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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Lighting Adds Benefits to Outdoor Landscape

It’s your castle. It’s where the heart is. It’s where family and friends are always welcome. It’s your home. Why not showcase it with dramatic accent lighting that not only highlights the character of your home and landscaping but makes steps, walkways and driveways safer as well?  A professional illuminologist or lighting expert can work with you to bring your imagination to light.  Night lighting is very practical in the Southwest because we can spend so many hours outside. Lighting provides an ambiance that is so much better than high intensity lighting. Some of the best uses are listed below.


Patio and Deck Lighting: Extend your living space to the outdoors with beautiful lighting on your patio or deck. Fixtures can flush mount to the surface and softly down-light your patio or deck and stairways for added security, safety and especially the ambience.


Walkways and Stairways:  Create a safer nighttime environment and enhance the drama of your yard. Proper lighting is designed to be inconspicuous during the day and soft and subtle after dark. Walkway garden fixtures should be taller so they cast light on top of plants and objects to cast larger diameter of light:  A great design will crop or hide the source of light and highlight unique features within your landscape as well as add safety for steps. Instead of rigid stakes, there are now rubber mount stakes made of impact resistant materials that you can stand on, bump or roll over it so it won’t break.


Driveways:  Any home is enhanced and safer with lighting surrounding the drive. The lighting system layout should be done with an experienced person so you throw the lighting patterns correctly and don’t over light or pollute your neighbor’s area. Knowing how to design a custom lighting system that fits right in with your style is one thing. Knowing how to professionally install it is another. With a professional plan, you get incredible results that are above and beyond what you ever imagined. .


Water features, ponds and pools:  Add another dimension to the sights and sounds of water gardens, sculptures, etc. Professional low-profile fixtures are designed so you “see the effects –not the source.”  Professional low-voltage lighting systems are safe around water, kids and pets but are not watered down. Pool lighting invites you to dive in anytime, day or night. 


Gardens and Pet areas:  You’ll love the way your home and landscape looks and the extra security you feel with professionally installed, quality lights. In flowerbeds and lawn areas, choose pathway lights. You can provide lighting for security around the exterior of home lighting as well as for pet areas.


Up lighting:  The sky’s the limit. The cool effects created by professional lighting changes with the seasons—especially in trees and shrubbery. Choose bullet lights for highlighting trees.


Rock, faux or special feature walls:  With a beautiful accent lighting plan there simply are no boundaries when it comes to bringing out the best in your yard. On walls, choose wall washers or bullet lights.


Patios, cooking systems and ramadas:  What a wonderful way to showcase your hospitality. With outdoor lighting, your guests will feel invited to stay on and on.


Economical:  The average system operates on about $7 per month. The efficient 12-volt system can power light bulbs that are either halogen or Xenon lamps. Premium grade halogen lights can operate for 5,000 hours. Many people only operate the lights from sundown to midnight that would cost even less for electricity.


Quality:  All wire connections are made with grease filled connectors to resist corrosion. Night lighting systems should be UL and ETL listed components. These take very little maintenance and cleaning and provide hours of service. All cables should be buried out of sight and should have a sight cable plan so you know where the cables are and don’t cut them with other construction or maintenance.


Fixtures and transformers: The number of lights, type of lights and the pattern and distance of cable run is taken into consideration to calculate the needs for the correct transformer. The transformer has a multi tap system of 12 to 15 or 12 to 22 volt settings. A digital timer that controls the transformer has a battery backup and the transformer has a magnetic circuit breaker. Fixtures are available for masonry walls, bullet architectural lights specialty lights like submersible lights for ponds and water features, gooseneck lights for BBQ’s and extension lights for outdoor reading area. You can also choose solar fixtures.



Long term:  A good lighting system will enhance the value and street appeal of your home as well as improve the security. Quality is the key to the system long-term performance. Most non-professional systems only last three to four years. Commercial, professional quality will last for many years. It is always worth the extra money to have it done right.  Just remember to have a professional design so you don’t over light or under light the landscape.


April Gardening Calendar


Lawns & Grasses:

  • Plant Bermuda grass seeds when nights are in the high 60s for at least a week.
  • Dethatch established Bermuda lawns.
  • Water seeded lawns daily. Water established lawns every three to four days and fertilize monthly.
  • Fertilize ornamental grasses this month.



  • Fertilize established plants with a water-soluble fertilizer this month.
  • Water every five to seven days.
  • Cover deciduous fruit trees with bird net to protect fruit.


Vegetables & Herbs:

  • Plant snap beans, cucumbers, squashes and melons.
  • Fertilize established plants every two weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer.
  • Plant anise, basil, oregano, caraway, chamomile, dill, cilantro, spearmint, thyme and rosemary.
  • Fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer monthly. Water 2-3 times weekly.



  • Plant marigold, celosia, coreopsis, cosmos, vinca, salvia, lisianthus, pentas, verbena, zinnias, gerbera daisy and geranium.
  • Fertilize established plants every two weeks.
  • Water to a depth of six to eight inches every three to four days.



  • Plant celosia, vinca, columbine, gaillardia and yarrow.
  • Fertilize weekly.
  • Water every three to five days to a depth of one foot.



Bulbs, Corms & Rhizomes:

  • Plant rain lily and callas.
  • Fertilize established bulbs.
  • Water to a depth of six inches weekly.



  • Watch for possible signs of powdery mildew & spray promptly with a Neem oil product.
  • Deadhead spent blooms.
  • Fertilize every two weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer and water every four to five days.
  • Plant container-grown roses.


Shrubs & Trees:

  • Plant red salvia, blue mist, desert milkweed, fairy duster, blue potato and cassia.
  • Plant most trees and shrubs.
  • Fertilize established shrubs monthly.
  • Water shrubs every two weeks to a depth of two feet.
  • Water desert-adapted trees every four to six weeks.



  • Prune any winter-injured canes.
  • Mulch around all plants.
  • Clean yard of winter debris.

Buy ladybugs, mantises, or lacewings for natural pest control.


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