Tag Archives: patio 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!

5 Tips for Planning Your Patio Design

hardscaping-09A shabby, neglected patio doesn’t exude a welcoming atmosphere, but a sleek, modern patio can become a beloved part of any home, while raising the home’s value in the process.

Whatever you can imagine, chances are there’s a patio to match that dream. Today’s styles have gone far beyond a boring slab of concrete, and include all manner of size, color, and shape. Before getting started, here are a few tips you should keep in mind to ensure a beautiful, finished product.

5 Tips for Patio Perfection

Layout

What do you want out of your patio? Do you want it near the kitchen for easy entertaining, or closer to an opposing side of your property for a restful retreat? How close are the neighbors? What sort of patio lighting do you prefer? Consider the size of your yard, as well as any problem areas. Are there any air conditioning units you’d like to camouflage? Do you want a water feature, or a fire pit? Browse through images of other patios to get a better idea of what suits you.

Size Matters

If your space will be used for entertaining, consider the number of people you’d like to comfortably move around this space. Many designers recommend making the patio as wide, and as long as your home, or mimicking the size of a favorite room inside.

Must Love Plants

Do you have a natural green thumb, or do you prefer plants that can stay alive with little help from you? Consider container groupings to provide a punch of color. Be sure to complete the hardscape before you put any plants in place.

Rules and Regulations

What does local law mandate as the maximum height for a fence? Do you need a permit? Check with your local city office to find out the rules for your area. Otherwise, your patio project could result in costly fines, and the removal of everything you’ve built.

Planning

Don’t feel like everything has to get done immediately. Create a long-range plan. You can tackle different items on your list as time, and budget allows. This will also help you prioritize your projects, so you don’t take on more than you can handle.

 

There are so many factors to consider when designing your patio, but these tips will help you create an outdoor space that fits the way you live. To get your Philly patio in tip-top shape without the hassle, contact the landscaping professionals at Blue Tree Landscaping.

From planning to design and construction, Blue Tree Landscaping is a one-stop shop for all your landscaping needs. Call today, and make your patio the envy of the neighborhood.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

Fall Tips for Routine Outdoor Landscaping

Freshen Up with a New Coat of PaintAutumn is the perfect time to complete standard outdoor tasks that you’d prefer not to take on during the sweltering summer or freezing winter. Furthermore, by completing some small outdoor jobs during the fall, you’ll prepare your home and its exterior for the months of snowfall ahead. Here are some routine projects you can take on, along with tips on how to best carry them out.

Clean your gutters

With autumn in full swing, it’s important to make sure you clean fallen leaves and other debris out of your gutter. If left clogged, water can easily escape down the sides of your house, potentially causing flooding or damage to your home’s foundation. To begin cleaning out your gutter, prop a ladder up against the downspout and use a trowel or small shovel to clear out leaves, twigs, and any other large debris. Keep the space that immediately surrounds the downspout clear, as it must be completely unobstructed in order to function properly. Moving your ladder as needed, shovel all unwanted materials out of your gutter. When you’re done, you can use a hose to get rid of smaller or less visible objects and to check for any holes or leaky areas that need repair.

Maintain your window wells

If your home has windows that are below ground level, you probably benefit from window wells that let in sunlight while also acting as a barrier to water that could flood your basement. However, as with your gutters, it is important to keep unwanted debris out of window wells to prevent water damage. Be sure to regularly clean out leaves, twigs, and insects, and to check for cracks and fissures that could let water into your home.

Touch up old paint jobs

Exterior paint jobs can easily wear down during the winter or summer months. If you see an area on the outside of your house that needs touching up and you aren’t sure exactly what paint color you need, try taking a chip off to bring with you to the store. Then, remove any hanging or loose scraps of paint and sand the area thoroughly. Apply two coats of primer, and paint the entirety of each board that needs touch-ups.

Apply mulch

Mulch has a variety of functions, including keeping your plants hydrated by preserving moisture in the soil, acting as a preventative measure against weed growth, and keeping plants warm during cooler weather. Buy mulch at your local garden store, or use shredded leaves (perhaps even the ones you scrape out of your gutter) or blades of grass. Apply the mulch to your garden and spread it around the bottoms of trees and shrubs.

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!

Steps to Make Your Patio Space Your Very Own

Landscaping, Skippack, PAIn Montgomery County, PA, it’s a beautiful 80 degrees. Now that summer is finally here, it’s time to embrace the heat and bask in our Pennsylvania sun. Comfortable and sleek outdoor space is exactly what you need!

If you already have a patio or deck and don’t enjoy the space, consider updating the area. If you don’t have a patio or deck, consider building one. Once you think about hardscape (the wood, bricks, etc. used to build your space), start focusing on the other ways that you can make your outdoor space comfortable, peaceful, and enjoyable. Here are five points to consider to make your space your own:

Patio Placement – If you’re still in the early stages of building a patio, consider carefully where you’d like to put it. Many assume patios should be right outside the back door or next to the deck. These locations are great, and are ideal for easily carrying food and cutlery in and out of the kitchen. If you have a bigger yard, though, you could think about putting a patio further away from the house. That way, you and your guests would be completely immersed in your backyard.

Patio Furniture – Furniture is one of the most important parts of outdoor space, so invest in furniture that will serve your patio’s purpose. If you want something cozy, think about a comfy wicker loveseat with some throw pillows and a small table so that you can prop your feet. If you’re planning on entertaining frequently, think about some bigger pieces, like an L-shaped couch and a table with space for food and beverages.

Patio Lighting – Sunlight is your lighting during the daytime, but what about at night? There are two major types of outdoor lighting: overhead and in-ground.

Landscape LightingAgain, think about how you want your patio space to be used. Low, in-ground lighting will provide a more intimate feel, while brighter overhead lighting is more suitable for large gatherings.

Patio Décor – As your patio starts coming together, additional décor starts to make it feel complete. A popular piece of patio décor is a fire pit, which is perfect for making s’mores during cooler weather, or for serving as a centerpiece for a get-together. You can also add a fountain to bring in the peaceful presence of water, or even a garden statue to showcase your appreciation for art.

Surrounding Greenery – While your patio is the central focus of your outdoor space, you’ll want to have an appealing view as you enjoy it. If you’re not happy with the greenery around your patio, spruce it up a bit! You can buy your own flowers and shrubbery to plant around your backyard, or you can hire a top-notch landscaper to complete your ideal outdoor space for you.

A good patio can make all the difference to your outdoor space. Hardscape lays the foundation, and details like furniture, lighting, décor, and surrounding greenery tie the space together.

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.