Low Cost Home Landscaping Tips

Installing and maintaining landscaping around your home can be a costly undertaking. Even the perfect landscape can end up a source of vexation instead of pleasure — if it costs you more than you can afford to install and keep up.

With these few helpful tips, you can save money on your landscaping without sacrificing quality or beauty.

Plan Before You Spend

Plan before you make any purchases. Without a plan, you may buy things you don’t really need, and that can waste money.

Begin with a rough sketch of your landscape design. Next find out exactly what you need to make it possible. If you need advice, there are a number of websites where you can get ideas for creating your project. Specialty stores and some home improvement warehouses have experts on hand who can give you pointers.

Once you’ve done your homework, and know exactly what you need, you can start spending, without fear of money wasters intruding.

Purchase In Phases

Your written plan should include a timetable for when you will install each portion of your landscape. Most people can’t afford to make all the changes at once. Planning your landscape project in phases lets you buy what you need as you go, and as the money becomes available. This phased financing lets you avoid the interest and fees associated with home improvement loans or putting your purchases on credit cards.

Don’t Sacrifice Quality

It’s good to remember that cheaper is not always better. If there is very little difference in quality, then buying the cheaper item is naturally the best course. However, local stores are often staffed with seasoned experts who will share their wisdom for free if you ask questions while making a purchase. Specialty stores can give you accurate information on installing a water feature, for example. If you are inexperienced in landscaping, you can save money in the long run by spending a little extra for better service, experienced help and advice.

Check Plants Carefully

If you’re making your purchases at a “big box” store, be sure to carefully inspect plants for diseases and insect problems. These stores seldom give their plants the kind of care that a nursery would. If the plant you buy is diseased, you’ll have to buy it all over again when it dies, and that’s money down the drain. Furthermore, the disease or pest can spread to your other landscaping. Many nurseries offer warranties and guarantees free of charge on their plants.

Buy When Prices Are Low

If you plan your landscaping ahead, you can determine when each phase needs to be accomplished. You can buy lumber during the winter when it is cheaper, and store it until you are ready to use it. Buy trees, shrubs, perennials, mulch, and soil late in the season when the prices go down. In most places, you can wait until October to make your maintenance purchases and still have time to winterize your landscape. Keep an eye out for plant sales at local nurseries. You can find really good quality plants at low prices this way.

Pursue Other Resources

Explore alternative resources. Stores are not the only places to get what you need. You can order through catalogs or online. Membership in a garden and seed club can yield very good prices on many items, as well as useful advice.

Try arranging a plant exchange in your neighborhood. Some cities offer low-price or free mulch and compost, and you can check construction or demolition sites for free stones and bricks.

Neighborhood Cost Sharing

Approach your neighbors about sharing costs. If you pool your resources, you can get some good deals on items bought in bulk, and everyone benefits. In the same vein, you can share the rental fees for machinery such as chippers, tillers, and aerators. If everyone chips in a few dollars, you can work out a schedule that lets each neighbor use the equipment before it is due back. This is a great way to reduce the costs of your landscaping.

By heeding a few of these money-saving tips, you can hold down your costs and create a beautiful landscape that you can afford to maintain.

How To Light Up a Garden Fountain

You are able to make a fountain shine, light up an entire pond from inside, highlighting an attractive statue, or raise the expression of a particularly gorgeous tree. You can install garden fountain lights inside or outside lighting. You need to know that all should be connected to a GFI for your own protection.

Before you start shopping for garden fountain lights, try out different effects with a strong flashlight or a spotlight on an extension cord. Focus for simplicity and nuance. Do not let yourself get carried away and change your garden fountain into an amusement park , but keep your eye on elegance.

There are numerous types of in garden fountain lights, and each one produces its own special effect, depending upon how you position it almost all designs demand lights that have dark, subdued cases. Chromium steel or white casings can be obtrusive, particularly during daylight.

Garden fountain lights, either in white or colorations, add drama to a sprayer. A few garden fountain lights also come equip with transparent rolls of various colours. Colourful light, nevertheless, should be used sparingly-it can easily become tacky.

A lot of garden fountain lights have installed timers that let you to automatically turn the lights off and on. You are also able to put in an independent timer in the lighting setup. Timers not only save you the hassle of regularizing the light, they also save on your electricity bill.

How to place your garden fountain lights

The first rule in setting up your fountain lights is to never them shine straight on the water since they’ll produce a harsh glare. In-ponds, lights need reasonably clean water to be efficient. Muddy water obstructs too much light and decreases the light’s effectiveness substantially. If you’ve fish in your water garden, allow dark areas where they can back away from the light. Fish need a great deal of crevices for safety. And never brighten the entire pond, particularly all night. If possible, place out-of-water lights to hide their casings and cord underneath a deck, behind a stone, or tucked into the leafage of a shrub. Any type of lighting you prefer, be sensitive to its effect on the neighbors. Do not let the lights beam in their windows.

Installation of Low Power Garden Fountain Lights

Contrary to normal 120-volt lights, installation of low-power landscape lights is a breeze, even for novices. And they are fairly safe because of their low voltage. Numerous low-voltage lighting schemes are sold as kits, complete with instruction manuals.

Installing a low-voltage system begins with installing a transformer, which cuts down the regular home current from one hundred twenty volts to twelve volts. Set up the transformer just about the GFCI receptacle closest to the water feature, using the manufacturer’s directions. Even 12-volt systems should utilize a GFCI unit to prevent shocks. Most transformers are plainly mounted next to an electric outlet and plugged into it.

Outdoor Lighting Tips For Your Home

The perfect lighting outside your house is great at enhancing the beauty of it; however, choosing the wrong outdoor lighting can spoil the whole environment. Knowing what kind of lighting will suit your house and garden is important. Your dream to stroll down the garden in the evening with the lights creating the perfect ambience and the wind slowly blowing on your face can come true; you just have to know what, and how, to get the right outdoor lighting for your place.

Outdoor lighting is also helpful for security reasons. When the days get shorter, especially in winter, outdoor lighting can lengthen the day and dramatically change the environment of your outdoor living spaces. With proper planning you can also create your outside space for entertaining your guests.

Types of Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting can be divided into four categories:

Security lighting:

This lighting is used for lighting up the vulnerable areas of your property. It is advisable though to keep it away from the living areas so it’s not distracting, as the lights used are bright, and often motion activated. You can also have a manual on/off switch for your lighting so that you can override automatic illumination.

Task lighting:

This type of lighting is for specific purposes such as outdoor grilling or walking safely up and down steps and along paths. Task lighting should be kept between your eyes and the object that needs to be lighted. See to it that it does not glare, as an overly bright light will blind rather than guide.

Accent lighting:

This can create a dramatic effect, or highlight an unusual feature. For example, uplighting can illuminate an interesting piece of statuary. Silhouetting can be achieved by keeping the light between the object and your fence or wall. General or ambient lighting can display overall lighting so that people feel comfortable and look good.

Moonlighting or starlight:

You can also imitate moonlight or starlight for creating magical lighting. Moonlighting can be produced by putting outdoor lights in trees. The lights should be pointing downward to create a dappled effect, as if the area were lit by a full moon. And what could be more beautiful than natures own gift to us – stars in the night! This can be imitated by suspending tiny lights in the branches of a tree to create a sparkling night time canopy, or by using flickering candles, sprinkled here and there throughout the space.

Tips to remember:

No matter what type of lighting you want, remember not to over-do it, as less is more when it comes to lighting. Don’t use lights where they’re not necessary, and you can also be subtle by using a low watt bulb. Also be careful not to send light “upward”. Never use lights in straight lines up and down paths like the airport runway effect which is a very common error.

Avoid using yellow lights as they are unflattering to both people and plants. Instead use blue-white bulbs or purchase daylight-blue filters for your fixtures. The lights should be kept where they are easily accessible for changing light bulbs. After setting up your outdoor lighting, get outside after dark and light up the night!

 

Remember, with a Lifestyle Sunroom, our experts handle your electrical work, making lighting up your outdoor space as easy as can be. Give us a call today to book an appointment and find out more!

3 Tips to Staging the Outside of Your Home Like a Pro

Are you considering putting your house up for sale, but not sure where to start? Afraid it will take too long to sell, or that you won’t get the price you want? Think about “staging” your home, or in other words, setting the scene for immediate buyer interest in your property.

To be really effective, you need to look at both the outside and the inside of your home. Here are 3 tips to get you started with the outside of your home:

1. Go stand on the street to see what buyers see when driving up to the house. Be aware that any negative impressions they get outside the house (landscaping not maintained or non-existent, peeling paint, etc.) is just going to make them think that the house itself has not been well taken care of. So even if you have spent the time and money to fix up the interior, it would all be wasted if the clients get a bad first impression as they drive up to the house.

2. Next, step outside your front door and close the door; then stand on the stoop and look around for 5 minutes. While the realtor fumbles for keys and tries to figure out how to open the door, the clients are standing behind and looking around. So what are they seeing? Dead plants, old Halloween decorations in the middle of January, cobwebs? Again, not a good first impression!

It’s definitely worth it to take some time and clean it up. Want to go a step further? Try a new coat of paint or some new furniture or accessories.

3. Don’t forget the backyard. While that might not be part of the potential buyer’s first impression experience, you still should make sure it’s in the best condition possible. Pull up weeds, water plants, do some sweeping (if that’s applicable in your case) and maybe even purchase new furniture or accessories (plant pots, bird houses, etc.)

And the biggest tip of all? Imagine yourself as a potential buyer looking at your property for the very first time. What impressions are you getting? Would YOU buy your house? What would you like to see changed before you put an offer on your house?

And don’t worry about spending several thousand dollars to get your house ready to sell – you’ll get it all back when your house sells. Proper staging helps you sell your house in a shorter time and at the price you want.

Make A Good First Impression: Landscape Your Driveway

Is your driveway landscaped? It should be.

This includes the driveway itself, as well as the design elements on both sides. All sorts of materials from softscape options to hardscape are available to make your driveway attractive.

Make A Good Entrance

As the entrance to your home, the driveway should not be neglected. It can either be a scar on the other landscaping around the home or it can add depth to the entire look of your home. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on it either. You can be creative and choose attractive features, and have a very low cost landscape that is welcoming.
Make sure that you take everything into account before choosing your elements. For example, if you are looking for minimal work, do not plant a flower bush at the end of your driveway where the plants can be ruined by those in your neighborhood. Instead, use an attractive fence or a rock garden.

Another important aspect is the footpath to the home. Do not use any design elements that will be in the way of the normal foot traffic. You don’t want to visitors going out of their way, or worse, trampling your plants to reach your door.

Hardscape Choice

You have many options: common ones include walls and fences, which can add distinction and accent your driveway. A small fence can add character and color to the landscape. Use hanging baskets or lanterns on the fence for more charm.
A large rock can be especially interesting, particularly when it has multiple colors. You can plant grasses and small flowers in the cracks of stones to create even more decorative looks.

Softscape Choices

On a limited budget, just landscaping along the sides of the driveway is an excellent option. It will cost little, yet add lots of beauty to your landscape design.

As for softscape options appropriate to driveway areas, many things will work, such as a flower bed or groundcover along the driveway. This will create a border that is interesting and separates the lawn from the actual driveway.

Ornamental trees and shrubs can do the same thing along the edge of the driveway. Shrubs can be cut to become topiary, which will add even more design elements to the look of the driveway landscape.

Another thing to consider is the curved driveway. If your driveway has a curve in it, a great idea is to add a focal point; something to make a statement. For example, you can have a beautiful tree, a flower bed, or a rock garden there. Whatever it is it should be beautiful because the curve will focus attention at that point of your driveway. You can use water gardens, a wishing well, as well as many other types of elements to enhance this area and have it look amazing.

Doing these landscaping operations can completely transform the entrance to your home. In a simple, affordable way, you can add character and depth to your landscape design around your driveway. But the real icing on the cake for your curb appeal is to have a premium front entry door system installed. With Lifestyle’s custom manufactured door and window installations, you can take your front entry to a whole new level.

Contact us today to find out more about the many amazing design options Lifestyle can bring to your home’s street-side appearance. Plus, not only are our doors beautiful and energy efficient, they’re also the most secure doors in the Canadian marketplace. Get a free estimate today to learn more:

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