Landscape Lighting to Brighten Your Yard

It’s no secret that we often want our homes to look as great as possible during the day.  But what most people tend to overlook is how their homes look at night.  Most typical houses are almost completely dark save for a small light by the door.

If you’ve spent time investing in the look and appearance of your home, you should want your home to shine (no pun intended) at night, as well.  Through the use of landscape lighting, you can bring your home into a new light (again, no pun intended)  and create an atmosphere that just isn’t there during the day.

When it comes to landscape lighting, the first thing you need to do is create a plan for your lighting.  The best method is to grab a flashlight that has a spotlight and floodlight feature.  With this flashlight, you can walk around your property and shine the light in areas you want to illuminate.  You can adjust the light so you can get a better idea of what type of light will look best.

landscape lightingOnce you’ve decided on the lighting locations, you want to draw a quick overhead view of your yard.  With this plan, you should map out the locations of your lights and what kind of lights you are going to install.  With your plan in hand, it’s time to head out to your local home and garden store.

While at your home and garden store, you want to decide what kind of lighting you are going to install.  For most homes, it’s going to come down to either solar or low voltage lighting.

  • Solar lighting is easy to install and does not require any external power source.  Typically, you insert the light, turn it on (if needed), and let it do its thing.  It will store solar power and illuminate at dusk.  The drawback to solar lights is that they aren’t going to be the brightest lights, but they are perfect for accents or decoration.
  • Low voltage lighting requires a bit more work, but it provides brighter light and can be controlled from a switch or power pack to allow you to decide when they turn on and off.  There is a bit of digging to run the power cables, but not so much that you shouldn’t be able to take care of it within a few hours (depending on the size of your project, of course).

Once you have your lights, it’s time to go home and get ready to install them.

With solar lights, there may be minimal assembly to get your lights ready.  Once assembled, you can often just spike them into the ground and walk away.  Job well done.

With low voltage lighting, as noted before, there is a little more work involved.  Watch the video below for some good instruction on installing your landscape lighting

One thing to keep in mind during your installation is that you may want to leave a little slack on the cabling and not set your lighting in place until you get a chance to view the finished product at night.  You may want to move a light or direct it elsewhere, and if you’ve already buried the cabling or set the light in place, you are only adding to your work.

Of course, if you have a much bigger yard or area you want illuminated, you can always hire a company to install your lighting for you such as this company that specializes in outdoor landscape lighting in San Antonio.

At the end of the day (again, no pun intended), you can have your home looking spectacular day and night.  With a great lighting design, you, your friends, and your family will be sure to love your yard.

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Brick Patio Installation

Brick patios are a fantastic idea if you’re looking to either install a new patio or renovate your existing patio.  They offer both longevity and a classic, timeless look.  Brick patios can often handle and survive the most severe weather conditions, which makes them a great addition regardless of your location.  Add on to the fact that a brick patio can be installed in as little as a few days (after excavation of the intended area), and you can see why a brick patio may just be the way to go.

The first step is the measure out and plan how many bricks you are going to need.  This is easy enough as you just have to figure out the size of your patio.  A simple length x width calculation is all that is needed to find the area of your patio.  After that, you just need to decide on the bricks to be used and calculate the number of bricks based on the dimensions of the brick.  Your local home and garden store associate should be able to help you determine the number of bricks to be used based on your choice of paver and the area of your patio.

Prior to getting started, it’s important to come up with a plan and design for your patio.  There are many typical patterns to choose from, but you can take this time to experiment and find something you like and compliments your home and style.

Once you have your bricks and your pattern, it’s time to get to work.  You want to start by marking off the area for your patio.  You can do this simply with stakes at the corners and string tied from stake to stake to mark the perimeter.  From here, you want to remove all grass and sod and dig out the entire area.  You want to dig to a depth of 2-3 inches plus the thickness of the bricks.  While digging, keep in mind that you should slope the area away from your home or any other structures you are building your patio near.  This will provide proper drainage for any and all moisture.

If you are pressed for time or don’t want to do the dirty work yourself, you can hire an excavation crew to get it done quickly and professionally.

Before getting into laying down the brick, there are still a few more steps to consider.  First, you want to lay down a dark polyethylene plastic sheet over the entire patio area to prevent the growing of grass or weeds between your bricks.  You should also line the area with weather and pressure-treated 2 x 4s to keep the patio neatly contained to the specified area.  Adding wooden stakes to fill in any gaps should keep the boards from moving over time.

Once you have the plastic and the boards, it’s time to add the sand.  You want the sand to be level, but still maintain that slight slope away from  any structures.  You can level the sand simply with a broom, but you need to make sure that the sand is 2 – 3 inches deep, depending on your initial choice and the depth dug.  You can do this in several ways, but marking the 2 x 4s surrounding the perimeter is often one of the easiest ways.

brick paver patioOnce the sand is level, you can begin to lay the brick.  You want to start with the border completely around the perimeter.  You want to leave a small spacing between the bricks, about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch is enough.  Once the perimeter is complete, you can start to install the pattern.  Keep in mind while you are installing the bricks to not disturb the sand.  The best practice is to stand on any bricks already laid and work your way inwards.

You need to keep the top surface of the bricks even throughout the patio.  If one brick is uneven, add or remove sand to adjust as you go.

Once all of the bricks are laid, you will have a fancy new patio to enjoy with your friends and family.

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