Monthly Archives: June 2015

//June

July 4th Weekend: Plant Some Zinnias for Long Lasting Color

To enjoy three or more months of bright color, why not plant some Zinnia seeds when you are out barbecuing over July 4th weekend? These plants don’t like to be moved about, so seeds are not only an easy and inexpensive way to go, but the Zinnias will thank you for it.

 

red_zinnia

 

They should spring up nicely within 4-6 weeks and will last until the first frost!

Tip: These colorful beauties like sun and good drainage; plant them at least 4″ apart (up to a foot if plants are large…they hate being crowded together); fertilize every 4-6 weeks. Added bonus: butterflies love them.

They’re in the daisy family, so if you can’t resist, go ahead, find out if he or she loves you.

Happy 4th everyone!

 

stock-footage-common-zinnia-zinnia-violacea-syn-zinnia-elegans

 

 

 

 

Long Island Deck Builders: Why Choose Fiberon Composite Decking?

 

At Deck and Patio, we frequently build decks out of “capped composite” deck materials from several manufacturers — all of whom we highly recommend and can wholeheartedly get behind. Today, however, we are focusing on one particular brand — Fiberon.

Like all composite decking, Fiberon offers low-maintenance care. Stain, mold, insect and splinter resistant, it keeps its beautiful look with little effort on your part.

Fiberon also comes with a very special warranty; not only does the manufacturer give the usual 25-year-warranty on its composite decking materials, it offers a five-year warranty on labor to boot. This means there is no cost at all to the homeowner should it not live up to its claims during the first five years, and, of course, it provides 20 years additional warranty on the materials.

“In addition, while most composite decking manufacturers work hard to create a consistent product so that every board looks the same,” says Bill Renter, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert, “Fiberon believes a deck should look like natural wood, where boards naturally vary in color etc.”

One of the projects we are highlighting today is at present a work-in-progress. The client has a kitchen floor made of exotic wood and like all natural woods, the flooring is not monochromatic, but has different shades even though it’s the same material. Our client likes the randomness and variation very much, and chose Fiberon boards for his new deck for this same reason.

 

Fiberon Deck Boards (Long Island/NY):

Fiberon Deck Boards (Long Island/NY):

Here’s a load that just arrived for a deck we’re building locally. Note the grooves on the side of Fiberon’s boards. The grooves allow builders like Deck and Patio to easily install hidden fasteners. This means there will not be any nails or screws showing — just a clean, smooth look.

 

 

 3-Level Fiberon Deck (Long Island/NY):

3-Level Fiberon Deck (Long Island/NY):

For this work-in-progress job, we removed an existing 2-level deck that wasn’t functional enough for the family. What you see here is the pressure-treated wood framing we are building to support the Fiberon deck boards.

Our design calls for a new 3-level deck with hot tub: the upper level will be just outside their kitchen and will house a new outdoor kitchen; the dining area will be on the middle level, and the lower level will be next to a new pond we’re building for them, which will come right up to the deck for maximum enjoyment.

 

 

Award-Winning Fiberon Deck Project:

Award-Winning Fiberon Deck Project:

This previous waterside 3-level Fiberon deck project (also with hot tub) won Deck and Patio a prestigious award. As above, Fiberon’s clean lines vary in tone giving a natural look.

Of course the strong “capped composite” nature of the decking ensures durability — a real boon near salt water. Fiberon looks like wood, but is warranted against staining and fading. No nail holes or wood knots either. For more on this project: http://deckandpatio.com/outdoor-living-spaces-deck-and-patio-restoration-showcase/

 

 

Fiberon Deck (Long Island/NY):

Fiberon Deck (Long Island/NY):

These homeowners may not have a large backyard, but that didn’t mean they sacrificed quality. These clients found their Fiberon deck with two sets of steps surprisingly budget-friendly.

Even in such a tight area, our design allowed space for dining and sufficient room for a chaise lounge, barbecue and the ability to move around. Most importantly, we did not over-build the available space in their yard. For more on this project: http://deckandpatio.com/budget-backyards-are-you-assessing-your-mall-backyard-fairly/

 

 

 

Outdoor Living: 5 Tips for Creating Your ‘Quiet Place’

 

As youngsters, we had our bedroom. There, we could hide away from the dictates of too much family togetherness. As adults, we still need a little space we can call our own or, at least, use on our own. Having that quiet nook, and having it outdoors, is perhaps the best escape of all.

However, even when we have a fabulous backyard, fully loaded with amenities, such an escape can still be illusive. It’s hard to find quiet around an always active barbecue and outdoor dining table, or even near a pool that’s frequently being used.

How then do you carve out your own private place?

The next time you are outdoors, take a quick survey of your property and ask: Where would I love some quiet time? If you can’t point immediately to a ready-made spot — where you sneak away to read or do yoga, perhaps — it’s not all that hard to make one.

First, there’s no rule that says, when it calls for it, your getaway can’t serve double-duty as a gathering place when it’s not being used as a place for solitude. And, no, that’s not a contradiction. If it is going to serve double-duty, all you need is a “do not disturb” sign that the family respects when it’s hanging in an agreed spot.

Now for some tips:

Tip # 1

Plan an attractive focal point. One of the enjoyments of an outdoor private space is being close to nature, so a water feature, special planting bed, babbling brook, butterfly garden, etc. are ideal options. These amenities will not only serve your new personal retreat, they can also be shared. A waterfall, or pretty flower bed, by definition can’t help but be enjoyed from a variety of locations in the yard.

Tip # 2

Create a foundation. It can be very easy to extend an existing patio or deck, or add an entirely new area that will offer comfort and permanence underfoot.

Tip # 3

Consider your comfort. A few outdoor features such as comfy seating and shade are important. For seating, you might want a footstool (or a way to put your feet up), and a headrest; if you like movement, you might want a rocker or even a swing. If there isn’t a shade tree, outdoor umbrellas, a pergola, trellis, etc. will do the trick.

Tip # 4

Think both ‘night’ and ‘day.” There’ll be times during the day when you’ll want to sneak away and perhaps read a book, or just listen to birds (and for that you might want to have a bird house or water fountain near your spot); other times you’ll be taking some ‘me’ time after sunset, so a fire pit or campfire will add warmth on cool evenings and offer pleasant lighting when it gets it’s dark.

Tip # 5

Ready-to-Go Basket: Having a private-time-basket that’s always at the ready is a great idea, too. It can be stocked with one or two aromatherapy candles, a favorite cushion, a throw rug for a little spontaneous yoga, ingredients (glass/soda) for your favorite drink, including a corkscrew if it happens to be wine.

 

Here’s some examples of retreat-areas we’ve created for clients:

 

Pondless Water Feature Focal Point:

Pondless Water Feature Focal Point:

Surrounded by lush landscape, this ideal waterfall-focal point was created near the edge of an existing patio. With the addition of an attractive wood-burning stove and handsome wicker furniture it does double duty — you can escape there for some quiet, or enjoy it with friends.

For the landscaping – a layering effect was used; in the background, several Norway Spruce provide privacy; a colorful Japanese Maple holds court behind the upper waterfall with the complementing perennial ornamental grass (Japanese Blood Grass) standing tall nearby;  the pre-existing foundation is handsome Techo-Bloc (Elena in Earth Brown).

 

 

Flexible Private Escape:

Flexible Private Escape:

If you have the basics already in place, such as an attractive, well-laid patio or deck with large trees and shrubs on the periphery, simple container gardening allows you to create a flexible quiet spot — on the spot. If the containers are not too large, they can be moved at a moment’s notice. In this case, Deck and Patio’s clients also have an easy-to-move barbecue, and easy-living, yet elegant, outdoor furniture. An intimate spot away from the pool and main patio, it is also perfect for intimate dining.

 

 

Your Own Private Space:

Your Own Private Space:

If you are planning a whole new patio, this is a great opportunity to plan ahead for that private space. Choosing a multi-level patio design, it made delineating a private get-away space easy. For it, there’s a charming water feature flowing over moss rock covered in lush green ground cover; tall trees create privacy in the background; it’s snug and well away from other patio areas designed for sunning or sitting near the pool.

 

 

Quiet Walking Spaces:

Quiet Walking Spaces:

Sometimes all you need are a few quiet moments in the yard. For these clients, we took advantage of the need to create a place to hide their pool equipment, and made a walkthrough private woodland path. The clients can enjoy quiet moments of contemplation when strolling from one area of the backyard retreat to another.

 

 

Small Patio For Reading or Writing:

Small Patio For Reading or Writing:

Techo-Bloc pavers were used to make this idyllic small patio sitting area next to the water feature. It’s a great spot to read, while sitting next to a trickling stream and the sounds of waterfalls. Note: The Techo-Bloc patio pavers were engineered in Canada, and they can well handle the freeze/thaw that occurs in our corner of the Northeast.

 

 

Landscaping: How the Experts Do It

This is Part II of our two-part feature on professional landscaping.

 

“The design, construction and preserving of the natural environment takes on many facets. For luxurious outdoor living, these components need to be thought through thoroughly during the design phase,” explains Marc Wiener, director of design and sales at Deck and Patio.

With a degree in landscape architecture, Wiener knows of what he speaks. His education has given him an abundance of knowledge of plant material — the basis of such expert designs.

“We’re talking about an in-depth knowledge of how plants will grow, sequentially bloom and react to soil conditions, solar exposure, irrigation, etc,” says Marc. “To accomplish the best results, moss rock and pavers will also be built into the design. It becomes imperative, then, to soften the impact of these massive structures by scalloping plants into the hillside etc. — in a wide variety of colorful perennial, deciduous and evergreen plant material — for year round impact.”

For the first project we’re showcasing today, Marc says that even after the pool is closed for the season, it’s nice to see an impact during the winter months and he planned it that way.

Wiener used a unique combination of tumbled pavers, natural rock steps, Long Island boulders and retaining wall systems to help create a supple transition from the house, pool and spa patios, and captured the similarities in the earth tones throughout.

 

Landscaping Experts:

Landscaping Experts:

Beautiful results like this require a hands-on approach to grasp every aspect of the site’s characteristics, architecture, building codes, its impact to the surrounding environment and to be able to incorporate a client’s wish list into the design. It’s a culmination of these factors that separate a good design from an award-winning design as was achieved here, says Marc Wiener.

 

Professional Landscape Design:

Professional Landscape Design:

“To design and build this 22’ x 42’ freeform pool and raised spa, with waterfalls nestled into a 20-foot hillside, and to incorporate multiple patios at different elevations with landscaping, required more than just lines on paper,” says Wiener.

 

Second Project

Here, the landscape design was by Bill Renter, Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert and Marc Wiener. Their achievement garnered us a gold medal from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

In addition to professional recognition, our work also amazed the clients, because their yard’s beautiful and nature-friendly transformation had been accomplished so quickly.

“I have lived here over 40 years,” says the wife. “Our property had become overgrown. It wasn’t messy but it wasn’t well done anymore. I have always loved birds and flowers and a very natural setting. And we hadn’t seen birds in a long time.

“A full-time bloom was important, as I wanted to attract, in addition to birds, lots of butterflies,” she says. “I also looked at many ponds that other landscapers had done elsewhere. In the end, I felt Deck and Patio’s work looked the most natural, which was extremely important to me.”

 

Landscaping in Harmony with its Surroundings:

Landscaping in Harmony with its Surroundings:

Renter says he also considered how our work would fit with the additional elements the homeowners had hired other companies to do, such as a conservatory and a small bridge — while always taking into account how everything would appear in nature.

 

Using Rocks and Boulders in the Landscape:

Using Rocks and Boulders in the Landscape:

The rocks used in this inspired pond installation – some of which weigh over three tons — were imported from farmers’ fields in New Jersey, says Renter. Each rock was hand picked for its particular use, sometimes for their ideal crevices in which garden perennials could be planted.

 

Beautiful Landscaping:

Beautiful Landscaping:

According to Wiener, The Deck and Patio Co. planted over 4,000 bulbs, 300 species of deciduous woody plants, evergreens, and perennials, including 150 different varieties of these species.

“The layout of the project detailed different settings and focal points,” says Wiener. “In some cases you are sitting next to a pond observing a waterfall; in other cases you’re walking through a woodland path.”

 

 

Professional Landscaping: There’s a Reason You Struggle On Your Own

This is Part I of a two-part feature on professional landscaping

 

There are yards that are so beautiful — so relaxing and inviting — you can’t help but want one yourself. However, to create such an inviting space that can accommodate entertaining for both large and small parties, and which is also a haven where you can relax and meditate, takes professional expertise.

Why Professional Expertise?

In creating idyllic landscapes, professionals know which plantings work well together, their bloom periods, which will thrive in full or partial sun and shade, as well as which ones need the least care.

In addition, professionals have the equipment needed to properly remove trees and shrubs, till soil, and remove rocks or boulders that are in the way. They understand soil, and what is needed to nourish a particular property’s soil. They are also expert at conceiving a well-thought out design.

Spectacular Landscape Design

Beyond even the above basics, firms like Deck and Patio specialize in arranging plants, shrubs, and trees in a manner that makes every detail look like Mother Nature’s own creation.

“In our design plans, we also take into consideration a home’s architecture and the clients’ style preferences, as well as property grades,” adds Bill Renter, Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert. “We plan so that the landscape will flourish and last for years. Our designs also apply a layering technique for privacy on the periphery, and vibrancy where it will be best enjoyed.”

Another trademark of spectacular design is the artful combination of ‘softscape’ (or ‘landscape’) with ‘hardscape.’ Our use of moss rock, which has contributed to our firm’s many awards, adds dimension and texture while creating a natural appearance.

Below are a few examples of our team’s expertise. For the first project, which included an in-ground spa, to finish the surrounding landscape with a star quality, Deck and Patio’s Marc Wiener, ASLA landscaper designer, carefully selected the proper plantings to perfect a design.

 

Landscaping Privacy:

Landscaping Privacy:

This property was open on three sides and in full view of four homes. Skip Laurels, Leyland Cypress, and Cedars were used to create an attractive privacy screen. Texture and color were brought in to the buffering divider by incorporating flowering deciduous shrubs.

 

 

 Landscaping Long Bloom Periods:

Landscaping Long Bloom Periods:

For this same project, Marc Wiener also incorporated creeping evergreen ground covers that cascade and wind over and between the rocks we used. His expert selection of plants provides color from April through October; the whole design flows beautifully into the back property.

 

 

Landscaping for Visual Impact:

Landscaping for Visual Impact:

In order to preserve the surrounding landscape for this second project, instead of clear-cutting the half-acre property, the home was built among mature oaks, maples and pines. When doing the landscaping, space for a pool and spa was left. It was essential to plan in such a way so that any construction of the pool etc. would not disturb existing work.

 

 

Adding Water Features to Existing Landscaping:

Adding Water Features to Existing Landscaping:

Indeed, Marc Wiener successfully incorporate water features into the existing landscape. When considering color and texture he applied his extensive expertise on how plant material will eventually grow. Here we see low-lying evergreens and ground cover perennials in and around the stream and rock outcroppings which soften the large boulders, which he says would “otherwise stand out and detract from the overall intent of looking ‘natural.’”

Larger flowering plantings were installed behind the water feature to provide accenting and screening. On lower portions of the slope, the water feature was planted with flowers for cutting and small beds for annuals so the client could interact with the stream garden throughout the season.

Look for us again next week for our part two on professional landscaping!