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Holiday Lighting Tips

Holiday Lighting Tips From Sunrise Landscape and Design

house with outside holiday lighting design northern virginia

It may seem impossible, but the holiday season is right around the corner. It’s time to break out the hot cocoa, eat some cookies, and unpack the holiday decorations. At Sunrise, we love this time of year because it means we get to install holiday lighting for our clients. There’s nothing better than transforming a property into a holiday destination. If you are planning on creating your own holiday retreat this year, here are some holiday lighting tips for making the process simple and safe:

1. Decide where you want lights

It’s fun to light up entryways and windows on your home, as well as architectural elements, like your roof. You can also highlight paths, fencing, and landscaping features. You can brighten bushes with net lights and wrap strands around tree trunks to light your yard.

2. Measure and plan ahead

You don’t want to go to the store twice! Measure how much lighting you’ll need by taking a string and putting it wherever you want lights. If you know how long the string needs to be, you’ll know how many strands of lights you’ll need. As a general rule of thumb, trees require 100 lights per vertical foot (but larger trees could need more).

3. Choose your bulb size

Mini lights are the ones that look like candles and are only 5/8” tall. C6 bulbs are shaped like a strawberry and are ¾” in diameter, and 1 1/8” tall. C7 bulbs are a little rounder and are 1” in diameter, and 1 ½” tall. C9 bulbs are the largest, measuring 1 ¼” in diameter and 2 1/2” tall. If you see a G-series light, divide the number by 8 to get an idea of the diameter.

Evergreens often look best with bigger bulbs, while deciduous trees are excellent for mini lights or rope lights. Old-fashioned, larger bulbs are back in style, so mix up sizes for a more interesting holiday lighting look.

4. Determine whether you want incandescent or LED

LED lights cost a little more upfront but last much longer than incandescents. They also use only 10% of the electricity that incandescents do, which means less heat and less risk of fire. Although incandescents tend to be brighter, LED strings can compensate with more bulbs per string.

5. Ensure your lights are outdoor-safe

Your lights need to be waterproof if they are being used outside. Make sure everything you use for holiday lighting is marked for outdoor or indoor-outdoor use.

6. Purchase holders

Don’t damage your roof, trim, gutters, or trees by using tacks or nails to string your lights. Instead, invest in sturdy plastic clips and stakes to fasten your strings. Make sure your clips fit your bulb sizes, especially if you are using larger bulbs.

7. Strategize your strings

Test strands ahead of time and consider alternating strings over the same space for more illumination. When connecting strands, make sure to read the manufacturer recommendations; too many connections can create a fire hazard.

8. Plan extension cord placement

Bury extension cords or place them in areas where guests and family members won’t trip, and keep them away from water. Also make sure they are outdoor-safe, just like your lights.

9. Check outlets

You want to use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. These outlets will shut down the circuit if there’s too much current, keeping your home safe. You can have an electrician install one for you, or you can purchase a portable unit for temporary use.

10. Liven it up

Light spheres, animated lights, and lights that move to music are great ways to liven up your lawn (and your neighborhood).

Whether you’re looking to be the envy of the neighborhood or create a cozy, welcoming home for the holidays, use these holiday lighting tips to create a winter wonderland that will stay in your memory long after the holiday season.

Sunrise Landscape and Design is Northern Virginia’s premier landscaping company offering a full range of landscaping services including landscape design and maintenance. Contact us today for all your landscape and lawn care needs!

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Outdoor Fireplaces | Northern Virginia

patio with lighting and fireplace in northern virginia

Who wouldn’t love curling up next to an outdoor fireplace on a chilly Northern Virginia fall evening? Or hanging out in your backyard year-round, enjoying s’mores while chatting with family and friends? Summer may be coming to an end, but there’s nothing stopping you from turning your summertime oasis into a four-season refuge.

Outdoor Fireplaces

A fireplace can be custom-designed and installed by a masonry expert, enabling you to choose the design that works best for your patio and your budget. They can be incorporated into your space for more of a “built-in” look or completely freestanding, creating a new seating area for your outdoor area. The facades can be brick, stone, marble, or even a type of fire-resistant glass. They can also be gas or wood-burning, depending on your preference.

If you love details, consider features like built-in wood storage, reclaimed wood mantels, bench-height hearths, and soft, subtle lighting. You can even incorporate a pizza oven for hours of family fun.

Fire Pits

If you have a smaller space, a fire pit may work better as your heat source. They are extremely popular, so the options are endless. You can build one into your space like a fireplace, customizing it to your needs, or you can purchase one at your local hardware store and simply unpack it from a box. While masonry fire pits offer unique details like stone facades and built-in seating, pre-built kits can be extremely affordable and easy to set up. Pits are generally either wood or gas, and can come in their traditional shape or in the form of a table, urn, or tabletop accent. They can also be incorporated with water features for an extra-special focal point.

Chimineas

Chimineas are also ideal for small spaces. Unlike the open, 360-degree design of a fire pit, chimineas are more like fireplaces. They are traditionally made out of clay and shaped like large vases, but now you can find them in materials like sheet steel, copper, cast aluminum, or cast iron. By feeding wood into their bellies, you can achieve a very clean-burning and efficient fire. The only drawback of chimineas is durability. Cast aluminum tends to last longer than other materials but beware of finishes that are prone to rust, warping, and cracking.

Patio Heaters

Patio heaters are also available in many varieties and styles. They may not seem as comforting as a blazing fire, but they can still provide decent warmth during cold-weather months. Heaters can be free-standing, tabletop, or wall-mounted, and typically run on natural gas, propane, or electricity.

Outdoor Kitchens

There’s no rule that says you must “rough it” if you want to spend time outdoors. An outdoor kitchen is another excellent way to season-proof your patio, making it a place to entertain and relax no matter what the weather is. Kitchens can be custom-designed to meet your needs with features like refrigerators, counters, cabinets, dishwashers, wine coolers, and sinks. You can incorporate grills, cooktops, and pretty much anything else you would find in your standard indoor kitchen. To make it blend in with the rest of your space, your contractor will finish it off with stone, tile, brick, or stucco.

Extend your living space this fall.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy your investment year-round. Before the holiday parties begin and snow hits the ground, find a way to make your outdoor space work year-round. Contact us to schedule a free estimate.

Want to learn more about outdoor living spaces? Click here.