Backyard Refurbishments

/Backyard Refurbishments

Building/Designing Natural Looking Waterscapes

To design a natural looking waterscape system, several elements are key: well chosen natural stones, quality biological filtration systems, and a wide range of ground and aquatic plants.

“To say we’ve learned a good deal over the years as to how to do this kind of work is an understatement,” says owner Dave Stockwell. “At Deck and Patio, we’ve created over 300 water features across Long Island, New York City as well as out-of-state.”

Any special tricks Deck and Patio has developed over time are of little value, he adds, if we don’t get the basics right. And those basics begin with the right rocks.”

Rocks and Boulders

When chosen well, and positioned perfectly, rocks can make a man-made waterfall and stream appear as if they’re flowing from a natural mountain bed.

Members of our team have made a study of how rocks precisely affect the flow of water. Our efforts have been rewarded; Deck and Patio has received a multitude of awards for our waterscapes.

Below are some examples of how we pull everything together.


Positioning Rocks and Boulders in the Landscape

Positioning Rocks and Boulders in the Landscape


The rocks used in this Deck and Patio pond installation – some of which weigh over three tons — were imported from farmers’ fields in New Jersey, says Dave.

Each rock was hand picked for its particular use, and sometimes for its ideal crevices in which perennials could be planted.






Moss Rock

Moss Rock

Whenever Deck and Patio designs and builds a new waterscape or natural landscape retaining wall, moss rock is always part of the design.

Moss grows well in shady areas, he adds. And along with ferns, it helps transform any backyard into a natural cool setting.

“Of course, also choosing the right size rocks and knowing where to position them is essential for a natural-looking scene.






Spill Rocks for Backyard Streams

Spill Rocks for Backyard Streams

When gravity urges water onward, it spills over rocks naturally, so it takes a trained eye to ensure any man-made waterscape add rocks as if nature had created the movement and water trail.

For example, each “spill rock” along this Deck and Patio  backyard stream was carefully chosen and positioned to depict the most natural water movement.

The stream flows down and over a 2-foot-by-2-foot-wide moss rock waterfall and cascades into a 10-foot-by-15-foot pond. It looks like it has always been there, part of the natural environment.




Surrounding Plants’ Size, Color, and Texture

Surrounding Plants’ Size, Color, and Texture

When adding a water feature to existing landscape, we consider the color and texture of surrounding plant material, as well as how the plants will eventually grow.

Here Deck and Patio planted low-lying evergreens and ground cover perennials in and around the stream and rock outcroppings. These soften the large boulders, which would otherwise stand out and spoil the natural look.

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.




The gurus of all things pond/water gardens — Aquascape Inc., in St. Charles, IL — list the basic groups of aquatic plants as:


Aquatic Plants

Aquatic Plants

• Water Lilies

• Lotus

• Marginal Plants

• Water Lily-like Plants

• Floating Plants Submerged Plants.

“An ideal pond mixes plant heights, textures and color from at least three of these aquatic groups,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “This gives the most natural look. We also don’t install plants in a symmetrical way. A more random placement appears the most natural.”



Landscaping Long Bloom Periods:

Landscaping Long Bloom Periods:

For this project, Deck and Patio also incorporated creeping evergreen ground covers that cascade and wind over and between the rocks we used.

An expert selection of plants can provide color from April through October; note also that here, the whole design flows beautifully into the back property.




Steep Property Grades Can Be Useful


Steep Property Grades

Steep Property Grades

“It would be wonderful if we were brought in for a job where we get to sculpt the entire property’s terrain, but, alas, that’s almost never the case,” says Dave Stockwell. “Our job is to integrate water features and the landscaping with what’s already there.”

Surprisingly, a steep property grade can be a good thing when it comes to waterscapes. Such terrain not only offers an opportunity for drama but designing a water feature along such a slope will permit Mother Nature to do all the heavy lifting — or pushing the water along.

In this case we added a stream and plantings along such a property with five cascading waterfalls — using moss rock boulders, evergreens, perennials and annuals. We also put in a series of stairs and landings to bring them down to the homeowners new pool area.



More Than Beautiful: Self-Sustaining Water Features

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater Harvesting

It’s true: the sounds and sights of moving water turn any property into a restful escape.

But ponds and pond-less water features can also include rainwater harvesting components — offering a great way to save water and aid the local ecology.

Such rainwater harvesting systems support all types and combinations of water features  — fountains, waterfalls, ponds, streams.

The captured rainwater can also replenish a water feature’s surrounding landscape, wash a car, rinse down a deck or patio, etc., and it is especially helpful during droughts.

As certified installers of renowned Aquascape Inc. products, the water conservation systems and other water garden products Deck and Patio uses are both technologically and biologically efficient.


Project # 1

Koi is a healthy part of this pond's natural ecosystem

Koi is a healthy part of this pond’s natural ecosystem



The Aquascape products Deck and Patio used for this project include high efficiency pumps, skimmers, biological filters, and gravel beds.

Note: Koi can also be a truly beneficial part of a pond’s eco-system, including this self-sustaining one.



Project # 2


Deck and Patio Rainwater Harvesting (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio Rainwater Harvesting (Long Island/NY):


The Aquascape ‘green’ RainExchange process for this Deck and Patio feature combines a decorative water feature with a completely sub-surface collection system — thereby creating a beautiful backyard oasis that is very eco-friendly.

“The collection system is located completely below ground,” says Deck and Patio owner Dave Stockwell. “The reservoir is a truly maintenance-free source that keeps topping off the water feature.There is no requirement for City water. It comes completely from rainfall on the roof of the clients’ house — where gravity alone draws it into pipes.”




Project # 3


Deck and Patio Water Feature (Long Island/NY)

Deck and Patio Water Feature (Long Island/NY)

This Deck and Patio water feature includes a beautiful pond, waterfalls and stream with a bridge across it.  Along with the right water plants, everything works together to create a very healthy eco-system — underpinning the peaceful vistas that restore the soul.

Why is this important? Well, such products create a total natural biological system around ponds and waterfalls that can be replenished and maintained entirely through rainfall.


Project # 4


Deck and Patio Pondless Water Feature (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio Pondless Water Feature (Long Island/NY):

With a “pondless” waterfall, the waterfalls and stream do not drop into a pond, but seep through gravel where it is first filtered and then collected in an underground reservoir and continually recirculated. Because you are continually filtering and recirculating water, such a project is definitely eco-friendly.

However, natural evaporation of the water feature will require, like this Deck and patio one, that the recirculating water be “topped off” and refreshed occasionally. So for those who would prefer to go totally “green” and not use any town water by even occasionally replenishing your stream/waterfall, Aquascape also makes the RainXchange reservoir system we used here.

With RainXchange, runoff rainwater — either from a roof or permeable pavers is collected to maintain the water feature’s system through completely green rainwater harvesting methods. This captured rainwater can also replenish the surrounding landscape, wash a car, rinse down a deck or patio, etc., and is especially helpful during droughts.


There are many routes to sustainability. And the beautiful water feature you choose for a restful respite will be truly that…having no tinge of guilt about its impact on the environment.






Bringing Your Vacation Experience Back Home

This year's cold snap

This year’s cold snap

If during this winter’s record-breaking cold snap you sought haven in some warmer climate, no doubt you came back with more than memories of indoor resort comforts.

For example, when clients of ours a few years ago returned from Costa Rica they didn’t want to loose the happy family times they had experienced. A small country, bordered by two big bodies of water (the Caribbean and the Pacific,) they relished all that the sunny and water-surrounded country offered.

It’s not surprising, then, that our clients wanted to continue some of the happy family outdoor activities back home.

But they feared that creating their very own backyard resort — that would offer similar outdoor amenities they enjoyed on holiday — would be hard to achieve.

First, there were conflicting priorities between the husband and wife. She wanted cool places to relax with friends and he wanted to take full advantage of the sun’s rays.

Then, of course, there was the challenges presented by their property’s 12-ft elevation change in the property.


Pergola and multi-level patio

Pergola and multi-level patio

The solutions Deck and Patio recommended were to place their new vinyl-lined pool directly in the sun while at the same time creating an shaded area for congregating in comfort via a swim up/walk up bar with an overhead pergola.

To address the elevation, Deck and Patio’s design called for using the elevation for building a raised patio, with a wrap-around stair leading to the patio/pool and sunken swim up bar patio, plus creating a large pool natural stone waterfall area with plantings to hold back the grade.


Natural Retaining Wall

Natural Retaining Wall

“We were able to design the retaining area without having to add rails or fences that might have blocked views of their resort-style free-form pool,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio.

“Plus the addition of the natural stone waterfall with water slide didn’t just help act as a retaining wall, it also contributed to re-creating memories of their happy Costa Rican vacation.”



Custom In-ground Spa

Custom In-ground Spa


To complete their backyard resort, on the upper patio, nearer the house, we built a custom in-ground vinyl-lined spa.

Operating separately from the pool and being just steps from their door, they can use this resort amenity all year long.



The clients were delighted with their new retreat. And for an added bonus, the project won Deck and Patio several gold medal design awards from NSPI (National Spa and Pool Institute) and NESPA (Northeast Spa & Pool Association).


Deck and Patio Backyard Resort (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio Backyard Resort (Long Island/NY):

A Techo-Bloc multi-tiered patio, natural stone steps, lush landscaping almost completely surround a handsome free-form vinyl-lined pool with swim up bar with pergola, in-pool bar stools; a natural retaining wall with waterfalls and slide adds to the resort feeling.


Swimming Pool Amenities (Long Island/NY):

Swimming Pool Amenities (Long Island/NY):

Considered the ultimate in outdoor living, this vinyl-lined pool includes a U-shaped granite-topped swim up bar with submerged bar stools.


Pool-side Bar (Long Island/NY):

Pool-side Bar (Long Island/NY):

The 32-foot swim-up bar is faced in cultured stone and rock and curves around to be enjoyed from the patio and well as from in the pool. It is a way of bringing everyone together — those who want to be in the pool and those relaxing on the patio.


Spill-over Custom Spa (Long Island/NY):

Spill-over Custom Spa (Long Island/NY):

Even though it’s not near the pool, the custom spa was designed as a “spill-over” in order to provide the delights of a waterfall when sitting on the patio. The sounds are peaceful — truly reminiscent of their Costa Rican vacation.


Can I Fit a Full-Sized Pool on My Small Property?

Body Builder’s Favorite Jeans

Body Builder’s Favorite Jeans


Most of us have experienced something that just won’t fit. Be it an old pair of favorite jeans, or that comfy sofa that won’t squeeze into a new apartment.

And outside? Well, if your home is in Nassau County, Long Island, NY, there’s a good chance you live in a tightly packed community where there’s not much room for a lot of outdoor living amenities. The same is true for many parts of NY’s Suffolk County.

In addition, these New York communities can be bedeviled with strict town setback codes. So if you’re hankering for a full-sized swimming pool in parts of our neck of the woods, well, it might seem easier for a body builder to fit a pair of old comfy jeans over his massive new muscles.



Deck and Patio Project Showcase

Deck and Patio Project Showcase

Project Showcase: Long Island/NY

The backyard for this Long Island family wasn’t large. It sloped toward the house, and there was a bundle of challenging Town setback regulations. They felt a pool was out of the question.

However, the owners contacted Deck and Patio — initially just to change out their old deck for a new Trex Composite one. But after sharing their dreams for a pool with members of our team, they were thrilled to learn that it was more than possible. All that was needed was some creative ideas.

“One key to fitting the full-sized pool they wanted on this particular property,” says Deck and Patio owner Dave Stockwell, “was choosing a vinyl-lined pool. These pools can be built in just about any shape or angle, etc. This gave us great flexibility in designing it so it could conform to the contours of their yard.”

Another key element that Deck and Patio suggested was to take advantage of the property’s higher grade by abutting the pool against a new natural retaining wall of moss rock, plantings — along with a stream and waterfall that would splash into the new pool.

The final touch to the plan was a handsome Cambridge patio/pool surround.


Vinyl Freeform Pool/Nassau County, NY:

Vinyl Freeform Pool/Nassau County, NY:

The vinyl-lined pool allowed us great flexibility in the shape of the pool. It was designed to follow the curves of available property space. Note that the pool steps are also vinyl-lined so no scrapes or roughness on the feet when stepping in or out.


Cambridge Pool Patio/Nassau County, NY:

Cambridge Pool Patio/Nassau County, NY:

Note how the Cambridge pavers (from Cambridge’s Round Table pavingstones) were set down in a herringbone pattern. The pavers’ have embossed dimpled surfaces that roll into soft beveled edges on four sides.


Additional Cambridge Patio/Nassau County, NY:

Additional Cambridge Patio/Nassau County, NY:

The homeowners asked for a second patio nearer the house. It’s an ideal spot that is also where they have an outdoor kitchen complete with refrigerator and BBQ. Bluestone stepping stones and lush Deck and Patio landscaping completed the project.


Testing the Waters: Will Our Family Enjoy a Natural Swim Pond?

Most people are pretty certain their family will enjoy using a regular swimming pool. But a swimming pond? Not everyone is so sure.

One way to test the waters so to speak is ask yourself this question: Do we like swimming in lakes, the ocean, and swimming holes? If the answer is yes to any of these, then, you’ll probably love a natural swimming pond.

After all, families swimming in the ocean have probably brushed up against the occasional bit of seaweed and snorkeled to get close up to colorful fish.

So would it surprise you that in recent years, Deck and Patio (already known as pond experts on Long Island) has been asked to create several man-made ponds — designed especially for the clients’ swimming enjoyment?

In fact, here’s a video of people doing just that in a Long Island natural swimming pond created by Deck and Patio:



But what about bacteria?

In an earlier post on Aquascape Inc.’s website entitled Growing Up Around a Pond, the writer focuses on the ’10 most interesting things’ she has learned from having just such a pond:

all bacteria is not bad;

swimming in a pond is more fun than in a pool;

ponds are wondrous at night;

ponds are better than TV or video games.

We would have to agree with her. Snorkeling in a regular swimming pool isn’t all that exciting.

That aside, swimming in a pristine natural pond is very possible and thrilling. Using the right underlayment, liner, Biofalls and skimmers, bog filtration and water plants are all part of creating the perfect experience.


Pond/Playground Oasis in Brooklyn, NY

Deck and Patio Natural Swimming Pond, NYC

Deck and Patio Natural Swimming Pond, NYC

One great example of a swimming pond was this Deck and Patio project in Brooklyn. The heart of the project is, of course, its eco-friendly pond, which we built initially as a very shallow pond — only 8” deep.

That was deep enough so their young children could swim and play in it. However, we also constructed the pond to “grow” with them. We used boulders that are covered with fabric and gravel which, when they got older, could be removed — exposing a full-sized pond they can stock with koi — offering an entirely different experience for more mature children.

The finished natural playscape is reminiscent of a secret cove on a desert island. It boasts a swimming pond with a beach-style entry, three waterfalls, a rock climbing wall, a pirate-ship-style tree house, rope bridge, swings, exercise rings/bar, and three bubble-rock water features.


Natural Swimming Pond (Long Island/NY):

Natural Swimming Pond (Long Island/NY):

This pond is one of two ponds the clients had us create in their yard which overlooks Long Island Sound. Now you may think that our beautiful model is avoiding the ‘ewwww’ factor by using a floating device. But as you’ll see from the next photo below, she’s not bothered at all by healthy pond life. Indeed, this pond is pure and clean — a joy to swim in.


Pristine Swimming Ponds (Long Island/NY):

Pristine Swimming Ponds (Long Island/NY):

A key factor in a good natural swimming pond is to build it big and deep enough so that you can snorkel as well as have room to swim.


Swimming with the Koi (Photo: Courtesy of Aquascape Inc.):

Swimming with the Koi (Photo: Courtesy of Aquascape Inc.):

The child in all of us loves natural swim ponds. This photo was published originally by a homeowner who wrote an Aquascape Inc. blog “Growing Up Around a Pond.” She captured  her son in the photo encouraging a friend to join him in the pond.


Koi Ponds (Long Island/NY):

Koi Ponds (Long Island/NY):

Some ponds, like this one, is intended as a koi pond and not a natural swimming pond. One ways you ensure a pond is sufficiently pristine for swimming is not to overload it with koi or other pond fish. This allows the aquatic plants and natural filtration systems the ability to absorb and “clean” the pond sufficiently for an enjoyable swim.



Idyllic Backyard Upgrades Embrace All 4 Seasons

As you know, Mother Nature does not provide flora in our neck of the woods with 4-season blooms and buds — yet there are ways to ensure outdoor living areas always include some color, and definitely, beauty.

So, today, we are highlighting 4 previous Deck and Patio blogs on the subject of seasonal landscapes.

Take for example water features. They are stunning any time of year. The waterfall and pond photo featured above, for example, captures Deck and Patio’s own design center in the heart of winter. We keep our water feature running in all seasons — even when it’s bitterly cold and snowy — and it’s always lovely to look at.


1. Garden Color for Fall and Winter — a Berry Good Thing.

Whether it’s the Red Twig Dogwood, Chokeberry and Winterberry Holly, this blog gives great ideas for backyard flora.

These not only provide food for birds, they offer color through various seasons.

Consider “Callicarpa.” It boasts bright purple berries that begin in fall and last through the winter; Skimmia evergreen shrubs always offer bright green leaves. In spring, they burst open with vibrant white flowers, and in fall, provide crimson red fruits that last through winter.



Deck and Patio Landscaping:Purple Allium Sphaerocephalon

Deck and Patio Landscaping:Purple Allium Sphaerocephalon

2.  What is Involved in Creating a Backyard Oasis Landscape?

A good deal goes into creating a backyard retreat that can be enjoyed in many seasons.

Such a plan would also take into consideration the home’s architecture as well as personal style preferences.

“It’s also key to pay close attention to your property grades,” adds Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “We plan so that the landscape will flourish and last for years. Our designs include a layering technique that offers privacy on the periphery and vibrancy where it will be best enjoyed.”




Red Maple in Fall: (Photo With Permission © by Jeff Dean)

Red Maple in Fall: (Photo With Permission © by Jeff Dean)

3.  For Fiery Fall Foliage: Are You Barking Up the Right Tree?

When we did this blog on the best trees to plant for fiery Fall color, Deck and Patio spoke with Angelo Puleo, Nursery Division, 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 Puleo. “In particular, we recommend Sugar Maples, and, of course, Oaks for great Fall red color.”

Puleo also recommends the Cleveland Select Pear for robust color, which bursts awake in beautiful white flowers in Spring, and in the Fall, its leaves offer up a deep orange-y-red blaze of color,” he says. For more fiery ideas do check out this blog and Pin away!

And let’s not forget winter!



Deck and Patio's Design Center

Deck and Patio’s Design Center

Close Up of Water Feature in winter

Close Up of Water Feature in winter







4.  Winterizing Waterscapes

With evergreens offering punches of color against a blanket of white, and grades in the property adding interest, a front yard looks like a fairytale in winter.

If you do not want the water in your water feature to freeze, you can choose to winterize your water gardens/waterscapes by running them with heat, which will melt the ice dams as you see here.

But that is not necessary and you might miss some gorgeous crystalized winter scenes.


Deck and Patio Stars with ‘Pool Kings’ in ‘Rocky Road to Backyard Bliss’

A Nashville, TN, family gets a new pool/spa with dramatic water feature — and the construction is all filmed by the DIY Network!


This past summer, Deck and Patio’s water feature team (Dave, Hector, José , Big John, Gerson), along with our friend at Best Hot Tubs, Bill Renter, appeared with Peek Pools and Spas on an episode of their popular series, Pool Kings (DIY Network).

The title of the episode, A Rocky Road to Backyard Bliss was inspired by the challenges Deck and Patio faced when lifting and positioning an enormous piece of rock.

“We had been subcontracted by the stars of this DIY Network series, Peek Pools and Spas, to join them in Nashville, Tennessee,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “Our part was to build the swimming pool’s water feature. This included a grotto, meandering stream, three sets of waterfalls, flanking fire bowls, and an exciting fire feature for inside the pool.”


Discovering a Gem

When Peek Pools and Spas was excavating the pool area, they hit a hard massive stone,” says Dave. “They had to keep digging and digging to dislodge it. To them, the massive rock was big a problem to be overcome. But when we spied it, we immediately said, ‘That’s our grotto rock!’

Grotto Top Stone

Grotto Top Stone

“Our friends at Pool Kings thought we were crazy, because it was so large. It wasn’t easy, but our team was persistent, even when the excavating machine’s chain snapped because the rock was so heavy.”

The ongoing challenge of getting that stone out of the ground and in place at the top of the grotto became a key element of the program. In fact, the DIY Network’s advertising for the episode referred to a “4,000 pound rocky start to the job.”

But as Dave and his team are quick to say, “not all gems are small.” Recognizing the value of a particular stone — even when it’s a massive two-ton rock — comes with experience.


Water Features Experts

Deck and Patio Award-Winning Project

Deck and Patio Award-Winning Project

Deck and Patio certainly has water feature experience and has received many local, national and international awards for our Long Island water features.

In fact, it was one of our dramatic pool water features that drew the attention of Peek Pools several years ago. They were developing a special project for the DIY Network and, after seeing it, got in touch. They invited us down to Tennessee.

Since then, we have made additional trips there to assist them on other projects, with more opportunities planned for the future.


Inside the Grotto

Treasure Found for Grotto Seat

Treasure Found for Grotto Seat

“Not all our rock choices for this project were large and problematic. We also found a very special piece for inside the grotto,” says Dave.

“It was a section of concrete from the homeowners’ remodeled patio that had handprints of their children. We recognized it to be a precious piece and fitted it as part of the grotto seat behind the pool’s waterfalls. That way, they’ll have it forever,” says Dave.

Fire Features

In addition to two fire bowls on either side of the stream and three waterfalls, Deck and Patio added a very special feature:

A natural gas flame, installed under the pool water, so it looks like water is on fire.


Positioning Swimming Pool Grotto Rock: This is a photo of our team after we finally got the two-ton top grotto rock in place.

Positioning Swimming Pool Grotto Rock: This is a photo of our team after we finally got the two-ton grotto rock in place.


Completed Pool, Spa, and Water Feature for Pool Kings on DIY Network: For those not familiar with construction, it can be hard to imagine during the process what it will look like finished. But that’s what Deck and Patio and companies like Peek Pools and Spas are here for. It’s pretty spectacular finished, isn’t it?

Completed Pool, Spa, and Water Feature for Pool Kings on DIY Network: For those not familiar with construction, it can be hard to imagine during the process what it will look like finished. But that’s what Deck and Patio and companies like Peek Pools and Spas are here for. It’s pretty spectacular finished, isn’t it?


Close Up of Pool Waterfalls: This is a close up of a part of the water feature we built for Pool Kings. At center, you see the main waterfall that runs over the front of the grotto.

Close Up of Pool Waterfalls: This is a close up of a part of the water feature we built for Pool Kings. At center, you see the main waterfall that runs over the front of the grotto.


Filming Pool Kings for DIY Network: “One thing that’s amazing when doing one of these projects is how all the teams are working at once, plus you are being filmed every time you take a step,” adds Dave Stockwell. "It can be chaotic, but it's thrilling."

Filming Pool Kings for DIY Network: “One thing that’s amazing when doing one of these projects is how all the teams are working at once, plus you are being filmed every time you take a step,” adds Dave Stockwell. “It can be chaotic, but it’s thrilling.”



By | 2017-12-14T20:28:08+00:00 December 14th, 2017|Backyard Escapes, Backyard Refurbishments, Backyard Resorts, Backyard Upgrades, Creative Design, Design and Build Experts, Grottos, Ponds & Water Features, Pool Amenities, Pool Waterfalls|Comments Off on Deck and Patio Stars with ‘Pool Kings’ in ‘Rocky Road to Backyard Bliss’

Winter-Friendly Construction Products: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow


The Northeast faces weather changes from season to season, and year to year.

And this year, on Long Island at least, with but one brief encounter of snow under our belts, winter may seem still far away.

Yet, winter snow will eventually break through all the sunshine — if not this year, certainly in the years to come.

That causes us at Deck and Patio to continue to value construction products for their durability as well as their aesthetics.




Let’s look at two great examples of such products.


Techo-Bloc Construction Materials

Engineered in Canada where they require extra strength due to the country’s extreme weather changes, Techo-Bloc pavers handle well the freeze/thaw that occurs in our corner of the Northeast.

“As long as these pavers are properly installed, the stones will remain adaptable, even, and stable for years,” says Deck and Patio owner, Dave Stockwell.

The joints between the pavers, he explains, create flexibility, which avoids cracking, while still allowing subtle movement. Techo-Bloc pavers are nearly three times stronger than poured concrete, having a minimum compressive strength of 8,000 psi and a maximum of five percent water absorption.

Like concrete and asphalt pavements, Techo-Bloc pavers can be plowed and shoveled. Actually, the edges and joints around the pavers assist in melting snow and ice, explains their manufacturer. Using de-icing salt (sodium chloride or calcium chloride) to remove snow and ice will not harm these paving stones they say.


Deck and Patio Project Using Techo-Bloc

Deck and Patio Project Using Techo-Bloc

Another reason Deck and Patio loves these paving stones is they look so natural.

Instead of one-sized bricks being placed throughout an entire patio, retaining wall, or driveway, a Techo-Bloc kit — with its varying shapes — ensures an attractive design, whether “random” instead of straight lines and flat images or in a “running block” pattern.

“These products are available in pavers, slabs, walls, for facing outdoor features such as fire pits, edging, and include permeable materials.”


Fiberon Capped Composite Decking

 Photo Courtesy of Fiberon

Photo Courtesy of Fiberon

When it comes to snow and heavy rains, most wood decking materials face challenges holding up to such weather. Even moisture-resistant woods require regular sealing and parts of the underside can’t help but trap moisture.

On the other hand, capped composite decking boards, like those shown here, are made of materials and a cap that resist moisture. Fiberon’s, in particular, includes a “cover” that provides added protection against the elements and everyday living.

“While most reputable capped composite manufacturers produce superb products that are stain, insect, mold and splinter resistant,” says Dave Stockwell, “Fiberon’s special warranty can also be a factor. Not only do clients get the usual 25-year warranty on materials, with Fiberon they also get a five-year warranty on labor.”

That said, the Director of Marketing Communications at Fiberon, Edie Kelly, says that since many want to use their decks, even in winter, the most important aspect to outdoor winter enjoyment is to remove any existing snow.

“Whether you have a wood or capped-composite deck, we recommend not using metal shovels for this, but plastic ones. If you feel it necessary to use de-icing materials, rock salt is the best choice for any deck surface.  Be sure to choose rock salt that is labeled safe for flagstone or concrete and will not kill grass.”


Award-winning Deck and Patio Fiberon Project

Award-winning Deck and Patio Fiberon Project

Kello does not recommend using sand to remove ice and snow because that can mar a deck’s surface.

If the snow is light, a broom is a good choice or, again, a plastic shovel, Kello recommends sweeping the used rock salt into the trash, then rinsing the deck off to remove any residue. This is especially important if you have pets.

“You can use a pressure washer if you like, but we recommend not going beyond 3,000 PSI (pounds per square inch). Also, keep the nozzle about 10” above the deck. This applies to both wood and composite decking.“

Fiberon also says it is important to shovel parallel to the boards and not horizontally.


Backyard Upgrades: As you learn the best ways to enjoy your deck and patio during winter, it’s a great time to ponder what changes you’d like to make for spring.

Backyard Upgrades: As you learn the best ways to enjoy your deck and patio during winter, it’s a great time to ponder what changes you’d like to make for spring.


And it’s okay if you have no idea how to look through snow and plan for spring. The key is: design/build experts do know and they can help you see through winter to spring.


By | 2017-11-30T13:22:06+00:00 November 30th, 2017|Backyard Refurbishments, Backyard Upgrades, Composite Decking, Deck and Patios, Design and Build Experts, Driveways, Landscaping, Patios & Decks, paving stones, Snow Removal|Comments Off on Winter-Friendly Construction Products: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Backyard Upgrades: 3 ‘Before’ and ‘After’ Projects

When homeowners want to upgrade their properties, sometimes it can be a challenge to imagine all the changes that will be required.

So today we’re showcasing three sets of before and after photos that showcase how a collaboration with a reputable design/build firm like Deck and Patio can end  up in an award-winning landscaping project.



  1. Centerport, Long Island, NY

These homeowners were both outdoor enthusiasts with a property that had a nice water view. Their wish list included: an attractive modern-looking deck from where they could best appreciate their view; a deck/railing that did not in any way obstruct the view; and a conveniently placed portable spa.

"Before" of Deck and Patio Project in Centerport

“Before” of Deck and Patio Project in Centerport

It was clear a two-story deck was needed. But we realized that the deck also needed to be large enough to allow designated areas for grilling, dining, lounging and hot tubbing. Plus, the railing would need special consideration.


"After" of Deck and Patio Project in Centerport

“After” of Deck and Patio Project in Centerport

An important choice for this Trex Deck project was the steel cable railing by Feeney does not obstruct the water views from any place on the deck. Deck and Patio built a custom spa “cradle” as a mount for their new hot tub. This positioned the spa so they could enjoy the views when inside the tub.


    2. Dix Hills, Long Island, NY

When this Dix Hills family decided to update their 1980”s backyard pool area they called on  Deck and Patio. They knew their old wood deck and red brick patios were small and unusable for parties and entertaining. But they couldn’t come up with a complete plan themselves to transform the space.

"Before" Deck and Patio Project in Dix Hills

“Before” Deck and Patio Project in Dix Hills

“We introduced a unique concept to deal with the large wall behind the pool, and small patio spaces,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “The idea was to remove the wood retaining wall, re-grade the slope and create a large natural waterfall, stream, and woodland garden.”



"After" of Deck and Patio Dix Hills Project

“After” of Deck and Patio Dix Hills Project

Once the stream and waterfall was complete, the next step was pressing the boulders into the surrounding slope to continue the natural presence of large boulders. Then the landscape crew installed natural woodland planting to tie in with the tall oaks adding color and evergreen shrubs to ensure year-round color.

Once the slope was stabilized, it was time for the pool renovation. After draining the pool and removing the liner, a poorly built concrete block wall was uncovered where we straighten the wall and filled the block in with concrete and steal rebar for strength. New vinyl covered stairs were added, plus new pipes, returns, skimmers, pump, filter and a new liner.

Cambridge Sahara Chestnut pavers were used to create a dramatic pool/patio area.


    3. Brookville, Long Island, NY

When Deck and Patio first met with these clients to discuss a pool and patio upgrade — along with new fire pit and outdoor kitchen — we learned they also hankered for a spa to go with their existing gunite pool.


"Before" of Deck and Patio Brookville Project

“Before” of Deck and Patio Brookville Project

The project included a complete revamping of the pool’s pipes, interior, finish and the incorporation of new swim outs at the deep, as well as a new Tech-Bloc patio pool surround.

They also initially wanted wanted a custom in-ground gunite spa added to their existing gunite pool. Instead, they opted for Deck and Patio’s suggestion of a custom installation of a portable hot tub.


"After" of Deck and Patio Brookville Project

“After” of Deck and Patio Brookville Project

With the portable spa operating separately from the pool, it could be used when the pool was closed down.

“We installed it in a way that allowed them to get a perfect view of what’s going on in and around the pool when using the hot tub,” says Dave.

And the clients didn’t have to sacrifice any drama. “The complete upgrade included an encased portable spa with a waterfall flowing out of it into the existing pool. A privacy wall also faced in stone stands behind it, topped with a fire bowl and second waterfall to create a spectacular setting — day and night.”

The above projects won Deck and Patio awards both domestically and internationally.


Fall Maintenance: Preparing Koi Ponds for Winter

With each seasonal change there are things you can do to keep your koi pond heathy and thriving. And fall maintenance is particularly important.


Plants and Fallen Leaves


Now is the time — before winter sets in — to look over your pond’s plantings and remove any dying plant material.

It’s important to do this before the pond water temperature drops below 50 degrees (F). Above 50 degrees, the fish are still active and are not at risk of being hurt while this is being done.

“Plants can rot out of season and build up poisonous gases that will not be able to escape when ice forms,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “This could cause any koi in the pond to go, from simply hibernating, into a dangerous state of torpor. So prune any dead stems and leaves.”

Dave adds that if you use pond netting before the autumn leaves fall, all you need do after fall foliage season is pull it up and get rid of the collected leaves.

If you didn’t put up netting to collect the leaves, use a fine netting to scoop up the debris.

Also, if you suspect that fallen leaves may have gotten lodged in the pond shelves and edges, you can either drain the pond a little yourself to get at them, or contact a pond designer like Deck and Patio for help completing this task.


(Pond designed/built by Deck and Patio)

(Pond designed/built by Deck and Patio)



If calling a pond expert in to help, this is a good time to ask them to create safety pond cave(s) if you haven’t done that already.

Pond caves provide a safe place where the fish can hide and lie dormant during the winter months.






Pond designed/built by Deck and Patio

Pond designed/built by Deck and Patio

Hardy water lilies 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 because they bloom in summer and go dormant in winter.

Note: Frost kills non-hardy water hyacinths and along with water lettuce, which fights algae, these should be wintered in a warm spot that is well lighted as they will not survive in the pond over winter.




Pond Fish


Happy Pond Fish in Winter: (Photo/Aquascape Inc)

Happy Pond Fish in Winter: (Photo/Aquascape Inc)


It is a common myth that you can’t leave your pond fish outside once the cold sets in.

Actually, fish do just fine during winter. That said, Dave does caution to be alert. When ice covers the pond, the fish might not be getting enough oxygen.

This can be remedied as long as you give them:




•two feet of water to swim in,

•oxygenate the water,

•and keep a hole in the ice with a heater, bubbler and an aerator.


The hole allows the naturally-produced gasses to escape from under the ice.

If the above efforts fail to keep it from freezing, Aquascape Inc. designs manager, Gary Gronwick, suggests using 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.

That 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. In fact, they shouldn’t be fed at all. 


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.