Category Archives: Landscape Lighting Tips

Make Your Yard Kid-Friendly This Spring


Make Your Yard Kid-Friendly This Spring

With the changing weather, it’s time to start sending the kids outside to play again. If it’s time to renovate your back or front yard, taking the kids into consideration for remodels is a wise decision. Make sure all the corners and surfaces are ready for whatever rambunctious activity they come up with next!

Consider the Materials

Sometimes the location of backyard attributes is less important than the materials that make them up. Installing grass or turf in place of a harder surface is not only a safer option, but it can also be a more aesthetic one. Larger backyards can often incorporate both beautiful views and utility so that kids and parents are both happy!

Patios and walkways also make great additions to any spacious yard, and a little bit of sidewalk chalk can provide non-toxic fun close to home. When the sun goes down, patios also offer perfect surfaces for meals and events. Install lights and comfortable furniture to ensure that every family member is cozy and enjoying themselves when using the patio.

Account for Basic Safety

The appearance of your yard is important, but what happens under and behind surfaces can be pivotal to the overall structure. Always check for damages and general wear-and-tear caused by natural — and human — influences. Water damage and loose parts can cause problems, especially after the winter months, and taking that into consideration will ensure that your yard is safe.

Investing in snow removal services and any efforts to promote general upkeep are a must for conscientious parents and grandparents. Take care of any impending repairs before diving into any major changes to your yard.

Fence it in

If you have children who like sports, craft them a makeshift field by installing a fence that will enclose their play space and offer the privacy you desire. Not only will they have room to call their own, but balls and toys are less likely end up on the other side of the wall, or in the neighbor’s backyard.

Look into investing in a fence for your pool as well; especially with younger children. It will serve as added protection from falling or water incidents that can cause serious harm. This applies to pets too!

Start Today

Get ready for a spring makeover with Blue Tree Landscaping! Contact our team of experts to get a quote on brand-new amenities for your backyard. Whether you have basic commercial landscaping needs or need help with pool installation or lawn care, let us help you optimize your backyard for every family member.

Landscaping Do’s and Don’ts for Small Backyards

Divide Your PlantsSome backyards do not have the luxury of abundant room to personalize, especially in areas that are closer to major cities. This can force homeowners to get creative with their backyards, which can lead to many different positive outcomes. Take a look at some do’s and don’ts to take into consideration before beginning the remodeling process.

Do: Take Company into Account

If your backyard plays host to parties and get-togethers on a frequent basis, a simple aesthetic might be the key to an appealing setting. Tables, chairs, and sufficient walkways are crucial to any successful hosting of an event. Stick to landscaping and decorations that won’t detract from your guest’s experience.

Don’t: Over-Decorate 

Choosing giant features for a tiny space can overwhelm the eye and take up valuable real estate. Often, one or two simple pieces can act as accoutrements to the main components (e.g. a few wall ornaments will match an in-ground pool that takes up most your yard’s foot room). Fountains, statues, and accessories that hold little function can cause clutter. Be conscientious of what you’re working with; less is enough in situations like these.

Do: Choose Functionality

Maximizing surface area can be a key component to expanding any backyard size. Adding a retaining wall can provide multitier opportunities for the gardener in the family, and lighting up the whole space will create an entertainment hub for hosts of every kind. When every inch is cared for, it can greatly increase the enjoyment capacity for everyone.

Don’t: Ignore Your Climate

Whether it’s hot and dry or damp outside, landscaping can suffer if the proper materials are not chosen for a backyard space. This is especially true when children are present; a patio that gets too hot in the summer or lawn components that dominate the space are not conducive to their play or enjoyment.

Do: Contact Blue Tree

It’s time to get started! Blue Tree Landscaping has all the keys to a new and beautiful space that you can be proud of. We offer commercial landscaping services such as lawn care services, pool installation, and beyond for those looking to revitalize any limited backyard. Call us today to explore your options and turn your small backyard into your favorite room in the house!

Unique Ways to Decorate Your Yard for the Holidays

fullsizerender-4Unique Ways to Decorate Your Yard for the Holidays

No matter which holiday you may celebrate this season, there are a number of festive ways that you can decorate your yard. Decorating your front yard and backyard will help make your outdoor space more aesthetically pleasing to family and friends, even if they only see your yard while ringing your doorbell or looking out your window on a cold day. It’s also a way that you can show off your holiday spirit — and inspire your neighbors to decorate their homes, too!

Add Lights to Your Yard

The addition of a string of lights or outdoor post lighting can create a relaxed and inviting outdoor environment. These additions would work best in your backyard, although you could hang lights in your front yard as well. Use white or blue string lights for a calming, winter wonderland atmosphere. Test out different shapes and sizes of lights, too. Add string lights to your trees, porch, and patio, or hang them from trees or man-made structures like patios and gazebos. You could also add battery-operated candles or lanterns to your front entryway, steps, or backyard patio.

Change Your Color Scheme

If you have patio furniture in your backyard, you may want to change the furniture style or cushion colors for the winter. Keep in mind your interior design and exterior design when choosing new furniture or colors. White, deep green, deep red, and shades of blue may work for modern and traditional homes alike. However, if you have a more eclectic style, consider mixing a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Add Lawn or Wall Decorations

Try a modern or minimalist wreath for a new take on a classic holiday decoration. This may include man-made materials, or twigs, berries, and herbs. You could also hang ornaments from trees, or add potted plants (seasonal or fake) outside of major entryways. If you’re interested in an outdoor theme, peppermint-inspired decorations could make your outdoor space feel like a winter candy land. Add candy cane decorations to your yard, or red and white bows for a festive look. Indoors, a dish or jar of pine cones, berries, twigs, or other materials could make an interesting centerpiece for a dinner party.

Redesign Your Look

If you’re interested in landscaping your yard for the first time or want to update the look of your yard, contact Blue Tree Landscaping. Blue Tree can help with all of your outdoor needs, from landscaping and routine lawn maintenance to pool and patio installation. With Blue Tree, your ideal outdoor space can finally be realized.

6 Features That Can Make Your In-Ground Pool Shine

6 Features that can make your pool shineIs your inground swimming pool missing a little something? Design your pool to include elements that not only tie into your landscape design, but also fit your style. Add a bit of sparkle, and plenty of fun with these pool remodeling tips.

Features That Can Improve Your Inground Pool

Heater

It can take a week to open the pool for the season, and another week or two for the water to warm up. A pool is a major investment. Get the most out of it by extending the life of your pool with a heater, so you can swim around beyond those summer months.

Water Features

An inground swimming pool can boast fun touches, like water jets. Add a waterfall that’s hidden in a grotto, or go for a modern look with a wall of sheer waterfalls. Fountains, such as deck jets or bubblers, can be easily added to any pool–either within the pool itself, or as a detached feature that provides a touch of drama.

Hot Tubs

Get the spa feel right at home. Whether you install a standalone hot tub, or you include a spillover spa that connects your inground pool with your hot tub, it will quickly become a favorite pool time destination.

Water Slides

Gone are the days when water slides came in a single size. Today’s waterslides can have a fast drop, a gentle curve, or a corkscrew for longer slides. Children and adults can’t resist this eye-catching, interactive feature.

Lighting

Pool lighting is often overlooked, but the right lighting makes any space more appealing, and definitely more usable. Your pool lighting should match the tone set by the rest of your landscape. Look for long-lasting, energy efficient LED lighting, add a touch of ambience with submerged moon lighting, or consider the use of uplighting, in which lights can play against taller landscaping elements, like trees.

Pool Cleaner

Sometimes, it’s the elements you don’t see that make a project truly come together. A pool cleaner can brush, and clean your pool while minimizing the need for hands-on work. Simply empty the bag after it fills up, and in a matter of hours, you can relax in a spotless pool.

Update Your Inground Pool

Don’t let your inground pool just sit there. Make it a welcoming focal point, and a center of all the action, with these timely summer landscaping tips.

 

Renovating a pool can be tricky. Leave it to the experts at Blue Tree Landscaping. From design to planning and maintenance, your Philly home landscape is in good hands.

How Outdoor Landscaping Can Add Value to Your Home

How Outdoor Landscaping Can Add Value to Your HomeExperts agree that landscaping not only adds instant curb appeal to your home, but also increases the value of your property by a whopping 20%. If your home’s outdoor landscape is typically more of an afterthought, consider making a change. Whipping your yard into shape now can help you achieve maximum benefits later.

How Outdoor Landscaping Adds Value

The Outdoor Advantage

By adding outdoor rooms, you can merge the functionality of the indoors with the natural beauty of the outdoors, significantly doubling your living space in the process. Use like materials to help capture that home feeling. Hardscaping elements can help establish an easy flow, and increase the value of your home to future buyers.

Shady Spaces

If you aren’t planning to sell your home in the near future, planting a shade tree now will help you reap the benefits in more ways than one later on. Not only can a perfectly placed tree add that special something to your yard, but it can also reduce your cooling costs by 40%.

Native Plants

Which plants and flowers are indigenous to the Philly area? Consider these plant types first. The general rule is that plants that are particular to the area will require less maintenance, and be better able to resist the weather conditions and local pests of the Philly region. Furthermore, these plants will add value to your home without draining your budget or requiring constant care.

Shed a Little Light

Lighting will not only provide future home buyers with a feeling of security and safety, but when lights are placed just right, it will also create a welcoming ambience. Highlight the key features of your yard and garden with well-placed lighting structures. Install light fixtures that shine right to your front door. Potential buyers won’t be able to resist.

Good Fences, Great Neighbors

Sturdy, well-maintained fences can increase your property value. Skip the chain link fence and do something a little different. Opt for a fence that’s different from the rest of the homes on your block, while still being tasteful. It will make even a small yard seem more spacious, while providing some needed privacy.

Form and Function

Backyard construction projects are a great way to begin adding value to your home. If these projects seem too overwhelming, turn to the experienced professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping.

 

Blue Tree Landscaping is your one-stop-shop for everything lawn, from planning to design to maintenance. Call Blue Tree Landscaping and add value to your home today!

5 Types of Landscape Lighting You Can Use For Your Yard

Mattiola3When you think about outdoor landscape lighting, the stark, solar-powered post lanterns we all grew up with may come to mind. But, we’re happy to say landscape lighting has come a very long way. The options are not only plentiful, but also incredibly varied, and stylish!

5 Types of Landscape Lighting You Can Use For Your Yard

Although the options for landscaping lighting are seemingly endless when you consider the wide range of makes, models, and styles, there are 5 primary types that homeowners use to light up their yards:

  • Wall Lights

    Wall lights, lanterns, and sconces are practical options for the exterior of your home. They can light up your lawn in decorative ways, illuminate pathways around the house, and highlight your hardscaping. Wall lights are commonly used around outdoor seating areas, but you should also consider installing a dimmer switch for when your wall lights are too bright for entertaining.  
  • Plant and Tree Lighting

    Many professional landscape plans utilize accent plants, shrubs, and/or trees. These plants are often the pièce de résistance of any yard, and should be highlighted accordingly. By using spotlights, and well lights, you can easily highlight your favorites. Spotlight lighting also works wonders for water pieces, like fountains, and architectural pieces, like columns.
  • Hanging Lights

    Hanging lights, or pendant lights, have long been used inside the home to illuminate indoor spaces in a stylish way. Now, they’ve made their way to the outdoors. By using outdoor hanging light fixtures, you can create a statement lighting piece, especially when used in a pergola, or outdoor entertaining area. The options are incredibly vast, so pick one that best suits your landscape design. Just make sure it’s built for life outdoors!
  • Post Lights

    Post lights offer dramatic statement lighting to your yard. They come in a wide variety, with the most popular being old-fashioned lantern lights. They are commonly used around decks, and entry ways, but can also illuminate your walkway.
  • Deck and Step Lights

    Deck lights, and step lights are a great way to edge an area in your yard with both beauty, and function. By placing these small lights around decks, steps, pools, driveways, and walkways, you can create a safe walking area while adding beauty to your yard’s nighttime appearance.

If you’re looking to install a full lighting concept that underscores the work you’ve done with your home’s landscape design, give us a call at Blue Tree Landscaping today.

How to Ensure your Front Steps and Walkway are Safe this Winter

house-snowWhether you’re a commercial facility looking to safeguard its assets and insurance premiums, or a parent who wants to keep her family safe through landscape design and maintenance, the tips below can help you keep your front steps, and walkway safe this winter:

  • Understand the Science of Melting Ice

    When you first go to buy ice melting material, you will likely be taken aback by the endless myriad of options. As it turns out, there is a science to melting dangerous ice patches, and it’s all about keeping them from thawing, refreezing, and forming black ice across your landscape design elements. Black ice is a very slippery, barely visible winter by-product, and it’s extremely dangerous. You can counteract any black ice formation on your landscape design by using an ice melting substance that helps prevent thawing, and refreezing. Such substances include rock salt, potassium chloride, or calcium magnesium acetate, a more environmentally-friendly option. Avoid substances like calcium citrate, calcium carbonate, ammonium chloride, and aluminum chloride, which tend to refreeze more quickly.

    A point to keep in mind with rock salt is that while it works for temperatures above 12 degrees (Fahrenheit), it can potentially damage nearby plants, trees, and shrubs.
  • Sand

    Contrary to popular belief, sand is not an ice melting substance. It simply provides an abrasive grip for your landscape design elements, and greatly improves traction. As such, it should not be used to melt ice, but rather, to provide basic traction that can help prevent slips and falls. However, before you coat your property with sand, know that it isn’t water soluble. If you use too much, it won’t drain properly, and you’ll have to clear it out after the spring thaw.
  • Landscape Lighting

    Landscape lighting is an often overlooked solution to the winter weather, but when you consider the reduced number of daylight hours, and the reduced visibility, it makes a lot of sense. Solar lights, or lights hard-wired into a larger system can help illuminate walkways safely. Each landscape lighting system has its own benefits, and detractions. Solar, for example, doesn’t last as long, but has a cheaper setup cost.
  • Elbow Grease

    There’s simply no getting around shovelling your walkway (other than paying a company to do it). A well-maintained winter walkway needs to have snow removed from it regularly, in order to decrease the amount of compacted snow that may create slippery ice patches.
  • Downspouts

    Downspouts are critical to funnelling water off your roof, but they can also wreak havoc on your walkways. If you have a downspout that expels even a small amount of water, it can create dangerous ice spots beneath it. Be sure to angle them away from walkways, and steps.

For more winter safety, and winter landscape design tips, contact us.

8 Design Ideas for your New In Ground Pool

pool with lightsIn ground pools have come a long way baby! No longer are they rectangular swimming holes—they are design concepts that can (and should!) be incorporated into stylish outdoor living environments.

To help turn your pool into an outdoor living experience, consider the following ideas:

1. Waterfall
A great way to turn an average in ground swimming pool into a statement piece is with a waterfall. There are ample options to match the style of your pool (if you already have one or have already chosen the design/style), ranging from modern to tropical to classic…so don’t be afraid it won’t match your design.

2. Jacuzzi
While the word ‘jacuzzi’ or ‘hot tub’ might stir up some images of the 70s, modern-style jacuzzis are an exciting addition to a pool. Not only do they provide an interesting visual addition to your pool landscaping—they also add a functional element.

3. Outdoor Furniture
Picking a pool shape, the right tiling, and the surrounding patio is a start—but while you’re planning your in ground pool think of an entire entertainment concept. By adding outdoor furniture (and no, not the white plastic loungers that many of us grew up with), you can turn the ‘pool area’ into an entire outdoor entertaining area. Add an outdoor kitchen and you may never go inside again!

4. Outdoor Beds
Kick your outdoor-furniture game up a notch with outdoor beds. Outdoor beds provide the ultimate in beauty, but—thanks to modern design principles—also offer the ultimate in comfort (for next-level lazy-poolside game).

5. Fencing
Adding a fence might be the most boring element on this list…but, safety first. Far too many children drown in pools every year, which is why fencing should be your number one priority if you have children in your life. For ideas on how to make your fencing look stylish, contact us.

6. (Beach-Like) Walk-In
In ground swimming pool ladders are soooo last century. The new craze in pool designs are gradual, natural-looking walk-in areas, designed to be more like a beach than a typical pool entryway. Not only is this stylish, but it also creates a super practical, shallow end for toddlers and small children.

7. Plants
Swimming pools surrounded by nothing but concrete are a bore. Add a little life to your pool area by planting plants, trees, and bushes around the pool. This works especially well if you have a more tropical-looking pool (although it livens up any pool area).

8. Lighting
No in ground pool design is complete without a lighting concept. A beautiful pool lighting concept will not only extend the amount of hours you can entertain in and around your pool—it will change the evening look entirely.

For help executing any of the above ideas—contact us here at Blue Tree Landscaping.

Smaller Yard? Here’s How to Make the Most of Your Space.

Small yardsWho says the best yards have to be big? Sure, it’s easy to dazzle a crowd with a grand and spacious patio, but when you can wow your guests with a charming, one-of-a-kind yard, your creativity seriously shows. Here are some big tips on how to utilize the small space you have:

Get cozy with a firepit

Although it has been an unseasonably warm winter for Pennsylvania, you might consider installing a personal fire pit in the middle of your yard. This is the perfect accessory for all seasons. Imagine the first barbecue of spring, roasting marshmallows in the summer, or just warming up in the coziest way possible during the fall and winter time. Line the seclusive space with some lush foliage, and you’ve got yourself a particularly memorable haven.

Elevate your home with a patio

A thoughtful addition to a small space is an elevated patio. Nothing looks more enticing than some steps that invite people to new heights—even if these heights are just a foot off the ground. The best part is that the patio can be built to accommodate the rest of the yard. It can act as your personal outdoor dining area, while the rest of the yard can be whatever you want it to be: a play space for your kids, dogs, or impressed guests, perhaps.

Illuminate your sanctuary with landscape lighting

You might think lighting isn’t necessary for small yards (let’s be honest, the lights from the house can probably illuminate the whole yard at night), but you can create something truly magical when you highlight the right features. Set the mood with some hidden landscape lights within a bed of shrubs, or with the addition of a romantic lamppost. You can also enhance a part of the yard you’re proud of with lighting on the outer edge of, say, a garden, or a fire pit, or a patio.

 

As they say: big things come in small packages. You don’t have to sacrifice quality simply because of the size of your yard. Dream of big things for your small space with the help of the professionals at Blue Tree.

Assess Your Landscape Lighting Needs

Landscape Lighting NeedsWith the onset of Daylight Savings Time, it’s about to get darker earlier. But your landscaped yard needn’t be blacked out when you get home!

To help light your winter night, take this period before Daylight Savings Time to assess your current landscape lighting and to discover any gaps in it and needs you may have.

How to Asses your Landscape Lighting Needs 

To assess your landscape lighting needs for the darker winter months, try following these tips:

 1. Go on a Walkabout

This down-under inspired tip may seem juvenile, but walk naturally about your yard around dusk. Your walking path will give you an idea of the natural flow of your yard, the most popular spots, and which spots need the most lighting.

2. Pick a Purpose

Landscape lighting isn’t installed willy-nilly: it has a purpose. So, pick your purpose. Does your yard need task lighting, perhaps for lighting up a path? Could it use accent lighting to show off a specific object or area? Or do you need broad lighting that illuminates the entire space to allow children to play (or to scare off small animals)?

3. Avoid Light Pollution

Landscape lighting is a great way to illuminate your yard in a classy and safe way. Using too much of it, however, or not properly positioning it at the needed areas, can create light pollution for you and your neighbours. Be sure to keep this in mind when planning your lighting scheme. To avoid too much light, use shields, timers, dimmers, motion sensors, or other forms of lighting control.

4. Understand Voltage

If you will be adding to an existing landscape lighting design, or incorporating significant lighting into a yard without landscape lighting, then you will need to consider voltage. Depending on the location and type of lighting, you may need 120 volts, which requires burying the cable at least 18 inches below the ground and may necessitate a small transformer. More simple lighting designs can leverage solar power, which won’t require cabling or a transformer.

5. Decide DIY or Pro

Simple landscape lighting tasks, like installing a few solar-powered path lights, can be relatively easy DIY projects. Larger lighting installations, however, may be best handled by a pro…a pro who can ensure that your lighting design parallels the quality of your overall landscape design.

 

If you could use a professional hand with your landscape lighting project in Philadelphia (and the surrounding areas) give us a call here at Blue Tree. We can ensure that you get high-quality lighting, a beautiful lighting concept, and professional-grade installation.