Saturday, 27 September 2014

How to hire a professional landscaping expert?

A garden is a complex of aesthetic and plastic intentions; and the plant is, to a landscape artist, not only a plant - rare, unusual, ordinary or doomed to disappearance - but it is also a color, a shape, a volume or an arabesque in itself. - Roberto Burle Marx

A well-designed landscape does not just enhance the value of your property, it also increases the livability of your house. A beautified home offers peace and tranquility amidst all the chaos. However, to really make the entire project possible, you will have to choose a landscaping expert carefully. The decision to hire a professional can leave you confused and dazed. Here are some traits you must look for when shortlisting a professional:

Training and education:

Your first criterion for selection should be qualification. All good landscaping contractors have formal training and education. There are several landscape associations that offer opportunities for aspirants to continue education and some even have their own rigorous certification programs and professional standards.

Knowledge of plants:

An experienced landscaping experts will know how to choose the right plants for a given location. They will also know what plants are illegal to be used in the state.

The right tools and resources:

All good landscapers use state-of-the-art tools for the job. These contractors have a range of gadgets to handle different kinds of tasks. They also have connections with other affiliate businesses such as hard goods providers and nurseries to complete the project at hand.

Function and beauty:

Good contractors will always build something that is pleasing to the eye and is functional at the same time. The professional will start off by creating a thorough blueprint of the design so that the space is utilized effectively.

Regulations:

All good landscape contractors have the right permits and insurance. They'll also know what shrubs and trees can't be planted at specific locations, such as, under power lines. They know what permits are required for specific activities, such as using insecticide.

The Right kind of contractor:

There are mainly two kinds of landscaping professionals. Ones who work with the existing landscape, and others who work to change the landscape. Maintenance professionals can be unlicensed or licensed. They only take care of the maintenance of an already existing landscape. They have limited ability to perform installations of shrubs or trees.

When it comes to hiring a landscaping expert, interview a few professionals before deciding on one. Ask them to send you sample pictures of their work. You can also request them to see a portfolio or a brochure. Ask if they have any projects published in books or magazines, or see if they can direct you to finished projects that you can visit. In the end, invite the promising contractors to your property so that they can give you an estimate. Make sure you are clear about what you want from the landscape architect by communicating your ideas and expectations. Choose a professional with whom you can connect easily.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

How do experts plan outdoor landscape lighting?

Lighting does not just enhance the features of the garden at night but also adds to the safety of the area by deterring intruders in the dark. Perfectly placed lighting is also versatile enough to light up outdoor events such as, large parties and fancy romantic dinners. However, to achieve great results, it is best to make a carefully planned, cost-effective and efficient outdoor lighting strategy that defines desired results and clear objectives.

Here is how experts plan outdoor lighting:

Mapping out the landscape

Experts start off by sketching the area they want to illuminate. They include the trees and plants, doors and windows, pool areas, patio as well as the driveways and walkways.

Choosing the zones

The next step to planning is always choosing the right zones. Lights can be placed along the driveway, at the patio, in artificial water bodies like ponds, at the corners of the house, or under big, old trees. Accessible lights can also be placed at the back and front doors of the residence.

Types of lighting

Once the areas have been marked, the next step is choosing the lights. Ground-level floodlights can be focused on a tree or wall fountain. One can also use motion-sensor lights for dark corners of the landscape that lead to the house. Underwater lights can be used in a swimming pool or garden pond, while solar lights can line the patio hedges and driveway.

The power source

One of the things experts take exceptional care of is using the right power source for the lighting. Solar-powered lights work well during the summer but during winter or rainy months of reduced sunlight, electrical power is utilized as an alternative. Professional landscaping experts also anticipate the power consumption and look into energy-saving lighting bulbs that provide the same intensity of light but use less power.

Budget

Before buying fixtures or making a definite strategy, landscaping experts sit with their clients to define a budget. It is a good idea to have a definite budget in mind. Installing lighting systems and the monthly costs of consumption should always be taken into consideration.

Keep the lighting versatile

Always plan for a versatile solution that helps to create a different ambiance, if need be. Installing landscape lighting can certainly be a DIY project for a handy homeowner. However, it is best to leave the entire process to an expert. Professional landscaping experts have the experience to execute almost any kind of concept that an owner may have in mind. These people also have the skills and tools to install the fixtures perfectly. The best way to search for lighting experts is to scour the internet. The Web can offer plenty of options in any given area around the United States. Interested owners should call few of such companies. If they find someone suitable, they should request them to visit the house to assess the entire area and evaluate the potential expenditure that landscape lighting may require.