Some Landscape Lighting for Flagpoles

Some Landscape Lighting for Flagpoles

Planning your ideal new yard, or giving your existing one a complete overhaul calls for a dozen landscaping tips and an infinite supply of patience. An ideal landscape is your haven for relaxation and solitude.

A newer addition over years has been adding something as unique as a flagpole to your backyard. While it reflects your undying patriotism, it also adds an aesthetic appeal to your yard. Going along the lines of design, it balances the widespread horizontal plane by adding a vertical element to it. Also, it draws your sight upwards, adding expanse to the area as being visible from a distance. It is bound to cause quite a stir in the neighborhood.

Flagpoles can be used for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they are used to show flags. But that’s not all. They can also be used as a holder for another bright light, maybe to add some floodlights to give an angularly lit ambiance to your yard. In the summertime, these can also be used as a pole for umbrellas- creating a lounge area in the summer garden or the poolside.

But while they present quite a picture in the daytime, standing high and mighty against the ray of the sun; at night it can often be a troublemaker in the dark. And it’s only fair to keep it as illuminated during the night-time, as it is during the day.

As a solution, there are a number of landscape lighting installations available and we’ve jotted the few for you.

Ball Beacon Flagpole fixtutre

A fairly innovative design, the ball beacon lighting is neat and convenient. It shines like a beacon on top of the flag, a ball of flooding light in all possible directions. It contains LED bulbs on a metal ball, attached to a wiring that runs through the pole and doesn’t create an unnecessary fuss. The wiring is often attached to a voltage point or a solar panel. We’ll come to that later. Moving on to other lighting types, we have Down Lighting

Down lighting flagpole fixture

Down lighting flagpole

Another possible option is a down lighting flagpole fixture. It is an LED, attached on top of the flagpole throwing the light downward. It creates a suspenseful, unique aura and highlights your flag at all times.

Upward mounted fixtures

Contrary to the downwards lighting flagpole fixture; the upward mounted fixtures are positioned to shine upwards to the flag. A rather dramatic installation, it illuminates the flag in a respectful, high-aired fashion. Upward mounted fixtures are of two types:

Ground Mounted Upward Lighting

It entails installing a fixture positioned at the ground level. A commonly used setup is with two light fixtures, set across from each other on the ground, directing upwards to the flag for a diamond lighting. It uses fixtures like spotlighting, bullet lighting or floodlights.

Contrastingly, if you don’t want to illuminate the flagpole from the base, you have the option of lighting it up midway. These are another variant of upward lighting fixtures as they are installed in the middle of the pole and radiate the pole halfway up.

Floodlights are a slight variant of upward lighting fixtures. While these are mainly used for security reasons, it illuminates the ground as well. As a result, the landscape also gets accented in this light. However, these have stronger beams and the lighting is quite harsh to the eyes.

Hidden Lights

One of the most famous among this category of upward lighting fixtures is the Rock Lighting. It is a fitting in the stones and placed to shine upwards on the flag. However, the only downfall is that the landscape appears considerably darker in this setup.

Now, we proceed on to the solar flagpole light fixtures, as discussed earlier. Solar lights are an excellent choice for many reasons. Of course, as the name suggests, it uses sunlight as its central power source. It is, by far, the best and most efficient way to save electricity and gives a lot of light.

A solar flagpole lighting works in a similar way as any other solar light fixture. It uses a solar panel to gather sunlight energy. The energy then, in a process result of electrons and protons, produces a current which in turn produces power to light up the fixture. Most of these fixtures have automatic sensors and turn on autonomously as the sun goes down.

It saves you from the trouble of switching the lights on and off.

From the monetary point of view, it seems like a substantial cost, but in reality is the most efficient form of investment to your pockets and the ecosystem in the long run.

So while there are plenty of ways to make your yard look unique and patriotic, try adding a solar flagpole lighting fixture and make your mark of a considerate citizen and human being to the environment.

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Success For A Garden In The Backyard

Success For A Garden In The Backyard

It’s easy to walk in to a persons home, aiming for the front door and be impressed by the gardening skills that they have – but your enjoyment of their friendship is always going to be cemented in the backyard.

The backyard is where all the fun happens. It’s the place where you have those memorable barbecues, it’s the place where the dogs go to roll on the grass and it’s the place where kids get their first real taste of the natural world. Those first steps and the rough and tumble of friends and family – that’s what a backyard is all about. That’s why backyard gardening is probably the most challenging part of the upkeep of any home.

Most backyards feature significant amounts of lawn – and this is where every homeowner will be concentrating their efforts to make that garden the pride and joy of their home. Lawns can be challenging as far as upkeep is concerned. It’s not a simple matter of mowing every now and then. Keeping a lawn in tip top shape is a task that will challenge every home owner who wants their garden project to be a success.

Firstly there is the matter of which type of grass to use on the lawn. Every region has native grass that will flourish in the naturally prevalent conditions.

Given that many regions are under threat of water restrictions it is important that the homeowner chooses native grass types that are able to tolerate annual rainfall patterns. (more…)

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How To Pick The Right Solar Umbrella Lights for Your Garden?

How To Pick The Right Solar Umbrella Lights for Your Garden?

Saving money and resources are crucial component of several shopping decisions. Every day numerous individuals buy items to enhance their house and garden for outdoor activities. You will find numerous patio and garden accessories which are now available with photovoltaic choices. Solar patio lights and solar umbrella lights have turn out to be an extremely popular alternatives to traditional outdoor lighting. Use the steps beneath to help you select the solar patio umbrella equipment and lighting to meet your needs.

Directions

  1. Determine the solar umbrella lights’ goal first.!!!.

The initial step in selecting the solar lights that will work with your umbrella is deciding the principal purpose for the lights. The solar equipment and lighting may be a decorative feature that can add minimal light on top from the umbrella. The equipment and lighting may well serve a diverse purpose and need to be a lot brighter or located under the umbrella. Know about what you will probably be making use of the solar umbrella lights for and then look on the obtainable products to determine which one will very best fit your requirements. (more…)

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How to Install a Low Voltage Landscape Lighting System?

How to Install a Low Voltage Landscape Lighting System?

After you have decided what features you want to highlight, sketched the layout on a notepad, and purchased a landscape lighting kit and/or lighting fixtures, cable, transformer (power pack), and connectors, it’s time to install your lights.

Before digging though, you should call 811 to have your utility company mark the location of any underground wires and pipes before you dig. Even if you think there is nothing underground to worry about, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The service is free, so go ahead and use it to avoid any dangerous and expensive surprises.

Step 1: Layout the Components 

You first step is to lay out all of the components of your system – the light fixtures, connectors, cable, junction box, and transformer in the exact locations you wish to place them.  By doing this you can quickly identify any missing any parts, and make last-minute changes in the positioning of the lights.

Avoid placing fixtures in areas where they may be damaged by mowers, traffic, or water. When you have laid it out and confirmed you have all of the necessary components, you can begin installation. (more…)

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Adding Aesthetic Value to Your Garden with Garden Lights

Adding Aesthetic Value to Your Garden with Garden Lights

Garden lights adds alternative dimensions to your garden. There is no denying that outdoor lighting can provide you with totally different view in the night time and extend your day. Whether you are planning a summer barbecue, or want to spend some relaxed nights at your patio, choosing the right garden lighting can help you make the best use of your garden area.

The main part of the garden lightning process is about choosing creative garden lighting effects for the terrace, deck, and garden area. Consulting a professional should help you make the right selection. In this post, we’ll explore some innovative garden lights that you can opt for when planning garden lighting.

Electric Lights

Electric lights are used to illuminate the different corners of the garden. They are affordable and simple to apply. All you need is to put some strands of twinkling lights on your garden shrubs, fences, and hang some on the trees. You can extend these lights to any extent that you want and make your garden twinkle even on the darkest night of the year.

You can use metal or plastic hooks to hang the lights on different corners of your night garden. Metals nails a can also be used. Make sure that the lights you buy have red holographic UL seal to ensure that it is tested for outdoor safety.

Solar Lights

Also known as eco-friendly lights, solar lights not only help you save energy bills, but also ensure that you get best quality lightning all the time without any any hindrance. These light models come with solar panels that absorb energy from the sun, and automatically turn on the lights as the sun sets. (more…)

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Decorating Your Yard with Artwork

Decorating Your Yard with Artwork

Decorating your yard has never been as easy or as fun as it can be with the addition of garden art and accessories.  Garden or yard art can really spruce up your outdoor space in no time.  So many people forget this area of their home when decorating, but it can be so simple to add appeal to the outside of your home with just a few additions of yard art or a couple of decorative additions in your yard or garden.

Garden art is a booming enterprise that keeps getting bigger with every season.  There are tons of choices for yard art, from whimsical to classical, from metal art to painted pieces to glass sculptures.  You can add garden statues, metal sculptures, gazing balls or even garden flags.  You can also add yard art that reflects each changing season, holiday or a special event.

One way that you can also decorate your outdoor space is through the artistic and creative use of outside lighting.  A popular addition to yards today is to add an interesting lighting feature or two, such as an outdoor wall sconce or a hanging lantern.  These small touches are not only practical, by adding light where you need it, but they really enhance the beauty of your outdoor area and can be very decorative in nature. (more…)

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Relax With A Solar Fountain

Relax With A Solar Fountain

The backyard and garden of your home can sometimes be quite a simple place.  The space can be barren and drab or, with a few additions, it can be a place of beauty, relaxation and tranquility.  It’s worth adding a few accessories to your garden area so that you can brighten it up, add interest, relax and make it a space that you look forward to spending time in.  And when it comes to adding garden accessories, none have quite as much impact as a dazzling solar fountain.  From the sound of the water trickling, to the overall beautiful appearance of the fountain itself, solar fountains can really give a stylish look to your garden, making it a pleasure to sit outside.

The great thing about installing a solar fountain in your yard or garden is that you don’t need to assemble it in any way or run any type of wiring to get it working.  There are also no unpleasant wires to get tangled in or to detract from the look of the fountain. You just purchase the solar fountain style you like best and you’re ready to place it anywhere you see fit and simply start enjoying it. (more…)

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The Garden and Landscape Design Trends of 2018

The Garden and Landscape Design Trends of 2018

My predictions for the garden and landscape design trends of 2018 are, I hope, as good as anybody else’s unless, of course, they have had the advantage of a working crystal ball or some divine intervention, which would, I am sure, be outside the rules of fair competition!

Anyway, I am basing my predictions on my perception of what is happening in the industry from recent attendance at related conferences and events, discussion with colleagues and peers, web-postings, current literature, as well as wider trends and influences that affect us all, such as, climate change. I have also thrown in a soupçon of what I would like to see happening for good measure.

So, here’s my  top 10 design trends, in no particular order:

1) Using native plants to bring nature back in to the garden and improve garden biodiversity, in general.  However, people will also select native plants for cultural reasons, to support their own heritage and local produce. (more…)

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Outdoor Path Lighting- Know Before You Buy

Outdoor Path Lighting- Know Before You Buy

Outdoor path lighting is tricky. Done improperly and well, we’ve all seen the too-bright runway effect haven’t we?

But used wisely, path lighting can be a great asset to a home, changing the feel of the exterior dramatically.

Looking to boost your home’s curb appeal? It requires planning, an understanding of power and strategic placement.

Planning for Efficiency? Plan to Save on Your Electric Bill:

Cost, materials and durability are important things to consider when shopping for any fixture. But with the growing green movement, many homeowners are starting to think about efficiency.

Getting more for your money is always a good thing; getting more while consuming less energy? Even better.

When it comes to path lighting, there are a few things you can incorporate that can help your home–and your wallet–save green. (more…)

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What Every Landscape Architect Should Know About Soil…

What Every Landscape Architect Should Know About Soil…

 What do you think is the most important information to have about soil and soil management, as a landscape architect?

A landscape architect should at the very least equip themselves with the basic scientific information about soils: they should have a knowledge of soil classification, soil texture and structural properties, soil water movement, soil fertility and soil ecology (micro-biology); fundamentally they should understand how soil properties strongly influence the make-up of vegetation in a particular landscape.

Landscape architects should have a basic knowledge of soil science

Landscape architects should also have a basic knowledge of the engineering properties of soils and how even minimal disturbance to soil could negatively affect the structural and ecological functioning of that soil.  In this regard, knowledge of soil remediation techniques is also useful to landscape architects.

How as a landscape architect can you avoid operations likely to cause damage to soil on the site you are working on?

As a landscape architect, the best way to avoid damaging soil operations on a site that you are working on is to devise sound and pragmatic soil handling specifications and write these into the contract document for the landscape or civil engineering contractor to work to in advance of any work happening on the site.  The value of your contract specifications also relies on an intimate knowledge of the soil on your site, which is ascertained at the survey stage i.e. before design and specification.

The second way to avoid damaging operations is by close site supervision of works throughout the duration of the project.  Critical to this is a site meeting with the landscape or civil engineering contractor in advance of excavation and/or soil handling operations where you, as landscape architect, lay down your requirements for soil protection.

You should also make sure that no site operations take place when the soil is wet or icy as then soil structure is easily destroyed; remember that a contractor may be tempted to continue work if subject to financial or project programming pressures.

Most importantly, you will also need to ensure that your client understands that you need to perform this role.

Have you had any experiences/problems with soil in past projects?

Yes, hence my understanding of the need for all of the above!  However, the main problems with soil that I run up against are where I do not have any control over the soil handling operations, for example on commercial development sites or infrastructural schemes.  Here the soil operations are usually under the auspices of the civil engineering consultant and or building contractor, rather than the landscape architect.  The soil handling specifications are devised by engineers and, in my opinion, the soil is often treated like a building material rather than as a future medium for growing plants or for regenerating a particular type of vegetation or habitat.

This type of specification can lead to poor soil handling, soil damage and consequently poor plant growth due to compaction, damaged structure, poor drainage or deficient soil biology.  Much better to have the landscape architect consulted in the first place.

How, in Ireland, do you go about the process of soil storage/movement today?

I don’t think the situation in Ireland is or should be different to any other part of the world.   However, I would recommend that due process be applied as outlined above.

The key principles should be that soil movements and soil storage time periods are minimised.  If soil does have to be moved then it should, firstly, be analysed to understand its composition in terms of topsoil and subsoil and the different layers handled separately.  Soil handling will immediately result in a reduction of soil porosity due to compaction and shearing forces imparted during handling and will impact on the ability of plants to root through the soil  as well as compromising water and gas movement through the soil.

Soil storage is where the most profound changes can occur that will subsequently affect plant growth.  These include compaction resulting in loss of soil structure by particle disaggregation, chemical changes as a result of the development of anaerobic conditions in the soil store, this, turn, can result in changes to soil pH, availability of nitrogen after respreading of the soil and also the accumulation of phytotoxicelements.

Furthermore, there are immediate and significant changes to soil biology with a loss of beneficial soil fungi and fauna and an alteration in the bacteriological content of the soil.

The size and longevity of the soil mound will determine the deterioration of the soil with the effects varying at different depths within the soil store.

Consequently, my recommendations would be to:

1) If possible, pick up and move soil from donor area to receptor are in one movement avoiding the transition stage and of course avoid tracking over areas of soil yet to be stripped.

2) If that is not possible then soil should be stored in low mounds, subject to availability of space.  The texture of a soil will affect the resulting degree of compaction with clay soils likely to compact more easily and even low mounds up to 3m will result in the development of debilitating anaerobic conditions in the centre of the mound.  Sandy soils having greater voids between the soil particles are less likely to compact.  Thus restoration treatments post- re-instatement will vary for different soils.

3) Thirdly, try to minimise the amount of time that the soil is in storage, as long term storage will generally exacerbate soil degeneration.

4) Finally and obviously, it is important that the soil should always be stripped in layers, following the soil profile and is put back in the same order.   Mixing of topsoil and subsoil layers should always be avoided.

I would love to see priority being given to proper soil handling on all development projects, as I don’t think this issue is being taken seriously at the moment.

What is the role of the landscape architect in creating and utilising soils?

The role of the landscape architect in creating soils should be limited by necessity as, I believe, that the conservation of existing soils should be the starting point.  However, there are situations, for example in urban design projects, where new soil needs to be created to support planted vegetation.

Urban soil or structural soil is the term given to soil that is manufactured to support plants and, in particular, trees in circumstances where there is limited scope for root development and/or where the secondary function of supporting surrounding paving, tarmac, concrete or other surfacing material is required, for example in car parks or along street verges.  These soils are usually made up of a mix of stone, topsoil, and compost and may also contain a bonding agent to tie- the soil together.

Obviously there are situations where landscape architects deliberately design new contours and seek to create soil mounds of various shapes and sizes in order to fulfil design functions; the same principles should be followed, as outlined above, where this is the case.

A final point is that we, as Irish landscape architects, need to understand the particular properties of Irish soils, the pressures that they are under from differing forms of land use and how important it is that their properties are preserved in order that both local and wider ecosystem characteristics are maintained.

Amongst copious volumes, some key references would be:

  • Brady and Weil (2008) “The nature and properties of soils”
  • Harris, Birch and Palmer (1996) “Land Restoration and Reclamation”
  • Books and articles on land restoration by A.D. Bradshaw et al.
  • British Standard Specification for topsoil BS 3882:2007
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