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5 TIPS TO GET THE MOST OF YOUR LANDSCAPE LIGHTING

Upgrading your outdoor spaces with landscaping services is a great way to add value to your home as well as enhance your overall living experience. The next logical step, once you have a landscape you can be proud of, is to accentuate it with landscape lighting.

With lighting you can create an ambiance around your property that takes a great design and makes it magnificent. Lighting is extremely versatile and its powers of enhancing the aesthetics of a space are limitless. Landscape lighting also offers the ancillary benefit of security by providing illumination that can deter would-be criminals.

Landscape lighting sounds great, but you may be wondering where do you start? Here are five tips for how to get the most out of your future landscape lighting project:

Gather Ideas.

This is one of the most fun stages in the process; getting inspiration. There are many places you can get great ideas for your future landscape lighting. Home and garden magazines are a great resource, so is the internet or television. Home improvement is a hot topic and there are plenty of outlets that like to cover subjects like landscape lighting regularly. Take a look at these resources and get some ideas of the styles and types of lighting techniques you would like to use. These ideas form the foundation for the eventual landscape lighting design you will use. At very least, knowing what you like will help move the process along.

Create A Lighting Layout.

This step is crucial because it is where you will determine WHERE you want your lighting to go. The best way to do this is to take a rough sketch of your property (nothing elaborate, hand drawn with crayons is fine) and mark the areas you’d like illuminated. Consider what landscape features you want to accentuate. Also consider what areas you’d like illuminated for security purposes. Look at exterior design elements of your home as well and see if any of those should stand out more than they do. Landscape lighting is very versatile and a fixture can be installed virtually anywhere on your property.

Decide What Styles & Techniques To Use.

There are many different styles and techniques you can incorporate, each offering a unique look using varying positioning, shadow-play and brightness. Identifying the overall style may be a good first step in this process. For example, perhaps you would like a minimalist look, which offers just enough light to see the property but is quite understated and isn’t flashy. Or you may wish to take the statement approach and really draw attention to select areas of your yard and home. The symmetrical style offers very even, clear lighting that looks crisp and precise. The high contrast style allows you to emphasize with strong lighting specific areas while having them surrounded by darker areas. There is the also the full natural style, which accentuates only the natural elements of your landscape and ignores your home altogether. These looks are each achieved using a combination of lighting techniques. They are:

  • Highlighting – A simple spotlight at the base of a feature achieves this.
  • Silhouetting – The light placed behind a feature allows for only the backdrop to be illuminated, creating a stark silhouette.
  • Shadowing – Again the light is placed at the base of a feature, but at an angle that purposefully casts shadows on an adjacent wall.
  • Wall Washing – Lighting pointed at a slight angle directly at the exterior of your home creates an even glow that seems to come off your walls.
  • Up-Lighting – Simple, upward facing spotlights.
  • Down-Lighting – Casting the light downward for a different effect.
  • Moonlighting – Similar to down-lighting, instead of a straight beam, your light should have a glare guard so it creates a softer light from above, simulating moonlight.

Find The Right Lighting Fixtures.

The next challenge to tackle is finding the right kind of lighting fixtures for your desired plan. First, there are the types of lights to consider. Line voltage lights (also called house current) give you the ability to use high wattage bulbs. These will be your bright spotlights, but these lights can also be incandescent, fluorescent, or a colored sodium or mercury vapor bulb. Solar lights don’t give you a lot of output, but for a minimalist look this may be ideal as they also don’t use energy. LED’s are extremely energy efficient and because they don’t use a filament, they can be pretty much any color you want. They also last a much longer time than any other bulb. The only real disadvantage is that LED’s have a narrow illumination field, much like a flashlight. This could be perfect for colored up-lighting or down-lighting effects. Low voltage lighting uses very low power and are extremely energy efficient. These lights use low wattage bulbs which provides the advantage of being able to use more fixtures to light a broader area using the same wattage. These are great for path lights, string lights and other lighting designs calling for many fixtures. After you have identified the types of lighting you wish to use, you’ll want to pick out fixtures. The fixtures themselves can also play a part in the overall design and aesthetics. These can be unassuming canister lights or decorative lamplights. The shape of the fixture also often determines the way the light sprays, allowing for a focused beam or a bright field.

Hire A Professional Landscape Lighting Specialist.

Once you have done your due diligence, you’ll have a great idea of what you want and what it should cost. While this is great preparation, landscape lighting installation is best performed by a trained professional that can ensure the job gets done properly. A qualified lighting professional will be able to take your notes and transform them into a workable and affordable design. Then, before your eyes they will make it a reality.

While there may seem to be a lot involved with a landscape lighting project, it is a lot of fun. Landscape lighting allows you to put the finishing touches on your outdoor living areas, as if molding and sculpting it into the perfect space. When you are ready to enjoy the enhancement to your property landscape lighting offers, follow these simple steps to get the most out of your lighting experience.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING REGULAR PEST PREVENTION FOR YOUR LANDSCAPING

For commercial and residential property owners the landscaping task doesn’t end once the stunning lawn, shrubbery and flowers are put into place. If you want to keep this looking nice and protect your investment there will be some requirements for maintenance and pest control service to make this possible. It would be great to think that all you have to do is trust in Mother Nature and she will do the rest but this just isn’t how it works.

Where you reside will have some impact on what your potential threats are. While some pests are found in almost any region in the United States others are more specific to a certain area. You may also be surprised that almost anything can become a pest if left to multiple and cause an infestation; this includes common bugs like ants and worms.

Insects & Your Lawn

One of the most common problems home and business owners have with keeping their grass looking spectacular is bug infestation. There are any number of insects that can pose a threat to your lawn. The problem is that without regular ongoing care and treatment from a trained professional you may not even be able to spot a problem – until it is too late.

Another common mistake is people who opt for turf grass assume this material is not susceptible to bugs. However, this is not true. Turf grass can be affected by problems like weed growth and bugs just like ornamental grasses can.

Some Common Culprits

Although it is always best to let a trained expert handle your bugs problems here is an overview of some of the common critters that could be posing a threat to your yard right now.

  • Army-worms – A major problem for Southern lawns in the fall, these moth larvae are known for doing damage to turf grasses.
  • Japanese Beetles – One of the biggest culprits of insects who destroy grass at the root. Even worse, the traps many amateur pest control DIYers will try actually attract other beetles to the area doing more harm than good.
  • Ticks – While they are not harmful to the grass itself they can become a nuisance if left to grow in numbers. They can be harmful to humans and pets and will eventually infest the home and drastic remediation measures will have to be taken to control the problem.
  • Ants or Fire Ants – Again, these pests may not harm the grass but the tunneling can compromise the soil structure. This can lead to holes, divets or other problematic areas for the lawn.
  • Bill-bugs – There are different types of billbugs and they harm different types of grasses. For instance the hunting billbug is known to be cause damage to Zoysia grass while the bluegrass is a threat to bluegrass lawns.

Prevention Is The Best Remedy

Once you realize you have an infestation it is usually too late to quickly, easily and cheaply remedy the problem. So your best mode of attack is to take a proactive and preventative approach. Having a professional out for regular service is one of the best steps you can take.

A lawn care expert or turf treatment manager is perfect for this type of work. They regularly treat grass and shrubs for disease and pests. While this may not stop any and all potential problems from happening it does make it more likely to be something that can be controlled.

If your professional is there on a scheduled basis they are going to notice changes and potential threats. This gives them enough time to rectify the situation before it grows out of hand. This way the treatment approach is likely to be less expensive and more effective.

Plus they are more likely to use treatment methods that work a great deal better than what you can buy over the counter at your local home improvement store. Plus these lawn treatments are often less toxic and less harmful to people, pets and the environment. Don’t take chances when it comes to safeguarding your lawn against pests. Leave this type of work to a trained professional and you are less likely to ever have anything less than a perfect lawn.

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