Tag Archives: landscape lighting

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!

Interesting Lighting Ideas for In Ground Pools

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Unique Lighting Ideas for In Ground Pools

An in ground swimming pool is more than a great place to play and entertain — it’s also an obvious focal point. Is your in ground
pool properly using lighting to add ambiance to your yard? If not, look to these interesting ideas for unique pool lighting.

Multiple Lights

Far too many pools possess a single, lonely light at the deep end of the pool. Not only is this severely under-lighting the pool space, but it does nothing to highlight the area around the pool. Your pool deck receives plenty of use. Even at night it can benefit from properly placed lighting to subtly highlight the pool water. Multiple light fixtures and plantings around the pool will have this effect. However, to avoid harsh lighting on your guest’s faces, don’t point lighting directly at the surrounding tables and chairs.

Flawless Finish 

Avoid that shadowy pool look that seems to point out every pool floor flaw. For a pool that always looks its best, use multiple light fixtures, and face them directly across from each other. It instantly eliminates those pesky shadows.

Fantastic Fiber Optics 

There’s no electricity involved when you use fiber optics. Choose among colorful lighting or go with basic white. Either way, fiber optics may be used around the borders of the in ground pool and even up the steps. You won’t need to change light bulbs, either. It’s a less formal look for a tighter budget.

Fun Floating Lighting 

What could add more whimsy to an in ground pool than a floating lantern drifting upon pool waters? Use colorful lights to up the fun factor or keep it classy with white lights. These lights should never be tossed or thrown, so this may not be the best option for those with rowdy children or grandchildren.

Lovely LED Lighting 

The options are endless. LED lights look as good as they are versatile, offering energy savings and a variety of style choices. Use them in pools that have unique, yet hard to light, designs. Retrofit options enable owners of older in ground pools to receive a slick new update.

Install interesting lighting and not only will you get more use from your pool, but you will love the way it enhances an already successful landscape. Let the pros handle it all, if you’d like! Call Blue Tree Landscaping today. As the one-stop-shop for everything landscape and pool, Blue Tree will help you get the style you want.

Unique Patio Design Ideas

045Unique Patio Design Ideas

If you are considering installing a new patio, you might be surprised to learn that you can have more than a basic rectangular concrete slab. From a variety of textures and shapes to design accents, read on for timely tips to perk up any lackluster patio.

Think Beyond the Concrete

If you are in need of a new patio, it’s time for an update. Follow the latest trends by installing a patio that is curved or crafted with different hardscape materials. Brick, wood chips, flagstone, and even gravel are all integrated into appealing designs.

Sweet Little Nook

Your patio should be more than just a place you sometimes use to entertain. It can become a valuable and much-loved part of your outdoor space — if you give it the attention it deserves. Use your best landscaping know-how to create a garden oasis. Add in potted plants, a water feature, and comfortable seating.

Match Your Style

If your home is elegant and grand, you should have a patio to match. If you have a theme in your landscape, that theme should carry over into your patio. Add in the hardscape elements you are using elsewhere in your yard to complement the space. Use the same types of plants that you’ve used in flower beds around the patio. Get creative with it: install hanging baskets or potted plants.

Bring the Inside Out

Part of any successful landscape design includes sunny and shady spots. Consider adding in an umbrella or pergola. Add accessories that look great with a bit of weathering and fabrics that resist color fading due to the sun. Treat your patio like any other room in your home. Make it personal with whimsical touches like fun candle holders that can withstand the elements and even mirrors for walls that are exterior yet protected. Add an outdoor clock or wall art — anything goes as long as it’s weather-friendly and fits the style of the rest of your yard.

Light it Up

Lighting is an essential, yet overlooked, part of your unique patio design plan. The right lighting can help boost your landscape’s appeal while extending the use of your patio. Brighten it up. Day or night, you can enjoy your patio for longer when you use proper lighting.

Patio with Pizzazz

For a seamless patio design, leave it to the professionals. Call Blue Tree Landscaping, the one-stop-shop for everything landscaping (including pools), for a patio that reflects your style, your budget, and your life.

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.

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.

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 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.

Summer’s Over; Time to Start Planning Your Pool

Inground Swimming Pool Skippack PAAutumn has officially arrived. Another summer has passed, and with cooler temperatures and fall foliage comes the time to…start planning your future pool? That’s right! Don’t let another summer pass you by without the luxury of your very own in ground pool. Never again suffer through the inescapable heat and humidity of July and August. No longer will you have to pay steep swim club fees or fight crowds of fellow overheated swimmers at large public pools. Privacy, convenience, and the pleasure of a cool dip will finally be at your finger tips.

Now is the perfect time to begin planning a new addition to your yard. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but fall is the ideal time to begin construction of a new pool. Most people assume that spring or summer is best, but the number one factor that hinders pool construction is rain. Spring and early summer are often the wettest times of the year, and rainwater could delay the completion of your pool for weeks. By the time it’s done, summer may be almost over. Not only is fall drier, but there are typically fewer building projects during the season, which will free up local inspectors to promptly check each phase of the construction process, thus ensuring a timely schedule.

Planning months in advance will also give you ample time to consult with a landscape designer on the best ways to incorporate shrubbery, trees, and other plants to create the personal sanctuary you desire. Proper landscape design will also provide much needed privacy and reduce noise. Furthermore, you can plan masonry walkways and patio seating around the pool for lounging and entertaining. Depending on where you live, you might also be required to fence in the immediate area surrounding the pool. Laws vary by municipality, but fences are intended to protect small children from accidentally falling into the pool.

Pools are definitely a major investment for homeowners, but they are also one of the few home improvements that adds substantial equity to a home and rarely depreciates. The added value of a pool makes it a risk worth taking. Proper planning will ensure that your pool is crafted to the highest standards and will be ready in time for summer. In addition to providing financial benefits, a pool will make your once bare and empty yard look complete, and will surely become the focal point for family and friends to gather.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Landscape Lighting

How Lighting Can Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Landscape lighting is often overlooked by home owners, but it is one of the easiest and quickest ways to increase the curb appeal of your home. Lighting can serve a number of purposes, including security, safety and accessibility, but for landscape enthusiasts its primary goal is to highlight attractive areas of a garden. The right garden lighting can transform your garden into a glowing wonderland at night, but it’s important to choose the right type of lighting for your home and garden.

The first step is to decide which areas of the garden you’d like to illuminate. Try to pick just a few features or focal points, as excessive lighting can destroy the atmosphere in a garden and also costs more money. Powerful floodlights can light up large areas of a garden, but are expensive and wasteful in terms of energy cost. Subtle lighting that focuses on interesting areas of the garden, such as water features and trees, can have a far more eye-catching effect. Decking and paths can look beautiful in the right light, and should also be lit for safety reasons.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is used to create a moody atmosphere in your garden while lighting up the most attractive features. An additional benefit to accent lighting is that it’s easy to hide less attractive parts of a garden, such as bins or a greenhouse, simply by not lighting them. Spotlights are good for this type of lighting, especially when placed at the base of a tree or interesting plant. A focused beam through a water feature can also create a stunning effect.

Path and Decking Lighting

The easiest way to illuminate decking is with a large but focused floodlight. The floodlight shouldn’t illuminate the whole garden, and it shouldn’t be so strong that it’s uncomfortable to sit in. Low wattage floodlights are cheaper, consume less energy and won’t annoy the neighbors! Installing lighting in the decking floor can create a more subtle mood when entertaining guests, but can cause an uncomfortable glare.

Paths can be turned into an interesting feature by using rows of evenly spaced floor lights. Stairs or any other potential obstacle should be well lit to avoid accidents. Any cables should be hidden and kept away from walking areas.

Where to Place Lights

If your goal is to increase the curb appeal of your home, it’s important to focus on areas of the garden that look attractive from the road. If possible, the actual lights should be hidden from view, so that only the glow is visible. Focusing on a few key features of the garden, such as a large tree, statue or water feature, is nearly always a better option than trying to light a large area.

It might seem obvious, but it’s important to check that any outdoor lighting is waterproof and safe for the purpose you intend to use it for. Low voltage lighting can be installed yourself, but higher voltage lights should be installed by a professional.