Outdoor Living

Posted On March 31, 2016

Sure, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but we know that when March arrives, our glorious weather is on the way so the lion’s roar is only temporary. So many families move to the midlands, at least in part, because of the weather. Today, we’re saying take advantage of one of our greatest assets. Create those outdoor rooms, build, or spruce up the deck and walkway, add a water feature, or perhaps a pool, and set the mood with outdoor lighting. Pretty soon, we’ll be firing up the grill and adding those magnificent hanging plants to the porch.

By Deena C. Bouknight

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Columbia

5125 Bush River Road Suite A Columbia, South Carolina 29212 Phone: (803) 935-4611

Just coming out of hibernation from a long, rainy winter, now is the ideal time to begin mapping out a plan to extend living spaces from the interior to the exterior. Outdoor Lighting Perspectives is the area’s largest and most affordable option for both residential and commercial creative lighting needs. 

Interested in illuminating that walkway to the front or back door, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives has all types of alternatives. There are also options for making pool, deck, and patio spaces gather-friendly. Spotlighting calls attention to trees or architectural elements. The right lighting can even make a home or business safer and more accessible. With wedding season approaching, an ordinary back yard can become a spectacular venue. 

According to Kenny Kaufman, owner, there is no reason why homeowners should not be able to enjoy their yards during the day – and at night. His company is equipped to meet with clients regarding everything from basic low-voltage lighting solutions to simulated moon lighting. 

A primary lighting source is LED for its illumination qualities and its energy efficiency. Plus, the LED lighting that Outdoor Lighting Perspectives installs has a lifespan that far exceeds quartz halogen bulbs. Kaufman says his company has completed at least 3,000 LED installations in the Columbia area in the last few years.

He suggests those interested in a home or business lighting plan should look at the website and peruse the blog, where there are not only countless articles with tips and information, but also photos that provide lighting concepts from which to glean ideas. Outdoor Lighting Perspectives trained professionals can help customers work out exactly the right lighting for each individual project. 


Mosquito Squad of Columbia

5125 Bush River Road

Columbia, SC 29212


Kenny Kaufman has owned Mosquito Squad of Columbia for the past year and touts it as a “cool” company. Mosquitos, cool? Yes, he asserts. What is “cool” about it is how the company has “changed people’s lives.” 

When a mother calls him and says her child wants to play outside but cannot because he is covered with mosquito bites and then, a month later, sends him a photograph showing a child playing happily in his backyard – that is what he considers “cool”. He believes children should be able to play outside mosquito-free. And, adults should be able to sit outside and grill and talk without being swarmed. 

Mosquito Squad works two ways: 1) a safe barrier spray of an encapsulated product is applied every 21 days to the underside of leaves and other foliage. Nothing in bloom is sprayed (so honey bees are not affected) or, 2) an auto mister emits a spray periodically. Option one is what many clients choose. Cost is based on a yard’s square footage. 

With the threat of Zika virus in the news – as well as the historic flood and excessive rain for the past six months – Kaufman says his phone has been “ringing off the hook.” He adds, “This could be one of the worst springs and summers for mosquitos this area has ever had.”

Besides humans, the mosquito barrier also protects pets. He and his wife, Melissa, own golden retrievers and desire the best for their dogs, who enjoy being outside. The couple is also supportive of pet-friendly causes, such as Bark in the Park and Pawmetto Lifeline. 

However, mosquitos are not the only pest that professionals at Mosquito Squad are equipped to handle. Kaufman says large and plentiful spiders are a nuisance around Lake Murray and other water-front properties. Dock, boats, screened porches, and homes can be spider and web free, he explains. For more information about Mosquito Squad of Columbia’s services, visit the website: 


Jack Oliver Pools 

3303 Forest Drive

Columbia, SC 29204


Jack Oliver has seen the pool business in Columbia change over the last 20 years. In the past, people may have invested in a pool installation, and maybe a deck surrounding the pool. Today, the outdoor living space has become as important – or more so – than the interior living space. A pool or spa or other water feature may be a centerpiece, but all that surrounds it is just as important. 

“Any of our latest construction projects focus on the total outdoor space,” says Oliver. “Kitchens, fireplaces, waterfalls, covered patios … people are more inclined to invest in a back yard as their daily destination vacation.”

Oliver says his company, which boasts a full staff to assist with everything from budget planning to graphic designers to licensed and insured contractors, can work with a space no matter what the size. Clients are presented with ideas and photos initially, and then graphic designers can actually incorporate the plans into a 3-D drawing. 

Lengthy construction times and messes are concerns some residents convey regarding extensive yard projects; however, Oliver explains that customers can have a new yard in a few days to only a few months – depending on the scope of the project. “We’re not in people’s yards for long,” he says. 

Another focus of Jack Oliver Pools is the remodeling of existing pools. “We add new tiles, surfaces, decking, liners, etc. to older pools,” he says. It is in the process of refurbishing an older pool that some residents want a newer look – a facelift for the backyard. 

Jack Oliver Pools is a full-service, one-stop-shopping store. Besides the dramatic construction of outdoor spaces, the company provides outdoor furnishings, grills, spas, and saunas.


Wingard’s Market

1403 N. Lake Drive Lexington, SC 29072 803-359-9091

Wingard’s Market is a 49-year-old, family-owned, full-service garden center that offers landscaping and design services, lawn maintenance programs, plants, trees, produce, and workshops. Special events such as a corn maze, Hallopalooza, and Santapalooza are community favorites. An extensive retail store sells everything from soils, fertilizers, and yard art to gift items. 

According to Wally Steinhauser, owner, Wingard’s is in tune to what works in this region of the south in terms of plantings. He says container gardens are increasingly popular on front porches, decks, and throughout front and back yard landscapes. Containers are easy to maintain and control, and add color and contrast. The most weather-resistant planters are glazed, ceramic products. “These are durable, colorful, and come in all shapes and sizes,” says Steinhauser.

Some of the top selling plants in the Midlands currently are the Sunshine Ligustrum, which grows about two feet tall as well as wide; the low-growing sasanquas (particularly the Shishigashira variety); and, Globosa Nana Cryptomeria. There is also significant interest in Meyer Lemons, he points out. “They can be placed in containers, kept outdoors until winter, and then brought inside,” he says. “Great plant … great fruit.”

Wingard’s Market advises residents with small and large yard areas. For smaller gardening, containers work best, but also square foot gardens and Earthbox systems are successful for growing vegetables. 

He says the “thriller, filler, spiller” concept is a great way to think about container designing. “Depending on the season, we might select Dracaena’s for the thriller, dragon wing begonias for the filler, and then sweet potato vine for the spiller. “This combination works fine for spring to frost, then the filler and spiller will need to be replaced with heuchera and lamium for the winter.”


Distinctive Designs

369 Yachting Road

Lexington, SC 29072


Will Fowler has owned Distinctive Designs in Lexington for almost five years. He is a licensed masonry contractor and specializes in hardscapes. However, Distinctive Designs provides practically everything a homeowner would need to turn a backyard of simply grass and trees into a room where friends and family can gather for food, fun, and fellowship. 

Outdoor fireplaces, kitchens, retaining walls, arbors, and arches are a large part of the company’s menu. However, Distinctive Designs is practically a one-stop-shopping center for outdoor living in that it also provides services such as the installation of pools, fencing, lighting, drainage systems, and irrigation solutions. 

According to Fowler, water features are especially popular in this region. Distinctive Designs can add anything from stately to natural in a yard. Dramatic fountains can be a focal point as guests drive up to a home, while a stream can meander to a small fish and plant pond in the back yard. 

Regarding lighting, Distinctive Designs offers an array of outdoor options as well as a line of copper lanterns. Customers can schedule a lighting demonstration to get an idea of how lighting might affect an outdoor space. 

When the main aspects are completed in a yard space, Distinctive Designs will even bring in the trees, shrubs, sod, and mulch and then maintain it all so that homeowners can enjoy their investments and not have to fuss with keeping it all looking beautiful.