The number of lights is one factor, but there are others that affect the cost of landscape lighting installation, from the size of yard to obstacles in installation to the type of fixtures.
Let’s take a look at a few factors:
Trenching low voltage wire through lawn is fairly easy and doesn’t require conduit, since it’s low voltage.
But if an installer is trenching under sidewalks, around patios or other obstacles, the cost goes up, because the time and labor increases.
And if the ground beneath your lawn is rocky, higher labor costs may come into play because trenching is more difficult.
Quality Of Fixtures
Not all landscape lighting fixtures are created equal. The fixtures that come in kits you find at the hardware store, for example, are usually plastic. They won’t hold up well to the rigors Mother Nature dishes out.
At Outback Landscape, we prefer aluminum landscape lighting fixtures because they last longer and are more durable. The advanced powder-coating techniques and top-quality aluminum of high-quality fixtures prevents corrosion and other damage.
Long Runs Of Wire
If you have a large property or a complex lighting design, the unusually long runs of wire to the transformer may lose voltage — called “voltage drop” — so a larger transformer is required to keep all lights on the same circuit. Transformers vary widely in cost, from about $350 to as much as $1,500.
Availability Of GFCI Outlet
If your property doesn’t have an exterior ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, essential for powering a low voltage lighting system, a licensed electrician will have to add one, which will add to the expense.
Older homes are notoriously short on these outlets, which shut off an electric power circuit when it detects that current is flowing along an unintended path, such as through water or a person.
Saving Money With LED Lights
All the landscape lighting we install is LED. Halogen bulbs last for only about one year, and replacing them annually is a hassle. LED bulbs have an average life of 50,000 hours and use 75 percent less electricity than halogen bulbs.
We haven’t had to replace a bulb yet. While LED bulbs cost more upfront, the savings over time is substantial.
Why DIY Doesn’t Always Save Money
Sure, you could attempt landscape lighting installation yourself. You can get a kit for a few hundred dollars — maybe less. Professional lighting could cost you well into the thousands, depending on the size and scope of the installation.
But the quality you get with a lighting kit doesn’t come close to the quality work of a professional landscape lighting contractor.
Professionals do this for a living. Every day. They know how to install top-quality lights correctly, so there are no unfortunate issues down the road that can cost you more in the long run.
There’s more to installing landscape lighting than just the labor.
Professionals know how to precisely place lights so there are no odd shadows — or blinding glare that will annoy your neighbors.
A professional uses high quality fixtures, bulbs and wiring that often include a lifetime warranty.
Professionals offer expertise that doesn’t come in a box. They study the characteristics of each property to create a unique look, using varying levels of light and assorted types of fixtures.
They know about color temperature, lumen output, voltage drop and other tools of the trade that go way beyond those instructions in your kit from the home improvement store.