landscape lighting

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Lighting Up Your Landscape

You’ve worked hard to ensure that your home and your landscape show off all the work you’ve put into them.  While they may be beautiful during the day, your efforts do not have to be limited to just the daylight hours.  If you light your landscape properly in the evenings, that hard work can really have a wow factor.  Landscape lighting is about artistry as much as it is about technical knowledge.  If your lighting is installed in the right places, it can highlight the architectural features of your home as well as the different characteristics of your plantings and trees. In addition to adding character, it can add safety as well; a well-lit walkway is as important as having a properly constructed one.  Good landscape design should incorporate elements that are functional as well as beautiful any time of day.   Most landscape lighting is low-voltage because it is less costly to install and much safer to work with.  There are stunning variations of the type of lighting you can achieve with a low-voltage installation.  Lighting a tree canopy, a glow over a landscape feature, or lighting aimed directly at your home are a few of the many options available.   Factors such as brightness, color and beam width are in every element of the lighting design.  The technical aspects of this, such as the type of bulb, the housing for the bulb, and the cables and stakes used to keep them in place all have to be chosen for their most effective usage.  Once the proper elements are in place you can “play” with the light.  For example, when lighting foliage, you should always include the trunk, otherwise it will look like a

Summertime and the Living is Easy… Let’s Plan for Easy (outdoor) Living in the Fall

Summer is here and living part of your life outdoors is easy and expected. But have you thought about the fact that it can be JUST as welcoming in the Fall? If you have visions of you and your family and friends gathered around the fire pit roasting marshmallows in October, NOW is the time to plan and make it happen. Creating beautiful, yet functional outdoor living spaces is an outdoor living trend that can add value to your home and endless options to your evenings through all seasons. Sunrise Landscape and Design has over 30 years of experience in landscape design, build and maintenance. We work with you through the whole process – from inception to implementation. Before you start – here are some things to consider to make your dream a reality! Purpose - Your yard should be a go-to destination Spring, Summer AND Fall so start by considering how you really use your yard. Keeping in mind how you really use your space, if you love to entertain, a fire pit may be a better choice than a fireplace because more people can sit around it. If entertaining on a much smaller scale is your go-to, a fireplace provides that cozy feel that encourages hours of lingering. Making space for an outdoor kitchen, whether it’s as simple as building in a small grill to installing countertops, a fully functional sink, a wet bar, and even a pizza oven. Size - The size of the structure should be in direct proportion to the size of your yard. Your outdoor patio or deck can be a big investment, so you want to make sure you have the right size parameters in mind before you

Making the Best of Your Winter Landscape

We’ve had a pretty mild winter so far this year, but our temperature fluctuations can give even the most seasoned Northern Virginian a little bit of cabin fever. Punxsutawney Phil says that we’ve got six more weeks of winter to endure, and you know how we love our February snow storms in this area! You don’t have to wait for spring to enjoy your landscape, though – even if the snow does come. You can make the best of the dreariness and cloudy weather with a little bit of paint, hardy winter plants, and some creature comforts. Tips for Brightening Your Winter Landscape With mild temperatures, it’s easy to enhance your landscape even during the winter months. Planting, hardscaping, and painting are all possible on days over 50 degrees. With a little planning, you can establish a landscape you'll love for years to come – no matter what Mother Nature throws your way. 1. Create an outdoor living space for all seasons. Patios don’t have to be ignored during colder months. By adding a fire pit or fireplace, you can cozy up to a fire underneath the stars regardless of the season. Consider building a path to your patio, as well, so that you can stay off your winter turf (or snow) and make your outdoor space more accessible. Other features like benches and trellises can also beautify your space and provide focal points for your landscape when it’s covered in snow. 2. Bring in some light. It tends to be cloudier during the winter months, but landscape lighting can combat dark nights and provide an enchanting glow to your yard year-round. Try lighting up a few trees with unique bark or fantastic, gnarly limbs.

30 Reasons to Get Landscape Lighting

In honor of our 30th anniversary this year, we want to give you 30 reasons why you should consider illuminating your beautiful landscape. Landscape lighting can be done to fit any budget, and it is the one thing that can really make a dramatic impact on the outside of your home at night. Take a look at why we’re so passionate about landscape lighting here at Sunrise:   It extends your living space. When you’ve put so much into your landscaping, being able to see it at night only makes sense. You can spotlight your home’s best architectural features. You can focus on special decorative items, like fountains or statues. A bullet light – sort of like a spotlight - can target a unique tree trunk or garden feature. Even the smallest of landscape details can get attention. Those little plants that you love, but are close to the ground, can be illuminated overhead. Make your favorite tree stand out, especially when it has brilliantly-colored fall foliage. Even a retaining wall can become a focal point when drenched in light. A wash of light can cover your whole home, making it stand out from your neighbor’s houses. Downlights can be used in trees to establish a dreamy, moonlit effect in your yard. Lighting is great for highlighting the various textures of your home or garden. It’s not only for your front yard! Make your backyard a magically-lit wonderland for you and your family to enjoy. Great patio lighting sets the mood for any party. Nothing is cooler than a backyard BBQ with landscape lighting that will surprise and wow your guests. Lighting will enhance all your holiday decorations, showcasing wreaths and decorated trees. Simple pathway

Landscape Lighting Installation

So you’re thinking about installing a landscape lighting system, great, but how do you do it? Of course you already know that you’ll need electricity to power it, lights, a transformer, etc.  Your landscape lighting plan will dictate how many low voltage lights are needed and where they should be placed. Typically landscape lighting includes spot and accent lights, pathway lights, flood lights and deck lights. But how do you design and install a system so that it looks professional? First, you need your system, which usually includes; fixtures, a transformer, wire and wire nuts, hub or junction boxes, a light sensor and timer. Next, you’ll need tools like wire cutters and strippers, pliers, a trenching shovel, a multimeter, a drill w/ concrete bits, and screws.  Assuming you’ve already calculated the load of the system based on the length of wire and wattage draw of the fixtures you’ve planned, you’re ready to get started! Install the transformer in a location that’s inconspicuous while still allowing you to plug into a GFCI outlet, usually on your garage electrical circuit. If you don’t have a GFCI outlet available, you’ll need to install one or have an electrician install one for your transformer. Place the fixtures in the practical locations first, like path lights along a garden path, or step lights for your deck steps. Place up lights at the base of focal plantings or trees to make them stand out at night as features in the landscape. Last, place wash lights to create secondary or more subtle accents in the landscape. Run the wiring to each fixture from the transformer, taking care to record where the wires are buried on the plan. Lights should be connected in

Keeping Your Ghosts and Goblins Safe this Halloween

Creating the perfect Halloween Haunted House can be a spooktacular experience! Remember that ghosts and goblins of all ages will be running through your yard to fill their bags up with treats as they race from house to house. Crafting a scary yet safe environment can mean the difference between a hauntingly good time and someone actually getting hurt.  Lighting is one of the most important aspects of creating a frightening ambiance. A well-lit yard with low voltage LED lights not only can light your walkways and sidewalks, but are economical to install and maintain. Compliment your LED lights with Jack-O-Lanterns that have glow sticks inside or battery powered lights to help illuminate your yard without being a fire hazard. Also check to make sure that your outdoor lights are working including flood or sensor lights.  In addition to setting up lighting, make sure to clean up your yard before the big night. Remove all tripping hazards like children’s toys, hoses, bikes and mark any exposed tree roots to ensure they can be seen by every child in costume; especially those with masks as part of their outfit. Leaves should be raked away from sidewalks and curbs so everyone can identify where the drop off is between sidewalk and street. Pets can be cute dressed up in costume for Halloween but it is best if they are leashed so they do not inadvertently jump or bite someone. Also, some children are highly allergic to dogs and cats so do not let Fido or Kitty help answer the door; especially with little kids that may be frightened of your pet.  Halloween can be a fun night for trick or treaters of all ages. Creating a spooky