Monthly Archives: March 2014

//March

Backyard Retreat In Keeping With Natural Surroundings

The Deck and Patio Company won major awards for this beautiful backyard retreat

 

This property’s residence was carefully designed and built amongst mature oaks, maples and pines. Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, and his team, also took great care to preserve as much of this as possible when we added the various water features: a concrete, vinyl-lined pool, raised spa, stream, waterfalls, and koi pond.

To accomplish this, many site-related factors had to be considered: topography, solar exposure, soil conditions, existing trees, property size, active and passive use areas, as well as the style of architecture.

We have found, in fact, that recreating water and nature is an art form that takes a trained eye, many years of field experience, extensive knowledge of hydraulics and plant material, a true passion for nature, and, most importantly, an understanding of how to balance the relationship between architecture with its natural surroundings.

In recognition for all we accomplished in the design and installation of the pool, spa and water features, this back yard retreat garnered two prestigious awards from NESPA and APSP in 2007.

 

Freeform Concrete Pool:

Freeform Concrete Pool:

Vinly-lined pool was nestled into landscape with careful consideration for existing trees and mature shrub root systems. From spa, clients can view koi pond and waterfalls while relaxing. (Note: Waterfall spilling into the spa acts as a delightful massage.)

 

 

 

Multi-tiered Waterfall/Stream:

Multi-tiered Waterfall/Stream:

5’-high multi-tiered waterfall and 35’ meandering stream discharge into 10’ x 15’ freeform Koi pond. The surrounding moss rock and plantings help create a natural look.

 

 

 

Koi Pond:

Koi Pond:

Pond was built with much consideration for the fish since natural predators exist in and around the locale. The pond’s small cave provides a hiding place where koi can lay dormant during winter months. Plus the pond is fed fresh water continuously from the waterfall/stream.

 

 

 

Pool and Spa Design:

Pool and Spa Design:

This beautiful lagoon-like free-form pool and spa were designed to be “organic” with natural surroundings; they capture very essence of clients’ desire for harmonious body of water in keeping with residence, patio, outdoor kitchen, and new waterfall, stream and pond.

 

 

 

Pool Landscaping:

Pool Landscaping:

Vibration flowers and fragrance — known to bring out the peace within —  are represented here in many varieties of perennials, evergreen and deciduous plantings that also offer robust successional color throughout pool season.

 

 

 

Can Retaining Walls Be Beautiful — As Well As Functional?

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, has made a career out of avoiding unsightly retaining walls

 

Whether a landscape job is large or small, each one can be an opportunity to create scenes and vistas as they appear in nature. Indeed, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert has made a career out of avoiding unsightly retaining walls that do not in the least appear natural. Instead, he uses elements such as plants and boulders to hold back soil and to keep back the grade.

In addition, he finds that regular manmade retaining walls often require an engineer’s plan in order to get approval from local municipalities. However, when boulders and plants are used, such approval usually isn’t required — saving time and money.

Project #1: To hold back the soil between new upper and lower patios, natural stone steps, moss rocks and boulders, as well as soil made stronger with beautiful plantings, create a lovely vista while maintaining the grade.

 

Natural Stone Steps:

Natural Stone Steps:

Herbaceous perennials and low-growing procumben juniper peep in and around large boulders on both sides of natural stone steps.

 

 

Project #2: This site dropped off 20-feet, down a steep slope, overgrown with brush. We created a stream beginning at the top that can be seen from the house. Then we meandered it down the entire slope — supported by boulders, rocks and plants — ending  in a tranquil pond stocked with koi.

 

Ideally Situated Pond:

Ideally Situated Pond:

The finished pond is situated next to a new patio; the family can sit on lounge chairs, in between the pond and pool, and enjoy being completely surrounded by water.

 

Project #3:  When taking measurements, our outdoor living expert noticed a delightful and beautifully maintained shade garden, set in a wooded part of the property along a charming path. It was a favorite spot for the wife, a local doctor, who frequently sat there for relaxation.

He created a stream crossing over the path at several points — in fact, a whole series of streams, with waterfalls dropping down the hill, ending in a maintenance-free pondless reservoir.

The reservoir he recommended is a 1,000-gallon tank with pump that pushes the water back up the 40-foot hill to recirculate. Renter also suggested the new walk bridge that now crosses part of a stream close to the sitting area.

 

Pondless Waterfall:

Pondless Waterfall:

Waterfalls and stream flow down into “pondless reservoir” — a 1,000-gallon tank with pump that pushes water back up 40-foot hill to recirculate.

 

Project #4: Our outdoor living expert practices what he preaches. His own front yard looks like a fairytale scene straight from an enchanted forest, with waterfall and stream.

Underneath the sloping grade is a pond with waterfalls. “ It’s a spot I go to every morning before leaving home. It also happens to be situated close to the end of our circular driveway, so it’s also the first thing I see when returning home at night,” he says.

 

 

 

Backyard Stream and Waterfall:

Backyard Stream and Waterfall:

The stream begins at mailbox and works its way down the hill through several spills, with a final spill freshening the pond; bridge crosses over the stream for the perfect stroll through it all.

 

 

Project #5: Waterfall, bright plants, mingling with natural stone boulders, along with new freeform pool, not only suggest natural South Sea lagoon, but together they beautifully support the slope.

 

Beautiful Retaining Wall:

Beautiful Retaining Wall:

Bright huge bursts of colored plantings, moss rock and boulders from Pennsylvania, and pool’s edge hold back slop exquisitely.

 

 

Enjoying a Tropical Holiday Every Day

After returning from a holiday in Costa Rica, which is bordered on one side by the Pacific, and on the other by the Caribbean, these homeowners wanted to keep enjoying the tropical experience they so enjoyed there.

The first challenge facing Deck and Patio Company’s outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, was to meet the expectations of both the husband and wife: he wanted a place to take full advantage of the sun; she wanted a cool place to relax with friends.

The solution was (1) to position the pool in the sun, in order to gain the most sun exposure during the day and, (2) for congregating in comfort, create a shady pergola, over a granite swim-up/walk-up bar and patio.

The second challenge was developing a plan that would fit in the 12-foot elevation change from the rear of the home to the back of the property. To alleviate this, we built a raised patio, with a wide, wrap-around stair, leading to the pool, patio, and sunken swim up bar patio.

We did all this without using rails and fences, which would obstruct views of the natural stone waterfall and vibrant landscaping. By designing wide stairs, multi-level stone walls and generous planting beds, we were able to create a colorful buffer between the upper and lower levels.

Both husband and wife were delighted with the design, and the property’s most difficult challenge — its rising elevation — was turned into a benefit. The main thing, is they both feel like they’re back in Costa Rica, every single day.

This project won several GOLD MEDAL awards from the several design awards awards from the NSPI and NESPA.

 

Techo-Bloc’s “Elena” in Sandlewood:

Techo-Bloc’s “Elena” in Sandlewood:

Techo-Bloc’s Elena/Sandlewood, with its warm gray and tan earth tones, in random sizes, creates welcoming, spacious patios.

 

 

Patio Landscaping:

Patio Landscaping:

Matching steps, walls, coping and moss rock add elegant finishing touches to the Techo-Bloc patios.

 

 

 

Pool-Side Bar:

Pool-Side Bar:

This 32-foot, U-shaped swim-up granite-topped bar, in cultured stone and rock facing, curves around to be enjoyed from patio as well.

 

 

 

Vinyl Pool Swim-Up Bar:

Vinyl Pool Swim-Up Bar:

For the ultimate in outdoor socializing, guests can walk up to, or swim up to, this U-shaped bar and sit on patio or in-pool stools.