Landscape Lighting Ideas

Top 5 Landscape Lighting Ideas

outdoor landscape lighting

Photo by John Clark Mills

Landscape Lighting should be a key of any landscaping plan. Effective landscape lighting should not be a Home Depot, do-it-yourself project. It should do more than merely mark a path. The best results come from totally integrating lighting as a landscaping feature. After all, light is color that can be placed, textured, and woven into other features.

Lighting Water Features

Consider what reflects light. Pools traditionally have white lighting, but the same lighting system works with colored bulbs. Water reflects overhead and indirect lighting, and it even provides a canvas for projecting visuals on. Ponds used for koi or water plants can be lit from beneath or from lights nestled in surrounding foliage. The wavering light will reflect up from beneath the plants at the edge.

Using Lighting to Add Texture

Other natural textures absorb and/or reflect light for maximum effect. Lighting brings out the color and shape of assorted river rock and crushed gravels. It brings out the best in the stain and grain of wood fencing, decking, and dividers.
Stucco is a wide open background for landscape lighting. You might consider varying the degree of lighting brightness and varying the colors within the same pallet, so the stucco does not bleach out. And, brick, granite, sandstone, and other natural materials both absorb and throw back the light in attractive ways. You might think of lighting the front elevation with spotlights hidden beyond shrubs.

Dramatic Tree Lighting

Landscape lighting ideas in Santa barbara

Santa Barbara Outdoor Landscape Accent Lighting

Never place a light where it has no maximum design effect. For example, if you want to line a path with lights, place the lamps where they also highlight a plant or shrub. Even then, think how the light will play against the plant. It might accent the color of the flowers. It might highlight the bright colors of desert or buffalo grasses. Or, it might reflect off of silver or variegated leaves.

Spotlights on decorative trees bring dark corners of a yard together, but lighting the branches with LED lights can add charm for entertainment occasions.

Indirect Lighting

Lighting for safety and security should come from well designed fixtures that highlight and accent the home’s architecture. Chandeliers, sconces, hanging lamps, and ceiling fans can extend your living quarters outdoors, but the night does not want you to light these spaces like the bright of day. So, choose fixtures that integrate their design with their purpose and put in low wattage glare.
But, you might try to hide the rest of the lighting sources. Fitting lighting fixtures behind rocks, under stairs, behind garden features, and furniture – all allow your lighting landscape more freedom in terms of power sources, wiring, and display. The mechanics of spotlights, lighting strips, and fluorescent lighting are not attractive. But, hidden behind planters, barriers, and benches the different light effects work wonderfully.

ECO-Friendly Lights

The safest, more secure, and attractive lighting can run up some bills if you do not consider low-voltage and green options. Motion sensitive lighting can reduce the brightest security spots, and programmed dimmers will control decorative lighting. You might differentiate what lighting you need for general purposes and for entertainment purposes; then, you can segregate the controls for those purposes.

Maximize the number of fixtures and lamps labeled LED-Low Voltage. These eco-friendly bulbs fit all your landscape lighting needs including underwater fixtures and fixtures that prefer the look of a gas flame. And, individual fixtures and entire systems can be solar powered.

Homeowners, general contractors, and landscape architects appreciate the way integrated lighting can enhance the safety, security, and curb appeal of thoughtful and creative landscaping lighting.

Call Us for a FREE 42 Point Comprehensive Lawn and Garden Evaluation

Landscaping for Privacy in Santa Barbara (Part 1)

Hedges for Privacy

Hedges Create Walls for Privacy

Landscaping for privacy is common when living in an urban space. Although Santa Barbara might not be specifically classified as an urban space by most standards, this city’s geographical orientation with the mountains on one side and the ocean on the other has caused builders to make use of the space as creatively as they possibly can.

Many Santa Barbara living spaces are situated on stilts, terraced, and just plain built with the neighbors on the other side of the wall.

Living in close proximity can create privacy issues that are frequently solved with the strategic planting of hedges and tress. Proper landscaping can mute sound, provide some privacy from outside onlookers, and delineate property lines.

Landscaping for Privacy with Hedges and Trees

When it comes to creating privacy, you should use plant material, rather than fences and walls, as a first option. We like to call hedges living walls, because they provide much of the same buffer as hardscape walls in regards to sound, light, and screening, while also offering a softer living landscape of greenery and flowers. Hedges contribute to the ecology. They create oxygen and they balance the landscape.

Let’s explore our best tips on utilizing plant material for privacy.

Choosing the Best Plants for a Hedge and Privacy

There are three particular types of hedges that we love to use in Santa Barbara landscapes:

1. Privet (genus Ligustrum)

Ligustrum is an evergreen shrub that is native to the continents of Europe, North Africa, and Asia. We prefer to use the Ligustrum texanum, or the Texas Privet as our first choice for “living walls.”

We like it because it is particularly repellent to insects and disease. It is a hearty hedge, and provides thick growth that gives excellent screening against street noise. Once established, it requires little maintenance outside of regular pruning for height.

The only drawback to planting the privet is that its berries are not edible. Though they can be mildly unpleasant to humans, they can be harmful to domesticated animals.

If you have pets that like to eat foliage, or if you live on a ranch with horses, we suggest that you consider planting a different kind of hedge. However, the way we use privet for privacy requires regular maintenance. Regular pruning keeps berries from forming.

[Read more…]

Santa Barbara Landscaper Offering General Contractors Landscaping Design and Build Services

Santa Barbara Landscaping company

Bruce & Mark Koehler - The Experts at Down to Earth Landscapes

Santa Barbara, CA (PR.COM) March 11, 2013

Premier Santa Barbara landscaping specialists Down to Earth Landscapes, Inc. has announced that the company is  actively seeking to work directly with general contractors. They have fresh ideas for frontyard and backyard landscaping projects. The company has 41 years of experience as landscape contractors and understands the importance of timely communication, creativity and completing projects on-time and on budget.

Down to Earth Landscapes Inc has worked closely with many general contractors over the years and have many valued relationship in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. They eagerly seek to take on the role of a landscaping subcontractor on a custom home or major remodeling project and ensure that the contractors’ reputations are enhanced.

Because general contractors and development companies  are often  under  pressure to complete their work within budget and within a set time frame,  they require their subcontractors to  have experience in a number of unique landscaping and construction areas. This is why many Santa Barbara general contractors  value the diversified landscaping services of  Down to Earth Landscapes, Inc.

The company’s landscaping services for general contractors are designed to help the general contractors achieve streamlined projects that ensure that budgetary and timeline parameters are met and clients are very satisfied with the quality of workmanship.

What sets Down to Earth Landscapes, Inc. apart as a subcontractor is that the company offers  expertise beyond providing  backyard landscaping design and build ideas. For example, the company’s in-house team features trenching specialists, electrical sleeving and landscape lighting.

Contractors can trust the Down to Earth Landscapes, Inc. team to install high performance outdoor lighting systems that help to enhance the architectural strength of the project and create the perfect ambience in garden areas. For those with specific electrical work requirements, the company can provide qualified electrical  sleeving work that supports optimal  safety.

These  services highlight the fact that Down to Earth Landscapes, Inc. is a company that strives to continually exceed the expectations of their clients. And they’re always ready to help general contractors meet the high standards expected of a custom home client.

To learn more about Down to Earth Landscapes, Inc. and their full scope of services, please contact the company directly. Alternatively, please visit the company’s website at

Santa Barbara Landscaping Company Down to Earth Landscapes, Inc. Offering English Garden Designs

Santa Barbara, CA (PR.COM) February 28, 2013

English Garden in Santa Barbara

English Garden

A leading Santa Barbara-based landscaping  company, Down to Earth Landscapes, Inc., has just announced that they’re now offering English Garden design and installation for homeowners in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. English Gardens are becoming  sought-after service within the area as it allows property owners to achieve a classical appearance within their outdoor living areas.

Traditional English gardens often recreates an array of classical garden features and architecture from ponds, stone walls and stone paths to a flowers and shrubs planted in an “unarranged” manner. While an English Garden might seem a little unusual in Southern California, the team at Down to Earth Landscapes, Inc. can help homeowners create this unique outdoor environment that will become the a peaceful refuge and the envy of  the neighborhood.
[Read more…]

Comparing a Landscape Contractor, Architect and Designer

Santa Barbara Landscaping Contractors

Down to Earth Landscapes Sr Team

When to Hire a Landscape Architect, Landscape Designer and/or a Landscape Contractor

As a state licensed landscape contractor, we value the role of each one of our fellow landscaping experts. We recognize that each of us have a role to play in making a project beautiful, functional and safe. Because this is the case, we thought it would be helpful to our readers to help you differentiate between a landscape disciplines to better prepare you for planning your next landscaping project.

Landscape Architects’ Role and Responsibilities

You should hire a landscape architect anytime need plans that will require sign off by a city inspector. If you have a question, remember this: It is never a negative thing to have an architect on an extensive landscaping project. As the name suggests, this field is a sub-specialization of the field of architecture. Landscape architecture is an interdisciplinary field encapsulating the following:
[Read more…]

Why Install Outdoor Landscape Lighting?

Santa Barbara outdor landscape lightingThe Benefits of Installing Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Santa Barbara homeowners sometimes leave outdoor landscape lighting as an afterthought to the work they are doing on their property. In fact, lighting might be the most overlooked facet of a landscaping project.

At Down To Earth Landscapes, Inc, we like to offer a different way to think about landscape lighting. We believe that it is central to any landscaping project. Consider it the icing on the cake for your new landscape design and installation. Why should sundown prevent you from enjoying a newly landscaped front or backyard?

Creating Mood and Atmosphere

Landscape lighting adds accent to a space and can set a particular mood and create atmosphere. At night, outdoor landscape lighting draws the eye toward the parts of the garden you wish to highlight. It fills the space with warmth, opening it up, and is often entertaining those who encounter it.

Safety Considerations

Beyond aesthetics, however, perhaps the most important reason not to neglect your landscape lighting is safety. Lighting protects you from falls and offers the illusion that you are home when you cannot be there to keep an eye on your property.
[Read more…]

Santa Barbara Landscaping for the California Bungalow

santa barbara landscaperResidential Landscaping Project for a Santa Barbara Bungalow

Many people are aware that Santa Barbara’s uptown area is famous for its beautiful Victorian homes. But did you know that Santa Barbara is also known for the Arts and Crafts era architectural style known as the California Bungalow? At Down To Earth Landscapes, Inc. we love to take on projects that challenge us to restore a residence to its former brilliance, and we recently had the privilege of doing this with a California Bungalow home. Here are some thoughts from the Bungalow.
[Read more…]

Licensed Landscape Contractors in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Licensed Landscape contractor

Down to Earth Landscapes, Inc. Team

This week I will address “unlicensed” Landscape contractors working in Santa Barbara.

First Things First.  Let me introduce you to our team. We have been serving Santa Barbara and Ventura counties for over 40 years

Down to Earth Landscapes, Inc

Fully Licensed, Bonded & Insured
Members of the Better Business Bureau and California Landscape Contractors Association

A licensed landscape contractor is  not necessarily a measure of competence; however it certainly states a certain degree of professionalism and commitment to the industry. The State of California, through the State Licensed Board promotes quality construction through a licensing and regulatory system designed to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.
[Read more…]

English Garden Landscape Design in Santa Barbara

English Gardens and Country Gardens in Santa Barbara and Ventura

On our website, we’ve shared the appeal of a English garden in Santa Barbara mentioned how much we love to install

Santa Barbara English Garden

Formal English Garden

them. English gardens often have a practical, country feel that is intentionally unmanicured in their design. We love to use them because of their natural feeling and “wild” nature. However, the English garden design, is much more involved than many might expect.
[Read more…]

Rock Walls in Santa Barbara Landscapes

Santa Barbara Irish rock wall construction In honor of St. Patrick ‘s Day and my Irish heritage, I’ve decided to spend the month of March blogging about the contributions Irish immigrants have made to  Santa Barbara landscapes. This week’s topic: Irish rock walls in Santa Barbara.

History of the Irish Rock Wall

The Irish rock wall, also called the dry stone wall, is an ancient landscaping form used across Europe and the Western Mediterranean region. Rock walls of this sort are found in any region where materials are plentiful. The word “dry” refers to the construction of a rock wall without the presence of mortar. This tradition employs a method of building a wall by fitting each piece of stone against the next until the wall resembles a perfectly constructed puzzle. These rock walls are particularly abundant in the West of Ireland, especially Connemara.
[Read more…]

 | Home | About Us | Who We Serve | Landscaping Services | Our Method | Project Gallery | DTEL University | Bruce's Blog | Sitemap
Copyright © 20ll Down to Earth Landscapes Inc.
226 Uhlan Ct. Santa Barbara, Ca. 93103 Ph: 805-765-2553
Website Built and Maintained by WSI