Different Mulch Types: Pros and Cons

If you have a garden or landscaping installation that you want to properly take care of, mulching is probably tops on your list. Mulching has many benefits. Of course, mulch can add a certain aesthetic value to your garden or landscape; while sometimes beautiful and rich topsoil can do the job, other times having mulch, which can come in a variety of shades, textures, appearances, can add the extra bit of pizzazz to your garden.

The Many Benefits of Mulch for Your Garden or Landscape

Mulching also has other benefits besides look. It can help moderate temperature, so that your plants will better withstand high and low temperatures. Putting down this material will keep the soil moist; this will help the plants stay alive even in dry weather, as the moisture that’s held in to the mulch will help keep the plants hydrated. It will also help prevent the sun from drying up the surface of the soil by preventing the evaporation of said water.

In addition, mulch can be a deterrent of weeds, given that the mulch material is free of weeds and is applied correctly so that it will prevent the growth of new weeds and/or kill existing weeds.

In addition, mulch can help protect the surface of the soil itself from crusting or compacting. This keeps the flow of water running through your garden project. It will also protect the soil from the effects of water and wind erosion, as it will help keep it all in place.

Another feature depends on the type of mulch you use (more on this in a minute), so picking the right kind is certainly important, as some mulches (organic ones) will add nutrients to the soil to keep your garden healthy.

The Two Major Mulch Types

Of course, the key question here is the type of mulches you should use for your project. Of course, as you might expect there are many factors involved that help determine the kind of mulch you should use. For the rest of this article we will discuss the different kinds of mulch, their advantages and disadvantages, and other factors that may come into play when it comes time to select your mulch type.

There are two general mulch types: organic and inorganic. Organic mulches are made from things that were previously alive in some form, usually vegetable or plant matter. Thus, common varieties of organic mulch include wood chips (of various types of trees, such as cedar), grass clippings, bark, leaves,a nd others. One of the biggest benefits of this class of material that can be stated outright is that, given the material is made from (formerly) living matter, it will decay into the soil, thereby adding nutrients to it to help support your plants for the long haul.

Of course, there are also inorganic mulches. These are made from non-natural, or man-made, materials, and these include plastics, stones and pebbles, fabric, gravel, and others. These materials generally do not biodegrade, so you won’t get the beneficial effect described above. However, this kind of material has advantages over organic ones too, which I’ll explain in a minute.

More on Organic Mulch Types

As stated above, organic mulches add nutrients to the top soil, helping to support a thriving garden. They also look natural and beautiful, and they will enhance the look of any garden. There are some drawbacks to keep in mind. First, since this material does decay, you will have to replace it more often than not. Second, this dead matter can attract bugs and other pests. Third, some of these materials may have the propensity to blow or wash away, so keep that in mind when you’re filling in your beds.

At the bottom of the organic totem pole are grass, hay, and straw. These should be used with care, because if used in correctly they can cause more trouble, such as weeds, than good. Still, these are popular given that you will probably have these as ‘waste’ products of other parts of your landscape care. In all cases, the clippings should be dry before use to prevent forming a ‘mat’ that will prevent the drainage of water. Furthermore, out of this group, grass and straw are best, because sometimes hay can contain weeds. Overall, the mulch in this category will have to be replaced often given the speed with which they will decay. This speed of decay will provide a nice, quick burst of nutrients to the soil, however. Another thing to be careful about: don’t use clippings in your garden if they come from a lawn that had pesticides applied to it!

Another disadvantage of grass, hay, and straw is that it doesn’t look particularly pleasant. These materials are best reserved for vegetable gardens or other gardens whose primary function is, well, function and not beauty.

Depending on the garden, using plants as “mulch” to cover the surface of the flowerbed may work well. Popular mulches in this category include ivy and different kinds of grasses.

The next kinds of organic mulch come from trees. First in this category come leaves. These work really well, but you’ll want to make sure to slice and dice them with a shredder. Putting them down whole is not the answer, as you want to avoid putting down a thick layer of any kind of mulch that won’t drain properly and will in effect cut off the plants’ water supply. In addition, whole leaves may be picked up by the wind, causing a big mess. (Depending on the wind, this may still happen!) On the other hand, you don’t want to make the leaves too fine, otherwise they will just form a mat on the surface and defeat the purpose of the mulch. Thus, you’ll want to be careful with the size of the leaves.

Another tree product includes bark and pine needles. These work well at many different thicknesses simply because they are so porous. However, beware about the composition and content of your soil and plants; needles, for instance, can be acidic, and this may not work well in some environs. Pine bark is a popular variety of this material. You can get it in a variety of sizes and shapes, though this wood material may obviously attract certain kinds of pests. In general, though, pine needles and bark will look very nice for many gardens.

Finally, we come to the most popular variety of mulch of all: wood chips. These of course come from the wood of the trees themselves. There are many reasons to use these wood chips, including their insulation properties and their weed-preventing aspects. However, because they are made from wood, you will have to beware the invasion of termites who will see the mulch as quite the feast.

More on Inorganic Mulch Types

Let’s move on from the organic to the inorganic. This material doesn’t decay like organic matter does; while this may be a drawback in some instances, in others it may be a boon. Another advantage of this material is that it will not attract pests like organic matter can. In addition, it is relatively maintenance free if installed correctly. In general, this material is more ‘permanent’ than organic varieties, especially stones and pebbles which are difficult to remove.

One popular variety is plastic, especially black plastic (or polyethylene film). One advantage of this material is that you can use it to support and protect your garden better; in addition, you can plant seeds earlier with the protection and aid of this material. Plastic can also help keep in water, which is great as long as the area you’re mulching isn’t too wet. However, note that plastic doesn’t do well in the hot sun, as it will soften and deform in it. Thus, you’ll want to reserve it for the cooler parts of the year. Second, as stated above, this material won’t decay like organic varieties do, so you’ll lose the benefit of the nutrient deposits with this kind of material.

Another popular man-made mulch is woven cloth, plastic, and paper. These will be porous to allow water and air to reach your soil.

If you’re looking for a distinctive aesthetic, stones and pebbles also work well. These are not man-made, but they are not inorganic as they are not, for all intents and purposes, descended from organic life. Just like with the needles and other organic materials, you’ll want to be sure that your particular plants can deal with the alkaline conditions that some of these rocks can cause in the plants. In addition, the stone can sometimes absorb or reflect the sun’s rays, increasing the local temperature around the garden. As always, knowledge of what your plants need is the key! More information can be found in this article on landscaping rocks.

Don’t forget that you can combine some of these varieties together! For instance, black plastic can go well with wood chips or pine needles if the plastic is buried in the soil. This will give you the structural benefits of the plastic with the aesthetics and nutritional value of the wood mulch.

For more landscaping advice, check out this article about some useful front yard landscaping ideas. And for more articles about gardening, check out these articles on garden fencing

A Garden Fencing Guide: What You Need to Know

If you put in the time and effort to grow and maintain your garden, you will obviously want to protect it from outside enemies such as animals. This is the main reason, though not the only one as we’ll see, to put up a vegetable garden fence. This article will give you a basic guide to the kinds of fences to use, how to install them, and the benefits and drawbacks to using particular kinds of fences to protect your vegetable garden.

The Reasons to Use Garden Fencing

The first thing you need to figure out is what kind of fence you need, and to do this you need to know why you need the fence.

The first major reason people use garden fencing is to protect their garden from animals and other pests. Rabbits, groundhogs, deer, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and other animals can all get into your garden and absolutely wreak havoc on your creation, destroying your hard work. Thus, you’ll need a physical barrier to keep them out. Protection is probably the main reason that people use a garden fence system. Note that you want to protect the animals from the garden as much as you want to protect the garden from the animals! Using this physical barrier is thus the most humane solution here, lest you resort to using pesticide or farm dogs and cats to protect the area and potentially harm the critters!

The second major reason people use a garden fence is for safety and utility. They can use it to make sure they keep the garden separate from other parts of the yard, preventing small children or pets from wandering into the garden where they don’t belong and could get injured. In addition, you prevent other people from snooping around in your garden. (You may want to couple this with garden lights to really make sure your installation is safe). Another reason to use this fencing is to ‘mark off’ particular areas of your property, or as a way to separate different sections of the garden as an organizational aid. You may also have reason to keep particular plant life separate, giving you another reason to use garden edging fence.

There is a third reason to install garden fencing, and it’s one that many people don’t think about – beauty and aesthetics. The right decorative garden fencing can add a lot to your hardscape and landscape. The wrong garden fence can be an eyesore on your property, one that you hate looking at. Thus, don’t forget that the fence is something you’ll have to live with for a long time, so it should be something that you at least don’t mind seeing. It is possible, with enough planning, to get fence customized for the look and feel of your yard if aesthetics really matter for you.

How to Pick the Right Garden Fence for You

If you are creating a fence to protect your garden from animals, you’ll have to first determine what kinds of animals are damaging your crops. This can be done by examining the evidence and tell-tale signs that they leave behind; there are plenty of guides out there on the Internet that can help you do this. For instance, the way they dig, tooth marks, and scat can all be helpful; pest or animal control can also help you in extreme cases. You might also put up some wireless cameras or lights in order to see the creatures, especially at night.

The kind of barrier you use will depend on your enemy. For instance, if you are just dealing with some birds and squirrels, you might able to put up a mesh or wire cover for that particular area of the garden. Thus, you will be able to avoid the expense of putting up even the most basic garden fence, saving you a lot of time and trouble and making the barrier a bit more ‘mobile.’ Otherwise, you will probably have to put up a more permanent structure.

For more serious creatures like deer, rabbits, and the like will have their own solutions:

Deer – you can put up plastic mesh fencing to deter these animals. Realize, though, that other animals like rabbits can quickly chew through this plastic garden fencing and render the barrier useless. These guys are a pain in the neck when it comes to regular fences, though, because they can easily jump even a relatively high fence. Thus, if you are really having a severe deer problem throughout your entire garden, you might want to ‘double up’ and use two consecutive fences to really keep them out. The nuclear option here is electric fencing, but the safety issues and maintenance inherent in them make it a last resort for many garden owners. There are also some other methods you could use to scare away or deter the deer, but for this article we’re just focusing on fencing.

Raccoons – these animals are best deterred with an electric fence.

Rabbits, gophers, skunks these animals (along with any animals with sharp teeth) can present a special problem because they are able to chew through weak defenses. In addition, they can burrow through the ground if necessary to try to get under the fence. For these burrowing animals, materials such as poultry netting or hardware cloth will have to be buried underneath the fence to prevent this from happening.

Dogs, goats, pigs, chickens – these and other domestic animals can be kept out with any kind of large fence that is able to deter these sized critters.

Types of Vegetable Garden Fence

Now that you know what kinds of animals you’re dealing with, and the kinds of fence you will need to use, let’s talk about the different kind of fence materials that you can use to create your installation.

Wire Garden Fencing – One kind of this wire is stretched between very sturdy posts, made from wood or metal and buried into the ground, and is used to cover the perimeter of the garden in question. Though this can be harder to install than other kinds of wire fencing, you’ll find that it works better on uneven terrain due to its ‘adaptability’ and flexibility. Another kind of wire fencing is more sturdy, so it’s easier to install as it just needs to be strung around the perimeter posts. However, it should be used primarily on even ground.

Garden Fencing Panels – These stock panels are great to use, either made from metal or wood, as they can be easily attached to the metal or wood posts around the perimeter. In addition, they can be easily removed when necessary, allowing them to be mobile and flexible. In general, metal garden fencing is the best you can use because it cannot be gnawed by animals and it can withstand the rain and elements that may otherwise rot or damage wooden fence.

Wrought Iron Fences – These can come in many different styles and patterns. The main advantage with these is strength and durability. They also allow the plants to growth through the fence, or at least if they need room to breathe – especially if they are trellis fencing.

Electric Fences – These are necessary to keep out certain kinds of critters, such as raccoons, but they come with their own annoyances. First, of course, they need to be connected to a power source. Second, they can be a safety hazard to innocent animals and humans alike. Third, many people have an ethical problem with hurting animals with an electric shock. However, sometimes it’s a necessary evil if the infestation is serious enough.

Wood or Picket Fences – Many people enjoy this material for garden fencing simply because it gives your yard a natural and quaint look. Wooden garden fences are generally composed of fence panels, fence posts, and garden gates. The different kinds of paneling available, such as timber, chestnut, closeboard, and more, all depend on your needs for the fence. These fences can also be supplemented with other kinds of fencing, such as netting, to add strength and function to your fence.

Bamboo Garden Fences – Many people are leaning towards bamboo fences due to their ‘natural’ character and if they want a cheap garden fence. They look great and come in a variety of styles and designs, allowing you to do something a bit different than the typical wood or metal fence.

Vinyl or Plastic Fences – These materials are more ‘artificial’ than wood or metal, but some people like their look and durability. They are usually easy to install and easy to maintain.

Stone Fences These are more walls than fences, but they may be an interesting choice if you’re looking for something more permanent and a bit more fashionable and attractive.

Shurbs or trees – You could even use natural hedges to protect the side of your garden, though of course this is only good for larger animals, as smaller ones could easily crawl underneath or through these plants.

Other – I’m sure there’s other kinds of fencing (like trellis fences) that I didn’t cover (yet), so obviously make sure you do your research if you’re looking for something really specific and unique. It probably exists!

Garden Fence Designs – Beauty Matters Too!

Another note – don’t forget aesthetics! We mentioned this as one of the important points above. You want to have a fence that you can stand looking at and, in a perfect world, a fence that complements the other aspects of your home and landscape. A nice fence can actually add some character to your yard, so it might pay to think beyond utility and function when it comes time to select your structure.

The first principle is simple: try to minimize the use of the fence as much as possible. If you can use other parts of your property – such as a side of the house or shed – to protect your garden, this is obviously better than having to surround it with a ton of fence.

The second thing to do is sketch out the design for your fence – what are its dimensions? What is its depth? Are there any accessories? Where will you enter and exit? What kinds of materials will you use for your fencing?

In addition, you need to know what animals you are protecting your garden against to generate these garden fence ideas. If aesthetics matter to you, you’ll obviously have to visualize how the fence will look to see if it meshes with the other parts of your property.

What accessories do you want to add? For instance, some homeowners like to cover their fencing with vines or other plant life to make it ‘blend in.’ Let your creativity shine. Some mix in plant life, stones, and man-made hardscape structures to really add some pizzazz to their project. However, sometimes just a simple wire fence is all you need and, probably, all you really want anyway. The fence should do what YOU want it to do, nothing more, nothing less.

Installing Your Garden Fencing

Most homeowners can install garden fences by themselves, though the option to hire a contractor or landscaper is always on the table. The specifics obviously depend on the kind of fence you are using, but the basics are generally the same: you’ll have to dig some holes to put the fence posts in securely, and then you’ll have to attach the planks or wires to the posts to create the secure fence.

You want to dig your posts deep enough so that they will be stable and withstand pressure from people, animals, and weather & wind. Note as well that you might have to do some digging along the fence itself if you have to install mesh or to bury the fence a bit to prevent burrowing animals from getting through.

Depth is not the whole story, either. You want to make your fence high enough to protect the garden, but not too high so as to waste your money or materials. You can combine a fence with barbed wire, for instance, to get the height without dealing with the increased prices of using more material.

Other Garden Fencing Ideas and Final Thoughts

  • Again, as mentioned above, you may need to use chicken wire or hardware cloth to put underneath the fence (in the ground) to prevent burrowing animals from circumventing your main fence. The depth of the barrier will depend on exactly what kinds of burrowers you’re dealing with.
  • Garden lighting may be useful to scare away critters at night, especially if it’s set to a motion sensor.
  • Don’t forget to add garden fence gates for your conveninence. You want to make sure that you can enter your garden at will without having to climb over a fence of course!
  • Note that some kinds of fences may come with maintenance costs. Wood fences, for example, may have to be replaced or repaired relatively often, while metal fences should hold up well over time.

21 Awesome Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

This article will discuss some of the best landscaping ideas for front yards that you can implement. Of course, you don’t have to do them all, or any of them for that matter. They’re here to get your mind moving, to give you an idea of the scope of possibility and to serve as a catalyst to your own creativity. Even if you are getting someone to design your landscape for you, you will want to have ideas of your own, just so at the very least you will know what you like.

Front Yard Landscape Design Ideas and Generation

  1. One of the best things you can do to get your creativity flowing is to see what others have done with their front yards. A quick drive around your neighborhood or other parts of your town can accomplish this; you can even snap some photos to bring home (as long as you aren’t obnoxious about it). The benefit here is that you can see what people with similar home designs and property sizes have done with their yards; plus, if you really like how someone did something, you can ask them for advice or for the number of their landscaper. You can also see what supplies may be readily available in your area. However, don’t get ‘stuck’ into what your neighbors and fellows townspeople have done – you may want to try something totally unique, and fitting in with what everyone else has done and limiting yourself to that worldview won’t help you.
  2. Thus, a great way to get past this is to find some front yard landscape photos or pictures in magazines, books, on TV shows, and on the Internet. Having this supply of ‘foreign’ ideas can really help stimulate your noggin; the only drawback here is that the homes you’ll be seeing in the images will have a totally different design and specifications than your home. (You can also use this technique to get backyard landscaping ideas, though that is a different topic altogether!)
  3. The main objectives with front yard design flow around a few things: curb appeal, creating an inviting nature, and allowing for people to come and go as necessary. For instance, you’ll want to have the general ‘skeleton’ of the yard, in the form of your driveway, walkway, stoop, etc., formed or at least planned before you can figure out your landscape design. (More on the hardscape in a bit.)
  4. Note that if you have a limited budget, you can do a cheap front yard landscape design without sacrificing the beauty or uniqueness of your project. This is because you really won’t be spending much time in the front yard, and most people who will be looking at the front yard will not be spending time gawking at it. Thus, you want something that’s simple, effective, easy to put together and maintain, and easy to navigate. Beauty and value are of course important, but as long as you have the first members of this list, you’ll be satisfied with your project. The topic of front yards is relatively easy, then, when compared to backyards – since we spend a bunch of time there, such as in and around a pool, we’ll want to make sure that we’ve created something truly beautiful and functional. However, that investment of time and energy and money can wait until another day and another article.
  5. As part of your design, you may want to come up with some kind of “theme” as a general guiding system to help you design your project. Your design and theme will depend largely on the climate and general appearance of your space, but you’ll still have some freedom to explore different ideas if that’s your game. For instance, tropical themes may work well in lush environments, while desert themes may work better in drier and more arid locales.
  6. Don’t be afraid that you’ll have limited freedom if you have a small front yard. In fact, you may have more freedom, because you won’t have to maintain a huge amount of green life and can focus on really getting the major details right instead of worrying if all the major components are in place.
  7. Work with what you’ve got. If you have an interesting or unique feature of the surrounding terrain, or even a body of water to play with, you can either a) downplay and try to hide the feature or b) bring it out and make it a focal point.
  8. A good general point: make sure your yard and garden has some kind of focal point. This is perhaps the most important front yard landscape idea – you want to draw your eye somewhere, and you wan tot draw it to where you want it to go. The alternatives – the eye finds nothing to look at, or it focuses on something ugly – are to be avoided at all costs!

Creating Your Green Space

  1. The first major decision you’ll have to make is how much ‘green space,’ or lawn, you’ll want to keep and maintain. Note that the more you have of the lawn, the more you’ll have to maintain. You may also consider working in designs for automatic irrigation systems or sprinklers so that you can at least keep that part of the maintenance pretty easy for you. If you need new grass, you can either use grass seed or lay down sod. The type of grass is up to you as well, though you may be limited in your choices due to local ordinances and the like.
  2. Next, sketch out the areas where you’d like to add some special landscaping touches – your flowerbeds, planters with beautiful flowers, areas for new shrubs and trees, and places to put other interesting objects (such as bird baths, water fountains, statues, and more). Don’t forget to add curves wherever possible, especially if your walkways allow you to do this. Curves are generally pleasing to the eye and a bit more ‘artistic’ than ordered straight lines. I don’t want to denigrate the straight line though, as it has a certain beauty to it all its own.
  3. Note that picking certain kinds of flowers and plants to fill in your beds and planters may require certain obligations of maintenance and upkeep. For instance, some plants may need frequent watering, while others won’t need much attention at all. Thus, make sure you find out all the properties of your flora before you go ahead and install them – you can save yourself a lot of hassle!
  4. Consider having ‘mobile’ landscaping in your front yard. This means using pots and planters and other containers that you can move, mix, and match at will. This will allow you to be flexible and adaptable with your landscaping as your mood and taste changes.
  5. There are two major kinds of plants that you can use: annuals and perennials. Annuals will only last you for one year, but they will give you an amazing burst of color and beauty for your yard during that season. Having to replace them year after year is both good and bad. The bad side of it is that you’ll have to remake your front yard landscape every year, but this can also be seen as a good thing, because then you’ll be able to ‘remake’ your landscape every year. This can allow you to experiment and play around with different landscape features.
  6. Perennials will last you for many years – each year they will bloom anew. These will be more expensive than annuals, but they will be the ‘centerpieces’ or focal points of your yard for years to come. Thus, it pays to choose carefully and make your big investments here. Once they’re planted, you’re stuck with them unless you want to go through the hassle of removing them. Thus, your best bet is probably to get a good mix between these two kinds of plants.
  7. Don’t forget to consider the kinds of topsoil and mulch you can use for your yard. You could also use landscaping rocks as well. Each will have their own benefits and drawbacks, so make sure you do your research before you commit to one or the other.

Some Warnings and Other Notes

  1. Note that some landscape installations will require more maintenance than others. Large lawns, for instance, have to be watered, fertilized, and mowed and trimmed regularly in order to keep it look healthy and beautiful. Huge flowerbeds, on the other hand, will require their own maintenance, such as periodic weeding and trimming to keep things looking nice. Thus, don’t just think about the short term benefits of whatever material you’re using – think also about the long term costs, i.e. how much time and energy you’ll have to sink into upkeep. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to put in effort into maintaining your front yard, that will significantly affect your landscape choices.
  2. Don’t go overboard. You don’t want your home to be absolutely overwhelmed by your landscaping. Sometimes less is more – having the perfectly selected or designed element can be much better than have dozens of different things in a complex arrangement.

Other Options and Accessories for Front Yard Landscaping

  1. Even though we are talking about front yard landscaping ideas here, we don’t want to forget the other important aspect of your design that goes hand in hand with the landscape – your front yard hardscape design! Your driveway, walkways, patios, stoops, retaining walls, and other stone accessories to your yard are perhaps just as important as the landscaping itself, since this hardscape gives shape and structure to your yard and interacts with the organic components in interesting ways. Thus, consider using concrete pavers or other hardscape materials as part of your total project – walkways are a particularly good use for this material, as are garden pavers and landscape pavers interspersed through your organics.
  2. Another thing to think about is using stepping stones as a pathway through various parts of your yard – more information on different kinds of stepping stone can be found in articles here: Large Stepping Stones, Round Stepping Stones, and Slate Stepping Stones.
  3. If you’ve spent this much time and money and energy on making your beautiful front yard, why not increase its curb appeal by adding outdoor lighting? This will make it so that everyone will be able to see your beautiful landscaping even at the darkest of night. There’s a lot I can say about this topic, so check out the articles on outdoor lighting and garden lighting for more information on this vast topic.
  4. Don’t forget the possibility of installing outdoor rooms in your front yard area. Whether an enclosed patio or a gazebo or whatever, this may be the ticket to a nice place to relax during a beautiful day or evening. However, this will work best only with large yards, as small yards may get cramped. Still, you could even install some kind of hardscape seating in yards of any size, so you can at least have a place to sit if you don’t have a deck or porch of some kind.
Some other articles you might enjoy related to this topic include articles on garden paving

Garden Lighting Ideas, Tips, and Designs

Garden lighting, also known as landscape lighting in some quarters, is a particular class of outdoor lighting that can add much beauty to your home, garden, and landscape.

Whether you go antique or modern, old-school or contemporary, you’ll be sure to add much value, beauty, and elegance to your home and garden by using these lights. However, the sheer variety of information and kinds of lighting and design that’s out there can be intimidating. To help you out, this article will give you a basic understanding of the ‘universe’ of outdoor lighting that exists out there. This article will be continually updated, so check back often for more information.

Benefits of and Reasons for Garden Lighting

There are many reasons to light up your garden or your landscape. The first, most obvious, reason is aesthetic – at night, no one can see the landscaping that you’ve spent so much time, money, and energy designing and creating. Of course, while aesthetics are important, they’re not the only reason: for instance, some use garden lighting to help protect their gardens, landscaping, walkways, etc. from people accidently stepping where they shouldn’t. You can illuminate a flowerbed to prevent people from stepping into it at night and potentially harming your installation. You can also light up a walking path through your yard and/or leading to your home to prevent people from tripping – this is the important safety element of proper garden lighting design.

Others install garden lights to help improve security around their home. Having a well-illuminated home may prevent robberies and other criminal activities – sometimes the best cure is prevention! This is especially true if you set up a motion-sensor connected flood light leading up to your house – this will prevent someone from sneaking up on your home unaware, and may prevent them from entering the area even if you’re not home, potentially discouraging robberies or vandalism.

The final major reason for installing garden and landscape lights is probably the most important – it enables you to make use of these spaces at night. For instance, you can light up your backyard patio, walkway, pool area, garden, and landscaping, enabling you to have an all-night barbecue or other party without fear of being left in the dark.

Of course, there are some drawbacks to installing garden lights. The main drawback is expense: outdoor lighting may not be cheap at times, especially when you’re dealing with fancy varieties or complex installations. But don’t worry if you can’t afford it all at the same time – this is the rare kind of home improvement project where you don’t have to do it all at once. Pick and choose what’s most important at the time, and then just do that – later, when you have the money, time, and inclination, expand your lighting as you see fit.

Kinds of Garden Lights

The most popular kinds of garden lights include low voltage garden lighting and (LED) solar powered garden lights. Lighting connected to mains is probably not going to be appropriate for most garden installations, simply because the light will be too bright for the purposes that most people want to use garden lighting for (soft, simple illumination). However, it is possible to use this, such as if you want to install a flood light of some kind, though you will want to hire an electrician to deal with this as you’ll want to make sure the installation is safe, well hidden, and protected against the elements.

The other main option is low voltage (usually 12V) lamps. These are connected not to the mains but to electricity that has been ‘transformed’ down to a lower voltage. You can get your own low voltage outdoor garden lighting kits and install this yourself with few problems – compare this to the main connected lighting above.

While most garden and landscaping lights will be powered by electricity, other lighting can potentially be powered by gas and other natural fuels. However, this is generally not viable for the purposes described in this article, as having open flames is usually not a good idea near vegetation and other potentially combustible areas. However, you can get garden lanterns and torches that emulate the look and feel of natural gas and propane alternatives if you’re looking for that antique appearance to your lighting.

If you are looking to save energy and protect the environment, solar garden lighting is probably your best bet, as it’s easy to install on your own since you won’t have to deal with laying wires or dealing with electricity in the usual sense. These LED garden lights options can either be powered individually, as each bulb will have its own photovoltaic cell and solar energy generator; or you can hook the lighting you’re your home’s solar panel system if you have one. However, this lighting is usually not as bright as the electric options, and if it doesn’t get enough sunlight it may not last long enough into the night for your taste. However, you can also get battery powered backups for these lights to make sure they have enough juice even during the cloudiest and darkest periods of the year. You can easily purchase solar outdoor lighting kits for relatively low cost, especially considering you probably won’t have to pay labor costs to get it installed by a contractor.

Garden Lighting Design Ideas

The first thing to keep in mind when installing your garden lights and designing the project is figuring out where you want to put them. For most projects, the location of the exterior garden lighting will be somewhat obvious. However, what may not be obvious are the ways to mount and display these lights.

The debate between mounting your lights and keeping them mobile is a debate that can’t be solved generally – it needs to be considered on a case by case basis. Having mounted lighting can give you the most options when it comes to the types and styles of lights to use, but of course it will be difficult to change things up. On the other hand, mobile lighting will restrict your options for light varieties while also allowing you to move your lights and experiment at will with different arrangements.

While we go into a more in-depth discussion of the locations of lights in the article about outdoor lighting, we’ll repeat them here:

  • You can install lights on posts or poles in the middle of your flowerbed or landscape. This also includes installing them in or on trees in the area.
  • Garden lights can also be mounted on walls nearby the area that’s to be illuminated, for instance near the home, a shed, or other area. A variant of the wall-mounted lights are the strings of lights that are strewn about the home; you can also place these strings of lights directly on the plants and landscaping that you already have set up. While the above two ideas (pole and wall mounted) give you illumination from above, otherwise known as “down lighting”…
  • Lights can also be buried ‘in grade’, or ‘recessed,’ to have illumination come from the ground up. They can also rest directly on the ground, as they don’t necessarily need to be buried. This is called “up lighting.” One example of this is path lights or concrete pavers lights; these lights are installed directly into the project to allow for illumination to line the path or trail as necessary. You can also bury these lights into your flowerbeds and other landscaping installations to create subtle but effective illumination in those areas. You can also put other lights at the ground level of trees and other shrubbery to illuminate them differently than simply putting them up at the top of the structures. Putting them in flowerbeds and other landscaping installations can illuminate your flowers, statues, stepping stones, walkways, and other structures that you want to be visible at night.
  • Depending on what you’re working with in the area of illumination, you can also mount these lights on ceilings (hanging lights).
  • String lighting is also interesting, not only for trees but also shrubs of any kind. It doesn’t have to be Christmas or the holiday season to use these!
  • Much of these garden lighting ideas are stationary, but you can also get lighting that is a bit more mobile. Torches, lamps, and other lighting fixtures can be easily transported as aesthetics or function dictates (for instance, if you want to move the main gathering area for a party).

Some Other Outdoor and Deck Lighting Ideas

  1. Besides motion activated lights, you can also get lights that turn on according to the directions of a timer. Some lights will also turn on automatically when the ambient light gets to a certain point (i.e. they will turn on at night and turn off in the morning by themselves).
  2. Note when installing any garden or landscape lighting to be careful about the wiring. You want to make sure that the wiring is accessible enough to be maintained or replaced as necessary but not so vulnerable as to be potentially cut or damaged during other excavation or digging. Thus, you may need to hire an electrician or contractor to get the job done correctly. This is one of the advantages of solar garden lights – you often don’t have to deal with any wiring at all.
  3. Note that some lighting will require permits and other applications to your local town or county, so make sure you do research pertaining to your local area before you commit to any project. Note that many landscape designers and contractors will probably be able to tell you what you need to do here, so use them as a resource.
  4. Some general garden lights landscape advice: aside from the location of the lights, don’t forget to think about their orientation. Where are they pointing? In what direction? What is the interaction between different lights in the area? There’s an art and a science to all this, so don’t be afraid to experiment, especially if you have access to cheap garden lights that you can play around with liberally.
  5. You can also integrate your lights into your hardscape structures. We’ve already discussed paver lights, used especially for walkways, outdoor patios, pool decks, and driveways, but don’t forget the vertical structures. Adding lights to retaining walls and paver steps may be a great way to illuminate these structures for both beauty and safety.
  6. Don’t forget about underwater lighting? If you have a pool, pond, fountain, or waterfall, or any other body of water, don’t forget the possibility of using these outdoor lights to illuminate them. The lighting can wall mounted, submerged in the water, or even floating on the surface, among other options!
  7. Note that heat is an issue – you don’t want the lights to get too hot for the kinds of plants you have, lest you kill them!

Some Final Garden Lighting Tips

Here are some final tips to help you when you’re putting the finishing touches on your project:
Note that you may not want the light itself to be visible – thus, consider blocking it or covering it with another structure (rock, bush, whatever) to make the light itself disappear while still allowing the illumination emanating from it to do its job.
Don’t forget the possibilities of using lights to ‘pick out’ or highlight particular areas or structures in your yard. For instance, you can illuminate your new waterfall solely, or use lights to illuminate the entire garden area. What the light ‘focuses’ on will often determine how the entire area looks.
Experiment with different light brightness levels. Bright lights are more appropriate for functional and security reasons, while dimmer lights and ‘backlights’ may be more suitable for aesthetic reasons – i.e. they will look the best from a distance.

An Outdoor Lighting Guide: What You Need to Know

Though this is primarily a site about concrete pavers, we of course want to cover all the aspects of outdoor home improvement and design that we can to maximize the beauty and functionality of your hardscape investment. When many people think of outdoor lighting, they think about the string lights that are often put up around homes during Christmas. But this is just a small fraction of the choices for lighting available, and the benefits you’ll get from installing it can be immense. If you are sprucing up your front yard or backyard, don’t forget about making sure it’s visible at night! The right outdoor lighting can transform the appearance of your home, and it can allow you to use your new hardscape and landscape through all hours of the night. Plus, it can also make your home look more attractive from the street.

Another major benefit is not just aesthetic, it’s also practical: safety. Making sure your backyard or frontyard environment is well lit is a good way to prevent trips, falls, and other accidents. You can also use it as protection against would-be thieves or interlopers.

Exterior lighting is resistant to water and weather – as it should be – and is relatively easy to install. However, some projects may require the aid of an electrician, especially if you are dealing with lots of electricity, so you will definitely not want to do this work yourself! You’ll want to make sure that you’re using lighting that’s meant for wet and outdoor areas – lighting meant for dry, indoor environments could short out and get damaged when exposed to the elements. In addition, you may have to get certain permits and follow certain rules and laws given your local area; you may also need periodic inspections to confirm that there are no hazards associated with your installation, especially if you have heavy-duty lights installed.

Of course, the huge amount of lighting options out there can be very confusing. This article thus seeks to give you a good guide to explain the many kinds of modern outdoor lighting available for purchase as well as a discussion of the design options you have at your disposal, regardless of the project.

While much of what follows applies to commercial lighting, much of this advice is most applicable to residential applications.

Picking the Basic Type of Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

There are two main types of outdoor lights – gas powered and electric (bulb) powered lights. Each comes with its own drawbacks and benefits.

Electric powered lights are very popular, as they give an elegant and modern look to the area. There are three kinds of ‘electric lights.’ One kind, powered by the electric mains, gives the strongest light, and is best for security and safety rather than aesthetics. For instance, these are best for outdoor flood lights, especially for a business or secure area that needs to be protected from interlopers. However, there is a ton of voltage and power going to these lights, so safety is an issue – for instance, the main line that connects to the light must be well hidden and protected. The amount of power that can be used ranges from 40 to 1000 watts. Only the brightest lights will need these high values; most will be satisfied with a 40 to 100 watt light.

If you don’t need such bright lighting, you could go with low voltage outdoor lighting. This is often used as garden lighting, such as that used to light up a particular path or to illuminate a flower bed or other landscaping installation. This lighting will not be as high a voltage (usually around 12V), so you won’t need to worry about protecting people from potentially getting electrocuted with it. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure the lines are out of the way and insulated against water and weather, but no extra special precautions need be taken like they do with mains lighting. Installing this lighting yourself is very doable, and there are plenty of low voltage outdoor lighting kits out there that you can purchase and set up without the need for a contractor or electrician.

The final type of exterior lighting is solar powered. These solar powered LED lights are not as bright as the other options, but they can still serve some aesthetic purposes if used correctly. The best feature for these is that they don’t need to be plugged into an electricity source, as they are powered by the sun – simply put them where you want them and you’re done! A solar panel diverts energy to a battery during the day; this battery then powers up the lights at night.

Gas powered lights are more ‘traditional’ but may be a bit more of a hassle to install and maintain, especially if you don’t have any gas to pipe in to the area. Still, if you’re looking for something nostalgic and antique-ish, go with this option, though you might find you have fewer options available here than you will with electric lights.

You will also want to figure out if you want to create a modern or antique theme to your lighting. Most homeowners go with the modern option, though the antique option can absolutely look well in many different home environments. Modern lighting is generally silver and black in color and is not very complex in its lines, while antique lighting can pull in a wider range of colors and designs.

Designing Your Outside Lights Project

Don’t stress too much about your lighting design. Sure, there are plenty of options available for you when it comes to your outdoor lighting design, but don’t worry about getting it ‘exactly right.’ You’ll have to experiment and use trial and error, unless you hire a contractor or designer to do the creating for you, so just go with your gut and what you think you’ll enjoy. Don’t forget the other factors besides looks – function, protection, and safety. And it goes without saying that budget can be an issue – a seemingly modest decorative outdoor lighting project can soon turn financially serious if you’re not careful!

Draw up a plan of your home, or have someone do it for you. On this picture, mark where you will want to install outdoor and landscape lighting. Obviously, if your project is small, you can skip this step. Make sure that it will be feasible to install the lights in those areas; for example, you may need to run a significant amount of wiring in order to have your plan work out like you want – this may mean added time and expense to your project.

One of the first things that you need to figure out is the location of that you want to set up your lights as well as how you want to ‘mount’ them in the area. Some of the popular areas to put lights include: walkways, patios, pool decks and other yard decking, gardens and landscape features, entrances and exits of yards, homes, and sheds/garages, and mounted on walls and columns to illuminate large patches of the back or front yard. They may also be useful as security, especially if they are set up with motion sensors. Some lights can also be put into water, such as if you have a waterfall or pond or pool in your backyard that you want to light up. Don’t forget about using lighting for ambiance as well – sometimes very low level LED landscape lighting is all you need to transform your landspace. There are many ways to mount your lights, depending of course on what kinds of lights you are dealing with. Your options include:

  • The most basic kind of mount is putting the light on a wall. You can either attach it directly to the wall or other surface, or you can mount a bracket on the surface of the wall and then set the light up there. These brackets themselves can give you many design options, as you can buy these items in a variety of styles and materials.
  • Mount your lights on a post or column. The column can be made from many different materials (such as wood or metal) and can be installed wherever you want at whatever height you want. This means you can mount your light at whatever height you want in order to produce the desired functional or aesthetic appearance. This option obviously includes the lights and torches that already come in a column or post format.
  • If you have an outdoor area available that is covered by some kind of ceiling, you can add hanging lights to the area.

During this process you also need to determine how many lights you will need to cover the space. Obviously this depends on a number of factors, including the types of lights you’re using, the square footage of the area, other light that may be already installed, and the amount of light you want to use (or the ‘effect’ you want to create with your lighting). This is where somewhat of a judgment call comes in, and you may want to experiment a bit with different kinds and numbers of lights (if feasible) in order to get the look you want. Obviously this testing won’t be possible for those on a smaller budget, so your mileage may vary here.

In addition, realize that there also many different ways to ‘display’ your lighting. In other words, you can do things like down or up lighting, spot lighting, shadowing, cross lighting, and much more. In other words: where is the light pointing? Is it direct or diffuse? How is it interacting with other lights in the area? Obviously, you don’t have to go fancy here if you don’t want to, but just be aware of these options here.

Note that getting lighting just right can be tricky. Sometimes lights that you think will be ‘understated’ will be totally invisible or even too much, while other times the opposite can be true. That’s why, though it’s useful to consult with pictures, videos, and other visual aids in order to see what works best in certain environments, it won’t be a cure-all, as your specific home context will be different from anything else you see.

Suggestions for Outdoor Landscape Lighting (Ideas)

  • Lanterns are an interesting throwback, though modern ones are also available. These can either be mounted on posts and columns, wall mounted, or bracket mounted. Some of these lanterns can be truly unique, so you’ll have a lot of freedom to explore different styles and designs, all depending on your home’s theme and your tastes and style.
  • Outdoor post lights are also a great way to either set off particular areas for seating (such as patios), but these poles are probably best used as a way to line a path or walkway through your yard or walking up to your house.
  • One of the coolest outdoor lighting ideas is path lighting. You can use path lighting for your gardens, walkways, and other installations. One very popular option for those who use concrete pavers or other paving stones is paver lights – these lights can be placed within the paver installation so that they seamlessly blend with your project. A especially useful version of this kind of lighting is step lighting – having your steps illuminated, or even surrounded by path lights, will both increase their beauty at night and prevent injuries, trips, and falls.
  • There are many different uses for outdoor wall lights, but most of the time these lights will be mounted in the front or back of your home. They can be used in the front to light up the façade of your home, or you can use them in back to help light up a patio or pool deck area, depending on the layout of your home.
  • Hanging lights are a bit less flexible due to the fact that they have to be ‘hung’ from somewhere. Of course, if you have an enclosed patio or walkway, this could work very well as a way to light a path in a unique way. However, don’t discount the use of these lights at the front of a home, hanging down from the roof or other overhang. They can be a great way to call attention to your home and make it stand out from the crowd.
  • Note as well that you can often get energy efficient or low energy bulbs. This is a great idea if you’re planning on leaving your lighting on more or less permanently, as otherwise you could face a rather hefty electric bill.

A Landscaping Rocks Guide

When creating a new landscape, or sprucing up an old one, we usually think of the grass, soil, and other organics that usually define a landscape. But we also shouldn’t ignore the use of stone and other hardscape materials to increase the beauty of our landscape! One of the best materials to use for this purpose is the landscape rock. Landscaping rocks come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and they can be used for a host of projects and design ideas. This article will give you a brief run-down of many of the landscaping rocks and stones that are out there.

Landscaping with rocks is more of an art than a science; there are pretty much an infinite number of ideas that you could fruitfully apply to your own home project! Hopefully it helps to stimulate your creativity and your own ideas!

Types of Landscaping Rocks

There are as many types of landscaping rocks as there are rocks and stone in the world. Thus, we’ll give you a quick rundown of some of the more popular stones out there so that you can get a general idea before you start your research. One great advantage of these stones is that they are nearly maintenance free. At most, you may have to remove weeds from the stone beds or rake the stones to keep them in order.

One popular kind of stone is river rock. They are smooth and round stones, and they are generally used to fill in areas where grass might normally be; they can also be used to surround beds and create borders between patios and fences. Really, this is the default stone you’d use if you’d want to lay down and kind of rock in your landscape, so if you just wnat something basic, start here. This stone is also great for drainage of water, so you can use it around pools, hot tubs, and in any area where you need water to drain quickly and with little hassle.

If you’re looking for larger, single pieces, consider boulders or decorative rock. You can either get real, natural stone, or fake, artificial stone. The latter is lighter, cheaper, and easier to work with, but may look ‘unnatural’ even in the best of conditions. However, this stone may be just right for your project and budget, so don’t discount it. These can be used as a decorative centerpiece to help break up an area, or they can serve a more functional purpose by covering up and blocking certain unsightly areas of your landscape.

If you want a kind of stone that is larger than river rock but still easier to work with, consider volcanic rock. This ‘lava rock’ is made from the expulsions of volcanos. It is porous and very light, and can thus be shaped into whatever forms you need. It is also a very cheap kind of stone, so many newbie landscape-homeowners may want to start out using this material at first to get their feet wet.

Don’t forget, as well, that you can use concrete pavers – in the form of landscape pavers and garden pavers – to add walkways, driveways, patios, stepping stones, borders, and other hardscape installations to your landscape to complement your landscaping rock choices.

While size and shape is important, don’t forget to consider color, as well. You’ll want to pick a stone that goes best (complements) your home’s color theme already, as well as the colors in your landscape and garden. The entire spectrum is covered by different stones, so you won’t be short on options.

Where Can Landscaping Stones Be Used?

The obvious places are quite clear to most homeowners – flowerbeds, gardens, and other borders cry out for these rocks. However, don’t forget the pool, hot tub, walkway, patio, driveway, and other aspects of your hardscape that can be brought in harmony with your new landscape. This site has tons of ideas in this area, so feel free to browse!

Ways to Use Decorative Landscaping Rocks

Obviously, how and where you can use this material is only limited by your imagination and budget. Here are just a few ways you can use this material to increase the beauty and function of your landscape:

One thing to do is to use these rocks for a border around your flowerbed, garden, or other landscape areas. They can separate these landscape installations from your lawn, patio, walkway, and so on.

Another use for small stones and gravel is as a place to walk. It’s a great way to lay down a ‘hardscape’ without having to get involved in installation of concrete pavers or other materials. You can either have large stepping stones in the center of your rock path, or just settle for the small rocks by themselves. Realize, however, that this will require some maintenance, as the stones will often get kicked up and spread out of their original location (into your lawn, flowerbed, etc.).

Don’t forget using large stones or boulders as well. You can lay down a single large boulder in a central area of your landscape, or you can use more than one to create a mound or other attractive installatio. This is where your artistry and creativity can come through; a boulder installation can be a great eye-catcher and would be the centerpiece of your lawn.

You can also just skip soil altogether and use the stones for the base of your flowerbeds and garden. You’ll obviously need good topsoil underneath to provide a nice foundation for your plants, flowers, and shrubs, but you can then lay small stones or gravel on top of the bed to highlight colors or simply give the installation a unique look. This may also be a great idea if you are having problems with water drainage or mud in that particular area.

If you really want to go all out, you can also jsut use rocks throughout your entire yard. Instead of having a lawn, use rocks; instead of a driveway, use rocks; instead of a flowerbed with top soil, use rocks. In some areas this looks very nice, particulary where the land is very dry, but it can also be a pain to maintain at times. It will require regular maintenance to keep it looking clean and in order.

The Cost of Landscaping Rocks

The prices of landscaping rocks depend on a large number of factors. The primary factor is the kind of rock you’ll get, of course.

If you buy smaller stones, like river rock, you’ll pay per ‘yard,’ or by the square foot, depending on the stone you select. For instance, river rock can go from $20 to $30 per ton or higher, though the size of the rock matters here. Don’t forget transportation and delivery costs, too! Exact costs will depend on the kind and color of your rock as well, in addition to the costs associated with your location.

If you go for larger stones, like boulders, the price will depend on the size and kind of stone you select. Artificial or decorative boulders can go from $30 to $100 and up per boulder.

In addition, any special features of your stones, such as if they are artificially colored, may inflate the costs.

Tips on Finding Landscaping Rocks for Sale

Your first bet is to go to a landscape supply yard, mason supply yard, or home improvement store, and price out the options available. Obviously, some places will be less expensive than others, so to find cheap stone, you’re going to have to do a bit of shopping. Luckily, most of these projects can be done ‘DIY,’ so you won’t have to pay a contractor to come in and do the work. However, large scale projects may require the services of a landscaper, and he or she will often include the costs of the material in the total price, so be sure to check the estimate before committing to any bid.

If you want a deal, consider getting ‘used’ material. It’s even possible to get free stones by checking sites like Craigslist, where fellow homeowners may be getting rid of material that they no longer need due to the demolition of an old project around their home.

Don’t rule out scrounging around yourself, either! Stones are natural objects, so you may find them by simply walking around in local parks, forests, and other natural locations. Of course, this options works best with larger stones and boulders, but you should always keep your eyes peeled for exciting and interesting pieces that you can add to your home! This is the best way to bring a little bit of nature back to your landscape.

Landscape Pavers: What You Need to Know

When we think about improving our landscape, we rarely think about how improving our hardscape could improve the landscape as well. This means installing new walkways, driveways, patios, and other projects around the landscape to heighten, protect, and beautify your landscape and your yard. This article will give you the basics of paver landscaping to help you design and construct your next project – or at least give you the information you need to feel comfortable dealing with a paver contractor or designer.

Benefits of Landscape Pavers

As described elsewhere on this site, concrete pavers offer the homeowner many benefits that make up for its relatively high price of installation. Note that much of this also applies to pavers made from other materials, such as brick pavers and natural stone pavers (like flagstone pavers, bluestone pavers, sandstone pavers, etc.).

One of the benefits of landscaping with pavers is that your installations will hold up over time, regardless of any weather or other stressors. The flexible aggregate base underneath will buckle and bend with freezing and thawing of water, as will the landscape paver installation itself (due to the joints between paving stones). The patio, walkway, etc. will thus not crack as would concrete or asphalt. This is especially useful when your pavers have an aesthetic quality to them – i.e. they are there primarily to look nice. Having them crack and fall apart would mar your otherwise beautiful project.

In addition, building walkways and patios and borders around and in your landscaping can help protect your meticulously created landscape. Landscaping edging pavers are a great way to both separate different sections of your yard while also protecting that which must not be stepped on or disturbed.

These landscape pavers, regardless of how you use them, will not clash or not fit together – they are no different than any other concrete paver used for driveways, patios, or walkways. Thus, you can use the same materials throughout your yard, ensuring continuity and integration of your design. What is especailly useful about using landscaping pavers versus other options like concrete to decorate and separate other landscaping features is the design options possible. Paving stones come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, offering many options for the homeowner or contractor to complement other features of the landscape or home. The different blends of colors available can bring match or complement any color palette. In the next section, we will discuss the various design options at your disposal, as well as some of the more interesting projects that you can add to your yard to enhance your landscaping.

Designing Landscaping With Pavers

Should you create your landscape or your hardscape first? In a perfect world, the answer is ‘both.’ What you do with your hardscape should affect your landscape design and vice versa.

When designing your pavers landscaping project, try to plan other paver installations at the same time. Not only is this more cost efficient than doing single projects, but you can also streamline designs across different projects. Your options to highlight and frame your landscaping are many; they include walkways, garden pavers, patios, pool decks, and retaining walls, among others.

Note when designing your projects that you can use straight and curved lines throughout your design. Straight lines are more ‘formal’ and rigid, but are much easier to install. Curving lines are more informal and perhaps more interesting, but overall cost more money. Balancing out cost and features, depending on your budget, is a priority before you begin any project or contact a contractor.

Here are some of the best landscaping paver ideas that you can implement in your yard today. Building a walkway or patio in your yard is a nice way for you to complement your landscaping while also creating a space for you and your family and friends to relax and enjoy each others’ company. Patio pavers are especially nice, especially when they are framed by fresh flowerbeds or other landscaping installations.

One great way to highlight (literally!) your landscaping pavers is to install paver lights around your walkway or patio. These can increase night time safety while also boosting the beauty of your home at night.

Another way to highlight your landscaping is to put them at varying heights, not merely at ground level. This will often require you to build a retaining wall…which you can do with retaining wall pavers! You can thus use the same material – style, color, design – for your walls as you do for your flatwork. Building a paver retaining wall can serve a dual function – first, it can certainly raise the beauty and style of your entire landscape. But perhaps more importantly, it can protect your hard work from water and mud damage, especially if there are any steep slopes near your home. Retaining walls can keep back mud or dirt from sliding down a hill onto you beautiful lawn, patio, or other project. In addition, they can help properly drain water to avoid flooding – an important aspect of keeping your landscaping fresh and new.

Note as well the benefits of installing pool pavers. The combination of your landscaping, paving stones, and the bright blue of the pool can make for a stunning look for any home and yard.

If you need something more functional, consider adding grass pavers to your yard. This is a great way to keep your grass/lawn intact while making sure it is protected from the elements and vehicular traffic.

Once you decide the basic elements of your landscaping paver project, sketch out a design and the dimensions of the parts. You will need this information to tell the contractor or, if you are doing the installation yourself, when ordering materials.

How to Install Landscape Pavers

Installing landscape pavers are in principle no different than installing concrete pavers in other contexts – it is merely the design and use of the pavers that may differ a bit. Thus, those interested in knowing how to do this should check out this page on how to lay pavers.