Tag Archives: deck lighting

Create A Stunning Patio The Neighbors Will Envy

Whether you’re hosting a cozy family gathering or a party with all your friends, the patio is the place to be. But when you want to entertain, a dated, neglected, or poorly designed outdoor space can put a damper on your fun.

Revamping the patio is a great way to create a comfortable outdoor haven that can even increase your home value. Read on to discover how you can create the patio of your dreams (and maybe even your neighbor’s dreams!) and become the envy of the block.

Add a  Fireplace

This common indoor feature is right at home outdoors. In fact, an outdoor fireplace is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for almost every season. Set the mood for a romantic evening with a loved one or a fun night with the kids roasting marshmallows. If a permanent fixture isn’t an option, a portable fire pit is an excellent alternative. You can store it and use it for years to come.

Layer Your Lighting

No patio is complete without the right mood lighting, and a layered scheme is an excellent way to create an outdoor space that shines (literally!). You have plenty of options: Freestanding gas lamps offer functional illumination with a touch of glamor. Fans with attached light fixtures brighten the space and provide a comfortable breeze. White string lights add a delightful twinkle. The sky’s the limit!

Add Stylish Accessories

Not used to decorating outdoor spaces? Think outside the box! The kitchen isn’t the only room in the house that can boast statement-making accent walls: Tile or textured materials, such as stone and brick, enhance the patio space without taking up valuable real estate. To lend natural beauty and a splash of color, add hanging planters or an ivy wall.

If your patio is protected from the elements, you can even hang artwork, set out throw pillows, and incorporate other accents. Attach a glass-free window pane to achieve a rustic look, or hang metal wall art to match the furniture for an industrial-chic vibe. Swap out accessories to instantly refresh the space for different seasons and holiday.

Incorporate a Theme

Finally, it’s important to find your personal style and have fun with the patio! Travel lovers can imbue a cozy French restaurant feel or laid-back Spanish siesta elements. If you have a pool, opt for a nautical theme that’s fun in and out of the water. Follow a design path that suits your tastes, and the patio is sure to become your favorite spot to spend time.

Trust Blue Tree

Let us help you elevate your patio game! We specialize in landscaping and hardscaping for every type of patio and enjoy customizing spaces to fit all types of homeowners. Contact our crew to get started today!

How To Turn Your Yard Into An Island Getaway

It’s vacation time! While that might mean jetting off to a tropical excursion for some, others might not have the same plans for such an exotic getaway. Luckily, there are fun (and easy) ways to turn your yard into the ultimate staycation spot!

Tiki Torches

These festive decorations are easy to come by. Outdoor furniture outlets, home goods stores, and even home improvement places will all have the woven straw decorations that turn any yard into the perfect luau! Stick them into the ground around a pool deck or the path leading into the house, and set them ablaze after the sun goes down to keep the party going well into the night.

Lanterns

There are many options for hanging light fixtures that add another pleasing touch to any decor. Paper lanterns in a litany of colors are fun for parties, and permanent lanterns with cool, soft lighting are growing in popularity. Grab some mini tabletop lanterns for your next entertainment event, or take it a step further and get free-standing light structures that can be placed anywhere outside. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Tropical Plants

Since the summer months are short-lived, not everyone has the time to plant extravagant flowers that won’t last the year. Consider potted plants which can be relocated to different areas or even synthetic flowers that can be stored until next year’s heat wave. For beautiful, tropical choices, we recommend flowers with substantial roots and leaves, such as the Bird of Paradise flower.

Fabrics

Consider colorful pillows, seat covers, or tablecloths to spice up the decor. While it can get pricey to purchase seasonal, trendy furniture items and their accessories, covering existing decorations is a cost-efficient way to change it up. Aim for simplicity! In the summer, white and cream-colored cushions are stylish, and pops of color can be added in a variety of ways.

Music

No vacation is complete without the perfect playlist! Hook up speakers to an overhang or gazebo post to set the mood, no matter the occasion. As for the tunes, use services such as Spotify or Pandora to compile a list of soothing music that will boost the vacation feel for anyone listening.

Contact Blue Tree

Let us help you revitalize your space for the summer! Our team of experts at Blue Tree Landscaping is dedicated to providing quality landscaping, pool, and even decorative services to help any backyard thrive. Contact us to get a quote, and don’t wait any longer to treat yourself to some summer festivities!

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.

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.

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.

Outdoor Lighting for Pools, Patios and Walkways—Enjoy your Outdoor Space LONGER!

pool with lightsOur ‘patio season’ here in Philadelphia is far too short. Enjoy your patio for longer this summer by adding landscape lighting and encouraging your family’s outdoor time to last past sundown. As an added bonus to creating a more beautiful nighttime entertainment area, outdoor lighting can also improve the safety of outdoor spaces at night—especially for young children and the elderly.

Outdoor Lighting for Pools, Patios, and Walkways

Here are some things to consider when designing a landscape lighting concept:

Areas

Before you purchase your lighting, consider which areas will have lighting installed.  Common areas include around gardens, pools (including in-pool lighting and pool landscape areas), walkways, and decks.

Fixtures

There are a number of fixture types to choose from—each of which will offer a different lighting concept and overall appearance. Fixture types include lampposts, lanterns, path lighting, floodlights, spotlights, deck lights, and porch lights.

Power Types

An important element to consider is the power source, especially as it relates to your layout. For example, solar powered garden lights are popular in yards, as they can be placed anywhere, regardless of power source. Lights that must be plugged into electricity need to be close to a power source, or you will need to use power extensions (which can be unsightly). Another option for light fixtures that are not located near a power source are battery powered, rechargeable, propane, and natural gas powered lights. Fire-based flames are another option, however safety can be an issue.

Brightness

When selecting your lights, consider how bright you want them to be, as you’ll need to choose the lighting type and wattage accordingly. Brighter lights offer better safety, but softer lighting can create a more attractive outdoor lighting concept.

Location, Use, and Fixtures

To help you decide what outdoor lighting to use, where you’ll put it, and which fixtures you’ll use, here is a basic guide:

1. Spot Lighting

Spot lighting is commonly used for walkways, patios, swimming pools, gardens, and decks, in varying brightness depending on the type of lighting concept you want to create. Fixtures for spot lighting include porch lights, deck lights, lampposts, and spotlights.

2. Security Lighting

Lighting designed specifically with security in mind is usually motion-activated lighting for porches, yards, and garage areas. It often uses floodlights, spotlights, and porch lights.

3. Decorative Lighting

Decorative lighting can be used almost anywhere, and has a long list of features. It is typically used for ‘mood lighting’ and not necessarily for security or safety, and is commonly placed around yard architecture like walkways, gardens, and pools.

How to Begin

Yard and landscape lighting—and yard and swimming pool landscape in general—can be complex. To achieve a professional look, considering calling Blue Tree Landscaping for assistance. Our low-cost, high-value services can perfectly highlight and add to the beauty of your existing landscape.

We’re here to help.

Guide to Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor Furniture IdeasNo matter the season, the right atmosphere and ambiance can make your backyard a great place to gather family and friends year round. What goes into making your patio and yard a functional and comfortable place to spend time? The right lighting, heating, and, of course, furniture, all contribute to how enjoyable your outdoor space can truly be. Depending on your space, budget, and aesthetic, you may want to consider the following types of outdoor furniture to create an attractive and functional environment.

Gazebos & shade structures

It’s important to provide shady areas for your friends and family to relax and unwind, so if your backyard doesn’t have much natural shade from trees, consider a gazebo tailored specifically to your patio or deck. Gazebos will provide a barrier from harmful UV rays, enable you to enjoy lounging outdoors without sunglasses or a hat, and protect you from light rain or other inclement weather. Invest in one that’s both attractive and easy to maintain, perhaps made of a weather resistant material that can be wiped clean.

Patio sets

A quality outdoor patio set is essential to any backyard deck. If you like the idea of dining outside on warm summer afternoons, consider a dining set with at least 4 chairs and a spacious table. Conversation sets are another option, and generally consist of larger, more comfortable loveseats or cushioned benches, and smaller tables or an ottoman to hold drinks, snacks, and/or bug-repelling candles. Wicker and wrought iron are common materials for deck furniture, as they are resilient to varying weather conditions and relatively simple to care for. Cushions filled with Polyester foam and fiber and covered in a hardwearing blended fabric are most ideal — though you may want to store cushions and pillows in the garage when they’re not being used.

Benches

Make the most of your deck by including extra seating for your friends and guests. If you’re short on space, consider a handy storage bench with empty compartments for storage under liftable seats. If you want something both functional and fun, why not invest in a quality patio swing? Simple wooden benches with comfortable cushions are the practical option, and can line the borders of your deck that aren’t occupied by planters.

Fire pits & patio heaters

Let’s not forget the essentials to enjoying your backyard during the cool autumn and even cooler winter months. Fire pits and patio heaters can make your yard much more enjoyable, keeping you toasty enough to enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine on the deck after work. Your options for a fire pit include propane or wood-burning, or go for an electric table, lamp, or large patio heater for a safer and more modern approach.

The right furniture can make all the difference in how usable and enjoyable your yard is all year round, so be sure to invest in quality pieces that will last.

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Lighting Guide

Light Up Your Yard with Blue Tree!You’ve invested the time and effort into making your backyard as nice as can be — so why not enjoy it as much as possible? With quality outdoor space heaters and outdoor lighting, you can make use of your yard late into the evening. Before planning out your outdoor lighting design, take time to consider how you plan on using your backyard after the sun goes down. Will you be walking through the grounds, or staying on the deck or patio for an after-dinner drink? Do you want the kids to be able to throw a ball around? Do you simply want to beautify the view from your kitchen window? Depending on the layout and existing structures on your property, you may want to consider a combination of the following popular outdoor lights.

We are happy to help you plan your lighting scheme.  Call us today for help with planning and installation!

Path Lights

Path lights are more than just a pretty accent to your landscape design; they cast light onto walkways that could be uneven or made of stones, keeping you and your family safe! Use them to mark parameters, and space them close enough that the light covers all areas. You can also use path lights to illuminate gardens, spotlighting the nicest areas or illuminating plants with cool colors and textures. Be sure to keep the lamp surfaces clean, trim plants that could cover their light, and replace bulbs as necessary.

Tree Lights

When it comes to lighting your trees, you have a variety of options — to up-light or to down-light… that’s just one of the questions! One option is to both downlight from the foliage of the tree (consider two 20-watt downlights, placed as high as possible) and illuminate the trunk with a bullet or flood light. You could also uplight the tree from the base, dramatically creating shadows and contrast. Moonlighting is another unique way to beautify your yard. This technique involves placing lights in the branches of your tree, casting complex shadows across the landscape.

Bullet Lights

Known for projecting a solid, narrow beam, bullet lights are perfect for lighting tree trunks, garden features, fountains, or other special areas of your yard.

Wash Lights

Wash lights are great for covering a wide expanse with soft, diffuse light. Consider using wash lights on the paneling of the sides of your house or on your surrounding fences. Well lights are another great option for covering a wide area, and can be put in a waterproof casing in-ground, so you don’t have to worry about choosing one fixture or another.

A typical backyard will require a combination of fill lights (wash or well), bullet lights, tree lights, and path lights. Thoughtfully placed lights along walkways, trees, garden features, your deck, and your driveway will be key to keeping your yard enjoyable and safe, all day (and night) long.

Now You’re Cooking With Gas! A Review of Gas Grilling.

Review of Gas GrillsNow that outdoor living spaces are common additions for homeowners, they’ve grown more elaborate and luxurious. Grilling options have consequently become more sophisticated to keep up with demands. Gone are the days of the simplistic UFO-style charcoal grill that was good for cooking only a few hamburgers and hotdogs at a time. Today’s modern propane-fired grills, clad in stainless steel sheeting, are more efficient, have larger cooking surfaces, and are much, much easier to use. But with so many options, how can you find the right grill for you?

With so many available options and capabilities, here are some tips for purchasing and caring for your new grill.

Propane or natural gas?

Once the predominant grilling debate was charcoal vs. propane, but now the debate has shifted to propane vs. natural gas. Stationary natural gas models are becoming more commonplace alongside permanent outdoor kitchen installations, and offer cheaper fuel for grilling. Of course, the drawback of natural gas models is that they must be connected to a gas line like a stove, and cannot be moved like a propane grill. But, it would be nice to never worry about filling the propane tank again!

Always cover your grill

When not in use, it is imperative to keep your grill properly covered and stored. Though most grills today are made of cast aluminum or stainless steel that typically weather very well, by taking basic care of your grill you can add years to its life. Especially in the winter when cold temperatures, ice, and snow can cause serious damage, grills should be stored in a garage or shed if possible. Unless, of course, you like to stand outside and grill in the snow!

Add-ons or not?

Today’s high-end grills have the capabilities of full kitchens, which means they have a laundry list of add-ons and functions that go beyond merely grilling. Some grills offer multiple side burners, rotisserie spits, warming racks, and ultra-hot infrared burners for faster cooking. But, are these add-ons worth it? They can be, but only if you’re an experienced griller. Most of us use our grills for simple cooking, but if you regularly entertain, or want to cook a wider variety of foods on your grill, then consider picking up these add-ons.

Most importantly, grilling is not just about cooking outside. It’s about entertaining for friends and family, and taking advantage of your outdoor space. Choose a grill that is right for your needs, and enjoy the sizzle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living Outdoors: Getting the Most From Your Patio and Deck

Decorate Your PatioOutdoor living space has become more desirable than ever before. More homeowners are turning their once plain, grassy yard into fully functional outdoor living spaces that not only greatly increase the number of usable square feet in the home, but also significantly increase the home’s value. While adding extra space is great for your home, it takes some care and consideration to turn that raw area into a comfortable and relaxing living space.

Here are some decorating tips to help you get the most out of your outdoor living space:

Use creative lighting

One of the best ways to transform your patio or deck into a dramatic nighttime setting is to add proper lighting. Don’t rely on floodlights to cast abrasive swaths of light over your patio. String lighting is an easy alternative that immediately creates an intimate and welcoming setting. String lighting can be easily incorporated by attaching the lights to overhanging branches, the underside of a pergola, or a few wooden posts strategically set to guide the strand. Wooden “tiki” torches are also a good alternative light source. Torches create an exotic ambiance and help keep away pesky mosquitoes!

Mix in plants and shrubbery

Though your patio is an extension of your home, you should remember that you’re still outdoors. Add shrubbery and potted plants to make the space feel more rustic and secluded. Use a variety of plants to create a barrier around of the edge of your patio for added privacy that will also reduce noise from a nearby street or noisy neighbor. Potted plants are also a great opportunity to turn your patio into a working garden. Plant tomatoes or peppers in the spring for summer harvesting. Or, you can start your own herb garden that will not only spice up your cooking, but also turn your patio into an aromatic sanctuary.

Add a fire pit

Most people assume that outdoor spaces like decks and patios are only useful in summer months when the days are long are warm. While it’s great to take advantage of summer’s unique conditions for outdoor living, patios don’t need to be neglected the other eight months of the year. Install a fire pit for year-round use, and you’ll get the most out of your outdoor space. You can incorporate the pit into the design of the patio, or add a free-standing model for more flexibility. Fire pits are great gathering spots, and are a nice alternative to traditional entertainment. Invite friends for wood-fired kabobs, gooey marshmallow smores, or steamy popcorn. Fire pits bring the fun of camping right to your backyard, without sacrificing any convenience!