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By Roelf Nel

Lighting Landscape Design: Adding Life to Your Gardens

Your freshly landscaped garden deserves to be showcased. Even at night, you could show off your beautiful garden and enjoy your efforts of planning and designing a perfect landscape. There is no better way to bring life to your garden than adding lights. Lighting landscape design creates a stylish feel to your garden giving a touch of luxury.

Lighting landscape design has many benefits

There is no doubt that the use of proper lighting enhances the security of your surroundings particularly in the garden area. Your attention could easily be drawn to any obstacles that may seem like a possible intruder. The lights would brighten up all the hidden and dark corners in the yard so it acts as a deterrent for any unwanted visitors.

It serves as the accent to the garden. Landscape lights enhances the beauty of your garden. There are several landscape light options  you can consider using to improve the finesse and style of your garden. Adding lights into your garden is not an expensive venture. If you prefer, you can use just a few lights to feature your flowerbed or rock garden.

The Uses of Lighting Landscape Design

For decoration

A garden would be more charming with the landscape lighting. The footpaths or pathways look prettier when lined up with lights. It would also be better to have a reserve of white bulb lights so that you could replace the coloured ones whenever you want to have a change of theme.

For entertainment

If you love to give out parties every now and then, adopting a lighting landscape design would be perfect for your entertainment endeavours. A beautifully made garden is a perfect venue for hosting parties.

Kinds of Lighting for Your Landscape Design

There are two categories of lighting landscape designs that you could consider using. The one option is the use of the power supply connected to your home powering up the lights for your landscape design. It would be best to have an electrician set this up for you.

Solar Energy

The other option for you is using solar energy light fixtures. It works through the absorption of the sunlight by means of a special cell and thereby storing that into a battery. Solar energy is a very inexpensive source of energy. There is only one major drawback of it and it points out to its inefficiency when there is no more sun exposure.

Lighting landscape design is a good option to add excitement, colour, and life to your garden as well as to your home in general.

Get some inspiring ideas on gorgeous landscape ideas and visit our Pinterest Board .

By Roelf Nel

Elements to consider for your Pool Landscape Design

It is always a great idea to compliment the interior of your home with your exterior and have a gorgeous backyard. Many homeowners choose to have their backyards filled with great landscape designs of flowers and other sorts of vegetation. The trend is for homeowners to create multi-purpose swimming pools to enhance a luxurious lifestyle.

Pool shapes:

It all begins with the shape of the pool you want. The shape and size of your yard will determine the best pool design. The general rule of thumb are the geometrical figures and streamlined lap pools that give the wet edge look. The latter are designed so that the water from the pool would slip over the surrounding basin. This gives the dramatic illusion of a more opulent and larger pool.

Pool colours:

The colour of the pool is always credited by giving the dramatic effect. This is because the colour gives the more defined outline on the general design and it dictates the surrounding landscape design. Shades of blue, more specifically sapphire hues, are popular for swimming pools which are often matched by crystal outline. Blue stands out from green shades of the vegetation and the rustic hues of bricks, marble and other rocks common among pools.

Water features:

Plain swimming pools are obsolete, thus fountains are great to create effects for the pool.  You can use a grand wall of flowing water or small trickles of a well-constructed fountain.

Plants:

Floras are never out of trend, the variety of effects come from the manipulation of the hundreds of species of plants and flowers. Each general design, say tropical landscape, calls for various usage and species of plants. This element for pool landscape design must be used with optimised results. Of course, you do not want your pool to look as if you have created a botanical garden when all you wanted is to accessorise your landscape design with touches of greens.

Lighting:

Whether you intend to use the pool in the evening or not, you still would want to consider the use of lighting effects to illuminate the features of the pool and the surrounding areas. A single spotlight has been out of trend for quite some time now and the use of subtle lights is considered the best replacements.

Decking:

Decking, no matter what you call it, is a great addition to your pool landscape design. This suggests a good outdoor “room” where you can stay for relaxation and is very useful for additional designs such as hanging plants.

Additional designs: 

Small details are good additions to your pool landscaping designs. Birdbaths, sculptures, wildlife boxes, bird feeders, rock formations and all other imaginable items will do your landscaping some favours when strategically placed.

Visit the Pinterest Board to get some more inspiring swimming pool design ideas.

By Roelf Nel

5 Key Elements in Your Landscape Design

What makes landscape design stand out? Is it the variety of plants and grasses that cover the whole yard? Is it the fence that seems to frame the whole garden? Or is it the fountain that sits right in the middle of every plant, grass, and evergreen? The answer is not the individual element that fills up the garden but how these individual elements are combined to make a great looking landscape design. How can one achieve this?

There are the 5 key elements that your landscape design must have in order to stand out:

Unity or Harmony

Unity or Harmony means that all the components in the design should go together as one and must express consistency and style. All the components should, therefore, fit in a theme making them work together to create a harmonious combination of colours, lines, bends, and elements. To achieve unity, repetition and mass planting can be used in the landscape design.  Thus, unity or harmony brings together everything that is used in a landscape design without spoiling the practicality and compromising the beauty.

Focal Point

A landscape design would not be complete without a focal point. A focal point gives direction to the lines and bends giving definition not only to the whole landscape design, but also to every area within the plan. There are popular landscape focal points like a big tree or a flowerbed, a pool or a pond, a fountain or artificial waterfalls. The focal point in a landscape design should direct the traffic in the garden area.

Proportion

Proportion refers to the size of the parts of the landscape design in respect to one another, to the landscape design as a whole, and to the property, structures, and human elements. For example, a small waterfall will be lost at the middle of a big garden with large trees and shrubs. A large oak on the other hand may not complement a one-story house. The point is, the relationship of each part should be within the reasonable size and should not dominate the presence of the others.

Symmetry and Balance

This is another very important element that can throw off the entire plan if not used properly. There are some landscape designs that may look a bit restless and uncomfortable. This is because they lack symmetry and balance. The curves, bends and lines are tiring; the use of plants and ground overlays are inappropriate; and repetition of all the elements does not have a variety. To achieve balance, the landscape design should have a good use of line, shape, texture, form, and colour all at the same time. The repetition should vary from one area to another and the plants and ground overlays should be in tune with all the other elements of the design.

Simplicity

A landscape design should not be overdone just to stand out from the entire neighbourhood. Simplicity is the key.

Visit our Pinterest board  to get inspired by some ideas we have found. I am sure you have great ideas you can share with us too.

By Roelf Nel

A guide to outdoor lighting

With the evolution of lighting technology, outdoor lighting has seen its share of breakthroughs. Outdoor lighting is as important as indoor lighting. Lighting up the spaces immediately outside or surrounding our living areas is extremely vital for visual orientation, safety while navigating, and security, as well as for balancing out the indoor ambiance. The outdoor surroundings prepare and provide a preview to the life and living style within the four walls. Outdoor lighting is equally important in reflecting the external persona of a structure and its surrounding area. It sets a particular mood and provides a visual treat.

Outdoor lighting presents enormous scope for experimentation. It is a new canvas waiting to be coloured by unique lighting approaches, ideas, and techniques. Outdoor lighting spaces comprise the areas surrounding the structure, pathways, swimming pools, or fountains, landscape surrounding the structure, patios, balconies, decks, porches, etc.

There are a variety of options on the market, including low-voltage lighting, floodlights, tree lights, post lights, lanterns, string bulbs for festive occasions, recessed lighting, scoops, and even solar lights devoid of wires and operating on NiCad batteries.

Various techniques of lighting can be used in outdoor lighting. Spotlighting, which focuses light on architectural features, may be positioned to minimize glare and focus fully on the focal point. Silhouetting is placing the light sources behind the object to bring out the shape of the object rather than the exact colour and texture. Key light or shadowing requires placing the light source directly in front of the object of interest to create a light and shadow effect. Moonlighting requires a fixture to be placed on the trees and aiming it down to provide a natural peaceful moonlit effect. Deck lighting, grazing (light focuses on the object at a sharp angle) and washing the surface (light focuses on objects at a wider or blunt angle), step lighting, walkway lighting, pond and fountain lighting, and sign lighting are some of the various techniques used for outdoor lighting.

In outdoor lighting, a basic thing that has to be kept in mind is that the lighting fixtures are exposed to all the elements outside. In case of lighting water features, the light source is sometimes from the inside to create a magical glittering and rippling effect. Therefore, appropriate lighting fixtures and lights should be chosen. Self-lighting kits of low voltage are also available for those who wish to try out their creative lighting talents.

Visit our Pinterest Board for inspiring ideas for outdoor lighting.

By Roelf Nel

Transform your patio with 3 inspired themes

Aside from furnishings, there are many themes that you can decorate your patio with, from Asian to Art Deco. Deciding is half the fun. And the best part of decorating your patio is that you do not have to be stuck with one décor. You are always free to decorate and redecorate according to mood, taste, and even season.

Asian-Inspired Décor
What fun it is to be able to decorate your patio with furnishings and décor from other countries. Asian-inspired décor is perfect for your patio as it appeals to nature both indoors and outdoors. You can use many materials and design ideas to create Asian-inspired décor in your patio.

  • Wood, stone, bamboo, concrete, and even glass are perfect elements to create a backdrop of floors and walls for your Asian-inspired décor.
  • Water is a classic element of Asian inspired décor. A waterfall, birdbath, or pond running through your patio will incorporate the décor perfectly.
  • Plants in the form of potted bamboo are perfect Asian accents to your patio décor.
  • Accessories are important for Asian-inspired décor. Pottery, lanterns, pillows with fringe are all great accent pieces for your patio décor.

Italian-Inspired Décor
There is nothing more romantic and exquisite than Italian-inspired décor for your patio. Decorating your patio in this way is a great way to lose yourself in the moment and in the mood.

  • Brick, stone, and tile are famous components of Italian-inspired décor. Using these as a backdrop for floors and walls on your patio and incorporating them into fire pits and cooking areas is a perfect way to combine the Italian love of food and stone into your patio.
  • Brass accessories, different types and colours of espresso pots and cups hung up as décor, potted plants, wicker furniture, deep burgundies and rich purples mixed with gold are all complementary of Italian décor. Pictures of angelic cherubs on the back wall of your patio and you are transported to Italy.
  • Arches, a vine-covered trellis, and flowering vines up the posts to your patio with a small waterfall and you will almost feel as though you are in Tuscany.
  • Of course, any décor with grapes, wine bottles, and vines is the topper.

Spanish-Inspired Décor
Spanish-inspired décor will keep you and your patio guests entertained and full of vitality and energy during your time out on the patio.

  •  Bright and vibrant yellows, blues, and aqua along with mosaic tiles will keep you in the festive Spanish-inspired mode.
  • Arches, moss, small fountains, and Aztec prints are all perfect to tie in your Spanish-inspired décor.
  • Copper pots, sleek lines, stucco, and cement are all perfect for the backdrop of your décor.

These are just a few of the many different ways you can decorate your patio for an international feel. Visit our Outdoor Living Pinterest Board  and explore some great ideas for outdoor living and get inspired.

By Roelf Nel

Create extra space with a Patio

You are in an optimal position for adding a patio to your home if you have a house where your kitchen or living area is facing the back of the house and you have sliding doors to the backyard. Adding on a patio will enhance the spaciousness of your home.

Your patio does not have to be elaborate or state-of-the-art if your main concern is simply to add additional space. Extending your house with a patio gives you extra space for entertainment and outdoor cooking.

Keep your guests out of your kitchen and into the sunshine while you prepare a meal. Guests love to mingle on a patio or deck. It has a great feel under their feet and most people enjoy the outdoors on a beautiful day.

Not only will you have extra space in your kitchen with your guests out on the deck or patio, you will also have created the perfect outdoor “man cave.” Most men love to talk over the braai, and making a patio is the perfect designated area for the coveted braai.

This is great spaces to hold book club meetings in nice weather or to have some girlfriends over for a light lunch.

You can create useful storage space out on your patio that you did not have before in the way of deck storage for cushions. You can even custom build benches that have storage built inside them and store all of your summer items in those benches.

With the days warming up, and the tendency to gravitate outdoors, isn’t it time to build that patio?

Visit our Pinterest board for fabulous outdoor living ideas. Get inspired and create a perfect space for summer.

By Roelf Nel

Driveway Gates – the entrance to your castle

First impressions are important, and when it comes to the entrance of your castle, you want it to be unique. Your visitors will remember the house with the magnificent gate that served as a welcome but a deterrent to intruders. Wrought iron driveway gates can give your home that wow factor.

Driveway gates and fences will enhance the beauty, privacy and security of your home. A driveway gate extends your home security to the boundaries of your property, and in a time where people are increasingly worried about their security adding an iron gate at the driveway entrance has become popular. Having a secure fence and gate can be a great comfort, particularly if your house lies in an area of heavy traffic. In addition to the security benefits, adding a gate also contains animals, clearly marks property lines and makes a huge aesthetic improvement to your home.

When you choose an iron driveway gate for your home you can be confident in the knowledge that they are known for their strength and endurance. This makes them less likely to break or bend. With today’s power coating options, wrought iron gates can become just as rust resistant as aluminum. Iron gates can be matched with existing fences, pedestrian gates and access control systems.

It can be very frustrating to finish a long commute only to have to get out of the car, open a gate, drive through it, get out of the car again and close the gate. With this in mind another trendy feature for your iron driveway gates is to install an automatic gate opener. Electric gates provide indispensable convenience, allowing a gate to be opened without ever having to leave your car and therefore eliminating all those cumbersome steps.

When purchasing electric gates you need to consider a few options. The most obvious is deciding whether you want your driveway gate to open by sliding or swinging outwards. Swing gates are more aesthetically pleasing but you must take into account the opening radius depending on the length of the gate. Sliding gates will eliminate this issue as they retract rather than swing out.

You will also need to consider how much power is required to open and close your driveway gate. The amount of power is dependent on the size of your gate, how it opens and how many times it will need to be opened each day.

Finally, how will your gate be accessed, and by how many users? Electric gates are operated by a controller which sends a signal to the opening mechanism.

There are several options for your controller:

  • Wireless
  • Wired keypads
  • Keypads with intercoms
  • Key card operated controllers
  • Controllers operated by remotes or telephones

Each of these features will affect the price and your final decision should be based on your budget and personal preference. Once you have taken all these points into consideration you can narrow down your options and choose the best Driveway Gates for your specific needs.

For some inspiration, visit our Pinterest Board.

 

By Roelf Nel

Pathway designs ideas

Pathways have many different functions. Your pathway can create a whimsical feel drawing attention to a secret garden or it can create a grand entrance to your home. Enhance the mood and atmosphere of your garden by connecting your entertainment areas with a stylish pathway.

A well-designed walkway will have an impact on the overall look and feel of your property. If the purpose of your pathway is to direct traffic, you may want a path that is wide enough for accommodate two people walking side by side. For a path leading up to your door, make it generously wide.

Your pathways should complement your house and landscape design. Having a gently curved path is more pleasing to the eye than just a straight line with sharp curves.

When choosing the material, consider the purpose of your pathway. A whimsical pathway using loose gravel is ideal for a path in your garden, but not for your entrance way. Apart from being difficult to rake, the loose stones can cause damage to your entrance hall.

Brick pathways offer a huge variety of sizes, shapes and colours you can select. These pathways are durable and versatile. They are weather and slip resistant, which is an important factor to consider in designing your pathway. The drawback is the growth of weeds.

Natural stone creates a beautiful natural look and feel. You may be limited in your choice of shape and colour. If you are wanting to create a feel that your pathway is part of the landscape, natural stone is the right choice. Apart from being a more expensive option, weeds can grow between the stones and over time create an uneven surface.

A more flexible option is stamped concrete giving the look of natural stone, and does not leave room for weeds to grow between stones. You can create very natural looking or more formal looking designs by simply using different patterns.

Flagstone has a natural look and is a good option to choose for a walkway because of its non-slip surface. To avoid slips and accidents it is important the flagstones are evenly installed.

When it comes to building a pathway, you can do it yourself and throw a few slabs down and reward yourself with a tall cold one for a job well done. Or you can create a masterpiece that will last for years to come. Involving a landscaper would be a suitable solution to prevent land shifts destroying your pathway to tranquillity.

Get inspired by our Pinterest Board, we have found some great samples of pathways that will get your creative juices flowing.

By Roelf Nel

Pergola Design Ideas

Extend your living space into the outdoors and capture the sounds of birds chirping away, enjoy the fragrance coming from your garden, yet protected from the harsh sun. Transform your space into a beautiful, welcoming venue for your family to have outdoor suppers or entertain your guests. House this space under a Pergola.

Pergola ideas to consider

  1. Brick Pergolas: Using good quality red bricks that can withstand the harsh African weather conditions offers a more structural look to your Pergola. Create brick pillars holding the lattice wooden rooftop while your favourite climbing plant twines around the beams creating a living roof covering.
  2. Pergola Curtains: For a Mediterranean feel, instead of heavy pillars, have outdoor curtains suspended to create a luxury haven. Use the curtains to add to the overall design and feel of your Pergola. Not only do they offer a way to create shade, but create a space of privacy.
  3. Bamboo is a durable material that can withstand the elements and will offer you a roofing option that is attractive and long-lasting.
  4. Retractable fabric coverings offer the best of both worlds. At times having the sun streaming in and enjoying the rays is welcomed. Then you don’t want a roof covering. Then there are days that the shade covering and protection is a must. These canopies are created from Sunbrella fabrics and provide the SPF protection.
  5. For a more contemporary look use steel structures. For the designer look, cut patterns into the steel frames. This example on our Pinterest Board will get those creative juices flowing if you want to create something special.
  6. Connect your house to your garden using a pergola. A curved roof offers an alternative design to classical beam design.

Visit our Pinterest Board to get inspiration from the fantastic Pergola designs we found. From classical designs to more contemporary designs. What will your Pergola look like?

By Roelf Nel

Water Feature Ideas to transform your garden

Change the ambiance of your garden and add a feature that can help you feel relaxed after a busy day.  A feature that will bring life and a peaceful sound as the water gushes over the rocks.  This can be a pond, a fountain or waterfall.

Transform your garden into a peaceful retreat with these water feature ideas

  1. Consider a free-standing self-contained water feature. The classical option is the pouring lady statue.  Grace your garden with dignity and culture as this feature streams water into a pond or bowl.  The options include the large classic ball, large modern antique limestone with a bronzed ball, ornate two-tiered in antique stone and white limestone, two-tiered candy twist traditional design and beautiful water jug lady statue. These types of designs easily fit in the architecture of every garden.
  2. For the larger garden area, look at the in-ground water feature. These fountains are ideal if you want a low key fountain to blend into its surroundings. These fountains are installed inside the ground and decorated with lavish garden beds and features.
  3. Pond fountains add elegance and tranquility to any garden. There are so many options to consider. Go for a partially above ground water feature.
  4. Having a water wall creates a space to relax in listening to the falling water. Give your water wall a natural look using rough stones. But if you like something more modern, choose an installation with lights and beautiful jets of water.
  5. A more traditional feel is to have a water fountain sprouting out of the wall gushing into a bowl or pond.

Have a discussion with a landscaper and get their opinion on how to change your garden into a peaceful haven.  Visit showrooms and see what beautiful features are offered for creating a water feature, or visit our Pinterest Board and get some ideas.  Dream and develop a plan to create a tranquil place to come home to after a busy day at work.

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Lighting Landscape Design: Adding Life to Your Gardens
Elements to consider for your Pool Landscape Design
5 Key Elements in Your Landscape Design
A guide to outdoor lighting
Transform your patio with 3 inspired themes
Create extra space with a Patio
Driveway Gates – the entrance to your castle
Pathway designs ideas
Pergola Design Ideas
Water Feature Ideas to transform your garden