Monthly Archives: April 2015

//April

Rain On! Making Every Day “Earth Day”

Next Wednesday (April 22) is Earth Day, a day when people around the world focus on the well-being of Planet Earth.

At Deck and Patio, however, we strive to make every day Earth Day. When working to beautify a landscape, we consider the project’s impact not only on the property, but how it will affect  surrounding habitats.

It is not surprising, then, that water being such a dominant part of the Earth’s health, offering sustainable water features to our clients has become a key element of our business. When these are installed, consumption of the local municipal water supply is significantly reduced.

In fact, Long Island and her environs’ growing passion for such projects has evolved an entire separate division at our company: The Rainwater Harvesting Group, where RainXchange systems by Aquascape Inc. are the mainstay of our water preservation projects. And they have included residential, public, commercial, and industrial properties.

Here is a small sampling.

 

Backyard Habitat for Wildlife:

Backyard Habitat for Wildlife:

There are lots of bonuses in having a backyard sustainable water feature. Because the water held in the Aquascape RainXchange system is always moving and being aerated, it can’t help but become a sanctuary for wildlife.

 

How Wildlife Aid Ecosystems:

How Wildlife Aid Ecosystems:

“When you attract wildlife such as this North American Bullfrog into your yard and other amphibians who like to hatch eggs in or near water, you contribute to a healthy eco-system,” says Bill Renter, Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert. “Frogs, for example, eat algae in the water, thereby helping to keep it clean. Adult toads also aid your garden because they help control insects — as do the birds that the water feature will naturally attract.” (Photo: Wikipedia/Tigershrike)

 

RainXchange Systems:

RainXchange Systems:

For this same decorative water feature, the water seems to disappear into the gravel, but instead is collected in a completely sub-surface system. There it is recirculated to maintain the feature. Bright plantings that include green ground cover and water plants, as well as river gravel, add to the natural look and serenity of it all.

 

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

In cooperation with the Town of Huntington (Long Island), we added a serene water feature and a paver pathway at the area train station parking lot. Permeable pavers by Techo-Bloc were put over gravel and a rubber liner which filter the rainwater runoff before it reaches the reservoir we installed at the end of the stream.

 

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

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

 

Rainwater Collection from Brooklyn Roof:

Rainwater Collection from Brooklyn Roof:

Here you see us when we were hard at work in Brooklyn. Now that it’s finished, when water falls off the clients’ 4-story roof, it collects in a 500-gallon underground rainwater harvesting reservoir (RainXchange). “When the reservoir is full, water flows into an overflow regeneration zone where it can perk slowly back into the ground,” says Renter.

 

Private Water Systems:

Private Water Systems:

In the past, excess rainfall from this Brooklyn 4-story roof ran off — unfiltered — into the NY City sewer system. Now, because the overflow is collected, stored, and controlled, rainwater maintains their backyard plant and vegetable gardens, completely separate from the city’s water systems.

Worthy of a Fairytale : Award Winning Project Showcase

Children are natural enthusiasts of local landscapes, who delight in a brook or stream they can wade in, collect pollywogs from, or skip stones along. Even when a stream isn’t nearby or accessible to them, children tend to let their imaginations take them to enchanting outdoor places — through books, movies, etc.

In the case of this project showcase, we can not say what inspired the clients’ desire for this backyard stream and pond. We suspect, however, that a generous degree of childlike enthusiasm underpinned their plans and hopes.

The “Fairytale” Project

The clients’ property had an unused slope near their patio. This allowed the 35-foot-stream we added to move along with the help of Mother Nature’s own gravity. Natural moss rock boulders and plantings, as well as river stones, were positioned along its banks.

The stream ends where it tumbles over moss rock waterfalls into a 10-foot-by-15-foot fish pond. Here, the adjacent landscape is graced with tall grasses (e.g., Miscanthus) and evergreens such as Juniper Parsoni, which provide a lush backdrop to it all.

“The whole area attracts so much wildlife — like frogs and birds,” says the homeowner. “That is really is one of my favorite things about having a pond.”

The homeowners say they also enjoy the sounds of the falls and the serenity they feel watching the fish swimming. “It’s something we look forward to at the end of a long day.”

This project earned The Deck and Patio Company a Silver Award from the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA).

 

Backyard Stream and Pond (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Stream and Pond (Long Island/NY):

This beautiful watery trail meanders along a formerly unused slope in the clients’ backyard. Gravity is a very energy-efficient way to make the water move forward. During winter, the moss rock boulders become stunning ice sculptures that beautifully extend the seasonal enjoyment of it all.

 

Landscaping Ponds (Long Island/NY):

Landscaping Ponds (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio added such lovely bursts of color as Purple Cone flowers,  Coreopsis and Spirea Anthony Waterers. In addition, tall grasses, deep green ground cover, along with the peaceful sounds of moving water, totally captivate the senses. All this can be viewed from the pool area, back patio, as well as the house.

 

Picture-Perfect Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

Picture-Perfect Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

It takes expertise and experience to position rocks in such a way as to coax water into waterfalls just like it happens in nature. Bill Renter, our Outdoor Living Expert, has been passionate about the outdoors since he was a child. Even today, he spends every chance he can walking the woods and hillsides of upstate New York — stopping and studying how water flows over rock, how plants crop up along side of such water trails, etc.

 

Backyard Upgrades (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Upgrades (Long Island/NY):

Our design plan called for an extended patio with bluestone stepping stones leading to the stream, natural stones to walk across it, and more bluestone on the other side up to the pool area.

 

worthy-of-a-fairytale-award-winning-project-showcase-gardening-landscape-outdoor-living

This stunning free-form pond is a huge hit with the clients’ entire nature-loving family. Everyone enjoys feeding and watching the vibrant koi as they swim about in it. “We even get to enjoy it all at night,” says the wife. “And we can see it from our home and offices, too.”

Outdoor Benches: Getting Up Close and Personal

Like backyard bridges, garden benches need not be just for decorative purposes, although they undoubtedly grace any property. Rather, they are treasured rest-spots, where one can be still and take in pretty views — up close and personal….and really stop and smell the roses.

Depending on individual taste, there are a wide variety of bench materials and designs available:

—  wrought iron

—  various woods: eucalyptus, reclaimed wood, acacia, cedar, redwood, etc. (just choose a durable/weather-resistant wood)

—  cast aluminum

—  a bamboo bench (great for Asian-inspired gardens)

—  a backless bench, perhaps with hidden storage

—  a swinging or glider bench

—  farmhouse and park style bench

—  or how about dual chairs such as Adirondacks instead of one piece of outdoor furniture

—  or a natural stone slab

…or a myriad of other materials, sizes, shapes. You can even personalize your bench, with some sort of family commemoration, coat of arms, or motto.

Remember, to enjoy a bench, all you really need is some sort of pretty focal point, or view, (maybe under your favorite tree) and a bit of open space.

Bonus: If you planted particular flowers or shrubs, your may attract butterflies or hummingbirds near your bench. Even if not, some species of birds will be chirping nearby and the sky will be blue — all with no effort on your part.

In sum, the garden bench offers that special up close and personal opportunity to enjoy the outdoors — an enjoyment you might miss from further away in the kitchen, or on the patio or deck.

 

Pond Viewing (Long Island/NY):

Pond Viewing (Long Island/NY):

How’s this for up-close and personal. These Deck and Patio clients asked us to put smaller stepping stones out to a larger stone island — in the middle of the man-made natural pond we created for them. The addition of two Adirondack chairs present a perfect spot to feed and watch the koi, and listen to the pond’s waterfalls.

 

Garden Bench and Bridge (Long Island/NY):

Garden Bench and Bridge (Long Island/NY):

Talk about peaceful…you can imagine these homeowners sometimes praying for rain…so they can finally get indoor chores done. The beautiful scene that opens up in front of the wood bench includes a koi pond, waterfalls, rolling grass slope, aquatic plants and a bridge crossing the stream that feeds the waterfalls.

 

Rock Sofa and Rock Seats (Long Island/NY):

Rock Sofa and Rock Seats (Long Island/NY):

Talk about up close. From the rock sofa and flanking rock-seats, sitters can stretch back and run their fingers in the waterfalls behind them.

 

Backyard Pond and Waterfalls (Long Island/NY)

Backyard Pond and Waterfalls (Long Island/NY)

What a scene to relax by. A gentle stream is coaxed over rocks into several waterfalls. Lily pads wait on croaking frogs. Ornamental grasses wave in the breeze, and flowering perennials add color and charm.