08 Jun How to Plan Your Landscape lighting system
How to work with your custom landscape lighting professional to ensure that your project is a success.
By Mike Gambino
Last week I wrote about the importance of working with a custom landscape lighting designer builder when the project warrants. Whether you’re planning on a lighting system to surround your pool, want to create curb appeal landscape lighting systems that’ll make you the envy of your neighbors or one that will make life more efficient and convenient, it pays to be a good client.
There are certain things you can do to ensure that the project runs smoothly and that the technology his firm designs and installs for you satisfies all your needs. In designing and installing 1,000’s of custom landscape lighting systems throughout the years, I’ve come up with a list of 10 ways to guarantee success with your landscape lighting project.
1. Know your priorities. What’s your biggest hot button? Is it being able to view your lighting from the comfort and convenience of your family room inside the home? Maybe you’re more concerned with providing safety and security of the property with the ability to control of the lights from inside your house. List your priorities from top to bottom, and get every member of your family involved in the process. This will help your landscape lighting pro decide where to focus the bulk of your budget.
2. Establish a budget. Speaking of budget, it’s a good idea to at least have a ballpark figure in mind. If you know approximately how much you can spend, your pro designer installer will have an easier time picking out products and design ideas that’ll meet both your priorities and your budget.
3. Share your story. Why do you want landscape lighting ? Believe it or not, your lifestyle, schedule and routines are of interest to your landscape lighting pro. The fact that you entertain on a regular basis and have frequent garden parties, work until 6 and go to bed at 11 may seem mundane to you, but information like this is critical to the design and set up of your systems. With it, your landscape lighting pro will be able to set up a schedule for the lights adapted so it can be optimally enjoyed .
4. Attend meetings. Particularly for projects where landscape lighting will be installed during the construction of a home, it’s common for the landscape lighting pro, architect, builder, interior designer and other subcontractors to meet. It’s helpful if you also attend these meetings. You’ll be able to share your input and answer any questions they might have.
5. Maintain contact. It’s inevitable that you’ll run into a few occasions during the project where your input will be crucial. Be sure that your landscape lighting pro is able to reach you to throughout the project so collectively you can decide how to proceed.
6. Be willing to compromise. Some installations may require some form of compromise. For example, the perfect spot for controlling your landscape lighting from might have a major obstacle in the way. Your landscape lighting pro, will likely suggest a different location. Or a new opportunity may have popped up during the installation that wasn’t available or considered during the preliminary phase of the project. Hear him out and be flexible and willing to deviate from the original plan if need be.
What you need to know about landscape Lighting
7. Stay with the original plan. There’s nothing more difficult for a landscape lighting pro to deal with than a client who changes his or her mind continually during the course of a project and is not willing to pay for those changes. Asking for design changes, moving multiple fixtures to “see how they will look” only to be moved back again, can often complicate the entire project. In this case, your landscape lighting pro may need to modify the size of the wiring, readjust the position of the fixtures and maybe even remove conduit and cable that has already been sized and installed. All this will cost time and money. Not a problem for a pro when financially compensated for changes initiated by the client.
8. Do your homework – but not too much. It’s always a good idea to educate yourself before undertaking any project, but understand that your landscape lighting pro’s know which products work best together and which don’t. Even though you’ve seen some cheaper looking fixtures on the internet, for example, it may not be the right one for your system. Landscape lighting systems are meant to be hidden and concealed in the landscape not decorations or ornaments of themselves. Leave product selection to your landscape lighting pro as it is they who will source, install, service and warranty them.
9. Expect follow-up. The more you live with your systems, the more you understand how you’d like the lighting to perform. For example, since the lighting was all new to you and a bit overwhelming, the brightness setting you insisted on and your landscape lighting pro originally advised against for the tree lights may seem too dim after you’ve lived with it for a month or two. Expect your systems to be tweaked a few times after the installation is complete. If adjustments are needed expect to pay for the professional’s time to perform said adjustment.
10. Spread the word. If your landscape lighting pro does a good job, tell other people about it. Social media is a very powerful way to spread the positive reviews worldwide. Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising. Who knows—if you connect your landscape lighting pro with a new client, he just might give you a deal on your next 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 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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Mark CarlsonPosted at 17:26h, 09 June
Great insights again Mike…your wisdom is a valuable contribution to both society and to those learning the trade.