The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

They're Really Good Landscape Lighting Fixtures, Why Are They Breaking?

I don't like having dissatisfied clients. So, I work hard to make sure that our approach leaves everyone pleased with the results. I'm big on quality control and I work hard to perfect our process so we can eliminate failures in the field. If I don't think something is right for my customer, I'll let them know. I won't compromise quality and their overall satisfaction just to make a sale.




When it comes to outdoor lighting fixtures, our team knows what will and won't fail down the road. You may not think that you need your lighting fixtures to hold up for 10 to 20 or more years and perhaps you'd be right. But I bet that you'd like them to hold up for more than 3 to 5 years. I am always amazed when we are called out to service a lighting system we didn't install that is failing after only 3 years.

For example, yesterday I received a phone call from a potential client who explained that the lighting system her landscape contractor installed 3 years earlier was having problems. Her contractor added the lighting system into the landscape they built for her. She claimed that "They are really good landscape lighting fixtures", and yet she couldn't "figure out why they keep breaking". Out of curiosity, I asked why she hadn't called the original installers about the issues she was experiencing with the system they installed. She explained that she had, but that they weren't returning her calls.

I'm sure you are starting to get the picture: seemingly good fixtures, and actual high quality fixtures, are two very different things. Even when they seem to be "really good lighting fixtures", the tendency for low quality fixtures to fail is high enough that I refuse to even offer low quality fixtures to my clients. To better understand what can constitute a poor fixture, and why you may want to be careful when selecting a landscape lighting contractor, let us understand a few key guidelines.




LED Lamps

LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are here to stay. They aren't going anywhere for quite some time. They have truly changed the way we see and are doing things in our daily lives. With greatly improved energy efficiencies, longevity and quality of light there is no reason that LED shouldn't be the lamp in your fixtures.

However, as great as LED lamps are, they do have a few setbacks. Because they are technically electronic devices they have a couple of rules that must be followed to ensure there long lamp life of 30,000 to 50,000 hours.

The biggest thing to understand is that Moisture and Heat are not friendly to LED lamps. Your landscape lighting system must be built and designed to protect and warrant the use of LED products in today's landscape. Utah's outdoors can be very harsh. Wind, rain, snow, freezing, thawing, irrigation, lawn and garden equipment will be threatening your lighting system throughout the year. Make sure that the fixtures can protect your LED lamps from damage.

Outdoor Light Fixtures

I am amazed when I hear that there are some tradesmen who will actually hand a client a manufacturers catalog and ask them to pick out some fixtures and let them know where to place them around their landscape.

This is a completely unacceptable practice. Who better to know which products will, not only create the desired effect, but also have the ability to withstand the elements that will test them over years to come, than an experienced outdoor lighting professional? We will never  use an untested product, no matter how pretty or convenient it might appear to be.

Your landscape lighting fixture must be built to keep the LED lamps inside of them dry and protected at all times. A good rule is to only use fixtures that are built with brass or copper and designed with the ability to dissipate heat. Failing to use a fixture that can do this will assure that your LED lamp will fail or fall short of its intended lamp life.

All products that we use and install in our professionally designed lighting systems must also be serviceable. No product is perfect, should a failure occur your installation company should always be able to respond with the appropriate repair in a timely manner. Warranties must be clearly understood and honored.


What goes on underground is just as important as what takes place above ground. As previously mentioned, the outdoor environment can be brutal. Improper wire connections, such as wire nuts or piercing connectors should NEVER be used. This is the number one fail point of any outdoor lighting system. Properly tightened Heat Shrink connectors are the only acceptable wire connection.


Get them in writing! Your landscape lighting warranty should be Ironclad and in writing. It should be clear and concise as to what is and what isn't covered. Lighting fixtures and underground connections should have a lifetime warranty.





In Conclusion, it's important to look for a landscape lighting contractor who knows which fixtures, connections and lamps will work best for your lighting system. This doesn't mean that they simply give you assurances that everything will work fine; get it in writing. A written warranty explaining clearly what will be covered is what you should expect. Hiring a  contractor who offers anything less than this and you might have to deal with them not returning your calls in 3 years when the poorly installed system start to fail. Remember, trusting in an experienced professional is always the best option.

Give Us a Call:

To learn  more about how to light your outdoor living space, call us at (801) 440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form at our website,

Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah serves throughout Utah's residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper, Davis and Utah Counties. Our outdoor lighting portfolio includes projects throughout Utah and beyond.


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