26 Jun 4 Ways to Make Your landscape lighting Project More Affordable
By Mike Gambino
After having personally assisted over 1000 people in their landscape lighting system purchase, the concept of meeting a budget but also being happy with one’s decisions can be a fine balance.
To meet this balance, I have listed 4 suggestions here to save and make your money go further with your landscape lighting system purchase.
1. Wait on the whole enchilada: I can understand wanting to complete your wish list all at once however when budget isn’t sufficient to do so it is always better to start with a master plan and install it over time in phases as the budget allows. With some it’s all or nothing at all and in order to meet their budget they will have to sacrifice in areas that are detrimental to the end result. Such as hiring an inferior design installer, opting for less expensive fixtures and lamps that do not stand the test of time (or accomplish design objectives) and will need to be replaced and a number of other cost cutting attempts that all end in the same way. They end up making the homeowner dissatisfied and costing the homeowner dearly in the near future.
2. Pre-wire during remodel or new landscape construction projects: This doesn’t mean paying the landscaper or gardener to install cable in sprinkler trenches along with their work without a plan. It means hiring a landscape lighting specialist to prepare a master plan based on the landscape and hardscape plan. This includes establishing how the system is to be zoned or switched. Plan 120 volt points of connection where the transformers will go and install cables of the proper size inside rigid conduit or at least sleeves large enough to pull cables in the future to the areas where all the lighting is going to be eventually installed without having to disrupt or minimally disrupt the landscaping.
3. Pretty fixtures: It’s not so much about the aesthetic look of the fixture itself but the ability of the fixture to be durable and to provide the desired effect without glare. Low voltage landscape lighting fixtures are designed to be concealed or hidden. There are exceptions to this general rule but for the most part if a lighter has done his job right then most of the fixtures should seamlessly integrate with the landscaping and not be noticeable during the day but be enjoyed at night. Typically ornate fixtures made to stand out and become focal points in and of themselves during the day do not function well at night or provide desirable effects. They often cost more initially and are not very durable either needing to be replaced when parts break.
Glare can also be a problem as fancy glass is sometimes a prominently featured component of the fixture.
IMHO they should be used with great discretion if at all in a landscape lighting system.
4. Being a decisive homeowner: This involves the homeowner doing their due diligence and knowing what they like and don’t like and making this clear to their landscape lighting designer before the work begins. Perusing the gallery of photos on this site and printing those that appeal to you and presenting them to your designer is a good way to transfer ideas. Knowing how you want to switch certain areas of lighting before the project is built. Making decisions and sticking with them. Changes during construction are not an issue for homeowners without a budget. However changes made during construction projects can and do eat up limited budgets fast.
Although there are more ways to make your landscape lighting project more affordable and budget friendly, this article hopefully has given you some helpful pointers in the right direction. To close, I want to reiterate one other point that I’ve made in other blog posts regarding landscape lighting, wants, and budgets-
‘Which would you prefer-To enjoy a highly used section of the back yard beautifully illuminated at night or the whole property illuminated with a troublesome system that doesn’t even look good.‘
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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