Tag Archives: night lighting

Breathtaking Water Features

20 Aug

By Drew Snodgrass – Landscape Designer at Dennis’ 7 Dees & one of the original Dees                                                                                                                                                                Ready to tackle a most rewarding landscape improvement? Water features are a breathtaking addition to the landscape but please consider avoiding the pitfalls that create high maintenance and a less than attractive final result.

Designed by Drew Snodgrass of Dennis’ 7 Dees

  1. Plan for success, determine the look you want whether simple or small, such as a column spoutingwater or a waterfall as large and elaborate as you want and have room for.
  2. Verify pump and electrical needs and where best to place and draw power.
  3. Locate the feature and orient it for maximum viewing appeal. My very strong recommendation is to make it safe and easy to maintain.
  4. You should not have to empty your water feature for cleaning. A skimmer vault, bottom drain and bio falls will make maintenance as easy as dumping out a collection bag on a regular basis. Water is drawn to the pump through a recessed collection bag and filter plate where surface debris is collected before it has a chance to settle to the bottom of your pond and decompose. The bottom drain circulates the water, also drawing it through the collection and filter plate in the vault. Algae will still grow on rocks but the water will be clear.
  5. For safety, fence out unwanted visitors as necessary or you can have a very shallow water feature with 1-4” of water while kids are small, but dig the pond as deep as you will ultimately like. Fill with river rock and surface the river rock with pea gravel to the desired depth. Later you can remove rock to the new desired depth as time goes on.
  6. If you want fish, (they’ll feed on the algae),you should allow for 3’ of water depth plus 6” of pea gravel covering the floor. Bridge in hiding places above the pond floor.
  7. Vertical sides will deter raccoons and shelving the sides of the pond makes it easier to stack rock to hide the liner. Keep the look as natural as possible and remember you must hide the liner completely.
  8. If you want water plants plan for them as you build your pond. Buy a pot the size of the plants you want. Research the ideal depth of water for the plant. Set the empty pot where you want the plant and hide all but the top as you rock in the liner.
  9. After cleaning the pond thoroughly, fill it, add de-chlorinator and then add the plants when water PH is ready. Cover the roots with the pea gravel.
  10. Once the water feature is complete you should consider adding lighting. Lighting spillways with underwater lights from the base of falls or from the sides, pointing toward spillways and away from views is important, (See the effect, not the fixture or source).

Although this sounds like a fun DIY project it really is lots of work and the easiest way to do any or all I’ve suggested is call Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping, (503)777-7777, get a great design, free estimate and have us install a beautiful and low maintenance end result.

The photos included in this article are of some of my water feature installations. . Water features are one of my favorite elements to incorporate into the landscape.

Drew Snodgrass, CLP, Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping


Making Wishes a Reality

30 Jul

By Spencer Anderson – Landscape Designer at Dennis’ 7 Dees

Have you ever been fed up with your soggy, squishy, muddy lawn and wished that it would just go away?  Have you ever wished that your patio was a little bigger?  Have you ever wished you had a fire pit or a water feature?  These are some of the wishes that the owners of this property had in mind as we went through the design process to change their backyard.  Their landscaping needs changed as their children got older.  Instead of a play structure and swing set they were now looking at having a fire pit and water feature.  Through the design-build process this outgrown landscape was soon transformed into a beautiful outdoor living space by the design-build team here at Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping.  Please take a walk through the new landscape starting from the back door just off of the dining room…

Step out onto a roomy paver patio underneath a tall airy cover with skylights that allow the natural light to filter through.  Straight ahead there is a rustic stone fire pit nestled into a stone sitting wall flanked by large sitting boulders creating a perfect place to gather and roast marshmallows on a cool evening.   The sitting wall is also the face of a raised planting bed with trees and shrubs to soften the stone wall and wooden fence.  To the right and across the pavers there is easy access to the side yard and utility area with a wooden gate hide the tools and toys when it’s time to sit back and relax.  To the left the patio extends out from under the cover where one can soak up the sun on a bright day.  Extending the length of the patio is the stone sitting wall that defines the curvilinear patio edge and provides a comfortable enclosure and lots of places to sit.  The sitting wall runs into a three column water feature with water bubbling from all three columns and splashing down on boulders and into the shallow water below creating a soothing sound and a refreshing view from the kitchen window.  Directly below the kitchen window are colorful and fragrant plants.  The patio steps down onto a stone walkway that divides the water feature from a cedar chip play area. A block retaining wall was constructed along the property line to level the play area making it a great place for the family trampoline.  The cedar chip play area exits to a meandering crushed gravel path bordered with rubble rock and lined with plantings full of color and texture.  The path conveniently connects to the front yard through a gate with a decorative arbor overhead.

With the finishing touch of LED landscape lighting to illuminate the key features this backyard landscape was transformed into a beautiful and functional outdoor living environment where wishes were made a reality.  A place where Family and friends will gather often and many fond memories will be made.

Meet the designer – Spencer Anderson

I love the outdoors!  Some of my most memorable outdoor experiences came from my childhood as a boy scout in Eastern Oregon.  I recall one such experience where our scout troop hiked 30 miles along the Big Creek Trail near McCall, Idaho.  This was my first long hike so it was a big deal to me.  We camped along the way so I had a pack with all of my provisions that seemed like it was as big and heavy as I was.  The trail was rough and some of the hills were quite steep and challenging, but with every step the beauty of the natural landscape seemed to get more and more breathtaking.  It was this natural beauty and wonder that would push my tired legs to climb the next hill just to catch a glimpse of what was on the other side.  The night we reached our destination I remember sitting around the campfire looking up at the starry night sky wishing that I could always be surrounded by such beauty.  The next morning we were flown out of the forest and back to where we started by a small aviation company.  Looking down from the plane I noticed that the details of the beautiful landscape that I had just seen on my hike were hidden by the tall thick trees.  This experience and many others throughout my life have encouraged me to pursue a career as a landscape designer where I can be an instrument in bringing natural beauty into personal landscapes.  My desire to be a landscape designer combined with a hard work ethic stemming from my experiences working long hours alongside my dedicated father who is a carpenter gave me a great start.  Later I went to school at Brigham Young University-Idaho where I earned a bachelor’s degree in horticulture with an emphasis in landscape design.  Shortly after graduating I started a career with Dennis’ 7 Dees landscaping as a project foreman and quickly transitioned into landscape design.  I love the outdoors and I love being a landscape designer.

Low Voltage Lighting For The Residential Landscape

29 Feb

By: John Curtis, Landscape Designer at Dennis’ 7 Dees

Low voltage lighting systems, for outdoor use, have been around since the early 1950’s.  Before that time, lighting in the landscape was limited to 120 volt household current, installed by licensed electricians and used primarily for safety and security purposes. These lights were expensive to install and due to the large amount of power consumption, the yearly energy costs were significant.  With the advent of 12 volt lighting systems, lights became more economical to install and to operate.  After 60 years low voltage lighting systems have entered the mainstream of modern landscape installations.  Throughout the years the evolution and availability of a wide variety of high quality fixtures and longer lasting, energy saving bulbs, have lead to their popularity.  More energy reduction and cost savings can be obtained today with the arrival and refinement of LED technology.  LED lighting fixtures use approximately 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent low voltage lights.

Photo by John Curtis of Dennis’ 7 Dees

There are many reasons to consider investing in a lighting system for your outdoor landscape.  Safety and security are usually the first reasons many people decide to install lights.  Pathways, steps and driveways are but a few of the areas around a home that benefit from increased visibility on a dark night.

FX Luminaire

Another incentive to light is to create a mood and atmosphere around the property for an inviting look.  Highlighting trees, specimen plants, water features, and garden elements can create an aesthetic that is hard to duplicate during the daylight hours.

FX Luminare

Area lighting for entertaining is another aspect that is often overlooked.  A popular trend is towards more outdoor living spaces such as outdoor kitchens, patios and spaces for entertaining.  Many of these activities, that are curtailed by darkness, can be prolonged into the evening by a well designed and professionally installed low voltage lighting system

FX LuminareModern lighting fixtures come in a wide range of designs and materials to suit different areas and create a multitude of lighting effects.  If you are thinking about investing in, or upgrading an existing low voltage landscape lighting system, call our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our lighting design consultants.

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