What is landscape lighting?
Landscape lighting is nothing less than a dream for every homeowner. When it comes to exterior aesthetics, most designers add trees and plants. They add the required layer of aesthetics to your property, but landscape lighting makes it better. Using warm and bright lights to highlight the exterior space makes the property look more welcoming. Many homeowners opt for landscape lighting to enhance their property’s curb appeal or add some value to their house before selling it.
How much value does landscape lighting add?
If planned and executed correctly, it is believed that landscape lighting can add up to 15-20% value to your house. However, landscape lighting fixtures are expensive, primarily due to the materials used to complete the projects. Apart from that, the maintenance cost of landscape lighting tends to be high. You can try your hands at a DIY project, but hiring a professional might be your best bet if you don’t want to risk perfection. This adds to the total cost.
The type of light fixtures also drives the cost up. You might have a difficult time choosing between Halogen and LED bulbs. Both of them come with their pros and cons. Other costs are associated with particulars, which significantly increase the cost of landscape lighting.
Why you should choose landscape lighting
Landscape lighting projects are expensive and time-consuming, making them pretty daunting. That’s why many property owners end up asking themselves, “Is it worth the money and effort?” The short answer is yes. Depending on the fixtures used, landscape lighting can significantly enhance your property’s architectural features.
It enhances the curb appeal.
There is no such thing as too many lights! Landscape lighting can change the look of your interior and exterior and turn it into a dream landscape. Adding light to the house’s exterior makes it look bright and welcoming, and the well-lit home increases the curb appeal. While it might not make your pathway look like an airport runway, it adds enough value to the architecture.
It increases the property value.
While landscape lighting does add to the aesthetics, it is much more than that. As mentioned before, adding light fixtures to the landscape and walkways also increases the property’s value, especially if you plan to sell it. The warm and welcoming look attracts more buyers. The cost of landscape lighting also adds to the property’s overall value.
It increases the functionality of the outdoors.
Some might argue that interior lighting is enough for the functionality and security of the house. However, it can get highly dark after sunset. Adding landscape lighting to your property keeps it well-lit, adding an extra security layer in the dark hours. Light fixtures at your patio and pool make it more functional in the evening.
It adds a layer of personal safety.
Moving around in the dark can cause accidents. Tales of slipping in walkways or tripping over something on the ground outside the house are unknown. Landscape lighting ensures that the exterior of the home is illuminated. Adequate lighting helps any visitors – and you – to navigate their way through the property and the surrounding area and enter the house without falling prey to a mishap.
Best practices for landscape lighting
When it comes to outdoor lighting, choosing the best light fixture is necessary. Based on where you want to add lights, you can choose from various institutions with unique builds and functionality. The fixtures also depend on the materials they are made of and where they are mounted.
Besides electrical lights, solar lights are also a popular choice for landscape lighting. Since they have lower intensity, they must be spaced closely to keep the pathway well-lit. But the major benefit lies in costs because solar lights are entirely powered by the sun and require less energy than their electric counterparts. However, they need at least six hours of sunlight to function properly.
The light fixtures should be placed six to eight feet apart for best results. If you aim for a brighter outdoor space, put the lights closer to each other. If your target is to enhance the aesthetics of your outdoor living space, you might want to go for solar lights. However, if you add functionality and safety, electric lights such as LED lights might be your best bet.
Try different lighting techniques to find options that suit your case while keeping the overall cost minimum. Highlighting, shadowing, washing, up-lighting, down-lighting, moonlighting, and path lighting is popular techniques.
The total cost should be around $1500 to $20,000, depending on the size of your property and your lighting preferences.
Why is landscape lighting expensive?
Homeowners who want a beautiful space know landscape lighting can be expensive. Fixtures used to highlight particular features usually cost a lot for various reasons. But because the lighting effect created by these fixtures is magnificent, landscape lighting designers have no option but to use them.
The installation cost is also another reason for lighting projects being so expensive. Below are a few reasons why the landscaping project seems to cost a fortune.
Materials used for the landscaping project
Most outdoor lighting projects require high-end fixtures made of high-quality materials. They need to be waterproof to withstand harsh weather and rainfall. The most popular outdoor landscape lighting material is cast brass. It can be costly but is worth every penny. Fixtures made with cast brass come with a lifetime warranty and can continue to serve without dents and scratches. The investment in cast brass increases the landscape lighting costs. If you add more lights, the price will increase further.
Maintenance cost of outdoor lighting
Landscape lighting cost also depends on the maintenance cost of outdoor landscape lighting. Maintenance refers to more than changing bulbs. The best way to maintain your landscape lights is to hold a yearly inspection of the entire area. Whether installing a new lighting system or already having them, an annual check keeps the light bulbs as good as new.
Choosing LED lights instead of incandescent light bulbs can help you with the cost because LED lights tend to be low maintenance. Inspecting a typical LED landscape lighting will cost you between $100 and $350, an excellent service value.
Cost of landscape lights design
The landscaping process and maintenance do comprise the majority of the project. However, another important aspect that impacts the landscape lighting cost is the cost of landscape lighting design. It is always wise to hire a landscape lighting designer who understands the lighting system well and is experienced in outdoor lights. A well-planned project will enhance the architectural features of the house a great deal. Haphazardly placing the lights might not provide good results. If you want a unique lighting effect, you should hire an experienced designer.
Based on the size of the property and the house’s exterior, the designer will design lighting plans for your walls, patio, fences, trees, pathways, and pool. Based on the designer’s hourly charge- typically up to $500 for a plan – the project’s total cost can go up by a large margin.
Hiring professionals to install landscape lighting
Alongside design, installation is another important aspect of the lighting project, adding to the overall landscape lighting cost. While changing bulbs on your own is not bad, getting landscape lighting professionals to do the work might be more helpful. Installing landscape lighting through them and repairing them adds safety. Light fixtures and bulbs with a special feature are more prone to damage. Getting the installation done through a professional ensures that your dream project is in good hands. The hourly charge for these professionals is usually $65-$110 per hour.
Choosing Halogen bulbs vs. LED bulbs
The debate of halogen bulbs vs. LED bulbs is age-old for outdoor lighting. None of them come with unique features. However, LED bulbs are low maintenance and do not cost much compared to halogen lights.
LED lights also require a low voltage and almost 80% less energy than halogen lights. This is why most homeowners opt for LED landscape lighting to highlight and create great focal points. However, good LED light bulbs can cost quite a bit. The cost can be pretty high depending on how many lights you use.
Halogen bulbs can cost much less than LED bulbs. But if you consider the energy consumption and cost of electricity in the long run, LED landscape lighting is perhaps the better option.
Landscape lights installation time
Outdoor lighting project tends to take a lot of time. The lighting system takes a significant amount of time to design, depending on your property’s size. It can take multiple weeks. The installation comes right after the design, which takes quite some time. Fixtures that are sophisticated take longer to install than simple ones.
If path lights or wall fixtures are not installed properly, they can damage shortly. So, professionals take some time to install the lighting following proper protocol. Based on their charges, the installation fee can bump up the total cost of outdoor lighting quite a bit. The longer it takes to install your lights, the more the price will be.
Costs of particulars
Outdoor space lighting cost also depends on its particulars. Installing fixtures is about the institutions’ materials and the other parts that come with them – such as tightening bolts. Cheap fixtures damage quickly, costing a lot more in the long run.
To increase the intensity of the lights, you might need to install an extra transformer, which adds about $200-$400 to the total cost. At the same time, electric receptacles such as GFCI or ground fault circuit interrupters and outdoor outlets will be required for maximum functionality, adding about $500 to the overall cost.
Other particulars that can drive up costs are cables and wiring, drilling and cutting, additional outlets, conduits, and insulation.
Types of landscape lighting techniques
Various techniques for installing landscape lighting illuminate your outdoor space in the best way possible. If you add lighting in the entire area, using different techniques with different lighting fixtures is wiser as they return different results. Below are some of the most common methods used by professionals. Landscape lighting costs for other techniques will vary depending on the complexity of the design and the number of lights used.
The most common form of lighting is pathway bollard lighting, where the paths or walkways of your house it illuminated with fixtures along the path. The fixtures are generally shorter and use a down-lighting technique to light the way.
This lighting helps highlight, illuminate, or shadow objects from the bottom.
In this type of lighting, the light is cast from the top of the wall or building, illuminating the structure beneath the focal point.
Have a plant, fountain, or statue to accentuate? You could try highlighting. The fixture for this light stays on the ground and is placed at an angle. The light falls on the target object.
You can choose this technique if you have a wall or small shrub walls to highlight. Place a floodlight with low voltage at an angle to illuminate the object.
Want to cast the soft glow of moonlight onto your walkways? You can choose the moonlighting technique. Attach small, low-intensity fixtures to tree foliage to achieve it.
This technique installs the fixture into the ground at the base of the wall and illuminates the object above while simultaneously creating a beautiful shadow effect.
Types of landscape lights
Ask a professional, and they will give you the names of tens of different lights. Depending on your landscape, you will perhaps pick a handful. Below are five of the most used landscape lights.
Path lights are usually used for illuminating walkways and highlighting plants. Solar lights are the most convenient option for it.
Deck lights are used for highlighting elements present in your deck. If you have grills, benches, or fountains, deck lights can be a great option for them. It also adds security to your deck.
Want to illuminate a large section of your exterior? Area lights do not focus on one specific object but light up an entire area.
Floodlights are used for lighting a large section. This is also known as overall lighting and is mostly used to accentuate large walls.
As the name suggests, a spotlight accentuates a certain object – a tree, an object on a wall, or a certain feature. A spotlight uses a single, thick beam of light to focus on the object and does not illuminate a large area.
Tips for a DIY landscape lighting project
If your landscaping project’s installation and lighting costs seem too expensive, you can always opt for a DIY project to save money. While it might not seem easy, it’s not rocket science. Whether adding more light to your existing landscaping to enhance safety or starting a completely new project, the following tips will ensure your DIY project becomes a modest success.
Buy good quality light bulbs.
Two components help you identify good bulbs from average ones – intensity and color. Identify whether you want specific lighting or accentuate an object, and pick lights based on it. You can always pick from halogen or LED lights, but the latter would be the best option for minimizing cost as they require low voltage. Pick a light with the Kelvin count mentioned on the packaging for the best results.
Get durable fixtures
When buying fixtures, get ones that can withstand adverse weather conditions. The best ones tend to have UL wet protection rating and can last very long.
Use solar lights
Electric lights require basic wiring and are unsuitable for a DIY project. You can use solar lights instead. They are easy to install and do not require complex wiring and cables.
Every landscape needs a certain amount of lighting to look the best. Professional designers know how many lights your landscape needs. But in a DIY project, your projection can be wrong. Adding more lights than required can create glare, so be mindful before installing landscape lighting.
Need professional service for your landscape?
Finding good LED lighting for your dream landscape can be challenging. RC Lighting is one of China’s prominent LED lighting manufacturers for landscapes and wholesale suppliers. Our wide range of LED lighting products allows you to choose those that cater to your needs. At the same time, you can order custom-manufactured lights for your landscape.
If you are an electrician, contractor, or lighting reseller, you can enjoy a hefty discount on your purchase. Alongside this, we also provide lighting design and proposal, logistics, and installation support for your landscaping project. It is worth noting that all our designers and professionals are experienced, and they care about the safety and satisfaction of our clients at all times.
Getting your dream landscape is only a click away! If you want to hire professional service for your property at an affordable rate, please get in touch with us.