08 Jan New construction or property remodel: When should I hire a landscape lighting Design Specialist?
By Mike Gambino
EASY ANSWER: AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. This is for a number of reasons…
First & foremost, you want your project to be thoroughly thought through. The more time allowed for the design team to consult with one another, the increased likelihood that the actual construction will occur more efficiently.
Secondly, you want to be able to hire the best that you can afford. THE BEST in any industry or trade are always busy, regardless of the economy. The sooner you retain their services, the better chance you are to find their schedules available to you.
Next, the sooner you have your “dream team” together, the sooner they can begin assembling their collective thoughts. The landscape lighting Designer will have a lot of the same questions that your architect has…
Budget – So they can try to design within your budget. No need designing something spectacular, to be way out of the client’s budget. Some clients want “ART,” and as such, have to be a little looser with the budget.
Lines of sight – what do you want to see from various locations??
Where & how the various angles of the site & proposed structures work together.
The selection of compatible materials visually to each other, compatible for the intended use, and the compatible lifespan/performance.
How the controls will interface seamlessly…. Doing this after the fact is never easy, nor seamless. It is best that all of the installers of the various control systems on the estate, start early to identify incompatibility issues. There are a myriad of systems to consider & it all depends on how seamless the client wants them to be [HVAC, Security, CCTV, Audio/Video, Lighting (interior, exterior, low voltage & High voltage), telephone, LAN/WAN, landscape controls (pool/spa functions, landscape lighting, fountains, etc.].
Future growth on the site. If the client built out the estate exactly as they envision, regardless of the time frame, how would it finish? This is where the term “VALUE ENGINEERING,” originates from. Plan ahead & spend a little more money now, to save a lot more money in the future. Example: A client desires additional buildings on the estate in the future. It is best to plan for those buildings now, by installing electrical, data, & phone conduits through the foundation, roughing in gas, sewer & water lines beyond the current construction, etc. This is value engineering – planning for growth. This is all so the client does not have to tear out portions of the current project (in today’s dollars) to install the infrastructure needs for a future project. And repair the torn out sections with tomorrow’s dollars.
How long will the client really be in this property? We can oftentimes be the voice of reason, when making decisions. However, sometimes there are particular facets that the client just must have for intrinsic reasons, or because they are pleasing to them. Equipment, material, & finish selections and installation practices can all be based upon these criteria. If the client is only going to own the residence for a few years, does it make sense to build to a 100 year standard? Sometimes, the answer is yes, because they want to build a legacy, create something that will stand the test of time.
Schedule – the sooner the team is assembled, the more likely that the plans will be completed on time. Waiting until the house is under construction to begin the landscaping and lighting designs is late. Oftentimes, getting involved at this point, we are left trying to adapt to construction that has been completed already. Sometimes the design has become way too complicated & intricate, without the input of someone who actually knows how to build it. Trying to get involved at this stage, involves a lot of reworking, realigning, and redrawing.
Creative Collaboration – Many landscape lighting Designers have an extensive background in landscaping, art, color theory, spatial relationships, material science, as well as construction and electrical. They can lend ideas to refine elements of the design, drawing on experience on other design teams they have been a part of. It makes sense to capitalize upon that experience – gained from working with International Renown Architects, Designers, and Experts that other people assembled for their projects?
Get a landscape lighting Designer involved early on, so the project is as seamless as possible… after all isn’t it the goal to have lighting elements that are part of the scene… belonging seamlessly to the architecture or landscape, as if something was missing if they were not there?
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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