years before somebody wacks one with a weed wacker or the kids step on it in the snow.
Best place to order the HID's is from TechlightUSA. They are bullet-proof but carry a heafty price tag (between $120 and $200 each). We use different wattages depending on the application, generally from 50W to 100W. There are higher wattages but you might be better off putting in two smaller ones instead. You can get them with 2", 3" and 4" diameter shells.
I don't generally like to spec out a manufacturer but we've had good luck with that one.
Good luck Tiger.
[This message has been edited by PE&Master (edited 07-29-2006).]
Boston originally, San Fran now.... I was just wondering if these were for a firing range? Or just kinda vandal proof? Either way I think Bob hit it, some of those well lights you can park a truck on, or so it would seem. Aimable metal halides.
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Thanks to all for your replies. I'm leaning toward something more than LV lights and less than 400W metal halide.
The darksky was interesting reading. Here in the counties of N. Illinois we have lakes and swampland (very few stars to be seen). This neighborhood has no street lights and the homeowners can't see their driveway. A couple downward dual floods and this one uplight will give a nice area light.
I agree with John. Light pollution is turning night into day. When I am out in my boat at night it never really gets dark anymore. One of the fights I am having with the old biddies in my neighborhood is the spread of sodium vapor lamps. The neighborhood has all the ambiance of a Wal-Mart parking lot.