Lighting and Landscapes

I know I’ve written about lighting before (like last time!) but this has been one of the biggest things to work on lately. The good news is that we’re now well on our way to having everything sorted out. Last week I approved one part of the order, for much of the decorative lighting, but then lighting expert Faith and I had to sort out some details regarding the under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen: would each bank have to be turned and off individually, how long could they be (these are LED light strips), what I might want besides outlets in the tracks between the light strips, etc. By using this kind of lighting system, we can mount the outlets, USB charging stations, and all sort of other gizmos (which I won’t be doing, but could) on the tracks. The advantage to this is that we won’t have to cut any tile in the back-splashes for the outlets, which will make for a much cleaner appearance on the walls.

All we’ve got left to sort out is the outdoor lighting on the south patio. No idea when we’re going to figure that one out.

On Thursday I met once again with landscaper Will, this time to get down to the nitty-gritty of the exact layout of the gravel beds, itty-bitty lawn, and the trees. This being Arizona, most yards–at least those whose owners have any sense when it comes to water conservation and fire protection–are mostly gravel. There are tons (pun fully intended) of colors and sizes of stone, so Will asked me to go by his stone supplier and see what they had. So now I’m having to choose among shades of decomposed granite like Apache Gold, Palomino Gold, and Cochise Tan.

Gravel collage

Hard to tell the difference, isn’t it? Will’s going to get some sample buckets that we can spread out on the ground and see what they really look like, especially when they’re clean, not covered with dust like these piles are. Bigger rocks will make a difference too.

On Monday, Bill and I laid out the outline for the driveway and guest parking area. Yes, visitors will get their very own place to park! No more clogging up the driveway.

Lining out the driveway

Those orange lines spray-painted on the dirt will also help Bill get accurate estimates for what it’s going to cost to put down either asphalt or concrete (probably asphalt). I’ve wanted to mark the driveway with blue, green, and white highway reflectors to make it look at night like an airport taxiway and runway! The blue (edges) and white (center-line) reflectors are available but green ones have been impossible to find.

One other thing that photo above shows is just how UGLY the utility boxes are. They’ll be painted the same color as the house, but they’re still going to be visible. Just ugly, not UGLY. Will has suggested putting a Texas mountain laurel plant in front of them. They’re attractive, drought-tolerant, evergreen, and can be shaped as desired. This is what some at our local country club look like.

Texas mountain laurel

Kinda spindly at the legs but more attractive than this photo might make them look.

There’s been good stuff happening on the inside of the house too but I’ll save that for next time.

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2 comments to Lighting and Landscapes

  • Jackie Ritacco  says:

    After lighting choices that you had to/have yet to make, choosing among FOUR shades of decomposed granite will be a snap!

    And…not a consideration to PAINT those UGLY utility boxes although I DO like the spindly legged Texas mountain laurel!

    Thank Goodness GUEST parking! That has been keeping me awake at night!

    • Ross Lampert  says:

      Gravel shades: you’d think…. We’ll see when the time comes.

      I KNEW you’d be concerned about where you were going to park when you came to visit! Now that’s all taken care of… until the HOA parking police come to chastise us should you not be able to park in the garage over night. *SIGH* 🙁

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