How to Transform the Look of Your Deck with Outdoor Lighting

Is your deck not what it once was? Everything grows old over time, even our home features. And it can be quite costly to bring them back to their original luster. Though some homeowners may have thousands of dollars to spend on refurbishing or building entirely new decks, many struggle just to make ends meet. They need a solution they can do themselves that won’t cost them more than they can afford.

Now that you are no longer afraid of sticker shock, you will be pleased to know that you can transform the look of your deck with a few creative lighting ideas. Tailor your selections to your taste and requirements, and make your deck safe for your family and welcomed guests.

Below are some deck lighting types:

1. Post Lights – Post lights emit light downward and are a great safety feature for railing posts. This light is generally soft and will work well for safety lighting. A great feature about LED post lights is that they come in varying styles and designs. Use them to add life to your deck while insuring your guests are safe.

2. Post Cap – These lights sit atop corner posts and add sophistication to the deck. There are also numerous designs from which to choose. Opt for solar if you do not want to deal with creatively hiding the wires inside the posts. Solar lights will also save you money on monthly energy costs.

3. Step LightsLED step lights are an essential deck element to light steps and keep deck entrants safe from tripping or stumbling. The newest designs go beyond just function and offer stylish alternatives that will add a new level of ambiance to your deck. Consider lighting effects or installing the lights in the sides and risers for an entirely different look.

4. Umbrella Lights – Umbrella lights serve as fixtures for a more relaxed setting. They create a subtle ambiance perfect for a dinner party or a serene night under the stars.

5. Recessed Lights – Recessed lights illuminate the main deck areas and function as one of the most important lights. They light most areas of the deck and should be the first addition to your deck lighting design. All additional lights will enhance them.

Many homeowners choose LED lights since they last much longer than their competition (incandescent, fluorescent, etc.) They are also cooler to the touch and safer to use. Low-voltage and solar lights are also safe choices and all three will consume less energy than traditional options. Use one type throughout your deck or choose specific types for each area. Consult with your local hardware store or research the internet for ideas.

The deck of your dreams is only a few lights away. Lighting is a quick fix for homeowners who don’t have the budget to take on thousand dollar projects, but want to improve their deck. The right lighting will turn a drab deck into one you will cherish for many years.

 

The Top 4 Most Popular Eco-Friendly Landscaping Trends

Landscaping trends come and go but there are many that withstand the test of time. The eco-friendly movement is no stranger to the landscaping industry and many homeowners are adapting its practices.

If you are concerned about the environment and you take pride in your landscape and its beautification, you are most likely practicing at least one of these trends. If not, hopefully you can discover something new and take another step towards green living.

Water-Saving Techniques – Part of eco-friendly living is using the Earth’s resources as efficiently as possible without waste. Xeriscaping is the art of landscaping without the need for supplemental water from irrigation. Many climates cannot access plentiful water so xeriscaping is a necessity. To save resources in other ways, consider plants that thrive in environments that do not require much water.

Weed Killing – Those pesky weeds can mess up our gardens and wreak havoc on our lives. If you are familiar with the frequent removal of weeds, but you are concerned about chemicals, organic methods will get the job done.

There are hundreds of methods to kill weeds naturally, but for brevity we will discuss the top few.

If you are in the beginning stages of landscape design or re-landscaping a small patch of land, consider soil solarization. The process is quite involved, but worth the effort. If you are unfamiliar with the technique, consult a professional to help you.

Landscape fabrics act as weed barriers while allowing air, water, and nutrients to flow freely into the soil. Apply garden mulch on top of the landscape fabric to form a proper foundation for your flowers and plants.

Herbicides will attack the seeds of the weeds before they have a chance to sprout. Natural alternatives such as corn gluten acts as a pre-emergent herbicide, controlling weed growth from the seed stage. Be careful, though, because corn gluten can inhibit the germination of all seeds even the ones you want to germinate. For weeds that are fully grown, vinegar works well as weed killer. Use one with a high acetic acid content.

Ridding Your Landscape of Invasive Plants – Invasive plants are exotic plants from far-away countries that invade your natural ecosystem. They crop up in strange places and threaten your beautiful landscape. Though some are welcomed depending on the homeowner, most are regarded as a small step above weeds. When they get out of control and crowd out your precious plants, it’s time to take control.

Recycling – Recycling is one of the most common eco-friendly trends and it is applicable to many household practices. Help save the planet by making compost out of grass, weeds, leaves or newspapers. Another way to save the planet is to re-use your plastic pots as plant labels.

There are many more eco-friendly landscaping practices to adopt. Visit your neighborhood nursery for assistance or research the internet for tips and tricks to help the environment. A little effort goes a long way when it comes to the environment. If we all do our part, no matter how little, the collective effort will make a difference.

A Unique Approach to your Landscape Lighting Design

Homeowners regard their landscapes as extensions of their homes and they transition their personal style from the inside to their outdoor landscape. When people design their homes, though they are drawn towards certain styles, ultimately it’s how the design makes them feel that trumps all.

To truly design the landscape of your dreams, you may need to throw away the rule book and think about what would really make you happy.

You must look at your yard with your eyes closed and your heart open. After all, your heart known best and landscape lighting comes to life when the sun goes down and the moon takes its place in the night sky. From highlighting water features in reflection of the moon’s glow to spotlighting a fountain that sparkles in the moonlight, every feature can take center stage and shine in its own right.

Throw Away the Plan…for now

Some people can feel overwhelmed when contemplating the logistics of their lighting landscape. The planning alone can be just cause for major headaches. Before you even think about coming up with a plan, step outside and take a good look at your current landscape. What do you see? How do you want your home to look after the sun goes down? What features do you love that must stay lit after dark?

Landscape lighting does require a plan, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the feeling you get when you pull in your driveway after a long day and see your rose bush lit from within. Or the accolades you receive from your friends as they marvel at the beauty of your landscape. In the end, your landscape lighting design has more to do with your vision and less to do with a probable plan.

Once you determine a clear vision for the feel and look you desire, pinpoint specific features or areas you want to highlight. For example, do you want to highlight features of the house that have meaning to you? Are you a BBQ master who is proud of your grill and you want to light it properly? No two landscape lighting designs will be the same. That’s why it is important to spend time looking at your landscape through the eyes of what you want it to look like based on the feeling you want to experience when it is complete.

After you detail areas you want to highlight, think about style words that express the emotion you want to display. Are you going for elegant? Sophisticated? Fun and whimsical? Tropical? Applying style words to your design will not only help you understand more of what you want, but it will also aid a professional designer once you are ready to begin.

Pay attention to the feeling you want to experience when your design is complete. In the end even the grandest plans will not give you the satisfaction you will feel every time you look upon your unique landscape that was designed from your heart.