1. Opt for professional guidance. ALA Certified Lighting Consultants offer creative expertise, share ideas and provide examples of special effects.
2. Determine what you want your lighting to accomplish and determine focal points you'd like to highlight.
3. When meeting with a lighting professional, bring a plan of the property, a copy of your landscape design and/or Polaroid pictures of your home and its surroundings. Even a rough sketch can help.
4. If you are in the process of building a house, include the outdoor lighting in the landscape plan. Pre-planning can help with placement of the transformer, pipes and wires.
5. Get two or three bids. This allows you to check out creativity of consultants as well as their cost.
6. Buy a large enough transformer to handle all your outdoor lighting needs--both now and in the future.
7. If you decide to add your landscape lighting in stages, run all the power in initial phase so that you only disrupt the landscape once.