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Entries in lighting (4)

Friday
Oct162015

Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition: 50 Shades of Landscape

This is the third in a series of articles on Landscape Design Principles and Elements of Composition (click here for the first entry on Color and here for the second entry on Texture). Today we want to talk about light and shadow in the landscape. Light and shadow could be simplified into sun and shade but light and shadow are about so much more than that. Light and shadow are about depth and dimension.

Dappled shade on Irregular Bluestone patio surrounded by a vibrant perennial border.There are different types of shade. When talking about plants in particular, there is light, partial, full and deep shade. There can be a total blocking of light, like from a solid roof or dense shade tree, or dappled or intermittent shade, like from a lace canopied shade tree or pergola. Shade is great for sitting and dining areas where you’d like prolonged shade and cooler temperatures. Mature shade trees are worth their weight in gold. Think twice when locating a new pool. You can easily cut down a tree, but it can take decades for a newly planted tree to offer enough shade for a large area.  Most people want their pool and pool patio to be in a sunny area. The sun offers natural warming of the water, but even with warm water, swimming in the shade can be chilly. A pool patio with some umbrellas for sun protection is perfect for keeping the area nice and warm while cooling off in the pool.

There are different types of plants for sun or shade and they run the gamut from full sun all day long to full shade and anywhere in between. Pay attention to flower colors for different lighting scenarios. In deep shade, white, apricot, pale yellow, pastels of pink and lavender, and other light colors really pop and brighten up a shadowy area. In bright sun, vibrant and saturated colors stand out more than their paler counterparts. Deep reds, corals, purples, yellows, oranges and blues stand up to the sun’s dramatic rays.

Pergola casting striped shade over a sophisticated seating area, emphasizing the architectural detail of the overhead structure.Outdoor lighting not only extends the use of a space from day to night, it can be used to highlight architectural features such as this Westchester granite fireplace.Just as shadows can be functional in the day, they are also useful at night. Use shadows for dramatic effect when it is dark out. Pergolas that cast filtered shade during the day can also act as a dramatic filter for light at night. Lighting angled up or down through a pergola sets the scene for an intimate gathering. Using lights in the garden can highlight more than the architectural elements like pergolas and stone walls. Utilize spotlights to display specimen trees. Moonlighting in a mature shade tree is more than functional; it creates a fun nighttime atmosphere. Moonlighting involves placing downward facing light fixtures 30 feet up inside of a tree’s canopy. With the right lighting scheme, not only can a property be used day or night, it can also enhance the beauty of both man and Mother Nature’s architecture.

Aesthetically, light and shadow play a huge part in the drama of our gardens. Functionally, you need a varying palette of height, spread and depth from your plantings to create a harmonized space. Hierarchy is king in our next piece on scale in the garden!

 

Written by Ashley Palko Haugsjaa

Monday
Dec022013

Holiday Decor: To Light or Not to Light

LIGHTING: Most of us have some appreciation for the extreme holiday lighting we see at this time of year, but at our own home subtle holiday decor may be more to our liking. Let’s start with a subtle approach for your front door. This is the main attraction which sets the tone for the grand entry. The illumination should be elegant enough to match your indoor decor and lifestyle while adding a holiday spirit for you and your guests as they enter your home. Evergreen roping with lights to frame the door or pots with illuminated evergreen shrubs flanking the entrance add this elegant touch. Now try adding a few ground flood lights with a amber colored bulb to wash the house with a soft, mellow glow. If you prefer more lighting, pick a specimen tree or a few shrubs in a prominent location and wrap the branches heavily with lights. This will give your home and landscape a festive feel.

DECORATIONS: If you like, skip most of the lights and add live plant material. Use evergreen roping, pine cones and bows to add both color and texture. Hang a wreath on your shed, gate, front door or barn with a spot light. The wreath can be bittersweet wine, grape vine or even winterberry twigs for a unique look. Set electric candles in the front and side windows to create a feeling of warmth and home. This will give the home depth when seen from the road. You can also use plant material from your yard and add them into your garden pots or make your own spray to hang on a door, gate or mail box. Use Holly, Inkberry, Rhododendron, Skimmia, Evergreen Magnolia, Cypress or Birch branches or other plants with decorative berries. With the cold weather they should look fresh for weeks.

SPECIAL EVENTS: Let’s say its New Year's Eve or another celebration. Add more glimmer to your existing holiday decor with white or silver bows and twigs. Change the amber bulb to white or blue for new crisp look for your party.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. For more ideas, contact our design specialists here at Goldberg & Rodler.

Written by Rick Schneider

Friday
Sep282012

Fall & Winter Services

Sign up now for our Fall/Winter Services. If you haven't given a thought to protecting your broadleaf evergreens yet, it isn't too late! An anti-desiccant spray can reduce water loss through the leaves during a time when your plants can’t take in water from the frozen ground. Reapply in mid-winter.

Make sure your gutters are clear. During a heavy snowfall, ice dams can form and water may back up under the flashing behind the gutters. This can cause leaks and if not treated, mold growth.

Road salt can damage your plants. You won’t see the damage until Spring when it is too late. Make sure to pile contaminated snow away from your plants. Try calcium chloride; a less harmful chemical to melt the ice. Calcium is a nutrient plants can tolerate but still minimize the amount you put down.

2-3” of shredded bark or compost at the bases of trees and shrubs can insulate shallow roots and conserve moisture before the soil freezes.

Make sure the flue is clear in your chimney so you can snuggle by the fire all winter.

Did you wrap up or store your furniture? We offer shrink wrapping for outdoor furniture, barbecues, pots and even boats.

Who's doing your holiday decorations and/or lighting? Sick of getting up on that ladder every year? Let us do it for you while you stay inside with a cup of hot cocoa.

 

Tuesday
Sep252012

Goldberg & Rodler Wins National Landscape Award!

Plan: Click to enlarge

Goldberg & Rodler has won another national award (from PLANET) for one of our projects.We're so pleased that the judges recognized our team's hard work on the design and the installation of this residence. Read on to discover exactly what we did and to see pictures, before and after, of the project.

When our clients bought this waterfront residence it was virtually un-maintained for several years and needed a complete overhaul. Their wish list included making the steep and narrow driveway easier to navigate, creating inviting entertaining spaces, a putting green, a BBQ, removals of invasive plants, renovating the leaking gunite pool, extensive outdoor lighting, better dock access and storage space for recreation items.

Overgrown, dead and invasive plantings were the first big challenge with the site. Removing hemlocks infested with wooly adelgid, controlling invasive English Ivy, removing Poison Ivy and essential pruning for the property's shade trees. Most existing retaining walls on site were failing and had to be replaced or repaired. The leaking gunite pool needed extensive renovation. Raccoons had made the dock their personal bathroom. The current drainage pattern was down the driveway (about 20 feet higher than the house at the street), straight to the house.

Before: Click to enlarge

After: Click to enlargeWe re-graded the driveway changing a 17% slope to a 15% slope and built boulder walls at the road and below for guest parking. A custom Belgian Block Cobble culvert, strip drain and surface drains catch runoff coming down the driveway and direct it into 3 new drywells. A shed off the parking stall holds family bikes and there's space for one-on-one basketball.

Green: Click to enlarge

Waterfall: Click to enlarge

A cozy putting green sits below the pool area. A large brick and bluestone patio surrounds the renovated gunite pool, complete with a new bluestone coping. We added a swim out to the deep end and converted the existing pond to a reservoir that spills into the pool, circulating the water. Random bricks break up the sheet of water into tranquil white noise.

Pool Area: Click to enlargeLighting: Click to enlargeA new composite deck with glass paneled railings keeps the view unobstructed. The steps lead to irregular bluestone with lawn joints out to open lawn. A custom railing and gate keeps raccoons from wreaking havoc on the dock. We designed an extensive lighting plan to highlight the landscape and make the property usable all day.

BBQ: Click to enlargeWater View: Click to enlargeAll of the bluff planting was retained to ensure slope stability and we selectively pruned along the bluff to maintain a dramatic view to the water. As part of our philosophy, we try to reuse as much of the existing vegetation and materials as possible. Existing daylilies were transplanted along the top of the slope to help prevent washout erosion and we rehabilitated and transplanted rhododendrons from the pool area to a woodland setting where they could thrive.

The property had many dilapidated boulder structures scattered about, built years ago by a monk, and had sentimental value to our clients. We salvaged and repurposed every boulder for new boulder and gabion walls and also for rip rap in various places to retain slopes.

Difficulties during construction included a massive rainstorm in the middle of the driveway construction. The basement flooded and we discovered the previous owners had concealed a major issue: they had built a false wall in the basement to hide the fact that there was no waterproofing on the foundation. We worked through the night with the family to empty the basement of water and came back the next day to waterproof the foundation. Also, gutters were pitched incorrectly and downspouts were broken or clogged. We replaced all leaders and gutters and calculated drainage capacity for the new drywells. Other discoveries included rotten wood and a leaking roof which were both replaced with high tech, low-maintenance materials (a slate substitute and Azek columns) to maintain the historic look of the house.

 

Photos by Susan Sotera