Window Lights are wonderful way to greet visitors to your house at Christmas, and here Andy Taylor reviews Konstsmide's contemporary and traditional range of Candlesticks, Welcome Lights and Silhouettes.
Robert Hall decorates his Christmas tree with cluster lights, here he explains why they are so effective and the reasons why they have become seasonal best sellers.
Cluster lights are the answer to all your Christmas Tree lighting nightmares.
Broken and twisted sets of lights that take you an age to untangle only to then have to be re-tangled around your tree, showing enough cable to power the National Grid, is my nightmare. Oh, and all the lights seem to be pointing in the wrong direction and there aren’t really enough, but there might be if they all worked?
LED Christmas lights have gone a long way to eradicating some of these issues in the last few years but you still seem to end up with miles of cable and not enough lights. So some bright spark used the available technology to cluster dozens of small LED lights around a strand of cable to create a garland effect that was several inches wide. Think of a hedgehog stretched out like a sausage dog and plugged in.
Cluster lights simply roll out of the box and are draped onto your tree, starting near the top and coming down in a lazy Z shape. As the lights are so densely clustered the lengths are much shorter than you are used to so you have to dress only the parts of the tree that you can see, and certainly not the back of the tree. It takes me about a minute or two to dress a 6ft tree and once switched on they look good. You just see a garland of light and very little cable. Professional is the word that springs to mind, particularly if you use cluster lights as your base light and you add candle lights, or similar, as an accent light.
Premier Decorations were selling cluster lights several years ago and we put a few on our website to gauge the public reaction. Premier Decorations are well known within our industry for innovation and great value for money products but cluster lights did not really take off because the price was still too much for many. But that is changing as more manufacturers are entering the market and economies of scale are driving prices down.
For our Christmas tree displays this year we are also featuring cluster lights from the well known Swedish manufacturer. The multi-colour cluster lights seem to be popular as they have a real intensity and also a vintage feel because of the colours.
When LED lights fist came into the Christmas market the clear bulb, which had always been a warm yellow in reality, seemed to have a steel blue hue to it. These appeared on many outdoor trees in city centres and this ‘new’ colour became known as ice white. A more natural yellow / white was quickly developed and this became known as warm white. For 2015 Lumineo lights have now added another white to the range, and this is called classic white. Lumineo's classic white is deeper than the warm white creating a real gold colour that certainly sparkles when in the form of cluster lights.
The price of cluster lights still has to fall a little more but their popularity is definitely on the increase, and will continue.
With gardens becoming smaller, neighbours closer and roads busier, we all suffer from different types of noise pollution. But, as Andy Taylor reports, Forest have now come up with a new kind of fencing that minimizes this nuisance.
Although gardening activity in February may not be so frenetic as during the summer months, there's still plenty to be done and Spring is just around the corner. Nathan James Dodd suggests the jobs you should be tackling in the garden this month.
Dan Everton helps you look after your pond during the February with some tips on the precautions you can take to avoid the water freezing over, and advice on keeping fish at this time of the year.
Heating will be a deciding factor on the variety of plants you are able to grow in a greenhouse and the number of plants that can be kept over winter. Here, Robert Hall goes through the pros and cons of the different types of heating that are available.