Monthly Archives: January 2015

//January

Planning A Landscape For All Seasons

An undulating backyard landscape, with shrubs and trees at different heights, and berms and pitches causing changes in the property grade, make a great canvas for Mother Nature to paint on in every season.

If budget and room permits, an in-ground free-form pool can suggest a natural South Sea lagoon — which will entice you outdoors from late Spring through Autumn. Planting a few trees chosen for their fall foliage can set your yard ablaze in color come Fall. And when winter arrives, the undulating landscape, dusted with snow, is a wonderland that brings the child out in everyone.

Such vistas on their own are, indeed, lovely. BUT! Now, add in a few very special touches, such as a stream or pond with waterfalls — landscaped with an array of long-blooming plants, including some hardy evergreens — and you have scenery that will truly uplift your spirit any time of year.

At Deck and Patio, we keep our waterfalls running all winter. You need not worry about your koi either.

Even without much of the above, something that guarantees outdoor winter enjoyment is the addition of a hot tub. Used all year, especially on cool nights, or when you want to warm up after a long swim in the pool, a spa’s bubbling warm waters is especially welcome in winter.

 

Winter Landscape (Long Island, NY):

Winter Landscape (Long Island, NY):

With evergreens offering punches of color against a blanket of white, and grades in the property adding interest, this front yard looks like a fairytale in winter.

 

 

Summer Landscape (Long Island/NY):

Summer Landscape (Long Island/NY):

This is how the same front yard, pictured above, looks in summer. The stream works its way down a hill through several spills, with a final spill freshening the pond; bridge crosses over the stream for the perfect stroll through it all.

 

 

Garden Gnomes (Long Island/NY): Garden gnomes manage to make you smile no matter the season or weather.

Garden Gnomes (Long Island/NY): Garden gnomes manage to make you smile no matter the season or weather.

 

 

Hot Tubs in Winter (Long Island/NY):

Hot Tubs in Winter (Long Island/NY):

A steamy hot tub, set in this same yard, is so inviting in winter. Plus, it offers an ideal spot to sit outdoors and enjoy your backyard winter wonderland.

 

 

Enjoying Hot Tub inWinter (Long Island/NY):

Enjoying Hot Tub inWinter (Long Island/NY):

Bill and Gina Renter particularly appreciate their hot tub in winter.

 

 

Backyard Winter Pond (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Winter Pond (Long Island/NY):

This is Deck and Patio’s display pond and waterfall at our Design Center. We run this all winter long.

 

 

Summer Outdoor Paradise (Long Island/NY):

Summer Outdoor Paradise (Long Island/NY):

With an in-ground free-form pool, attractive surround, lush plantings, and waterfalls, you’ll find it hard to ever go back indoors.

 

Award-winning Project Showcase: Freeform Vinyl Pool/Spa in Manhasset, NY

This Deck and Patio project included a free-form vinyl liner pool and spillover spa for clients in Manhasset, New York. We tucked it into the back right corner of their backyard and surrounded it with a stacked stone wall and lush plantings.

The pool patios are concrete paver slabs, which we installed the same way as traditional pavers — on a crushed stone base. We also used polymer sand joints to prevent weeds from growing in between the joints.

“I am often asked by new clients if they should have natural stone around their pool,” says our Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter. “However, as a trusted adviser to my clients, we usually recommend against it — mainly because of how hot it gets in the sun.”

Renter adds that on Long Island, however, bluestone is frequently used on many pool projects. “There are some situations where we, too, use bluestone (mainly in part shade areas), and we install it differently than most contractors.

This project won the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA) Merit Award in 2008.

 

Creating the Perfect Patio (Long Island/NY):

Creating the Perfect Patio (Long Island/NY):

If you have a small yard, Deck and Patio’s Bill Renter frequently recommends different patio levels which make the yard appear bigger, such as for this award-winning project showcase; also note how the hue of the concrete pavers was chosen to harmonize with that of the home itself.

 

 

Free-form Pools (Long Island/NY):

Free-form Pools (Long Island/NY):

Many love free-form pools because they meander along with the landscape to suggest a more natural look; here the patio was designed “freeform” as well. The design also called for a stacked stone wall which adds a dramatic outline to it all as well as offering extra seating when entertaining.

 

 

Vinyl Lined Pools and Spas (Long Island/NY):

Vinyl Lined Pools and Spas (Long Island/NY):

Often known for being the lowest-cost option, vinyl pools and spas are easily customizable; also, replacement cost for the outer liner is modest compared to other pool fixes and because of this can offer a wallet-friendly facelift for a totally new look down the road. Plus, in the Northeast, they perform better because of the freeze/thaw climate, explains Bill Renter.

 

 

Stacked Stone Walls (Long Island/NY):

Stacked Stone Walls (Long Island/NY):

This stacked stone wall is not just a pretty face; it holds back the lawn and lush plantings; natural stone steps lead up to second patio area to a private spa patio.

 

 

Backyard Lighting (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Lighting (Long Island/NY):

Low voltage landscape lighting and LED pool lighting make this pool awesome at night; the different patio areas present enchanting spots for conversation and rests between times in the pool and spa.

When It Comes to Long Island (NY) Landscaping: Stones and Boulders Really Rock

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert uses hard rocks: boulders, stone — and even man made wet-cast concrete — to create soft effects in backyard landscapes

 

Rocks are a natural part of nature, and when chosen well and positioned perfectly, they can make a man-made waterfall appear as if it’s flowing from a natural mountain stream.

Elsewhere in your landscape, a single, perfectly-sized, durable rock can make a diving board feel like you’re jumping from a small cliff into a Caribbean lagoon. Plus, a group of flat, well placed stepping stones can turn a functional lawn-protecting pathway into a peaceful stroll well worth taking.

An avid outdoor enthusiast, Deck and Patio’s own Bill Renter spends as much time as he can walking the hillsides of NY’s Catskills and studying the landscape. His expertise in how rocks affect streams and waterfalls is well known. Over the years, he has received a multitude of awards for choosing the perfect rocks, and artfully installing them to great effect and function.

 

Man-made Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

Man-made Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

Waterfalls cascading over natural rock creates perfect mood for meditation or romantic al fresco dining. Rocks used here include river rock, moss rock, spill rocks, and bluestone stepping stones.

 

 

Diving/Jump Rocks (Long Island/NY):

Diving/Jump Rocks (Long Island/NY):

Set against lush landscaping and a beautiful man-made waterfall, this diving rock and paving stone patio feel like they’ve come about organically.

 

 

Backyard Hardscapes (Long island/NY):

Backyard Hardscapes (Long island/NY):

Here rocks have been used to create two stepping stone paths; a natural looking and sturdy set of stairs; a custom raised spa set above the pool, from where a heated waterfall flows; and a retaining wall of natural stones.

 

 

Stepping Stone Paths (Long Island/NY):

Stepping Stone Paths (Long Island/NY):

Stepping stones can be round, square, or irregularly shaped; place them squarely along your intended path.

 

 

Upgrading Existing Backyard Retreat

Upgrading Existing Backyard Retreat

Where once stood an outdated moss rock waterfall, now stands a sophisticated and elegant fountain style water feature with three spilling sheets of water.

New Year’s Resolution: Stop Neglecting Love of the Outdoors

Most of us hate to be cooped up indoors. However, if it isn’t Mother Nature conspiring to keep us inside (too hot to leave the air conditioning, too cold to brace the frigid temperatures), some struggle with a sense that their property won’t lend itself to being transformed into a natural oasis. Still others wonder if the costs will be prohibitive.

Despite concerns, the new year is a great time to stiffen our resolve and stop neglecting our love of the outdoors. Perhaps all you really need is a modest deck or patio from where to watch the seasons change. Or, if your dreams are larger, maybe you’re hankering for a pond that would draw wildlife to its circulating waters. Or is a pool and/or spa more what you’re hoping for.

Here are some of our favorite projects to help inspire you. What we hope is that the outdoor enthusiast in you finds a backyard place that’s shaded from the intense rays of summer, lighted at night for evening enjoyment, refreshed by spray from either a pool, waterfall, portable hot tub, or fountain, and lushly colorful in every season.

Happy new year from Deck and Patio, and our Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter.

 

Elegant Patios (Long Island/NY):

Elegant Patios (Long Island/NY):

Sometimes all you need to enjoy the outdoors is a simple patio. Later, perhaps, you can add a fire pit and/or a seating wall. In another phase, maybe you’ll include a pergola or an outdoor kitchen. Another nice touch is a stepping stone path. The main point is having an inviting space that enticing, day and night.

 

 

Seasonally Blooming Plants (Long Island/NY):

Seasonally Blooming Plants (Long Island/NY):

With so much rock and pavers built into the design, it was imperative to soften the impact by scalloping plants into the hillside (colorful perennial, deciduous and evergreen plant material) for a year-round enjoyment. Once the pool is closed for the season, it’s nice to still see an impact during the winter months.

 

 

Backyard Woodland Paths (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Woodland Paths (Long Island/NY):

For this backyard retreat, we created a walk-through private woodland path for quiet moments of contemplation when strolling from one area to another.

 

 

Beautiful Small Backyard (Long Island/NY):

Beautiful Small Backyard (Long Island/NY):

This spa / pool is the perfect solution for a backyard that is too small for a pool. This client wanted a pool or a water feature, and a patio as a fun place to entertain. Our idea was to create this spool, which can stay cool during hot summer days and can be heated up on a cool evening. Add a waterfall and a gas fire pit and this place is party central!

 

 

Pond and Spa (Long Island/NY):

Pond and Spa (Long Island/NY):

These clients wanted the sound of water when sitting outside, to see a pond with small waterfall and to be able to watch pond fish. We proposed a pond and waterfall with a built in Bullfrog Spa next to it, so they could have a ground level view of the pond. Now the fish swim right up to the spa as they feed the fish from the soothing spa waters.

 

 

Beautifully Landscaped Small Backyard (Long Island/NY):

Beautifully Landscaped Small Backyard (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, saw the the main drawback to this property was how flat the grade was. Through 3-D renditions, he showed the homeowners how different patio levels would make the yard appear bigger. Expert lighting transforms their backyard into a completely different, yet still beautiful, atmosphere at night.