Landscape Lighting needs to stop being an Afterthough

Landscape Lighting needs to stop being an Afterthough

By Mike Gambino

Afterthough  is defined as an addition that was not included in the original plan.  Something (such as a part or feature) not thought of originally :  something secondary.

This article is prompted by a flurry of recent calls I’ve been getting from property owners in the final stages of an outdoor, landscaping or pool project wanting landscape lighting. Of course owners don’t want to dig up and disturb the newly planted landscape so design, arrangements, schedules, procurement of materials and installation work needs to start immediately before other contractors finish. This is no way to  plan a project and expect to get the best results. The time to plan for this and secure your landscape lighting designer installer is at the beginning stages of the project the sooner the better.


Availability of the Best people- The best designer builders are in demand and are usually booked out for weeks or months in advance and are not available immediately. Sometimes I wonder if buyers think I sit by the phone in an office and my tech team is waiting in my shop for the phone to ring to go to work. This is simply not the case. At any given time of any week various projects are in the planning stages others are actually in production and maintenance of completed systems are occurring all on a daily basis. So to say that we are very busy would be an understatement. I’m sure this is true of other successful design build landscape lighting companies around the country.

Availability of the Best Products- The best projects result from the best people designing and installing with the best products. The best products are not the cheapest products and not the ones that are readily available at a moments notice sitting on distributors shelves. Sometimes customized products are needed and these require lead times.

Coordination with other trades- As a late comer to the project the lighting designer is placed at a disadvantage. The landscape lighting designer builder competes for space in the garden for their hardware-transformers, conduit, cable and fixtures. The placement of other site amenities such as sprinkler hardware, security system components, speakers etc. can affect locations and optimized placement of lighting equipment which could be detrimental to our work.

Site Access- Sleeving under driveways, walkways and other site obstacles need to be planned for and installed during the very early stages of construction. These conduits are critical to provide access from one side of an obstacle to another in order to pass power cable and feed lighting fixtures. Sleeves provide the closest point between a & b which can save additional labor and material costs.

Built ins- Once concrete has been poured it is often too late. Sometimes the best lighting effects can be achieved by building light fixtures into hard structures such as floors and walls. This requires planning and coordination with appropriate trades. Hard structures are some of the first to go in during a landscape or outdoor project. The lighting designer knows the best locations for built in equipment so it is important that they are involved early on in the project.

concrete built ins

facebook logoThis landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all 20160627_004632146_iOSrights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 27 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .

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