Outdoor Lighting Installation Cost and Pricing Guide
We understand that buying landscape lights is a huge decision. Our goal is to empower you with honest and reliable outdoor lighting cost information to help you budget for your project.
One of the first questions homeowners want to know when they call our company is: How much does an outdoor lighting system cost?
While every project can vary depending on the property size, style, and intended goals of the lighting project, we will break down our general pricing guidelines.
The purchase of a landscape lighting system is similar to the purchase of a vehicle. The price of the vehicle can range depending on the size, features, and upgrades added. While automotive features and upgrades add to the overall price, people choose them because they want to enjoy their car each and every time they sit in it… and not regret the things they passed on. The same principles typically apply to the outdoor lighting process.
You are going to see your lighting system each time you pull up to your home at night and when you look out into your backyard after the sun sets. Picking the right design and system is essential to guarantee the most enjoyment with very little maintenance. Because of this most homeowners pick the design and system that will make them the happiest in the long run.
Unfortunately, some people only focus on the initial price of the landscape lights with the goal of finding the least expensive contractor, and this may mean a sacrifice of low-maintenance, quality, warranty, and beautiful design aesthetics.
Here are common design features and upgrades/add-ons found in the purchase of a landscape lighting system:
- Home lighting to accent the home architecture
- 2nd story lighting and dormer lighting
- Column lighting
- Mailbox and house number lights
- Walkway and pathway lighting
- Tree lighting
- Moonlighting, downlighting, and area lighting
- Path lighting
- Garden and Flower accent lights
- Backyard lighting
- Pergola, Patio, & Lanai lighting
- Step and stair lights
- Deck lights
- Switches and dimmers
- App and wifi based control options
- Multiple control zones
- Custom fixtures
- Color changing RGBW lights
As you can see, there are many options available when it comes to designing and installing a lighting project. When someone receives a quote from our company, we thoroughly examine each option as to educate the homeowner on the option's benefits. We want to identify the option’s overall importance to the success of the project.
How much does an outdoor lighting system cost?
The average price of an outdoor lighting installation is between $3000-$20,000. In comparison a solar light installation of the same size ranges $200-$1600, and a big box store low voltage system not including installation runs $695-$3600.
But over 10 years you spend only $1500 in maintenance on a professional installation, verses $5000 solar lights, and $1200 on a big box system (not including your time spent fixing and maintaining it).
How professional outdoor lighting system costs compare to other outdoor lighting options
Self-Install Solar (DIY)
This is the least expensive option and is usually viewed as a temporary solution. Decent solar lights can run around $25 each. The pros of this installation method is that this is the lowest cost installation, and will take the least amount of time and be able to be installed by just about anyone.
The cons to DIY solar lighting are the lights won’t last very long, usually they need to be replaced every 6 or so months. On days when it is cloudy or rainy, they may not get enough charge and generally aren’t very bright to begin with.
Typically, a solar light system will run you about $250 initially, and if you continued to replace them as they went out over 10 years you could spend as much as $5000.
Self-Install Big Box Store (DIY)
Another option is buying low voltage lights from a hardware store and installing them yourself.
This package includes the cost of all materials for a successful installation, but does not have any tool costs associated with it. With a self-install, the homeowner is responsible for all labor involved with the project, including trenching, burying wire, making connections, mounting and programming the transformer, assembling fixtures, testing and troubleshooting the system, as well as coming up with the initial design for the project.
Although the concept of installing a lighting system is not very complex, it does require quite a bit of attention to detail and the design can greatly impact how good it looks at night.
The average hard wired fixtures are around $50 per fixture, but the client will also need a low voltage transformer and timer system, which is around $150, and $200 for wire and connectors, for a total cost of around $850 for 10 lights.
The pros to the DIY hardwired installation is a larger selection of fixtures, higher light output per fixture than solar lights, and more flexibility for the lighting design. The cons for DIY hard wired lighting are the required installation knowledge and time invested to actually install the system. Typically the fixtures available aren’t the highest quality and tend to get beat up by the sun, let water in, and fail after a few years.
Non-specialty Contractor Installation
Third is for the client to utilize a non-specialty contractor to design and install the landscape lighting project. The average cost for a non-specialty contractor is around $100 per fixture, plus $300 for the commercial spec transformer and timer, $200 for wire and miscellaneous materials, and around 12 hours of labor at $90/hour for a total of $2670.
The pros of this type of installation is having the lowest cost of installation without the having to perform any of the work yourself and potentially having professional/commercial quality components utilized on the project. The cons of a non-specialty contractor performing the lighting system installation is that the design will not have been created by a trained lighting professional, the contractor may be unaware of new products and technologies that could be offered to the client that best suits their home, limited support or warranties on the system for issues down the road, and no ongoing maintenance offered for the system.
Professional Lighting Design and Installation
The approximate cost for a ten light installation through a professional lighting design and installation company is between $3000-$3500. The pros of this type of installation is that the client will be presented with the best possible design for their home, and top quality materials will be used on the installation. Warranty and maintenance support will be provided for the lifetime of the system and you get to enjoy your lights without the stress of installation or maintenance. The con of the professional lighting design and installation is the initial cost of the system.
*This article is a landscape lighting price guide from Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of West Houston and The Woodlands. Please refer to the location nearest you for designs and estimates for your specific project.