What Does “Professional Landscape Lighting” Even Mean?


Simply getting compensated to do something does not make you a “professional.” I helped a friend move something and he bought me a pizza. That doesn’t make me a professional mover. So what does “professional landscape lighting” mean? And what does it mean for the consumer? Paying someone to install outdoor lighting purchased at a big box or hardware store does not give you professional landscape lighting. Many landscapers, irrigation companies, and general handymen will install outdoor lighting for you. But that does not qualify them as professionals (even if they use professional-grade fixtures). True professional outdoor lighting starts with training and certification, continues with product and service, and flows through to the warranty.

Training and certification

A professional landscape lighting installer is trained in the proper tools, techniques and design of an outdoor lighting system. He or she knows how much load a transformer can handle. He or she knows how to make connections so that they will last through years of damp conditions. He or she knows the proper way to light your home to make it look warm and inviting, without creating glare or harsh shadows that make your home less attractive as well as less safe. He or she knows how to maintain and service your system to provide you with many years of trouble-free lighting. The training and certifications possessed by a true professional actually mean something.

Product and Service

Professional Landscape Lighting fixtures are not of the same caliber as those found in retail stores. Professional fixtures are made with higher standards, better suited to keep moisture out, and contain quality metals (brass, bronze, copper, stainless steel, etc.). Most LED fixtures available in retail stores do not allow you to replace the bulb. So if something goes wrong, you have to replace the entire fixture (if it’s still available). Many retail fixtures have plastic components. Plastic just doesn’t fare as well out in the elements, and certainly doesn’t look as nice. And that is why we, a certified professional landscape lighting designer and installer, can offer the warranty that we do—lifetime on fixtures (maybe 5 years at a big box store)

Check the online reviews of retail products. You’ll find lots of missing pieces, poorly constructed spikes, lights that only worked for a short time, and difficulties obtaining replacement parts. Professional grade products don’t come with these complications.

And if your irrigation company or handyman installed the system, will they be able to maintain it? Maintenance is important to keep the fixtures properly positioned, shining their brightest, and to prevent outages. But when something does go wrong, will your handyman be able to repair it? Will they know how to troubleshoot it? Again, if the fixtures are big box, they may not even be able to obtain the parts to repair it.


If you are lucky, you will get a 5 year warranty (usually only 1 with halogen) with your retail lighting purchase. You will be dealing directly with the manufacturer, and we all know how frustrating that often is. Professional landscape lighting installers can offer a lifetime warranty on the fixtures, and 5 years on the bulb for LED. As mentioned before, retail fixtures often won’t even allow you to change the bulb, so if it fails you must replace the entire fixture (if it’s even available).

It really is tempting to forego a professional landscape lighting designer and installer and opt for a less expensive install done by someone who claims to be a professional. And it might work out okay for you, but generally in the long run (and often in the short term as well) it just won’t. A certified, professional outdoor lighting designer and installer has studied and trained to know what to do, how to do it right, and to use only quality fixtures and materials that aren’t available to the retail public. An investment in outdoor lighting shouldn’t be wasted—have it done by a true professional. The results will be worth it!

Are you looking for Landscape Lighting in Greensboro? Located in Summerfield, NC Southern Lights- Architectural and Landscape Lighting serves properties and property management companies throughout the state of NC including Greensboro, High Point, Jamestown, Burlington, Reidsville, Oak Ridge, Brown Summit, Winston-Salem, Clemmons, Raleigh, Charlotte, Kannapolis, Salisbury, Gastonia, Matthews, etc.

Southern Lights has installed hundreds of outdoor landscape lighting systems and carries more certifications than anyone in the state. We specialize in lighting designs and service everything we install as well as lighting systems installed by others. With attention to detail and a solid knowledge of design, Southern Lights is the leading outdoor landscape lighting firm in the state of NC and beyond. See why our clients choose us. Contact us today by web (online form) or phone 336-451-4969.

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