Monthly Archives: June 2016

//June

Vinyl-Lined Pools Allow Flexibility in Pool Design

Although Deck and Patio builds concrete (gunite) pools, many of our clients prefer the feel of vinyl and especially the flexibility that vinyl offers in designing a pool.

“Sometimes stringent local setback codes affect pool design, other times the backyard space is small or the terrain challenging. Whatever the difficulties, with today’s advanced computerization of liner fabrications used in vinyl-lined pools, we can construct a swimming pool in any shape, curve, or angle, so there’s freedom in giving clients exactly what they want,” says Deck and Patio’s own Bill Renter.

With such flexibility in pool design, homeowners are also not stuck with what some believe to be unattractive white interior stairs. “The liner is fabricated to include the stairs and any other in-pool amenities. This is helpful because white stairs do not blend with the rest of the pool,” says Renter, “and, of course, there’s no sacrificing a smooth bottom for the swimmers’ feet.”

Of course, the base construction of a vinyl pool is much the same as any other. Vinyl simply refers to the method used to line a pool’s interior. These liners come in a large variety of colors, which can react with the water to create a romantic “grotto” or “lagoon’ effect, so popular today. Plus, the concrete walls of vinyl-lined pools have a lifetime guarantee.

“Often known for being the lowest-cost option, vinyl pools and spas are easily customizable,” adds Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “In addition, replacement cost for the outer liner is modest compared to other pool fixes. Because of this, we can offer a wallet-friendly facelift for a totally new look down the road. Plus, in the Northeast, vinyl-lined pools perform better because of the freeze/thaw climate.”

The first project we’re highlighting today (see first photo below) is unique with an interesting twist on the typical vinyl liner. It’s a swimming pool that looks like a pond – i.e., made entirely of rocks and not the usual concrete or steel – but filtered and treated chemically like a normal pool. Its liner isn’t “vinyl.” Instead, because of the very unique pool design the clients wanted, the best choice was a rubber pond liner. It’s as comfortable as vinyl and was a necessary choice for the job.

 

Adirondack-style Pool:

Adirondack-style Pool:

Despite looking like it’s a natural pond set within rocks, on the bottom of the pool there are no boulders. We installed a one-piece black rubber liner to contain the pool water, which feels to the feet much like a vinyl pool and is comfortable to swim in. We used a blend of pool and pond materials — a black liner, which reacts with the water to create a stunning pond-like appearance (a 45-mil EPDM pond liner) and Aquascape Inc.’s wide-mouth skimmers and bulkhead fittings to penetrate the liner.

 

 

Vinyl-lined Pool Sanctuary:

Vinyl-lined Pool Sanctuary:

Sometimes clients want more than a pool. This newly created backyard sanctuary comprises an in-ground vinyl-lined pool, large patio area, outdoor kitchen, outdoor shower, fire pit, two streams and two waterfalls. Plus, the serenity of it all gives no hint of the high-tech energy efficient components supporting it. The sounds of waterfalls, streams and sprays add tranquility to the backyard retreat.

 

 

Award-winning Vinyl-Lined Pool:

Award-winning Vinyl-Lined Pool:

This entire Manhasset, NY project included a free-form, vinyl-lined pool that meanders along the landscape, along with a spillover spa. We tucked it into the back right corner of the clients’ backyard and surrounded it with a stacked stone wall and lush plantings. If you have a small yard — as was the case here — Deck and Patio frequently recommends designing different patio levels which help make the yard appear bigger.

 

 

Vinyl-lined Pool and Backyard Retreat:

Vinyl-lined Pool and Backyard Retreat:

Amenities abound in this backyard retreat: beautiful free-form vinyl pool, moss rock waterfalls, diving rock, tanning shelf, portable spa set in-ground, robust plantings, and handsome patio. The movement in the pool’s free-form shape, surrounded by plant material chosen for color and texture – with a view on how it will grow – ensures their backyard retreat will be a lovely oasis for a long time to come.

 

 

Outdoor Resort Living:

Outdoor Resort Living:

These clients wanted a good deal more than an outdoor pool and patio; they wanted a wide range of resort-style amenities to enhance their already existing majestic views of Long Island Sound. One such amenity was a vinyl-lined vanishing edge, or “infinity” pool that brings the view of the shoreline right up to their backyard patio. In addition, we included a spectacular custom spa, also perfectly positioned to enjoy the “vanishing edge” views. (Sunset photo of this project follows.)

 

 

Outdoor Resort Living:

Outdoor Resort Living:

This resort-style outdoor living oasis includes vanishing (vinyl lined) pool, custom spa, tumbled stone patio, natural gas campfires, evergreen trees for privacy, pool waterfalls, in-pool bar stools, three staircases, and in-floor cleaning. A swim-up U-shaped bar also serves as a patio bar; the pool boasts 5 in-pool stools and swim-out steps.

 

 

Quality Pool & Spa Surrounds Provide Best Seats in the House

We love our backyards and spend as much time sitting around the pool or spa as swimming or relaxing in them. Indeed, the atmosphere of a water feature offers an ideal space for entertaining, sunbathing, talking, eating, and pure relaxation.

Therefore, making the right choice for a pool or spa surround will definitely increase the comfort and enjoyment of the outdoor experience.  Below are four examples of quality pool and spa surround options that we have used for a few of our clients. We designed and built these, as we do all our projects, with function, beauty, and durability in mind. The result being that such new outdoor living areas quickly become the best seats in the house.

The following four examples showcase (1) composite decking, (2) all natural hardwood, (3) concrete pavers, and (4) limestone. Pull up a lounge chair and enjoy!

 

Trex Transcend Decking

Trex Transcend Decking

1. For this very special pool and spa (unseen) surround, we chose composite materials manufactured by Trex Transcend Decking. This decking has a wood grain appearance, but is actually made from combined plastic and wood. Note how the eye tricks you into thinking you are looking at solid wood.

With some exceptions, composite decking, with its protective shell, is unrivaled for being fade, stain, scratch and mold resistant. The “Gravel Path” color used here enhances the wood grain appearance with earth tones. Tip: Whenever possible, you want a deck to go all the way around a pool as seen here.

 

 

Brazilian Hardwood Decking

Brazilian Hardwood Decking

2. For this project, we used a durable Brazilian Walnut hardwood. This all-natural wood offers a warm choice for pools and spas due to ease of construction and is a particularly smart choice for an above-ground pool or spa.

When handled properly, it can make a relatively inexpensive above-ground water feature, such as this spa, look like an in-ground pool. This particular natural wood is very strong, hard and durable and resists splintering, termites, wear, rot, fire, chemicals and marine borers — and almost every threat imaginable. And because it is all natural wood, it is recyclable at the end of what is sure to be a long service life.

 

 

Concrete Pavers for Pool Surround

Concrete Pavers for Pool Surround

3. We used concrete pavers for this pool and spa surround. These pavers offer a durable, interlocking alternative to asphalt and poured concrete.

Extremely durable and beautiful, concrete pavers won’t show signs of color loss or fading over time, and have blemish-free surfaces. We used Cambridge Ledgestone pavers (“Toffee Onyx” color, in random pattern) to create the natural rustic appearance seen here.

 

 

Travertine Pool Surround

Travertine Pool Surround

4. We designed and built this lovely natural limestone pool surround using Travertine, which has gone through a “brushing” process to obtain the warm and antique look it enjoys. It comes in tiles with hand-chiseled (chipped) edges with an antiqued and unfilled surface.

Valued for its banded, pitted “distressed” appearance, Travertine adds rich, distinctive character that stems from the way the limestone is formed: being deposited at the mouth of mineral springs and in caves. For this pool surround, we added a stone ledge, which, together with the limestone, suggests a romantic Roman bath.

 

 

Ideal Landscaping Takes Planning

 

Lush beautiful landscaping that lasts and expresses those who live there is rarely random. It involves a thoughtful plan, which means that any expert professional involved needs to understand the client.

When planning a delightful outdoor landscape, it is key to consider such questions as: how do you feel about the upkeep of the space? Frequently that means choosing plants that will survive with little effort, with shade, and are generally easy to maintain.

However, to complete the right outdoor vistas, it’s not just the softscapes (or plantings) that are important. Where additional hardscaping is desired, the types of materials used need to fit the mood and tastes of those living there. It is equally important to soften around these areas with hardy plants and shrubs, along with dramatic statements like a mature Japanese maple — all of which add a soft allure to any patio, walkway, walls and steps.

Another crucial consideration is how do you want to use the space, with the size of your property – and, of course, budget –  affecting these decisions.

In the end, the ideal project begins with the right plan to express those who live there – and express them ‘beautifully.’

 

 

Hardscapes That Look Natural:

Hardscapes That Look Natural:

This beautiful walking area in the clients’ yard appears to have been designed by Mother Nature herself. Stepping stones leading to steps of natural stone  are flanked by lush plantings that include bright red “Wave Petunias” and colorful purple and yellow “Coneflowers.”

 

 

Landscaping Around a Pond:

Landscaping Around a Pond:

These clients wanted a water feature as part of their landscaping plan. Along with robust green ground cover that Deck and Patio added in and around the waterfall’s natural rocks, the pond also bursts alive with color. Bright orange blossoms of “Canna Lilies” (left), which take full sun but can thrive in partial shade, offer up tropical-like blossoms. The green-leafed plant to the right is “Hosta” which boasts delightful waxy leaves and produces white flowers in late summer.

 

 

Backyard Streams with Landscaping:

Backyard Streams with Landscaping:

So many clients these days want a stream with waterfalls that they can stroll or sit beside to enjoy peaceful contemplative moments. The key is to making such a delightful experience is for it to appear as if Mother Nature carved it out long ago. This means careful thought must go into the plants and rocks used along the banks.

The bright reds seen along this stream are “Wave Petunias” which are summer favorites. They are definitely easy-care as well as fast growing. Note: they are not the cascading Petunias you see growing in porch hanging baskets, but are garden favorites that spread and trail along full of flowers. The pretty bluish-purple flowers just behind them are “Russian Sage” and the robust green evergreens rolling along the banks are “Procumben Junipers.”

 

 

A Pond Monet Would Love:

A Pond Monet Would Love:

These clients wanted a stunning, natural looking expansive pond and if we say so ourselves, the finished water feature is a spot the painter Monet would appreciate. The joyous colors bobbing in the water are tropical water lilies that come in a variety of colors and are seen here in white, red and pink varieties. In choosing these plants, you’ll want to be sure they are mostly day-bloomers, but if you have good landscape lighting, and want to experience something very special once the sun goes down, include a few night bloomers in your pond.

 

 

Dramatic Curb Appeal:

Dramatic Curb Appeal:

When you want your entranceway to say “wow” like these clients did consider a hardscape in muted soft colors. Around the walkway and porch, we lavishly landscaped the area with bright eye-catching plantings. On the far left, for example, there is a blush of purple “Coneflowers” shining out from a much more expansive swath of sunny yellows of the same variety.

 

Breathing Room: Outdoor Rooms Come In all Shapes

Outdoor rooms can be elaborate affairs. Indeed, one project we are showcasing today is an enclosed pool house that boasts two separate outdoor rooms. Still another is a completely enclosed four seasons room.

But as This Old House Magazine recently showed in 39 DIY Budget-wise Ways to Create Outdoor Rooms, just about any outdoor space can be turned into an open-air living room offering room to breathe.

The key is comfort. Just as indoors, outdoor rooms are for spending time relaxing with friends and family or just taking time to refresh your own spirit. And as long as you’ve created a cozy atmosphere, you not only don’t need walls around the space — you don’t even need a roof.

Breathing Room

In the end, the only rules for an outdoor room is to breathe fresh air. Once you consider your budget, ask yourself: How do I want to use the space? Am I looking for lots of nighttime enjoyment, including protection from mosquitos? How many seasons is it for? Who will use it the most in the family? Is it intended to be a swimming pool or other water feature amenity?

Here’s how some of our clients answered those questions, and how Deck and Patio helped them fulfill their plans.

Outdoor Rooms with Walls and Roofs

Insert # 1The Ultimate: Pool House with Outdoor Rooms.

This completed project won Deck and Patio a prestigious international APSP award. Along with a pool with waterfalls and spillover spa, elegant Travertine patio/pool surround, outdoor kitchen with natural stone facade (unseen), and outdoor shower, we built them a stunning pool house with “two” separate outdoor rooms. The pool is located far from the house and they wanted the ability to cook by the pool, as well as have a place to relax — bug free. The 800-square-foot pool house includes a 20-by-20 screened room and bathroom, as well as separate great room with sofa, flat screen television, refrigerator, washer/dryer, and storage closet.

 

Destination Pool with Pool House:

Destination Pool with Pool House:

At night, this destination pool area (see also photo above) is as romantic as it is serene. It is an idyllic spot for parties that begin in the day and continue long into the night.

 

 

Insert # 2A Fully-enclosed Four Seasons Room:

After an evening of being pestered by insects, these clients decided they wanted their outdoor room “screened.” Later, when they decided to use it when it was windy as well as in the cold months, the screens became windows. And once it was to be fully closed in, opportunities for more special amenities opened up.

The completed four seasons room not only harmonizes with their home, as well as having screens, it boasts fully operating windows, automated Mitsubishi ductless heating and air conditioning, a flat screen television, and enough room for their young child to use his ride-on toys. No matter the season, this outdoor room’s large Anderson windows offer a 360-degree view of their lovely property.

 

Outdoor Rooms Without Walls

Insert # 3Travertine Patio With Pergola:

Not all outdoor rooms require walls. Using only a handsome pergola and comfortable furniture, this backyard space has plenty of breathing room.

Note how the pergola’s overhead slats create a shadow-carpet that helps define an elegant outdoor living room. The adjacent dining area is only steps from an outdoor kitchen/bar/barbecue veneered in natural stone (see immediately below). The property’s glorious expansive Travertine patio serves as the floor for these happy spaces.

 

 

Travertine Patio/Outdoor Kitchen:

Travertine Patio/Outdoor Kitchen:

Deck and Patio used a natural stone for the veneer of the bar/barbecue and constructed a seat wall made of the same veneer, with the same edge-restraint as the capstone for the seat wall. This created a unique contrast between the patio, bar area and the extensive back veneer used for the house.

 

Insert # 4

 

Lighting! Lighting! Lighting!:

During the day, you have earth’s sun to provide all the light you need.

But, when it comes to an inviting outdoor room at night, lighting can greatly add to the experience. This shingle-roof pergola/pavilion/fireplace project was installed at the edge of a patio. With lighted handsome columns on stone pillars that match the fireplace, lighting creates the perfect evening ambience through several seasons.

 

Outdoor Rooms without Walls or Roofs

Outdoor Room on Deck:

Outdoor Room on Deck:

Along with a hot tub set into their multi-level deck, thee homeowners created room to breathe by adding comfortable furniture, a fire pit and a television. Note: Today’s LED televisions can be properly encased to be theft-free. In fact, Best Hot Tubs’ outdoor living expert has helped clients do just that. Encasing the television carefully will also ensure the proper internal temperature control/circulation to protect it. There are also televisions designed for outside use which resist rain, dust and other elements.

 

No Fixed Structure At All

 

Photo # 5If you agree with This Old House Magazine’s feature mentioned above (and we do), maybe you don’t need anything fixed to create an idyllic outdoor living space. Here, to shade a self-supporting hammock, the clients positioned a tilt umbrella next to their pool’s delightful waterfall. It’s the perfect spot when the Purple Allium Sphaerocephalon are in bloom (forefront).

Yet this outdoor room can be moved to another spot when other plantings are relaxing focal points. And you don’t need a pool or waterfalls for a tranquil place to refresh the spirit. Create a container garden by grouping some seasonal flowers together and set up a place to rest — you’ll all the outdoor breathing room you need.

 

 

2016 Outdoor Living Trends: Soothing Colors Go Yard Wide

According to online landscaping gurus — “LoveYourLandscape.org” — one of the latest trends in outdoor living is to incorporate soothing hues throughout your outdoor space. This can come in the colors of the plantings you choose, and even how you cover your outdoor furniture.

Pantone-Color-of-theYear-2016

Pantone-Color-of-theYear-2016

Indeed, the 2016 Pantone Color of the Year (left) blended two of these soft colors — Rose Quartz and Serenity (or blushes of pink and blue). In seeing the new color, Deck and Patio recognized that there is a much wider way one can infuse a yard’s space with these tones — by using the blend in your hardscapes!

Now one does not immediately think of pool surrounds, driveways, and patios (a.k.a. hardscapes) as soothing, but, indeed, the right patio, etc., hues can greatly add to the serenity of the outdoor experience. After all, these areas frequently take up quite a bit of any property.

One paving stone company is very much on trend — Cambridge Pavers Inc. — which has come out with a special line of pavers this year: their South Beach Collection offers lovely pinks and blues as part of their brand new pastel shade pallet. With names like “Pink Sands” and “Sky Blue” you can easily imagine these tones bringing a beach-y feeling to any backyard pool area or water view — or, indeed, around any outdoor space you want to be soothing.

Photo Provided by Techo-Bloc

Photo Provided by Techo-Bloc

Another company — who’s paving stones Deck and Patio also uses a great deal — is Techo-Bloc. Their popular “Monticello” pavers (seen here) have been providing these pastel hues for a while.

The Monticello outdoor slabs can be purchased in multiple colors. Two of our favorites this year are the Chocolate Brown with its slight rose hue and the Azzurro color with a blue underlining hue; which beautifully hint at the Pantone colors of the year: Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue. Also, Techo-Bloc’s Mini-Creta collection, in Sandlewood, offers echoes of rose and blue from the gray.

How to Choose the Right Soothing Pavers

Sometimes the exact color (particularly it’s name) will not reflect how it will appear in sunlight, or shade, or at night once installed. Depending on these lighting factors, a sandy “earth tone” may appear pinkish depending on the conditions.

Now if you find comparing the colors of the many different landscaping materials daunting — viewing online photos can distort color and texture — Deck and Patio has addressed this by creating an outdoor display at our design center. Here, visitors can see many of the available materials close-up.

“When visiting our outdoor display, they can walk-on them, and even touch various patio materials to get a proper sense of how a finished hardscape will look in natural light,” says Deck and Patio’s owner, Dave Stockwell. “Plus, if desired, our staff can explain the different benefits of each one — be it bluestone, brick, concrete pavers, permeable pavers, Travertine, etc.”

So we confidently say: go yard-wide with soothing colors this year. Restful outdoor spaces are always in style.

 Pool/Spa Surround in Techo-Bloc “Monticello”:

Pool/Spa Surround in Techo-Bloc “Monticello”:

Deck and Patio gave this refurbished pool a very soothing “surround” hardscape by using Techo-Bloc’s Monticello pavers. Just as an aside: along with the hot tub installation, the pool/patio project won us a prestigious award…just saying.

 

Photo Provided by Techo-Bloc

Photo Provided by Techo-Bloc

 

“For use in patios, terraces and walkways, Monticello is available in multiple-size outdoor slabs. “Like the sun-warmed limestone of southern Tuscany, without the high cost of installation demanded by natural stone, Monticello’s rich colors are rendered still more dramatic by its distinctive, undulating surface texture,” says a Techo-Bloc spokesperson. Indeed, Monticelo’s deeply chiseled edges speak of strength and endurance, underscoring the timeless grandeur of these impressive slabs.

 

 

Entryway in Soft Hues

Entryway in Soft Hues

Light, together with materials, can change how you see color. So you decide if you see pinks and blues in this attractive entry (above) installed by Deck and Patio. (Hint: we do!)