Monthly Archives: September 2015

//September

‘Top Frogs’…Will Travel! – Long Island-based Deck and Patio Working In Nashville

Deck and Patio’s Top Frogs can usually be found installing water features and performing other landscaping services across Long Island/NY and her environs. However, just a few days ago some of our team travelled much farther afield — all the way to Nashville, TN.

Now you might be wondering why Deck and Patio is working so far from home, and even why we are referring to our team members as “Top Frogs.”

Top Frog

This nomenclature is a lighthearted designation that Aquascape Inc. (one of the country’s premier manufacturers of water features and supplies) awards to their certified contractors who create noteworthy projects throughout the year — and, yes, Deck and Patio’s own Bill Renter has earned the Top Frog distinction, including this past August when he was awarded Aquascape’s “Conservationist of the Year.”

Why Nashville?

We were invited to Tennessee by a fellow Certified Aquascape Contractor Derek Johnson — the man behind Nashville’s local firm JVI Secret Gardens. Working with a premier pool company, he is tasked with creating the water feature aspect of an overall backyard pool oasis that includes a dramatic tanning shelf and humongous water slide.

Because the water feature aspect of the job is large scale, Johnson approached Deck and Patio to assist, first, because of our mutual Aquascape training/experience, and, second, because Deck and Patio has successfully done a similarly large job on Long Island.

Status of Nashville Project

As of this writing, the pool and landscaping teams have been at work together in Nashville for several days to complete the client’s vision. Indeed, the overall design is such a stunner that HGTV was also on site filming the work with a view to airing it on their network.

The first two photos below show our earlier Deck and Patio/Long Island project; they are followed by shots of the various teams hard at work in Tennessee.

Watch this space for a follow-up blog showcasing the finished Nashville oasis!! We’ll also keep you posted on HGTV’s plans as they develop.

 

Pool Slide with Water Feature:

Pool Slide with Water Feature:

Deck and Patio created this award-winning feature several years ago. It called for installing a large serpentine slide around a huge moss rock water feature — just the experience needed by our friends in Tennessee.

 

Natural Stone Steps:

Natural Stone Steps:

When we worked on this water feature a few years ago, Deck and Patio installed large natural stones for the climb up to the top of the slide.

 

Top Frogs Travel to Nashville:

Top Frogs Travel to Nashville:

Our team early this week at a local coffee shop in Nashville, TN.  We highly recommend the local eatery: Waffle House.

 

Backyard Oasis:

Backyard Oasis:

A property as large as 30 acres requires a substantial installation if it’s to appear proportional.

 

Outdoor Living Expert:

Outdoor Living Expert:

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, trying out the slide in Nashville.

 

Aquascape Inc. Awards:

Aquascape Inc. Awards:

Bill Renter wins Conservationist of the Year award in August 2015.

 

 

Water Fountains / Fountainscapes To Match Your Style, Personality and Budget

Looking for an elegant splash or a spray of whimsy in your garden? Passionate about the sound of bubbling water but don’t have the budget or space for a large waterfall or pond? If that’s the case, an attractive water fountain might be the answer.

Those who know Deck and Patio for our larger pond/water feature installations (we’ve done over 300 on Long Island alone) might be surprised at one of our most recent jobs: an attractive garden water fountain that took up hardly any space.

It was done for clients who had recently moved to a new home. When working at their property, one of our team members, Marc Wiener, mentioned that it felt like the garden was missing something — a feature that would offer both the sound and relaxing sight of water movement. The clients agreed that a garden fountain would be an ideal finishing touch in such limited space.

In this case, they asked us to order and install the fountain. However, fountainscapes make a very easy DIY project. The ‘stacked stone urn’ fountain seen here is from Aquascape Inc. (St. Charles, IL). As a certified Aquascape Inc. contractor, Deck and Patio has used their products in many of the ponds and water features we have designed/built across Long Island. As for their fountains, Aquascape offers a nice variety in various styles, sizes and prices.

If you’d like to add one on your own, all you need is a shovel, a wheelbarrow and a level. Then, adding a bag of decorative gravel and mulch, you have a picture-perfect-and-sound-perfect-fountain that not only you will enjoy, but butterflies and birds will appreciate your efforts as well.

The first two photos and first video show the fountain we installed for our new clients. Below these, we include a DIY video from Aquascape followed by a link to the various fountains they have available.

 

Aquascape Inc. Garden Fountain:

Aquascape Inc. Garden Fountain:

Although we installed this “stacked stone urn” fountain for the clients, they are easy DIY projects. The kits come pretty well fabricated with a catch basin, pump, piping, and in different sizes. The one we used is the smallest (32” tall) — a perfect scale for this garden.

 

Garden Fountains:

Garden Fountains:

When adding a garden fountain, it is a good idea to locate it near your patio/deck so you can enjoy it whenever you are outside. And if you can position it close to a window, you will be able to not only enjoy the fountain indoors, but also the birds and butterflies who stop by to take a drink.

 

Hear the water music! 5-second Deck and Patio video of stacked stone urn fountain:

 

Aquascape has made a great DIY video for installing their fountains:

 

You can see some of Aquascape’s different fountains available at:

Let us know on our Facebook page or by comment here how your project goes!

 

 

 

Backyard Upgrade Ideas: Don’t Forget the Focal Point

A backyard focal point could be a tree that’s beautiful all year, a butterfly garden that includes late blooming plants, or a garden bench set amid wispy ornamental grasses and trees with bright fall foliage. Or, like in the backyard upgrade we’re highlighting here, what catches your eye (and ear) when you walk outdoors can be an inspiring water feature.

In the end, the focal point is simply what you are emphasizing. You can have more than one if your yard is large enough, but it should be done in a way so that various points do not compete with each other.

When these clients approached us for a full backyard upgrade, they wanted several elements:  a two-level patio, fire pit, hot tub, fresh landscaping, and an outdoor kitchen. They also wanted a special water feature that could be enjoyed wherever you are in the yard — or a main focal point that wasn’t static but a “living landscape.”

Water Feature

The completed water feature consists of a “pond-less” waterfall and stream — and, of course, it was all strategically placed so as to be viewed from both the main kitchen window, the new two-level patio, and the hot tub.

An added benefit is the feature was made with all Aquascape Inc. components, so it is eco-friendly: the water is kept clean and healthy without the use of any chemicals.

Patio and Outdoor Kitchen/Bar

To support the water feature’s natural appeal, the two-level patio was made with a Techo-Bloc paver that gives the suggestion of natural wood and the fire pit and outdoor kitchen facade were made of natural stone. Despite the height of the outdoor kitchen, and the impressive patio pattern, the water feature’s size, movement, and drama means it is never outshone.

That does not mean, however, that the other elements aren’t beautiful and significant. Indeed, everything should work together as one harmonious whole.

 

 Backyard Focal Points:

Backyard Focal Points:

Moving water is delightful to listen to as well as watch. This pond-less stream and waterfalls were positioned so as to catch the eye immediately when stepping outside; it can also be enjoyed from the kitchen window.

 

 

Backyard Focal Points:

Backyard Focal Points:

The stream and waterfalls flow next to the clients’ new Bullfrog Spas’ hot tub — adding another layer of relaxation to the spa experience.

 

 

Techo-Bloc “Borealis”

Techo-Bloc “Borealis”

By providing the rich look of wood flooring, Techo-Bloc Borealis’ modular 5”-and-10”-wide slabs have been called trompe l’oeil by industry professionals. Offering such a natural wood look, it was the perfect choice for a patio that sits beside a flowing stream with waterfalls.

 

 

Outdoor Kitchen:

Outdoor Kitchen:

The clients’ new outdoor kitchen/eating bar was set on the lower-level of their new patio — just next to the end of the waterfall/stream. An ideal place for gathering for drinks before dinner is made all the better with the sounds and movements of an adjacent water feature.

 

 

Outdoor Kitchens and Fire Pits:

Outdoor Kitchens and Fire Pits:

The mechanics of the fire pit and outdoor kitchen are hidden within stone facades. The outdoor kitchen’s barbecue cabinet has a built-in stainless steel grill, an ample work area, sink, refrigerator and eating bar with bar stools.

 

 

Flexible Shade:

Flexible Shade:

When open, embedded umbrellas provide flexible shade opportunities anywhere they are needed. Moved behind the eating bar, the umbrellas are a great substitute for a pergola; they are more flexible than fixed shade amenities because various umbrellas can be open and closed at the same time or moved as the sun does. When all open, you have a perfect area to place a buffet or sit and and relax in full shade.

 

 

 

Labor Day Weekend: Blissful Leisure Enjoyed in Busy New York City

Whether it’s a long holiday weekend created for workers, or simply the few scattered hours you squeeze out of a relentless workweek, it’s nice to enjoy some free time in blissful leisure at home.

Location, Location, Location

However, what if your property isn’t located in a pastoral area that allows for quiet time? What if your locality is all hustle-bustle? Such was the case for these Deck and Patio clients. Their home is tightly surrounded by apartment buildings, traffic and noise — in the very heart of a borough of New York City.

In this atmosphere, even adding a pool and patio wouldn’t provide the escape they desired. To create for them a real backyard oasis, we had to block out the noise and oppressive atmosphere.

Solutions, Solutions, Solutions

One of the best ways to screen out noise is a sizable waterfall and the clients opted for one to provide splashing sounds into their new pool. In addition, our clients asked us to build a 12-foot-high concrete block wall. While useful as a noise and environs barrier, a wall can be a bit oppressive in itself.

So the next challenge was to soften the wall’s appearance. First, we planted bamboo around its perimeter. Bamboo can be invasive and we encased the woody grass with concrete blocks to limit its spreading.

Special Feature

One thing great about interior and exterior walls is they make an ideal canvas. Taking full advantage of the wall, Deck and Patio’s Director of Sales and Landscape Construction, Marc Wiener, designed and supervised the layout of a “living wall” that can hold multiple-sized pots for plants. When completed, the living wall became living art — changing in color and shape almost daily. (For details on living wall, see photos 5, 6, & 7 below.)

The result: the clients may live in a busy part of New York City, but this Labor Day — and every spare moment they can muster— is spent in blissful leisure right in their own backyard.

 

Backyard Noise Barriers:

Backyard Noise Barriers:

Water cascading over rock into another water pool is a natural sound barrier that is peaceful and soothing to the soul.

 

 Backyard Refuge:

Backyard Refuge:

The sounds of the waterfalls, the colorful landscaping and the dramatic concrete block wall together give a sense of refuge in this bustling part of one of America’s five largest cities.

 

Pool Waterfalls:

Pool Waterfalls:

The free-form vinyl-liner pool includes boulder coping, and a moss rock waterfall with robust plantings that help beautify the wall.

 

Techo-Bloc Patios:

Techo-Bloc Patios:

The pool’s surrounding patio is made from Techo-Bloc pavers that handsomely complement the 12-foot-high wall and smaller concrete encasement for the bamboo.

 

Plug n Play Living Walls

Plug n Play Living Walls

‘Plug n Play’ Living Walls: “There are many type of Living Walls; interior and exterior, permanent or seasonal walls, and then there is the ‘Plug n Play’ (manufactured and trademarked by Green Living Technologies, International  or GLTi).” — M.Wiener.

 

'Plug n Play' Wall

‘Plug n Play’ Wall

“The Plug n Play is very versatile and can be manufactured to accept multiple-sized pots (3” to 12″). Drip irrigation is set up on alternating rows and trickles down to each row below; excess water is either captured or drains. Plants are set on an angle with their holes faced downward so the roots/soil can sap up water via wicking effect.” — M. Wiener.

 

Outdoor Living Walls:

Outdoor Living Walls:

“The

[living] walls are manufactured in both aluminum and stainless steel. Aluminum walls are extremely light weight and do not require heavy anchor bolts to fasten to walls. Speaking of walls, these units can be fastened to any type of wall; using the right type of fastener for each respective wall type.”  — M. Wiener.