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A focal point directs people’s attention to one of the main highlights of your landscape design in Hinsdale, IL. You may have more than one focal point to help you organize your landscape and call attention to the best aspects of your outdoor space. When positioning numerous focal points throughout a landscape, it is important to ensure that they do not compete—you do not want one drawing attention from another. Consider one of the following focal points for your landscape to achieve a highly intentional and delicate landscape design:
A Water Feature
Water features make excellent focal points because they are so dynamic. They provide plenty of movement and sound that can be paired with stunning aesthetics. An elaborate garden fountain, for example, offers the graceful beauty of an ornate sculpture and design. However, the tranquil soundtrack it creates and the way it lures birds to the landscape make it a far better focal point than a regular sculpture. Waterfalls offer the most impressive soundtrack and can be adjoined to a pool or become part of a stream that winds throughout the landscape. A characterful bird bath, painted a flamboyant color, can work wonders as the focal point of a small landscape.
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Planting a Focal Point
Plants are often used as focal points because they can be incredibly unique and bear a noble and impressive organic beauty. It is important to choose a plant that is unlikely to become diseased or preyed upon by pests and mildew. Seek out drought-resistant, disease-resistant plants, and consider replacing them as soon as they show signs of fragility. A dilapidated focal point will only create a negative impression of your landscape.
You will also want to pick plants that are visually enticing for long periods of time. A plant that blooms for a short period of time and offers little visual appeal for the remainder of the year will make for a poor focal point. Any striking plant can serve as the focal point of your landscape, whether it is brightly colored or stark white. An architecturally astounding tree often serves as a captivating focal point, while a highly concentrated cluster of plants is impossible to miss. In many cases, the main focal point of the landscape is often already present before any landscaping has begun. An existing giant tree, for example, easily draws the eye and is the likely envy of your visitors. It can be embellished with climbing plants or a birdhouse to anchor it as a feature of interest.
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A Quaint Bench
Benches are popular focal points and tend to be quieter than other options. A beautiful wooden or wrought iron bench will not only look picturesque, but will also invite the viewer to enjoy the landscape up close. Benches are often surrounded by smaller features of interest, such as containers, plant beds, and characterful rustic items. Once viewers have fixed their eyes on the bench, the features surrounding it slowly come into view in the most graceful and intentional way. A birdfeeder can enhance a focal point such as a bench or tree, especially when commandeered by a flock of small birds.
Outdoor lighting can add depth and functionality to your Burr Ridge, IL, landscape design in the evening hours. Consider these four lighting methods for transforming your landscape at night.
Hanging Lighting: The Fixture Takes the Spotlight
There aren’t a lot of lighting methods that create the same kind of charm as hanging lights. One widely used variation of hanging lights is lanterns. These enclosed fixtures can cast a warm blanket of light across your landscape. Lanterns do this by housing a bulb and defusing the light through different colors and materials for an almost magical ambiance. The best thing about lanterns is that they come in many different shapes, sizes, and designs. They can be hung on a secure line to illuminate a large area or they can be hung on poles to shine along the length of a path.
Recessed Lighting: A Subtle Way of Lighting the Way
Recessed lighting offers an effective lighting method that keeps the actual lighting source in seclusion—unlike lanterns, the focus is on the glow created, not the fixture. This effect can be done several ways. One method, commonly used in outdoor kitchen areas, is inserting a waterproof strip of LEDs along a countertop or underneath the counter itself. A similar strategy occurs when lighting is placed underneath a railing; the light helps to safely guide the way along steps or a walkway while few people would think anything of where the light is coming from. You’ll also see recessed lighting used on pool decks if it’s placed under the coping.
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Flood Lighting: Brighten an Area
Floodlights, like the name implies, is a lighting method that creates an encompassing beam of light that can be used in two primary ways. You could use floodlights to light up a large area of your property such as a front-entrance walkway or the driveway. For these hardscape features, you may want the floodlights to be set up with motion sensors to illuminate the area only when someone is about to walk or drive up to it. In addition to saving energy and using the bright lights only when necessary, motion sensors can add a security element to your property.
Another common use for floodlights is to highlight a particular feature, such as a water fountain or the poolscape, with either uplighting or downlighting. Uplighting is good for a feature such as a tree since it casts shadows upward, highlighting all of the leafy and texture details along the branches. Downlighting is commonly used when highlighting a manmade feature since it lights up the feature without casting light into someone's eyes.
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Tree Lighting: Highlight the Landscape’s Best Features
Carefully placed lighting could really make the best features of your landscape pop. It can be subtle or overly dramatic when lights hit the beautiful trees you have brought into your landscape or have made sure are well-maintained. Why hide them when the lights go down? Putting a spotlight on a specimen tree or shining low lighting from the bottom of the trunk can create a certain tone that is wonderfully inviting on a hot summer night. The shadows will add to the ambience. Your choice of bulb, color, and size can have an effect on the obviousness of the lighting on your favorite softscape features.
A simple fire pit can take the ambience of an outdoor room to the next level and add a touch of cozy comfort to the rough outdoors. However, carelessness can cause your attractive focal point to wreak havoc on your Geneva, IL, landscape and pose a serious threat to your safety. As with any powerful force of nature, fire should be treated with caution and respect. Read on for a comprehensive guide to using your fire pit safely.
Where to Put Your Fire Pit
Installing your fire pit in a responsible spot is key to keeping you, your friends, and family safe. Create a comfortable distance between your fire pit and any surrounding structures such as the home, outdoor kitchen, or dining area. You fire pit should also be a minimum of 15 feet away from your neighbor’s yard. The space above your fire pit should be kept clear of overhanging branches and other low-lying structures. A fire pit needs to be installed on a flame-resistant surface, like concrete, as opposed to grass or a wooden deck.
Preparing Your Fireside Fun
Take a scrutinizing look at your fire pit before you go ahead and light it. Are there any flammable materials nearby? Move them at least 10 feet away. If you place a couple of characterful potted plants near your fire pit or surround the area with billowing outdoor curtains, ensure that you tuck these flammable features away each and every time that you light your fire pit. And if you are concerned about a freak fire spreading throughout the surrounding greenery, consider piling dirt or rocks around your fire pit to create a break in the vegetation and a barrier for the flames. This can give a low fire pit a campfire-like aesthetic.
Lighting the Fire Pit
It is not recommended that you light your fire pit on very windy days. Even if it’s not particularly windy, take note of the wind direction before lighting your fire. Once you have confirmed that there are no flammable materials downwind of your fire pit, you may light it using a fire starter and kindling. Lighter fluid or any other flammable fluids should never be used to light or relight a residential fire.
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Having Responsible Fun
There are a few golden guidelines that will ensure that you enjoy your time by the fireside without accident or injury. It is important never to leave a fire pit, or children and pets near the fire pit, unattended. A wire mesh should preferably be used to cover hot embers, and nothing should be thrown into the fire, as these materials may spark or send hot embers flying in all directions. Soft wood like pine and cedar can also send sparks flying when burnt. Refrain from wearing loose-fitting clothing at fireside get-togethers—you wouldn’t want your sleeve to go up in flames!
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Extinguishing the Fire Pit
A fire should be extinguished using water. Stir the contents of the fire pit afterward, to ensure that the flames have been fully extinguished. This can be done using a shovel, which should always be on hand to extinguish escaped flames. Ashes remain piping hot for hours, so ensure that you dispose of them safely in a metal container.