While you might wonder if landscape lights are expensive or how to fit them into your budget, the truth is that when you invest in the proper setup and high-quality products, you'll save money in the long run. Here are some things to think about when considering the cost and when putting together an overall budget for your landscape lighting:
High Quality Materials Last Longer.
Turning that dream landscape into a reality can be seemingly expensive. That’s the truth. You might be tempted to skimp on fixtures to save money for other aspects of your landscaping, but this can be costly in the long-term. And while it's true that an option like bronze is not a low-cost material, it is more reliable and longer lasting than something like plastic. It’s an upfront investment that will save you overtime when you think about how many times you will have to purchase and replace cheaper materials.
Here is a comparison and things to think about as far as materials go for your landscape lighting fixtures:
- Considering plastic fixtures? They don’t hold up in weather, and they tend to crack and split. They’re not strong enough to withstand any type of pressure, and generally, their aesthetic value is poor...they’re just not the best choice.
- Aluminum is on the lower range of the cost scale, and for good reason. Over time, aluminum will oxidize, and the paint will fade. If the fixtures are powder coated, they could last longer, but they’re still not a viable long-term choice. Due to its tendency to corrode, aluminum is not recommended for coastal environments.
- Since stainless steel reflects the sun, it can look great during the day. It must be cleaned regularly to retain its beauty and to protect it from corrosion, even though it does have an anti-corrosion coating called chromium oxide. But honestly, who has time to clean light fixtures constantly? Stainless steel also isn’t a great choice for coastal environments, either, due to the risk for corrosion.
- Bronze, the material that makes up our entire line of fixtures, is a hard metal that does well in all environments. Due to their copper and zinc makeup, bronze fixtures will last for years and years (we have some CAST bronze fixtures that have been in use the entire 20 years we’ve been in business!), and even though bronze may patina (turn darker) over time, it will not corrode, and this patina actually adds character and beauty to bronze fixtures. While bronze is higher on the cost scale, it will more than pay for itself over time—like for over 20 years and more.
Invest in LED.
LED bulbs are the bulbs of the future, plain and simple. Why? Here are some reasons to choose LED over halogen for your landscape lighting needs:
- Energy efficiency: Hands down, even though they cost more up front, LED lights use less energy than halogen—80-85% less energy, and the bulbs, themselves, will last 10-20 years vs the 1-2 year lifespan of halogen bulbs. Due to their construction, LED bulbs also produce less heat, which can help prevent potential burns if they’re touched while in operation.
- Lower maintenance costs: Since you’ll rarely have to change your LED bulbs, you’ll not only save money on the bulbs themselves, but changing bulbs in those hard to reach areas (like tall trees and structures and large beds) will be easier since this will only be an every 10-20 year occurrence.
- Get more lighting for the money. Since LED bulbs deliver more efficient lighting over halogen, you can potentially use fewer fixtures, saving money overall.
Start Small to Save Money.
It’s not necessary to light your whole landscape at once. In fact, if you light the most important parts first, not only will you save some money up front, but you’ll better understand what you actually want for your entire yard instead of finding, after the fact, that you’re not quite the lighting designer you thought you were.
When choosing where to start, remember that safety is the #1 priority, so start in those areas where safety is key. Then go from there, using what you’re learning along the way to bring your dream landscape to fruition lighting-wise.
While you might not have the budget for all those fixtures and LED bulbs at the beginning of your landscaping project, make sure the infrastructure of your lighting plan is included in your budget and installed at the onset. Otherwise, you could find yourself digging up your lawn, plants, and flower beds, and maybe even having to move or damage structures later on to put the needed conduit, piping, and wiring into place. That can be an expensive process, costing much more than simply installing your lighting infrastructure from the beginning.
And here’s a bonus tip: Having the proper landscape lighting can improve curb appeal and the value of your home since it highlights the architectural features of your home and provides security to your property. According to a recent study, professional landscaping that adds focal points in your yard (i.e. lighting) can increase the value of a home by at least 12% or more. That’s some serious money when it comes time to sell your home, making those upfront lighting costs even more of a sound investment.
Designing that dream landscape can feel daunting when you’ve got to plan for structures, green spaces, flower and plant beds, play areas, relaxing areas, and so on. Then when you add in the lighting to properly illuminate all of the above for both safety and aesthetics when the sun goes down, daunting can go to complete overwhelm quickly.
When it comes time to plan your landscape lighting, follow these tips, take one step at a time, and you’ll be able to create that dream landscape and stay on budget. That’s a win-win all around! Need help designing your landscape lighting? Contact us—we’re ready to help!