<span>Outdoor Lighting Tips</span>

  • DIY Landscape Lighting: Illuminating Your Outdoor Space

    DIY landscape lighting not only provides function, but can make your outdoor space substantially more beautiful. If you’ve already pulled-out all the stops to make your yard look top-rate with spectacular hardscaping and softscaping, it’s time to put the last piece of the puzzle into place–landscape lights.

    Outdoor light transforms a yard, patio, deck or garden from ordinary to extraordinary. Not only does landscape light make your exterior accessible during the evening, it sets-off key features that dazzle the eye.

    And the good news is, the majority of exterior lighting is energy efficient. There is a wide variety of low voltage outdoor lighting fixtures on the market. Not only does that lower the long term cost, it also provides a great deal of fixtures from which to choose.

    Smart Outdoor Landscape Lighting

    When you are ready to install outdoor lighting, keep in mind not only where but how the fixtures will work. That means choosing hardware that will not only get the job done, but hardware that will help to create a sense of artistry. Whether it’s an ethereal moonlight beam created by garden lighting, or an illuminated walkway set-off with path lights, a combination of function and style give a home more curb appeal and help to up its resale value.

    Make outdoor gathering spaces usable after dark by installing lighting around your deck, patio, or porch. Smart outdoor lighting will also boost the curb appeal of your home. —Better Homes and Gardens

    And this is accomplished by careful planning–taking an extensive view of the long-term goal. For instance, using a classic insider’s trick of continuing indoor flooring to the outside facade. This can be done in-part through well-positioned landscape lighting. Another great design idea is to use light to create a sense of warmth with patio furniture for outdoor dining and just relaxing with family and friends.

    Landscape lighting doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s very easy to overspend. Most homeowners who opt to take on this type of project often don’t know how to budget for their project. What’s more, it can be difficult to stick to a design concept, particularly when professional skills are needed to install specialized hardware.

    DIY Landscape Lighting Tips

    Because there are many landscape lighting design concepts, like installing a water feature or illuminating a pathway, it’s best to consult a professional to keep costs from spiraling out of control and preventing injuries. Here are some tips the American Lighting Association recommends following when installing landscape lighting:

    • Opt for professional help. Electrical wiring is no less dangerous outside than inside a home. Outdoor lighting can be very difficult to adjust and/or move if necessary. PLus, you need to match all the elements together to not only make it safe, but functional. After all, poorly placed and poorly illuminated lights simply will not provide the effect you’re looking for around the exterior of your home.
    • Determine what features you’d most like to highlight and what hardware works best. It’s not only choosing what features you’d like to set-off with landscape lighting, but what hardware will work best. (Here again, it’s best to work with a professional to achieve the results you most desire.)
    • Purchase an appropriate-sized transformer. Even when using low voltage landscape lighting, power needs can be substantial in large outdoor spaces. If you’re not familiar with this technology or believe you don’t possess the necessary skills, simply hire an experienced landscape designer.
    • Plan ahead if installing your lighting in stages. If you are going to do your project in stages, set the infrastructure during the initial phase. This will allow you to continue without having to uninstall and reinstall hardware.

    Lastly, try to blend your landscaping lighting fixtures in with the outside decor. While this will require a bit of expert ingenuity, it will make your outdoor space look all-the-more spectacular.

  • Simple Ways to Update Outdoor Living Spaces

    While avoiding big landscaping mistakes will help to keep your yard from looking awkward, there are simple ways to update outdoor living spaces which add more flare and function. The trick is to infuse continuity into your outdoor living space so that it isn’t a total or weird mismatch from the interior. Moreover, your outdoor living space should provide creature comfort, while still offering ample traffic flow. With a few easy changes, you can transform an outdoor space from ordinary to extraordinary in just a weekend or two.

    Simple Ways to Update Outdoor Living Spaces

    Whether you want to customize a wood deck or spruce up a patio space, there are plenty of choices at your disposal. Just be cautious about attempting to pound a square peg into a round hole. In other words, continuity is important. Just as important is function because ultimately, that’s what everything is about. For instance, it’s great to have an outdoor kitchen, complete with a high-end grill. Even better is comfortable seating for family and friends.

    Is your outdoor living space in need of a makeover? Do you look at your patio and cringe every time you dream of inviting your friends over for a backyard barbecue? Whether you live in the city and have a small outdoor living space, or you live in the countryside and have a wide open meadow to work with, there are simple solutions for turning that drab outdoor area into a fabulous spot for your family and friends to enjoy. —

    What isn’t great is arranging the furniture and grill in such a way the seating is constantly covered in smoke. Or seats which are located under direct sunlight. These two scenarios are examples of the design actually ruining itself. But, there are also many ways to improve your outdoor space. With a bit of inspiration and some light work, you’ll be able to create a wonderful area the whole family and your friends can enjoy. Here are some helpful tips about simple ways to update outdoor living spaces:

    • Add and upgrade lighting. One element too many homeowners often neglect is outdoor lighting. When the sun goes down, there’s always a need for more outside lighting. And, it’s not only about convenience and function, it’s also about adding beautiful elements to an outdoor living space.
    • Install fans and misting fans. Here in the Sunshine State, the outdoors gets quite toasty but you can provide some much appreciated relief simply by installing fans or misting fans. These are perfect when it’s warm outside and are also one of the most effective mosquito repellents.
    • Replace old outdoor furniture. There’s nothing more disheartening than old outdoor furniture. It looks sad, unsafe, and out-of-place. But this is one easy fix. Replace your old outdoor furniture for something that’s eye pleasing and comfortable.
    • Erect a pergola and lace with vines. A pergola is a great addition to practically any outdoor space. It can be enclosed with curtains, topped with a variety of materials, like vines, and also hold a fan with lighting. It’s open and airy, plus, it adds to the overall look of your outdoor space.
    • Hang curtains for shade and privacy. A pergola isn’t the only place to hang curtains. These can be hung in different areas of your outdoor space for shade and privacy. These too, can add much to the aesthetics of your yard and patio or deck.
    • Install a multi-use fire pit with seating. Another wonderful feature is a multi-use or multi-purpose fire pit. These are great for sitting around a fire on a chilly night, roasting marshmallows, cooking kabobs, and more. Plus, they can be covered when not in use to serve as a serving table or a board game table.
    • Put-in a mini bar with a beverage station. If you want to take your outdoor living space experience to a whole new level, install a mini bar with a beverage station. Glass holders, along with plenty of other accessories, a small refrigerator, and other essentials will provide a lot of convenience.
    • Lay down an area rug or a few of them around. For those wanting to keep costs low, outdoor area rugs are a terrific way to add install appeal to your outdoor living space, while helping to define spaces. These are not only inexpensive, they bring a sense of style and are easy to care for with periodic cleaning.

    If it’s time to update your outdoor living space, landscape, or add more features, contact us. We are a full-service, professional landscape design company and serve all of Sarasota, including near Bayfront Drive, around Rolling Green Golf Club, along Longboat Club Road, and elsewhere.

  • How to Use Landscaping Lighting

    One of the great things about living in Sarasota, Florida is the wonderful weather. Even during the winter months, temperatures rarely dip so low as to preclude enjoying the outdoors. With such stunning sunrises and sunsets, along with all kinds of natural beauty, it’s part of Florida living to enjoy all the Sunshine State has to offer. For homeowners with an outdoor deck or a patio, you can make certain improvements to get more function and enjoyment out of the space.

    Of course, you can install a fire pit, put-in an outdoor kitchen, and arrange outdoor seating for your family and friends to enjoy. Another thing you can do is to install deck lighting to be able to use the outdoor space for hours after the sun goes down. In addition, you can also opt to install landscaping lighting in your front yard, as well as your back yard, and even on the sides of your home. It’s how to use landscape lighting that presents the biggest obstacle to most homeowners.

    Benefits of Landscape Lighting

    In addition to creating beauty, landscaping lighting does quite a bit more. There are definite benefits to landscape lighting, of which, some of the most notable are: safety, security, and aesthetics. Landscape lighting provides safety for your family and guests. They’ll be able to see obstacles and tripping hazards when it’s dark outside. Landscaping lighting also provides an added layer of security, helping to ward-off potential intruders.

    Landscape lighting can turn a visitor from feeling wary to welcome. It can change the rest of the yard from Nightmare on Elm Street to Some Enchanted Evening, all with the flip of a switch. The first step in this transformation is to educate yourself about the possibilities. Because photos rarely do justice illustrating the amazing possibilities of landscape lighting, keep an eye out for good examples when you’re out for an evening stroll or drive. —Bob

    In the aesthetics department, landscape lighting can be used to highlight features, such as a pool, pergola, or waterfall. It can also be used to highlight softscaping. In addition, it can be directed to shine onto outdoor decor. This creates improved curb appeal in the front yard and makes backyard spaces more functional and welcoming. So, there’s definitely a number of benefits associated with installing outdoor landscape lighting.

    How to Use Landscaping Lighting

    Where some homeowners go wrong is how they “use” landscaping lighting. Which means not having a realistic and workable plan in-place to achieve the results they want. Too often, the installation is based on supposition and few contingencies are taken into consideration. This causes frustration because what was supposed to be doesn’t materialize and that means having to move and rearrange lights in order to get the right look and feel. To avoid this conundrum and unwanted extra work, use the following suggestions for the best results:

    • Know the purpose for your landscaping lighting. Before you do anything else, know the purpose for your landscape lighting. For instance, if you’re wanting to illuminate your back yard to highlight a pool or to light-up a path, it should do precisely that. Know the mood and style you want to create and go forward with this in mind.
    • Draw a rough sketch of your yard. Everything will be a factor when you install outdoor lighting. The height of a hedge, the exterior walls of your home, any covers such as a pergola or awning. When you do this, you’ll likely find blockages and other obstacles. In addition to this, you should contact your local utility providers to know precisely where lines are buried so you don’t accidentally cause yourself a heap of trouble.
    • Plan where lights will go in the outdoor space. Expounding on the above suggestion is to plan where the lights will go. You need to take into account brightness and breadth of the lights. You don’t want to windup having to replace a light because it didn’t have the power to illuminate an entire tree or water feature. Also, you don’t want to stage the lights in a way that causes shadows in odd places or shines directly into someone’s eyes.

    Two More Ways to Use Landscaping Lighting

    • Understand how much effort the project will take. It’s very easy to underestimate how much effort it will take to get the results you want. There’s a lot involved in any installation and you’ll need the time, tools, and effort to get the right outcome. If there are things which are out of your skill level, it’s best to hire a contractor, such as a landscape designer or landscape architect to do the job for you.
    • Determine your budget and include a contingency cushion. If there’s one thing about landscaping, it’s poor budgeting that causes the most problems. Don’t just ballpark what it will cost to get what you want, itemize everything and then, add-in a contingency cushion of at least 15 to 20 percent.

    When you’re ready to install new landscape lighting and want the best results for the biggest impact to really improve your curb appeal and/or to transform an ordinary entertainment space into something spectacular, give us a call at 941-923-0333 or 727-998-1977, or, visit us online. We serve the entire Sarasota area, from around Lido Beach, over to North Beneva Road, and across to Bradenton Road.