The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Landscape Designers: Have You Found the Right Lighting Designer?

Have you ever found it challenging to find a landscape lighting specialist who fits your process?

As a landscape designer, you have three concerns with each new project: you want your client to have an excellent experience during the design process, throughout the construction / build phase, and with the completed result. You work with some wonderful clients and naturally want them to have a great experience throughout the entire process.

If you are looking to delight your clients at every turn, than you will need a landscape lighting specialist you can trust.

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There are numerous landscape contractors, and a wide range of landscape build companies. Finding the right landscape lighting specialist to make your project more successful can be challenging. There aren't many contractors who specialize specifically in landscape lighting. And fewer still who have dedicated service teams to look after your client's lighting system for the years to come. 

In your search for a specialized landscape lighting contractor to work with, there are certain characteristics that should stand out.

Look for a lighting specialist whose work you applaud. Try and find someone who is working in collaboration with other designers to create beautiful outdoor spaces that inspire.

Once you've identified the right landscape lighting specialist and determined how to involve them in your projects, you will appreciate having provided a better end product for your client. Once you begin collaborating to discover the best design ideas, you may quickly notice how much easier they make the whole lighting aspect of the project.

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We All Need a Stress Free Team Player

Are they adaptive and happy to design around the project/your client's needs, or are they more concerned about the scope of the project and their fee?

A good lighting designer is a joy to work with because they are excited about your project and want to be a team player. The right lighting specialist concerns themselves with finding ways to make your project a worry free success. They engage and communicate with you, and with others involved on your project. 

You'll have far more successful, stress free, outcomes if you can find a landscape lighting designer who is actively looking for ways to communicate and be proactive.

For example, a lighting designer can alleviate your stress by showing up when there is a concern so they can solve the problem for you, instead of creating more issues.

While conducting your search, consider meeting for lunch with a potential partner. Here you will have the chance to learn more about them and see if they feel like the right fit for your project. A face to face meeting could truly make all the difference when you are attempting to find the right lighting designer.

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The right lighting designer is responsible and proactive. You shouldn't find yourself waiting long to hear back from them whenever you have a question or a concern. The right lighting specialist will actively keep you involved with the details of the whole lighting design.

When the time comes for their technicians to begin preliminary installation work for the lighting system, they will coordinate with other contractors involved with the project and not leave any of the burden on you.

As the landscape designer, you have many responsibilities and ought to be able to leave the office at a decent hour.

Specialized landscape lighting companies are naturally experts in what they do and should be able to help answer any questions pertaining to their field. 

The right landscape lighting specialist will not miss your deadline. If they see that time is not on your side, they'll do whatever they need to help accommodate your project's needs. Communication is essential to them. They will let you know well in advance if there is going to be a timing issue with your project's deadline. You should never find yourself wondering if your lighting designer is going to meet your deadline on time.


The best designs come from the team that is brought together early on in the design process. When there is ample lead time for communication and collaboration, you'll find there is less stress and better results. Communication and listening will take your relationship to the next level.

The right lighting designer is looking to follow the landscape designer's lead, not their own agenda. It can be easy to forget about the other's point of view. Personal agendas can sometimes muddy the waters in a collaborative relationship. The right lighting designer will not do this. They will be focused on contributing to the design and following the landscape designer's lead.

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Feedback form both sides can do the design a world of good. No one should be outright directing the other. Rather, both parties should bring their vision and ideas to the table, but be open to feedback and suggestions. 

For example, If you let your lighting designer know early on in the design process that traditional path lights are something you don't care to see in the landscape design, then they may suggest an alternative lighting solution like down lighting. The design might take on several forms and variations before a solidified product comes together.

When your lighting designer comes to meet with you to go over the project and design, are they excited and keen to participate? Do they ask questions about your vision for the design and how the space will be used? How mindful are they of your intent? Do they ask for copies of renderings they can study and use?

Its the collaboration and eagerness from the landscape designer and lighting designer that  leads to the best end product. Together, you can be sure your landscape lighting is truly tailored to fit your landscape design.

Working with someone who does lighting on the side can produce mixed results. To find the right landscape lighting specialist - one who truly appreciates landscape design and landscape architecture - look for one whose single focus is landscape lighting. The perspective of a designer who is solely focused on landscape lighting will provide more value to your team because of their unique insight on outdoor illumination.

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You will feel confident that you chose the right lighting designer when you find them advocating for you and the whole design. The ideas came from everyone on the team, and the design makes sense for the project because of everyone's collaboration and contribution.

Closing Thoughts

A creative approach and particular style can make working with a lighting designer such a satisfying experience. 

If you're curious about a lighting designer's  potential, ask to see example of their work. Do they have a portfolio they can share?  

A successful project requires a landscape lighting designer with their own voice and unique style to lighting design, their own flavor. Their eagerness to work with your unique eye for design can lead to amazing results when they are willing to work together to help create something exceptional.

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