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Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Outdoor Lighting Professional

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Residential Entrance Landscape Lighting Omaha NE McKay Lighting H 02

Before hiring an outdoor lighting professional, it’s a good idea to ask questions to make sure the best fit is selected for your home or property. Hiring the right professional for your project can be the difference between an “okay” lighting design and one the delivers the “wow” factor you’ve been looking for. When properly done, outdoor lighting adds nighttime beauty and distinction, improves safety and security, and extends entertainment and enjoyment opportunities. The following six questions will help you in finding the best outdoor lighting professional for your project.

Question 1: How long has your company been in business?

This seems like an obvious question, but is often overlooked. A landscape lighting professional with years of experience will better understand how to light your space to create the desired effect. Knowing how and what to light outdoors, which fixtures and techniques to use, and how to light for both beauty and security, takes education, expertise, experience and acumen. Having a professional work with you to plan your system will ensure the end product is one you’ll be sure to love.

Question 2: Is your company insured?

Ask to see the certificate of insurance. If they refuse, that’s a huge red flag.

Question 3: How long will the lighting design phase take and how long can we expect the installation to take?

As with any contractor hired to work on your home, you’ll want to know the timeline for completion. Any experienced landscape lighting professional should have a good idea how long each phase should take. However, it’s important to remember that this type of installation can be weather-dependent, so any timeline you are given will be a rough estimate.

Question 4: Will it be possible to add more fixtures to our system in the future?

Ask this question if you think you might want to add elements to your property; such as a patio, deck, water feature, or outdoor kitchen. Whether you start with the front of the house with the intention of lighting the back later, or vice versa, landscape lighting can easily be installed in phases. Knowing your future plans will help streamline the process for adding more fixtures later.

Question 5: Will you provide maintenance services after installation?

This is an important question to ask as landscape lighting systems require periodic maintenance to ensure its beauty and functionality. You’ll want to hire a company that has a dedicated service department or service team member. Lighting systems that are installed without service in mind can cause more work and headaches down the road when the bulbs burn out.

Question 6: Do you have references and a list of addresses we could drive by?

You want this answer to be “yes.” Be sure to check all references and drive by the properties after dark. This could even spark some ideas for how you want your property to be lit.

These six questions are a great starting point to finding the right outdoor lighting professional for your home or property. You can find even more important questions to ask along with other helpful tips in our Essential Guide to Hiring a Landscape Lighting Professional.

Landscape lighting is an investment that should enhance the setting, extend the hours of enjoyment outdoors, and provide for the safety and convenience of guests. It can also address issues of security in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing and appropriate to the site. An experienced outdoor lighting professional provides benefits for projects big and small.

If you have any questions about or would like to discuss your outdoor lighting needs, please feel free to contact us directly at (402) 289.3424,, or simply fill out our quick form online, and we’ll contact you to set up your free consultation.

landscape lighting hiring guide

Outdoor Lighting is what we do. Every day.

We’ve been in the landscape industry since 1987, becoming a dedicated landscape lighting firm in 1992. Our team has years of experience creating and installing unique and elegant outdoor lighting designs, and providing maintenance and repair services to homes and businesses across the nation. Our award-winning company has been voted Best of Omaha and Best of Houzz by the community.

Located in Omaha, McKay Landscape Lighting services Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota areas, including Lincoln, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Des Moines, Kearney, the surrounding areas and beyond.

Employee Spotlight: Outdoor Lighting Crew Leader & Installer

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Outdoor Lighting Crew Leader & Installer

Meet our Outdoor Lighting Crew Leader and Installer, Chris Sholes. He has been part of the McKay team since 2011 and celebrating his fifth year anniversary this week. Find out more about him and his role at McKay…  (more…)

Benefits of Hiring a Landscape Lighting Professional

Friday, June 10th, 2016

professional landscape lighting project

Hiring a landscape lighting professional or a company that specializes in outdoor lighting is a smart decision when you’ve invested a good bit of money into your home and want to showcase it to look its best at night and extend nighttime use.

Landscape lighting professionals serve a purpose for outdoor lighting projects big and small. Whether you have no idea where or how to begin lighting your home, you have an idea but need help tying everything together, or you simply haven’t the time or interest, hiring a professional is a wise and sensible choice. (more…)

Happy Memorial Day from McKay Landscape Lighting

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Outdoor Lighting around Pool

Memorial Day weekend is almost here. This weekend is an opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family as we remember those who served our country and gave their lives to preserve our freedom. It also marks the start of summer vacations, road trips, and weekend camping trips. (more…)

LED Landscape Lighting

Friday, May 20th, 2016

LED Landscape Lighting

Today’s LED landscape lighting technology offers beautiful lighting options coupled with energy savings and bulb longevity.

But that wasn’t always the case. Several years ago, LED lighting was inconsistent and resulted in poor color quality. As technology changes, so does LED, and now it’s more reliable and becoming the preferred choice. In fact, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a halogen and LED outdoor lighting system.

Lighting Site Amenities – Landscape Contractor Magazine

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Lighting Site Amenities - Landscape Contractor Magazine April 2016

Want to know what is involved in managing large and complex landscape lighting residential projects? For one, lots and lots of planning and coordination, especially when several contractors are also involved in the project. 

Owner and Landscape Lighting Designer Jerry McKay recently shared some behind-the-scenes details of a complex landscape lighting project in Omaha with Landscape Contractor Magazine. (more…)

Transform Your Garden into a Nighttime Sanctuary

Friday, April 29th, 2016

Transform Your Garden into a Nighttime Sanctuary

After a long day at work, the garden can be a peaceful sanctuary. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind, surrounded by nature and the smell of blooming flowers. After a full day of work and getting dinner ready, there isn’t much time left in the evening before the sunsets.

Now there are more ways to enjoy your garden into the nighttime hours.

We recently read an article that mentioned how the color and texture of some annual plants reflect the moon’s light, creating a unique aspect for nighttime enjoyment. This got us intrigued. (more…)

Landscape Lighting for Water Fountains

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Landscape Lighting for Water Fountains

Having a water fountain is a magnificent feature of a home, garden, or outdoor space. If your water fountain is a distinctive feature of your outdoor space, adding landscape lighting turns it into a dramatic nighttime focal point.

The light glimmers and dances with the water; it is magical.

But much more is involved than placing a few fixtures at the water. Lighting water features is the most complicated type of lighting. We’ve received calls from homeowners asking us to redesign their water feature.  Typically when we come in, we’ll see a fixture placed at the bottom, aiming skyward, causing unnecessary glare, and not creating the effect the homeowner desires. (more…)

Backyard Entertaining with Outdoor String Lights

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Outdoor String Lights for Backyard Entertaining

When you enjoy hosting backyard bbqs, wine nights with the gals, and other events during these warmer months, you may find once it gets dark you are left with few options — either move everyone inside or call it a night.

With outdoor string lights, you can continue entertaining into the evening.


Landscape Lighting Spring Maintenance Checklist

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Landscape Lighting Spring Maintenance Checklist

The time has come; we can finally emerge from winter’s hibernation. Spring’s warmth is sure to beckon us outdoors once again. This means more time to enjoy your outdoor living spaces. The landscape lighting system is an important aspect of your outdoor living and landscape design.

McKay’s service team developed this quick landscape lighting spring maintenance checklist to ensure your system performs its best this spring and summer: (more…)

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