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.

 

3 Tips to Set a Mood with Landscape Lighting

 

Lush greens, decorative stones and herbal gardens—elements like these make up some of the best landscape designs. But what good are the finest gardens without light to set the mood and enhance and electrify their beauty?

Low voltage lighting adds an element of grace and sophistication to your landscape by brightening walkways, bushes and porches, and adding a distinct mood and feel to every inch of your home. Whether you are entertaining for a group or simply enjoying a warm beverage alone, the mood of your space is important to create the effect you desire. Landscape lighting is designed to help you create that mood no matter what outside environment you enjoy.

The first step to creating a mood with your landscape lighting is to decide on the right mood. Do you want a more quiet elegance? A romantic backdrop? A space for entertaining? Regardless of your desire for your landscape, there is a lighting solution that will fit your needs.

Here are 3 tips to help you create the perfect mood:

1. Type of Lighting

If you are going for a certain mood with your lighting, take special note of the type of lighting to ensure your desires are met. For example, if you want to create a subtle ambience, path lighting is the easiest and most effective way to do it. These lights offer a warm glow perfect for a night stroll or teatime for two.

Directional lighting is perfect for the person who wants to create a more spontaneous, “artsy” mood by highlighting certain areas of the garden. Whether a fountain or a creative arrangement of seasonal flowers, your lighting can set the focus on those prized areas to give your landscape a “wow” effect.

The design of your lighting fixture can also create a specific mood. For example, this Tiffany Landscape Lighting Flower would suit the homeowner who desires a more fun and animated style, while the Tulip Landscape Light fares better in a more romantic atmosphere. Additionally, while white lights are normally used in a serene oasis landscape, colored lights can be added to provide softer shading and create entirely different moods.

2. Placement of Lighting

If you want to create a mood with your lighting, correct placement is also very important. Pay attention to the natural light hitting the area, whether from the sun, moon or another source, and emphasize darker areas more aggressively with your lighting.

Also, place your lights towards the main focal points in the landscape. Similar to how you would create focal points in your home like a stone fireplace or a large bay window, your outdoor landscape should draw the eye to key places. Arrange your lights to highlight these special features.

3. Trust Your Instincts

When lighting your landscape to create a mood, remember to trust your instincts because they always know best. At the end of the day, your landscape should speak to your unique personality and self-expression and ultimately make you very happy.

 

 

 

 

Tips and Tricks For Lighting Your Garden

Okay Mr or Mrs Greenthumb, you have spent countless hours toiling in your garden and have been rewarded with a beautiful bounty of shrubs, trees, and flowers.  Everything looks great and you and your friends are outside taking in the whole scene and talking about how wonderful it all is.  Then, the sun goes down.  Looks like it is time to pack up and head in the…not so fast.  If you follow these tips and tricks for lighting your garden, all you need to do is flick on the lights.

Setting the Mood

I remember when I was a kid, the neighbor next door had a nicely landscaped yard and garden.  He had floodlights at the four corners of the back of the house and as soon as you walked out there, that yard lit up like a prisoner was trying to escape from Alcatraz.  Those days are gone my friend.  The plethora of choices that exist today mean you can be a bit more subtle with your lighting choices and still get the job done.  And so you must choose.  Do you want to illuminate a few of your favorite features, or the whole garden.  Will you be entertaining in this area, or simply enjoying the view?  You will definitely want a lit path into the garden so that you can see where you are going, but beyond that, the choices are endless.  Once your choice is made, you can decide how to light your garden.

Lighting the Scene

Many ways exist to light your garden features, and all of them have their pros and cons.  Uplighting is a popular choice which allows the tops of your trees, shrubs, etc. to be featured.  For the more artistic, downlighting will create a shadowy effect from behind the object.  If you really want one feature to stand out, you can light it up with a spotlight fixed on that particular object.  You can experiment with different combinations and effects until you get the look you desire.  Overall, you want a gentle even glow that makes your guests feel at ease and enhances the beauty of your garden area.

A Few More Tips and Tricks

  • Draw up a plan.  Make a diagram of your garden area and decide where you want lights and what effect you are going for in each area
  • Try them out first.  Put the lights where you would like them to be, turn them on, and see how they look!  Then you can move them around if you need to change something before they are permanently installed
  • No one likes harsh, glaring, intrusive lighting.  Make sure you don’t overlap the lighting from different fixtures, or cast light off a hard surface that will cause a glare

So as you see, lighting your garden is more of an art than a science.  Don’t let all of the time and attention you have put into your garden be lost when the sun goes down.  You will find everything you need for a well-lit garden area right here on our site.  Then you and your friends can enjoy your space from sun-up to sun…up!