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landscaping and Decorating With Cement Sculptures

Sculptures have been used to decorate gardens and homes since this art form first developed. The earliest sculptures were made from chiseled rock and clay. As the art form developed new mediums were used like marble, granite and bronze. The labor intensive process of creating sculptures has traditionally made them very expensive and unattainable for most homeowners. However, today we have access to less expensive mediums and molding technologies that make owning sculptures more affordable, especially cement sculpture.

Cement sculptures are an affordable option for garden decorations and landscaping. Small cement sculptures can even be used in your home. The affordability of this type of sculpture is due to the low cost of cement and the re-usable molding technologies used to create these sculptures.

To create a cement sculpture an artist needs to first create the prototype of the sculpture in clay. This sculpture is then used to create a negative mold for the cement sculpture. This mold is treated with resins so that it will not stick to the cement. After the negative mold has been created it is allowed to cure and harden. Once the mold is ready to use it is assembled and filled with cement. The mold may be rotated to help work out air bubbles. The mold is then stored in a stationary position to allow the cement time to dry. Once the cement has hardened the mold is removed and the sculpture is allowed additional time to dry out. After the cement sculpture has dried completely the rough edges may be filed down and imperfections are removed. At this point the piece is either ready to go to the showroom or it is sent to the painting department to be finished.

Landscape Design – Creating Balance In Home Landscaping

A sense of balance is necessary in creating a professional looking landscape design. Creating balance and unity is simple and can actually make designing easier but it is often overlooked. Use these guidelines to simplify your design and to ensure that your garden or landscape has a professional finished look.

Balance is a principle of all art forms, design, and even landscape design. It implies a sense of equality. And while there may be just a little more to it, this is how I explain it to make it easier for first timers and do it yourselfers to understand.

A garden, landscape, or any form of equal proportions would naturally feel and look balanced. However, most gardens and landscapes are not exact or symmetrical in shape and form. They’re asymmetrical and abstract in form and are often without any natural balance of their own. So landscaping often relies on other elements to create balance and harmony through unity.

Many times, a lack of balance is directly related to a lack of repetition. Repeating alike elements such as plants or rocks throughout the landscape will help unify different areas to each other. As little as one repeated matching plant group, color, piece of decor, or hardscape can accomplish this.

A lack of balance is also created by placing too many or all non matching elements throughout a landscape design. This can sometimes seem cluttered and unkept when it grows in. In the beginning of your design, plan for less, place just a few matching plant groups throughout the garden, and keep decor matching and to a minimum. You can add more later.

So many of the questions that I receive about landscape design deal with the shape of a design . Shape is unique to each design and will ultimately follow all necessary paths and your visions. However, any shape or form can be filled with elements and still be either dull, void, loud, cluttered, and unbalanced. Balance isn’t necessarily dependent on shape. It can be but generally it’s not. So don’t get too hung up on trying to even things out entirely by shape.

Landscape design is an art form and so it deals with “all” the same principles that other art forms use. Repetition, unity, and balance are all principles of art that go hand in hand with each other.

Architects use repetition in design by making doors, windows, fixtures, trims, etc. the same sizes, shapes, and styles. Imagine how your home would feel if every door, door frame, window, and fixture were of different sizes, shapes, colors, and types. It would be uncomfortable and chaotic.

And so it’s the same with landscape design.

In order to create balance, appeal, and even comfort in a landscape that is lacking, we need to create some form of consistent repetition. As little as one matching element placed on opposites can create a sense of unity and consistency.

It’s easiest and most often created in the softscape (plants, ornaments, lawn, decor, etc.). However, it should be considered in the hardscape (walks, driveways, necessities, fences, walls, raised beds, boundaries, etc.) of your drawn design plan.

Deck Lighting Can Add Enjoyment and Safety

Landscape lighting for your deck is essential for safety and enjoyment of the space that you have created on your site. Decks are designed to be places for cookouts, parties and entertainment but without good lighting it can be a dangerous and/or an uninviting place to be at night.

Many times decks have elevation changes that involve stairs, seating, planter boxes and railing, among other features so choosing lighting for these areas are crucial. Solar lighting is a great idea because it is simple to install, very inexpensive to operate and from a design stand point they offer enough light to illuminate the features on the deck without over lighting it. Plus, solar lights eliminate the use of cumbersome wiring.

Deck lighting can come in various forms and shapes. There is recessed lighting that fits flush into the deck itself and can actually be stepped without damage to the light. Another option for deck lighting can be to have lamps on the deck. They can be quite decorative and come in many beautiful shapes in sizes. Solar deck lamps can be incorporated into the design of the deck from the beginning to add architectural elements while providing light.

Also, solar light post caps are available and also serve to provide some added detail to the deck design while illuminating the posts. (Keep in mind that solar lights do not produce as much light as traditional lighting but with proper planning you can achieve great results.) There are also recessed step lights that fit flush into the riser decking and help to illuminate the steps and provide increased safety for the user as well as wall fixtures like sconces that add architectural flavor to your deck.

A new option for deck lighting is the landscape lighting globe. They come in various sizes and can either be hard wired to deck lamp posts or powered off of an internal battery. The manufacturer also offers battery operated globes which can be used on table tops, hung from overhead structures or even placed on seating around the perimeter of the deck. The globes also add to the party atmosphere that usually accompanies deck activities which makes them a great choice.

Whatever application you choose to go with, deck lighting will enhance the experiences that you have envisioned for your family and friends.