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Decorative Accessories in the Garden

Garden figures are in great demand nowadays. Even stiff and reserved Englishmen and Germans decorate their gardens with them.

It’s believed that garden gnomes protect plants and they by all means make a garden look better. Most people maintain their gardens in good conditions but if you dream of a cosy and unusual garden where you could spend weekends then garden figures will be the best solution. Putting them in right order demands creativity. And if you’re creative enough you can turn your garden into an exclusive work of art.

Figures in form of ducks, gnomes, mushrooms, frogs, angels and fish can be easily mounted on a garden stone and will nicely decorate a rockery as well as a pond. Don’t forget about proportions. Big sculptures are for broad lands while tiny figures will look perfect in small cosy gardens. Garden accessories must attract your attention to the best parts of the garden. According to feng shui a classical garden must have some free space in the middle: a pond or a lawn.

Rockeries are the best place for garden gnomes. These garden figures are loved by children. Those who have small children can put figures of fairy-tale characters on the playgrounds or near them. But don’t jam up space. It goes without saying that you must be positively creative to turn your garden into something unique, something that would fill you with joy and inner peace. If you have old stumps and stubs in your garden try to use them as decorative elements as well.

A crocodile appears in many ancient myths as a symbol of the Earth’s support. This nocturne divine creature will be a perfect solution in exterior and landscape designing. A crocodile figure will add originality to the landscape bringing shades of South-African nature. Don’t you feel a gentle breathing of a hot African wind?

If a figure of an extravagant animal is not your cup of tea make use of garden signs. You can write a quote from your favorite book or just a catchy phrase on them. Animate your garden and let it speak to you.

Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is a rising trend for most home owners wanting to illuminate their homes at night time. Landscape lighting is better described as painting with light and is about beautifying all that is natural or man made in a landscaped setting around the home. It is no longer a luxury item for the average to up market neighborhood. Landscape lighting is most effective when used in limited, subtle ways. If designed correctly it can be an extension of your home decor and can extend the use of outdoor spaces to the home while providing safety, atmosphere and space definition. It can also be most effective is hiding unwanted features such as trash cans or compost bins. Lighting is used to bring trees and scrubs to life at night and extenuate features around your home that are not visible or obvious during the day time. If used correctly low level lighting can be used to illuminate pathways and stairs for safety and security. Lighting allows you to enjoy your garden and exterior amenities of your home even after the sun has set.

Security

Landscape lighting is one of the best security systems you can install. Lighting can be used as a deterrent to residential crime. Correct proportions of landscape lighting surrounding your home, has been shown to minimize crimes by as much as fifty percent. Lighting has two great uses to aid in the security of your home. The lighting can intimidate possible intruders to avoid trespassing on to your property. Should this fail, the illuminated areas will also make it possible for you or your neighbor’s to see any intruders as they trespass.

Safety

Typically low voltage lighting systems are used for landscape lighting around the home. The preferred light fittings used to create most lighting designs, are low voltage, weather resistant fixtures. The low voltage used reduces the risk of electrocution if live wiring or terminals are touched. Also if power supply transformers are used to reduce the voltage, then they also isolate the low voltage system from the mains voltage which increases safety.

Not just the Garden

Although lighting brings your garden and exterior amenities to life at night time, facade or feature lighting to the exterior of your home should also be considered. If the landscaping has been done correctly it should compliment the house properly during the day. Why not extend the landscape lighting to the exterior surfaces of the home as well.

Narrow beamed lighting that highlights sharp features and wide angled flood lighting to pick up flat surfaces are preferred. These two simple methods create pools of light and shadows that will transform a house that may be uninteresting during the day, and make it come to life at night.

Installation

Low voltage landscape lighting is easy to install even if you’ve never done any electrical installations before. The easiest are prewired lighting systems. These are low voltage light fittings that come completely prewired and ready to install, with weather proof transformers, sealed connectors and pre-installed lamps. All you need to do is place each light fitting that is connected to a string of wire, where you want it, connect the transformer to the mains voltage and turn it on. It’s that simple. Separately wired low voltage light fittings and transformers should only be installed by persons that have the experience to do so. It is recommended that these installations should be carried out by a qualified electrician. Remember that during the installation it is desirable to include a timer or a daylight sensor so that the lighting is automatically switched off during daylight hours. Normally landscape lighting is added after the landscaping has been completed. With this in mind it would be a good idea to lay conduits or ducts into your garden. This would minimize any trench digging when it came time to run your low voltage wiring. Map out where you think you will want your light fittings and lay conduits or ducts to suit.

Design

Once the layout of the landscape has been established, it is very important to plan the placement of your light fittings. Lighting can focus on aspects in your landscape which are special to you, such as garden art, a water feature, or an unusual planting. Create a point of interest by highlighting a particular tree, shrub, or architectural aspect of you landscape with a flood light placed at ground level and focused upward. Combinations of light and shadow can create dramatic effects in complete contrast to the daylight scene. Lighting around pools can create a nice mirroring effect off the water or create a tropical feel. Lighting can hide obvious landscape problems while accentuating positive features. Landscape lighting design is very similar to the design of the landscape itself. Most landscape architects will include a lighting scheme with their design.

Budget

Low voltage lighting is often a do-it-yourself project and there are many options to suit your budget. Landscape lighting is also more affordable than ever coming in dozens of styles at a wide range of prices. Although it is tempting to purchase the cheaper incandescent lighting systems, in the long run the compact fluorescent options are better. Incandescent lamps will last for between 750 to 1000 hours. Halogens will last for 3500 to 5000 hours. But fluorescent lamps will last for as much as 10,000 hours. Because low voltage fluorescent light fittings have a lower power consumption than incandescent or halogens this makes them more desirable. Fluorescent light fittings also last longer than any other light fitting because they do not get as hot.

Solar Lighting

An alternative to low voltage lighting are solar lights. Solar landscape lighting stores energy captured during the day and then when it becomes dark enough, the outside lighting switches on automatically and stay on all night until they run out of battery power. A very good point is that solar lighting dose not use any wiring or external power source Unfortunately the disadvantages of solar lighting is that they give out very low levels of lighting and this gets dimmer as the night goes on.

Do-It-Yourself Landscaping Tips

For anyone who intends to go the route of do-it-yourself landscaping, this article will share some really useful tips for you to get started. The very first question that you should probably ask yourself is – “What do you want your landscaping to look like?”

This question is best answered by reading home decor and gardening magazines and visiting your neighbors’ yards. That should give you a glimpse and idea of what you could possibly accomplish in your own do-it-yourself landscaping. Running a search online for photos or designs can be inspiring as well.

However, you need to be realistic as what is done in other countries may not be applicable and relevant to you because of the different climatic conditions. The plants and green used may not be available in where you stay as well. Well, in the event that such a situation does develop, you can always use substitutes. That is the beauty of do-it-yourself landscaping. You get to choose and pick your own plants and modify them according to your whims and fancies!

Another factor you should consider is the extent of design and budget you have. It can be a simple one on a low budget or an elaborate concept that will cost more. But one thing you should be aware of is that your yard can look pleasing and comfortable to your eyes without costing a bomb!

You also need to work out your time commitment and how much effort are you going to put into working the yard to the way you want it to look. Sometimes, it can take months. So be patient.
Plan your landscaping. Gather the pictures that you have come across and like. Draw a design of how it will look like when completed. Then decide on the time line to complete it as well as the plants and green you need to buy. Finally, draft out the steps that need to be included in your do-it-yourself landscaping project. It is no different from any other project. Planning is a must!

With these tips in mind, it becomes more pleasurable and achievable for you to build your own beautiful yard.