So you’ve been thinking about adding some lighting to your landscape. Do-it-yourself kits are always on sale at the home improvement store.
How hard could it be, right?
But there can be some definite problems with landscape lighting kits. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of these landscape lighting kits and whether they’re a good choice for your landscape lighting needs.
The Advantages Of Landscape Lighting Kits
Sure, it feels good to accomplish a do-it-yourself job. Everybody loves bragging rights.
But the biggest reason homeowners consider these kits is they’re cheaper than hiring a professional.
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.
Lighting kits also come with comprehensive instructions, and they’re fairly easy to follow. But unless you’re a real do-it-yourself expert, this job may be more complicated than you’d expect.
Disadvantages of Landscape Lighting Kits
Aside from potentially complicated instructions, here are a handful of other problems homeowners tend to deal with after buying and installing DIY lighting kits.
Your do-it-yourself lighting kit likely has a limited one-year warranty. Chances are you’d like your outdoor lighting to last longer than that.
At Neave Outdoor Solutions, our fixtures and transformers carry a lifetime warranty and our LED lamps have a 7-year warranty.
What are those fixtures in the box made of? Probably plastic or aluminum. It’s unlikely you’ll find high quality copper or brass in that box. Plastic and aluminum fixtures are very affordable but have limited life spans and provide minimal protection for the socket, light bulb, or LED lamp.
Over time they oxidize and the paint will fade. They don’t hold up well around salt and will soon corrode. Water can seep into low quality fixtures, rotting the sockets and causing wire corrosion.
What does the wire look like? Is it thin or hefty? Your wiring needs to carry the voltage safely and effectively. If it’s not up to the job, your lights won’t work at full capacity.
Most kit wiring will only push 12 volts from the transformer, and your fixtures will likely be 100 feet or more from that transformer. That means less than adequate voltage for your lights. A professional installation will ensure those 12 volts reach your fixtures with full power for your lights.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Does your kit include a variety of different bulbs or just one size? If all the bulbs are one size, that limits your ability to install nice balanced lighting. Different elements in your landscape benefit from different sizes of bulbs and even varied color temperature. Kits don’t deliver that versatility.
Do You Really Know What You’re Doing?
Yes, it’s a do-it-yourself kit with instructions, but landscape lighting still requires some technical know-how to do the job right.
Have you thought about how to get the wiring to the other side of your driveway? Do you know how to avoid overloading your breaker? Do you have the right tools? This could be a bigger job than you expected.
Do-it-yourself transformers typically don’t have the power professional units do, and the result is often uneven voltage. The professional term is “voltage drop.”
Say your outdoor sprinkler system has a half-inch pipe and runs five sprinkler heads nicely. What happens when you don’t increase the size of the pipe when you add three more heads? Suddenly, there’s not as much water spraying out. Same thing with voltage. If you don’t have enough power, your lights will be dim.
Benefits Of Hiring A Professional
The quality you get with a lighting kit doesn’t come close to the quality work of a professional landscape lighting contractor.
A professional uses high quality fixtures, bulbs and wiring that often include a lifetime warranty.
Beyond that, professionals offer expertise that doesn’t come in a box. Skilled lighting designers study the characteristics of each property to create a unique look, using varying levels of light and properly-placed lighting fixtures.
Neave lighting experts are trained in design techniques and the latest installation methods, and they have the most up-to-date product information in the industry.
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.
Leave Your Lighting To Neave
Illuminate your outdoor space with Neave Outdoor Solutions. We use the best energy-efficient LED outdoor lighting available in the industry to highlight your pool, garden, entryway, walkway or driveway.
Our landscape lighting design, installation and maintenance services are available for any residential or commercial property owner.
Designing an outdoor lighting system begins by meeting with a Neave consultant for a site analysis. We’ll get to know your property and discuss lighting options that will meet your specific needs.
If you’re in the Hudson Valley, call us at (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, call (914) 271-7996; from Connecticut, dial (203) 212-4800. Or, fill out our simple web form, and we’ll contact you about setting up your free consultation.