Outdoor Deck Lighting Tips for your Landscape Design

Whether for a late night party with friends and family or a relaxing summer evening with a hot cup of tea, the deck is long known as a place of entertainment and relaxation for all.

Summer bashes and cool fall nights provide the perfect ambience for a perfectly lit deck. Your lighting should be sufficient enough to set the mood without overpowering the glare of the beautiful star-lit night sky.

Your deck lighting is an important component of your outdoor space. Without lighting, the cloudy nights will make your deck off limits to visitors and invisible to all who want to see and experience its function and beauty. If your deck is one that should be showcased, learning how to light it properly will transform it into a treasured space.

Low Voltage Lighting

Low voltage lighting would be your best choice for deck lighting. Not only are these lights kind on your energy bill, but they also provide a safe way to illuminate key areas in your design landscape. Choices like the Tulip Light are perfect to illuminate a path leading up to the deck which is great for late night parties or lighting pathways in the dark. These lights are 9” – 12” in height and will help to guide people from the front of the house to the back deck area by lining all pathways with decorative yet functional lights. Highlight steps and entry areas around the deck as well to prevent safety issues.

Flood Lights

Flood lights are also a good choice for deck lighting. They provide more light than path lighting and can illuminate the high-trafficked areas. You can aim flood lights in any direction upward or downward depending on their purpose. If you are lighting the deck, be careful not to position them so that they shine in people’s faces. This not only is a safety hazard, but it also will annoy your guests and possibly your neighbors. You can also use flood lights to highlight railings if you have stairs connected to your deck.

Specialty Lighting

If you have one feature on your deck you want to highlight like a piece of artwork or an elegant statue, consider a specialty light that will focus brightness on a small area. Use small deck lights that can be attached to railings to enhance brightness without overpowering any other deck lighting.

The Overall Picture

Use your deck lighting as a “spill over” of light into the areas needing it rather than directly shining on the deck’s surface. Your deck lighting should provide safety in the dark while enhancing the features you have without overpowering them with brightness. In contrast, if your deck lacks the proper amount of lighting, you will experience safety hazards as well as uneven highlights and shadows. Experiment with the design and consult a professional if need be. Once you see the beauty of an outdoor deck in the moonlight, you will understand how important deck lighting is to your overall landscape design.

Do-It-Yourself Tips for a Beautiful Landscape

DIY landscapes are the pride and joy of hardworking homeowners. Because so much care goes into the landscape design, homeowners are intent on creating the perfect yard that delights their senses and impresses anyone who graces its presence.

Some DIY landscape designers are complete novices while others have a “green thumb” and are ready to go with bells on. Regardless of the experience, homeowners who use their own blood, sweat, and tears are dedicated to beautifying their landscapes and applying the effort required to fulfill their dream of a landscape design.

Here are some DIY tips to help you turn your landscaping dreams into a reality:

Seasonal Interest

Novice landscape designers easily forget about catering to the four seasons with their foliage. If you want to create a year-round masterpiece, use plants that will last in the cold months of the fall. The spring and summer will do well with flowering plants, while structural elements are perfect for the winter.

Don’t forget about Annuals

Perennial flowers are often the material of choice because they come in so many beautiful shapes, styles and sizes. Unfortunately, perennials only bloom for specified periods of times. If you don’t fill your garden with annuals that bloom all year round you will have empty spaces in your garden. Consider annuals to fill in the spaces when your perennials are not blooming.

More than Flowers

DIY landscapers are so enthusiastic about flowers and plants, they forget about the additional elements that pull a landscape together. Hardscape features provide the majority of the beauty of the winter landscape and offer a stunning backdrop for your spring and summer blooms. Consider fences, patios and decks along with arbors and other hardscape features that can connect your indoor environment with your outdoor space and frame your yard beautifully.

Maintenance

DIY landscapers are concerned with the maintenance of their yard. They do not want to hire a professional but sometimes the maintenance is more than they bargained for. Before you break out the hefty equipment, research low-maintenance flowers, plants and features that will still beautify your yard, but not require countless hours to maintain.

Water Features

Along with hardscapes, water features add intrigue and interest to every landscape. Water features serve as focal points and offer a “zen-like” aura, creating a relaxing vibe and overall calm feeling. Water features are not difficult to install. If you are a novice, start with a small fountain and work up to a waterfall when you feel confident. Consult a professional if you need the assistance.

Flower Planning

Prepare for the scorching summer sun by using drought-tolerant plants. The worse experience for a DIY landscaper is to plant beautiful flowers in the spring only to see them sun-scorched in the summer.

Also, take notice of the space where you plant the flowers. Each area will have its own soil and light requirements. Pay close attention to the external elements of your yard and which areas receive the most light. Choose your flowers accordingly.

Ready to take on your beautifying yard project? The completed landscape is a DIY landscaper’s dream come true. All the hard work and effort will be worth it every time you step outside into your backyard oasis.

 

Dealing With Wildlife in Your Landscape

If you’re the proud owner of a well-landscaped home in the country, then you know all too well the frustrations of garden wildlife. Nothing is more discouraging than planting a beautiful bed of petunias only to wake up one morning to find them nibbled to death.

Destruction of property isn’t the only damage that unwelcome wildlife in your landscape can cause. When wild animals sneak into your yard, they can also carry diseases and deliver germ-laden ticks and fleas right to your front door. Your yard is a prime target for wild animals since it has all the good stuff they love – water, plenty of food, and shelter on a cold, rainy night. Following a few simple guidelines can keep wildlife from becoming a problem in your yard before you encounter any surprise guests.

Physical Wildlife Barriers

For country homes, the biggest wildlife concerns are generally deer, raccoons, and rabbits. A simple, sturdy physical barrier can get the job done in a weekend. Many people opt to add a high fence to their yard and have enjoyed great success with this method.

Surround the entire perimeter of your yard with fencing material and ensure there are no openings or visible holes during installation. You can use a range of materials for perimeter fencing – chain link, plastic mesh, wire, or wood are all great options. If you opt for wood, select a pre-treated style that can withstand moisture efficiently. You can also utilize the existing trees in your yard as natural posts for your fence to add character to your landscaping and save money in the process.

Other Ways to Fight Landscape Intruders

Pesticides are another method for fighting wildlife in your yard. If you choose to go this route, buy products specifically designated as “animal repellants” and don’t use random household items such as mothballs in your yard. This could potentially pollute or kill your plants, and if you have edibles in your yard, you could possibly become sick from consuming them as well.

In addition, if it’s unusually hot and dry outside, consider keeping water dishes and fountains to a minimum. A scarce water supply attracts pests, so don’t leave standing water anywhere in your yard. If you have a birdbath, however, place it high above the ground. Birdseed from feeders is a prime target for wild creatures, so store your seed inside your home or garage and check often for stray birdseed on the ground below your feeder.

Garbage is another biggie. In woodsy areas, this not only attracts deer and raccoons – bears could come sniffing around your home, too. To combat this, keep your garbage in a tightly sealed container that wild animals cannot knock over or easily open. Store it in an out-of-reach area close to your home.

These rules are easy to implement. If you prepare your yard and work these suggestions into your daily routine, you will get your wildlife problem under control and begin to enjoy your yard more fully.