Category Archives: Home Improvement

Tips for Lighting Up Your Front Yard Landscape Design

Outdoor lighting added to your front yard landscape design plan is an element that should not be forgotten. Outdoor lighting will not only show off your beautiful landscape when the sun goes down, but also aid in security and safety.

There are countless lighting features you can purchase from the local building supply stores or online, but what fixtures will light the areas you want can be confusing. A flood light pointed in the wrong position can be blinding to invited guest or neighboring homes. Over lighting a small specimen tree or under lighting a large tree will look unprofessional.

As a landscaper, like to start by studying the natural light in my yard provided by the moon, especially how a full moon casts a gentle glow and creates soft shadows as the light filters through a tree or illuminates a garden area. In garden lighting, the effect will seem most natural when it imitates nature.

Illuminate focal points and safety hazards more brightly than less important areas. Arrange the lighting to show visitors where to enter the driveway and in which way a path leads to the front of the house. If your street is lit by street lights, you may not need much lighting. If there are no streetlights, provide some soft lights for the driveway. Remember to avoid bare lamps at eye level and other sources of glare. Moonlighting (lights placed high in the trees) can provide the soft lighting needed for this situation. Lighting at the garage door and parking areas is critical to the safety and security of homeowners.

Make sure to hide the source of the light, it will look much more natural… remember the light should be seen not the fixture. You can hide the fixture high above the ground or use several smaller lights rather than one large bright light.

Your lighting will be more attractive if you combine several techniques in the garden. For example, you might use moonlighting from tall trees as the main light source, then add occasional accent lighting from low fixtures, and decorative area lighting for the entrance of the home.

Keep fixtures out of the way and make sure to choose the location carefully so they won’t interfere with mowing the lawn, walking, or plant growth.

Ideas for security lighting

It isn’t necessary for security lighting to be harsh or glaring. It doesn’t even need to be real bright. You can use attractive lighting for illuminating safety on the main paths as well as security on the home’s corners, porch, side and back doors, and any spots intruders might enter the property.

What Shed Design Will Best Suit Your Needs and Backyard?

Building a home involves many stages. These involve building the foundation, framing, plumbing and electrical, just to name a few.

Another aspect of building a home might include constructing a shed in your backyard.

Depending the style of house you build and the type of backyard attached to it, the design of the shed will very. This design will need to compliment your house. The type of shed you chose will also have to be practical for your backyard.

Consider a home with a small backyard. This type of yard will require a shed that is simple and compact in design. Consider the lean-to shed. The lean-to shed is great for yards with limited space, This style of garden shed can be attached to the side of your garage or patio entrance. It would be a great place to store your garden supplies and tools.

The lean-to shed consists of a roof that has only one pitch. The roof can be flat, but having a pitch makes it more resistance to the effects of rainfall and snow.

Another type of backyard shed to consider for a small yard is the pent roof style shed. Unlike the lean-to style shed it is designed to be a stand-alone structure. Its design is very distinctive. The roof consists of a single flat piece which has a slight slope or pitch. The base of the structure can be concrete or wood.

The gable roof shed is another design to consider. Depending on its footprint it can easily fit into a small or medium-sized backyard. This shed design has an A-frame style roof. This means the roof has two sides of the same size and pitch The roof allows for extra head room and more storage space for your garden tools and supplies. This style of shed will be more complicated to build when compared to a lean-to or pent roof style shed because of the roof design. The gable roof shed also compliments many house designs because of its A-frame style roof.

The clerestory style shed is another shed design with a very distinctive roof. It is very well suited for a larger backyard with a well-developed garden. The structure of the roof consists of a row of windows at the top of the roof. These a know as clerestory windows. The windows allow sunlight to travel through them and spread into the shed structure. This provides excellent lighting from the sun. This also makes the shed into a great place to work or store potting plants. Because of its roof design it is the most complicated of the sheds mentioned here.

Building a shed in your backyard can be a rewarding experience. Knowing the best design for your yard will help make your building experience an even more rewarding experience. It is recommended you use some type of proven shed design plan to guide you in the shed building process. Using proven shed building plans will help you determine which shed design is best for your needs and backyard.

Landscape Design Basics

You’re certainly not alone if you feel overwhelmed when you think about how to approach your home’s landscaping. It’s probably safe to assume that most homeowners who do DIY landscaping projects have felt the same. We’d like to take a moment to help you gather your thoughts and help you focus on some simple essentials that will help you organize your project so that it’s not overwhelming. Escape the landscaping runaround with these simple suggestions!

Get your motivation focused! You can do this by organizing your thoughts in a fun way. Pinterest is a great website and app for organizing ideas. You can organize ideas into categories, such as examples of landscape styles that you think you like, to types of plant cultivars that may suit your area and your tastes. If you’re not comfortable using an app to organize your ideas, a simple folder with print out ideas and magazine cut-outs of ideas is essentially the same thing and can be a lot of fun to put together- especially over the winter months. Involve your family, especially your children! Organizing ideas first before you begin planting will help you feel a lot less overwhelmed.

Start really small. You don’t necessarily have to landscape your entire property in one single go. In fact, breaking your project up into mini-projects is advisable because your property is going to have different types of mini-environments, and will all be seen and used differently. Getting to know your property before you plant it will help you be more successful and avoid problems later on. For example, if curb appeal is important to you, start with the foundation planting areas around your main front entrance. Get to know the site well by noting how much sunlight and shade the area gets, how moist it is, how prevalent winds affect the area. This is the time to learn about what your USDA hardiness zone. This will help you know what plants can survive in your area.

Once you’ve gotten to know the first area you want to landscape, couple it with the ideas you’ve gathered on Pinterest, or in your folder, or how ever you’ve organized your initial ideas. For example, if you’ve fallen in love with the idea of planting lots of white blooming plants and your front area is mostly shady and dry, start making a list of shrubs that have a white bloom that do well in dry shade and are hardy in your area. Keep your list handy for when it’s time to shop for your plant material.

When it’s time to shop for plant material, using an online mail order nursery can be a real help in making your project a lot easier. You don’t have to travel to nurseries and haul heavy plants around. You can take your time using a well-working search function to narrow down your plant choices which will make your shopping experience easier. Trust in an established nursery company that has a good record of excellent customer service and offers the best plants and supplies plus stands behind their products.

Cheryl D. Jones, shares gardening tips and landscape ideas through her blog, newsletters and her nursery’s website. Visit for a full line of plants including trees, flowering shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses and ground covers. Join the Greenwood Gardeners Club free to receive Greenwood Nursery’s weekly newsletter, seasonal promotions and 10% off your first order.

Design Options for Big and Small Yards

It’s almost impossible to find a house nowadays without a swimming pool. If you don’t have a pool and want one regardless of the size of your yard now would be a good time to start jotting these ideas down.

Yards are becoming smaller and smaller because of the availability of land is decreasing. Why not use that space to your advantage?

Small yards are perfect for splash pools. These can be decorated more affordably and can be made to look like a fish pond. You could make it look like a miniature version of a resort swimming pool.

Install a swimming pool against your house. You can pave the surrounding areas with paving tiles or add on a patio area. It might not be huge but it’s a perfect place to cool off in the summer.

If you are not a fan of the whole grassy and floral garden idea you can use that space for a swimming pool instead along with an outdoor dining area. This whole look will give your yard a Persian or Greek courtyard look.

You can be more creative when you have a large yard space. You could build a swimming pool to look like a lake in the middle of a forest. This can be done with stones stacked on the surrounding sides of the pool. These stones will also keep the water cool and cleaner in the summer.

If you are the type of person who owns a huge amount of land you can get multiple smaller swimming areas on different levels of ground. By adding a bit of a natural look such as a fountain or water feature, sandy coloured paving stones you could have a replica of a five star resort.

With a bigger yard you can be creative with the shape of the swimming pool. You can design it in a bean shape, round, or any shape you decide on. You could also pave the area with the same patio tiles throughout the yard to keep a sense of consistency.

With much space you could add more features. Why not add a slide for some fun? Or add some dramatic steps in the swimming pool. Or create a big bath that is reminiscent of the Babylonian era. Let your imagination run wild with ideas.

A swimming pool is a great extension to your home. They are great for socialising and leave you feeling refreshed so get creative and design something that will make your guests gasp with surprise.

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Easy Front Yard Landscape Design

The goal of many homeowners is to have both a beautiful and low maintenance front yard that they will be proud of. It is very simple to get an easy front yard landscape design done by a local expert or you can DIY with a good online guide. So whichever path you choose you will be able to get that elegant front yard that you have always wanted. If you are going to be using a local landscaper you need to make sure to go over the design plan with them in order to keep your costs in check. Many local landscapers will try to talk you into changing your plan which can cost you not only more money, but you may not get what you wanted. Of course you always need to be aware of your budget, by doing this, you will not only keep your costs down but you also will get what you are looking for.

Many homeowners like having a minimal amount of grass in their front yard which not only cuts down on the time spent mowing but also their water bill. It is always hard for many people to find the time to keep up with lawn maintenance so if you know that your time is limited then think about planting something else to save you work. You can ask a landscape expert about an alternative or do some research online, this will help keep not only your cost but your time to a minimum.

Many people will choose to plant clover over of grass. Clover is a very good alternative to use in your yard since it will save you both time and money. Having clover in your front yard requires little upkeep, mowing will not be a problem and another benefit is that clover is prone to droughts and also repels bugs. There are over 300 variety’s of clover to choose from and it will grow almost everywhere.

Many homeowners find that watering the yard can be very time consuming. An easy front yard landscape design will incorporate an irrigation system which can save both time and money. This way you can keep your front yard looking great and make it easier to take care of during the hot summer months. Many professional landscapers will be able to install a system for you or you can purchase a kit at your local hardware store and try to do it yourself. The best bet is to get 3 quotes from different landscape companies that will put you on a yearly plan that you can afford. If you live in a northern climate you will need to add anti freeze in the fall to keep the pipes from freezing in the winter and then flush the system out in the spring. An easy front yard landscape design can be beneficial in not only time but also money.