Monthly Archives: June 2014

//June

Are You Thinking About Travertine for Your New Patio?

Understanding what Travertine is, its strengths and weaknesses, and how it reacts in different areas, is something Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, has discussed with stone experts from around the world. He has also studied existing Travertine projects over a period of years to see what actually holds up — and what doesn’t — in our climate.

Travertine natural stone has been in existence for thousand of years. It comes in many different colors, ranging from reddish orange, beige, to white, and is sometimes mistaken for marble. Italian Travertine, revered for its hardness and porosity, is what the Coliseum in Rome was constructed of, so the durability of Italian Travertine is not in question, although it can be expensive.

However, Travertine is quarried from around the globe and is widely used beyond Italy —  mostly in tropical locations for patios, walks, terraces, etc. Although it is typically used indoors in colder climates, there has been an increase in its usage outdoors, in and around pools and homes. But can all Travertine stone be used this way?

The answer is no, or at least it shouldn’t for best results. The three most common locations where Travertine comes from are: Italy, Turkey, and Mexico. Mexico’s Travertine is a much softer and much more porous and does not hold up well in our frost zone. Turkish Travertine, is very common and, in most instances, is less expensive than the Italian. It does hold up quite well in our Northeast’s freeze/thaw climate.

Be aware, however, that some companies offer very inexpensive Travertine for use outdoors and may seem to be a great deal. However, they may be using stone quarried in, say, China, where the qualities of such stone differ considerably and will not stand up to certain climates. Just because a stone is called “Travertine,” don’t assume it’s all the same. It’s not.

 

 

Travertine Patio:

Travertine Patio:

For this glorious expansive Travertine patio, Deck and Patio installed Travertine from Turkey — for its beauty, density and porosity — which we could guarantee would withstand our area’s severe climate changes and maintain its elegance.

 

 

 

Travertine’s Appeal:

Travertine’s Appeal:

The look of Travertine is exquisite. It has a smooth surface with small pores and dimples that give it an “old world finish.” This particular project used well over 2,500 square feet of Travertine, and over 180 linear feet of fullnose coping for the pool and spa.

 

 

Pool Surrounds:

Pool Surrounds:

In our area of the Northeast (Long Island, NY), the summer sun gets intense. However, Travertine does not absorb the heat like brick or bluestone, and is similar to light-colored concrete pavers where heat is not retained in the paver. This makes it ideal as a pool surround, where being barefoot is unavoidable.

 

 

 

Outdoor Kitchens:

Outdoor Kitchens:

Deck and Patio used a natural stone for the veneer of the bar/barbeque and constructed a seat wall made of the same veneer, with the same edge-restraint as the capstone for the seat wall. This created a unique contrast between the patio, bar area and the extensive back veneer used for the house.

 

 

 

Using Travertine Outdoors:

Using Travertine Outdoors:

The Travertine stone we used for this project enhanced the geometric shape of the pool and it was decided to elevate the diving area for added interest. This raised area offers a quiet escape for relaxing; bright plantings add to the pleasure of it all.

 

 

 

Under the Umbrella Sun:

Under the Umbrella Sun:

Travertine doesn’t absorb heat like other materials and offers an elegant contrast to robust lawns and plantings.

 

 

 

Are You Afraid to Keep Koi in Your Pond?

When a pond water feature is well designed and built, koi will naturally help balance the entire pond ecosystem. However, many pond owners fear that the fish will be harmed or will not survive.

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, offers encouragement: “While it’s true that koi can be tempting to cats, raccoons, and herons, etc., there are precautions one can take that will mitigate these threats.”

For example, adding koi castles and tunnels at the bottom of the pond will give fish a safe place to hide from many predators. Also, including rock overhangs around the outside of the pond, which first and foremost will make any pond appear more natural, also discourages cats and raccoons from reaching into the water after the fish.

In addition, planning a water feature with sufficient water depth can dissuade raccoons and cats further, since neither enjoy swimming to get their dinner. Plus deeper water at the edges (more than 18” deep) discourages heron wading. Another helpful idea is adding a waterfall feature. The continuous movement of its water, or even water from nearby sprinklers, we have found will put off many avian predators.

Other precautions koi pond owners can take is including scarecrows, such as owl statues. In the end, if all else fails, a netting can always be installed over the pond.

Here’s some of The Deck and Patio’s favorite award-winning pond features. And, yes, even if not picked up in the pictures, there’s koi in each and every one.

 

 

Pond Ecosystems:

Pond Ecosystems:

Koi is a healthy part of this pond’s natural ecosystem; they have lots of room to hide as well as swim. There are also plenty of rock overhangs to discourage predators.

 

 

 

Reflecting Pond:

Reflecting Pond:

The homeowner wanted to accentuate the beautiful 1880 stone bridge structure with a reflecting pond. To allow the entire stone gazebo to reflect in the water, the pond had to be more than 250 feet long and 45 feet wide. This created the perfect habitat for koi. Lots of flowing water, rock overhangs, and lots of space to hide.

 

 

 

Natural Ponds:

Natural Ponds:

When creating a new pond, we consider each rock’s form, texture, shape and height. In addition, incorporating such finishing touches as plant material and gravel helps it appear as if it was created naturally.

 

 

 

Where to Position Ponds:

Where to Position Ponds:

We always look over the property for any new pond — both from inside and outdoors — in order to place the pond in the perfect location. Since in the northeast, we spend more time indoors that in our yards, it is essential to see, and perhaps hear, any water feature from key indoor locations.

 

 

 

Pond Water Movement:

Pond Water Movement:

Having the force of moving water into your pond is not only an aesthetic choice, but will deter many natural koi predators. Also —even if it comes from nearby sprinklers — pond water movement helps keep the pond ecosystem healthy by eliminating stagnation.

 

 

 

 

 

Creating Backyard Retreats: Size Doesn’t Matter

Feeling like you can’t have a backyard oasis because you don’t have enough room? Here’s some good news. The Deck and Patio Company works a good deal in parts of Long Island, NY, where backyards are often small. And one thing our Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, enjoys most is surprising homeowners with what can be accomplished.

Some yards are seemingly so cramped that families rarely use them. In hot weather, some live indoors. Discovering much more was possible than they originally thought, the wife for this project worked closely with Bill Renter and the pool builder to design their new pool’s shape, which wraps around close to the house, almost into its corner. The design required variances, but it allowed Deck and Patio to fit in an expansive two-level patio, a raised spa, two waterfalls, a stepping stone path, and beautiful lush plantings — in other words: a true oasis.

When working with tighter spaces, our team ensures the chaise lounge, dining and outdoor kitchen patio areas are all large enough for furniture, and have room enough to walk around, sufficient even when entertaining. We also try not to over-build or paver the whole space. It is also important to leave room for plantings and lawn, add landscape-lighting, and make sure the overall project looks interesting, by designing curvy or geometric patterns.

There’s no need to feel because you don’t have a large yard, you can’t have your own bit of paradise. It just takes a little creativity.

 

Patio Design:

Patio Design:

Instead of one-sized brick being placed throughout an entire patio or retaining wall, we recommend attractive designs: this project’s random pattern is in lieu of straight lines, flat images, or a running block pattern. Also, manufacturers often offer a wide list of product materials, so matching stones are readily available for complementary retaining walls, steps, risers, pool coping, etc.

 

 

 

Limited Backyard Space:

Limited Backyard Space:

Manipulating the grades by adding different levels (upper and lower patios, raised spa. etc.) is one of the things we do to create a larger sense of space. Such gradations are not only attractive and spatially functional, but, when done correctly, they can make smaller yards appear considerably more expansive.

 

 

 

Family Spa:

Family Spa:

True Blue Swimming Pools worked with Deck and Patio to build this vinyl pool and spa for our clients. The clients’ children use the spa all the time; after enjoying the pool, if they get a chill, they go to the spa with their friends. In fact we’re told everyone retreats to the spa after swimming. Go into there w/friends. On chilly days, even though the pool is heated, they say in the spa on.

 

 

 

Pool Lighting:

Pool Lighting:

In the ‘gloaming,’ as a poet described ‘twilight,’ is a beautiful time of day to enjoy a new pool. Outdoor lighting glows warmly — like the sun’s final rays as it drops below the horizon. Artful lighting generates the first tranquil water reflections of the evening and continues to sketch nightfall with romantic hues.

 

 

 

Waterfalls:

Waterfalls:

Every stone and moss rock boulder was chosen carefully to create the most natural looking waterfall possible. The water spills are coaxed over them causing flows of water just like in nature.

 

 

When Should Your Landscaper and Architect Begin Working Together?

The simple answer to ‘when should your landscaper and architect begin working together’ is: from the start.

This Deck and Patio backyard oasis is a good example of that wisdom. Having garnered two prestigious awards for our firm, we believe such accolades are partially due to our early collaboration with the architect and builder in the planning stages. Working hand-in-hand with them, and with the owners, both the home’s architecture and the outdoor landscape became one seamless integration.

Our outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, supervised and helped plan and execute the project which included the landscape’s seven-foot-high cascading waterfall, meandering stream with three-foot-high “sheetfalling” waterfall, and two-foot-high spillway from the spa into the pool. Initial plans by the project’s architect for the house’s turret inspired our team to create curves in the backyard’s multi-level terracing design, as well as in the backyard’s centerpiece: a glorious freeform pool and spa.

In fact, the architect changed his own plans for the home’s turret so that views from inside the turret of our planned pool area oasis could be fully appreciated. In reference to this, the architect said, “Deck and Patio’s landscaping plan was so beautiful that the windows had to be larger to fully appreciate the view. Now, when you stand inside the bay of the turret, it is just like standing in the backyard.”

 

 

Design/Build Collaboration:

Design/Build Collaboration:

Our collaboration with the architect and builder resulted in a seamless integration of landscape and nature with the architecture of the new house.

 

 

 

Design/Build Creativity:

Design/Build Creativity:

Our design and planning team also took into account what the view would be from inside the house as well as outside. For example, the eight-foot-high pondless waterfall can also be seen from inside. It is not just a beautiful focal point; it hides the pool equipment that local regulations require be put in the middle of the backyard.

 

 

Harmony in Landscaping and Architecture:

Harmony in Landscaping and Architecture:

The project’s patios and driveway, made of stunning natural earth-tone concrete tumbled pavers, were created by Bill Renter to appear as extensions of the geometric patterns and hues of the home’s Glen Gary brick.

 

 

 

Backyard Waterfalls:

Backyard Waterfalls:

The waterfall is powered by a 10,000 GPH pump and is center-lined on the main axis of the house. It creates an enjoyable audio-visual impact which runs virtually year-round and can be enjoyed both day and night.

 

 

 

Design/Build Town Permits:

Design/Build Town Permits:

Being able to use our 3-D animation program before the Town’s architectural review board was an enormous help in explaining our detailed plans.The Town board was in awe of what we showed them. This aided in getting the permit granted, and is one of the reasons all our permits were approved in a fairly timely fashion.