Working with your AMP® Pro: Setting Goals
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan. . . There is no other route to success.” ~ Pablo Picasso
You make a wise decision when you decide to hire an AMP® Pro to design and install your landscape lighting system. He (or she) will apply his (or her) considerable skills and experience to ensure you get the full benefits of landscape lighting.
There is one important ingredient, however, that your AMP® Pro can not provide. That ingredient is you, the homeowner. It is, after all, your property, your home; you (more than anyone) knows what you want and need in your nighttime landscape. That’s why you and your AMP® Pro are partners in the project.
As with any project, the starting point is setting goals. You may not realize all the things that landscape lighting can accomplish. Let’s draw these out so you can decide how they apply to your situation, and how you can communicate these to your AMP® Pro.
Landscape Lighting Design Goals
This is, perhaps, the most important goal. You need light for you, your family, and your guests to navigate through the property safely. To set this goal, walk through your entire property with your Pro. Point out where people are likely to walk, run, and play. The goal is primarily about making sure that tripping and falling hazards are illuminated. This includes paving stones, steps, stairs, water features, and any changes in elevation. It also includes areas where obstacles such as toys, and garden equipment may be present. Be sure to mention whether or not the elderly may be walking – they need more light than the young.
While this is another important goal, only Pros know how to use low voltage landscape lighting to provide subtle and beautiful illumination while satisfying security needs.
Adequate security lighting does the following:
- Deters. A well lit property will be avoided by intruders when poorly lit properties are available.
- Detects. Well designed landscape lighting provides sufficient light to allow you and others to see intruders if they enter your property.
- Identifies. A step beyond detection, the lighting should be sufficient to see details such as facial features, color of the clothing and so on. This will help law enforcement to identify the intruder.
- Apprehends. In the unlikely event that the intruder is detected and identified, then the lighting needs to be sufficient so law enforcement may enter the property and easily apprehend the intruder.
Discuss your particular security needs and concerns with your AMP® Pro.
This may be the most challenging goal to set. You have an idea of what’s beautiful and your Pro has his (or her) idea. While your two ideas of beauty may differ, the AMP® Pro has enough experience to know what most people find to be beautiful. You could leave it up to the Pro to come up with a beautiful design but why not share your thoughts on what you find to be beautiful?
One way to look at how landscape lighting brings beauty to the landscape is to recognize three main components.
- Reveal Beauty.Your AMP® Pro starts with a dark canvass. He (or she) adds light to reveal beauty that already exits in the landscape. Help the designer by identifying what you think is most beautiful; this includes landscape and architectural features.
- Add Beauty. By controlling the positioning of light fixtures, the AMP® Pro creates shading and shadowing. This interplay of light and dark is beautiful in itself.
- Control the Experience. Since the perception of beauty is a living experience, the designer can enhance that experience by taking the viewer on a visual journey through your nighttime landscape. He (or she) does this by highlighting focal points (e.g. statues, gardens, or specimen trees) then providing an illuminated path to reach a visual destination. A skillful application of these visual paths throughout your landscape provides an experience of revelation and joy. Help your AMP® Pro create this experience by walking the property and imagining this revelatory journey.
This goal addresses the nighttime activities that you and your family undertake on the property. Your AMP® Pro will assess each of these and offer a plan to design appropriate lighting for each. A well designed landscape lighting project will extend your nighttime living space and greatly enhance your enjoyment of your property.
AMP® Lighting believes in responsible stewardship of the planet. In lighting, this means reducing light pollution (projecting too much light into the sky) and reducing light trespass (allowing light to spill into the surrounding neighborhood). It also includes conserving energy. Your AMP® Pro knows how to design and install your system to best reduce light pollution, light trespass, and to conserve energy.Many communities have environmental lighting regulations more-or-less based on guidelines from the International Dark Sky Association. If your community has such regulations, be sure to tell your AMP® Pro so he (or she) can design with those in mind.
This is the final goal and is critical for you and your AMP® Pro to discuss. It pertains to the initial and ongoing cost of the project. The landscape lighting on your property will last a lifetime, so you should consider it a long-term investment. Satisfying all the lighting goals may require more fixtures than you anticipated, so you might receive an estimate higher than expected. Of course, only you can decide what value the AMP® Pro brings to your home and your family.
Our advice is to consider the benefits of a professionally designed and installed landscape lighting system. Many homeowners in your position were uncertain about making the investment and were rewarded with lighting that transformed their nighttime experience. These homeowners are always delighted. Chances are that you, too, will be blown away with the results.