Adding a focal point to your garden

Every outdoor space needs a focal point, somewhere your eye will instinctively go and marvel. From planting flowers to setting a pathway through the space or even building a vine archway, here are some ideas to help you make the most of your yard and bring your outdoor design to life.

Flora Residence

Whether it’s a classic white picket fence or a more modern style, a fence not only adds privacy but can also be a distinctive feature. To add flair to the structure, plant large flowers such as hydrangeas that will grow up and around the fence.

Inverness Gardens

Colorful annuals, flowerpots or boxwood hedges around garden beds will add interesting layers to your garden. Don’t be afraid to let your favorite flowers overflow, especially if they complement the colors of your home.

Walled Sacramento escape

Add a wooden bench for enjoying afternoons in your garden, and play with the lighting for an irresistible draw for the eye.

Vegetable Gardens

If you are a traditionalist at heart, an archway covered in vines or climbing roses is the perfect fit for a romantic garden entrance.

Traditional Landscape

A limestone path lined with wild daisies to soften the edges will give your garden playful definition. Try monochromatic plants and concrete pavers for a minimalist look.

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Outdoor Security Lighting – Does it Really Work?

Outdoor security lighting prevents or deters criminal activity. However, studies in the UK, United States and Sweden show that improper arrangement and use of these lights can actually lead to an increase in crime such as vandalism and theft. Here, we explore the reasons for security lights failing their basic test of viability and how you can avoid making these mistakes in your own landscape lighting plan.

Low-level Lights

The problem with failing to install your security lights high enough is that they can easily be sabotaged. Prevent this from occurring by installing your outdoor security lights at an elevation high enough to deter criminals and vandals from disabling or destroying them. However, make sure that vandals can’t gain access to the lights by simply climbing onto an adjacent structure. In cases where placing lights at a higher elevation is not possible, project the lights within mesh boxes or polycarbonate shields that are strong enough to resist physical assault.

Unshielded Lighting

This is another major concern because bright, unshielded lights that point towards the outside of the property can actually create a glare that works to the advantage of criminals. Outsiders can’t see what’s going on within the property because of this glare, and this makes it ideal to carry out illegal activity on your property without anyone’s knowledge. Unless you have CCTV installed, this could pose a major security risk. The solution is to either reposition the lights or use shields and housings for bright perimeter lights. Cutting off the glare by angling the lights either towards the ground or targeting them inward will help, as will installing housing that cuts off the glare and increases visibility from the outside.

Exposed Connections

The third high-risk area is the power supply to the security lights. Any lighting system adequately elevated and shielded is still subject to power supply tampering, rendering the entire exercise a waste. Therefore, the physical line and the access controls should either run under the ground or within protected conduits that are tamper-proof.

Other Considerations

For better security, several medium power lights are more effective than fewer high-powered ones; they help cut glare, can reduce overall power usage and will remain bright even if one or two stop working. Position the lights so there are no ‘blind spots’ or dark areas that are counter-productive to security. Install CCTV if you want more security that can capture any activity during the night or day. Security lighting is obviously only useful at night, so you can address daytime security with a closed-circuit recording system. Install motion detection equipment to save on power costs so that the lights don’t need to be powered all the time – these systems may be expensive in the short run, but in the long run, they will save you hundreds of dollars in power costs, if not thousands.

Remembering these pointers will allow you to achieve a much higher level of security for your property, while at the same time help you optimize your power usage.

 

 

 

6 Types of Outdoor Lighting for Your Landscape

When you look at your landscape it can be a daunting thought to devise a plan of attack for your lighting design. Feelings of overwhelm are all too common especially since landscape lighting forms the entire “look” of your outdoor space.

Most likely you have heard some of the popular buzzwords like spotlighting, shadow lighting, or even different types of lights like solar or low-voltage. Open any landscape magazine and you will find numerous ways to light your outdoor space. Even though millions of ideas exist, it is not that easy to devise a lighting design that is all your own.

It is essential to understand the basic types of lighting so you can effectively communicate your thoughts either to a lighting designer or anyone who is assisting you. If you are interested in simply adding more light to your landscape, knowing some basic information will save you unnecessary stress in the long run.

Path Lighting

Your walkways and paths can be highlighted not only to illuminate for safety reasons, but also to instill a feeling of elegance. Think of your path as a royal walkway or an entrance to an exotic palace. You can create any personality you want with your path lighting.

Downlighting

Downlighting occurs when a light is placed in an elevated location and pointed downward to highlight a large surface area. Downlighting adds a beautiful effect and can mimic the glow of the moonlight hovering down on a beautiful landscape.

Lanterns

Candle lanterns are a great lighting addition to any landscape. They illuminate patios, decks, pools and porches with a sophisticated ambience. They are also easy to find and come in all different shapes, colors and styles. Lanterns are a great way to show off more of your personal style in your lighting. You can even use post lanterns for walkways. Post lanterns are especially effective in an Asian-themed landscape.

Solar Lighting

Solar lighting utilizes the energy from the sun to power them. With solar lighting you can save money on your energy bill and do your part to save the environment. This green technology is used in homes around the world and in all types of climates. Anywhere the sun shines you can use solar lighting to light your landscape. Another great perk: solar lights are inexpensive and can be purchased anywhere lighting is sold.

Flood Lights

Flood lights illuminate your home’s best features whether an architectural masterpiece, a fountain or a beautiful oak tree.

Shadow Lighting

Shadow lighting emits a light onto a surface that is in front of another object. This object can be a wall, garage, tree or any other stationary item. The lighting fixture is installed on the ground and the light is pointed upward toward the surface item. This technique casts a shadow on the object behind it. You can play around with the distance of the surface item and the object since the light will appear more blurry and less-defined the further the distance.

With these few lighting tips and styles, you can be more equipped to start your lighting design on the right foot.