How to Budget Your Landscape Design Project

The Cost of Landscape Lighting Design & Installation

When educating homeowners and contractors about the cost of landscape lighting, we advise them to set aside 10 to 20 percent of the entire landscape project budget for outdoor lighting.

However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, landscape lighting is often an oversight when it comes to overall landscape design—or the first thing that’s cut when project costs start running high.

Our objective with this blog is to emphasize the importance of this design element. Homeowners spend a great deal of money on landscaping and hardscaping, only to have it admired and used during daylight hours. Adding quality landscape lighting makes their investment truly worthwhile.

Budget Recommendations from the Pros

Plan Ahead

If your budget is already maxed out with no wiggle room to add in landscape lighting, it’s OK to hold off on initially. However, as the project is being laid out and built, we highly recommend planning ahead. Add the pipe, wire, and conduits during the initial build phase as a proactive time and cost saving measure. It will be a fraction of the cost to retrofit it in months or years down the line.

Here’s a real-life example. If you’re building your dream outdoor kitchen, but you don’t plan for outdoor lighting—you don’t put conduits within the structure or your center island—now you’re created a problem, one where you can’t add landscape lighting without tearing down your beautiful hardscaping, which is extremely expensive and time-consuming. However, it costs next to nothing to plan for this future investment. And, say, in two years when you’re ready to add outdoor lighting, all you need to do is add transformers and fixtures because wire is already in infrastructure.

Start Small

When you’re ready to make that next step or even just toying with adding landscape lighting, we recommend starting small—maybe lighting just one area to dip your feet or starting at the bottom end of the recommended 10 to 20 percent budget.

If this is the route you’d like to take, pick an area of importance. Generally speaking, this tends to be the backyard to add a level of security for the homeowner and dissuade possible intruders. Homeowners also tend to illuminate areas and features including pathways and steps for safety, so that people can navigate a property with ease.

The next project tends to go for adding curb appeal by lighting and beautifying the front of the home or outdoor living space.

Nearly 100 percent of the time after homeowners get a taste of landscape lighting by illuminating one space, they see how much it adds to their home and they can’t resist more. It becomes an obsession and we totally understand why.

Cost-Saving Tips that Last a Lifetime

As your planning your landscape lighting design, consider these two cost-saving tips: Make the investment in LED lights, and make the investment in durable, quality fixtures that offer a range of light and beam angle settings.

Halogen lights are a thing of the past and aren’t as functional as LEDs. If you’re starting your project from scratch, don’t waste your time with halogen lamps. You’ll end up retrofitting in LEDs later, which can be a pain.

Additionally, buy quality fixtures. Just do it. If you cheap out on this critical factor, you’ll end up spending more money, waste a lot of time, and create headache after headache for yourself. The average life expectancy of an aluminum or inferior outdoor lighting fixture is about two years—three years if you’re lucky. So, in ten years, you’ll have had to replace all your fixtures no less than three times. Consider replacement costs, installation fees, and coordination time.

It’s best to do the project right from the beginning so you can simply relax, worry-free, and enjoy your investment the moment the installation is complete.

We hope you’ve found these budgeting tips informative and valuable. Feel free to reach out with any questions. And if not, happy landscaping!