Monthly Archives: April 2014

//April

Upgrading Backyard Can Create Entirely Different Property

Upgrades are as important to Deck and Patio’s landscaping business as new projects. Often, these jobs require an artful blending of the old with the new. Our outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, recently enjoyed one special upgrade opportunity where the existing pool equipment, for example, was 20 years old.

Getting to the plumbing would have been a challenge, but the homeowners were also seeking improvement to what they felt was a very “confining upper patio area.” That was the area where they enjoyed sitting in the shade and taking in the property’s stunning water views. Since any upgrade plan to extend the patio would call for tearing out all the existing patio areas, this presented the perfect opportunity to gain access to the pool’s dated equipment.

Bill Renter carefully worked out a detailed plan of what to keep, and what to improve or restore: (1) upgrade the existing pool and spa; (2) expand the property’s confining upper and lower patios, which would open up the space, and better show off the property’s spectacular views of Long Island Sound; (3) add new colorful plants and flowers to enhance the opened up water views.

The result? A remodeled backyard that looks like an entirely new property — with upgrades and equipment that will last for many years to come.

 

Patio Upgrades:

Patio Upgrades:

The upper patio — where the clients liked to sit in the shade and enjoy the view — was extended to allow room for lots of comfortable outdoor furniture. In addition, an equally confining lower patio was enlarged for sunning; an outdoor kitchen (at the side of the house) was added for easy entertaining.

 

 

 

Spa Upgrades:

Spa Upgrades:

The spa circulates pool water, constantly fills up with pool water, then water falls via the spillover channel back into their pool. When expanding the patio near the master bedroom, Deck and Patio took the opportunity to upgrade the spa by adding boulders, and turning the spillover into a larger waterfall to create a more beautiful pool scene.

 

 

 

Upgraded Pool:

Upgraded Pool:

Deck and Patio refinished the inside of the pool, changing it from white to dark gray. This new color reacts with the water to give the more desirable “natural lagoon” effect. Swim-out steps were added; new stepping stone path beside the pool provides a swath of natural charm within the expansive patio areas.

 

 

Landscaping Upgrades:

Landscaping Upgrades:

New plantings were included to screen out unwanted views; the addition of colorful plants and flowers enhance the breathtaking water views. The result of the overall transformation is the homeowners enjoy stunning vistas, and a feeling of space from all areas of their yard.

 

 

 

 

When an Outdoor Oasis Includes More Than a Pool

 

These clients had five children under age of six, and they were seeking a vision that would suit their large young family. They knew they wanted a pool, but because of the topography, the pool would have to located far away from the house. Therefore, any pool would become a “destination” pool, with an outdoor kitchen, bathroom, living room area, changing room, etc. nearby.

However, as Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, looked up the hill from the designated pool area, he felt: yes, it was nice, but it was also a great opportunity to create something spectacular. The clients loved his complete vision that included the pool area, plus a meandering stream that would cascade down the slope into a new koi pond.

However, there was one major concern. How could they enjoy the waterfall and stream from the house and upper patio area? It seemed they would have to be down at pool area to enjoy it.

We ended up creating an additional waterfall at the top of the slope that faced the house-kitchen area. That way, they could see a waterfall, and the beginning of the stream; from slightly beyond that vantage point, the stream takes an abrupt U-turn, and flows down through five separate cascades, before ending in the lower area pond.

 

 

Destination Pools:

Destination Pools:

Because of the topography, the pool had to be located far from the house, down a steep grade. Our vision included adding beautiful creeping ground cover and boulders, so that even the property’s challenging raised grades were turned into benefits. Also, by installing enough retaining boulders and plant materials, we coaxed Mother Nature’s own gravity into pumping water naturally into a pond.

 

 

 

Attracting Wildlife In Backyards:

Attracting Wildlife In Backyards:

Not just humans appreciate a pond water feature. Birds and butterflies will be attracted as well. Birds love gently moving water. Just provide a place for them to land, such as rock platforms, or design a shallow end as part of the feature. And by keeping the water circulating, this will also help prevent mosquito larvae from hatching.

 

 

 

Backyard Water Features:

Backyard Water Features:

Our vision was to take advantage of the steep property grade to create a beautiful slope with five cascading waterfalls, moss rock boulders, evergreens, perennials and annuals, plus a series of stairs and landings to bring them down to a new lower pool area.

 

 

 

Backyard Ponds:

Backyard Ponds:

A properly-designed pond will not attract mosquitoes, as mosquitoes prefer stagnant water to produce their offspring. Most backyard-ponds have constantly moving water because of the stream feeding it. Additionally, any mosquito larvae that manage to hatch will either be sucked into the pond skimmer, or eaten by the fish.

 

 

 

Picture-Perfect Waterfalls:

Picture-Perfect Waterfalls:

We ended up creating an additional waterfall at the top of the slope that faced the house-kitchen area. That way, they could see a waterfall, and the beginning of the stream; from slightly beyond that vantage point, the stream takes an abrupt U-turn, and flows down through five separate cascades, before ending in the lower area pond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recirculating Decorative Water Feature: Just Like In Nature

We love it when we can make a project look natural — and ‘be’ natural, in the way it cares for the earth. This is one such project.

Collecting the water at the lower level of this lovely water feature (stream and waterfalls) is a pondless reservoir. The Aquascape RainXchange reservoir was designed by Deck and Patio to seemingly disappear into the gravel instead of being collected.

“Totally below ground, this rainwater harvesting reservoir acts as a ‘green’ maintenance-free source for the water feature that can run from March through December, 24-7,” says our Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter. “City water is not used. The water is harvested totally from rainfall on the roof of the house. Gravity alone collects it into pipes.”

Our team also believes that any water feature’s rock formations should look like they do in a natural setting. That can be achieved by grouping boulders together and doing plantings around them. The key is grouping boulders so they look like a big piece of stone. This can be done by grouping smaller pieces of stone together tightly. Avoid making such groupings look like a retaining wall – that is, similar sized boulders all in a row.

 

Backyard Wildlife Habitat:

Backyard Wildlife Habitat:

Because the water stored in the Aquascape RainXchange™ System is constantly moving and being aerated, it naturally becomes a sanctuary for wildlife.

 

 

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater Harvesting

This ‘green’ RainExchange process combines a decorative water feature with a completely sub-surface collection system — thereby creating a beautiful backyard oasis that is very eco-friendly.

 

 

 

Water Feature Landscaping:

Water Feature Landscaping:

Bright plantings with green ground cover and water plants, along with river stone gravel, contribute to the natural look and serenity of this peaceful setting.

 

 

 

Small Patio/Sitting Area:

Small Patio/Sitting Area:

Techo-Bloc pavers were used to make this idyllic small patio sitting area next to the water feature. Engineered in Canada, these pavers can well handle the freeze/thaw that occurs in our corner of the Northeast.

 

 

 

 Eliminating Backyard Noise Problems:


Eliminating Backyard Noise Problems:

Pondless waterfalls cascading over imported moss rock boulders helps eliminates noise. Waterfall’s pristine clear water is collected at end of feature in a pondless reservoir.