Edible residential landscaping is in the news in Idaho, so why not at your home? Why not have edible landscaping that functions by adding beauty to your home, yet is also a food source? What is edible landscaping?
- Fruit and nut trees. In your area, landscapers can tell you what is best for the climate. But consider almond trees, apple trees, or a walnut tree. They provide beauty, shade, and you and your family will enjoy harvesting fruit and nuts from your backyard.
- For vines, think about grape vines. They provide an interesting landscaping look with twisted vines, and provide grapes for the family to enjoy.
- There are many perennial plants that provide greenery, flowers, and you can enjoy with your meals. Consider growing artichokes, asparagus, chamomile, lemon balm, mints, oregano, rhubarb, and strawberries. The list can go on and on, so consult with a local landscaper, such as us -contact us- for what is best for your home.
- There are edible flowers such as daylily, chive, lilac, pansy, and scented geranium. These can add beauty and intrigue to the meals that you serve.
- Vegetables add beauty to any garden, and provide you fresh and natural foods. In most climates you can grow brussels sprouts, cabbages, garlic, kale, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes.
All of those edible plants can be part of your landscaping. Now is a good time to start planning. The best landscapes are the result of good planning, good design, and hard work.
The right hardscaping can really add an interesting dimension to your landscape, not to mention the fact that it can also be functional. If you're looking at hardscape design, here are some things you should take into consideration first.
Perhaps the biggest consideration when choosing hardscaping is its purpose. Just a few things hardscaping can be used for include:
- Creating a walkway
- Adding a seating area
- Attracting birds or butterflies
- Creating a focal point for a garden
- Breaking up the landscape into sections so that it can serve multiple purposes
You’ll want to make sure your hardscaping blends well with the rest of its surroundings if it is to look nice. That doesn’t mean you have to use all of the same materials throughout, as mixing and matching different ones is actually a good idea. Just be sure the hardscaping elements you add are in keeping with the theme or style of your landscaping, as rustic elements in a formal garden would seem rather out of place.
One of the biggest considerations you’ll need to keep in mind is your budget. Even if you are on a rather tight budget, you can still find hardscaping elements that will add a new dimension to your garden without costing you an arm and a leg in the process.
It’s important to think about how you will maintain your hardscaping elements once they are in place. Fountains and garden ponds look nice, but require a great deal of care in order to ensure they continue to be attractive. Likewise, patio furniture may need to be stored away during the winter or cleaned from time to time as well. If the hardscaping elements you choose require more maintenance than you desire, chances are you’ll quickly grow tired of them.
"I'm a introvert... I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky." (Audrey Hepburn).
Are you an introvert like Hepburn who just needs time alone to reenergize and meditate on the day? Do you identify with Audrey Hepburn in that you love to have time to yourself and enjoy the trees, flowers, and the sky? Does your residential landscaping include all you need to have that time to reenergize yourself? Other introverts will tell you that having what you need to reenergize is a key to enjoying life and relationships more.
If you don't have that place at your residence, now is the time to make some changes. Take a look at your landscape and think about these things:
- Where would you like to walk?
- What would you most like to see while walking?
- What would you most like to smell while walking?
- How much seclusion do you want?
- Do you want a bench or two to rest during your walk?
- Do you want a special place to meditate during your walk?
With the answers to those questions, we can help you build that place where you can walk and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Landscapers can add fragrant bushes and flowers, a variety of textures, and whatever seclusion you need. They can even help you choose a special bench to relax on and watch the birds and butterflies enjoying your new landscaping.
Every homeowner dreams of having their own custom lighting system to display the luxury of their humble abode at night. However, deciding exactly what you want can be challenging. By learning more about how to set up a custom residential landscape lighting system, deciding on the right outdoor landscape for you should be achievable in no time at all.
Consider Indirect Ambient Lighting
Although some may take pride in lighting up their entire property for the entire world to see, an indirect approach focused on the dim lighting of certain areas on your property can often be much for effective and luxurious. According to Freshome, "Outdoor lighting doesn’t have to only be utilitarian. Wall sconces can provide washes of light against the exterior walls of your home to create ambiance in the evening hours. Directional sconces pointing upwards or downwards can focus on architectural elements on your home, and draw attention to exterior niches and plantings around your home."
Consider Motion Sensor Lights
Motion sensor lights have a number of advantages. This include security, convenience and energy efficiency. Lights which are motion activated have an automatic shut off time, preventing a waste of electricity. Also, motion activated lights are perfect for an evening stroll around your property to light the path. As a security measure, motion sensor lights are bound to scare any potential thief and also alert you to their presence. Lights which are meant for security purposes are best placed around the perimeter of your home close to entrances.
Consider Solar Lighting
Solar lights are the easiest type of lighting to install because they don't require connecting a cord to them underground. If you live in an area where sunlight is relatively constant throughout the year, solar lights can provide a reliable source of lighting year round.
Almost every homeowner wants to show off their backyard, even if it happens to be at night. One of the best ways to do this is with a low intensity lighting system with a high intensity adjustable option. By learning more about how to implement landscape lighting, showing off your backyard during anytime of the day should be achievable in no time at all.
Balance Beauty With Security and Safety
One reason that people typically install a landscape lighting system is for an enhanced sense of security at night. Focus on illuminating walkways and entrances to your home. According to diynetwork, "Path lights are always a great addition. They make your garden and home inviting to visitors, and they're also very important for safety. There are so many different design options that you can easily find something to match your style. Up-lights are designed to light things from below. You can use this to highlight features such as trees or a stone wall." Program the lights so that they can be activated with a motion sensor or manually turned. Besides, motion sensor lights will be more likely to deter a potential thief and alert to you to potential criminal activity than lights which are constantly turned on.
Consider Solar Lights
Solar lights are a great option because they don't need underground wiring and will automatically recharge themselves with energy from the sun during the day. The only disadvantage is that during the fall and winter these lights may emit less light due to the absence of light to charge them during the day.
The holidays are approaching and you are probably making plans for those holidays lights.You love hearing your neighbors and friends tell you your house is the best in the neighborhood!
But why just have the best lighting for the holidays? Why not plan your holiday lighting so that it can be year round?
- Strategically placing lighting in your yard and around your house can enhance your holiday decorations. The great part is, that same lighting will enhance your property year round. The second great part is, once that lighting is installed, you don't have to reinstall it next year for the holidays.
- Do you put reindeer or a nativity on your lawn? At night, you need subtle lighting to show off the display, angled in just the right way to show off that reindeer and give it dimension in the night.
- Why not have a display near a tree or bush? Then the subtle lighting is used for the display during the holidays and to light the tree or bush year round.
- Thinking about hanging some decorations on your house? Let us install some lighting around the house that shows off those decorations during the holidays, and shows off your house year round.
- You can even change the color of the bulbs in your landscape lighting so they are part of your holiday lights. Then change them back for the rest of the year.
Sound like a way to start planning your holiday decorations? We would love to help your house be the best-lit in the neighborhood.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr)
Green roofs are literally, the cool new thing in roofing technology. Not only do you reduce your carbon footprint by installing one of these roof systems, but you actually keep your roof cool! Many commercial buildings are using green roof systems to protect their roofs from sunlight, reducing toxins that may be contained in the run off from storm waters, decreasing emissions from heated roofing materials and of course, keeping their roofs cooler.
First, let's explore the definition of a cool roof system. A cool roof system is usually made up of materials that will reflect the suns energy. You could use a light colored paint, light colored roof tiles, single ply rubber membrane or light colored shingles. You will find lots of white roofing in Bermuda for example where the sun can be brutal!
Green roofs consist of several layers, just like your typical garden bed. First there is a waterproof membrane. To that you will need to add a drainage system, growing medium and of course, the plants!
There are two types of green roofs. Extensive and intensive. Extensive roofs use plants that will stand up to a drought or other extreme conditions. These plants don't need a lot of attention or supplements. Intensive green roofs are set up more like a garden or a park, where things are planted purposefully, and any type of plant may be used. Can you guess which type is more expensive and needs more care?
According to the EPA, the three major benefits to a cool roof are:
1. Lower energy use. There is less heat transferred from the roof to the home, therefore, you spend less energy and dollars cooling your quarters. (In a green roof, the plants absorb most of the sun's energy)
2. A cool roof reduces pollution and emissions by lowering energy use, (a green roof will also reduce your footprint by eliminating the potentially toxic off-gassing from heated roof materials.)
3. Health and comfort. This really can't be measured in dollars can it? Looking back at the previous two points, reducing the air temperature, reducing the amount of time that you have to run an air conditioner, decreases the likelihood of heat related illness, and let's face it, reduce your stress when it comes to how much money you are spending to stay cool!
With the time change, have you noticed the evenings are darker? Have you noticed it is more difficult to see around your yard? Thinking safety might be a concern for friends and family? Not security, but safety. You don’t want your friends and family tripping over low bushes, or tripping on the steps that were designed to blend in with the landscaping.
So, let’s talk about safety landscape lighting.
First step is to look at your property and think about the paths that are taken in the dark. If you have a pool, what is the path people will take? If you have an outdoor fire pit, what is the path people will take? The best way to accomplish this is invite a friend over and have them walk those paths in the daylight. Or, invite us over to look at your landscape and we will help determine those paths for you.
Second step is to decide who will be taking these paths. If children or the elderly will need access to certain areas in the dark, then the lighting will need to be brighter than if they don’t need access. The same is true if a person with disabilities wants access to those areas.
Third step is to let us design a plan that will:
- Target areas such as pathways, steps, pools, tripping hazards.
- Show where the lights will be low illumination and where they will be slightly brighter.
- Avoid using bright floodlights.
- Increase safety yet add to the value of your property.
You really can create safety lighting that increases the beauty of your property.
Have you noticed that some of your landscape lighting is not working? You have changed the bulbs, and there is still a problem. So, you do an Internet search and most of the sites say the problem is probably a bad connection. eHow.com states “landscape lighting wire is buried under the ground and has splices. The ground is a hostile environment that will corrode and damage wire splices, interrupting the electrical connection.”
Ok, so that makes sense. But, how do you find the bad splice, if that is the problem?
You could dig up around that light to find the splice, and then fix it. But, that is only if you want to tear up your lawn and if you know how to fix an electrical splice SAFELY.
Of course, it might not be the splice. It might be one or a combination of several problems:
- Programming on the controller which does not require digging up your lawn. If you assumed a splice was the problem, you would have dug up areas of the lawn for nothing.
- There might be a connection problem in the controller. Fixing this does not require digging up the lawn, but does require knowledge of electricity.
- It might not be the splice to a particularly light, but just the connection.
So, we are back to the original question – Have you noticed that some of your landscape lighting is not working?
Are you one of those who makes a New Year’s resolution, but really doesn’t keep it? Has upgrading your landscaping been on your list of resolutions for a few years?
You could research how to install landscape lighting. There are several books, websites, and videos on how to install landscape lighting. If you only want one or two, that is probably your best choice. But, think about that for a minute. Do you really only want one or two lights as your landscape lighting? Is that really upgrading your landscaping and fulfilling your resolution?
You could research and DIY the lights. But why? Why not let us help you keep your New Year’s resolution, and at the same time give you more than one or two lights. Let us look at your property and show you a plan that will:
- Highlight what you consider special.
- Add security and safety.
- Add drama and dimensions to your property at night.
- Add romance.
How will we do that? First, by listening to you. Second, by walking around your property. Third, by strategically locating lights.
Will you see ugly black lights and boxes all over your property? NO! Our process includes hiding the wires, lights, and boxes so they don’t ruin the lighting effects. We will listen to you from start to finish and in 2014 you will be able to proudly say you kept your New Year’s resolution to upgrade your landscaping.
As you drive up to your house at night, you notice it needs some lights. You want it to look like the neighbor’s on the right with soft lights that seem to have been placed with an artistic eye. You don’t want it to look like the neighbor’s on the left who some nights might be mistaken for a UFO.
So, how do you decide how much landscape lighting and how little landscape lighting? You want your property to be safe, secure, and beautiful. Yet, you do not want to contribute to outdoor light pollution like the one neighbor.
How can you avoid contributing to outdoor light pollution?
- Lights need to be aimed carefully. This means someone needs to aim them when it is dark. You want to show the walkway, but not blind the person walking on that walkway. You don’t want cars driving by to shield their eyes.
- Bulbs need to be shielded. This means choosing the right reflectors and shielding for the lighting effect you want.
- Choose wattage carefully. You want enough wattage to create that artistic effect, but not the UFO effect. Higher wattage creates harsh light while lower wattage bulbs can provide the safety and the effects.
- Use controllers. Controllers can ensure you are saving electricity by not having the lights on all day. The controller can turn the lights on and off as you desire.
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
This is true of people and landscapes. Your landscape can sparkle and shine in the sunshine, but what does it look like in the dark? It is dark and foreboding? Does it contain hidden hazards? Are there shadows that are slightly scary?
Why not make your landscape have true beauty in the night? How can that happen?
We will come out and see the sparkle and shine of your property in the daytime and hear of your dream for your landscape during the night. We will listen to what is important to you, and will then give you a plan.
We might include wall washing or graze lighting to put a soft, wide glow on your house or garden walls. This will softly light up the dark walls of your landscaping, creating safe shadows where appropriate, and showing the true beauty of your house and garden walls.
We might include moonlighting where we have a light filter down through the tree branches, just as the moon would. This can give you the look of a full moon, but only in certain areas, of your property. Not only will this show the true beauty, but it will create a romantic affect.
We will definitely include path lighting. But this will not look like a connect-the-dots game. Our soft path lighting will invite guests to your front door and have them commenting on the beauty of your property.
Ready to reveal the true beauty of your property?
Edward Abbey stated “You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light.” Yet, you can study the darkness by illuminating it with light. The key is knowing the difference between flooding and illuminating.
Some people think landscape lighting is purchasing a few floodlights so the nighttime looks like the daytime. But, then you lose the magic of the nighttime.
So, what does it mean to illuminate your landscape to study the darkness?
It means to have a purpose for each light. Do you want a soft, moonlight effect at night, or do you want a little added security while enhancing key points in your yard? Do you want the magical effect of softly tinted lights, or do you want the mixture of light and shadows?
All of these affects can be achieved with a variety of landscape lighting strategies.
You can highlight a seating area in your yard with a pole light, or you can create a soft illumination of a path by hiding the landscaping lighting under shrubs.
You can highlight a gazing ball or fountain by using more than one lighting fixture with low intensity bulbs placed at different angles.
You can show off flower beds with small, soft lights outlining the edging and a few placed to show off the prize plants.
You can sit on your desk and have friends look out over the yard and see the rough bark on a tree, or a bird bath nestled in some bushes.
All of these lighting strategies allow you to study the darkness, and to enjoy the darkness, as Abbey said.
Want to create those effects to study the darkness on your property?
“The landscape is like being there with a powerful personality and I’m searching for just the right angles to make that portrait come across as meaningfully as possible.” Galen Rowell
What is the personality of your landscape?
Is the personality of your landscape fun and laughing? Then highlight those whimsical items on your property.
It might be a tree with curvy branches and roots. We would highlight the fun curves of the tree with soft lights from different angles that would make it seem to dance in your yard as the moon travels across the sky.
Maybe that whimsical item is a statue that needs a soft light coming from the tree above as if the moonlight is highlighting that in your yard.
Maybe you have a particular group of flowers that have a unique shape or color and a little light at just the right spot and angle make you smile and laugh when you view them in the moonlight.
On one property seen recently, it was a fire hydrant since the owner was an avid dog lover. As she looks out at the yard at night, she smiles seeing the red fire hydrant that represents the dogs she loves. We wouldn’t put a glaring floodlight on it, but a few lights hidden in a bush shine at just the right angles to show off the hydrant.
It’s all about just the right angles to make the powerful personality of your landscape known to you and your friends. Let us help you make the personality of your yard come alive through landscape lighting.
“I like to make the mundane fabulous whenever I can.” (Rufus Wainwright)
We couldn’t agree more with this American-Canadian singer, songwriter, and composer. We also like to take the mundane landscaping and make it fabulous. How do we do that?
First, we will make your yard look as good in the daylight as at night. Landscaping lighting is appropriate for day and night to highlight certain areas for that fabulous look. We will combine ambient lighting with task lighting, which will add to the security and safety of your property. We will also integrate other lighting such as spotlights and strip lights.
Second, we will fabulously light the pathway to your house with lights along the walkway. These lights will be strategically placed so it does not look like a runway approach to your house, and the lights will not blind your guests. We will also add lights to highlight your prize flowers or favorite rosebush for your guests to see as they walk to your front door.
Third, we will add drama to your landscaping. You might have a tree with a unique textured bark and we will add lights that accentuate that bark adding dimension to your property. We will create a soft dramatic glow by outlining flower beds. If you have a water garden, we will add submerged lighting to give off that luminous light that showcases plants and fish.
Our goal is that when we finish, you and your friends will stand back, and say “That looks fabulous!” If you are ready to make the mundane fabulous, contact us and say "fabulous landscape lighting please."
You have finally made the decision to add landscape lighting and a friend suggests you check out a local hardware store. So, you go to the store, and stand in front of that section of shelves. Oh my! You didn’t realize that not only would you have to choose fixtures; you will have to choose bulbs. Who knew the light bulb would be a major decision.
What types of bulbs are there?
These give a pleasing light, but they have a short life and they consumer electricity.
These are more efficient than Incandescent bulbs. These give the same pleasing light; have a longer life, and consumer less electricity.
These have a color range, last much longer than Incandescent and Halogen, and consume less energy. Yet, there is that Fluorescent light effect you see in many buildings.
these are more expensive than others, but they have a long life and a low energy consumption level.
Which bulb is for you? You could fixtures of each kind (usually a particular fixture uses a particular bulb) and try them out. You would need to install each of them, and wait until night to see the effects. But, that is wasteful and you might want a Halogen bulb fixture in one area and an LED bulb fixture in another area.
So, what can you do to decide which bulb is for you? It’s simple. Just contact us for landscape lighting and we will help you. Our specialty is giving you the landscape you want, even when it comes to down to choose which bulb.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr)
The needs of commercial landscaping are somewhat different than the needs of private and personal landscaping, but the differences largely pertain to size and scale. Many designs can be used in a variety of landscape settings, and here are some commercial landscape trends to keep an eye on for the coming year.
In urban areas, commercial landscape design centers around adding landscaping in very limited spaces. A big area of growth is on top of buildings, where gardens can be put in that help decrease pollution. Vertical landscaping, which adds foliage to the vertical surfaces of buildings (think creeping ivy), is also becoming popular. Both of these trends bear watching as they are relatively new and the long-term sustainability has yet to be seen.
Potted plans and other greenery are an excellent choice for areas with small, paved spaces (think apartment building roof) or for one-time events (think wedding). Container landscaping is also great for situations where the contents of the containers will be changed frequently.
Inspired by the landscape in places like Spain, Italy, and Greece, Mediterranean-style landscaping includes terra cotta flower pots, fountains, and decorative tiles. Plants that thrive in the dry, sunny climate of the Mediterranean, like citrus and juniper, also provide great aroma and visual appeal.
Low-water and low-maintenance landscaping is growing in popularity. Climate-appropriate plants with minimal water needs provide a beautiful look that fits a conservation theme. Solar-powered outdoor lighting is easy and effective and is a growing player in the eco-friendly market.
Contact us today for more information about commercial landscape designs and to schedule a consultation.
Landscape lighting adds the finishing touch the beautiful landscaping around your home, and the right fixtures can showcase your favorite highlights. But it can be hard to know where to start, so here are some tips to help you choose the right options for your home.
1) Take a tour. As darkness falls, walk around your yard and take note of the areas to which you will want to add some lighting. Paths and patios are obvious locations, but think too of other outdoor features like a gazebo or trellis.
2) Safety comes first. Before you move on to accent lighting around your yard, focus on entryways, garages, and driveways. Choose bright lights where needed to illuminate doorways and provide safety when moving around the property.
3) Use mostly low-energy bulbs. A little goes a long way when it comes to outdoor lighting, and you will save money by using low-watt bulbs. Save high-watt bulbs for the deck or patio where you will be having outdoor parties in the summer.
4) Think solar. A great option to light pathways and steps is with LED solar-powered lights. They come in many styles and varieties, and can store enough energy to keep lights bright from dusk till dawn.
5) Add some accents. Highlight the beauty of your landscaping with spotlights. A spotlight placed at the base of an old oak tree creates a warm glow on the branches and invites guests to your home. Highlight other landscape features like a water fixture, trellis, or fire pit. To schedule a consultation and learn more about landscape lighting for your home, contact us today!
As cold weather begins to settle in and the holiday season approaches, take some time to prepare your garden for the winter. Most plants spend the winter months in dormancy, and there is not much you need to do to maintain their health until spring. These simple tips will help you keep a happy and healthy garden this winter!
Do Some Cleaning
Clear out stems and foliage from perennial plants, to prevent the harboring of disease or insects over the winter months. Take this time to remove any diseased parts of the plants.
Trim Plants Back
Heavy snowfall can damage plants, breaking stems and branches that have not been trimmed back. You can, however, leave seed pods, grasses, and other foliage that provide visual interest during this cold, brown season.
Spread the Mulch
Mulch helps to keep a consistent temperature and prevent the harm that can come from repeated freezing and thawing. Add up to 6 inches of new mulch each winter.
Water As Necessary
If the early snowfalls are few and far between, remember to give your plants some water. During a dry spell, keep your waterings short and frequent to prevent excess water from freezing around the plant.
Properly preparing your garden for winter can be done quickly and will ensure a lush and healthy landscape come winter. If you want to know what plant, shrub, and tree varieties are appropriate for this climate, contact a Chapel Valley Plant Health Care Technician for recommendations. We would be happy to provide advice about this and other gardening challenges!
Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation.