Are you Feeling Overwhelmed with Your Landscape Lighting Design?

With so much information out there on how to add lighting to your landscape, it can become quite confusing to know how to bring it all together. You may have hundreds of pictures, talked to friends and family and you still feel like you are no closer to your goal.

It’s true that there are literally thousands of directions you could take with your landscape lighting design, but the best choice will be based on a few important factors. If you are the pen and paper list-making type, you will want to take notes. Additionally, speak to a skilled professional who has designed hundreds of landscapes. Since there are so many issues to solve when designing landscape lighting, they will have solid advice on how to work within the confines of your space.

When selecting fixtures and creating an overall design, focus on the important principles first so you end up with exactly what you want.

Accents – When looking for fixtures, don’t forget those that will accent beautiful features like fountains, rare trees and special areas. Use these focal points to “wow” your guests and offer a sense of awe when looking at your landscape.

Cohesion – Do all of the lighting fixtures work well together? Does each light flow seamlessly to the next? Envision the overall feel of your design and choose fixtures that work well together. Even when lighting focal points, ensure the spotlights match the overall look and feel of the whole.

Depth – Add three-dimensional effects by illuminating design elements near and far from your landscape. When you pull up to your driveway, the depth of your lighting will show how far your eyes can see. Pay attention to the effects you want as far as lighting distance is concerned before you select your fixtures.

Balance –Unless you are going for a chaotic look, opt for symmetry with your lighting. The proportions should be similar so the eye can look at the entire design as one cohesive whole while still being pulled to various accented features.

Different perspectives – One light may look amazing from a certain vantage point, but how does it look if you walk 10 feet in another direction? When designing your lighting, consider the point of view of each angle and all vantage points. A light may create a subtle effect on one side but blind another person on the other. Consistency is the name of the game. Ask friends and family to help you and have them walk around the property and even inside the home to ensure no lights are blinding or hitting areas they shouldn’t. Take special note of how the light hits your neighbor’s property as well.

Mood – If you are going for an overall mood, pay attention to how much light is emitted from a particular fixture. Look at narrow and broad beams as well as the direction, whether down lighting or up lighting.

Once you understand these important elements, you can plan out your design and execute it carefully. Speak to a professional if you need clarification. In some home improvement stores, knowledgeable salespeople can also provide assistance.


How to Get Your Landscape Ready for a Home Sale

If you were to put your home on the market today, what would prospective buyers think of your yard? Would it turn them away? Have you been neglecting it?

Today’s home buyers want to purchase move-in ready homes. They do not want to fuss with extra yard work or worry about renovations. Something as small as rotted plants or a faded water fountain facade can signal to a buyer that you do not care enough to keep up the home. This will most definitely turn them away.

With a few minor updates, you will save money in the long run by selling your house for what it is worth. Don’t give buyers any chance to say “no”!

Well-kept Beds – A little edging goes a long way. Even curving the edge of your flower beds to give the yard a more manicured look will increase your chances of a sale. A quick fix: If you have overgrown plants, widen your beds so the plants appear smaller to the natural eye.

Color Sells – If your landscape needs a quick pick-me-up, consider adding dashes of color with petunias or additional annuals that will continue to flower year-round. If you have the budget, add some large perennials. They will “wow” potential buyers and make the landscape look more attractive.

Depth Perception – Who said your mind can’t play tricks on you? If you place your plants away from your property line, your home will look farther away from the road and appear larger than it is. Also consider plants around the perimeter of the home to accentuate it and add some to block items you want to hide from potential buyers.

Green Grass – A brown or yellow lawn is a deal breaker for many potential home buyers. Ideally, you should start beautifying your grass long before you put your home on the market. But, if you are in a time crunch, try one fertilizer treatment to help “green up” the lawn. Some experts will also recommend green spray paint to spruce up dead grass areas.

Privacy – Buyers want to know their yard will be private. A beautiful landscape will lose its loveliness once a potential buyer sees and hears the neighbor’s kids splashing away in their pool. This is one of the most important factors to a landscape design.

If it is within your budget, consider a fence to surround the perimeter of your property. Even low-cost fences will be better than none at all. If you are not ready to sell the house just yet, evergreen shrubs will grow tall enough to create a private environment in a few short seasons.

Add Character – If your landscape is lacking drama and pizzazz, add a few elements to “jazz” it up. Consider statues, swings, or hammocks depending on your location. Create an oasis that will draw in your potential buyers. Add seating areas and places to relax and appreciate nature. The more appealing you make your landscape, the greater the chance you will receive an offer. Remember that it’s often an emotional experience that brings a buyer to make a decision.

How to Choose the Right Tree Removal Service for Your Landscape

Even the most skilled landscaping “do-it-yourselfers” know when to call in the professionals. Consider this scenario: The morning after a particularly rough storm you are sitting in your kitchen with a hot cup of coffee. Your gaze floats to your perfectly manicured flower garden, and as soon as your eyes hit the buds, you scream. A massive tree branch has fallen right on top of your beautiful roses.

Infuriating, yes, but it does happen. Anything from storms to simple overgrowth can turn this hypothetical scenario into a grim reality. To prevent such an occurrence, inspect your trees routinely for ominous-looking branches. If you find any, calling a tree removal service is the safest way to remove the offending limbs.

Unfortunately, many people have trouble knowing what to look for when hiring a tree removal company. If you follow a few simple tips, however, you will find technicians you can trust to get the problem under control.

Do Your Homework before You Hire

It’s important to shop around before settling on a tree removal service. Ask people you trust for recommendations. In the case of a bad storm, chat with neighbors who also had tree limb damage to find out which company they are using to clean up the mess.

If you need a different route, the Internet is your one-stop resource. We live in an age of endless information, which means that service providers have much greater accountability due to public customer reviews. Create a short list of tree removal companies in your area and search for each one by name. Look for any public Better Business Bureau reports or negative reviews on websites. When you find a couple of trustworthy companies, dig a little deeper into the research.

Cover Your Bases by Checking Credentials

Never hire a tree service that demands you pay in advance. Choose a service with references you can independently verify, and opt for a company that offers free estimates before they begin their work. If the estimate sounds ridiculously high, get a second estimate from a competing company to verify that the quoted amount is legitimate.

A written contract, licensure, and proper insurance coverage are “must-haves” for the tree removal service you choose to hire. Check for licensure and request to sign a written contract with a clear description of the job to be performed along with the quote for the work. In addition, tree removal work is very risky, so ensure the company carries good liability insurance to protect yourself, the workers, and your property.

Finally, ask the tree removal service about the method used to ascend the tree. Stay away from companies that employ climbing spikes. These can dig into the cambium of your tree and damage it severely – sometimes beyond repair. The company you choose should ascend trees using an aerial lift or ropes to protect the trees from damage.

Selecting the right company for your tree limb removal job will ensure you have a good experience and that your tree is removed quickly, efficiently, and most importantly – safely.