Designing a Cohesive
Irrigation and Lighting System

Whether for convenience, safety, utility, aesthetics, or any combination thereof, irrigation and outdoor lighting work together like a hand-in-glove.

When homeowners understand the synergy between landscape lighting and irrigation, they can transform their outdoor spaces into harmonized havens of beauty and efficiency. As Smart Irrigation Month approaches (see sidebar, “We Are Smart Irrigation”), let’s look at how combining these two essential elements can create a seamless and stunning residential landscape.

Lighting and Irrigation Synergy

“We Are Smart Irrigation”

The Smart Irrigation Month 2024 theme is “We Are Smart Irrigation.”

It’s time for irrigation professionals to raise awareness about how smart irrigation products, technologies, and practices positively impact our communities.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Promote Smart Irrigation Month on social media.
  • Add the Smart Irrigation Month logo to marketing and business materials.
  • Submit a Smart Irrigation Month press release to local media.
  • Petition your city or state government officials to proclaim July as Smart Irrigation Month.

By helping customers understand the importance of water conservation and sustainability, we can make a difference.

A coordinated lighting and irrigation plan can simplify installation and maintenance. Planning and installing these systems concurrently creates a more cohesive design. For example, when lighting is strategically placed to illuminate sprinkler heads, they become a feature rather than an eyesore. Similarly, sprinkler systems can be planned to avoid water damage to lighting fixtures. An integrated approach looks better and extends the longevity of both systems.

When combining lighting and sprinkler systems, aesthetics are as important as practicality. From an aesthetics standpoint, proper lighting can enhance water features such as fountains or ponds, making them the centerpiece of a nighttime landscape. For practical purposes, utilizing weather-resistant or waterproof light fixtures will allow the illumination system to withstand exposure to moisture and changing weather conditions.

You’ll want to create a design that complements the overall aesthetic of the homeowner’s outdoor space while ensuring it’s compatible with the functional requirements of both systems.

The following table identifies the technical similarities between outdoor lighting and irrigation systems:

Source: Brilliance LED

Selling It to the Customer

One of the biggest mistakes a contractor can make is simply dropping off a manufacturer’s catalog and asking the customer to “pick out what you like, and I’ll install it.”

Customers need guidance. In your eagerness to close the sale, don’t forget to ask, “Why?”  Neglecting to ask customers what they hope to accomplish can lead to unacceptable results, regardless of how smooth the installation may be.

Did You Know…

In 2022, Irrigation & Green Industry, the Irrigation Association’s monthly magazine, became Irrigation & Lighting. While irrigation is the IA’s core competency, lighting is a closely aligned industry. Expanding the publication’s focus was a natural evolution.

When you meet with customers, carry a notepad and keep them talking until you clearly understand their lifestyle and how they plan to use their outdoor spaces. This effort alone will set you apart from the competition.

Also, don’t hesitate to consult your irrigation or lighting manufacturer for additional design expertise and product guidance.

System(s) Maintenance

Encourage your customers to schedule regular maintenance for both irrigation and lighting systems. This will help them avoid electrical problems, corroded fixtures, clogged nozzles, and broken pipes while keeping these systems in optimal condition.

Because the outdoor environment is continually changing, periodic adjustments and updates may be necessary to adapt to evolving landscapes and weather patterns. Routine maintenance will help maintain the beauty and functionality of your customer’s outdoor space.

Also, stay abreast of the newest trends and technologies so you can help your customers make informed decisions when updating or installing their lighting and sprinkler systems.

Final Thoughts

Combining landscape lighting and irrigation system design is an intelligent approach to creating an attractive and efficient outdoor space. By understanding and integrating these systems, your customers can enjoy a beautifully illuminated and well-maintained residential landscape that enhances their property value and quality of life.

Featured Image: Adobe, License Granted
Brilliance LED
American National Co.
Irrigation Association