Landscaper lighting

Hiring A Landscaper VS A Professional Outdoor Lighting Designer


Landscaper or Lighting Designer? Who Should Install My Outdoor Lights?

If you’re considering an outdoor lighting installation, the professional you choose to work with will be the most important part of the project. A true professional can ensure that the job comes in under budget and that you are thrilled with the work. 

The difference between lighting designers and landscapers is the level of training, certification, education, experience, skill and talent that each group has to offer. 

What Is a Landscaper?

Landscapers care for your grounds. They irrigate and fertilize greenery, cut the grass, trim the hedges, control pests, plant blooms and generally maintain your landscaping and keep your outdoor areas looking fabulous. 

No formal training or supervision is required to become a landscaper. All you need to get started is a lawnmower. Many adult landscapers started cutting grass as teenagers to earn pocket money. Some went on to build their own landscaping businesses. Along the way, some of them learned the basics of outdoor lighting. 

For landscapers, outdoor lights are mostly about safety. They may install spotlights, hazard lights, directional lights and walkway lights in public and private places. These lights are practical. They are installed to increase safety and to prevent falls and other injuries. 

On the other hand, residential lighting installed by an outdoor lighting designer is all about art, color, ambiance, aesthetics and flow. 

Because they lack the required certifications, training, experience, knowledge and degrees, landscapers can offer significantly lower prices on outdoor lighting installations than professional designers. 

If you decide to work with a landscaper instead of a designer, you are taking a risk. Outdoor lights involve electrical connections, special hardware and adequate protection from the elements. Hiring a landscaper to install residential outdoor lighting is like hiring a surgical nurse to perform a heart transplant because it costs less than hiring a thoracic surgeon. 

What Is a Lighting Designer?

Landscapers and lighting designers both install outdoor lights. However, there are significant differences between them. Unlike landscapers, outdoor lighting specialists have a thorough understanding of design principles. 

They are highly qualified professionals with training, experience and expertise in the art and science of lighting. Many outdoor lighting designers began as landscapers and went on to obtain certifications and degrees in lighting design. 

According to the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals (AOLP), a landscape lighting specialist must be certified as a Low Voltage Lighting Technician (CLVLT) and a Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer (COLD). Additionally, the designer may have an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree and a postgraduate degree in lighting design. 

For a designer, the point of outdoor lighting is to create a stunning landscape using color, focal points, light, shadow and placement. Unlike landscaping, which is intended to enhance the appeal of your property by day, outdoor lights enhance the appeal of your property by night. 

Landscapers and outdoor lighting designers both perform important work. Nevertheless, they have different areas of expertise. If you’re still wondering whether to hire a landscaper or a lighting designer for an outdoor 

lighting project, we would suggest hiring an outdoor lighting professional. 

Choosing the Right Outdoor Lighting Designer

A talented designer is a crucial element in the success of an outdoor lighting installation. Make certain that the person you’re working with has all the required certifications and degrees and will comply with all local codes and ordinances. 

Viewing a designer’s portfolio prior to signing a contract is always a wise idea. Schedule an evening tour, if possible, to view examples of the designer’s work. Check references and other rating resources. 

Outdoor lighting is a major undertaking and a significant investment in your property. Working with a competent and accomplished professional is essential. 

back yardReasons to Consider Outdoor Lighting

A seasoned designer will incorporate a variety of elements to create effects that amplify the aesthetics of your home. That includes placing lights in strategic positions where they will have maximum impact. 

Landscape lighting designers work in teams, and each specialist has previously demonstrated expertise in similar outdoor lighting projects. A manager oversees the work and ensures that budgetary parameters are not exceeded. 


Beautiful grounds please the senses and soothe the soul. Properties with exquisite lighting are warm, welcoming and irresistible. The lights embrace your home in a soft and comforting glow that drives away shadows. 

Increased functionality

Outdoor lights give you more house for your money. Clever lighting placement can create well-defined outdoor rooms and spaces. With an outdoor kitchen, dining room and sitting room, you can cook on the grill and dine beneath the stars with no mess inside to clean up afterward. 

Enhanced safety

A well-lit house is not an attractive target for criminals. With plenty of other nearby houses cloaked in darkness, why would a thief waste time trying to commit a crime on a property that’s all lit up? 

Designer lighting can be equipped with timers to turn on and off at programmable intervals. Lighting also helps to prevent slips and trips on your property along with potential lawsuits. 

Your own personal lighting consultant

Eliminate the guesswork with the help of an experienced outdoor lighting team. They can supply the guidance you need to fully optimize your project. 

You’ll get access to the best products on the market, and with dozens of options to choose from, you can easily find what you’re looking for. Whether you have a precise plan in mind or just an unformed idea, you won’t have to figure it out by yourself. 

Whimsical accents

Increase charm on your property by accenting koi ponds, garden ponds, bubbling fountains and waterfalls. Showcase statues, bird baths and garden sculpture. You enjoy all these features by day, but they take on an almost magical enchantment at night.

Increased home valuation

Outdoor designer lights are a smart investment in your property. The lighting gives your property extra pizazz and sets it apart from other properties in the area. 

When you’re ready to sell, outdoor lighting will add value to your home. Potential buyers will appreciate the outdoor “bonus rooms” created with lights by talented designers. 

Landscape lighting is made of high-quality durable materials specially made to withstand the stress of Oregon’s changing weather. High-quality lighting will last forever if you take good care of it.

Curb appealStunning curbside appeal

Outdoor lighting adds another dimension to your landscape. It makes potential buyers feel welcome, and it makes your property unforgettable. Aesthetic lighting is an eye-catcher. It can make your home look like a mansion. 

A job done right

Regardless of what a landscaper might tell you, an outdoor lighting installation is a complex operation requiring specialist expertise. If fixtures and other hardware are not securely anchored in place, the situation could become hazardous.

Lighting installations involve electricity. Just one mistake could electrocute you or set your house on fire. Additionally, lighting wires can be placed too close to drip lines or sprinkler systems to create an equally dangerous situation.

If you’re not an experienced electrician, this job is not for you. Landscape lighting companies have electricians on staff to handle the electric end of things and to ensure that the project remains in the safe zone. Design companies are also covered by insurance on the job, whereas you have no such protection.

Unless you have a thorough understanding of what an outdoor lighting project involves, it’s a bad idea to hire a DIY landscaper to install your outdoor lights. It’s a recipe for disaster. 

Too many things could go wrong, and if something does go wrong, you’ll be left holding the bag. Cheaper isn’t better, and we usually get what we pay for.

When you work with lighting professionals, you can relax and enjoy the ride. A high-quality installation takes time. From initial design to the lighting of your dreams, you can count on being pleased with the outcome. If you try to do it yourself or hire inexperienced landscapers, you won’t be able to count on anything. 

Another advantage of working with a professional design team is that if something should go wrong with the installation, it will be up to the team to fix it. A good company will make sure that you are 100% happy with the work no matter what it takes. 

The right amount of lighting

Inexperienced landscapers who take on outdoor lighting projects often make the mistake of installing too many lights. Overdoing it can turn an amateur outdoor lighting installation into a small Times Square. 

Outdoor lighting is meant to infuse your property with a soft glow. Achieving that is more difficult than it sounds. You could easily wind up with so much light that your property rivals Santa’s Village. 

The best policy with outdoor lights is to let the professionals handle it. When you choose a good lighting company, you really can’t go wrong.

For more than 15 years, the creative minds and accomplished craftspeople at Oregon Outdoor Lighting have been mastering the lost art of fine lighting. Tell us your dream, and we’ll take you there.


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