The Great Outdoors

Beautiful Backyard

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The right mix of hardscape and outdoor lighting can take any yard from average to fabulous.

Living in the Lowcountry gives homeowners the opportunity to enjoy beautiful evenings in their yard surrounded by stars, family and friends. Whether sipping sweet tea or something stronger, grilling hamburgers or roasting oysters, Lowcountry residents are fortunate these splendid evenings can be enjoyed almost year round. These outdoor escapades are one of the premiere benefits of Lowcountry living.

Adding square footage isn’t the only way to add character and value to your home. Homeowners can enhance their outdoor living space simply and efficiently through the addition of outdoor lighting and hardscape.

Extending your outdoor living space by incorporating lighting and hardscape into your overall landscape plan can add ambiance, safety
and security to your home while dramatically changing your landscape and increasing your home’s resale value.

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INCORPORATING HARDSCAPE

Landscapes are comprised of two important elements: softscape and hardscape. Softscape refers to living plants, trees and shrubs. Hardscapes are non-living elements that complement the landscape including driveways and walkways, decks and patios. But hardscapes aren’t just slabs of concrete anymore. They also include other decorative features such as outdoor kitchens, fountains, arbors, trellises, pavers and retaining walls.

It’s important to work with the same landscape professional when planning your yard to ensure it appears cohesive versus pieced together. Careful planning also allows you to consider pre-installation of behind the scenes items like drainage, irrigation systems and wiring for lights.

The goal of a landscape should be to create visual focal points between hardscape and greenery. Exterior hard surfaces should complement your home style and landscape design while blending in with the surrounding nature. Hardscape adds structure and can help define spaces, but too much can become harsh. You don’t want your hardscape to stick out like a sore thumb, so work with
a landscape professional to learn how to take advantage of softscape, which can soften lines and make the pieces of your landscape blend seamlessly

With more homeowners wanting to create that outdoor oasis, “outdoor rooms” that are both comfortable and functional are increasing in popularity, especially in the Southeast. These rooms might be comprised of a deck or patio or combination of the two. This space provides an ideal location to grill, entertain, or just relax with family.The perfect lighting for these outdoor areas is vital for setting an atmosphere for relaxing and enjoying Lowcountry life. Helpful hints for homeowners looking to add outdoor lighting or hardscape to their property:

– look for safety issues lighting can alleviate
– choose specimen trees or shrubs that would be interesting to highlight
– remember that an outdoor living space with lighting will allow the area to be a useful entertaining space well after the sun goes down

 OUTDOOR LIGHTING OPTIONS

These days, outdoor lighting means a lot more than just leaving on the porch light. Lighting can increase safety through illuminating pathways, steps and driveways to
help avoid accidents. For security, lights can help deter prowlers and trespassers. Outdoor lighting has been proven to be a valuable investment. Besides accenting hardscapes, outdoor lighting can show off the beauty of your home after dark, highlight favorite flowers and shrubs and dramatize trees. Because there are so many options for outdoor lighting, your landscape professional can help you identify what’s right for your landscape. Some of the more popular lighting options include:

SPOTLIGHTS

Often used in a technique called up-lighting where lights are placed in trees to illuminate a landscape or various architectural elements on the home suchas pillars or stacked stone. They can also be placed in trees to shed light on specific areas such as a walkway or driveway entrance.

FLOOD LIGHTS

 Illuminates large areas for both security and ambiance. Utilized as downlights, floodlights can be placed above an object or area to imitate natural light, or for providing security to an area. It is important to hide these light fixtures from view to create a true natural light (or moonlighting).

BOLLARD LIGHTS

Comprising of short, upright ground-mounted units, these fixtures typically give off light from the top or sides. These lights are often placed along sidewalks, driveways, or informal paths in the landscape to create more visibility thus increasing safety. Path light fixtures generally cast a spreading light. To create a more natural look, try mixing directional path lights with ambient lighting within the landscaped area.

RECESSED WELL LIGHTS

 Often used as backlighting, these lights accent features such as trees, shrubs and plants to cast a silhouette on a wall for a striking effect.

SPECIALTY LIGHTS

Lighting that adds accent to a space in order to create atmosphere. Examples include string lights in a gazebo, patio torches and lights used in water features or ponds.

For more information on planning your outdoor living space, contact The Greenery for expert advice at (843) 785-3848.