If you live in Vancouver and are thinking about adding illumination to your landscape this season, this article is for you! Landscape lighting increases safety, creates ambiance, highlights features and allows you to enjoy the yard 365 days a year, 24 hours a day! In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the main variables of outdoor lighting and what you can expect to pay for installation.
How Many Lights Will You Need?
Each yard is unique! Think about the features of the yard that deserve a spotlight, perhaps some path lights for safety and make sure to keep a nice balance throughout the yard. If you’re not sure how many you need, here is an average for what we install in Vancouver:
Smaller yard: typically 1000 – 1500 square feet (usually a 33′ wide lot), we recommend anywhere from 5 to10 well-positioned lights
Medium yard: typically 1500 – 3000 square feet (usually around a 50′ wide lot), we recommend anywhere from 8 to 14 lights
Larger yard: for yards bigger than 3000 square feet we recommend anywhere from 10 to 25 lights
The Type of Effect You Want to Create
There are an overwhelming number of different fixtures, so forget about the fixture and think about the EFFECT that you want the light to have. Ideally you don’t want to see the fixture at all, just the light it produces. Here are the most common ones we’ll install throughout the landscape:
Hardscape Light ($) – A simple 6″ wide bar of light commonly used in outdoor staircases or retaining walls
In-Ground Light ($$) – Great for the gardens or lighting up hedge. We’ll also use these to light up putting green cups on occasion!
Accent Light (AKA “Uplight” or “Spotlight”) ($$) – Used to light up trees, garden sculptures or any other important outdoor feature
Path Light ($$$) – A couple different options here, but safety is the priority, we try to keep the fixtures tucked out of sight
Moon Light (AKA “Downlight) ($$$$) – Our person favourite, this involves climbing a tree a casting a downward light that catches the branches to create a “moonlight” effect. Awesome for putting greens
So let’s assume you do not already have an existing landscape lighting system in place, here is what we tell our clients to budget for:
~$400 for the Transformer and set-up, plus $200 – $300 per light installed. Probably much less than you were expecting! Again, this is just what you should budget for high-end landscape lighting if you live in Vancouver or the lower mainland…
Smaller Yard: $1500 – $3300
Medium Yard: $2000 – $4500
Larger Yard: $2400 – $7500
*We don’t actually charge “by the light”, but in referencing past projects it typically works out within the suggested range
Q: What if I already have an existing lighting system installed?
A: Assuming the existing system is working and wired (not solar-powered), chances are we can tap into the same zone, in which case we would tell you tell budget for about $220 – $350 per light fixtures
Q: What if I don’t have any electrical outlets in the backyard or nothing near by?
A: While this is very rare, we have encountered this before. In these circumstances it may require running an extension cord or installing a new GFCI outlet which will add a few hundred bucks. Not to worry!
Q: Can I change how bright my landscape lights are?
A: Sometimes! Depending on the brand and type of fixtures, you or your installer might have the ability to increase/decrease the lumens. We typically install Kichler lighting and some of their accent lights have this feature. You may also be able to put a frosted lens over it to dim down the light. But ultimately you want it to be bright, just not directly in your eyes!
Q: How do I control when the lights come on?
A: Typically your transformer box will have some kind of built-in photocell that automatically detects when it gets dark, triggered the lights to come on. With most transformers you can also pre-set it to come on/turn off at specific times. Lastly, there is an upgrade you can add if you want the ability to control the lighting via bluetooth from your smartphone!
A final thought if you are considering adding lighting to your landscape: Take a walk around your neighborhood at night and take note of the yards that have lighting versus the ones that don’t. What does it feel like? What types of effects do you like/not like? Can you tell when a yard has been professionally lit versus a DIY attempt? All good questions to ask yourself!
If you have any other questions regarding your landscape lighting project, we’re here to help! Contact Us Here