Deck and Patio Lighting Thoughts

One of the primary motivators for the homeowner in considering a patio or deck area as an add-on to their home is its entertainment value. Cruise the neighborhood during the day and you will more than likely see only a few people using the patio or deck. However, as evening approaches the story changes. When parent(s) come home from work or when it’s the right time to plan a party for friends and relatives, the patio or deck is frequently used as the center of festivities that often last well into the night.

During the planning stages, it’s important to include a lighting plan to make sure that the patio and deck area are not only well-lighted but that the lighting design creates a magical effect for its visitors.

Starting with the most elegant (and usually the most expensive) deck and patio lighting we can take a look at lights that are built-in to the foundation elements of the patio or deck. These lights provide a soft uplight glow that can mark a pathway or just provide a non-functional source of beauty. The lights are generally installed by contractors during the patio and deck construction and are generally not a project that the average DIY should consider tackling. I’ve seen this type of lighting done in a variety of colors and have even seen systems that automatically change the colors during the course of the evening, providing a mood-altering effect.

Dimmers are also a worthwhile investment for ground level lighting, allowing the host to increase or decrease the intensity of the lighting depending on the mood desired. Ground lighting is very safe since the lights themselves are never in contact with the visitors. Contractors will make sure that the process for changing the bulbs is simple and straightforward.

Speaking of dimmers, it’s generally a good idea to keep your entire deck and patio lighting system under dimmer control. Bright moonlight can allow you to turn the lighting down a bit while dark moonless nights can prompt you to boost the light up a bit.

Ground level lighting can also be used to frame the patio or deck area particularly if you’ve planted shrubbery or other low plantings around the area.

Down lighting is another type of deck and patio lighting. As the name implies, this is lighting from above and can be used to simulate moonlight. Besides being a natural lighting source, down lighting also enhances the security of the area because a lighted deck or patio usually leaves the impression the there’s someone at home.

A creative way to use this as a security feature is to have your doorbell circuit tied into a switch that at least temporarily turns the down lights on.

Most down lighting is accomplished by the use of either or both floodlights and spotlights. The floodlight will provide more ambient lighting by illuminating the entire deck or patio area while spotlights can be used as task lighting to highlight such areas as stairways and entryways. Spotlights can also be used to accent special features such as fountains, plantings or cooking and eating areas.

Many deck and patio lighting is installed at the waist level to keep any glare away from the face and to provide an elegant touch. Some lighting can also be installed at the top of posts that are at the top of stairways or other areas that separate one part of the deck or patio from another.

Some homeowners use strip or rope lights to highlight the porch or deck railing or other areas that need special attention such as stair risers or seating areas. If you live in an area where you can use a deck or patio during the winter holiday season, give some thought to decorating the area with lighting that can be used year-round.

Have fun with your lighting plan for your deck or patio. Most of the lighting is relatively inexpensive and can be removed or modified relatively easily. You may want to divide your plan into lights, which need to be permanently installed, and lights that are movable and optional.

Please don’t get carried away with deck and patio lighting plans. This type of lighting is best understated although some decorative lighting such as hurricane lamps or tiki torches (used in moderation) are OK.

Bugs are often a problem at night and several manufactures offer lights that discourage or repel flying pests. Sometimes a bright light, strategically placed in a tree a bit away from the patio or deck will help keep these insects occupied elsewhere rather than with your guests.

Above all, keep in mind that you want to create a magic environment that will encourage visitors to congregate and socialize late into the evening.

The Fine Art of Bonsai: Beautiful and Unique Decor

The bonsai is a very delicate plant; bonsai can be shaped and molded into any for you want, most people use wire and gently let the tree grow and shape itself according to the will of the gardener. Bonsai are a rare and stunning addition to any home, patio, garden or yard. And the bonsai can be long lasting if it is well cared for.

If you are looking for a new gift idea, one that no one else is likely to have–check out the many kinds of bonsai trees available on the market. Especially for a housewarming present or any other present–and of course, as a gift for yourself if you want this elegant look that only bonsai can create in your own home.

The art of bonsai originated in Asia many centuries ago, the literal translation of the Japanese, means “tray planting”. As most gardening, growing bonsai is a truly artistic endeavor, there must be a similarity, or striking appropriateness of the pot in which you plant your bonsai. The tree must compliment the pot as the pot compliments the tree. Of course, as I mentioned before, the tree is then shaped. In fact, the tree, if not shaped by the gardener, will not live long and will grow, surprisingly enough, looking unlike a tree. Each branch and limb of a bonsai tree is shaped or clipped and molded into the perfect design.

Bonsai is the fine art of dwarfing trees and other kinds of plants to create a picturesque shape, when trained using the proper growing methods.

A successfully well-designed and well-maintained bonsai is a delicacy among the gardening arts. It is an ancient horticultural phenomenon and a perfect gift for any dedicated gardener you may know. And the bonsai make a lovely addition to any home, garden, patio, yard, office etc. It will be an impressive part of the overall look of your décor, as well as a unique touch that is certain to draw the eye and be the center of attention.

Wicker Patio Sets – Creating an Asian Theme

Decorating the backyard can be even more fun than decorating your homes interior, because you have more to work with. And with outdoor resin wicker being the center of attention on the patio, you can’t go wrong. In this article, we will look at how to create a Zen Garden and patio area with an Asian flair centered on pieces of wicker furniture.

Backyard spaces are meant for times of quiet tranquility, but also festive evenings as well. Mix the two well by having areas that are cozy and inviting to you on restful days, but also make sure you have enough proper seating places for guests. If you have enough room, consider making a dining place as well as a lounging place in this fantastic outdoor room. To create an unforgettable dining area, try paring a cast aluminum glass top table with some Brielle dining chairs from GAR. These chairs feature clean lines and high backs that are welcoming to the weary homeowner. They come in natural colors that enhance the look of the Asian theme extremely well. Options are available for chairs with arms or without, allowing you to mix up the look at your dining table. Choose cushions in jewel tones that will contrast nicely to the natural appearance of woven material.

To embellish the overall look of this décor, try some bamboo screens set right up against your backyard fence, or somewhere visible on the patio where somewhat of a wall can be created. A large ceramic pot in jewel tones can house a Japanese Maple, bringing nature ever closer to you. Planting some Jasmine nearby will guarantee that a fragrant aroma will envelop you during your outdoor time. Less is more is the call of the Zen garden, so keep it simple. Flowers and plants like hydrangeas and bamboo or ferns are wonderful additions for those who prefer more greenery and color. To go to the hilt with this theme, you could replace your grassy area with sand, which represents water, and place large rocks throughout, representing mountains. A water feature and some Asian inspired statues placed in prominent places will round out the calming effect of your patio. As you create your Zen garden, consider placing wicker sitting chair which matches those on the outdoor dining area so that you have a resting place within the garden itself. The natural looking weave compliments nature perfectly, and fits right in with the idea of the garden, which is peace and serenity.

Having the right outdoor furniture for any theme is essential. Wicker patio sets work well with many different styles, and they are ideal thanks to their ability to be simple and also to be long lasting and low maintenance. In this particular theme, that is what it’s all about, simplicity.