A few days ago I was inspired to write about this topic after a service call our team had performed. We received a phone call from a local home owner in Salt Lake City who had a landscape lighting project installed by his landscape contractor that had also provided a complete package installation including retaining walls, paver patio, water feature, jacuzzi, pergola, etc...
This particular home owner contacted me after a lot of frustration with his contractor failing to return his calls. The new 5 step paver stairs that were installed on the patio to the back entry of their home had tread step lighting installed for safety and functionality.
Out of the 10 lights installed 4 of them were not working. I certainly understood his frustration. He also shared with me that his wife had fallen one night as a result of this problem. To top things off, the problem was that 4 of these 10 lights never worked from the very beginning.
Now the hard part... I knew what the problem was the minute that he explained what the situation was -- failed connections! Now, if you can imagine a hardscaped paver stair case that is sealed together with faulty wire connections inside (poor quality connectors that should never have been installed in the first place).
Imagine how difficult it would be to tear down, repair, and reconstruct this project so that these lights could be restored. After understanding this gentleman's frustration we thought we would see what could be done to help him out. In a few hours we were able to tear down the stairway, replace failed connectors and rebuild his stairs. If only this would have been installed correctly the first time, this client wouldn't have had to experience his frustrations.
Over the years, we have lost count of how many times we have found ourselves fixing, repairing, and replacing the work of others. Below we have compiled a few questions that we feel are imperative to consider before hiring a qualified landscape lighting company.
What qualifies a professional?
What you should consider when hiring a Landscape Lighting Professional...
- Just what is a "Professional Outdoor Lighting Installer"?
- Does the sign on their truck qualify a "Landscape Company" to install outdoor lighting?
- Beware of Jack of all trades companies. Would you trust your Electrician to replace your roof?
- Is lighting their only focus? How many years have they been focused on lighting only?
Lighting design concept
What outdoor lighting design experience does your professional bring to the table? This is where it all begins. What will you see at night? How does your lighting make you feel? Is the goal of your lighting system to create a subtle ambiance with combined function and task? Seeing the affect and not the source of the light should always be a priority when creating a beautiful lighting system.
- Your designer should always ask you questions: This collaboration is vital for you to experience the best outcome. After all, your lighting project should meet your needs and not only the contractor’s.
- Can they provide a “portfolio” show casing their work that they are willing to leave behind, or do they simply leave a manufacture’s catalog.
- Are they a one size fits all company? Do they offer options that can fit your needs and budget.
- What is their understanding or willingness to utilize beam spread, lumen output, kelvin temperature, multi-zone control and automated dimming remote function.
- Is lighting their only craft or is it a sideline or add on of their practice?
- How many lighting systems have they designed and installed?
Properly engineering a lighting system
Building a low voltalge lighting system that will last for years to come is no easy task. This takes years of experience to learn proper installation technique and skill.
- Are all lamps load tested and balanced to assure proper voltage output? Do they offer a life time warranty on all underground components and installation?
- What connectors do they use? Wire nuts, piercing connectors should never be used. Only heat shrink, ratcheted tight, and water tight connectors should be used at all times.
- Is lighting just their next add on sale to their trade? Aluminum and Composite fixtures are not built to last the environment of the Utah landscape. Brass and copper of the highest quality must be used for a sustainable lighting system.
For long lasting dependability year in and year out service must be performed. Even with high quality LED lamps and products, service must be provided every year. Service, such as simple cleaning of lenses and adjusting fixture aim for plant and tree growth, is a constant concern for maximum performance. Trimming back plant material overgrowth from time to time for best optimization should be included.
- Will your installers be there to take care of your lighting system when the need arises? We are amazed at how many reach out to us stating that the company that installed their system no longer provides service.
- How dedicated is your lighting company?
- Do they outfit their vehicles with ALL they will need to properly service there lighting systems?
- Can they respond to your service requests within 2-3 days?
- Does their warranty include lamps (bulbs) replacement?
At Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah we want our customers to have an exceptional experience for years to come. This is why we are dedicated to each and every question delineated above. We not only have this passion and dedication, we also have the experience to provide this opportunity for each and every customer. Our expertise in the Utah landscape lighting industry as well as our experience of designing, installing and maintaining outdoor lighting systems throughout Utah landscapes will at the very least meet your desires and expectations.