The Basic Elements to Creating a Beautiful Landscape Garden

Gardens do not take up much space, yet they can add life and excitement to any yard.  A garden need not be museum-ready or qualify to accompany the Queen of England’s royal tea party to be enjoyed. A garden is an extension of a homeowner’s personality and a great backdrop fit for any yard.

Gardens keep us close to nature and lift our spirits. Whether a small, potted plant or a mélange of seasonal tulips, gardens bring a sense of calm and loveliness to any outdoor space.

Many homeowners and renters throw away the idea of a garden because of space and maintenance issues. If you love exotic plants and high-priced luxuries, go for it! But if you are living on a tight budget, you can still enjoy the ambiance of a pleasing garden. Fortunately, you can find many low-maintenance plants that are inexpensive and require minimal care. And small spaces are the perfect backdrop for inexpensive window boxes, potted plants or self-contained raised garden beds.

Whether your yard is large, or a small plot fit for a family brunch, the basics of creating a garden remain the same. Consider these tips before you start so you can ensure the final product matches your thoughts, hopes and dreams.

Cohesion

Every element of your garden should complement each other. Consider the type of flower before adding new elements. Be careful not to mix two separate design styles like a Japanese water feature with a Victorian-inspired rose trellis. If you want to add several styles into one space, separate the areas to create boundaries so that each space receives it own measure of appreciation.

Color Choice

This is your chance to really make your personality shine! Use color to add an explosion of interest to your garden. Loud colors bring the eye forward while muted colors push the eye back. Use bright colors on features you want to stand out and darker colors on those you want to serve as a creative backdrop. Be careful not to overwhelm a more relaxed garden with too much color. Consider your overall theme first.

Scale and Proportion

If you have a small ledge, you wouldn’t add a bright spotlight to illuminate your small, potted plant. In the same manner, pay attention to the scale of your garden and avoid overpowering it with elements that are too large for the space. Consider the mature height of trees as well and unite the scale of each element so the overall appearance looks unified.

Walkways and Pathways

If you have a larger garden you may need to consider the paths leading to it and around it. Remove any obstructions to paths and make room for walkways so visitors can stroll through the garden without effort.

Any outdoor space can be injected with the life a garden brings. If you need more help coming up with ideas for your space, visit your local nursery and ask a knowledgeable salesperson for advice. Bring with you a sketch of your space as well as the general outdoor style you desire.

 

Why You May Need to Hire A Landscape Lighting Designer

While it is perfectly fine to turn your landscape lighting design into a DIY project, it’s also important to know when the project takes on a life of its own.

Your decision about whether to hire a professional will depend on your skill level and the scope of your project. If you are at all apprehensive about taking on the design, here are some reasons as to why hiring a professional will help in the long run:

Creative Input

Though you may have tons of ideas of how you want your landscape lighting to look, a professional will have years of experience to offer you which will make your design that much more beautiful. A professional can also provide the technical expertise and prevent you from making mistakes along the way.

Lighting designers understand correct placement, shading properties and the fixtures that lead to desired effects. They know how to enhance your home and play off its features instead of just shining light into an area. You may know what you want but how you get there may be outside of your skill level.

Installation

Some lighting fixtures are simple to install, like solar lights, but when cables, transformers and connectors are involved, the process can become quite complex. Professionals know where to dig so it does not destroy your current landscape and how to best wire the lights without disrupting the ambience of what you already possess.

Cost

Cost is a major concern when hiring a professional and sometimes it is out of the question. However, if you are tackling a big job that involves a lot of installation, it may be worth your while to at least consult with a professional. It will cost more money in the long run if you inadvertently cause damage instead of getting it done the right way the first time.

Maintenance

Your lighting designer should also offer some type of maintenance so you are covered should an unexpected event occur. Weather and accidents are par for the course and maintenance is a much-needed service.

Just because you hire a designer does not mean you are excluded from the design process. As a homeowner, you should actively participate in the process.

Take notice of the following important elements and discuss them with your lighting design professional:

  • Safety and security – Let your designer know how important safety is to you and your family. Take a walk around your property and notice the areas where safety is a concern, like on walkways and paths, in doorways and near stairs. Remember that the elderly may require brighter lighting so inform your designer of the ages of the people who will be using the property. Security lighting is also too bright and it leaves dark areas. Your designer can help you by replacing this lighting with lower-intensity, safer lights.
  • Energy – If you are concerned about energy usage, discuss these issues with your designer right away. In fact, if “green living” is important, choose a lighting designer who understands these principles.

A great lighting designer will encourage your participation and seek to honor your needs and desires. Take the extra time to find a skilled professional and do your homework before beginning the process.

Proper Installation for your Solar Lighting

Energy-efficient lighting fixtures are all the rage. Green living has extended its reach all across the globe and wise homeowners are catching on to the trend and doing their part to save the environment. If green living interests you, solar lighting may be a good choice for your landscape.

Solar lighting provides homeowners with sufficient lighting minus the excessive energy usage. The solar energy from the sun powers the lights during the day so they can illuminate at night. Additionally, solar lights are inexpensive and easy to install. Installation can be done by a novice.

Below are some tips to installing your solar lights:

Location

Select the location where you want to install your solar lights. Pay close attention to the areas that receive the most sunlight during the day. The more sunlight reaching the fixtures, the longer the batteries will stay charged during the night. More sunlight will keep your solar lights functioning as efficient as possible.

Choose Your Lights

It’s time to make your selection. What is the purpose for your lighting? Are you interested in illuminating pathways? Creating an elegant ambience? Providing a safer walkway or path for guests? Take notice of the purpose behind your lighting so you can be clear when you go to purchase fixtures. Take the time to survey your landscape and deduce whether a solar light will work in a specific area. For example, you may want to light a pathway under a tall tree, but if the tree covers the light during the day, you will not gain any energy from the sun and the light will not function at night.

While you are at the store purchasing your lights, make sure you also buy any tools required for installation. Ask a knowledgeable sales person for assistance. Chances are you already have everything you will need, but it’s good to make sure.

Safety First

Position your lights at a height that works for the location in your landscape. The more intense lighting should be positioned at higher locations so the light disperses. For security reasons, you can use the lights to illuminate the outer perimeter of your landscape since you are guaranteed sufficient sunlight if no trees are blocking it. The solar panel should be facing upward and tilted slightly to receive maximum sunlight.

Preparation

Before you complete the installation, take the lights out for a test drive. Position them in the location of your choosing and give them a few days to see how they perform. You may find you want to change them around depending on the intensity of the light they give off and the energy they receive from the sun. Check to ensure the batteries are running at optimum levels so energy is conserved.

Installation

Complete the installation and check for defects. Once installed, double-check that the fixture is fitted correctly and every screw is tight. Check the wire joints and take care installing the light exactly as instructed. Do not take any shortcuts since varying climate and weather conditions can affect the life of your lights. Ensure they are installed properly according to instructions.