Monthly Archives: March 2015

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Is That Water Under Your Backyard Bridge? Sometimes!

One of the special delights of Deck and Patio’s design/build work is when we get to put the icing on the cake of something we’ve created. That is, when it’s time to landscape the project.

Such landscaping can sometimes mean adding a bridge or a bench. While these can be for decorative purposes, mostly they offer ways to enjoy an idyllic backyard scene in a fuller, languid way. Occasionally, before we begin, we discover that the homeowners already have one. In that case, it’s our job to accommodate its vantage point well in our plans.

In the Part I of this two-part blog series, we are focusing on a few of the bridges we feel are good examples of what a very special touch these provided to a few of favorite projects:

In our first photo (below), colorful plantings, moss rocks and deep green ground cover line the steps leading to the charming wooden bridge. Our main projects were creating two very special ponds: one a vanishing edge upper pond and a second lower pond, both with waterfalls. From the bridge, they can look over it all, meditate, or just enjoy the air.

 

Backyard Garden Bridge (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Garden Bridge (Long Island/NY):

As a spot to enjoy their backyard oasis, this backyard garden bridge, set amidst lush plants, moss rocks and imported boulders, became a favorite spot for the homeowners.

 

Bridge Over Koi Pond (Long island/NY):

Bridge Over Koi Pond (Long island/NY):

Here we installed a manmade pond with waterfall, stream, aquatic plants, colorful koi, around a deck observation area and handsome old-fashioned bridge.

 

Nature Walk With Bridge (Long Island/NY):

Nature Walk With Bridge (Long Island/NY):

These clients had a glorious wooded yard with some natural private walks. We added stone steps, streams, and waterfalls in an around an existing bridge just below a comfortable park-style bench. Robust green ground cover and plants appear as if they were always part of the natural woodland.

 

Stepping Stone Bridge (Long Island/NY):

Stepping Stone Bridge (Long Island/NY):

What a way to stretch your legs! In true Japanese Garden style, we carefully selected large natural stones that offered an ideal walking surface and appropriate size. Isn’t this a really graceful way to cross over the pond we designed and built?

 

 

Ironwood "Ipe" Bridge (Long Island/NY):

Ironwood “Ipe” Bridge (Long Island/NY):

When creating this backyard sanctuary, complete with koi pond, we built an Iron Woods Ipe deck; the bridge that crosses the pond is also made of Ipe — one of the strongest woods in the world; it is painted white to complement the clients’ existing backyard conservatory. The whole project earned Deck and Patio both a NESPA and APSP Gold award.

For Backyard Water Features: Some Like it “Pondless”

Deck and Patio Wins Silver LIPSA award

 

Clients of ours, who were saving for a pool, wanted some sort of water feature to enjoy immediately. They had a lovely wooded backyard, so it also had to be natural looking.

After deciding on a stream with an upper and lower waterfall, they opted for a “pondless” reservoir system to collect the water. Their property abuts parkland and they were concerned that the usual above-ground type of fish pond would attract too many wild animals.

The “green” pondless reservoir system we installed at the end of the stream captures the water and recirculates it, making it a green system. Plus we designed it to seemingly disappear into the gravel instead of looking as if it’s being collected.

Deck and Patio’s Bill Renter chose a location for the waterfall feature where it could be seen from inside the house as well as from the patio.

“We took advantage of the property’s slope. By allowing gravity to carry the stream water down to the waterfall, we were able to set the whole feature right into the existing hill with little reshaping of the land.”

Landscaping was also very important to these Huntington homeowners. Deck and Patio designed the project to be exuberant in both color and variety. These plantings are all set around imported moss rocks and other natural stones.

For our efforts, Long Island Pool and Spa Association (LIPSA) lauded us with a Silver Medal!

 

Pondless Waterfalls:

Pondless Waterfalls:

The Aquascape Inc. pondless system recirculates the water from the stream and waterfall via an underground reservoir. It’s ideal for those who want to enjoy the beauty of a waterfall without the pond. We wanted it to appear as if the water is disappearing into the gravel.

 

Lush Plantings:

Lush Plantings:

We used dense and durable evergreens such as Procumbent Juniper that are very low maintenance and spread nicely. For color we used such delights as Begonias, Coleus, and flowering plants like Astilbe.

 

Using Moss Rock:

Using Moss Rock:

Graceful plants such as Pennisetum drape over and round the moss rock and natural stones that Deck and Patio installed; the rocks were positioned to help move the water in different directions, just like it would appear in nature.

 

Techo-Bloc Patio:

Techo-Bloc Patio:

The existing patio was previously installed by Deck and Patio. It was made from Techo-Bloc’s Elena in “Earth Brown” which offers five differently-sized stones to create a beautiful random pattern.

 

Water Feature Landscaping:

Water Feature Landscaping:

Plantings also included various deciduous shrubs and several Norway Spruce. Behind the upper waterfall is a colorful Japanese Maple. Other plants include Japanese Blood Grass, Sedum Autumn Joy, Hosta Sum and Substance, and one of the water plants is Yellow Flag Iris.

Right As Rain: Rainwater Harvesting Group Wins Award

Update (8-11-15): At their annual Pondemonium teaching event, a few days ago Aquascape Inc. awarded Bill Renter and The Deck and Patio Company “Conservationist of the Year” for this project!! We added a photo of Bill getting the “Top Frog” award immediately below. Note: This new award is above and beyond its earlier 2013 award.

 

Bill Renter Receives Aquascape Inc. Award

Bill Renter Receives Aquascape Inc. Award

 

 

The sustainable division of The Deck and Patio Company — Rainwater Harvesting Group — recently won a prestigious award for a rainwater harvesting project at the LIRR station, in Huntington Station (NY).

“Rainwater harvesting is just what it sounds like,” says Deck and Patio owner, Bill Renter. “It’s a green method of capturing rainwater, which can be used at your residence or business for tasks that don’t require treated water: washing vehicles, lawn watering, washing a deck, or maintaining a garden or water feature. In this case, the project was for a public water feature at our local train station.”

It came about one day when Bill was engaged in a casual conversation with a few women who live nearby. They were planting flowers near the station to brighten it up. As the local landscaper for the area, he offered to help them by adding plants, flowers, shrubs and moss rocks.

“However, I learned at that time there was no immediate access to clean water. The women had been lugging five-gallon buckets of water from their condos to maintain the plants they put in. I thought there must be a way to help with that, too.

“First, we added some moisture retention product to the soil so less water was needed. Then I noticed there was no walkway beyond the small brick and cement sidewalk. There was only a dirt path. It was not handicap accessible and it seemed like the spot needed more than just plants and shrubs.”

After consulting with our Rainwater Harvesting Group, and gaining the support of the Town of Huntington, we installed a lovely water feature as well as a paver pathway for direct access from the curb to the parking lot.

We laid Techo-Bloc permeable pavers over gravel and a rubber liner. The gravel and liner filter the water runoff before it is sent to the reservoir we installed at the end of the stream in the water feature. The system we used is a RainXchange Harvesting System, produced by Aquascapes Inc.

“There is enough captured water to not only sustain the water feature, but to also irrigate all the plantings,” adds Bill. “Plus, this eco-friendly system keeps any non-filtered rainwater from going into the Town’s sewer system and on into Huntington Bay.”

This project has ignited interest in creating an entire rainwater harvesting park as part of the Town’s on-going revitalization of Huntington Station. Just recently, our company received a 2014 Bronze Award from Long Island Pool & Spa Association (LIPSA) for the feature.

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting at Huntington Station NY

Rainwater Harvesting at Huntington Station NY

Where once was only a dirt path from the sidewalk to the train parking lot, permeable pavers allow easy walking (arrow area pavers) while capturing and filtering rainwater for reuse. The pavers used are Techo-Bloc Victorien Permeable Pavers.

 

 

Water Feature (Huntington Station/NY)

Water Feature (Huntington Station/NY)

The water feature is not just for aesthetics, but it is highly functional. Its waterfall aerates the water — or oxygenates it. The water plants that our Rainwater Harvesting Group planted absorb nutrients and pollutants  to help purify the water. All together, the gravel, liner, and plants create a self-sustaining rainwater harvesting garden. The area is now a magnet for local birds who come here to bathe and drink.

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting System

Rainwater Harvesting System

The RainXchange Harvesting Systems (produced by Aquascapes Inc.) includes an auxiliary pump connected to the irrigation system. This ensures that the water used isn’t city water, but harvested entirely from rainwater. The below ground Aquascape Aqua Blox Reservoir holds 500 gallons of rainwater.

 

 

Collecting and Recycling Rainwater

Collecting and Recycling Rainwater

This project has ignited interest in creating an entire rainwater harvesting park as part of the Town’s revitalization of the area. In such a park, the rainwater would be harvested from different areas and sustain park streams, ponds, as well as irrigate the turf and plantings.

 

 

 

Landscaping Should Express Who You Are

Have you ever noticed that just by looking at a property’s landscaping, you can get an idea of who lives there? Are they free spirits? Conversely, do they prefer things carefully controlled and manicured?

You can even learn how much the inhabitants enjoy entertaining, at least outdoors, as opposed to being more private. You can also guess how important color and nature are to them. Or maybe they’re more the hardscape types — those who like something firm and unchanging beneath their feet and that needs little tending.

So, to create the perfect landscaping plan, it is the job of expert professionals to understand each client. If their clients are worried about upkeep, which plants will survive with little effort and how to plant them so they’re easy to maintain?

Naturally, to complete the right picture, how a plan combines hardscapes with the trees, plantings and grasses is  very important. Not only is it crucial to know how homeowners will use the space, but the size of the property — and, of course, budget — will greatly affect decisions.

In the end, the ideal project will express who lives there — and express them beautifully.

 

Hardscapes and Softscapes (Long Island/NY)

Hardscapes and Softscapes (Long Island/NY)

 

The hardscape on a property doesn’t have to be limited to a patio, deck, or pool surround.

Sometimes it’s using carefully selected boulders and stones with bright plantings that creates the perfect vista.

In this case, imported boulders and rocks were combined with a peaceful water feature to make the perfect outdoor escape for nature lovers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Container Gardens (Long Island/NY):

Container Gardens (Long Island/NY):

Whatever your mood or lifestyle, planting flowers in containers is an ideal solution for those who want a low maintenance landscape plan. Plus, depending on the size/weight, containers can be moved to wherever the action is happening on any given day. Also note how Deck and Patio created privacy through the use of tall trees and shrubs at the periphery.

 

 

Multi-Level Patios (Long Island/NY):

Multi-Level Patios (Long Island/NY):

Multi-level patios not only make smaller yards look larger, they help delineate how the space is intended to be used. In one area, this patio is ideal for relaxing and taking in the peaceful water feature. Another spot to the side of the feature, and in front of a thicket of tall trees, creates a private patio. Spots for sunning and being near the pool has also been mapped out.

 

 

Outdoor Pavilions and Gazebos (Long Island/NY

Outdoor Pavilions and Gazebos (Long Island/NY

Some clients’ taste for outdoor space includes architectural statements such as this lovely gazebo and harmonizing deck. Bright plantings surround the area and a charming stepping stone path adds additional appeal. Notice how there’s little doubt that these inhabitants like to entertain.

 

 

Softening the Hardscapes (Long Island/NY):

Softening the Hardscapes (Long Island/NY):

Where extensive hardscaping is desired, it is still important to soften the space. Here hardy plants and shrubs, along with a mature Japanese maple, add a soft allure to the expansive walkway, walls and steps.

By | 2017-01-21T16:34:39+00:00 March 5th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments