Question: What are the steps involved with a landscape lighting system?
Answer: The process begins with an initial site visit. This usually takes about an hour to determine what you would like to see done for your space. All decision makers must be present at this time. We will discuss the budget at this time to ensure that we are creating a design that fits the budget and you desires. The next step is we provide you with an estimate for the project. If you determine that you would like to “go to bid” for the project, you can purchase this design from us. If you choose to simply use us, the design is included in the project cost. The next step is the installation of the lighting system in which we install and do our final focusing after dark to ensure the lighting is to the design specification. The final phase is the maintenance of the system. This is another system, like your car or your heating and cooling system, that will require maintenance on an bi-annual or annual schedule to ensure that it looks as good as the day it went in.
Question: Can I get this in solar?
Answer: No, at this time there is not a solar fixture that can get the results of a professional landscape light fixture and proper lamp.
Question: Why do you have to use so many fixtures, can’t you just use one light?
Answer: It is not simply a light fixture that creates the effect we are trying to achieve. One light fixture does not allow you to create the depth and interest in the designs. With one light fixture, it would be too one dimensional and not have the subtle play of light and shadow that makes the artistic effect.
Question: Isn’t 120volt lighting better than low voltage?
Answer: In most instances, no. There are some situations that I would choose a fixture that is line voltage (or 120volts) but it is very rare. Line voltage wiring in the landscape is just simply too invasive. You have to be really deep with line voltage wiring methods and that starts to create damage to the plants that we are trying to enhance. Additionally, there is much better beam selection in the low voltage lamps that we use and that is what truly creates the magical effects that we strive for.
Question: Can’t I get the same landscape lighting equipment at the big box stores?
Answer: No, the fixtures that we use in our professional landscape lighting systems are designed to last a very long time. Cheap plastic fixtures or poor quality metal fixtures from the box stores cannot stand up to the elements that the outdoor environment has. The fixtures that we use have lifetime warranties. The reality is that the fixtures will likely last longer than we can ever imagine. The LED lamps we use all have a five year warranty from the manufacturer. Additionally, not all LED lamps are made the same. The lamps we use in our systems are designed to be used in enclosed fixtures in outdoor environments. The average LED lamp is not designed for these locations and will not last as long.
Question: Will this be too bright? “We don’t want it to look like Disneyland” is something we are confronted with regularly.
Answer: No, While there may appear to be too many fixtures, we choose the right amount to get a subtle, natural feel. The light levels we work with are soft and comfortable. Our designs are constantly aware of dark sky friendliness and being conscious of not allowing light to trespass where we don’t want it to.
Question: Can I supply the light fixtures?
Answer: If you have aesthetic line voltage fixtures that you have purchased, yes, we will install those for you. In regards to the low voltage fixtures that we install in the landscape, no. We only use the fixtures that we have tested and studied for years. The fixtures we use have passed these stringent tests and that is why we choose them. Functionality, durability and effectiveness is what we base our fixture selection on.
Question: What if I don’t like the look of the fixtures you are going to use?
Answer: Our lighting designs rarely accentuate the fixture. Our goal is to have our fixtures disappear into the landscape as much as possible. The copper and brass will patina to a color that will make it as invisible as possible during daylight hours and our the intent of our lighting design is to have them disappear as much as possible at night. We never want anyone to walk into one of our designs and say, “Look at all the pretty lights” We want the landscape or the architecture to be the focal point without the source of light being evident.
Question: Why do you need to know our budget for the lighting?
Answer: Just like any other investment you are planning on making, a budget is imperative. When we establish a budget, that creates the parameters in which we create our design and proposal. With that budget in hand, we know right away if we are a good fit for one another or if we need to design the lighting system differently based on the budget.