What You Must Know Before Contacting A Landscape lighting Designer/Builder

What You Must Know Before Contacting A Landscape lighting Designer/Builder

By Mike Gambino

When I get a call or email from a potential new client there are many things I’d like to know to determine if we’re a fit.  Oftentimes, people have never worked with a landscape lighting designer/builder and are calling to get familiar with the basics.  Generally, before you contact any designer you should know a few things to help the process and to provide an accurate picture of what you are looking for.  Here are the top things you should know before contacting a designer.

Why Light?

What are you trying to achieve with the landscape lighting? Do you want to light the entire property or select areas? Do you want to showcase the beauty of your property after dark? Do you want to enhance the security and feeling of safety around your property? Do you want a combination of both?

Why Now?

What motivates you to contact me now? Are you planning a party or event where you have a deadline for project completion? Are you planning or in the midst of a new landscape installation project or the remodel of an existing landscape?

Who are the decision makers?

If there is more than 1 person is everyone on the same page and have the same motivation, design requirements and motivations to do the project now? What is the availability of and when can all decision makers meet on site to discuss the project?


How much do you want to budget, How much do you want to invest in your project?  Sometimes it is a difficult discussion to have and decision to make but it really does not have to be. If you really ask yourself what you are comfortable spending you should be able to settle on a number.  Also ask yourself if that amount is firm (in which your designer should work in a contingency) or if it is a range. When I speak to potential clients that tell me they don’t know what to budget, I start by asking them if they are comfortable spending a certain amount should give you an idea of what your budget is.  Before you hire a landscape lighting designer/builder you should at least have a general idea of your budget and you can work out a more detailed budget at your meeting where  they can talk to you about what you can get for your budget, but by asking yourself these questions before you hire a designer you will be able to find the correct person for the job and enjoy a smoother process. The Bottom line is Don’t contact a designer unless you’ve thought about what you want to financially budget for the project.

Design Style

There is a range of potential clients, from those that have no idea what they want to those that know exactly what they want to do.  Obviously most fall somewhere about in the middle of that.  No matter where you fall on the spectrum, take a look at different designers’ online website portfolios and ask yourself if you like what you see.  Do you like the style?  The feel?  The spaces?  If you’re liking the overall feel of the projects, it could be a good match.  This isn’t the only place you should look though, because online portfolios aren’t the only great representation of the designer’s style.  So you can also look at their social media pages.  This will give you a well-rounded idea of the designer’s style.  Bottom line: Narrow your designer choices by thoroughly researching their styles and make sure you’re liking it.


You designer is there as a guide, but unless you want to give them cart blanche (and are going to be totally a-ok with the outcome), give yourself some time to think about what your expectations are for hiring a designer and the outcome of the project.  This is especially good to think about before you hire someone so that you are clear what your expectations are.  Just like you had a list for non-negotiables when searching for a home or a mate, you can also have a list for doing a landscape lighting design project.  This way when you contact the designer and tell him that you’d like it done in six weeks or want to install specific types of fixtures, he can gauge if your project is the right match for the company.  A question I love to ask and one you can ask yourself is, “How do I want my property to feel after dark?”  Bottom line: If you’re not clear about your expectations your (potential) designer isn’t getting a clear view of the project.

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 29 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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