Google and YouTube can make a lot of things look pretty simple, right?

Take landscape lighting, for instance. If you’ve searched for how to install landscape lighting, you might think it’s a breeze. Pinterest photos and DIY tutorials can make you feel like an expert in minutes.

And maybe the apparent cost savings and the goal of tackling a challenge excites you. Or maybe you see those light sets at your local home improvement store, and think just staking in a few solar lights can work.

If you’re not sure what to do, reading this blog first will certainly help. We’ll dive into what’s involved in a successful outdoor lighting installation and help you compare the pros and cons of DIY landscape lighting vs. hiring a pro.

Comparing Professional Landscape Lighting vs. DIY

When you picture the perfect landscape lighting in Chicagoland, you picture your pathways, patio, outdoor entertainment areas, and other nooks and crannies to slowly come to life as the sun sets.

landscape lighting in stairs and hardscapes to light pathways and patio

What you don’t want are lights that work for a month and then fade on you, making the effort and cost worthless in the end.

Let’s look at some things for you to consider when deciding between DIY outdoor lighting or hiring a professional so you end up with the best solution for your home landscape.

Different Outdoor Lighting Options

There are quite a variety of outdoor lighting options available out there, which can make choosing your landscape lighting quite an endeavor.

And hardware stores, unfortunately, send quite a few cheaper options that may seem attractive at the outset. For instance, solar lights sound like a good idea, so you might be tempted to try them, but there are some drawbacks.

landscape lighting on pathway with pavilion and pool

First of all, dollar lighting effectiveness depends on the fixtures receiving adequate sun to power them. This is dependent on where they are placed, if they are in shade, and what direction your home faces. You might have weaker power lighting during winter months due to the lack of sunlight, for instance, or you might have half a season where they aren’t working at all.

Some of the DIY outdoor lighting vs. hiring a pro options out there are not designed to last, adding to your ongoing upkeep and replacement costs. This can quickly escalate your budget and become less of a set-it-and-forget-it option.

landscape lighting around bluestone patio with outdoor kitchen

Light fixtures professionals use on the other hand, are designed for effective, reliable, long-term wear-and-tear. They cast soothing glows and create effects that enhance safety, while reducing long-term maintenance efforts. LED lights, for example, do cost a bit more up front, but they can stand up to Chicago’s cold winters and save you on energy costs because they can last many more years than some less reliable options available.

Electrical Knowledge Is a Key Part of the Landscape Lighting Process

Wiring is a very important and crucial part of a landscape lighting system. If you look at your DIY box of lights, does the lighting look pretty limited?

The further away your light fixtures are from your transformer, the less likely they are to receive the voltage necessary to work at full capacity. This is what will result in dim bulbs or ones that frequently burn out.

landscape lighting surrounding patio and in landscape beds

And outdoor wiring has its own challenges, such as temperature fluctuations, water and humidity, and even insect or animal damage.

Professional landscape lighting companies use tougher thicker wire, allowing electricity to flow without resistance.

This is one key advantage to professional landscape lighting vs. DIY: The technicians have the electrical knowledge necessary to do the job properly. And they can match the right light fixtures to your unique property, highlighting your home’s architecture, plantings, and pool or patio in ways that suits your home and your use of your yard best.

Design Is Important When It Comes to Landscape Lighting

So if you have your tools and you researched and choose the right landscape lighting product for you, the next step is design.

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When it comes to DIY landscape lighting vs. hiring a pro, we tend to see quite a few mistakes – from overlighting to aiming lights incorrectly. Have you ever been blinded by a neighbor’s light fixture that points right into your bedroom window or your own that points into your living room while you’re watching television? That’s poor aiming. Another one is the runway effect, where you have a line of lights that remind you of an airport runway. This doesn’t safely and inconspicuously cast gentle light over your pathway or walkway the way well-designed lighting should.

landscape lighting at front of home along pathway and near front door

Rather than make your home and landscape more beautiful at night, poor design can make it look glaring.

A professional, on the other hand, understands lighting systems and fixtures, as well as how to use them to add beauty and function to your Chicago landscape without detracting from it. There are so many effects that can be used to achieve a great landscape lighting look – from moonlighting to uplighting to deck or step lights to spotlights to playing with shadows.

DIY Landscape Lighting vs. Hiring a Pro in Chicagoland: What’s the Verdict for You?

As you review these considerations on design, costs, and fixtures, you’re probably reaching a final decision that makes the most sense for you and your available time.

Unless you’re experienced with outdoor electrical projects, have done your homework on landscape lighting systems and fixtures, know lighting effects and design, and have a plan for maintenance of your lighting after the job is done, then you might be better off leaving the landscape lighting to a pro.

Otherwise, with the DIY option, you might end up spending a decent amount of time and money on something that you’re not happy with and that doesn’t last more than one season.

If you still find yourself confused at all of your options, let KD Landscape be of assistance. We have experts who design and install high-end landscape lighting and can give your yard just the right amount of wow factor that suits your unique home and landscape and doesn’t waste your time or money or disappoint you down the road.

Ready to see how KD Landscape can help you enjoy your landscape after the sun goes down? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a plan that works best for you.

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