Outdoor Lighting Cost

The average cost of installing outdoor lighting is $2,000 - $4,500

In this guide

Onsite inspection
Designs
Parts that can be illuminated
Types of bulbs
Types of lights
Materials
Labor
Kits
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to install outdoor lighting?

Outdoor lighting is a perfect way to add beautiful style to the exterior of your home. Adding lights outside the home also helps to improve the safety and security of yourself, your family, and visitors. There are many different choices involved in an outdoor lighting project such as materials, style, design, type, location, and more.

The installation of outdoor lighting should be completed by a professional. A professional expert will have the knowledge and skills needed to properly install the outdoor lighting as well as experience in adding items such as outlets, switches, transformers, and wiring. A professional will also be able to provide you with recommendations on design and which materials, styles, and designs are best suited to meet your needs.

The project cost is dependent on many factors, such as the material, type of lights, bulbs, and electrical work. A project to install 20 lighting fixtures in a new 800 sq.ft. backyard will cost on average $2,000-$5,500. This price includes all labor fees and materials needed by a professional.

Onsite inspection

There are onsite inspection requirements that have to be followed by professionals when installing outdoor lighting. During this process the landscapers/electrician will meet to learn how the landscape will be used. Some things that have to be inspected are underground wiring, wiring to the meter, all electrical wiring prior to the job, and a final inspection to ensure that there is no open wiring that could cause a safety hazard. An onsite inspection is usually in the process cost. If the onsite inspection is not included in the price, it usually ranges from $100-$250.

Designs

Designing your outdoor lighting is something that you have to take into consideration before taking on the project. Do you intend to use this space as entertainment or do you simply need good lighting on your patio or pathways? It is a good idea to have an outdoor lighting design in mind before you begin. There is always the option of hiring an outdoor lighting designer to help create an overall plan for your outdoor lighting of your dreams within your budget. However, doing this can add an additional $500 or more to your total project amount.

Parts that can be illuminated

  • Path lights: these lights are used to illuminate pathways and walkways. Path lights range in price from $70-$150 each.
  • Deck lights: these lights are typically spot lights that are used to illuminate a deck. Deck lights cost on average from $65-$110 each.
  • Wall lanterns: these typically attach to an outside wall and shine light on the landscaping or garden. The average cost for wall lanterns is $100-$150 each.
  • Floodlights: these are typically attached to a wall and are used to shine light on a large space for security purposes. Floodlights 1 typically cost $75-$150 each.

Types of bulbs

When installing outdoor lighting, you will need to decide on the types of bulbs you prefer. There are three main types of bulbs: halogen, incandescent, and LED, each of which have pros and cons. The chart below illustrates these details as well as an average cost for 6 bulbs.

TypeProsCons

Halogen

($20/6 bulbs)

Bright white light

More effective and last longer than incandescent lights

Heat up to higher temperatures

Extremely sensitive to any skin oils, which can cause them to burst

Incandescent

($26/6 bulbs)

Inexpensive

Warm white light

Consume a lot of electricity

Short lifespan

LED

($35/6 bulbs)

Last up to 100,000 hours

Work well outdoors

More energy-efficient

Sometimes do not cast even light

May create a buzzing sound


Types of lights

Outdoor lights come in a variety of different styles, shapes, and sizes to suit all tastes. It is a good idea to have an idea of what you want your exterior lighting to look like before you shop around as there is a lot to choose from. The chart below illustrates the most popular types of outdoor lights and an average price.

TypesDescription

Step/deck light

($30-$100/light)

Used to illuminate walkways, sidewalks, driveways, and edges. Installed close to the ground to provide a safe and secure pathway.

Spot-flood lights

($35/light)

Lights that penetrate an intense beam of light directly onto an area, typically to light it up.

Patio-string lights

($35/light)

Used to brighten an outdoor living space and add a decorative touch.

Driveway marker lights

($45/light)

Used to illuminate driveways, making it easy to view. Provides safety and comfort.

Accent bullet

($60-$100/light)

Installed to accent spaces within the outdoor yard.

Flush mount

($65-$130/light)

Match a variety of exterior home styles

Installed under the eaves 2 to illuminate the house.

Post lights

($60-$150/light)

Installed on posts in the backyard where extra illumination is needed.

Wall lights

($60-$150/light)

A way to create an inviting exterior and frame either your front door or garden area.

In ground/well light

($70-$200/light)

Designed to provide attractive pathway, landscape, and garden lighting. Fixtures are almost completely buried but the light itself remains above ground.

Pier lights

($75-$250/light)

Can be hung from light posts, set on a wall, or used at an entrance way. Great for lighting areas and welcoming guests to a home.

Pendant

($80-$250/light)

Hanging light design that adds style to outside or improve outdoor areas.

Chandeliers

($80-$350/light)

Hangs from an outdoor patio ceiling used to add style to outdoor decor.


Materials

Outdoor lighting has to withstand numerous environmental conditions for many years. Apart from the types of lights, the materials and finishes of lighting play an important part of the outdoor lighting project. The chart below illustrates some of the common materials for outdoor lighting and the pros and cons associated with each.

Materials

Pros

Cons

Aluminum

($15-$40/light)

Affordable

Lightweight

Resistant to rust

Not as durable as other materials; won’t last for a long period of time

Paint will fade and chip

Plastic

($15-$40/light)

Polycarbonate 3 plastics have a high heat resistance

Affordable

Low quality plastics are prone to heat deterioration

Stainless Steel

($15-$40/light)

Holds up well outside because of its high chromium content

Material stains easily

Have to be cleaned often

Composite

($20-$50/light)

Very inexpensive

Lack quality

Over time they will begin to degrade and break down

Brass

($35-$60/light)

Holds up well in all environments

Can last for many years

Comes with a warranty

Will darken over time

More expensive

Copper

($35-$80/light)

High quality

Long lifespan

Resistant to corrosion

May scratch over time


Labor

At first, installing outdoor lighting may seem like a straightforward, easy process that anyone can do. However, there are many elements in the process that are quite complicated and should therefore be completed by a professional.

The process begins with an initial meeting and onsite inspection. When the initial process is confirmed, the first thing the landscaper/electrician will do is lay out the lights in the landscape and discuss where each light will point to make sure everyone is in agreement. Next, the transformer box is mounted and the wiring is put in place. If you are installing lighting into an existing landscape, you may need to retrofit existing wiring which can increase cost by as much as 20%. The landscaper/electrician will lay out the wire through the landscaping and will ensure that wires are placed where they won’t be broken by gardening activities. Next, they will scope out the runs and determine how many lights will be run off each wire. After dark, the landscaper/electrician will test and position the lighting to make sure everything is functional and lights are placed properly before the wiring is buried.

Wiring is not buried very deep, roughly 2-6 inches. Some places have laws about how deep the wire must be buried. The professionals doing the job in your area will have knowledge of these regulations. Once the trenches are dug the cables can be pushed down into the trenches and wired to the lights.

Installing outdoor lighting involves a lot of electrical work that should be done by an electrician. You can expect an electrician to charge between $65-$85 per hour.

Outdoor lighting involves outdoor wiring whether it involves remodelling the current existing outdoor lighting ($200-$350) or a brand new wiring addition ($800). If any wiring is done, this means that the addition of switches and outlets is vital to complete the process. Adding outlets can range from $100-$200 depending on the electrical voltage. Along with the outlets you will have to consider light switches which often comes as a package when an electrician completes the job.

If you are installing multiple lights outdoors, you will have to make sure that your transformer will be able to handle the high voltage. If you need to add any power or replace your transformer, this will cost approximately $200.

Kits

Outdoor lighting kits are designed to make it easy to make the exterior of your home the nicest one on the block. Lighting kits often consist of all of the parts you need including the landscape lights, cables, and transformers. There are a variety of different sets to choose from, created to meet a variety of different needs around your property. Outdoor lighting kits typically range in price between $60-$180, which varies depending on the number of pieces in the set, the type of lights, and the size.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Swimming pool lights

Adding swimming pool lights provides the benefit of keeping the pool edge visible at night to prevent any accidents, but also provides a beautiful esthetic. You can have lighting built into the sides of the pool for approximately $150-$300 each plus labor fees of $50-$65 per hour. If you want to add a colorful touch to your pool, colored LED lights can cost up to $750 per light. There is always the option of buying floating lights for the pool, which range in price from $20-$100 each.

Hardscape lighting

Hardscape lighting brings a beautiful appeal to a bare piece of stone or other hard outdoor materials such as benches and railings 4. The purpose of hardscape lighting is to provide superior illumination and a flexible design to outdoor spaces. Hardscape lights come in a variety of sizes and shapes depending on their purpose. Hardscape lighting fixtures range in price between $50-$180 per light with larger light fixtures on the higher end of the price scale.  

Motion sensor lights

Motion sensor 5 lights are a great, easy, and inexpensive enhancement cost to your outdoor lighting. Motion sensor lights will help to calm your fears -  the lights turn on when you have to navigate along a dark path or if you hear strange noises in your backyard. Motion sensor lights are very easy to install and will only take 1 or 2 hours, depending upon the number of lights. Motion sensor lights cost around $20 per LED bulb and $50-$65 per hour in electrician labor fees.

Solar lights

Solar lights are a smart investment if you are looking to save on electricity bills. They are a one-time cost and you don’t have to worry about the ongoing cost of electricity. Solar lights are composed of an LED lamp, solar panels, batteries, and a controller. Solar lights operate on electricity from batteries that are powered by the sun. Depending on the brand, light color, and size, solar lights run from $25-$100 per light.

Christmas and holiday lighting

Christmas and holiday lighting is a nice way to show your holiday spirit and add a festive touch to the outside of your home. Assuming you are looking to install holiday lights to the exterior of your home, you will need to spend around $800-$1500 for the first year, which includes the entire home and at least 2 trees in the yard. If you are looking to spend the minimum amount it would cost from $200-$500 for lights around the windows and doors only. Professional installation can help ensure that there are no safety hazards. They can also help with additional tasks such as adding other holiday decorations or helping you to determine where to put your lights. The labor costs run about $100-$200 of the total price.

Additional considerations and costs

  • It is important to note that although outdoor lighting is a beautiful addition to any backyard, you will have to factor in your increase in electrical costs. Running outdoor lights throughout the night will definitely result in a large increase in electricity bills.
  • Depending on how large the project is, installing outdoor lighting can typically be a DIY project. Outdoor lighting is not difficult to install by following directions. However, if the project is more complicated, such as adding wiring or outlets, it is recommended to hire a professional electrician to make sure the job is done correctly.
  • It is important to make sure that you do not use any product that is not specifically designed for use outdoors. Most indoor lighting fixtures are not sealed against moisture or other environmental conditions. When they come in contact with these conditions, they will blow up or simply break. This can be a large money loss.
  • It is possible to install a rainbow of colors in your outdoor lighting. However, most designers prefer to stick with warm white light as it adds an elegant look to the landscaping rather than a light show.
  • There are local codes in place that your electrical connections must comply with. These vary by location. It is important to check with local authorities to see if a permit is required before any outdoor lighting project is started.
  • It is important to note that some landscapers will offer a discount if you require outdoor lighting installation in both the front and backyards at the same time.

FAQ

  • How do you install outdoor lighting?

The process of installing outdoor lighting begins with an initial meeting and onsite inspection. The lighting will be laid out through the landscape and the transformer box mounted. Next, the wiring is placed throughout the landscape before being dug into the ground. The lights are plugged into the transformer box and tested.

  • How much does it cost to install a security light?

Motion sensor lights are very easy to install and will only take 1 or 2 hours depending upon the number of lights. Motion sensor 5 lights cost around $20 per LED bulb and $50-$65 per hour in electrician labor fees.

  • How much does it cost to install flood lights?

Floodlights 1 are used to shine light on a large space for security purposes. Floodlights typically cost $75-$150 each and take ½ - 1 hour to install each, depending on how difficult the location is to reach. This means at $65-$85 per hour it would cost $1,300-$1,700 to install 20 floodlights.

  • How much does it cost to install landscape lighting?

The cost to install landscape lighting all depends on the type of lights placed in the landscape. The cost can range anywhere from $35-$150 per light along with $65-$85 in labor fees per hour.

  • How do I install landscape lighting?

Start by digging a narrow trench using a small trowel for where you want your wiring to go underground. Lay out the cables in the trench. Gently place your landscape lights into the ground for testing. Connect the cables to a power pack to test out the lights. If you like the way they look then push the lights into the ground and close up the trench.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Floodlights: A large, artificial light used to provide broad, uniform light to outdoor areas
2 Eaves: The edge of a roof that connects with the wall of the building. Usually this part of the roof comes out further than the wall
3 Polycarbonate: Thermoplastic polymer with high impact strength used in a variety of applications such as compact disks and bulletproof windows
4 Railings: A long bar designed for a person to hold onto, giving them support. They are usually found on the sides of staircases, and can also be found in bathrooms, for example, to help persons with disabilities
5 Sensor: Device that responds to a physical event or change in the environment by emitting an output signal

Cost to install outdoor lighting varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Annandale, VA
+24%
Arlington, TX
+6%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baton Rouge, LA
+19%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Blythewood, SC
-12%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Charleston, WV
+6%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Cypress, TX
+8%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Debary, FL
-1%
Deland, FL
-23%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Duluth, GA
+16%
Fayetteville, NC
-20%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Frisco, TX
+23%
Gainesville, FL
-12%
Garden Grove, CA
+20%
Greenbrae, CA
+25%
Greensboro, NC
-9%
Hiram, GA
-19%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lawrenceville, GA
+16%
Livermore, CA
+35%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Marion, IN
-14%
Mc Calla, AL
-11%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
New York, NY
+77%
Norwalk, CT
+46%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Orlando, FL
+2%

Labor cost in your zip code

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Methodology and sources