Friday, 27 September 2013

Fabulous ideas for Outdoor Lighting

With good landscape lighting you can make your outdoors look as beautiful at night as it does during the day. Combine task lights with ambient lighting for safety and security. You can incorporate strip lights, spotlights and underwater lighting to light up your yard for relaxing, entertaining, beauty and functionality. Follow these ideas listed below to increase your garden’s visual appeal and charm. 

·         Guide the way
Set path lights along the driveway and pathway to lead guests to your front door. You can choose fixtures that are soft and non-glaring that will direct the light downwards. To avoid creating a runway effect, avoid placing all the lights in a straight line.

·         Go green with solar
Landscape lights that are solar powered and decorative are the easiest to use, simply because they require no wiring and electricity. You can place them in areas which get the most sun. When dusk arrives, they will come on automatically to light the way. 

·         Brighten up with low voltage lighting
A low-cost, high impact and easy do-it-yourself task for lighting up a path with fantastic illumination and highlighting your landscape is by installing a string of low-voltage lighting. This is the right solution for brightening up shady looking areas like the bend leading up the walkway. 

·         Bring the night to life
Add drama to your garden by creating a focal point with some of its assets. This can be done by spotlighting a hardscape feature, a specimen tree or special flowering plants. Spotlights can be used to accentuate the texture of every flowering plant and creating a pleasant glow to the foliage. The spotlights must be positioned such a way so as to avoid focusing their beams on your windows or the neighbor’s property.

·         Use entry lighting to eliminate hazards
Entry lighting is used to brighten up areas that are at risk of potential hazards when visitors make way to your front door. It provides a welcoming effect with beauty in illumination and provides for safety. Select fixtures based on your home’s architectural style. Steps are also places where accidents frequently occur. To ensure safe footing on steps situated in outdoor living areas, you can build lights into the risers. This will provide adequate brightness that will mark each tread and prevent glare. 

·         All decked out
Well planned landscape lighting will enable you to enjoy your deck even after dark. Install translucent panels that can be set aglow at dusk that provides a warm, welcoming atmosphere. This ambient setting prepares your outdoors for entertaining purposes. 

·         Add glow to your walls
Cast a gentle, warm light on your outdoor living spaces by adding glow and enhancing texture on walls. You need to leave access for wiring and maintenance purposes by planning ahead and incorporating them accordingly. 

·         Bring the indoors outside
Use light fixtures that you would use for indoors purposes to add exterior elegance outdoors. Lighting that looks like something you can use inside like a wrought iron chandelier created character, style and utility for your outdoor rooms. 

·         String it along
A fun alternative to candles that is perfect for any garden themed outdoor event are strands of twinkle lights capped with glass cloches. The best part is you don’t have to worry about them blowing out during a breeze. 

·         Candlelight Glow
The nighttime scene can become bright and welcoming when interior lights are on inside. However, candles on a table provide a more subtle and subdued mood. To create a romantic ambience rivaled only by the moon and stars, use a cluster of large candles. Take heed to use them only when there is no chance of a fire hazard. 

·         Lantern Luminarias
Line a staircase or walkway with beautiful glass lanterns that are set alight by candles. A luminaria look is achieved and the glass will protect the candles from being blown out by the breeze.

·         Add paradise to your garden with solar tiki torches
A popular party decoration with a different twist is the fun upgrade of a traditional tiki torch. You can substitute those with solar tiki torches that will provide gentle illumination for a few hours. You can place them together in a garden urn or in individual containers with potted plants that will give a dispersed effect. 

·         Underwater Lighting
A water garden that shows off its plants and inhabitants like fish in the dark will enhance your landscape’s visual appeal. Submerged lighting will create a soft, luminous and lovely touch to your pond. Use fixtures that are only rated for aquatic use.

·         Increase security at night
You don’t have to make your yard look like an amusement park to increase a sense of security. Use motion-sensing floodlights to highlight key spots like side doors and the garage. If your house is well lit for functionality and safety, emergency responders can find it faster and guests will appreciate knowing where it is instantly. Your house number will be well illuminated after dark with proper lighting.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

How to Use Rocks in Your Residential Landscaping?

There are instances when you would like to elevate or change the existing look and structure of your landscape. Your home probably has a garden which was done up years ago and you may be tired of it. Renovating your aging landscape will bring about a noticeable change but what can you do? You can install some new plants or trees but they all age in time and you will be right back where you started after a few years have passed. You can try something that will benefit the landscape as a whole.

Instead of adding some flowering plants, try introducing some rocks into your residential landscape. They definitely won’t get old or die while you’re away during a vacation. In fact, they look better as they age. What’s so special about rocks anyway? They have an archetypal, symbolic meaning as they are considered to be the fundamental elements of nature. They have been preserved from eons past, persevering against the acts of nature and stand for endurance, stability and timelessness.

In a landscape designer’s repertoire, rocks have been a significant part of a landscape design. There are certain tips to keep in mind while upgrading your landscape with rocks. You will learn how to fit them into your garden’s composition, physically integrate and install them in your landscape and also discover principles of their use.

  • Be certain of installing rocks – Before you begin to add rocks to your landscape, have a certain purpose in mind. Make sure it’s beyond a simple reason like just wanting rocks in your garden or because you like the way it looks or because the neighbors have some.
  • Anchor your landscape with rocks – To create focal points in your garden, use rocks to group plants together. They elevate the aura of the surrounding plants and hardscape features. They bring about a timeless appeal and harmony to the garden.
  • Functional purpose of rocks – To contrast the natural softness and dynamics of plants, rocks are steadfast and rugged, giving a topographical relief to the whole composition of your garden. They form an enduring and prominent position, creating a micro environment for your flora and fauna by retaining heat in winter, providing managed shade in summer and also stimulating certain alpine conditions for the plants to grow. They can also be placed along paths to create additional areas for sitting.
  • Install rocks of appropriate sizes and shapes – You don’t have to be intimidated about the size of the rocks before installation. They will look much better once they are set and planted around your garden. Make sure they complement each other by setting two or three together in a bed. You can bury them partly to make them look more natural and permanent. Shape is of utmost importance apart from color and texture. You need to look for certain characteristics and features that will create interest and draw the eye. Place rocks strategically in conjunction with other elements of your landscape. Rocks that are too big will draw attention away from your landscape making it stand out like the proverbial sore thumb. If it’s too small, then it will slip past the eyes of others and appear as a poor afterthought rather than an enduring feature of your garden.
  • Select the right plants – To tie both the rocks and plants together, you need to put careful thought into the type of plants that you would install in your garden. Complement the colors of the plants with the colors of the rocks so that they will be a good contrast.
  • Pay close thought to the final resting place – Rocks need to studied beforehand in order to determine which end will be buried and then the depth to which it should be buried. You also need to consider the direction it should be facing, given its size and type. The most interesting part of the rock should be placed properly so that it creates a vantage point from where it can be seen. Most probably, you can place rocks so that it can be viewed from outside like a sidewalk or road. It can also be placed on a pathway or driveway of your property. As we all know, rocks don’t just mysteriously appear in your garden from nowhere. So don’t just plonk them right in the middle which will definitely give an artificial appearance to the landscape.
  • Get the location right the first time – The greatest challenge lies in moving the rock or rocks into plant. You should never underestimate this part as it’s difficult to do right off the bat, depending on its size. There is no way you move a boulder by yourself. Unlike plants and shrubs, it’s impossible to relocate huge rocks from one place to another so get the location right the first time itself. You can even consult with a landscape designer so that the results are what you are looking for.