Tips for Outdoor Living and Lighting

Summer brings barbecues and outdoor lounging. What can you do to create an entertainment-worthy setting for you and your guests? We’ve asked an expert – David Baxter, Owner and Designer at Pacifica Landscapes. Baxter has been designing and constructing unique environmentally sound landscapes in the USA, New Zealand and Australia for over two decades. He uses a layering of textures and meanings that resonate with their occupants and reveal details that delight over time.

In short, he designs interesting and fun spaces in which to live!

Here are some of the questions we asked him:

1) What can I do now to make our outdoor space welcoming, relaxing, and entertainment-ready? 

We recommend freshening up your softscape to create a special setting for spring and summer. An ideal landscape combines the perfect balance of hardscape and softscape elements. Hardscape is made up of solid, hard elements that remain the same over time, such as rocks, walkways, water features and outdoor kitchens. Softscape elements include plants, flowers, color schemes and the soil in which they grow.

Softscape tips you can do now:

  • Fill up your yard waste bin and start cleaning up. Weed, mulch, and scrub down your patio with a biodegradable cleaner. You may also want to consider renting a power washer for those especially difficult walkways to clean.
  • Pinpoint gaps in your planting scheme, take a picture, and head to the nursery. There are many nurseries in Seattle where you will find helpful staff that can give you ideas and guidance on how to fill in those gaps.
  • Add containers on the patio to liven up your patio. This approach allows you to play with seasonal color and enjoy edible delights.

2) Summers seem to be getting hotter each year in the Northwest. What are some water-saving ideas that will still provide a scenic setting?  

We recommend native and Mediterranean plant types as they like wet winters and dry summers. More tips:

First look at the type and location of the plants in your yard. Are they appropriate in the place they are situated? You will want to include plants that require less water in sunny areas and plants that require more water in shady areas.

Second consider water and maintenance:

  • Mulch around the base of the plant. This can reduce watering by 50% as the water stays with the roots. Sawdust Supply in Georgetown delivers small amounts of mulch, so you don’t have to lift a finger until it arrives!
  • Drip irrigation is also a great way to ensure a beautiful, mindful-of-cost, landscape as it delivers the water efficiently to the roots. As with mulching there is also a minimal loss of the evaporation and surface run off.

3) What are your tips for creating ambiance during the evening and night hours? 

Lighting is a great addition to any landscape because in winter it pushes back the darkness and makes your yard seem bigger. In the summer it allows you to highlight features and illuminate texture and color that would otherwise be lost in the darkness.

We especially enjoy working with Exact Electric to lighten up a landscape and walkways. Just like us, they are focused on quality and care, always taking into account the smallest of details. While the very nature of landscaping can be wild and fun, there are still elements of precision that make all the difference, and lighting and working with Exact Electric are among them. 

Contact us or connect with Pacifica Landscapes if you have questions about what you are looking to accomplish in your yard this spring and summer! Pacifica Landscapes can provide guidance on softscapes and hardscapes.

They are still available for designing small patios and freestanding water features for this summer. For larger installations you will want to get in touch with them now as they are already booking out until late summer and fall. 



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