Increasing Number of Homeowners Are Embracing Outdoor Smart-Home Technology

An increasing number of homeowners are embracing smart-home technology, according to a Houzz Smart Home Trends Survey.

Of nearly 1,000 homeowners surveyed, around half are introducing smart technology into their homes, i.e. devices which can be controlled by smartphones, tablets, or computers.

Renovated homes are twice as likely to use a smart system, with around 30 percent controlled via a central hub.

When it comes to lighting, 11 percent of renovated homes include smart indoor lighting, and 4 percent include smart outdoor lighting.

Homeowners are using smart-home lighting to reduce energy consumption, improve the comfort of the household, and have the ability to change the mood or vibe of the home.

You can download the full 2016 U.S. Houzz Smart Home Trends Study here.

4 Tips for Environmentally Friendly Landscaping

Creating a more environmentally friendly lawn allows for minimal maintenance of your lawn in springtime, while keeping everything looking lush and green. The key is to minimize the resources you’re using as well as the output of waste, and whether you’re starting your landscaping from scratch or revamping your existing lawn, it’s easy to make sustainable choices. Here are some tips on how to create a more environmentally landscape in your own backyard.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

As we mentioned in the introduction, to create an environmentally friendly lawn, you need to reduce your waste, and reusing and recycling materials are the best way to do this. There are many ways you can recycle your garden waste, for example, after mowing your lawn, instead of just leaving your grass clippings behind, you could recycle them. You can also reuse materials from your garden to fertilize your lawn, like coffee grounds, banana peels and eggshells, for example.

Choose LED Lighting

Most outdoor spaces require lighting, and to save energy and create the most environmentally friendly garden possible, try to use LED lighting as opposed to traditional lighting. Not only do LED lights require less maintenance, they are also extremely efficient, consuming up to 90% less power than incandescent bulbs and although more expensive initially, have greater longevity than most lighting fixtures.

Try Using Artificial Grass

Yes, nothing beats the smell of freshly cut grass, but if you’re trying environmentally friendly landscaping, replacing natural grass with artificial grass means you don’t have to mow your lawn, saving you time, and also means you’re not polluting your yard, since you’re decreasing the amount of gas pollution that goes into the air and into the ground. It also saves you money since you don’t need to buy fertilizers – substances which are also toxic to the animals that live around your lawn. Of course, removing your water-guzzling grass also saves you a bundle on your water bill.

Choose Low Maintenance Plants

What else guzzles water? Plants of course. Opting for low maintenance plans will not only save water, but also reduces maintenance. Consider planting the likes of asters, pansies, marigolds and tulips. Clover is also a great choice, since it’s naturally insect-resistant and contends well against weeds, cutting out your need for pesticides and weed killer.

If you have any tips for environmentally friendly landscaping, we’d love to hear them! Share in the comments below.

The Beginner’s Guide To Choosing Landscape Lighting

If you have no idea where to start when it comes to buying outdoor lights, this post is for you. For many people, outdoor living spaces are becoming an integral part of how we live, with a wealth of options to help illuminate our gardens. From deck and pond lighting, to well lighting and path lighting, there are a multitude of options to consider. So why is landscape lighting important?

Installing landscape lighting not only enhances the beauty of the features in your garden, whether that be architecture, fountains or paths, but it also increases the value of your home, adding to its aesthetic appeal. Having good landscape lighting also prolongs the time space in which you can use your garden, and ensures its safe and secure.

When choosing the best type of landscape lighting for your garden, you need to consider a number of factors. For this reason, first timers choose to work with a professional landscaper who is knowledgeable about the best types of lighting for your garden as well as methods for installation.

Of course, you can do it yourself without any help from a professional, but you’ll need to familiarize yourself with each type of lighting and how they work first. Low-voltage landscape lighting is easy to work with and doesn’t necessarily require professional installation for this reason. For low-voltage lighting, you’ll also need to purchase a low-voltage transformer.

Choose whether you want to install halogen lighting, which produces a higher intensity light which is very bright and white, fluorescent lighting, which produces very little heat, while giving off cool, visible light, or LED lighting which is long lasting and energy efficient. LED lighting is quickly becoming the favorite for this reason, although keep in mind that the upfront costs are more expensive than for halogen or fluorescent lighting.

You should also familiarize yourself with where to place lighting for the best effect. For example, it’s usually best to place path lighting between one and two feet from the path to illuminate it. Ground lighting may be enough to highlight the path, or you might find you need a combination of high and low lights for the best results.

If you are unsure of the best lighting to use and how to install it, consult a licensed professional. If you’re looking to buy outdoor lights, check out our website, or contact us for more information.