Blog - Knutsen Landscaping

Landscape Lighting


Landscape Lighting

You’ve invested considerable time and resources to making your home and outdoor living space look just the way you want it. But what happens when the sun goes down? You certainly don’t want to lose all that beauty and curb appeal! Proper lighting will not only carry your design beyond the daylight hours, but it will allow you to create a new and exciting nighttime landscape.

Be sure to take the right approach in designing the lighting for your landscape. It may seem, for instance, that a trade electrician is the best place to start. But this decision may not afford you all the expertise you need for your outdoor lighting project! Trade electricians can certainly get the job done, but landscape lighting is not usually their wheelhouse. For the best results, a landscape designer is a much better choice.

In particular, there are three advantages to choosing a professional landscape designer for your outdoor lighting design:

  1. Although a trade electrician can certainly install your lighting, a designer brings a trained, professional, artistic eye to your design. Coming to a landscape designing like the professionals at Knusten is like asking a fine artist to paint your mural—rather than a house painter. You’ll get a much more aesthetically pleasing result. You and the designer can determine just what effect you want to achieve with your lighting, whether it’s a romantic, dramatic, mysterious, or other type of atmosphere you wish to create.
  2. Lighting designers like the team at Knutsen is knowledgeable about the growth of trees, shrubs, and other softscaping elements on your property. Such expertise can ensure that the design you create will evolve with the desired effect as years go by and your foliage changes. You don’t want to be disappointed when your landscape grows over the years! A landscaper will take these natural changes into account in the design.
  3. Landscape lighting typically relies on stepped-down power from your house, reducing 120-volt household current to a safer 12 volts. Because of this you do not need to trench the wire at 18” deep like you would with 120 volt. The wire just sits below your mulch or decorative stone in your beds. Running all the wire through the beds and out of beds is a landscaper’s specialty. They will have a much better understanding of how the system functions in and through your beautifully landscaped beds and how to restore to perfection after the job is complete!

It is definitely in your best interest as a homeowner to select a trained landscape professional to bring the right light design to your landscaping. Contact Knutsen Landscaping to speak with a lighting designer, and discuss the possibilities for showcasing your front yard and lighting up your entire outdoor living space.

Pools: Where to Begin for the Best Result

One of the most dramatic – and let’s face it, most expensive – elements of outdoor entertainment design is an inground pool. Some homeowners would start the process by calling several pool companies and getting estimates for installation on their property. Then after the whole process is finished and the workers from the pool company have cleaned up and left, the homeowner might decide the pool needs some landscaping.

At Knutsen Landscaping, we would like to suggest the opposite approach. Call the landscaper before you contact the pool service. There are definite advantages to meeting with a landscape designer at the very beginning.

First and foremost, a landscape designer will create an integrated overall design for your outdoor living space. We will consider the entire property and its relation to your home and neighborhood, as well as your own individual tastes and personality. Although a pool company will offer a range of selections, they are often rather standard. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but landscape design is just not what they do.

A second major concern for designing your pool landscape is what kind of trees you want and where they will be placed in relation to the pool. You want natural shade and beauty, but you will also want to avoid dirt, pests, and fallen leaves. Considering all these options as early in the process as possible will help to give you the desired result.

A third consideration is the hardscaping that your pool area might feature. Walkways, fencing, decks or patios, and structures like a pergola or gazebo, work much better as integral parts of the design, rather than an afterthought. If these options are considered and discussed from the beginning, you’ll end up with a more harmonized overall look. Furthermore, you and your landscape designer can place the pool in the best location for all of these to work together.

An inground pool is probably the biggest investment homeowners will make in the landscape of their property. Again, a pool company can give you some options and install a perfectly serviceable pool. But if you start with a landscape designer, you can come up with a design that perfectly fits what you want on your property, and you’ll end up with an outdoor living space that is unique and unlike any other property in your area. And remember, a well-designed landscape – including a pool – can add as much as 15 percent to the value of your property.

So if you are ready to make the commitment to an inground pool on your property, make Knutsen Landscaping your first call. We will meet with you to determine your goals and options. Together we can make your unique outdoor living space one that you will enjoy for years to come.

You Bag It. Yard Jockey Hauls It.

Your lawn and garden are a reflection of you. Your care and effort make the grass greener, the flowers brighter, and the trees healthier. But when it comes to all debris you generate from mowing, pruning, weeding, and trimming, you may not have an effective way to recycle the yard waste back into the earth for a sustainable cycle of renewal. Yard Jockey’s bags are your solution for outdoor projects, large or small. Purchase a reusable bag today!


Our durable, reusable yard debris bags hold a full cubic yard of waste like grass clippings, branches, bush trimmings, mulch, edgings, and leaves!  They offer a convenient way to keep your yard looking nice during and after weeding, pruning, or mowing.  Avoid those messy piles that take up space in your driveway or block use of your lawn. Purchase a reusable bag today to recycle the yard waste back into the earth for a sustainable cycle.  Simply call for a pick-up when your bag is full!

  1. Buy a Yard Jockey bag for $20.
  2. When your bag is full, go online to and click the “haul it away” tab at the top to pay and schedule your pick up — just $30 a bag!
  3. Your Yard Jockey bag will be returned so you can move on to another lawn project.

Order a bag online* or call us at 717-786-9000.


Yard debris includes brush/trimmings, tree limbs, grass clippings, stumps, leaves, soil, sod and rocks/stones.



Upgrading your Outdoor Living Space

Spring is the season for renewal. Trees are budding, grass is shedding its winter brown, and birds are returning to their warm weather homes. So it is perfectly fitting that homeowners see spring as the time to begin landscaping projects. What better time to rejuvenate your outdoor living space?

The National Association of REALTORS® recently published a nationwide study examining the reasons home owners complete outdoor remodeling projects, the value of those projects, and the increased happiness on their completion. Ten different projects – the top ten according to the REALTOR® rank of projects’ appeal to buyers – were evaluated, and the results offer a range of appealing and profitable upgrades.

Of course, upgrading your outdoor living space does not benefit you only when it’s time to sell. The REALTORS® poll also tracked consumers’ viewpoints after completing projects. After installing a new deck, 77 percent said that they had a greater desire to stay home, 51 percent felt an increased sense of enjoyment, and 77 percent had a sense of accomplishment on completion. Even higher results came from a new patio: 82 percent expressed a greater desire to be home, 74 percent report more enjoyment, and 85 percent felt a major sense of accomplishment. The highest happiness rating came through adding a new pool: 95 percent claimed a greater desire to be home since installing one, 80 percent have an increased sense of enjoyment while at home, and 90 percent felt a major sense of accomplishment after completing the project.

So whether you are looking to sell your home or simply get more enjoyment from your property, investing in your landscaping and hardscaping can pay big dividends. Contact Knutsen Landscaping to discuss your goals and options. Together we can put together a plan to make the most of your outdoor living space.

Outdoor Seating

An essential element of your landscaping is certainly outdoor seating. After all, isn’t one of the reasons for all that work and investment hosting a dinner party, family gathering, or just good friends? Of course, there is a lot to consider when choosing a design for your outdoor entertaining: your goals, plans, and – of course – budget.

You may wish to center your outdoor entertainment area on one of these themes:

  • Outdoor fireplaces – There are many options, from rustic, portable, permanent, to materials like copper, brick, stone, and more.
  • Fire pits – In recent years, fire pits have become one of the more popular outdoor entertaining options. Although not quite as unlimited in scope as fireplace options, there are still plenty of different choices to suit your needs and budget.
  • Grill areas – With outdoor grill areas, the choices are almost endless. Of course, you’ll want to think about how many guests you may be grilling for and how much seating you want in close proximity to the grill itself.
  • Outdoor kitchens – If a grill or fire pit is too limiting for your plans, why not do an entire outdoor kitchen? Grills, smokers, pizza ovens, and cooktops can all be incorporated into your outdoor kitchen. And of course, here is where the seating really comes in to play. Everyone always hangs out in the kitchen indoors, so the same patterns will carry outside. Embrace it!
  • Pool landscape design – A pool will often be a central point in outdoor landscaping, and you can incorporate seating as much or as little as desired. More seating in the pool area will of course encourage your guests to spend more time in that area.
  • Water features – Fountains, ponds, and other water features add character and interest to any landscaping. And you must consider whether you want seating around them or whether they should more separated from your seating areas.
  • Pavilion and pergola – A more dedicated seating design element is a pavilion or pergola. They provide shade, protection from the elements, and distinct space definition for outdoor entertaining. These will often be central to your seating design.

Certainly, combinations of these and other design ideas will determine your outdoor seating needs. Knutsen Landscaping is here to help! We’ll meet with you on-site to determine your goals, initial plans, and budget for this project.

Light Up the Outdoors

You invest a good deal of time and money in your landscaping, so you should expect to enjoy it during the day and the night. With the right outdoor lighting, entertaining and just enjoying your outdoor areas can last well beyond sundown.

There’s a lot to consider before investing in outdoor lighting. What do you want the focus of your lighting to be? Highlighting? Up-lighting? Path lighting? Or maybe it’s a combination of these and other factors. Perhaps there are certain design elements that you wish to feature, like a fountain or an outdoor structure. Or maybe you need to address pockets of darkness in your landscape.

You’ll want to consider these questions and many others. A few additional issues to take into account include:

  • Views from indoors – What will your landscape look like from inside your home?
  • Focal points – Are there particular trees, water features, or a gazebo that you would like to highlight?
  • Sense of depth – Illuminating pathways, landscaped beds, and the house itself will lend a feeling of depth to the property.
  • Ambient light – Besides spotlighting features, you can create an atmospheric feel to your outdoor space with a general ambient lighting palette.

One of the leading providers of outdoor lighting fixtures is CAST®, and Knutsen Landscaping is proud to be CAST®-certified. Our installers will ensure that CAST® lighting fixtures will be best used to accent your property. The Classic, Impressionist, and Craftsmen series from CAST® offer a wide array of possibilities, and you can achieve the landscape illumination you desire.

Whatever your needs, Knutsen Landscaping is here to help. Our team of designers will assess your landscape and help you determine your goals for your lighting.

New Video Released!

Knutsen Landscaping is pleased to announce the release of a new video that describes and details our work and services. Hear an interview with our founder and president, Andy Knutsen, and see beautiful footage of some of our latest work: beautiful pool decks, stunning firepits and fireplaces, and outdoor living spaces that dreams are made of!

Recommended Indigenous Trees Feature: Swamp White Oak

When selecting trees for landscaping, many will choose the more popular varieties – dogwood, tulip trees, arborvitae, and others. It makes sense, people see these trees in landscaping and like the look of them, so they choose it too. One that is often overlooked is the swamp white oak.

The swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) has one great distinction in America: it is featured at the 911 Memorial in New York. They provide a stark and welcome contrast to the two wells of constantly cascading water that mark the footprint of the Twin Towers. One of the deciding factors in choosing this species is that they are native to all three locations where the planes crashed that fateful day – New York City, Arlington County in Virginia, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (Interesting note: the one tree at the memorial that is not a swamp white oak is the “survivor” tree, a callery pear tree that survived the attacks and was re-planted at the memorial. A true survivor!)

These trees adapt well to the challenges of an urban environment, tolerating dry, moist, or wet soils as well as salt and soil compaction. This adaptability makes them a great choice for almost any landscape.

Swamp White Oak Quercus bicolor

  • Used as large shade trees in landscaping
  • Wood has been used in ship building throughout American history, but is used today in flooring, furniture, and whiskey/wine barrels.
  • Mature trees generally reach 80-100 feet, while some have reached 150. Trunk size can reach up to 4’ in diameter!
  • Acorns produced by white oaks are an important source of food for the ecosystem of the tree. All sorts of birds (including turkeys, quails, blue jays, and crows) and mammals (black bear, deer, squirrels, voles, mice) depend on them for nutrients in the fall. In some areas, the population of some species of critters fluctuate based on the supply of acorns!
  • In the summer, leaves are a blue-green on top and a whitish shade of green on the underside. In the fall, the colors can spread from orange, and brown to red and purple.
  • State tree of Illinois, Connecticut, and Maryland.
  • Very adaptable, tolerating dry, moist or wet soils.

Recommended Indigenous Trees Feature: Tulip Poplar

The next in our series of trees we recommend for use in local landscaping is the towering Tulip Poplar!  The experts at Knutsen Landscaping have compiled a list of trees indigenous to our region in Pennsylvania.

Tulip Poplar Liriodendron tulipifera

  • Pioneers used tulip poplar to make houses, barns, and canoes
  • Most commonly used today in cabinet making
  • Also used for medicinal purposes—like teas and ointments
  • State tree of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana
  • Nicknamed the “fiddle tree” because of it’s peculiar shaped leaves that resemble small violins
  • It is actually a member of the magnolia family, not the poplar family
  • Won’t bloom tulips for the first 15 years of it’s life—the flowers are usually a light green or yellow color
  • Average lifespan:200-250, but can live much longer under the right conditions
  • Tallest of the North American hardwood trees…between 100 and 150 feet tall!
  • Trunks can grow 50 feet high without a single branch
  • Produces a honey used primarily by bakers