Put a little Bellagio in your back yard.
Fountains, ponds and planters light up the night with a flick of a switch or the power of the sun.
You don't need a green thumb or an electrical license to turn your yard into a magical retreat with as little or as much Vegas as you desire.
"There is no difficult math to figure out," said Rick Perry, owner of Falling Water Gardens, a Monroe landscape design and building company specializing in water features. "People can do lighting themselves."
Perry will show you the basics in a free class on garden lighting from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. May 16. The session covers pond, pot and path lighting, as well as the pros and cons of solar, halogen bulbs and LED. It includes a tour of the 10-acre lighted grounds.
"Part of the class is when to use solar and when to use something that's hard-wired," Perry said.
Take, for example, those solar glass globes that stick in the ground.
"These will turn on automatically at night and glow until the morning, so all summer you get a lot of light from them," he said. "In the winter, when we get two hours of light, they might come on when it gets dark at 4 and last until 6. They're not a great solution for honest-to-god path lighting, but they're great for art."
There are also solar gnomes, bears and butterflies for sale in the gift shop.
LED is still the costliest startup option, but prices are decreasing for the light-emitting diode that's high-efficiency and long life.
"Everything is moving toward LED. In another 10 years that's all there will be," Perry said.
Advances in technology have made hard-wiring simple and showy.
Falling Water Gardens displays include bubblers and Buddha fountains, rock formations and water walls.
One highlight is the light show at the koi fish pond.
"There are really cool LED lights in the bottom that are color-changing," Perry said. "I can pick the color with the remote control. It will change colors or slowly fade through the colors or can I put it on disco and it will change really quickly."
A light kit includes everything but the fish.
"It is super simple. You could do it in about 10 minutes," he said. "It comes prewired with little connectors that screw together, and you plug it into a low-voltage transformer and it's a done deal."
Sure, it's pretty to the human eye. But what about the fish who live in the all-night disco?
"People are always worried about that. Fish don't care. They are completely oblivious to it," Perry said. The grounds host a variety of critters.
"We have the chickens and the peacocks to keep the kids happy while their parents are shopping. We have goats and alpacas in the back," he said.
"The chickens are not lit. We should do that."
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; email@example.com.
Falling Water Gardens
17516 Highway 203, Monroe, a half-mile south of the Skykomish River Bridge
A variety of free classes are offered:
• Garden Lighting: 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. May 16
• Aquatic Plants: 1 to 2 p.m. May 19
• Ladies Night: 7 to 9 p.m. May 23
• Pond Building 101: 1 to 2 p.m. May 26
The nursery sells garden plants, fish, supplies and accessories.
For more information, go to www.fallingwatergardens.com or call 360-863-1400.
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