A quick search of the internet turns up a lot of content on do-it-yourself (DIY) outdoor and landscape lighting. As a matter of fact, there are literally thousands of articles, blogs, and guides on the subject. Retailers of outdoor lighting hardware naturally promote the DIY option. The low-voltage LED revolution of the past few years has encouraged DIY, too. It’s taken risk and code issues out of working with 120 volt house current. After comparing costs of DIY with a professional’s estimate, people wonder whether DIY or professional is the way to go. That is, why hire a professional for outdoor lighting?
OUTDOOR LIGHTING:DIY ?
There are two basic reasons all the others are related to. First, by hiring a professional outdoor lighting contractor, a client has recourse if something goes wrong. Second, there’s the old adage: you get what you pay for. This Houston outdoor lighting contractor brings over 30 years’ experience to the table. The reason this still matters in the Age of Google is simple. Knowledge and intelligence are not substitutes for experience. A first-timer can research the subject on the internet for as long as he or she has time to. However, even 30 years of research isn’t the same as 30 years of doing. Not even close.
THE ART OF DESIGN
The best way to understand this is to think about design. It’s a rare homeowner who doesn’t care how an outdoor lighting system makes the property look. For most, aesthetics are at least as important as the safety and security provisions. This makes sense in terms of quality of life, enjoyment, and of course property values. From this standpoint outdoor/landscape lighting is art. We call it “painting with light”. Look, anyone can read all that’s known about painting beautiful pictures. That isn’t enough, however, to actually paint beautiful pictures. That ability comes only with experience.
TECHNOLOGY AND INSTALLATION
The design and then the installation of an outdoor lighting system involve a series of decisions. Some are bigger, like picking the right transformer. Later, there are innumerable small ones, like whether to lay a wire here or three inches to the left. The decisions are all connected. It matters, too, what order they’re made in. Many have to be revisited as the installation runs into unexpected obstacles. Experience is what enables a professional to design and plan for the real world. Knowing the available hardware options and the solutions to installation issues are the keys to avoiding rookie mistakes.
IS GOOD ENOUGH GOOD ENOUGH?
The difference between a professional and a DIY outdoor lighting system can be summed up pretty simply. The effort an amateur puts into a DIY project tends to produce a result that’s not a complete mess. That is, an adequate result. In contrast, an experienced pro’s result is nothing short of fantastic in function as well as appearance. An added benefit is access to maintenance by the technicians who created it. Given the long and central role outdoor lighting plays in the experience of ownership, the conclusion is: go pro!