DIY Lighting Tips for Your Urban Garden


It can be difficult to find the right garden lighting. Obviously, you don’t want something that’s completely over the top. However, it would be nice to add some ambiance to your garden and even spotlight a particular area. It’s important to know that there are some principles of good design for setting up your garden lighting. Here are some important tips to consider before you start purchasing lighting products:

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  1. Overhead is typically best – Remember that natural light almost always comes from above. Taking that into account, most of your exterior lighting should come from overhead. Whether you choose outdoor solar lights or electric garden lights, the higher the better.

  2. Use low wattage flood lights – Over the years, our NYC landscape design team has found that low wattage floodlights look best in and around gardens. Avoid any bulbs that are larger than 100 watts. It’s also smart to consider low-voltage lighting for your project.

  3. Use spotlights sparingly – It’s tempting to want to use a number of spotlights. Take our word, though, when we say that spotlights should be limited to accent lighting only. Do you want to feature a specific scene or point out an interesting landscaping detail? Then a spotlight would make sense.

  4. Pay attention to the maximum wattage bulb – A lot of people don’t realize that a smaller bulb will get the job done. Believe it or not, the majority of LED garden lights put out plenty of light and are energy-efficient. The last thing you want is to go with a bunch of larger bulbs and see your utilities bill skyrocket in the process.

  5. Be mindful of the location of the lights – It’s probably not a good idea to have your landscape lights shining directly into your eyes. What’s worse, though, is having them blind your neighbor. If you’re at all concerned about brightness, take a walk around the space while the lights are on and double-check. It doesn’t hurt, either, to chat with your neighbor about it.

  6. Use several smaller lights as opposed to one large unit – Maybe you have a large flower bed or another planting area in the garden. With a feature such as this, our custom landscaping team recommends a few smaller lights. This creates softly overlapping pools of light that are free of any sort of harsh glare in the center. While this might seem trivial, it can make a significant difference.

  7. Side lighting provides the best results – You may not achieve your desired look with front lighting. Most of the light in green spaces should come from the sides. By installing your lights on a side, you should be able to create a fun shadow effect. Don’t hesitate to experiment with back lighting for interesting silhouette effects.

  8. Know where you want the attention to be – Would you rather illuminate a comparatively solid object, such as a deck or patio, or a thin structure, such as a bare tree? We’re guessing the deck or patio. Avoid putting your landscape lights just anywhere.

  9. Select a focal point – Think about this for a moment: what exactly do you want to emphasize in your urban oasis? Whatever it is, point out its most attractive features with a spotlight or two. You can even have some light coming from an unusual angle.

  10. Take advantage of light-colored reflective surfaces – Do you have light-colored walls or fences around your garden? Be sure to put them to use in your lighting scheme! The reflective surfaces can extend the source of lighting by diffusing the rays over a wide area.

High-End NYC Landscaper

Now that you have some additional knowledge on landscape lighting, what’s the next step? Frankly, we recommend getting in touch with our NYC landscape design team. For years, Amber Freda has provided custom, detail-oriented landscaping services. Part of what separates Amber from a traditional garden design specialist is that she personally oversees the process from start to finish. So there’s no need to worry about your project being handed over to a sales representative or a third party crew. Should you choose to work with our garden landscaping team, you can expect the result to look and feel like a natural extension of your home.

Let’s get back to lighting for a moment. There’s no question that the best garden design features the right lighting. At Amber Freda Landscape Design, we will recommend a number of lighting solutions, including the following:

  • Low-voltage lighting in the plants

  • Overhead globe lighting in pergolas and over patios

  • High-voltage wall sconces

  • Task lighting for outdoor kitchens

  • Fence lighting

  • And more

If you’re looking to revamp your garden layout, then new lighting is a must. Amber Freda is ready to come up with a landscape plan that best fits your wants and needs. Get in touch with us today to schedule an initial consultation.    

Urban Gardening Tips for Spring


Recently in New York City, it’s looked a lot more like winter than spring. But warmer weather will return before we know it. Of course, this time of year is often associated with flowers and gardens. Granted, we live in a region that’s dominated by concrete and steel, making it somewhat difficult to have a garden of your own. The fact is that even if you don’t have a backyard, you can still add some much-needed greenery to your space. Here are some basic tips for urban gardening in Manhattan and throughout NYC:

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  1. Grow plants in containers – Space is limited in the city. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on your dream of having a garden. You might want to consider growing plants in containers and hanging baskets as an alternative. This is ideal if all the space you really have is a porch, patio, or balcony.
  2. Give your plants the space they need – The last thing you want to do is force plants into a tiny space. We recommend using big enough containers so that your plants have enough room to grow and thrive. Be aware that some plants need a lot more soil than others.
  3. Invest in good potting soil – Most of us are looking to save money wherever possible. If you’re on a tight budget but still want to create a beautiful garden, be sure to purchase some high-quality potting soil. Maybe you’re thinking, “Why can’t I just use soil from the ground?” Here’s the thing: potting soil is much lighter, drains better, and is sterilized to kill weed seeds and diseases that could harm your plants. So don’t skimp on the soil.
  4. Get the right fertilizer – Keep in mind that not all fertilizers are the same. Our experienced garden design team recommends using a slow-release fertilizer in pellet form. Why this one in particular? Well, you will obviously need to water container plants frequently. Should you use a regular fertilizer, you run the risk of it washing right out of the soil. On the other hand, you can expect one application of slow-release fertilizer to last for several months.
  5. Water smartly – Overwatering is one of the most commonly made mistakes among beginning gardeners. The trick is to thoroughly soak the entire container each time you water. Remember to pour away any extra water that fills the saucer underneath the container. A plant that sits in excess water is likely to experience what’s called root rot. Interestingly, one of the more notable signs of root rot is wilting. So if you aren’t sure whether the wilting is from too much or too little water, gently pull the plant up out of its container. If you notice the roots are slimy and brown, then root rot is the culprit.
  6. Opt for plastic pots – A number of garden landscaping professionals suggest clay pots as opposed to plastic. Here at Amber Freda Landscape Design, we recommend plastic. Here’s why: plants in plastic usually dry out less quickly since the pots aren’t porous like clay ones. Try putting about five centimeters of an organic mulch on top of the soil in the container. Doing so reduces water evaporation from the soil.
  7. Give some thought to where to hang your baskets – Aesthetics are certainly an important part of gardening. That said, consider how you’re going to water the baskets when you go to hang them. For example, will you be forced to stand on a step stool? Make it a point to hang the baskets where it’s not going to be a complete hassle to water.

Premier NYC Landscaper

Now that you know a few basics of urban gardening, it’s time to get started. It goes without saying that landscaping in Manhattan is much different than other parts of the country. You probably don’t need to hire a traditional lawn care or hardscaping company. Rather, you need to hire a company that specializes in custom landscape design services. That’s exactly what we do here at Amber Freda Landscape Design. You can count on our garden design expert to walk you through the process, from initial consultation all the way through project completion.

Part of what separates Amber from other garden landscaping pros is that she will create an urban oasis based on your site and desires. Whereas other garden layout teams might settle for a “cookie-cutter” approach, you can count on Amber to deliver custom, high-end results. Once we’re finished, it’s our promise that you will have a space that looks and feels like a natural extension of your home.

Why settle for just any ordinary landscaper when you can collaborate with one whose client list includes George Soros, Brett Icahn, Joseph Edelman and other notables? See what our NYC landscape design professionals can do for you.

Get in touch with us today.  

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