Use Lighting to Enhance Your Fall Landscaping

If you’re like many homeowners, chances are you shoot for a little splash of color around your home during every season. Spring brings us colorful dainty buds and blossoms. During the summer months, we’re greeted with flowers that are as bold as they are beautiful.

Once the days grow shorter and cooler and the summer draws to a close, flowers begin dying off and fall slowly creeps in. Your yard will change, and the lighting choices you make for your space should shift in tandem.

Adjusting Landscaping Lighting for Fall

Planting fall blooming flowers is an excellent way to add a splash of fall color to your property. However, they’re typically not as bright and eye-catching as some spring and summer flowers even though they add a shade of sophistication to your outdoor space. The best way to accentuate these blooms is to swap the regular blubs in your existing ground-mounted spotlight lamps for a slightly higher wattage. Not too high, though – you don’t want to irritate your neighbors.

Trees are a fantastic fall spectacle for your yard as well, which means highlighting the breathtaking changes in the colors of the falling leaves should be high on your list of to-dos for fall. Take the same action you did with your fall flowers: replace the bulbs in your spotlights for a set with a slightly higher wattage to show off those beautiful autumn colors falling from the branches of your trees.

Outdoor Party Lighting for Fall

Autumn parties are a staple of any family’s fall agenda, so outdoor lighting for fall fiestas is another great way to dress up your space for the season. For example, you can use lanterns to line outdoor walkways along with seating areas. This will give your landscaping a rustic appeal that will add an injection of charm into your fall get-togethers.

Another outdoor party lighting option for the fall is glow jars. You can find these unique lighting instruments at craft stores, but it’s fun and easy to make your own for parties. An added bonus is that you’ll save money when you DIY. Simply snag some mason jars and give each one a coat of sheer white glossy paint. When lit, the jars will emit a soft white glow that will rival high-dollar party accessories from even the most ritzy of home décor catalogs.

You can also highlight the fall colors of your yard by installing string lights around the perimeter of your landscaping prior to your big “shindig.” Opt for soft yellow or white bulbs, and make sure the lighting is not too harsh. A good rule of thumb: the smaller the bulb, the softer the light. String up a few lengths of lights and wait until nightfall to get a feel for whether you need more or fewer lights to achieve the atmosphere you desire.

Fall lighting for your landscape requires nothing more than a few minor tweaks to your existing outdoor lighting system. For fall parties, a little imagination and innovation goes a long way – and helps your wallet out in the process.

An Eco-friendly Addition to Your Landscape Design

Rain gardens are eco-friendly landscape elements that take advantage of excess rainfall. You will often find them planted near depressions, sidewalks and porches. They are used not only as decorative elements, but also to direct water into the ground, reducing the buildup in other areas around your home. Rain gardens are also constructed to catch storm water runoff, protecting soil from destructive erosion and preventing polluted groundwater.

Rain gardens can be very effective at reducing polluted water especially in urban city areas where concrete is plenteous. City properties that experience excess storm water are at risk of sending polluted water into streams and into the groundwater. By planting a rain garden near your urban property, you can help to lessen the amount of water that is propelled into the storm drains and do your part to reduce the toxic load on our planet.

How does rain water become so polluted?

During the cycle of rain, from when it falls from the sky to when it arrives at the storm drain, it can pick up dirt and waste materials that pollute it. Areas that experience high amounts of rain would benefit from rain gardens. A rain garden will reduce the amount of polluted water that becomes storm water runoff while helping to conserve water as well.

Interested in adding a rain garden to your landscape design?

Your rain garden will most likely need the help of a professional. It can be taken on as a DIY project, but with the intricacies of installation, you run the risk of costly mistakes. However, if you want to tackle it yourself, follow these tips:

Craft a blueprint – Examine your property and notice how water flows and where it collects. Are there any hills or ditches? Slopes or mounds? Any variations in height could affect the flow of water. Choose your rain garden location after you have located the areas of your landscape where the most water flows.

Size and type – Determine the size of your rain garden and if needed, consult a professional. A professional will also test your drainage to help you decide what type of rain garden you will need.

Installation – The first step to installing a rain garden is to grab a shovel and start digging. This is not like any ordinary digging where flowers are planted. This installation requires knowledge of the bed, the right plants and the flow of water. Also, leveling is very important and should be done after digging is complete. Examine the slope of the area. If sloping is present, you may need to build a berm (earthen dam) into the side and edge of the rain garden. Use native plants and find out the properties of your soil and whether it needs additional organic matter.

Maintenance – The installation might be difficult, but maintenance is a breeze. Keep the rain garden full of mulch and remove weeds as needed. Give the plants plenty of water so over time they can build strong, deep roots that won’t require as much future maintenance unless you experience a drought.

Rain gardens are beautiful and help the environment at the same time. They are wildly popular and add creativity and life to any landscape.

 

Garden Lighting Design Basics

The garden, whether large or small, has become a prominent staple of landscaping design. And lighting is often a standard addition because it adds special effects and an ambiance that is impossible without it.

Garden lighting will add beauty and elegance to your plants, flowers and greenery. And if the design is executed correctly, you will add brilliance, color and creativity to your outside landscape.

If you hire a professional to install and design your garden lighting, make sure to have an idea of what you want before you start the work. The garden lighting designer will have many colors, sizes and shapes of lights from which to choose so it’s important to do some preliminary research.

An expert planner will always try to fit the geographical area as well as your personality before deciding what to include in the design. With hundreds of different companies that manufacture and offer beautiful, contemporary as well as traditional styled lighting, it is imperative that discussion and choices are made before any lighting fixture is ordered.

There are 10 top categories of lighting techniques that are used by most garden lighting designers:

  1. Accent Lighting – This is used to cast small spots of warm lighting which in turn creates a very soothing experience.
  2. Flood lighting – The polar opposite of accent lighting, these are broad, bright light beams that instill drama to a garden.
  3. Spot lighting – Though not as widely used, spot lights can highlight specific elements of the garden you want to emphasize.
  4. Cross Lighting – Similar to spotlighting in its effect, this dramatic lighting is also used to emphasize special shrubbery or trees.
  5. Silhouetting – Used to highlight various types of doorways, arches, even outline trees; it can be more subtle than other forms of lighting.
  6. Shadowing – This type of lighting is used when there are dramatic plants to showcase along a back wall where shadows are desirable.
  7. Spread Lighting – If you want large areas lit, this type of lighting is used in a design to bring a bright effect to shrubbery and even lawns.
  8. Up Lighting – One of the most popular techniques and used in all kinds of areas and both large and small gardens, it is used to cast an “up” type of lighting in front of trees, sculptures, decorative walls, parts of fencing or any other element you want to emphasize.
  9. Moonlighting – The opposite of up lighting, moonlighting is used to create a mood that will make it appear as if your plants are in the reflection of a full moon.
  10. Underwater Lighting – This lighting can be used in anything that is water based such as pools, pond lighting, etc.

Obviously, when on a budget, it is very important that the garden lighting designer make the most out of each light that is chosen and installed. Lastly, the fixtures should be hidden out of view so that the emphasis of sight is on the lighting itself and not on where the light is coming from. The lighting planner should always assure the homeowner that none of the lights will be positioned where they will come in direct eye contact with people. Safety is a top priority in any lighting design.

Whether you use a professional or tackle the project yourself, garden lighting is a landscape design essential and one that will be enjoyed by you and your guests for many years to come.