How to Choose a Landscape Design that Matches your Personal Style

Creating a landscape lighting design can become quite overwhelming with so many styles, sizes, categories and finishes of lights from which to choose. At the end of the day, your landscape design should not only provide important safety features, but also make you feel welcomed and proud.

When designing your landscape, consider your home style and the design elements within it. Are you drawn to modern, sleek finishes? Rustic, outdoor features? Traditional, elegant design? By assessing your preferred indoor style, you can easily translate that to your outdoor landscape and match your home’s inner beauty with your outer design.

Below are a few of the most popular design styles to help you make your choice:

Victorian / Old World – This style is characterized by detailed scrolling and fancy features. You will notice a Victorian home by its ornamental decorations and columns along with wide porches evident of a Civil War era.

Rustic Charm – Rustic lighting will be more textured and rough in appearance characterizing its natural, organic style. Rustic homes are reminiscent of the lodge style with a hand crafted look to them. If you enjoy nature and a more organic look to your garden as if it were an extension of an outdoor log cabin, rustic charm is the style for you.

Traditional – Traditional style lighting is similar to Victorian but not as decorative. This style is more elegant than ornate. A traditional landscape design will not overtly jump out at you, but it will feel calming and inviting much like a cold iced tea on a hot summer day.

Modern – Modern lighting is sleek, smooth and sophisticated. The modern style is a perfect choice for homeowners who love the industrial feel of polished silver and the harsh lines of square shapes and designs. Finishes similar to these smooth step deck lights will round out your modern landscape design while providing a safe entrance for visitors. Modern landscapes always appear uncluttered and clean in appearance as well.

Asian – Asian-inspired style is reminiscent of oriental and Japanese design. If you prefer a zen-like landscape fitted with bonsai trees and Asian architectural elements like a flat roof and rectangular windows, you may be interested in an Asian-inspired landscape design.

The Tropics – If you dream of whisking away to a desert island in the tropics on a daily basis, a tropical landscape design may be just what the doctor ordered. The tropical style is more synonymous with a climate rather than a design style. If you live in a warm climate, you can bring in the ambience of your environment by using your lighting to highlight the palm trees and foliage synonymous with your area. Consider more whimsical lighting design and on outdoor furniture, add accessories of fruit bowls with pineapples, guava and papaya to highlight the style even more.

Regardless of the style you choose, your landscape design should make you feel like you are at home. Bring your inside environment into your outdoor landscape and enjoy the seamless transition from the comforts of your home to the wonders of the outdoor world.


The Elements of a Relaxing Japanese Landscape Design

Beyond simple lighting and rose gardens, many homeowners prefer to inject a particular style into their landscape design. And one of the most popular designs is the Asian-inspired Japanese garden. Japanese gardens are beautiful and can add a relaxing oasis to any home.

Homeowners who work long hours or deal with high stress situations need a place of solace. Imagine coming home from a chaotic day at work and sitting next to rolling ponds, tranquil water features and an overall peaceful atmosphere. The elements of a Japanese garden incorporate the materials found in nature and arrange them to enhance nature’s beauty. With a Japanese-inspired garden you will feel the relaxation nature provides while seeing your garden in its most natural form.

Whether you want to create a full-blown Japanese landscape design or simply add a few elements, any additions will help to create a more tranquil atmosphere.

Here are some elements of Japanese landscape design:

  • Water features – Water features are a major part of Japanese design. Fountains and Asian-themed water features will add a zen-like feel, and nod to mother nature by using natural elements in their best light.
  • Hills – Use soil or gravel to create small hills or mounds and surround them with foliage
  • Paths – Crate a path in between the mounds and take it around your entire garden. The paths can be defined by any element whether grass, soil or stones. The paths are meant to create walkways for your visitors and also lead to features in your garden.
  • Contemplation gardens– Contemplation gardens represent zen areas that act as places of refuge. People should feel a sense of peace and relaxation when they enter your zen area. Keep bold colors out of the mix and use serene, calming hues. Foliage should be minimal so weed pulling is not a factor. Whatever makes you feel calm while keeping the space easily maintained will create the perfect backdrop for your contemplation garden.
  • Rocks– Rocks are an integral component of Japanese garden design. They form the structure of the garden and keep the natural elements intact. Gear boulders and rocks into the ground so they stay in place and maintenance is minimal. Use smaller stones as elements to lead the eye to different areas and pebbles to line the bottom of your water features. Use stepping stones to form walkways and the path that leads to your contemplation garden. The characteristics of the rocks are also important. Smooth surfaces are generally not used on higher surfaces like hills and mounds and rougher stones would not be placed in streams. Smooth stones work perfectly in flowing streams or ponds and mimic the gentle waves of the water.

Your Japanese garden should be your oasis into a calm and inviting place. Remember to keep the foliage to a minimum and concentrate on using natural elements to create walkways, walls, hills and streams. Every time you use a man-made element you depart further away from the true ideals of the Japanese garden. Use your creativity and the beauty of the earth around you to give life to a relaxing oasis and a cherished element of your home’s landscape.


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.