22 Jun How Much Does a Custom High Performance Gambino Landscape Lighting system Cost?
By Mike Gambino
Gambino High performance Landscape lighting systems cost between $3,000 and several hundred thousand dollars. Most average sized tract home properties cost between $7,000 and $30,000 to illuminate effectively. Estates and larger properties, or commercial landscape lighting systems usually cost between $25,000 and $100,000 or more depending upon factors listed below. Why the big ranges? Here are the primary considerations in determining the cost of a custom Gambino landscape lighting project:
- Size and Scope
- Number of Zones
- Height above Grade
- Access to the Building Site
- Engineering and Design
- Quality of Materials
- General Difficulty of Project
1. Size & scope
Some properties are relatively small, the installation straight forward and we can be in and out quickly. As the property size increases, so does the potential for greater complexity that requires more fixtures, more labor, and longer conduit and cable runs and transformers.
2. Number of zones
The term, “landscape lighting system” can refer to a single area of a property, or a project full of many individually switched, timed or controlled zones. Most of the hardware, planning, and design that goes into a lighting system must be repeated for a second or third system. However, if you are going to ultimately have a multi zone landscape lighting project, then you do save money by building it all at once. Your savings come from areas such as traveling costs, design trip costs, and setup/wrapup costs.
This doesn’t mean that a project in Beverly Hills is going to automatically cost more than a similar one built in west LA. We don’t mean to pry by asking your city, state, & country before we give you a cost estimate. We just have to know approximately what our traveling costs are going to be from our hometown of Simi Valley, CA. The primary location costs relate to covering mileage on our vehicles and paying our employees for their travel time. A landscape lighting system in Texas or New York is going to cost more for us to build than a project within commuting distance of Simi Valley. Even still, with only a handful of expert landscape lighting companies in the United States, we will travel great distances if the project budget and client warrants.
4. Height above Grade
The more fixtures required installed above ground, the more labor hours it will require to build it. Even a simple patio or eaves 8 feet high to10 feet high makes a significant difference in the building time and complexity. There are the logistics of bringing cables from the ground to the top of the patio, drilling beams and caulking to seal off from the elements, hanging fixtures and separate switching. At 8′, we can reach the beams from the ground with a step ladder. At 16′ or higher for tree mounted fixtures, we will need bigger ladders, ropes, and/or scaffolding. Height can become a factor in the overall cost. But most times the additional cost is well worth it!
Typically, landscape lighting accessories don’t add significant cost. There are extension risers that when required will bring the fixture above plant materials so its light output is not blocked. Optical lenses to accomplish specific effects such as softening or widening and spreading a light beam out. Longer shields, honeycomb louvres for additional glare control. So only the need for a large quantity of accessories can start to make a significant cost difference in a high performance landscape lighting project.
6. Access to the Project Site
We can most times drive our trucks right up near the actual work site. Other times, we have had to walk half a mile down the road to get to the work site. We have had to lower materials down a steep hillside where it wasn’t safe to carry anything down by hand. Although not common, some of the more difficult projects required as many man hours to get tools & materials to the site as they did to actually construct the lighting system! Many of our customers have been very helpful in mitigating the costs associated with difficult site access. Others have not been so accommodating.
7. Engineering & Design
We will occasionally build a simple landscape lighting system from photos e-mailed to us without making a site visit first. This means that there is a limited design phase which will be free or low cost up front. But normally, we will visit the site which involves some traveling expense and perhaps some design or planning fees. This costs $100-$3500 for all areas within the continental USA. We can also follow through with complete plans prepared by an engineer which can cost around $1500 – $10,000 for either a simplified review or a complete set of code & permit ready plans however this is very rarely necessary.
8. Quality of Materials
We use our own brand of exclusive heavy duty die cast molded brass, copper lighting products and stainless steel transformers. We even have our own specially engineered to our specifications LED’s. This is not an area where we will ever skimp. After all we are installing systems designed and built to last a lifetime. We don’t use painted steel, or aluminum or recycled fiberglass or plastic products that do not stand the test of time. We also will not use whatever is on the shelf at the local building yard or big box store. For example, the cheapest lighting is usually painted aluminum, Composite plastic fixtures that may cost 2-5 times less than our quality materials. This can amount to differences of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of the project. Cheaper products may increase labor costs as well. That’s why a landscape lighting system equal in all other ways could cost $20,000 or $45,000. The cheaper one may be functional but will require more maintenance and won’t last. The more expensive one is going to look magazine cover ready and hold its integrity over time.
Labor costs are the same regardless if Quality or inferior products are used like pictured above (Not a Gambino landscape lighting fixture or project).
9. General Difficulty of the Project
A few examples of this random category could be working on very hard ground, large surface rooted trees and plants, rocky soils, hillsides or slopes, uneven ground (where ladders are difficult to set), where the trees have a lot of branches that make it difficult or interfere with normal working space, or if the site is potentially unsafe or dangerous to work on.
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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