What to look for in hiring an outdoor Lighting contractor. Landscape Lighting can truly set your home apart from the crowd and give you many extra hours of night enjoyment. Landscape Lighting can turn your home into a show place while also creating an inviting atmosphere for your family and friends to enjoy relaxing evenings at home. In my 23 years of Landscape Lighting Design and installation I have seen many outdoor Lighting systems that do not achieve the desired results of homeowners. I have had to totally redo many outdoor Lighting system. This unfortunate waist of money and frustration of a home owner could be avoided if they asked their Lighting contractor a few simple important questions. such as.
Do they have Landscape Lighting experience?.Make sure they have Landscape Lighting Design and installation experience. Not that they installed a Malibu's system on a few of their other projects. I have seen expensive outdoor Lighting system installed by licensed electrician that were dangerous and voltage drop so great that it took the electricity 2 seconds to activate fixtures after it was turned on.... Yes that's right 2 seconds and this was in a 3 million dollar house.
Make sure that they are Licensed in the right category for outdoor Lighting we have a c-10 electrical license.
Do they have references dealing with outdoor Lighting?
Do they offer fixtures that are durable and will withstand the harsh exterior elements? Many Landscape Lighting manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty?
Do they use stainless steel transformers and have multiple voltage taps for longer Lighting runs?
Do they have photographs of actual projects they have done and not photos off a web site or from a Landscape Lighting fixture catalog?
Do they understand creative Lighting and Design?
Do they have your best interest in mind or are they just trying to sell fixtures to drive up the price. We will even talk clients out of fixtures if we don't feel it serves a practical or artistic purpose. It's all about value.
Do they understand Ohms law and how it affects voltage drops and Lighting effects?
Have they been in business for a while? What is their track record and experience?
Do they offer follow up maintenance or service or do they install the Landscape Lighting system and leave you in the dark (no pun intended) If there is a problem down the line will they be available to provide service? Maintenance and repairs is a big part of a Landscape Lighting professional Lighting business.
If you have an existing system with quality fixtures and transformers, will they try to incorporate them into your new outdoor Lighting system or just try to sell you everything new (note fixtures and transformers in most existing systems are not adequate but some times they are and we are happy to reuse what we can if it doesn't comprises the quality of the outdoor Lighting Design and installation.
Do they bury the cable at least 6-8 inches below the surface.
Are the connections at all the lights crimped with copper sleeves and inserted in a waterproof cap?
Is Outdoor Lighting and Landscape Lighting a passion of theirs?

A true Lighting professional will address all these issues. This simple list of questions could of saved many homeowners thousands and thousands of dollars. Dont proceed with Landscape Lighting until you have asked these important questions. Knowledge is power.

Chuck Evans is the founder of Illuminated Concepts Inc. in Laguna Hills CA He has been providing creative Lighting experiences since 1976. Chuck started his Lighting career in NY by Designing and running stage Lighting for many musical productions. see their work on the web http://www.oclights.com