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Landscape Lighting

Private garden in the evening, illuminated by lamps

Looking for a way to take your backyard from basic to breathtaking? Adding some landscape lighting can be the perfect way to illuminate the beauty of your property, but it can also be a somewhat intimidating project. That said, worry no more! We are here to give a primer in Landscape Lighting. We’ll cover the basics of the many types of lighting you can use in your project based on the ways each can accentuate your landscaping. We’ll look at:

 

  • Landscaping lighting types
  • What to light in your yard
  • How to use landscape lighting

 

One thing to keep mind as you plan your landscape lighting project is that less is more. While you may want to light up the backyard like a stadium, you’ll find that subtlety is not only more flattering and attractive but it’s the more eco-friendly and cost-efficient choice.

What makes really beautiful landscape lighting standout is the play of light and dark. Lighting gives you the opportunity to highlight features that you may not otherwise notice during the day.

Creating contrast and shadows in the yard creates an ambiance of relaxation, and in some cases, romance. It’ll also inspire you to spend more evenings in your backyard enjoying nature and the company of your favorite people.

 

Types of Landscape Lighting

Here are a few of the basic fixtures you will want to get to know when designing your lighting plan.

 

Path Lights

Small lanterns lining a walkway in the evening in the summer forestEasily the most common type of landscape lighting, path lights are small posts with a built-in light capped with a diffuser. They are great for illuminating walkways or framing a feature.

 

Postmount/Piermount Lights

Commonly used for entries, gates, fences, and around the deck, these lights are installed on top of a structure to for architectural light.

 

Deck and Step Lights

Installed directly into decking and hardscaping, these lights are used most prominently to light entertainment spaces and paths for safety.

 

Spotlight

The backbone of landscape lighting, they highlight outdoor features like trees, sculptural, and architectural details.

 

Flood Lights

These lights are the hard-working cousins of the path light, they give off a lot of light and work wonderfully as guide posts or to separate a driveway from a yard.

 

Well Lights

Similar to the spotlight, well lights are in-ground recessed lighting usually used to up light trees, walls, or lawn art.  

 

Pond Light

A pond light is in the simplest sense, a spotlight for water features. It can safely be submerged in water.

 

Hardscape Lights

New to the landscape lighting pantheon, these tiny LED lights are installed into and onto structures to gently wash the walls with light.

 

What to Light in Your Landscape

Photo of modern house with outdoor lighting, at night, external view

How do you decide what to illuminate and what to let linger in the shadows? Here a few things to consider:

  1. Is your entry inviting and well-lit? A properly lit entrance not only adds security, but also creates a sense of warmth. Two outdoor wall sconces are a classic option that provides function and curb-appeal.
  2. What are your favorite yard features? Is it a water feature or a particularly large and unique tree? Highlighting those will display them to their best degree.
  3. Look at the areas that don’t really stand out during the day. You’d be surprised how illuminating a simple stone wall adds a lot of drama when washed with light at night.
  4. Consider function! Decks and paths need to be safely lit to enjoy them in the evening.

 

How to Light a Landscape

Now to the big part—how to light your landscaping! Grab your high-powered, dimming optic flashlight and head out in the evening to play with lights and options. Take pictures and notes on what works and what doesn’t.

 

Here are a few landscape lighting effects you may want to try:

 

Up Lighting

One of the most basic landscaping lighting effects, up lighting creates drama with tall trees and structures.

Partners well with: Spotlights, Well Lights

 

Silhouetting

By putting a light behind them, interesting shapes become a main fixture during the evening that may not even be noticed during the day. Be sure you can’t see the light to get the best effect.

Partners well with: Spotlights, Well Lights

 

Shadowing

To create a soft, moody effect, put the light between the vantage point and the item, pointing the light at the item creating a shadow. Best used when there is a flat surface like a wall to catch the shadow.

Partners well with: Spotlights, Well Lights, Flood lights

 

Moon Lighting

If you have larger trees, place lighting high in the tree with the light aiming down to wash out the light creating a soft, romantic effect.

Partners well with: Spotlights

 

Grazing

For a landscape-heavy yard, place lights close to the flat surface and aim up and down at irregular angles to create drama and shadow play. This is commonly seen at luxury hotels and restaurants to give a heightened look to landscaping.

Partners well with: Well Lights, Hardscape Lights

 

Washing

Some spaces just need more light. Flood the entertainment area with light and then use a wide-beamed light in the mid-point between the main vantage point and the surface to cast a soft light over the whole area.

Partners well with: Flood Lights

 

Path Lighting

While it seems simple, too much can be too much. Use only as many lights as you need to keep the path well-lit but airy.

Partners well with: Path Lights

Now that you are equipped with a Landscape Lighting 101, go forth and illuminate! While you can do the designing yourself, it’s important to talk to a professional like our Memphis Landscape team when laying out your plan so you are sure to work with the correct voltage for your power grid and other intricate details you may miss.

While there are a countless ways to illuminate your yard, the enjoyment comes from creating a custom space unique to you, your family, and your home. If you’re looking to add some depth to your space with landscape lighting, get in touch with us to help get your yard set up the right way.

 

Leaf Removal

Nobody wants to spend their weekend raking, blowing, and bagging up leaves. But it has to be done, doesn’t it? Well, there are two schools of thought on the matter: You can let the professionals at Memphis Landscape handle it so you can enjoy your weekends watching football, or you can purchase the right equipment to make your yardwork somewhat less taxing.

 

Let’s see which sounds better to you.

 

orange leafeThe removal of leaves is important for both soil management and aesthetic reasons. Photosynthesis will continue even as your lawn growth slows, and the energy from it will be stored for the following spring. This process is inhibited when you let leaves cover your grass. The leaves block the light that is needed for the photosynthesis process. Leaf removal is very important with newly seeded lawns; young grass will die without light more quickly than the established turf. Leaves that remain on fescue seedlings can also increase rot conditions by creating a dark, damp climate that will smother out weaker plants. Removing the leaves in a timely fashion will allow your lawn to be well nourished and to breathe properly, ensuring an outstanding looking yard come spring!

 

A Few of the Many Reasons You Should Call Memphis Landscape:

  • Experts recommend you remove leaves at least twice a year, and ideally recommend you do it every 7-10 days.
  • Do not let the leaves become decomposed and matted. Start leaf removal when 20 to 30 percent of the leaves have fallen.
  • Raking is hard work! One can easily injure their back while twisting and bending in awkward ways to get those last stubborn leaves off the grass.
  • Leaf blowers are expensive! We have all the most up to date and advance lawn care equipment, do you ever ask yourself What size chainsaw sharpener do I need? check bestofmachinery.com and find out.
  • Your lawn will be robbed of sunlight if you leave your leaves on the ground all winter.
  • By spring your lawn will be a soggy mess, and these soggy leaves may contain diseases.
  • Your perennial plants may experience rotting from too many fallen leaves covering its roots.
  • Slimy pests like snails and slugs lay their eggs in the leaves that litter the ground.

 

If You Decide to Do it Yourself:

  • Make sure you get a rigid leaf rake. Pick one with a cushiony handle and a 30-36 inch fan so you can get between flowers and shrubs. This will run you between $10 and $20.
  • Get a leaf tarp. This way you can rake or blow the leaves onto a tarp instead of hundreds of plastic bags. A 12.5 by 10-foot tarp goes for around $22.
  • Buy a leaf blower. Make sure you get a two-cycle gasoline powered blower. Handheld blowers go for about $180 while the more comfortable backpack blowers go for upwards of $300.
  • Get yourself a nice yard vacuum. These shred and bag leaves, and are perfect if you like to compost. They go from $400 to $700.
  • Don’t be a procrastinator! It’s crucial to get leaves up quickly. They can weaken root systems and lead to mold and pests.
  • Keep mowing your lawn until the first frost. This will keep your grass strong and healthy. Then remove the leaves when your grass has stopped growing.
  • Something that you can do as an alternative to raking and bagging leaves is to mulch them with a lawnmower. This turns the grass into compost which is a really great fertilizer to grass. Make sure not to put mulch around trees, however, because this can attract insects which can damage or kill the tree.
  • Check your drains. If your yard is near a street-side storm drain, check that spot for leaves. Heavy rains can produce big clumps of wet leaves. This can prevent drainage and, in turn, lead to flooding in your yard and street.
  • See what the city requires. Some cities will ask you to rake your leaves into a row or pile at the curb so that municipal vacuums can clean them up. Other cities will ask you to put your leaves in paper bags. Check and make sure that whatever you decide to do is what your city asks of you.
  • If you’re certain you want to do it yourself, make sure to pace yourself while raking and don’t overdo it. It can be a strenuous activity that would be hard for someone with a sore or bad back. Take breaks as often as you need.

 

So there you have it. To accumulate the tools necessary to do your lawn justice, you’ll need to drop close to $1000 on equipment and spend your weekends developing callouses and blisters, and possible back injuries, all with the reward of a job well done. Or you can call the experts at Memphis Landscape to come relieve you and leave your lawn in tip top shape and all prepared for the backyard barbecues next summer! Get in touch with us today or call us at 901.343.6400.

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Drainage Issues? We’ve Got Answers!

It’s not uncommon to find families with drainage problems in their yards, and that can pose a huge problem when heavy rainstorms come through. In the last few weeks, hurricane weather brought 5-7 inches of rain into the Mid-South, and we received tons of calls about drainage problems as a result. Many homes were flooded, and those that weren’t could end up having problems with a rotting lawn or pests due to standing water. Here at Memphis Landscape, we want to make sure that no natural disaster adds any unnecessary damage to your yard. We understand the dangers that come with poor drainage and want to help you keep your yard resilient no matter what disasters come your way.

Good water drainage can be created with an assessment by a professional and just a few simple steps. The most important thing about drainage is making sure that water is being carried away from your house quickly and consistently. If not, it can cause your lawn to rot, which will keep your garden from thriving and make it easy to harbor pests. Standing water is dangerous and water draining against your home is even worse. The last thing you want is for it to water to leak into your house and cause damage.

Since drainage problems are common in the Memphis area, we’ve put together this list of common drainage problems and how they can be solved.

 

flooded street

Common Drainage Problems

Problem #1 – Yard Pitch or Slope

Most of the problems we find with drainage are the lack of slope or pitch in a yard, which prevents water runoff from being diverted away from the house. The issue can often be made more complicated by downspouts that don’t pipe away the rainwater from the property. A lot of issues can also be caused by houses that are set too low by the builder.

Fortunately, there are several solutions to this problem! When lawn areas are set too low, a French drain or catch basin can be used. However, keep in mind that French drains can get clogged after three to five years of use. You can also create a lower area called a swale (shallow gully) to direct water away. It is always preferable to have runoff water flow naturally over land without resorting to catch basins and French drains.

 

Problem #2 – Front Entrance Walkway

One of the biggest problem areas we see is the space between the front sidewalk and the house. Usually the sidewalk is parallel to the house and creates a piece of land in between them. The sidewalk will then act as a dam and will keep standing water in that area. What makes the problem worse is that downspouts are often directed to this area which means that all the water from the roof will be routed here as well.

One of the more aesthetic ways to solve this problem is by taking a portion of the walkway out and replacing it with stepping stones or you can cut the sidewalk in a design that lets the water through easily. Another solution is to install a pipe and catch basin underneath the sidewalk that can pipe the water away.

 

Problem #3 – Downspout Issues

It’s not uncommon for newer homes to have issues with drainage because builders don’t install downspouts, and this causes water to stay in one spot and not get diverted away from the house. There are also some downspouts that divert water towards the house rather than away from it. This is an issue because water that is directed to the house can end up in the basement or too close to the foundation of the house.

Your solution should not be to send the water to your property line and into your neighbor’s yard. Instead, what you’ll want to do is redirect the water into other areas into your yard where it could do some good.

If your yard is flat, then your only option is to create a pop-up. You start by pitching the slope of the drain pipe. It’ll go down below grade and when it gets to the street, it “pops-up” out of the ground and spills water out onto the street. The only problem with this is if there’s a major storm or water issue, since this can cause water to get backed up in the downspout. The alternative to this is to route the downspout to a dry creek bed or another sub-surface drainage system.

 

Problem #4 – Erosion from Water Runoff

Some problems can occur from excessive downspout water that comes from pipe openings, and this creates erosion areas in your yard. One way to fix this is by installing a dry creek bed to carry the water off. Not only are they functional, but they can become a nice feature in your yard. You can create a natural look by you can use river slicks and boulders. Although it may cost more than it would to install a catch basin, it’s a much better solution to have water running over the surface in a more natural way rather than underground where clogging problems can come up. We can put down a rubber liner and then put rocks on top of it and it acts as a water slide so that there isn’t any silt build-up.

 

Problem #5 – Soggy Trouble Spots

Child standing in flooded yardA lot of people with drainage issues seem to have certain spots in their yard that never dry up, no matter what the weather’s like outside. There are several different reasons this could be happening: you could have a spring or underground creek that might have fractured and is emerging on your lawn, or it could be caused by a large depression in your landscape where all your water is draining.

One solution is to install a rain garden in the location of the problem. It’s a great way to keep water on the property instead of sending to the street curb or into creeks. The best kind of rain garden is an area that has been excavated out and a gravel soil mix being put back in so that the water can be absorbed into the surrounding soil. You can fill these spaces with water-loving plants, and if the area is in a sunny spot, you can plant colorful flowers like perennials to create colorful accents to your yard.

 

How Memphis Landscape Can Help

Whether your problem is small like soil improvement or big like a whole new drain system, you can trust Memphis Landscape to help you get the yard you’ve dreamed of without standing water. We want you to be able to enjoy your home without the worry of storms ruining your property because of flooding and water damage.

If you’re in the Memphis area and have noticed that your yard doesn’t drain as well as it could and need assistance identifying and fixing the problem, get in touch with us so that we can come out and have a look at your yard and decide the best solution for you. Contact us here for more information or give us a call at 901.343.6400

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Current Trends in Landscape Design

Whether you are purchasing a new home or you are looking to update your current home, you probably want it composite decking style, that you’re are proud of. You want a place that you use to get away from the toils of the outside world and enjoy the company of your friends and family.  Having a front and backyard that reflects your personality is what makes landscape design such an exciting adventure.  The designer has to find the balance between form and functionality and what matches your desires.  That being said, there are many stylish landscape designs to fit any homeowner’s dream.  Having an experienced landscape designer is important to not only help you decipher what attractive designs to employ but also how to make them work cohesively in your yard. Memphis Landscape has the knowledge and experience to help you decide on what classic or modern landscape designs to employ in your front and backyard to fit your lifestyle. 

Personalized for your Comfort

Most homeowners are looking to make their experience outside specially customized for them.  Depending on what you are looking for this can include anywhere from an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, water garden or a beautiful patio. Making the yard a place where you can enjoy any activity or just relax with friends and family is the goal of a professional landscaper.

Tech in the Garden

Landscape lighting in Memphis yard

Everyone loves today’s technology; it can make life so much easier and entertaining. But when we are without some of that handy tech, we can feel a bit handicapped in our life.  We have the ability to use it freely around the home, and now homeowners want the freedom to use their tech outside the house as well. Landscape designers have heard the call and are starting to incorporate the ability to use technology outside.  This means putting TVs and stereos up to enjoy the football game or music around the patio.  Another comfort is being about to use the wifi on any of their devices while outside, so now people are putting up wifi routers outside as well. You may want to light up your yard at night; there are now solar panel lights that you can put around your yard without the hassle of any wiring.

Locally Grown

Landscaping TrendsNowadays people are looking less for the exotic plants and shrubs from around the world and focusing more on what grows locally. Having exotic flowers or trees is nice, but they require a lot of care.  Some may not do well in the Memphis heat or the random ice storms we have in the winter/spring.  Professional landscapers look for the right kind of plants that will thrive in your native climate.  It will mean less upkeep for you and more time enjoying the yard.  A Lot of people are looking into shrubs and plants that benefit the lawn as a whole. Some plants can help keep away bugs and insects, while other plants and grasses perform better with water absorption and runoff. Ask your landscaper what kind of turf is best for your lawn.

Beauty and Function

Current Landscaping Trends

Having a beautiful backyard that serves both the function of beauty and relaxation is great but what can make it even better is one that feeds you as well.  Planting herbs and vegetables is not only an excellent way to keep your yard beautiful but keep your family healthy as well.  This a perfect addition to that outside kitchen you have; now you can just pick what you want right from the garden.  Herbs do not take a lot of upkeep, and it’s always nice to have fresh produce when seasoning your favorite dish.  Vegetables can take a bit of work with the amount of sunlight or watering needed, but your professional landscaper should be more than capable of assisting you.  

Water is Life

Once you have your dream front or backyard, the next step is keeping it alive.  In Memphis, we are all too familiar with the heavy rain in the spring and the dry, unforgivingly hot summers.  The water runoff from the spring can sometimes ruin your flowers and lawn. In the summer, you might not have enough water to make sure that the garden and yard live to the next year.  That’s why it’s important to think about water irrigation and management system around your yard.

Landscapers have been employing these tools for many years, but nowadays most people are thinking of how to make it fit in with their yard instead of hiding them behind bushes or trees.  Ways that you can conserve water and halt runoff for your shrubs and garden is to incorporate water barrels or catch basins and make them a beautiful part of the yard. You may also want to look into French drains; they are easily concealed and perfect for protecting your lawn from water runoff.

Also having an efficient irrigation system is an important part of having a healthy yard. It will allow you to maintain your lawn and garden during those dry summers.  Being eco-friendly is a popular trend that many homeowners are embracing. You may want to look into a drip-irrigation system.

Classic vs. Modern Styles

There are many methods that you can decorate and center your yard around. Professional landscapers know all the new and traditional techniques that can help make your dream garden come true, whether it’s classic, modern, or maybe even one of the more popular trends that meld the old and newer styles together.  Whatever your desire is your landscaper will be there to assist through the process.

Memphis Landscaping has a knowledgeable and experienced team that would be happy to help you with any of your landscaping needs. If you are in the Greater Memphis Area, please give us so that we can come by and give you a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!

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