Professionally installed landscape lighting transforms a home at night. Well-chosen and correctly installed lighting shows off a home’s best architectural features and makes it look warm and inviting to everyone. The right lighting system guides people who live or visit the property safely on driveways, walkways and other paths and in outdoors gathering spots like decks, patios, pergolas and gardens.
At Washington Outdoor Lighting, we always do our best to provide fantastic outdoor lighting experiences for our clients. An LED lighting system is a serious investment designed to improve a home’s appearance and value for many years. To make an informed decision, we believe homeowners should have all the information they need about the upfront and long-term costs, which is why we’ve created this detailed cost guide.
Average Overall Cost of a Lighting Installation
The cost for a professional installation of a landscape lighting system depends on a variety of factors, such as the size of the outdoor area, the proposed location of each fixture, the time allocated to design services, the number of fixtures and fittings, the type and quality of chosen products, the time for labor related to installation and related services and any landscape alternations. An installer might also need to add or replace electrical systems or bring in a professional electrician to handle the task, which can require extra costly work, such as drilling underground, installing new, higher-voltage electrical outlets or transformers or performing a whole-home rewire job.
Even with all of these factors taken into account, it is possible to provide an average 2022 cost breakdown. The installation of outdoor landscape lighting in a space covering approximately 800 yards with 10 fixtures costs between $3,000 and $4,000 on average. A larger installation increases the costs. If a homeowner needs a large installation with approximately 50 fixtures, they can expect a cost of approximately $300 per fixture, which can take the overall cost above $6,000. Other services, as noted below, can increase the costs to tens of thousands of dollars.
A Detailed Breakdown of Costs by Type
As previously outlined, the cost depends on more than simply the price of materials and products or an hourly rate for labor. The below list doesn’t cover every cost by any means, but it does break down the main costs associated with this type of project.
It’s important for homeowners to keep in mind that factors beyond a professional installer’s control can also increase estimated costs and even prevent on-time installation. Raw material acquisition issues, manufacturer delays, supply-chain disruptions, inflation, national and international political and social upheavals and natural emergencies can have a negative impact on an installation.
Although every outdoor lighting installation company endeavors to meet their clients’ budgetary and other needs and provide the best possible services 110% of the time, extraordinary events can impact an installation. Professional installers do everything possible to help their clients stay within budget and offer alternative options to complete projects with high-quality fixtures in a timely fashion.
What Are the Standard Main Costs?
Design Services: Many outdoor lighting companies include design services in their installation packages without charging the client any additional fees. That said, a company might charge up to $500 for this type of service, especially if the homeowner makes last-minute design changes or needs special features incorporated into the design. Why do design services cost this much? A skilled designer takes into account the design of the home and the focal points for light on it at night, the size of the landscape, local, state and federal installation safety requirements, the power source, security concerns and the homeowner’s personal design tastes and budget. They also create a detailed piece of artwork and a demo so the homeowner can “see” the design before installation even begins.
Installation Materials: As previously noted, these costs can vary greatly depending on the type and quality of products. Even the choice of LED bulbs over halogen and the brand of LED bulb can impact cost. For example, LED bulbs in general cost more than halogen bulbs upfront, but they last longer and use less electricity, which means that they cost less over time because they supply replacement and utility bill savings. Special features, such as an automatic dusk and dawn setup or a motion-detection system, increase costs as well. For a 10-light or 20-light system, a homeowner might pay between $450 and $900 on LED bulbs, $100 and $200 for wire and $100 and $200 for transformers. Special systems cost several hundred dollars more with the average cost typically ranging between $300 and $600.
Professional Labor: Most companies charge approximately $70 to $150 per hour or $600 for labor. The total amount can increase with additional requests or the discovery of necessary wiring or other changes for installation, safety or voltage reasons. They also charge more, sometimes up to 20%, to remove or update an existing landscape lighting system and add integrated smart features. Many lighting system installers charge their clients based on the type of fixtures or intended locations. For example, an installer might charge up to $150 for pathway fixtures, $250 for floodlights, $500 for outdoor security lights and $1,000 for lamp posts. A gazebo, pergola or poolside installation typically costs more as well. If the installer must dig a trench to put in wiring, they might charge by the hour or foot.
Electrical Services: A landscape lighting installer might discover that the home needs larger wires, a 110-volt outlet or a new or extra transformer to handle an increase in voltage. A homeowner might want to combine an off-grid project with an outdoor lighting renovation and install solar panels or a backup battery system. No matter the scenario, they’re going to need a professional electrician to help unless the installer has one on their staff. The costs for non-solar electrical services typically range on average between $200 and $1,500, depending on various factors including the state of the home’s existing wiring. For example, if the home is older and hasn’t had a wiring update in decades, a licensed electrician might not be able to add additional power without performing a whole-home rewiring job, which might require extensive and expensive structural renovations.
Off-Grid Services: If the homeowner wants to make a partial or total off-grid move, the installation of solar panels and associated systems, a home backup battery and other off-grid services, such as a solar HVAC system, can easily add more than $15,000 to the project at minimum for solar alone. Depending on the brand and model of backup battery, a battery system can add between another $5,000 and $25,000 on average to the cost of the project. Off-grid system installations require extensive home alterations and specially designed units. Of course, the savings and power outage benefits, as compared to traditional electrical grid systems that use hydro power or fossil fuels, make the upfront costs worth it in the long run. Homeowners start to recoup costs within the first year by saving on their electricity bills. They don’t have to worry, for example, about their outdoor lighting system running up their bills. They also don’t have to worry about being without power and associated necessities like air conditioning or heating if the local grid goes down during bad weather or some other emergency event.
Landscape Renovations: Beyond a homeowner choosing to renovate their landscape at the same time that they invest in an outdoor lighting installation, they might discover that they need to hire contractors to perform renovations to the front or back yard or other outdoor areas to make installation easier or perfect the new lighting design. Depending on the extent of the work in terms of type and time, the costs can range between a few hundred dollars to several thousand. For example, the installer might discover that the home needs a different type of soil to prevent pathway lights or lamp posts from toppling because of instability caused by soil that’s too loose or retains moisture for too long. An electrician might need the homeowner to hire someone to dig trenches to install cables and wires. They might need a landscaper to alter existing plants, the landscape or any hardscaping to make the lighting system installation process faster. Lastly, after the outdoor lighting installer and any other contractors complete their work, a homeowner typically needs a landscaper to repair damage to the existing landscape design.
Peak Periods: It’s also important to remember that the time of year can adversely impact the cost of a landscape lighting installation. The cost increases when a homeowner insists on an installation during a region’s busy season. In our region, that season runs from INSERT LOCAL BUSY SEASON MONTHS HERE. Additionally, costs increase if a homeowner requests an installation at the last minute before an upcoming event, especially around any major holiday. A homeowner can always expect a lighting installation to cost more during peak periods than off-peak ones, especially if it’s scheduled near a major holiday, such as Christmas or New Years. In fact, if the homeowner doesn’t have an urgent need, they can save money by scheduling the installation for an off-peak date.
Maintenance Services: Over time, any landscape lighting system requires maintenance and repairs. Although some people claim that LED systems are mostly maintenance free, this is a sales tactic. Homeowners should expect costs over time related to replacing bulbs and damage from accidents or nature. For example, a landscaper might accidentally cut through a wire or damage a lamp post. Animals can chew through wires and strong winds or storms can damage fixtures. The cost of an annual or a semi-annual service call inspection at an estimated cost of INSERT COST HERE greatly decreases overall costs by preventing emergency calls. If a landscape lighting professional discovers the problem during an inspection, the homeowner pays significantly less for repairs than if they need the installer to handle the repairs during an out-of-the-blue emergency call.
Landscape Lighting Systems Are a Worthwhile Investment
Our team at Washington Outdoor Lighting doesn’t believe that we’re only in the business of selling and installing lights. We provide homeowners and those who live and visit their homes with positive outdoor enhancements that help brightly and warmly expose every moment of a lifetime of experiences. We also provide a service that increases a home’s value. Clients can typically negotiate better insurance premiums or leverage the value they gain from professionally installed landscape lighting during a sale if they decide to downsize or move to a different region.
Washington Outdoor Lighting offers complete installation services, including consultation, design and proposal, nighttime demo, agreement, delivery and followup services. Although we specialize in installing, maintaining and repairing LED lighting systems, we also provide maintenance, repair and upgrade services for older halogen and incandescent bulb and fixture systems.
Call our experienced, knowledgeable team today to discuss available options and an estimate of project-specific costs.