Landscaping Style

Landscaping style can differ as much as decorating style.  With landscaping, there are two main styles of sculpted or natural. I definitely prefer a much more natural style, while Bob prefers more sculpted. So, we have had to compromise with our landscaping style.  It is something we regularly have to work on to achieve that balance to keep both of us happy with our landscaping.  But, I think our backyard really shows our compromised style.

Patio - view from the yard to the back of the house

It looks somewhat sculpted from a distance, but up close it is much more natural.

Patio - view from yard up close

And, these were spring pictures.  Some of the shrubbery grows like crazy, which I like.  But, it gets a bit out of hand from Bob’s perspective, so I end up trimming it mid-Summer to maintain the compromise.  I just trimmed the spirea – the ones beside the birdfeeder – last weekend.  We have agreed to let them bloom the first time and then trim them back before they bloom again.  It works to keep them from not taking over.  So, while I was doing the trimming I was really thinking of landscaping style.  I went searching on Pinterest for landscaping pictures to better illustrate the style differences.

Sculpted Landscapes

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sculpted landscaping - 8d4d5f9367ae4034a22cbeba10dfb588

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sculpted landscaping - 11249bd877fbfeeffee127f1d01e6567

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sculpted landscaping - 6e13d6cf0be1329014a01f3a1fd9fad1

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Natural Landscapes

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natural landscaping - 4351bcc0f01ec14423e0034075d0c77b

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natural landscaping - 0259b53efb95286f5560844e935257ae

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natural landscaping - 72cfa8afe8e0f9ff1d9b620c0e7d137d

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What is your landscaping style – sculpted, natural, or somewhere in between?

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DIY Landscape Lights

DIY Landscape Light - After - light at night

We had a full landscape plan created by our landscaper (who happens to be my brother-in-law) shortly after we bought our house.   The plan includes everything from all the trees, shrubbery, perennials, as well as the patio, seat wall, and lighting.  The plan has been implemented in phases, some of which was done by our landscaper, and some was done by Bob and I.   Over the last two weekends, Bob and I implemented one of the final phases by installing additional landscape lighting to uplight three of our trees.  I honestly didn’t think this phase would be a DIY project, but Bob had done some online research that made us consider it.  We went to Lowe’s and bought the lights, cable connectors and wire.

DIY Landscape Lights - Light and cable connector in package

We needed 3 cable-to-cable connectors, 3 lights, and 100′ of 12 gauge wire.  The process was easier for us because we already have the transformer and main wire installed.  Our transformer is in our basement, and it is 600 watts, so we had plenty of capacity.  Before we started this project, we unplugged the transformer from the wall, just to ensure we didn’t zap ourselves.

DIY Landscape Lights - Transformer

This is just the inside of the transformer, while its unplugged, showing no lights are on.  The transformer allows us to have the lights on a timer to automatically turn on and off.

DIY Landscape Lights - Inside Transformer

Once the power was off, we determined where we were going to connect to the main wire that was already running outside behind our patio seat wall.  The cable-to-cable connector had easy instructions enclosed.

Step 1 – Connect the top to the existing cable wire.

Cable Connector Top

Cable Connector Top on Wire

Step 2 – Connect the bottom to the new wire.

Cable connector middle in place

Cable Connector Bottom on Wire

Step 3 – Place the middle piece on top of the bottom wire.

Cable connector placing middle

Step 4 – Connect the top to the bottom and middle.

Cable connector - connecting top to bottome and middle

Cable Connector in place

To be extra safe, Bob and I wrapped electrical tape around the whole connector piece.  It’s probably not necessary, but it made us feel better before we buried it in the dirt.

After the new wire was connected and buried, we buried the wire along the patio wall and side of the house to run it to the tree in the front.  This was the most tedious and time consuming part.  I wanted to make sure the wire was sufficiently underground, and I also didn’t want to mess up our fresh mulching we did the weekend before.

DIY Landscape Lights - Leslie placing wire

DIY Landscape Lights - burying cable

Puddy was helping supervise.

DIY Landscape Lights - Puddy in yard

Once we got the wire to the front of the house, we took it from the corner of the house directly out to the tree.

DIY Landscape Lights - Cable by tree ready for light

DIY Landscape Lights - Puddy with light

Then, we needed to connect the wire to the fixture.  This was just a few steps.  Insert the wire into the bottom, put the middle connector piece on top of the bottom.

DIY Landscape Light - Connecting cable to light fixture

And, then finish by screwing the top piece in place.  After we had it tightly together, we wrapped it in electrical tape.  Again, this was just for our piece of mind, not necessary according to the instructions.

DIY Landscape Light - Cable to light connector

Then, we just placed the light in the ground and buried all the connecting wire.  I plugged the transformer back in, changed the time and tested the light, and we had success.

DIY Landscape Light - Light in place below tree

It has much more effect at night.

DIY Landscape Lights - Tree close up at night

Overall, it was a relatively simple process.  I’m so glad that we decided to add the tree uplights.   We added the other two lights to each of our crape myrtles that surround our patio.

DIY Landscape Lights - crape myrtle at night

DIY Landscape Lights - crape myrtle 2 at night

Has anyone else added landscape lighting?  Anyone with solar lights?  We were considering solar, but the Lowe’s salesperson convinced us it wasn’t the way to go, especially since we already had the transformer in place.  I think we made the right decision.  We actually put in the crape myrtle lights first, and we were so happy with them that we bought an additional light for the tree in the front.  Plus, it helped us use the 100′ of wire we bought.