Yearly Archives: 2016

/2016

Proper Snow Removal: How to Keep from Being Snowed In

insert-snowflakeFor obvious reasons, during snow storms, it’s important to keep stairs and walks free of snow and ice. But it’s also critical to ensure water cut offs are accessible and that your driveway is ice and snow free.

If you plan to take care of all this yourself, make sure that your snow blower, generator, roof rake, deicers, etc. are all placed where they can be easily retrieved. Alas, snow and ice storms are occasionally accompanied by a power failure. So do plan ahead, including putting fresh batteries in your carbon monoxide monitor. Also, have emergency telephone numbers near the phone.

 

innoplast-dmDriveway Prep

Even before you hear of any storm approaching, it’s important to “prep” your driveway and walkway by installing fiberglass stakes (sometimes called “plow stakes” or “snow stakes”). Note: wood plow/snow stakes aren’t as strong as fiberglass and can be easily damaged.

Position the stakes to indicate where any costly Belgium Block or other edging could be damaged from snow plows. One end of the stake is pointed for easy insertion in the ground. Also, they come in different colors and you can let a particular color indicate, for example, where a fire hydrant is, the regular curb, your driveway entrance, etc.

If your driveway is straight, you won’t need as many markers. But if it’s curved, it’s important to mark key points at every turn. In addition, if you will be doing the snow removal yourself, chances are you’ll be doing it before or after work, when it’s dark. In this case, consider reflective snow stakes, which, while more costly, can be alternated with less-expensive non-reflective ones. This way, you’ll be sure to see all the important areas.

When placing the stakes, consider placing them further back from the driveway than the 2 inches often recommended. This allows for the opening of car doors, piling of shoveled snow, etc. without dislodging or covering a key stake.

 

 

insert-2Roof Prep

Snow can cause a lot of pressure on your roof. One of the best ways to remove it is with a roof rake, so it’s good to have it readily on hand. Also take a look at your gutters to make sure ice doesn’t dam them up and cause leaking into your home or attic.

Some experts recommend stringing heat cables through them, or on the roof just above the gutters. This should be done, of course, before major snowstorms to avoid any Clark Griswald-like ice rockets from a frozen gutter fail.

 

 

insert-3Snow Blowers, Shoveling

Even an inexpensive snow blower is preferable to shoveling by hand.

But if you are going to shovel, here’s a tip: coat the scoop of the shovel with non-stick cooking spray. Be sure, whether you are using a snow blower or shoveling, to remove the snow in small increments at a time — don’t try to do it all at once.

 

 

 

insert-4Professional Snow Removal

Of course, the easiest way to handle some of this is to contact professionals like Deck and Patio’s Dix Hills Snowplowing.

In speaking with our own Office Manager, Linda LaRose, if you live in our corner of Suffolk County (Huntington/Dix Hills) and wish to have us take care of your snow removal, you can contact us with no obligation (631-549-8100).

Once we hear from you, Linda will email a contract to review and you can always call her with questions before signing on, or incurring any expense. When you make this initial contact, this would be the right time to let us know if you have any special requirements: e.g., early service, service at 1-inch (ours usually begins at 2”), sand service, if garage doors need to shoveled, mail box cleared, etc.

We can also stake the driveway for you, if you ask for it. (Note: For snow removal from roofs, you should contact a roof contractor for their specialized service.)

 

Holiday Gift to You from Our Blog

And as a little gift to all our BLOG readers, below are a two adult coloring pages for you to enjoy during our first big snowstorm:

 

 

Adult Coloring Art-Snowflake: Just click on this piece of artwork, print, then color… or use your smart pen (stylus) on your iPad etc.

 

Adult Coloring Art-Snowflake: Just click on this piece of artwork, print, then color… or use your smart pen (stylus) on your iPad etc. (When you click on the snowflake the black background will disappear.)

 

 

 

Adult Coloring Art: If you need to think of Spring at any time during a snow storm, just click on this artwork, print, then color…or use your smart pen (stylus) on your iPad etc.

 

Adult Coloring Art: If you need to think of Spring at any time during a snow storm, just click on this artwork, print, then color…or use your smart pen (stylus) on your iPad etc.

Happy holidays, everyone!!

 

 

Backyard Water Features Are Magical in Winter

We had a little snow this week on Long Island, and a cold snap is definitely trying to take hold. So, we thought it the perfect time to rerun a blog we posted last December on how winter turns backyard water features into something magical.

Yesterday, we also shared a great post on Facebook from Aquascape Inc. that suggested a great Christmas present: outdoor lighting for your pond or water feature. Outdoor lighting does, indeed, turn night into magic any time of year, not just winter.

Enjoy!

In a previous blog, we showcased Aquascape Inc.’s Fountainscapes as a great way to experience a water feature in your yard without committing to a larger pond or waterfall system.

You might be wondering, why bring this up now, when winter is about to set in? Actually winter is the point. This blog focuses on just how beautiful water features — of any size — are during winter.

In fact, when the temperature drops, flowing water can turn into art as it crystalizes.

Take for example, the waterfalls we created a few years back on Long Island (NY) as part of a double-pond, stream and multiple-waterfall feature. When months later we stopped by during a strong cold snap, we couldn’t resist taking a photo of the sparkling water falls as they crystalized (first photo below).

In order to give you a fuller picture of the winter beauty that can be part of a water feature, we also posted below four glorious fountains capes operating in winter.

 

 

Water Features in Winter: (Long Island/NY) - During a prolonged cold snap, ice forms on the natural stone boulders of this water feature; the water falling over the stones crystalizes into glistening flowing threads — an exquisite sight!

Water Features in Winter: (Long Island/NY) – During a prolonged cold snap, ice forms on the natural stone boulders of this water feature; the water falling over the stones crystalizes into glistening flowing threads — an exquisite sight!

 

 

Fountainscapes in Winter: This fountainscape is part of a fountain/miniature pond feature that is arguably even more delightful in winter months than in summer. Note how the small stream of water has become a jeweled thread of ice.

Fountainscapes in Winter: This fountainscape is part of a fountain/miniature pond feature that is arguably even more delightful in winter months than in summer. Note how the small stream of water has become a jeweled thread of ice.

 

 

 

Commercial Fountainscapes

 

 

Fountains are not just for backyards. No sir, they are a wonderful indulgence at business offices as well — and as you can see from this winter scene,  clearly a year-round uplift for management and staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winterizing Waterscapes: If you do not want the water to freeze, you can choose to winterize your water gardens/waterscapes by running them with heat, which will melt the ice dams. But that is not necessary and might you miss some gorgeous winter scenes.

Winterizing Waterscapes: If you do not want the water to freeze, you can choose to winterize your water gardens/waterscapes by running them with heat, which will melt the ice dams. But that is not necessary and you might miss some gorgeous winter scenes.

 

 

 

Winter Backyard Pond (Long Island/NY):

Winter Backyard Pond (Long Island/NY):

This was actually a pond that we had just built but had not started up. It was crushed with snow from the Northeast Blizzard of 2013. You can see the boulder stepping stones and Moss Rock Island in the middle of the pond. The deck and Bullfrog Spa were completely covered by snow in the shot under the pergola. Despite the storm completely covering the water feature, we think the pond was as beautiful a picture as it was come spring.

 

 

Fountainscapes: Of course, winter isn’t the only time of year you’ll appreciate a water feature; even a simple fountain will provide the delightful sound of moving water and a picturesque setting.

Fountainscapes: Of course, winter isn’t the only time of year you’ll appreciate a water feature; even a simple fountain will provide the delightful sound of moving water and a picturesque setting.

 

 

Choosing the Perfect Deck Railing

Other than the specifications required in local building codes, there are few rules or requirements in choosing a railing. So even the humble deck railing can help showcase one’s personality and taste.

First, a deck railing by no means has to match the deck. It just needs to coordinate with it. With all the different options available: baluster and post sizes, shapes, materials, and colors — and the freedom to mix and match — a railing is an easy way to express oneself.

Homeowners might then ask themselves: Are we people who cherish privacy? Or, are we nature enthusiasts who want the maximum views possible? Perhaps, we are traditional in our tastes. Then, again, maybe, we prefer a bit of whimsy and like to let loose a little.

 

CableRail by Feeney

CableRail by Feeney

In this case, lovely outdoor views were of primary concern to clients who are avid outdoor enthusiasts. Acting first as deck builders, Deck and Patio installed a two- story raised deck. And, as is often the case when building a deck, the homeowners also requested a spa. Deck and Patio helped the clients choose the ideal encasement for a new Bullfrog Spa that coordinated nicely with the deck planks and also integrated the spa harmoniously into the deck.

When it came to the deck railing, after all that had been accomplished, it was important that, when the clients sat on their new deck deck or relaxed in the hot tub, the railing infill would not spoil the exquisite views. To accomplish this, infills by “CableRail by Feeney” were chosen because these infills are almost unnoticeable.

 

TimberTech's "Radiance Rail"

TimberTech’s “Radiance Rail”

The Deck and Patio Company helped these clients add sophisticated drama by framing their new deck with TimberTech’s “Radiance Rail” railing.

Radiance Rail provides the ability to mix and match posts and balusters, and also offers a range of post caps. The ideal choice for these clients was a cap fitted with TimberTech’s recessed DeckLites. This extra outdoor deck lighting not only offered more nighttime safety but provided it in an understated style — perfect for these homeowners.

 

Trex Railing

Trex Railing (1 of 2)

 

Trex Railing 2 of 2

Trex Railing 2 of 2

Trex Railing with black metal balusters was chosen by Deck and Patio for this installation because they hold up so well to the elements.

The clients live at a river’s edge, their extraordinary view was so expansive, there was little concern that a railing would obstruct the view. However, these clients, who can step from their deck onto a private dock, functionality and durability were key.

The choice here was handsome Trex Composite Railing with black metal balusters that offered more than waterside security. These railings offer protection from UV rays and will stand against damage from insects, water, or sun.

Note: because the top rail (cap) of a railing is usually selected separately from the infill and posts, the cap presents special opportunity to be creative. You can go wild with color choices, materials and styles, Here’s a tip: Pick a wide top rail if you are a passionate gardener or you love to entertain. With a wider cap, you can easily rest small planters or drinks.

 

Trex Railing

Trex Railing

Here’s another handsome Trex railing and deck. The railing also once again offers contrast through black balusters. Adding a custom seating area isn’t just great in the warmer months; they also enjoy their deck when it gets colder just by having added a fire table.

 

 

Garden Color for Fall and Winter — a ‘Berry’ Good Thing

Around this time last year, our blog highlighted some great ideas for fall/winter garden color in the Northeast. Now that our evenings once again have a chill in the air, we thought it the perfect time to update that information.

unspecifiedThe previous blog included a fairly comprehensive list of what would “lift winter doldrums with outdoor color and texture” — information that we put together with the help of Sandra Vultaggio, Horticulture Consultant at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Riverhead, NY.

Red Twig Dogwood

Working with her again, we’re updating the list by highlighting different species of shrubs and have even included a new beauty not on last year’s list at all — the glorious Red Twig Dogwood.

“The Red Twig Dogwood boasts bright red branches that make a very attractive landscape shrub in  winter,” says Vultaggio. “You can cut twigs from the bush to add décor in the home — creating centerpieces and wreathes, etc.”

Chokeberry

Another gorgeous shrub that was actually on last year’s list under “Berries and Seedheads,” but not highlighted with a photo and further info, is the stunning Chokeberry. We also think that it deserves to appear under the list’s heading “Late Season Foliage” because of its lovely red fall foliage.

Plus, during spring, the Chokeberry offers up delightful light pink flowers. Of course, we’re really highlighting it because in winter it provides dramatic color through its berries.

“Chokeberry Aronia melanocarpa is native to the northeast,” adds Vultaggio, “so it is a great choice for gardeners looking to plant natives. It also is a host plant to the Coral Hairstreak butterfly, in addition to it’s winter berries providing food for wildlife.”

Winterberry Holly

Another beauty we are highlighting this year is Winterberry Holly, Ilex verticillata, which happens to be one of Vultaggio’s favorites.

“Also a native, its bright red fruit is eaten by more than 48 species of birds. It is also a good choice for a shaded site,” she says.

 

Red Twig Dogwood:

Red Twig Dogwood:

Making our list for the first time, this bush has a reputation for attracting bluebirds along with other birds and butterflies. It grows as both a perennial and as an ornamental, and will be most enjoyable after about 3 years. Note that it likes partial sun and lots of water so it’s great around water gardens — something Deck and Patio specializes in (ahem), so, naturally, it’s a favorite of ours.

 

Chokeberry Aronia melanocarpa:

Chokeberry Aronia melanocarpa:

The beautiful chokeberry requires only medium moisture with full sun to partial shade. And don’t forget its stunning fall foliage.

 

Winterberry:

Winterberry:

This dramatic and colorful bush is from a species of the deciduous holly family and is native to the Northeast. A slow grower, it loses its leaves each autumn. And, birds love the berries…what more need be said.

 

Callicarpa:

Callicarpa:

In last year’s blog we highlighted the beautiful purple berries of the Callicarpa. They begin in fall and last through winter. Photo: Missouri Botanical Garden

 

Skimmia:

Skimmia:

As we wrote last year, “these evergreen shrubs sport bright green leaves and, in spring, bring vibrant white flowers; in fall, they offer up crimson red fruits (berries) that last all through winter and are especially fine in December,” says Vultaggio. “They make great Christmas, holiday, or Thanksgiving hostess gifts “as they are slow growers that are ideal starting out in pots and containers.”  Photo Credit: Musical Linguist at the English language Wikipedia

 

 

By | 2017-01-21T16:34:29+00:00 November 17th, 2016|Ask the Experts, Gardening, Landscaping, Seasonal Landscapes|2 Comments

Pools with Water Features: Deck and Patio Called Back to Tennessee

poolkings-jpgFor a second year in a row, The Deck and Patio Company has been invited to Tennessee to assist Peek Pools and Spas in a spectacular pool project that will be the focus of an upcoming episode of HGTV’s popular television show, Pool Kings.

As water feature specialists, we have been installing the pool’s waterfall/stream and grotto area situated on a large shelf at the back of the pool.

In addition to the waterfall/grotto amenities, two unique fire and water features will add drama to the left and right of the main waterfall.

“This past Tuesday, we worked on setting the rest of the boulders on the shelf and Wednesday we worked on the stream area that feeds the main waterfall,” says Deck and Patio’s Bill Renter.

 

 

 

One of Deck and Patio’s award-winning Long Island swimming pool projects, with a serpentine slide and waterfall, — a project that required installing a lot of large natural stones — came to the attention of Peek Pools and HGTV last year.

 

 

 

Last year’s completed project

Last year’s completed project

“Last year’s project was in Nashville and we  installed the waterfall for a magnificent pool that aired on Pool Kings last season,” says Bill.

This year, we were called back to create a special water feature for a pool being built in Franklin, Tennessee. The following video shows the early stages of Deck and Patio fixing in place three key rocks that will form a grotto area. The rocks positioned on either side of the grotto each weigh 4,000 pounds and the connecting stone, or spill stone, is 6,000 pounds.

“We needed two machines to put these key stones in place,” says Bill. “But it’s all in a day’s work, frankly. We’re used to dealing with heavy rock placement. In fact, choosing and placing the perfect rocks is really the soul of all beautiful water features.”

Here we are on day two of this latest project:

 

 

Waterfall/Grotto Project in Franklin, TN:

Waterfall/Grotto Project in Franklin, TN:

It took two machines to be able to lift in place three key rocks that will form the foundation for the grotto/waterfall area at the back end of a new swimming pool.

 

Waterfall/Grotto Project in Franklin, TN:

Waterfall/Grotto Project in Franklin, TN:

Here you see more stones added. You’ll have to use your imagination to picture the project finished, complete with soil, flowers and ground cover in and around rocks, and water spilling over the grotto with two large fire features on either side.

Happy imagining…that is until the Pool Kings episode for this HGTV project airs. We’ll keep you posted.

 

Preparing Ponds for Winter

 

We are not alarmists at The Deck and Patio Company, but our job requires that we pay attention to credible weather forecasts. And according to Accuweather, the Northeast may be in for an extended snowy winter, stretching into spring of 2017. If you have a backyard pond, there are a few things you can do to get ready for this onslaught.

Pond Fish in Winter

First, let’s deal with the misconception that you can’t leave your fish in the pond during winter months. Actually fish do just fine in winter. They go dormant and hibernate. However, our pond expert, Bill Renter, does add that it’s well to be especially alert to their needs once water starts to freeze. Should ice, for example, completely cover your pond, the fish could become starved for oxygen.

“This can be remedied by ensuring the pond has at least two feet of water for them to swim in,” says Bill. “It’s also key for the water to remain oxygenated by keeping a little hole in the ice with a heater, bubbler, and an aerator. We use products from Aquascapes Inc. — pond experts from St. Charles, Illinois.”

Aquascapes’ designs manager, Gary Gronwick agrees it’s important to use a pond de-icer. “This will keep a little hole in the ice so gases can escape,” he says. “While some recommend boiling water to create an opening in frozen-over ponds, that should be discouraged. It will only ice up again quickly.“

Gronwick also says to avoid chopping or sawing the ice to open a hole. The noise and vibrations will stress out the hibernating fish to a point they could die.

These things done, Mother Nature will do the rest. The fish will spend the entire winter hibernating at the bottom of the pond, or in a cave designed for this, and then will slowly wake up as the water warms in the spring. The fish do not need to eat during this time and, in fact, shouldn’t be fed at all.

We’ve included in our photo captions below more tips on preparing your pond and fish for winter and how to watch over it all. Happy ponding.

 

Prepare Ponds in Fall for Winter:

Prepare Ponds in Fall for Winter:

Before winter sets in, carefully look over your plants and remove any dying material. These materials rot and build up poisonous gases that can’t escape through ice when it forms. Such conditions might mean the koi are no longer simply hibernating, but are in a dangerous state of torpor.

 

Pond Waterfalls in Winter: (Photo/Aquascapes Inc.)

Pond Waterfalls in Winter: (Photo/Aquascapes Inc.)

Keeping any waterfalls running during cold months helps move the water so ice doesn’t form. But if ice builds up, pond aerators can put bubbles back in the water to add oxygen for the fish.

 

Contented Pond Fish in Winter: (Photo/Aquascapes Inc)

Contented Pond Fish in Winter: (Photo/Aquascapes Inc)

This pond has been cleared of excessive plant material and ice does not cover over the pond so the fish are happily hibernating.

 

Water Plants in Winter:

Water Plants in Winter:

Hardy water lilies (shown here) that float on the water’s surface and have a short blooming period can withstand the cold winter months nicely. Lotuses also can withstand the cold winter months because they bloom in summer and go dormant in winter. Note that frost kills water hyacinths; water lettuce, which fights algae, should be wintered in a warm spot that is well lighted as they will not survive in the pond over winter.

 

Prepare Pond Fish for Winter:

Prepare Pond Fish for Winter:

To be on the safe side, take water temperature regularly once it hits 55 or lower. If your pond jewels are hungry and moving about and you haven’t fed them, they will find something in the pond to eat and soon will be dormant anyway.

 

 Pond Caves for Fish:

Pond Caves for Fish:

Ask your pond designer/builder to create a small cave, or caves, where the fish can hide from predators in warm weather, and where they can also lie dormant during the winter months. Caves are easily made from the way rocks are positioned in and around the pond.

 

 

No Room for a Pool? How About an Award-Winning ‘Spool?’

 

Not everyone has room for, or even wants, a full-sized swimming pool. But what if you still yearn for a water feature that you and your family can enjoy? Well, the answer for these clients was an in-ground “spool” or combination “spa/pool.”

After listening to their needs and preferences, we suggested the idea of spool with a spilling waterfall that keeps the spool cool in the summer, and hot during the evenings or cold winter months. This type of water feature has room for several adults and can be enjoyed year round without having to maintain a full-sized pool.

Because the clients’ 8’x10’ completed custom vinyl-lined spool operates as a spa, it includes massage jets for relaxing hydrotherapy. Above it, a stream of water flows through moss rock boulders and lush plantings into a soothing waterfall that can be enjoyed when soaking anytime of year.

The clients also opted for a handsome patio of Techo-Bloc paving stones (Elena in Sandlewood) which are durable and will withstand a lot of activity and weather changes. The landscaping was also carefully planned to provide color from April through late October: Skip Laurels, Leyland Cypress, and Cedars were used to create an attractive privacy screen. Plus, texture and color were brought into the buffering divider by incorporating flowering deciduous shrubs.

We were very pleased that this custom ‘spool’ not only perfectly suited the clients desires for a backyard refuge that fit well within their yard, but it also won for us two prestigious awards: Gold from the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA) and Silver from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

 

Small Backyard Pool/Spa:

Small Backyard Pool/Spa:

Tucked beautifully into a corner of their backyard patio, these clients enjoy year-round their custom in-ground vinyl spa-pool combo — or “spool.”

 

 

Backyard Refuge:

Backyard Refuge:

Deck and Patio also designed/built the clients handsome Techo-Bloc patio (Elena in Sandlewood) in rich earth tones. In cooler months the waterfall runs warm water; a natural gas campfire also helps extend the outdoor season whether the clients are sitting in or out of the spool.

 

 

Spa/Pool Combo:

Spa/Pool Combo:

Rushing stream that flows through large moss rock boulders and lush plantings creates soothing waterfall to be enjoyed while soaking in spa.

 

 

Pool/Spa Combo for Small Backyard:

Pool/Spa Combo for Small Backyard:

These clients wanted a pool or a water feature, and a patio as a fun place to entertain, but their backyard was too small for a pool. Their new spool, which can stay cool during hot summer days and can be heated up on a cool evening or winter’s day, was the perfect solution.

 

 

 

 

Fall Maintenance Tips

Fall foliage is glorious. That is until the leaves fall. Indeed, clearing away fallen leaves from key outdoor areas is one of the most important chores you can do this time of year. Here’s some tips from Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell and Bill Renter on fall outdoor maintenance.

 

insert-1

Photo: Aquascape, Inc.

 

Tip 1: Tree Trimming:

Before leaves fall, Deck and Patio’s Bill Renter suggests looking up your trees to see if any branches are completely bare of leaves.

“This is a good indicator of what needs to be cut off. Also, look to see if any low-hanging branches are near power lines; trim these so the weight of winter’s ice or snow won’t pull them down into the wiring. Also, falling limbs can result in accidents to people, cars, and homes, so this is an important step in fall maintenance.”

 

 

 

 

 

insert-2Tip # 2:  Leaf Piles Are Unhealthy:

Forgive our paraphrasing an old adage, but when it comes to DIY fall maintenance: Don’t let the leaves fall where they may.  “Too many leaves settled on your grass not only suffocates the lawn below, but piles of damp leaves breed insects and germs,” adds Deck and Patio owner, Dave Stockwell. “However, used correctly, collected leaves do make great compost or mulch.”

Tip # 3 Wet Foliage Can Stain:

“Fallen leaves also have tannin,” adds Bill. “The tannin can stain concrete, pavers and decks. People often don’t realize that it’s preferable to simply remove the leaves than to seal your deck or patio.”

Sealants, Bill explains, need to be regularly redone, which is a lot more maintenance than just getting rid of the leaves. (Indeed, some new deck materials such as Trex Transcend, don’t require sealants and it’s a good idea not to use them at all on these types of decks.)

 

 

2

 

Tip # 4 Fall Pond Maintenance: 

We are nearing peak season for fall foliage here on Long Island and many backyard ponds are positioned near deciduous trees. Even if there aren’t trees hovering immediately around your pond, fallen leaves from nearby trees can also make it into the water.

“It’s advisable, then, if you haven’t already put up netting to catch falling debris, we suggest you tend to that soon in order to maintain your stream or pond’s water. Once all the leaves have dropped, you can pull up the net and get rid of the leaves. You’ll be delighted come spring how much cleaner your water will be and how much less maintenance will be needed.”

 

 

NY’s Central Park in Fall

NY’s Central Park in Fall

If you are fortunate to live in an area with an abundance of deciduous trees, you already know that fall foliage is a beautiful sight. So take your photos of the blazing colors, trek along your favorite orange-and-red-crowned paths, canoe beside vibrant vistas, and sometimes just stop to sit and ponder Nature’s majesty.

Just don’t let the beauty of it all make you forget the above chore tips. Whether you perform them yourself, or call a trusted landscaper, you’ll be happy you did.

 

 

Bringing Outdoor Living Ideas to Local Fall Festival (Huntington, NY)

 

insert-1Come October, as the air gets crisp and leaves fall, moms, dads, kids, and grandparents delight in reconnecting outdoors at local fall festivals.

Deck and Patio enjoys participating at these events. In recent years, scheduling problems kept us away from Huntington’s big event. But after learning that festival-goers had been asking organizers if “the company with the fire pits and marshmallows would be there again,” we made sure to return, bringing our outdoor living ideas back to Heckscher Park.

insert-2The Columbus Day weekend Fall Festival was sponsored by the Huntington Chamber of Commerce. Sharing our assigned space with our good friends at Best Hot Tubs, our booth showcased several outdoor living ideas perfect for this time of year: two operating Bullfrog Spas hot tubs, colorful fall plants, fountains for the garden — and, of course, fire tables and lots of marshmallows.

Considering that the weekend weather didn’t totally cooperate, even more than usual our fire pits, steamy hot tubs, and booth tents were very welcome in the chilly and damp air.

Bullfrog Spas

What a great opportunity it was for our friends at Best Hot Tubs to showcase their top-of-the-line portable Bullfrog Spas. The timing was great as well. Best Hot Tubs showrooms (Westbury, Farmingdale, Windham, NY) offer big savings on Bullfrog Spas in October (up until October 23). Boasting $25 a month low energy cost and enough Bullfrog models to fit all budgets, the tubs were certainly a highlight at our booth.

Setting Up at Heckscher Park, Huntington

Setting Up at Heckscher Park, Huntington

Garden Fountains

Those who know Deck and Patio for our larger pond/water feature installations (we’ve done over 300 on Long Island alone) are frequently surprised that we offer attractive garden water fountains that take up hardly any space and are quick and easy to install.

Sometimes when we are designing a small garden for clients, there seems to be something missing even with the beautiful plants and shrubs, etc. Often, it’s the sound and relaxing sight of water movement that completes the picture.

The stacked stone urns we showcased are 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.

 

fire-pitsFire Pits/Fire Tables

We brought along a couple of rectangular or “linear” fire pits which are very popular today. They go very well with an outdoor love seat or L-shaped couch.

As for fire pit accessories, remote controls allow the fire pit to be turned on and off like a light switch. “Even though there’s no danger in turning these particular fire pits on, people like the feeling of extra security,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio.

Another hot accessory for fire pits are glass guards that create the look of “dancing flames” within. The glass guards project flames, providing a reflection, so you get two or three reflections, in addition to the real flame for a more dynamic experience.

insert-5

 

“Even though there were lots of food vendors at this year’s Fall Festival in Huntington, the ability to roast marshmallows over our fire pits was once again a big hit,” adds Bill Renter, owner of Best Hot Tubs. “We’re all glad we were able to participate once again.”

 

Here’s a few second video of our both at Heckscher Park:

 

Garden Fountains:

Garden Fountains:

Sometimes a small-scale fountain like this stacked stone garden urn from Aquascape Inc. is all that’s needed to complete the perfect garden. The one we used for this project is the smallest (32″ tall) – a perfect scale for their garden.

 

 

Get Your Heart Pumping with Some Fiery Fall Foliage

 

insert-1

When the weather gets cool, some really like it hot…fiery red hot, that is. The heat we’re talking about is blazing red foliage — bursts of color that some find ease the pain of the outdoor season coming to an end.

In fact, experts say the color red goes beyond sensual pleasure. It stimulates the human system — even increasing pulse and heart rates.

 

However, brilliant red foliage outside our very own windows requires planning. To get all the dirt on what trees to plant, we spoke with Angelo Puleo, Nursery Division at Bissett Nursery (Holtsville, NY).

“One of the most popular and widespread deciduous trees that produces bright reds in autumn is the beautiful Maple tree,” says Pueleo. “In particular, we recommend Sugar Maples, and, of course Oaks for great fall red color.”

 

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Note: Be sure to ask experts at an established nursery or landscaping firm which variety of maple, etc. will produce red leaves in fall, as some varieties offer up a blazing yellow instead. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…it’s just for another blog post.

 

Cleveland Select Pear

Cleveland Select Pear

 

 

Puleo also recommends the Cleveland Select Pear for robust color. Like the Oak and Maple, it is also hardy and can withstand most winds and storms, including ice storms — a real plus in our neck of the woods (the Northeast).

“In spring, the Cleveland Select bursts awake in beautiful white flowers, and in the fall, its leaves offer up a deep orangey-red blaze of color,” he says.

 

 

When it comes to smaller trees, Deck and Patio designers often consider Japanese Maples in landscaping plans; red-leafed versions of this beautiful tree offer degrees of red from spring through fall (see last photo). Planting them in early fall allows for new root growth in time for spring.

 

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Another option is the Crape Myrtle tree (immediately below), which, as Puleo admits, is not quite as brilliant as the other trees, but it does offer an attractive reddish-orange color.

In addition, when the Crape Myrtle finishes flowering in fall, it pods-up with berries, and attracts such delightful visitors as the Yellow-rumped Warbler, a sweet little visitor who feeds on these berries after insects are gone.

 

 

 

 Crape Myrtle Tree:

Crape Myrtle Tree:

The Crape Myrtle tree that thrives on Long Island is a hybrid of other Crape Myrtles that flourish in warmer climates such as the Southern United States. Clusters of pink blossoms appear in late spring (shown here) which are so delicate and crinkly they look like they are made of crape paper. In fall, it showcases bright red-orange-y leaves.

 

 

Red Maple in Fall:

Red Maple in Fall:

A beautiful shade tree in summer with brilliant color in autumn, the Red Maple can be planted any time of year, including fall. Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, place it in the ground, and fertilize and water well, says Angelo Puleo of Bisset Nurseries.

 

 

 Mighty Oak:

Mighty Oak:

The oak grows rapidly, making it an ideal choice. Like all the trees mentioned in this blog post, leave about 10 feet between each one when planting. Note: For those who keep horses, the oak’s acorn and leaves can be toxic to animals such as horses.

 

 

Cleveland Select Pear Tree in Spring:

Cleveland Select Pear Tree in Spring:

This tree brings forth three great seasons of leaves; white blossoms in spring (shown here), lively green leaves in summer and bright reds in fall (see above).

 

 

Bradford Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Abrahami):

Bradford Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Abrahami):

A close cousin of the Cleveland Select Pear, the Bradford is pictured here as its leaves begin to turn from green to fall-red.

 

 

Japanese Maple Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳):

Japanese Maple Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳):

This beautiful Japanese Maple is native to Japan and other nearby Asian countries such as South Korea. It’s prized for the shape of its leaves and rich red color.

 

So, get your heart pumping every time you walk outdoors come fall. The fiery red scene will so take you away that you’ll forget you’re wearing a jacket.