Landscape Design for Peace and Relaxation

It’s no mystery that today’s professionals, parents and hard-working citizens look forward to peace and relaxation after a hard day’s work. With the chaos surrounding kid-filled homes, corporate politics, and financial difficulty, sometimes peace is more than a luxury–it’s a necessity.

Some people find relaxation at the spa, the salon, or the ocean, while others look to their soothing landscape. Homeowners want to create a place in their landscapes where every stress-filled activity of the day melts away like snow on a spring day. They love the feeling of backyard tranquility because it is not only is a place to relax, but it’s also a place that is unique to them because they created it out of their own vision.

If you haven’t transformed your backyard into an oasis, but you have the vision and desire to do so, try some of these ideas and let your creativity take flight.

Fire Pits – Fire pits add a level of cozy to the atmosphere and work well for the homeowner who loves a little warmth. Your fire pit can sit on bluestones or concrete. Use the space to define your personal style. Include relaxing chairs and a small table to hold your book, drinks or any other item. Make sure the space is adequately lit but not too bright.

Butterfly Garden – If you are a butterfly lover, surrounding yourself with these gentle creatures will de-stress while relaxing you after many hard days. Attract butterflies by planting marigolds and various herbs such as oregano.

Water Features – What about a koi pond? Or a gentle waterfall? The relaxing properties of water have been known for centuries. And they are not only peaceful, but they also add beautiful style and décor to any landscape. If you are on a budget, any water feature will do. Larger budgets will allow for decorative fountains, alluring waterfalls, or fish-filled ponds to set the landscape for tranquil nights and soothing experiences.

Scents – Whether artificial scents like essential oils or the real thing such as lavender and jasmine plants, scents have been used in relaxation techniques around the world for many years. If you do not want to plant, essential oils can be diffused to gently flow through the air. Place them around your area close enough to smell but not too close that they overpower you.

Zen Gardens – The Japanese are experts in creating serene outdoor spaces. Rock gardens are highly popular because of their ability to symbolize elements in nature. Set rocks inside gravel and design the sand to look like cascading water rippling outward. Add bamboo trees and plants around the space. They embody simple, yet elegant features that emanate peace and relaxation.

Unique Spaces

Don’t spend too much time stressing over your relaxation landscape or you will defeat the purpose for the project. Your space should speak uniquely to you and what you deem relaxing and inviting. Regardless of what you choose, let your landscape invite you to kick up your feet, take in the sights, and leave the cares of the day behind.

How to Estimate the Cost of Your Landscape Design

How much will your landscape design cost? From small jobs to elaborate designs, calculating the cost is quite complex. With the wrong calculations, you could be left paying more than expected and racking up unwanted debt. You can also set yourself up for despair if you miscalculate prices of goods and services and plan too quickly.

If your budget is low, you can opt for free design plans; however, this could set you up for disaster. With so many factors and things to worry about, hiring a professional may be a wise choice. Depending on the size of your design, you could potentially take care of it yourself, but save the bigger jobs for the experts who know how to get the job done correctly.

Even if you go with a professional, you should be able to estimate the cost so you can prepare in advance. Many homeowners do not have large budgets and need to save over time. By estimating the approximate cost, you can put away a little money each month and save up for your project. Tip: Always overestimate! If you ever tackled a home project you know that 99% of the time it goes over budget.

Scope of project

As stated before, the overall size of your property and scope of project will be one of the largest factors in determining the total cost of your project. Landscape design is priced by the sq.ft. Assess the size of the project, whether your entire yard or a small garden plot, and write out an itemized list of everything you will need.

Features

Figure out which features you would like installed in your landscape. Consider every detail from large additions to small features such as fountains and decorative rocks. This is where the money adds up. If you are not familiar with the prices of these items, you can seriously miscalculate.

If you do not know which features you want, start by defining an overall style. Do you like elegant landscapes? Serene? Zen-like? Once you determine your style, research and find images online of landscapes you like. Write down the features present in your images and compile a list of must-haves, possible, and maybes. List the approximate prices of each to get an idea of your overall budget. Don’t forget to include installation costs, lighting, and any other associated costs like drainage and wiring.

Lighting

Once you map out your features, consider the type of lighting. If you have a focal point, spotlight it for maximum effect. Ensure your landscape is safe with the proper amount of illumination on driveways, walkways, path and steps. Consider solar or low-voltage LED lights to save money on energy. Add up your fixtures and approximate the prices.

The Estimate

Your landscape professional will offer you a detailed plan of your design and instructions if you choose to do the work yourself. This cost of material and labor will be added to the estimate if you hire him/her to complete the job. If you can find a professional who designs and does the installation, you may save money on your project. Ask about packages as well since many designers offer discounts for bulk purchases. Good luck!

 

The Top 5 FAQs About Landscape Lighting Design

The Top 5 FAQs About Landscape Lighting Design

1. What elements need to be lit in my landscape?

This question can only be answered when you determine the overall effect you want. What mood are you looking for? What function will the light serve? Think about the light’s function and then walk around your property and choose focal points. Do you have a beautiful garden? Elegant fountain? Whatever elements jump out at you; this is your starting point. Remember also to consider safety lighting on walkways, steps and driveways.

2. Which fixtures should I purchase?

Remember when choosing fixtures that less is more. Unless you want to spotlight one key feature, generally low-voltage or solar lighting will work well. Consider softer light emitted from different angles to create an overall desired effect. You can also create a brighter illumination by grouping softer lights together. Low-voltage and solar lighting will also save you money on electricity.

3. Why is low-voltage lighting preferred?

Low-voltage lighting works well in residential lighting environments and holds a safe 12V of electricity. Your current electrical capacity is 120V which poses a risk to the people living inside the home during inclement weather conditions. Aside from safety concerns, low-voltage lights are more efficient, saving you money, and the bulbs last long without needing much maintenance. Installation is also much easier.

4. What type of lighting techniques should I use?

There are hundreds of lighting techniques, but for the sake of simplicity, you only need to concern yourself with a few. Uplighting and downlighting refers to the direction of the light. For example, with downlighting place a fixture in an elevated location and point it downward to illuminate the area beneath it. These techniques add a soft, beautiful glow to any landscape design.

Flood and spot lights emit a bright glow to featured objects. Use these techniques sparingly and in key locations. Shadow lighting illuminates a surface in front of another surface. By lighting the front object, you cast a shadow on the object behind it. Path lighting illuminates paths and walkways for elegance and safety.

5. How do I plan my landscape design?

It is recommended to consult with a professional for this step. A landscape designer will study the layout of your property and the issues you may face in the process of executing your design.

If you are flying “solo”, sketch the property and include all the features you want to illuminate. Pay close attention to the power consoles and their locations. Draw a line from the fixtures to the consoles to display the cables. The process can get complicated around walkways, steps and driveways. If you feel uncomfortable, opt to speak to a professional or consider using solar lighting fixtures.

The landscape lighting design process can be difficult for novices. If you have any more questions, research the process in detail before you begin or hire a professional to design and install the lighting. Beginners may come across property issues they are not skilled enough to fix and cause unnecessary future damage.