Deck and Patio Lighting Thoughts

One of the primary motivators for the homeowner in considering a patio or deck area as an add-on to their home is its entertainment value. Cruise the neighborhood during the day and you will more than likely see only a few people using the patio or deck. However, as evening approaches the story changes. When parent(s) come home from work or when it’s the right time to plan a party for friends and relatives, the patio or deck is frequently used as the center of festivities that often last well into the night.

During the planning stages, it’s important to include a lighting plan to make sure that the patio and deck area are not only well-lighted but that the lighting design creates a magical effect for its visitors.

Starting with the most elegant (and usually the most expensive) deck and patio lighting we can take a look at lights that are built-in to the foundation elements of the patio or deck. These lights provide a soft uplight glow that can mark a pathway or just provide a non-functional source of beauty. The lights are generally installed by contractors during the patio and deck construction and are generally not a project that the average DIY should consider tackling. I’ve seen this type of lighting done in a variety of colors and have even seen systems that automatically change the colors during the course of the evening, providing a mood-altering effect.

Dimmers are also a worthwhile investment for ground level lighting, allowing the host to increase or decrease the intensity of the lighting depending on the mood desired. Ground lighting is very safe since the lights themselves are never in contact with the visitors. Contractors will make sure that the process for changing the bulbs is simple and straightforward.

Speaking of dimmers, it’s generally a good idea to keep your entire deck and patio lighting system under dimmer control. Bright moonlight can allow you to turn the lighting down a bit while dark moonless nights can prompt you to boost the light up a bit.

Ground level lighting can also be used to frame the patio or deck area particularly if you’ve planted shrubbery or other low plantings around the area.

Down lighting is another type of deck and patio lighting. As the name implies, this is lighting from above and can be used to simulate moonlight. Besides being a natural lighting source, down lighting also enhances the security of the area because a lighted deck or patio usually leaves the impression the there’s someone at home.

A creative way to use this as a security feature is to have your doorbell circuit tied into a switch that at least temporarily turns the down lights on.

Most down lighting is accomplished by the use of either or both floodlights and spotlights. The floodlight will provide more ambient lighting by illuminating the entire deck or patio area while spotlights can be used as task lighting to highlight such areas as stairways and entryways. Spotlights can also be used to accent special features such as fountains, plantings or cooking and eating areas.

Many deck and patio lighting is installed at the waist level to keep any glare away from the face and to provide an elegant touch. Some lighting can also be installed at the top of posts that are at the top of stairways or other areas that separate one part of the deck or patio from another.

Some homeowners use strip or rope lights to highlight the porch or deck railing or other areas that need special attention such as stair risers or seating areas. If you live in an area where you can use a deck or patio during the winter holiday season, give some thought to decorating the area with lighting that can be used year-round.

Have fun with your lighting plan for your deck or patio. Most of the lighting is relatively inexpensive and can be removed or modified relatively easily. You may want to divide your plan into lights, which need to be permanently installed, and lights that are movable and optional.

Please don’t get carried away with deck and patio lighting plans. This type of lighting is best understated although some decorative lighting such as hurricane lamps or tiki torches (used in moderation) are OK.

Bugs are often a problem at night and several manufactures offer lights that discourage or repel flying pests. Sometimes a bright light, strategically placed in a tree a bit away from the patio or deck will help keep these insects occupied elsewhere rather than with your guests.

Above all, keep in mind that you want to create a magic environment that will encourage visitors to congregate and socialize late into the evening.

Bedroom Design – Useful Insights

When you’re planning a bedroom design for the first time, it can seem like a pretty straightforward task. After all, how hard can it be to move a bed into the right position and throw in a wardrobe and a few cupboards here and there? Actually, it’s not that easy. There’s a balance that you must get right if you want to create a warm and relaxing environment, which is the key to getting a good nights sleep.

Without going into a massive amount of detail, a well thought out bedroom design can broken down into four sections:

  1. Light
  2. Space
  3. Layout
  4. Decor

Let’s go through each one a discuss why it is so important to make the right decisions.

Light – You need as much natural light in a bedroom as you can possibly get during the day. The ideal situation is to have big windows that can illuminate the room and inject a real freshness into the space, making it feel a really nice place to relax in at night. When the sun goes down, you need to an artificial lighting system that creates the right ambiance. This can be easily achieved with a few lamps and your main overhead lighting. But make sure you spend time picking out a lamp shade for your main light that will give you just about the right amount.

Space – It is very important to know exactly how much space you have to work with for your bedroom design, especially when you only have limited room. Get a tape measure and write down all of the dimensions. That way, when you come to picking out a bed and all the other furniture you need, you’ll instantly know whether it will fit and where it might go. If you do only have a small bedroom, then you need to also think about space-saving ideas such as wall mounted shelves and under-bed storage, to name just two examples.

Layout – It’s all very well getting furniture that will fit into your bedroom, but how well will you be able to carry out day to day tasks? For instance, do you have enough room to open your wardrobe door? If there are two people sharing the room, can you access the bed from both sides? These kinds of things need to be thought about so that you create a bedroom that is as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing.

Decor – Needless to say, how you decorate your bedroom will have a dramatic impact on its eventual success or failure. Come up with a scheme that is no more than 2 or 3 colours and make sure you know how well they will work together. If you’re not blessed with a great eye for design, keep it as simple as possible an use neutral tones. This will prevent you from creating a loud, over the top design that looks anything but relaxing.

Of course, these are just the basics of bedroom design, but it should give you an idea about how to start your journey.

Garden Decoration From Junk by Leeann MacKenzie

In recent years, flea markets, junk yards, garage and yard sales, basements and attics have all been recognized as treasure chests. These places are home to antiques, memorabilia and junk. For the people who have a vision of resurrecting cast-offs found in these places, The book Garden Decoration From Junk is one to read before setting out on your quest. The book will certainly brings new meaning to container gardening and garden accessories!

A little imagination, along with the unique suggestions from the pages of this book and your yard will have a character like no other. The operative word here is imagination and after reading this book, you will chastise yourself for throwing out some perfectly good garden accessories. Everything from tin cans to car springs and cutlery can be incorporated into your outdoor setting. Your deck, patio and yard can have unique pieces that will not be found at the local garden and yard decorating centers.

Visualize old garden tools as a support for clematis, scarlet runner beans or sweet peas. Metal containers such as pots, buckets and tin cans housing your herbs. Books and foot wear that have been damaged beyond repair or restoration once again come alive and will become the center of conversation when used as planters.

This book provides an abundance of pictures that will give you every opportunity to invent an end product that would add personality to your decor both inside and out.

The old adage that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure is confirmed in page after page in this intriguing book by Leeann MacKenzie.