Wondering how to create a budget for your landscape lighting?
Outdoor landscape lighting is not just about aesthetic appeal; it also offers functional and financial value. For starters, illuminated exteriors help to keep antisocial elements at bay. Moreover, lighting up the yard or garden is one of the best ways to capitalize on the outdoor space and merge it into your indoor living area.
Also, well-designed landscape lighting can turn your property into the most beautiful-looking home on the block and hence increase its value. So, the advantages of elegant outdoor lighting are innumerable. But, how much would it cost?
If you want to work within a set budget or allocate the right amount of money, schedule a design consultation with Mike’s Landscape Lighting right away. But, if you would rather do your own homework to calculate your outdoor lighting budget, then continue reading to know where to start and how each factor will impact the final cost.
Understanding your requirements
At Mike’s Landscape Lighting, we have a saying- Every landscape is different, as are the needs of every client!
So, like with any home improvement project, to know how much you will have to spend, you will need to understand exactly what it is that you need and want.
Sure, you could straight up consider the exact spots that you’d like to see all lit up. But, a more effective way is to ask yourself- Why landscape lighting?
For some of you, the answer to that one would include lighting up the dark corners around the property. For others, it may involve shining the spotlight on a specific feature of the landscape or the architecture of your home. For yet others, it may include a more inviting and illuminated entrance that welcomes them home.
Whatever your reasons, you need to have complete clarity on this front. Once you have that out of way, you can pinpoint the specific areas that will need lighting and the type and number and light fixtures that will be required to get the job done.
Set aside a realistic budget for your outdoor landscape lighting
The cost of your outdoor lighting project will be influenced by the type and number of fixtures, wiring requirement, transformer, control mechanism, and timing devices if any. Moreover, the type of lighting technique will also have a bearing on the pricing. Your options for the type of lighting include:
Down lighting: A bright light is installed at a height, possibly on a high beam or even a tree so as to allow the light to shine down on an area or a fixture, much like moonlight.
Uplighting: This one is typically used for outdoor artwork like statues, and fountains and also for natural features like trees and shrubs
Grazing lights: These are meant to showcase extraordinary vertical surfaces of the exterior of a house.
Pathway lights: As the name suggests, this type of lighting is meant to brighten up a walkway.
Safety lighting: Used to light up the porch, the deck, or outdoor stairs, this type of lighting offers both functional and aesthetic value.
Accent lighting: This is primarily used as an aesthetic component of outdoor lighting; the one used to bring out the beauty of sculptures placed outdoors, a water feature on the property, or even a particularly interesting tree.
Most people will tell you to set aside at least 5% of your total landscaping budget for outdoor lighting. But, in our experience, that is a very conservative figure. Usually, 10% to 20% offers the required spending power for most projects. Having said that, you need to understand that the actual cost is influenced by a multitude of variables.
The factors that impact the overall cost of outdoor lighting
The size of the project: This refers not just to the area covered but also to the number of fixtures used, but then these two factors are mutually inclusive. For example, it would cost you less to cover an area of 2,000 square feet as opposed to a plot that stretches over 5 acres.
The unique features of your landscape: If you are doing up the yard from scratch, lighting the outdoor space will cost less because electrical lines can be laid straight to where they are required.
On the other hand, if the lighting has to be retrofitted to work around an existing landscape, this can mean 2 or 3 times more wiring and of course just as much of an increase in the pricing. You will also have to factor in the cost of repair to deal with damage to the existing structure and landscape.
The required wiring: This is the one factor that will have the greatest impact on the cost of labor. The higher the distance to be covered between the main electrical supply point (your home) and the spot at which the fixture has to be installed, the higher will be the requirement for the wire. Also, factor in wiring that needs to go around hardscapes, mature vegetation, and water features.
Trenching: In addition to the cost of wiring, you will also have to pay for digging trenches to house the electrical cables. You can’t very well leave these out in the open. For one, they will be an eye sore and a tripping point, hence dangerous. Also, keeping them above the ground would increase exposure to the elements and reduce their lifespan.
The type of fixtures: Sure you can get cheap fixtures, but don’t expect them to weather the elements for more than a year or two, and then it will be back to shopping for new stuff. Instead, it makes sense to spend more to purchase high-quality products. Remember, you are buying for the next 7 to 10 years. So, aside from the occasional bulb change, you should not have to play around with the fixture or its installation at all.
That said, the cost of the fixture depends on the material used in its construction as well as the area for which it’s designed. Here are the different types of light fixtures that you will need based on their function and the area for which they are best suited.
- Pathway lights: As their name suggests, their soft luminescence is meant to show you where you should be walking.
- Landscape lights: Typically installed around the vegetation, these low-voltage fixtures require the installation of a 12-volt transformer.
- Outdoor security lights: These are among the most technically advanced (depending on the option that you choose) and most expensive of all outdoor lights.
- Floodlights: The most basic and the harshest of all outdoor lights, these drown (not just cover) the outdoor space in bright light. Also, they are quite expensive to operate and maintain. In addition to the cost of the fixture, you may also have to pay extra for the pole on which the fixture is installed.
- Downlights and uplights: These will typically be used for accent lighting and moonlighting.
- Porch lights: These are usually wall-mounted or pendant lights that can be installed in less than an hour if you have an existing electrical point. However, the requirement for a new connection will drive up the cost.
In addition to the type of fixture, the metal used in the construction of the unit will also make a difference. Brass fixtures are among the most expensive while aluminum units are the lightest and the cheapest. But they are also prone to quick deterioration and failure.
There is an easy and accurate way to know how much outdoor lighting will cost
Get in touch with the expert lighting designers at Mike’s Landscape Lighting. Drawing up the budget for landscape lighting can be a complicated and frustrating experience.
In fact, often the fear of spending much more than they can or want to deters homeowners from outdoor lighting. However, with a lighting expert, you can actually work out a pocket-friendly plan that gives you “wow” results.
At Mike’s Landscape Lighting, our experts know how to balance cost with features and aesthetics. So, don’t hesitate to tell us how much you have set aside to light up the yard. For us, no project is too big or too small. And here is a secret- We know all the insider tricks of the trade that can save hundreds and thousands in landscape lighting.
And we are happy to pass all of the monetary benefits of our years of experience and trade secrets to our clients. So, what are you waiting for? Of course, you want your garden or yard to look the best. Schedule a design consultation right now and we will do just that while staying within your budget!