We’re often asked if there is a real difference in DIY landscape lighting kits vs professionally installed lighting systems. Harold Salkin of Custom Lighting of America says with the popularity and proliferation of home improvements shows, it’s easy to get caught up in the “I can do it” mentality of home improvement projects. When installing outdoor low voltage landscape lighting, some projects are perfect for a home owner to tackle, while others are best left to a professional lighting installation company like Custom Lighting of America in South Florida. According to Salkin, it’s not unusual to receive a call from a do-it-yourselfer disappointed in the outcome of a lighting project completed themselves with Home Depot or Lowes fixtures. We’ve redone our share of DIY projects over the years. Fortunately the big chain hardware stores have a liberal return policy.


The first step for installing landscape lighting is to set an estimated budget and determine not only how much money you would like to spend on the project but how much time you are willing to give. Often DIY guides and Youtube tutorials make the process seem straightforward and nearly effortless when in reality the project can easily consume several weekends if this is your first attempt.

Next, determine your lighting needs. Are you simply trying to safely light your pathway, or are you looking to dramatically increase your home’s curb appeal with sophisticated lighting design? These are important questions that should be asked at the beginning of your landscape lighting project so that you can ensure that your needs are addressed. A simple pathway project is pretty easy to pull off as a DIY project, but being able to design an entire landscape lighting project with the desired WOW-factor can takes years learn all the nuances and techniques involved.


After budgeting, you’ll need to decide how to power your system. If your requirements a simply to illuminate a small path for safety, low powered solar lights may just do the trick

Many people choose to bypass the electrical installation by acquiring solar landscape lights. Since these lights are solar-powered, they do not need an electrical system for power and the installation process can be as simple as securing the fixtures into the ground.

Though the easy installation process is appealing, there are drawbacks to solar lighting. For example, the quality of solar landscape lighting fixtures is subpar compared to fixtures offered by professional landscape lighting designers which are not only brighter, but you have a wide choice of color temperatures to set the mood. Additionally, newer professionally installed wired systems have the ability to change colors completely with easy to use smartphone apps.

Another concern with solar is that the output of the lighting is significantly dimmer than their electrical counterparts. With the availability of modern LED landscape lighting, many homeowners opt for efficient and aesthetic LED lights that require electricity.

Contrary to popular belief, the electrical process for installing landscape lighting is strikingly different than installing indoor lighting. Wiring an electrical system for landscape lighting is a process that requires in-depth knowledge of electrical systems and components to ensure that the system is installed safely and efficiently. Longer runs of lighting as well as the number of fixtures per run need to be properly adjusted for voltage and amp variances.

For people who are experienced with electrical installation, it may be a wonderful opportunity for a DIY project. It should be noted, however, that beyond determining the appropriate materials, voltage, and wiring layout, there are nuances that only professional lighting installers have the eye for. Environmental factors such as humidity, temperature, pets, and even neighborhood pests all affect the efficiency of a lighting system. 

For the average homeowner, it is easy to make mistakes with electrical wiring, which can lead to faulty grounding, circuits that are overloaded, or weak wire connections. This not only poses a safety threat to your home but can also result in costly electrical repairs down the road or a highly inefficient system.


More often than not, it is apparent when lights were bought from your local hardware store and placed throughout your property, and when an experienced landscape lighting designer hand-selected each unique lighting fixture.

With a designer’s touch, outdoor lighting can highlight garden fixtures, deter intruders, and provide a serene atmosphere that can be enjoyed at night.

Hiring the professional lighting services of a company like Custom Lighting of America not only gives you access to our professional lighting designers but open the door to the commercial collection of sophisticated lighting options that are unavailable to the average shopper. Instead of cheap metal that will deteriorate in a few years, you will be able to select from beautiful brass, copper, and other high-quality metal lighting fixtures as well as specialty fixtures and color changing systems newly available.

With CLA’s quality products and experienced designers and installers, you can rest assured that your outdoor lighting system will look amazing as well as increase the curb appeal and value of your home for years to come.

If you are unsure if professional landscape installation and design services might be right for you, schedule an appointment with Harold & Danny Salkin for a FREE consultation showcasing the many benefits of a professionally installed system compared to a Home Depot or Lows DIY system. 561.204.3000

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