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Monthly Archives: November 2018

Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting can help deter criminal activity. Criminals enjoy the dark, they can strike under the cover of darkness without risking being seen or identified, not to mention it gives them the fear factor advantage. It can be terrifying to be attacked in the dark. Landscape lighting can provide enough light to deter a criminal from approaching you or your property in the dark. The additional safety elements which landscape lighting provides are truly worth way more than the cost of professionally installing landscape lighting.

Safety elements aside, landscape lighting can provide a very attractive beautification to your home or business property, which we all understand can increase the overall value of housing and business properties. When something is beautiful to look at, people tend to appreciate it a bit more. Landscape lighting is able to enhance your home’s value and your business’ overall popularity. Whether you live there or work there, your property can be the envy of the neighborhood with quality landscape lighting introduced into the overall beautification of your property.

Landscape lighting can make your property more identifiable. When your home is tastefully lit up with the help of landscape lighting, your home becomes easier for friends and family to identify. Your neighbors will also appreciate the special added quality your landscape lighting will provide. Your business becomes more readily identifiable to potential clients. Every time a client drives around frustrated because they can not locate your business, you lose money the instant they give up and return home or head toward a business they may feel is less equitable but they are already familiar with.

Landscape lighting attribute a sense of pride to your property. With beautification via landscape lighting, you are sending a clear message that you care about your home and that you care about the quality of the neighborhood you live in. The more people in a single neighborhood that represent their properties with pride and beautification, the more upscale the neighborhood becomes. Sometimes, it just takes one person to beautify their home to inspire the rest of the neighborhood to follow suit. A sense of pride that flows throughout a neighborhood is likely to increase the value of the neighborhood, regardless of how initially upscale or down scale the neighborhood starts off.

Having landscape lighting installed is not an invasive process. A qualified landscaper with ample landscape lighting expertise can install your new landscape lighting with relative ease, and since most of the work the is required, sometimes all, can be completed from outside, there is no need to move furniture, rearrange a room, or even alter your daily life.

Well placed landscape lighting is simply practical. Who wouldn’t be more comfortable walking around outside their home or business, whether it’s to their car or out to the mailbox, in better quality landscape lighting. With the additional light, you won’t be chased inside with the sun any longer. Picnics outside are more fun when they have the freedom to end naturally, not by the time of day. Burgers, hotdogs, and crab feasts are always better with family, friends, and a night of serious camaraderie. Peaceful nights on the patio are always better when there is some nicely accentuated landscape lighting illuminating your experience.

If you are interested in just exploring the possibility of landscape lighting, it is recommended that you contact a qualified landscaper to talk about your landscape lighting options. Not all landscapers can handle landscape lighting jobs, so be sure to research your choice of landscaper before committing or allowing them to install your landscape lighting. Beautiful landscape lighting can really light up your property in an attractive manner, improper landscape lighting is bound to cause headaches. Make sure that your landscape lighting expert is truly and expert before hiring. Installing landscape lighting should be an enjoyable process from beginning to end, and the end result should be a phenomenal improvement to your property.

Swimming Pool Landscaping

Plant Choices for Swimming Pools

Plantings soften the lines of swimming pool equipment, provide privacy, and help the pool area blend in with the rest of your home’s landscape. For a low-maintenance swimming pool landscaping design, broad-leafed evergreens, ornamental grasses, and ground covers are the best choices. One or more trees on the south side of the pool can provide shade on hot days without blocking the sun on cooler days. When you’re looking for swimming pool plants, avoid deciduous trees, plants that attract bees, bear fruit, have thorns or prickles, or develop invasive root systems that could damage the pool.

Fences for Safety and Privacy

If you’re going to have small children or curious pets around, a fence is vital for safety reasons. Being able to lock up the entire pool area gives you peace of mind and could save lives. The right fence design can also provide privacy. A full privacy fence is usually six feet or higher, with boards arranged in an overlapping, shadow box, or tongue-and-groove pattern. If you prefer semi-privacy that lets air and light pass through, consider a lattice or basket-weave fence.

Windbreaks and Baffles

Even a light breeze can steal warmth from a pool area. Fortunately, you can redirect chilly air currents by building a windbreak or baffle. First, start by identifying the wind currents in your yard and then use this information to decide where you’ll need to place the fence/baffle for greatest efficiency. You don’t have to use a solid wall or fence for this; dense shrubbery can also provide good protection.

Swimming Pool Lighting

Outdoor lighting is another safety feature every swimming pool landscaping design needs. At a minimum, lights should be added to the pool’s deep end, on the steps, and around the perimeter. While incandescent and halogen quartz pool lights of both 120-volt (at 300 or 500 watts) and 12-volt (at 100 or 200 watts) are still on the market, fiber optics last longer and provide better lighting.

Patios and Decks

The right paving and decking assures a safe, slip-resistant surface that’s easy on bare feet. Pavers may cost more than bricks and concrete, but they’re a better option for a swimming pool landscaping design. Not only do they allow for different patterns and colors, but they also move, rather than crack, with the ground’s movements, so they’ll last longer. Ordinary brick can work, but make sure the bricks you choose have somewhat rough surfaces, so they provide some traction. In any case, avoid using wood. When exposed to water, wood can splinter and warp over time and it’s slippery for bare feet.

Ornamental Grasses

Blue Oat Grass

Without a doubt, Blue Oat Grass is one of the most popular ornamental grasses for fall landscapes. The large, densely blue colored foliage is attractive year round, but also provides beautiful flowers from June to August. While Blue Oat Grass does well in most mild to moderate climate zones, it is also fairly drought tolerant, only needing water every 1-2 weeks. For these mild to moderate climate zones, Blue Oat Grass can also make a great winter landscape choice as well.

Fountain Grass

Another large ornamental grass, Fountain Grass is another favorite choice of gardeners who prefer ornamental grasses for fall landscapes. Fountain Grass produces beautiful green foliage through the year, but the grass turns a golden yellow in the fall, adding to your fall landscape. This large ornamental grass can reach anywhere from 1 to 3 feet at full maturity. Keep in mind that this is an excellent summer landscape choice as it also offers beautiful white to purple flowers that will last until early winter.

Big Bluestem

A beautiful, tall prairie-like ornamental grass, the Big Bluestem can reach up to 8 feet in height, so be very careful where this ornamental grass is planted. The Big Bluestem truly is one of the perfect ornamental grasses for fall landscapes as the flowers wait until late summer or early fall to bloom and the fall foliage is also a vibrant orange color. Throughout the rest of the year, the foliage remains a bluish-green. While it does not have much presence throughout the winter months, it will begin to regrow in April and become beautiful again by the early summer months.

Feather Reed Grass

A wonderful, medium sized plant, growing 3 to 5 feet at total maturity, Feather Reed Grass is another favorite among ornamental grasses for fall landscapes. This is also a favorite year round plant that grows well in almost any climate zone, although it may grow smaller in extremely warm climate zones. Flowers will occur in the mid summer months, a white to red color and will change to a beige color in the fall and into the winter months. Keep in mind that the wonderful temperament of this plant means that it can withstand excessive watering, sun or even lots of shade.

Pond Liner Defects

First of all, the reason you find thousands of pond liner advocates on the web and only a handful of professional concrete and rebar pond builds is just one simple reason: Greed. You are thinking, “Good grief, this dude is radical!” You want radical? How about this: I will give you $5 for every website that promotes and sells liners and does mention all the negative aspects of liners, compared to concrete and rebar pond construction. You, however, must pay me only $1 for all those pond liner websites who are dishonest and do not mention that the factory warranty only covers factory defects, not damage from tree roots, gophers, ground squirrels, chipmunks, rats, mice and kids with sharp objects, not to mention liner installers who do not know what they are doing.

In addition, do those websites that sell inferior, intermittent (rather than continuous use), energy-sucking sump pumps with one-year warranties tell you that you will need to pull the pump out at least once a week to clean it? An executive at Aquascape, Inc., once admitted, “…how would a customer react if he knew the truth, that they would have to pull their pump twice a week to clean it?” [Quoted from Water Garden News.] They even sell you expensive water leveler devices because they haven’t tried the new aquafills on the market.

I recently had someone argue with me about the difference in cost between a liner pond and waterfall, and a professional concrete one. A customer was given two bids: one for a liner pond for $12,000 and another for a professional concrete pond for $18,500. How can you justify a difference of $6,500? he asked me. Here’s how:

1. The project consisted of a 6 ft. waterfall cascading over a retaining wall. The liner proposal involved spilling over the top wall, which would require raising the liner on both sides to hold water. The professional approach was to notch the wall down by 3½”, tying the rebar for the waterfall into that of the wall. The waterfall would be coming through the wall rather than over the top, which is much more natural looking. The professional concrete and rebar construction carries a 30-year warranty and the liner guy only offered one year.

2. What if, after all those boulders are set in place with a bobcat, and the back and side yards are completed (meaning no more access for a bobcat), the liner springs a leak from the pressure of heavy boulders, tree roots, rodents, rats, mice, gophers, ground squirrels or chipmunks? Let’s say the hole is in an area where a boulder needs to be removed in order to patch it, how do you move it? And where is the leak? And is there more than one leak? See my point?

3. What will it cost, even if it could be done, to remove all the rock and boulders, patch the leaks, and rebuild the waterfall and pond? Less than $12,000? What if the client does not trust the patching idea and decides to rip everything out and do it right with concrete and steel? How will he get the bobcat in? See the point now?