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Tag Archives: Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor Lighting Ideas for Improving Safety in Your Hanover Backyard

Outdoor lighting not only extends the hours that you can enjoy your Hanover, MA, backyard, it can also help to make your landscape safer. Well-planned landscape lighting will transform your yard from a dark, foreboding space to a warm and inviting area. Consider these outdoor lighting ideas to create a beautiful atmosphere and a safer landscape for you and your guests.

Lighting for Safety

Aside from aesthetics, there are three main areas of concern when designing a comprehensive outdoor lighting plan. You want to make your yard easy to navigate for your family and friends. You also want to deter would-be criminals or vandals from entering the yard. And you want to eliminate areas where potential dangers could be concealed.

A professionally designed outdoor lighting system will highlight the best features of your landscape while addressing issues that an untrained eye may not be aware of. A landscape design company, such as Towne Tree & Landscaping, Inc., can identify problem areas and potential hazards, such as low-hanging branches or a change in grade. They’re also knowledgeable about which type of lights work best for a particular location and how to properly position lights to avoid dark shadows.

Control Systems

Automatic lighting control systems can help make your outdoor lighting system more convenient and effective. A control system can turn lights off or on at intervals or specified times, and can also change lighting levels. An automatic system will save energy by ensuring lights are only on when necessary. Timers, light sensing photocells, and motion detectors all offer added security when properly installed in combination with well-placed lighting fixtures. A control system can also help to ensure that lighting for safety remains on all night, while lighting for aesthetics is turned off when not needed.

Related: Winter Landscaping Ideas for your Front Yard in Duxbury

Lighting High Traffic Areas

Good outdoor lighting will ensure that everyone can move safely around your yard. Well-lit walkways and transition areas are key to making your yard easier to navigate. Post lights are effective at entrances to walkways or driveways to highlight access points. The goal is for guests to easily locate gates and entryways while deterring intruders from entering a well-lit area.

Path lighting will help guide visitors and direct the flow of traffic while making potential tripping hazards visible. Path lights should shine downward, creating a soft glow that illuminates the ground without any upward glare. Step lights are a stylish and unobtrusive way to improve safety on stairways. Small, flush mount lights are installed on the front of risers or under tread lips to highlight steps at foot level.

Highlighting Hazards

Features that are considered fun during the day can present significant dangers at night. A pool, for example, is an extremely popular feature in any yard, but without proper lighting, a pool is off limits after dark. For maximum safety, a poolscape should feature a combination of underwater and above ground lighting. Beautiful LED underwater lighting systems have replaced bright underwater spotlights, creating the perfect atmosphere for safe nighttime swimming. Well-lit entry points such as stairs, ladders, and pool edges will increase safety for those in and out of the water.

Cooking without proper lighting can also pose many dangers. An outdoor kitchen should feature good overall lighting, as well as task lighting on counters, cooking surfaces, and sinks. Adding dimmers to your kitchen lighting will allow for maximum brightness while cooking, that can be toned down when the meal is done.

Related: Functional Outdoor Lighting Plans: The Do’s and Don’ts

Image courtesy of Unilock.

How to Create a Romantic Paver Walkway that Doubles as a Destination

After a long day at the office, a tranquil backyard filled with lush greenery and a comfortable hardscape may serve as the ideal getaway. To achieve this, it is important that even the most rustic landscapes are organized. This can be accomplished by creating clear paths through the property. Walkways suggest a clear route through the landscape and enable its best features to be appreciated in controlled succession. With the following tips, you can transform your Walpole, MA, walkways into far more than just connections between focal points, and grant them their own pleasant atmosphere that will leave guests lingering.

Put your softscape on display

By filling your landscape with natural colors, sounds and scents, you can enhance its relaxing atmosphere. Frame your walkways with trees and shrubs that will attract birds and insects, as their movement and song will enliven the landscape and give the walkway a faraway feel. Nestling a bench beside the walkway, beneath the trees, provides the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy their shade. Natural elements also tend to make homeowners feel more connected, giving them a chance to clear their minds and focus on that which is most important to them.

Rather than tearing down vegetation to make space for your walkways, allow the paths to wind unexpectedly as they yield to the plants and rocks that already adorn the landscape. This can create the impression that your walkways formed naturally over time, especially when tumbled pavers or natural stone are used for their construction.

Related: Top Materials for Your Paver Walkway

Opt for rustic materials

A whimsical walkway through a natural landscape requires warm, textured materials that complement its surroundings. Natural stone, or concrete pavers in earthy shades, are excellent candidates for these walkways. Their textures will bring interest and character to the design, while their warm neutral shades will blend into the surrounding stone and soil that cover the rest of the landscape.

Related: Add Character to Your Walpole Landscape with a Brick Walkway

A water feature, constructed using large blocks of natural stone, can go a long way in enhancing the ambiance of your walkway. The sound of running water can be hypnotizing and improve relaxation, so place a bench nearby from which you will be able to soak in the tranquil atmosphere. Constructing the water feature to appear natural and time-worn can also complement the fairytale aesthetic of the walkway.

Related: Backyard Designs that Promote Serenity and Calm

Light the way

One way to transform simple walkways into captivating destinations, is through the use of lighting techniques. There are various heights and angles at which light fixtures can be placed in order to achieve different visual effects. Moonlighting, for example, entails nestling a light high in a tree and angling it downward to mimic the look of natural moonlight. Certain bulbs emit a harsh and bright light, so your contractor will opt for bulbs that emit more natural light. Solar powered lights, for example, are not only soft, but also benefit the environment! Fairy lights are always excellent candidates for romantic walkways, and can be trailed along the branches of trees.

Image courtesy of Unilock.

4 Modern Front Yard Landscaping Ideas for a Trendy Home in Walpole, MA

Your front yard is the prelude to your home, giving guests a peek into the aesthetic and style that pervades the rest of your home and landscape. A contemporary home and hardscape therefore requires a front yard incorporating the latest trends. Minimalism still has a strong influence on modern landscape design and few homeowners still have a flowering garden and cobblestone pathway leading to their front door. Here are a few features that will ensure your Walpole, MA, front yard stays one step ahead of the others on your street.

A sleek patio

A patio is by no means restricted to your backyard. Creating a small patio at the front of your home can serve to welcome guests as they arrive. It can also be the perfect place from which to watch your kids play on the lawn or enjoy a cup of coffee. Make relaxation possible by adorning the patio with a small bistro table or an assortment of comfortable chairs.

Although textured wood can give a structure a time-worn look, it also provides textural interest to an otherwise sleek patio. Incorporating plenty of geometry into the patio will further the modern aesthetic of your patio. Steps leading up to your patio can add vertical interest to your front yard, making it more visual interest than a simple two-dimensional layout.

Related: Natural Stone vs Concrete Paver Patio for Your MA Home

Understated plant beds

Desert-themed, or ‘dry’ gardens are a relatively recent trend that embraces the minimalism of modern landscape design. Instead of soil, these beds feature gravel and small stones. While plants are rooted in fertile soil, these dry materials are scattered on the surface to give the base of the plant bed a textured look. These look especially stunning when paired with minimalist homes that boast the cool, neutral shades found in stone and rock. Dry gardens tend to bear only a few statement plants, sparsely surrounded by smaller shrubs and groundcover.

Landscape lighting

When incorporating all these minimalist design techniques, one risks allowing your hardscape to appear boring or empty. Fortunately, strategic landscape lighting can make the most understated hardscape designs look interesting. There are various techniques, involving the placement of light fixtures at different heights and angles, that achieve various visual effects. Some lighting techniques, like highlighting, draw attention to a feature within the landscape, such as a sculpture or interesting plant. Other techniques, like silhouetting, are more subtle but equally captivating. Landscape lighting will also ensure that your front yard can be navigated safely after sunset, and can even improve your security by making any would-be intruders easy to spot.

Related: Functional Outdoor Lighting Plans: The Do’s and Don’ts

Incorporating Asian influences

Asian-inspired hardscapes are part of a surging trend. While sticking to minimalism, this trend incorporates more textured materials like wood and water. Outdoor designs incorporating these materials also tend to have a wonderfully tranquil appearance. Geometric planters filled with fine stones or sand can mimic small zen gardens and can be filled with a few small plants planted in a linear fashion. Smooth, refined wood is a dominant feature within modern asian-inspired hardscape designs and can be used to create a relaxing deck that leads to the front door. Consider creating a cool geometric pond just in front of your front entrance, with a wooden deck or concrete slab leading to the door. This can add a captivating element to your home and can serve to make it truly unique.

Related: Front Yard Landscaping to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Image courtesy of Unilock.

Winter Landscaping Ideas for your Front Yard in Duxbury

The front yard of your home is what people see first, yet many homeowners focus their landscaping efforts solely on the backyard. When winter comes, the backyard is buried under a blanket of snow and is rarely seen. Your front yard is on display all year long, however, and shouldn’t be neglected. Employ these winter landscaping ideas to improve the look of your Duxbury, MA, front yard when the temperature drops.

Plan for Snow Removal

A good landscape plan will take all seasons into consideration. Winter conditions and the maintenance that goes along with them can be hard on a landscape. Snow plows, shovels, and salt are all very harmful to both plants and hardscaping. To minimize damage during snow removal, situate items such as light posts and fences well away from the edge of the driveway. Plants should be kept back at least a foot from walkways to allow for snow pile-up in the winter. Remember to also invest in professional snow and ice management.

Related: Keep your Property in Top Shape All Year Round with these Landscaping Services in Milton

Safe Passage

Icy winter weather can make navigating walkways a hazard. Your front yard landscaping should include easy-to-navigate walkways and accessible entryways. Save meandering paths for the backyard and have front walkways designed to mimic natural traffic patterns. When dealing with a winter climate, walkways should also take snow and ice accumulation into account. A bit of ice makes angled surfaces very difficult to navigate. Incorporate stairs to avoid sloping walkways when possible.

Heated walkways and driveways are one of the most convenient ways to combat winter conditions in your front yard.  Radiant heating systems installed under the driveway or walkway will keep surfaces warm enough to melt snow and prevent accumulation. Once the system is installed a variety of surface finishing options are available. Pavers offer a much nicer appearance than poured concrete or asphalt and will make future repairs easier.

Related: Some Stunning Alternatives to the Traditional Brick Walkway in Hingham

Cold Weather Plants

To break up a blanket of white, ask Towne Tree & Landscaping about hardy plants that will add year-round interest to your yard. Evergreen trees and hedges will offer texture and color to your landscape in all seasons. Include different varieties to take advantage of the varying shades of blues and greens available. Trees and shrubs that hold onto fruits and berries over the winter not only look great against a white backdrop, they also provide food for birds when sources are scarce. Crab-apple trees are beautiful in all seasons and often hold their fruit in colder weather. Winter blooming plants such as Winter Hazel and Holly will provide pops of color in your yard. Include tall perennial grasses to add texture and movement to your front yard. Incorporate them in planting beds that would otherwise be buried under the snow to add interest year-round.

Outdoor Lighting

As the temperature drops and days get shorter, winter lighting becomes even more important. For safety, as well as aesthetics, the front yard should be well lit and inviting. If you arrive home after dark on a regular basis, consider having motion sensor lighting, or timers installed. Lights focused on the driveway and entryway will come on when you approach in the car or leave the house for maximum safety. To prep your landscape lighting for winter, have a timer system installed so you can adjust the schedule for shorter days.  For an extra touch, installing string lights in shrubs or trees will create a beautiful winter ambiance.

Related: 4 Modern Front Yard Landscaping Ideas for a Trendy Home in Walpole, MA

Functional Outdoor Lighting Plans: The Do’s and Don’ts

Lighting can really make or break a room — the same applies for outdoor lighting and the exterior of your Milton, MA, home. A well designed outdoor lighting plan increases safety and security, besides providing amazing curb appeal and ambience for your outdoor gatherings.

Outdoor lighting involves more than just focusing lights on trees or along walkways. A well planned functional outdoor lighting system provides benefits far beyond its immediate visual impact. It also sets the tone for a relaxed mood. Mood and environment are equally set by what is in shadow, light, and the interplay between the two.

Below are some outdoor lighting do’s and don’ts to help you get the ambience you’re looking for in your outdoor areas, but remember you don’t have to go at it alone. Contact us for assistance with the design and installation of your outdoor lighting system.

Outdoor Lighting Do’s

  • Do opt for LED Fixtures. LED lighting uses much less energy than regular bulbs. LEDs also last longer and are available in a variety of colors. The choices are many when it comes to LED fixtures.
  • Do use Multiple Layers. Make use of multiple layers, but avoid overdoing the number of fixtures. For example, you can place spotlights at different angles to light up a garden statue or create silhouettes. The intention is to avoid drawing attention to the light themselves, but rather to add more detail and effects, staggering lights as opposed to grouping several in a single bunch.
  • Be Concerned about Shadow as Well as Light. A relaxing atmosphere is established through the interplay of light and shadow. For garden walls, for example, consider using well lights positioned at the base to shine upwards. The interplay of light and shadow on the wall’s face will highlight the stone’s texture.
Related: Capturing the Timeless Aesthetic of the Stone Wall

Outdoor Lighting Don’ts

  • Don’t light only patios, walkways, and trees. Doing so isolates these elements and surrounds them with darkness. This is unflattering, especially if you’re trying to relax on your patio and can’t see beyond the darkness at its edge. Instead, position lights at the edge of the property in plant beds and trees. This helps ground these elements within the larger landscape design and provides a sense of depth.
  • Don’t forget to light other features of your landscape. This includes pillars, peaks and overhangs. They are unique and illuminating them not only enhances the beauty of the home, but also casts an ambient glow over the yard.
  • Avoid selecting fixtures based on aesthetic only. Even though aesthetics is important, you still need to factor in light output and performance. Take into consideration how much wattage you need and the type of bulbs you prefer besides finding a look you love.
  • Don’t employ bullet lights for every aspect of your home’s exterior. Even though they are versatile and can be fitted with different bulbs and beams, they are still essentially spotlights. Limit bullet lights to corners and architectural details instead.

Front Yard Landscaping to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Your front yard in Milton, MA is the focal point of its curb appeal, and it should definitely make a statement. Adding curb appeal to your home is crucial for current or future sale, but is also a great way to showcase the personality of your home. By enhancing the best features of your home you can instantly increase its monetary and aesthetic value. Here are some tips to boost your home’s curb appeal with landscaping.

Add Vibrancy

If you don’t have plants around your home, now is the time to seriously consider adding some. Depending on the style of your hardscape and your home, consider their texture, shape, size, growth speed and bloom time. If you want an immediate curb appeal boost, try adding a variety of annual plants with varying bloom times, ensuring year round color. This will give an instant lift, add color, and make your home look pleasant and more alive.

Flower boxes are also a great idea, especially if your home is lacking color. You can place them under your windows or along the edges of hardscaped areas. Plants used as focal features can continue to add appeal even after dark through the addition of landscape lighting.

Related: Big Advantages of Using Trees and Plantings in your Front Yard Landscaping

Lighting

Lighting is an important factor for your home. As well as adding evening curb appeal, landscape lighting contributes to safety, security and ambience for your outdoor living spaces. Use lighting to accentuate the best features of your home and your landscape. This will increase the value of your home and make it look more attractive for potential buyers.

However, there are some major mistakes to avoid with landscape lighting as improper lighting can achieve the opposite effect. Make sure the fixtures are properly placed and installed by a reliable contractor with experience in creating evening atmosphere – this will help you to avoid creating glare and a washed out look. With an effective lighting plan for your walkways, driveway and front entrance, you can leave a lasting impression on visitors.

Update your Hardscape

If you’re noticing damaged pavers, cracked concrete or spalling stone in your front yard hardscaping, it may be time for an update.

As well as front patio and driveway revamping, you may also want to consider a remodel of more overlooked aspects of your front yard. Steps are an important part of your home’s curb appeal and present both a vertical and horizontal surface that draws the eye. Walkways and retaining walls are also crucial features for increasing curb appeal and present the perfect opportunity for showcasing quality natural stone or concrete products.

Create a Great Dynamic for your Front Entrance

Your front entrance should be well balanced and have a great dynamic when interacting with the aesthetic of the rest of your front yard. Use your softscape, either symmetrically or asymmetrically, to lead the eye to your front entrance of your home. Your front entrance can and should be the focal point of your front yard, so incorporate accents that are relevant to the rest of your front yard to tie in the design.

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Massachusetts Driveway

Your driveway plays a big part in your property’s curb appeal and is often the first thing people notice when they view your home. A well designed, functional, and good-looking driveway is an important component of your home for this reason, but you also have to drive in and out of it everyday, so make sure it’s the best it can be!

Stylish Walls and Gates

Having walls and a gate for your driveway not only make for a stylish entrance, they are also functional and promote better security. Natural stone walls can provide a rich and characterful aesthetic and offers a sturdier structure than a simple wooden fence. Natural stone walls are also generally considered more attractive than plastered concrete due to their rich surface texture and natural coloring.

Some homeowners may desire a gate for their driveway. Determining the style of gate depends on your own tastes and architectural style of your home. You don’t have to go overboard with a dramatic cast-iron gate that makes your home look like a forbidden fortress. The intention should be to provide security or privacy while also creating a welcoming driveway entrance. There are a variety of wooden and metal gate designs available that are sturdy and still look amazing.

Related: Front Yard Landscaping to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Create Perfection with Pavers

To upgrade the material from which your driveway is constructed, consider installing natural stone or concrete pavers. These offer a vast array of different designs and styles to suit your tastes and are available in a number of different shapes, sizes, colors and textures. When choosing a paved driveway design consider whether or not it’s compatible with the architecture and theme of your property. With so many options available it’s easy to pick one that matches your desired driveway aesthetic.

Illuminate your Driveway

Driveway lighting is important for creating a safe and welcoming entrance to your property after dark. Light up your spectacular driveway paving material with lighting set close to ground level or include surrounding landscape features by having your driveway lighting mounted on pillars. Driveway lighting can also be embedded into low walls or retaining walls flanking your driveway, or be embedded into the driveway edging for lighting that remains discreet and out of the way during the day.

Highlight your Driveway with Plantings

Improving the landscape flanking your driveway can also go a long way towards an attractive, welcoming entrance. Lush greenery can highlight the color of your paving materials or soften the appearance of the paved area. These plantings can be incorporated into plant beds that run alongside your driveway or be placed at eye level by incorporating retaining walls into your landscape design.

Not Enough Space?

Is your driveway too narrow for easy accessibility? Maybe you don’t have enough space for parking and guests have to park on the street? Consider the advantages of extending the width of your driveway. This can eliminate a daily inconvenience, improve the appearance and functionality of your property and increase accessibility. While a driveway remodel is the ideal solution to this problem, a simple driveway apron can be added to flare out the entrance and allow for easier access, while a wide border can increase the width of an existing surface.