Outdoor lighting isn’t fairy lights strung in trees or tiki-torches staked in the yard. Hardy, but beautiful, outdoor-ready metal fixtures are installed in gardens, on the home, and in the yard by lighting professionals who work with your electrical wiring for beauty that lasts.
Outdoor fixtures have a long life, and add aesthetic value and security to your home. Jeff Voth of Elegant Accents Outdoor Lighting serving the Tampa Bay, Florida area, helps clients make the most of their warm evenings with his outdoor lighting artistry. Jeff’s company designs, installs and services outdoor landscape lighting, architectural lighting and dock lighting.
What are the current trends in outdoor lighting?
The biggest trend is the use of LED (light emitting diodes) because of the energy and maintenance savings. LED are hardy enough for outdoor living and stand up well against their traditional counterparts. A comparison on Energy.gov shows an average 60 watt bulb costs $4.80 annually to run (2 hours/day) and lives for 1,000 hours. Contrasted with its more efficient buddy, the LED—which costs $1 annually (2 hours/day) and lives for 25,000 hours—you can see why this trend is growing. Another perk is LED tend to dim as they near expiration, rather than suddenly going dead. This gives you adequate time to get your bulbs fixed instead of your backyard party just going dark one night.
Frequent light fixtures used are:
- Uplights: Either adjustable (to be placed under trees or shrubs) or in-ground (set into a lawn or garden so the light is flush with the ground and you can mow over it)
- Spotlights: Shine them down from a height to highlight areas or add safety
- Path lights: Light up a charming path through the yard with freestanding path lights
- Architectural lights: Add ambient lighting to artistic touches on the house as well as add security
What can a new client expect during an outdoor lighting installation job?
Companies often start with an initial consultation and site visit to determine customer needs as well as their budget. Jeff and his crew also offer a nighttime demonstration—which they do free of charge—so the prospective client can see how the lighting looks before making a buying decision. Their next step is the design and proposal, followed by a work order. From there they schedule the installation.
Always ask about the process up front, so you know what to expect.
How long does the average job take?
No more putting off your fantasy backyard lighting because it will take too much time, Jeff shares that most of his lighting jobs can be installed in one day.
How much do outdoor lighting services typically cost?
Elegant Accents Outdoor Lighting prices “by the fixture.” The average job they perform costs between $2,500 and $3,000.
When hiring your pro, make sure you understand how the rates are determined and if they charge per fixture, if you need an electrician to fix any of the wiring, and what quality of fixtures you’ll be buying. It’s an investment, but a long-lasting one that adds benefit to your home.
What are the benefits to outdoor lighting?
Because we all love warm summer nights, the main perk is highlighting the home and landscaping so it can be enjoyed after dark. There is something special about driving up to your home at night and seeing all of its features in beautiful lighting, says Jeff.
And don’t forget the safety benefit—having lighting on steps and pathways as well as “dog walking areas” is of great benefit to a homeowner so that they don’t feel like they are staggering around in the dark, says Jeff.
In that vein, security is another benefit of outdoor lighting. Prowlers are far less likely to be snooping around a house that has lighting, he shares. With the energy savings of LED, it makes sense to keep your exterior lighting on all night. He explains that a system with 20 LED lights adds a mere $3.00 per month to the electric bill if the lights are on from sunset to sunrise, 24 hours a day.
What should a new client ask before hiring a lighting specialist?
Do you have pictures of your work? Can you provide references? What are the warranties for the equipment and installation? Can we see a demonstration before we make a decision?
The last question is very important, says Jeff, because not all LED lighting is the same. Some installers try to get away with using cheaper bulbs and/or materials. The lighting should have a “warm” feel to it and have a balance of being bright enough, but not too bright.
Anything else clients should know about outdoor lighting?
Always use a certified electric specialist or electrical contractor. Most people do not realize that many states require a contractor’s license to install and/or service low voltage lighting, and there are a lot of unlicensed installers out there. Research your state’s laws before hiring urges Jeff, and always err on the side of caution!