Landscape Lighting low voltage outdoor lighting design and installation service since 1974
The services of a landscape lighting design professional should be considered carefully. It is important to have confidence in a lighting designer's ability to meet the challenge of providing a lighting plan that acknowledges the unique qualities of the home and the landscaping. A good lighting system should demonstrate the designer's ability to achieve the lighting effects desired by the client while considering the issues of cost, equipment performance and site conditions.
Discussions of lighting effects tend toward the abstract. A good way to judge the abilities of a lighting designer is by viewing some of the designer's completed projects after dark. A portfolio of projects photographed at night is also helpful but night photography can be misleading since film captures light differently than the eye. It is important to look at the outdoor lighting when driving through similar residential areas at night to note those effects that seem particularly suitable. The appeal of good lighting is mainly a matter of individual taste but some common deficiencies in lighting design are easy to identify:
High surface brightness - the funeral home or model home look
High contrast ratios - hot spots of bright light surrounded by large dark areas
Lack of variety in the lighting techniques - or the opposite: overly dramatic effects
Lighting that shines into the widows of the home or into neighboring homes
An over abundance of path lighting too closely spaced - the runway effect
Unbalanced lighting that divides rather than unites the landscape features
Glare from unshielded sources that detract from the intended effects
Dim lights or large variations in light-to-light brightness indicate improper engineering
The experiences of friends or neighbors who have already added lighting to their properties can also inspire confidence in the ability of of a lighting company to provide design, installation and service appropriate to the task.. Some companies listing outdoor lighting as a sideline to their main business of landscape contracting or irrigation. may have limited experience with lighting. It is important that the qualifications of any lighting service provider be scrutinized carefully. Typical questions should include:
How many lighting projects have been completed?
Where can projects be viewed in a nighttime drive-by?
Are any existing clients willing to discuss their lighting and their experience?
Will lighting effects be "on approval" and changed without charge if necessary?
What is the warranty on equipment (including lamps), performance and workmanship?
Low voltage outdoor lighting for residential applications is the sole topic addressed on this web site. The text is based on direct experience with low voltage lighting over a period of 32 years and over 2,000 outdoor projects.