Los Angeles homeowners light up landscapes
Outdoor, twinkling lights are not just for the holidays. Homeowners are using year-round landscape lighting design to boost curb appeal.
"Proper lighting adds character. It brings out the homeowner's property," says Charles Puree, owner of Joe's Lights in Los Angeles. "When I'm giving someone ideas, even if it's just about one tree or a bush, they're always amazed at how much it adds when they look outside — it's a better atmosphere of something warm, glowing, and inviting."
Landscape lighting is also particularly well-suited to the Los Angeles area, where outdoor living is common due to the temperate climate.
Ann and Olin Barrett bought a new house in Pasadena in 2000. “Upon recommendation from our landscape architect, Mark Bartos, we chose outdoor lighting to illuminate our tulip and cypress trees, a tall granite sculpture, and our lap pool and adjacent decorative pond, which features water lilies and papyrus,” Olin says.
When looking to hire for this service, there are lighting professionals who specialize in outdoor. Many landscape designers also include lighting in their repertoire of services. After all, you need something worthy of illumination if you’re going to invest in outdoor lighting.
“I recommend the client first commission a landscape architect for the plants, patio and pool. I assess the grounds and design from there. The last step is the lighting,” says John Williams, landscape designer and owner of highly rated John Williams Design. “For me, lighting is the natural finish to a beautifully landscaped yard.”
Lighting landscapers contribute the aesthetic vision and work with the homeowner and an electrical staff to ensure safety and proper long-term maintenance. Some designers may be licensed electricians, in which case they can do the installation themselves. Costs can start at several hundred dollars to wrap trees, and increase from there, depending on the scope of work.
Williams says he works with his clients to get them the best price. He can start as low as $2,000 and go into the tens of thousands.
“I have yet to come up with a magic price point for landscape lighting,” says Jeff Groves of highly rated Jeff Groves Lighting. “It depends on the fixture specified, size of the area, and style of illumination. For example, I do a lot of ’moonlighting,’ which entails climbing up a tree, running wiring, and mounting a fixture on a tree branch to cast light down. This also keeps the lighting protected from damaged by gardeners, cars, etc., but it has a more costly installation fee.”
On the far extreme, Mark Mullen of Artistic Illumination designs and installs lighting for 20 million dollar homes at prices ranging from $25,000 to over $100,000, which doesn’t include the cost for periodic tune-ups.