Selecting a contractor

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Greg_B, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. Greg_B

    Greg_B LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    I've read through the past years worth of threads and while I think I could install the lights, I would not have a professionally designed system. I had my landscaper recommended local professional quote and was somewhat put off by his demeanor (he sounded like the Al Gore of LV lighting - he invented the way its currently done :confused: ).

    Plus his quote of $5200 was shocking for 13 lights - he uses Aurora Lights and guarantees the system for life, bulbs have a 1 year warranty and he will come at the end of the year and replace all bulbs giving me another year warranty. I already had conduit run under the pool decking while all the trenches were open for pool plumbing so there was very little digging involved, primarily to access a couple pipes for a hub system as opposed to as currently run for a daisy chain.

    My son's Scoutmaster is an electrician and could do the install if I desired and I have run my plan (12 lights - (1) 50w on a 35' Royal Palm and (11) 35w on a mix of foxtail and coconut palms. I was going to use two hubs - one on each side of the pool and calculated voltage drop using the Cast calculator. Pool area also has 6 propane tiki torches which would be lit for parties and family evenings by the pool but not as often as flicking a switch for the lv lighting.

    My plan only encompassed the pool area but we are also going to have the front yard relandscaped so it makes sense to all for system expansion.



    I'm not adverse to reducing the number of lights to start with but prior to researching, I was expecting something in the neighborhood of $2500 - $3000.

    Thanks to all for any recommendations you can provide.
    Best regards,
  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    greg- what your talking about seems about right, I'd love to do your install for around the total you are talking. you could do that job with a 600 watt transformer, but knowing you are thinking future upgrades, a 900 or 1200 would be better. if the customer specified that I'd be a little over 3 grand, maybe 3200 or so, but still, limited digging, pull wires in conduit, this seems like a good job. but I have not looked at it in person, so just my guess and opinion.
  3. JackTorsed

    JackTorsed LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 57

    Alot of money was obviously invested in this backyard. Why are you being pound wise and penny foolish when it comes to lighting it?
  4. ar-t

    ar-t LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    I have never used a 50W bulb for anything. I would suggest using a number of fixtures, spaced out evenly, to more fully light it. The total wattage would be about the same (as a single 50W), but I think that you might be happier with the results.

    Granted 35' is a way up there, but you are not going to be lighting the very top of the tree. (OK.......maybe close to the top! Those things don't grow here. My experience stops at windmill palms.) In any case, 50W right on the trunk will most likely wash it out.

    As for 35W bulbs........I can probably count on one hand all of the times I needed that much light from one fixture. Yep.......probably not far off from 35 ft.

    (They make photometry charts for this might be surprised that you won't need as much as you think you do.)

    Price........around here.........maybe $4k. That figure may not be that far off for your part of the country.
  5. Greg_B

    Greg_B LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    I'm carefully researching my options so that when I get other quotes I can be informed. At $400 per fixture, I thought the price was high so I decided to learn all I could before having anyone else quote. I still might go with the same company, however, when someone else quotes I will get a detailed spec sheet so I know the differences if they are using a Ryco transformer vs FX vs some of the other high quality units.

    Lighting is obviously one of the last things to go in and was not really budgeted for at the onset of the project, so I am getting myself up to speed on what will be the most efficient use of my remaining pool budget. I got 3 quotes on the pool and went with the company I felt was most capable of doing the job (the middle quote which was $7000 more than the low).

    The quote I received felt like the guy with the high pool bid, "I'm the best, I pretty much invented the way low voltage lighting is done today." So I was a bit put off by this perceived arrogance. The rest of the backyard was carefully planned so I see no reason not to take the time and see what other alternatives are available. I don't think that is poundwise and penny foolish.

    Thank you for all of the responses. I appreciate your taking the time to educate a consumer.
  6. NightLightingFX

    NightLightingFX LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 580

    I don't live in the Florida area but I think $400 a fixture is extreme. Listen to what Chris J says he should be chimming in any time. He is out of Tampa Bay.
  7. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    Ned, Chris J is actually in the Jacksonville area which is quite aways from Tampa, just for clarification.

    Greg, I see that you are in Jupiter Florida. May I suggest a couple of lighting professionals that might be in your area?

    Fred Lansing
    Enlightened Designs, Inc.
    2829 W. Birds Nest Drive
    Beverly Hills , FL 34465
    Phone: (352) 527-9111
    FAX: (352) 527-9118

    Dan Allen
    Dan Allen Landscape Lighting
    816 102nd Ave N.
    Naples , FL 34108
    Phone: (239) 514-0803
    FAX: (888) 464-1037

    I think these guys are close enough to you to help you out, I could be off though. I grew up in Sarasota and I have an aunt that lives in Jupiter.

    Both of these contractors are members of the AOLP (Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals). The AOLP has a standard for installation that members are supposed to follow when installing and maintaining systems and therefore, do a very good job.

    I hope this information is helpful to you and good luck with your lighting project. You have a beautiful space and you should have some great lighting to bring it all out at night.
  8. Greg_B

    Greg_B LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Thanks for the names but Windermere is near Orlando and St Augustine is not too far from Jacksonville. Closest major city to me is West Palm Beach to the south and Ft Pierce/Port St Lucie to the north.
  9. NightLightingFX

    NightLightingFX LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 580

    Sorry Chris J, boy do I feel stupid
  10. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    Update that other post. I remembered that Jupiter is on the southeast coast.

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