Gardening

/Gardening

Even City Life Can Boast a Backyard Refuge

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

Location, Location, Location

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

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

Solutions, Solutions, Solutions

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

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

Special Feature

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

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

 

Backyard Noise Barriers (Queens/NY):

Backyard Noise Barriers (Queens/NY):

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

 

Backyard Refuge (Queens/NY):

Backyard Refuge (Queens/NY):

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

 

Pool Waterfalls (Queens/NY):

Pool Waterfalls (Queens/NY):

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

 

Techo-Bloc Patios (Queens/NY):

Techo-Bloc Patios (Queens/NY):

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

 

'Plug n Play’ Living Walls (Queens/NY):

‘Plug n Play’ Living Walls (Queens/NY):

“There are many types of Living Walls; interior and exterior, permanent or seasonal walls, and then there is the ‘Plug n Play’ (manufactured and trademarked by Green Living Technologies, International or GLTi) that we used here.

 

'Plug n Play’ Living Walls (Queens/NY):

‘Plug n Play’ Living Walls (Queens/NY):

The Plug n Play is very versatile and can be manufactured to accept multiple-sized pots (3” to 12″). Drip irrigation is set up on alternating rows and trickles down to each row below; excess water is either captured or drains. Plants are set on an angle with their holes faced downward so the roots/soil can sap up water via wicking effect. These units can be fastened to any type of wall; using the right type of fastener for each respective wall type.

 

Recipe for a Delightful Garden: Just Add Water!

Just add flowing water, that is!

As garden designers and landscapers, we know flower beds take thought. Color, textures, soil, how much sun or shade, etc. But there’s one easy garden complement that makes any flower bed transformative in how it delights the soul. Even small gardens become something wonderful when the sights and sounds of flowing water are added.

Those who know Deck and Patio for our larger pond/water feature installations (we’ve done over 300 on Long Island alone) may be surprised that we also specialize in smaller water features such as fountains.

Why Are Garden Water Features So Desirable?

First. By bringing the sounds of nature as close as your doorstep, flowing water immediately makes any garden feel more like a part of the natural landscape. 

Second. Not only will you enjoy the sights and sounds of water, but butterflies and birds, and other desirable critters will appreciate your efforts. It feels really good to know you’re supporting such lovable wildlife — and you get to watch them as they take advantage of it. 

Third. A fountain can fit just about anywhere. No need to plan or find room for an elaborate pondscape or another expansive water feature. A fountain (which comes in all sizes) can be added just about anywhere — although we recommend installing it where you can enjoy it from both your patio and inside your home. (More on that below.)

Fourth. A water fountain can run most of the year — including winter. Even when your fall plantings are gone to seed, so to speak, you’ll have something beautiful to look at.

 

Stacked Stone Urn fountain

Stacked Stone Urn fountain

This photo is one such garden fountain that we added for clients who had recently moved to a new home. (This fountain is also seen above as our feature photo) 

When working at their property, one of our team members mentioned that it felt like the garden was missing something — a feature that would offer both the sound and relaxing sight of water movement. 

The clients agreed that a garden fountain would be an ideal finishing touch in such limited space.

 

And here’s a 5-second video for you to hear the water music of that installation:  

 

 

DIY Fountain Projects

If you’d like to add one of these fountains on your own, all you need is a shovel, a wheelbarrow and a level. 

Then, adding a bag of decorative gravel and mulch, you have a picture-perfect-and-sound-perfect-fountain that not only you will enjoy but so will many of Nature’s lovable wildlife.

Here is a step-by-step DIY video from Aquascape, followed by a link to the various fountains they have available. You can contact them directly — or give us a call to help you make the right choice for your garden, and also install it for you, if you would rather not do it yourself.

 

  

And for a video of the various fountains available from Aquascape or Deck and Patio:

 

 

 

How To Keep Pond Fish Safe from Other Creatures

First, Pond Fish Are A Good Thing!

When a pond water feature is well-designed-and-built, koi will naturally help balance the entire pond ecosystem.

However, many pond owners fear that the fish will be harmed or will not survive.

Keeping Koi Safe

Keeping Koi Safe

 

 

And while it is true that koi can be tempting to cats, raccoons, and herons, etc., there are precautions that will mitigate their attempts to reach your pond fish.

 

 

 

 

 

Adding Rock Overhangs

Adding Rock Overhangs

 

Adding koi castles and tunnels at the bottom of the pond will give fish a safe place to hide from many predators.

Include rock overhangs around the outside of the pond. This will, first and foremost, make any pond appear more natural while discouraging cats and raccoons from reaching into the water after the fish.

 

 

 

 

Pond Water Depth is Key

Pond Water Depth is Key

Planning a water feature with sufficient water depth can also dissuade raccoons and cats further, since neither enjoy swimming to get their dinner.

Plus deeper water at the edges (more than 18” deep) discourages heron wading.

Another helpful idea is adding a waterfall feature. The continuous movement of its water, or even water from nearby sprinklers, will put off many avian predators.

 

 

Herons do not like deep water

Herons, for example, do not like deep water.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of the Laidback Gardener.

Photo Courtesy of the Laidback Gardener.

Other precautions koi pond owners can take is installing scarecrows, such as owl statues. A net will also work, but most pond owners prefer to limit net use to fall foliage season.

However, one particularly effective deterrent Deck and Patio has found is installing a motion-activated sprinkler.

Indeed, one gardening expert, the Laidback Gardener, agrees. After testing just about every animal repellent conceivable, he wrote in his blog last year:

“…the only simple deterrent that keeps most animals away in the long run is the motion-activated sprinkler.”

—Larry Hodgson, the Laidback Gardener

 

 

Art Courtesy: the Laidback Gardener

Art is Courtesy of the Laidback Gardener

“At Deck and Patio, we believe that if you build your pond well, and install a motion-activated sprinkler, there really is no reason not to add koi to your pond,” says Dave Stockwell.

“And when using a motion-activated sprinkler, you might find it will drive unwanted animals away from your garden as well.”

 

 

 

Koi is a healthy part of this pond’s natural ecosystem; they have lots of room to hide as well as swim. The pond is sufficiently deep, including around the edges. There are also plenty of rock overhangs to discourage predators. Add a motion-activated sprinkler for the final bit of security, and you and there’s no reason to fear for your koi.

Koi is a healthy part of this pond’s natural ecosystem; they have lots of room to hide as well as swim. The pond is sufficiently deep, including around the edges. There are also plenty of rock overhangs to discourage predators. Add a motion-activated sprinkler for the final bit of security, and you and there’s no reason to fear for your koi.

 

The feature photo at the top of today’s blog is artwork courtesy of the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson.

 

 

 

 

 

By |2018-05-31T13:30:00+00:00May 31st, 2018|Gardening, Koi Ponds, Living Landscapes, Moss Rock and Stones, Outdoor Living, Plantings/Pondscapes, Ponds & Water Features, Pool Waterfalls|Comments Off on How To Keep Pond Fish Safe from Other Creatures

Adding Landscaping Options to Wedding Registries

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

 

 

As we approach peak wedding season on our side of “the pond,” we can’t help but be inspired by the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday.

Now few local New York newlyweds will enjoy a cottage nestled on grounds as glorious as those at Kensington Palace (London, England).

But they still want their own bit of Eden.

 

 

 

 

Peony Blooms Full of Majesty

Peony Blooms Are Full of Majesty

To achieve that, some engaged couples — who may be purchasing their first home — add landscaping gifts to their bridal registries: e.g., favorite young trees, saplings, shrubs, and plants.

One floral option is Ms. Markle’s favorite flower — the peony. It’s also a favorite of another American celebrity, Martha Stewart, who has a whole peony garden at her Bedford, NY, farm.

Peonies are available in shades that range from pure white (see our feature photo above) to a rich deep red. If you start them from bulbs, in the Northeast they bloom at the perfect time for weddings: early June.

But brides and grooms don’t have to be limited to individual plants and shrub options. At honeyfund.com, where couples crowd-source funding for various wedding expenses, there is a section dedicated to “Home Builder’ that specifies landscaping.

You can also set up a house registry at featherthenest.com and include landscaping costs. According to the site: “The nest gets your home improvement dreams funded, no matter how big or small.”

Below we suggest some large and small dream landscaping projects for newlyweds.

 

 

It All Begins with Curb Appeal

St. George's Chapel, Windsor, England

Royal Wedding at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, England

 

The Town of Windsor in England has just finished resurfacing all the area roads, walkways and pathways around St. George’s Chapel where the royal wedding will take place.

Of course, the right curb appeal is just as important to local newlyweds. Certainly costs for an attractive home entranceway could be part of any crowd-funding plans.

With that in mind, we are including below some Deck and Patio projects that may inspire ideas.

 

 

 

A fountain can make be a beautiful addition to an entranceway garden. If possible, position the water feature where Deck and Patio did here — close to a window. That way the gentle sounds can be enjoyed indoors as well as out. Plus you get to watch birds and butterflies stop by to take a drink.

A fountain can make be a beautiful addition to an entranceway garden. If possible, position the water feature where Deck and Patio did here — close to a window. That way the gentle sounds can be enjoyed indoors as well as out. Plus you get to watch birds and butterflies stop by to take a drink.

 

As newlyweds get used to all the various responsibilities of owning a home, it helps if at least the initial front walkway plants are tough as well as beautiful. The black-eyed Susan (coneflower) is a very hardy favorite of Deck and Patio clients and was certainly used to great curb appeal here.

As newlyweds get used to all the various responsibilities of owning a home, it helps if at least the initial front walkway plants are tough as well as beautiful. The black-eyed Susan (coneflower) is a very hardy favorite of Deck and Patio clients and was certainly used to great curb appeal here.

 

Not all newlyweds purchase new homes. They may be attracted to stately older homes that already have full-grown plants and shrubs. Perhaps these couples might add the costs of landscaping services in order to care for their already existing flora.

Not all newlyweds purchase new homes. They may be attracted to stately older homes that already have full-grown plants and shrubs. Perhaps these couples might add the costs of landscaping services in order to care for their already existing flora.

 

In addition to plants and shrubs, handsome and decorative hardscape can be included in crowd-sourcing wedding registries.

In addition to plants and shrubs, handsome and decorative hardscape can be included in crowd-sourcing wedding registries.

 

Backyard Gardens of Eden

Woodland Themed Weddings

Woodland Themed Weddings

Some reporting has said that Harry and Megan’s wedding breakfast will be decorated with lots of greenery (silver birch, royal fern, and royal oak.)

Such passion for the outdoors has inspired full blown rustic-chic woodland wedding receptions in recent years. Costs of which can be included in crowd-funding registries.

This passion naturally carries through to a strong desire for lush landscaping around the homes of newlyweds.

Note: Those who have, or are expecting to have children soon, might want to consider plantings that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds, etc.

At the same time, it’s key to exclude any flora that could be poisonous to young children (or pets), and avoid ones with thorny stems or leaves.

That said, there are a myriad of landscaping ideas that will bring natural beauty to a home’s landscape that goes far beyond just the entranceway.

 

 

 

Here Deck and Patio created a double pond separated by large moss rock boulders with creeping ground cover and aquatic-friendly ornamental grasses. River rock, and a new patio walkway curve around the lower pond adorned with colorful plantings. Mature trees around the property’s periphery were kept, adding to the natural wonderland feel of this backyard.

Here Deck and Patio created a double pond separated by large moss rock boulders with creeping ground cover and aquatic-friendly ornamental grasses. River rock, and a new patio walkway curve around the lower pond adorned with colorful plantings. Mature trees around the property’s periphery were kept, adding to the natural wonderland feel of this backyard.

 

Not all waterfall projects need to be on a grand scale. Even modest projects such as this is an opportunity for natural color, textures, and pleasant sounds. Waterfalls splashing in a pond aerates it, keeping it healthy and mosquito-free. Add some boulders and bright lush plantings and you have a little bit of paradise.

Not all waterfall projects need to be on a grand scale. Even modest projects such as this is an opportunity for natural color, textures, and pleasant sounds. Waterfalls splashing in a pond aerates it, keeping it healthy and mosquito-free. Add some boulders and bright lush plantings and you have a little bit of paradise.

 

We spied this picture-perfect landscaped yard on Hometalk.com some time ago. It was posted there by Redfin as inspiration to homeowners. We thought it a perfect way to end our blog with:

We spied this picture-perfect landscaped yard on Hometalk.com some time ago. It was posted there by Redfin as inspiration to homeowners.

 

 

Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias

Tip:

If your wedding isn’t as important to your town as Harry and Meghan’s is to Windsor, England, we suggest you don’t resort to Tom Skerritt’s method of scaring away birds in Steel Magnolias.

Rather crowd-fund for some landscaping help.

 

 

 

Landscaping Trends: Purple Is ‘the’ Color for 2018

Rihanna Wearing Lavender Eye Shadow

Rihanna Wearing Lavender Eye Shadow

Purple is seen everywhere these days.

Ultra Violet is Pantone’s 2018 color of the year.

And from hair color, eye shadow and  clothing, purple is taking center page in style magazines: People, InStyle and Essence to name but a few.

Not to mention, Rihanna, a true style icon, has been seen wearing lovely lavender shadow to accent her eyes.

 

 

 

Top Gardening Trends

Top Gardening Trends

 

So. It’s not surprising that one of HGTV’s top garden trends for 2018 is purple plants.

And we’ve got a few ideas today to help you choose bright pops of purple that can be planted throughout the 2018 season — beginning this spring.

 

 

 

 

Spring Purple.

 

1. Salvia Sylvestris May Night

 

Deck and Patio Pondscape

Deck and Patio Pondscape

Blooming in late spring, perennial Salvia Sylvestris May Night (May Night Meadow Sage), seen here in the right foreground, boasts deep purple-blue blooms.

The good news for gardeners in our Long Island, NY, area is how hardy this beauty is for our area of the Northeast because it claims superb cold hardiness, is a vigorous plant, and is tolerant of heavy clay soils.

If the robust color isn’t enough to make you rush to pick up some of these Salvias, consider: these plants attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and are deer and rabbit resistant. They make glorious cut flowers for inside and they bloom more than 4 weeks.

 

 

 

2. Soapwort

Soapwort

Soapwort

 

Another easy to grow stunner for spring is Soapwort. It’s also called Bouncing Bet which is a clue on how prolific it is.

It prefers full drainage and full sun and if you have a wall or trellis, it’ll make a home there.

It’s also available in low ground cover form that spreads nicely and is ideal around a water feature: stream, pond or waterfalls.

Its family name is Saponaria officinalis and offers good cut flowers.

 

 

 

 

Summer Purple.

1. Verbana

Verbana

Verbana

Available in annual and perennial varieties (a total of 250 varieties in fact), this stunning flora is at its best during the hottest of summer heat.

With so many varieties, it’s a cinch to find a glorious purple specimen for your garden.

Often used in herbal teas, it’s beloved by more than humans. Yup. Butterflies and hummingbirds adore its blooms as well.

 

 

2. Purple Allium

Deck and Patio Landscaping Project

Deck and Patio Landscaping Project

Although planted in fall, the Purple Allium Sphaerocephalon seen in the foreground of this Deck and Patio project is a summer blooming delight.

Its robust color thrives beautifully on Long Island and in the Northeast in general.

Deck and Patio landscape designers chose the Purple Allium for its height, as well as the lovely color contrast it made against the green and yellows around it.

The plants first open green, and then mature to a bright crimson-purple. More good news. It’s rabbit, deer and rodent resistant and is loved by pollinators.

 

 

Autumn Purple.

1. Aster

Purple Dome Aster

Purple Dome Aster

The Purple Dome Aster (novae-angliae) is a beautiful autumn plant that blooms from late summer in to autumn.

It is a dwarf variety of the more common New England Aster. And as you can see from the photo, it makes a wonderful impact as an accent among fall grasses.

Needless to say it can be cut for beautiful indoor bouquets. Indeed, there’s lots to cut as these plants boast masses of daisy-like deep purple flowers. They also have a sunny yellow center.

These beauties will bloom for over 4 weeks in fall; in spring and early summer they show off gray-green leaves. These disappear under the royal purple daisies in fall.

 

 

 

Autumn/Winter Purple.

 

1. Callicarpa dicotomía (Purple Beautyberry)

Callicarpa. Photo: Missouri Botanical Garden

Callicarpa. Photo: Missouri Botanical Garden

The Callicarpa dichotoma or purple beautyberry shrub’s colorful purple berries are a treasure in winter. They begin to bud in fall and last throughout winter.

The shrubs grow up to 4 feet tall. The branches boast pinkish to light purple flowers in summer which mature to these delightful berries in autumn.

These plants accept full sun and partial shade, which is good news. It gives you more options for planting and are not very demanding when it comes to growing conditions.

So as your starved eyes search for color in winter, your beautyberries, in bright purple, will satisfy that need. Do any pruning in late winter, just before spring. And as for your winter birdies — they’ll eat some of the purple berries.

 

And as a last little gift to our readers:

We all know what makes a purple garden grow: a little Purple Rain.

Now it’s Prince, after all, so you’ll have to be a little patient for the video to begin (at about 1.08 mins). But oh, his Purple Rain. Enjoy!

 

 

(Note: Our feature photo at the top of the page is the annual Globe Amaranth. Its bright pom-poms last well into the fall.)

 

 

By |2018-04-26T14:44:59+00:00April 26th, 2018|Backyard Refurbishments, Gardening, Koi Ponds, Landscaping, Outdoor Living, outdoor maintenance, Plantings/Pondscapes, Seasonal Landscapes, Unique Ideas|Comments Off on Landscaping Trends: Purple Is ‘the’ Color for 2018

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.

 

Plantings

 

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.

 

 

Deck and Patio Landscaping: A Rose By Any Other Color

Pretty much everyone loves roses. We love their smell. Their vivid colors. Also their ruffled petals and high-rise cups. It’s also a flower that’s just as beautiful as a bud as when it’s in full bloom.

Valentine's Day Dinner/Red Rose

Valentine’s Day Dinner/Red Rose

With Valentine’s Day approaching, most of the focus on roses will be on the “red” rose. Known for symbolizing love and passion, it’s a perfect fit for a day devoted to romantic love.

But if there’s one thing we’ve learned at Deck and Patio in our landscaping work — red isn’t the only rose color that people love.

Apparently we’re not alone in noticing it. Bruce Wright, editor of the Los Angles-based floral trade publication, has been quoted as saying, “Studies show that women don’t necessarily prefer red roses. “Indeed, most women prefer another color.”

 

Orange (apricot-pink) roses

Orange (apricot-pink) roses

Take for example this stunning apricot-pink rose that one of our designers added to landscaping around a client’s pool.

Such a dramatic hued plant gets attention, and in smaller spaces like this, it helps the landscape to recede behind it — causing the overall area to seem larger.

As for this color: without a doubt “orange” roses have the most attitude in the rose family. These beauties are known for enthusiasm, not to mention passion.

The color also suggests a sense of significance and even urgency — perhaps just the right color to draw your loved ones outside on a warm summer day.

 

Pink Roses

Pink Roses

 

When it comes to pink roses — like these beautiful ones planted and cared for by Deck and Patio — their color symbolizes gentleness and poetic romance, making them another great choice for Valentine’s Day.

They are extremely delicate and graceful and make an exquisite statement in any garden.

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow Roses

Yellow Roses

 

Traditionally, yellow roses symbolize friendship but they are so sunny that they spread joy to anyone who stops to smell them.

The very earliest yellow roses discovered by Europeans was in the Middle East. But when they brought them home, they noticed they lacked the red rose’s enticing scent.

Through caring and cultivation the yellow rose soon claimed the same aromatic fragrance as their sister flora. You simply can’t go wrong with a garden blooming with sunny yellow roses.

 

Red Roses

Red Roses

And last, but by no means least, red roses! We planted red roses (foreground) when landscaping around a pond we installed for two of our clients. They blend beautifully with the variegated hydrangea to the right of them and the variegated hosta to the left.

All the plants pictured will attract birds and butterflies. But the dramatic red rose is the eye-catcher.

Needless to say: red roses symbolize love and romance like no other flower and also suggest perfection and beauty. As a Valentine’s Day gift or as a dramatic element in your garden, it’s a perfect choice.

 

 

 

Mystic Rose - Photo/Sandra Vultaggio

Mystic Rose – Photo/Sandra Vultaggio

Caring for Roses

Whatever their color, roses need a bit of care in your garden.

Sandra Vultaggio, Horticulture Consultant at Suffolk County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension, says roses should be planted in the sun.

“Also, they need a good amount of air circulation around them,” she says. “Strictly avoid overhead irrigation or sprinkler heads. They will get more disease that way because viruses prefer wet environments. Keep them watered at the roots through a drip system or soaker hose.”

 

Sandra adds that the best time to plant is really any time throughout the growing season. “An ideal time would be early in the season — April or May.”

Knockout Rose

Knockout Rose

Deck and Patio gets a lot of requests for knockout roses, partly because they bloom for a long time throughout growing season and are much easier to care for.

They are known to be disease and insect resistant which has made them quite popular.

“Contrary to popular belief,” adds Deck and Patio owner Dave Stockwell, “while knock out roses are extremely hardy and withstand blights, that doesn’t mean they don’t need some care like fertilizer, pruning and water. Also, some knockouts have succumbed to rosette disease. But if you do the basics, and keep an eye out for any strange looking bright red shoots, these are a great choice.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

By |2018-02-08T13:25:45+00:00February 8th, 2018|Gardening, Landscaping, outdoor maintenance, Plantings/Pondscapes, Seasonal Landscapes|Comments Off on Deck and Patio Landscaping: A Rose By Any Other Color

Backyard Wildlife Havens Stem from Chemical-free Eco-Systems

 

Deck and Patio created this naturally-sustained eco-system

Deck and Patio created this naturally-sustained eco-system

Once you have your pond installed in an eco-friendly way, it’s a wonderful feeling to kick back and let the aquatic plants, pond fish, rocks, gravel, filtration and circulation systems — and, yes, beneficial algae— do the daily work of keeping it clean and healthy.

True. Ponds and other water features require some spring and fall maintenance.

But on a daily basis, left to their own devices, they’re self-sustaining. And such a water wonderland soon becomes a haven for beneficial wildlife — wildlife that also contributes to the overall health of your eco-system.

Frogs are beneficial for a chemical-free environment

Frogs contribute to a chemical-free environment

And it’s not just song birds that a backyard refuge will attract. Take the humble frog or toad. Enticed by a nice supply of seasonal food found in a pond’s flowering aquatic or nearby plants, along with plenty of water to drink, they will happily make a home there.

In turn for your gifts to them, these little amphibians greatly reduce the amount of pesky insects in your backyard — thereby naturally reducing a need for pesticides. They love munching on grubs, beetles, slugs, not to mention mosquito larvae. Indeed, according to online reports, one frog or toad can eat up to 10,000 pests during one season.

So you can understand why Aquascape Inc. (St. Charles, IL), who manufacture much of our water feature equipment, couldn’t resist posting a video of the delightful tree froggy found at an water feature installation.

The water feature was created by one of Aquascapes Certified Contractors, Jeff of Pinellas Ponds & Waterfalls  As a fellow Aquascape Certified Contractor, we’re happy to share it below:

 

Pinellas Ponds and Waterfalls

BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME!Water features attract welcome critters of all sorts – like a cute little tree frog! This week we visit Jeff of Pinellas Ponds & Waterfalls in Florida to view some of the stunning water features he's installed. We'd love to have you come along for the tour!See Full Video Here >> http://bit.ly/Pinellas-Ponds

Posted by Aquascape Inc. on Tuesday, January 16, 2018

 

 

How to Attract Beneficial Wildlife:

How to Attract Beneficial Wildlife:

Did you know you don’t have to have a pond to attract such beneficial wildlife. For this Deck and Patio-built stream and waterfall project, the clients opted for a “pond-less” waterfall system. The water needed to keep the feature topped off and refreshed is harvested from the home’s roof rainwater. Plus, any excess harvested rainwater is used to irrigate their property.

 

Kids and Backyard Ponds:

Kids and Backyard Ponds:

Kids and Backyard Ponds: Any child fortunate enough to grow up with the ability to explore nature never loses love for the outdoors and the beauty of Mother Earth. Photo: Courtesy of Aquascape Inc.

 

Aquatic Plants and Pond Landscaping:

Aquatic Plants and Pond Landscaping:

The tall aquatic plant on the left of this Deck and Patio built pond (a canna lily) thrives in water conditions that are 70-80 degrees F, with a pH of 6.5-7.5. They’re also easy to care for, love natural light and are ideally suited near the edges of a pond. The weeping hemlock at the top right in the photo flourishes in moist soil and offers a bit of shade which helps balance the water temperature.

 

“Pondless” Waterfall Landscaping:

“Pondless” Waterfall Landscaping:

For this Deck and Patio project, pink petunias add a bright statement away from where the waterfalls spill and seep into the ground. Close to the waterfall area we added grassy plants like Liriope that thrive in moist soil.

 

Winter Garden Hues: Birds of a ‘Colorful’ Feather

In the Northeast, we love our change in seasons. And around this time each year, as winter is on the horizon, Deck and Patio’s blog has offered ideas on trees and bushes whose bark or berries bring color to winter gardens.

Today, however, we’re focusing on a very special and even more lively source of winter garden beauty: colorful avian visitors that can be enticed with just a little effort on our part.

 

Cardinals

Take the bright red plumage of the Cardinal. The male’s full-bodied red actually gets more striking during winter.

This is when some of their remaining gray-tipped feathers fall off, showing even more vibrant red.

What a picture they make resting on icy branches and snow.

“If you want to attract them, Cardinals love black oil sunflower and safflower seeds,” says Sandra Vultaggio, Horticulture Consultant at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Riverhead, NY.

It’s helpful to note that Cardinals usually eat early in the morning or late in the evening so make sure feeders are well stocked at these times. Also, being a larger bird, they prefer a larger feeder that won’t sway too much as they eat.

 

Blue Jays

Blue Jays are another colorful bird that stays around in winter.

These gorgeous birds love to congregate in groups come winter. They also will squirrel food away. Some have witnessed Blue Jays hiding nuts in trees.

And as for sound, they have been known to scare off other birds by imitating the call of hawks.

 

 

“They also like nuts and peanuts,” says Vultaggio.

“I use a peanut wreath and fill it with shelled peanuts. This type of feeder attracts a lot of Blue Jays.

They are such fun to watch — not to mention they add a lot of color against the white landscape.”

 

 

 

Chickadees

Chickadees prefer the same type of seeds as the Cardinal: black oil sunflower and safflower. Vultaggio is also delighted by their sounds — ‘they actually say chickadee when they sing.”

Chickadees are vibrant even though, as part of the Titmouse family, they are known for their gray color and lighter bellies.

“They dine primarily on insects, seeds and berries,” adds Vultaggio. “They are active and agile little birds. These little acrobats are a delight to watch when they hang upside down from twigs or at your feeder.

 

 

 

Additional Birds

Vulraggio also puts out suet in winter, which she says attracts other birds including woodpeckers.

“A bird bath is also important. Water is often scarce in the dead of winter.

Of course, you don’t want the water to ice up and there are lots of bird bath heaters, including solar heated bird baths.

Pictured here is a Heated Deck-Mounted Birdbath by Allied Precision.

“You’ll also find that in winter these birds tend to appear in groups since many eyes make it safer to watch out for predators. Birds are such a wonderful way to add color to your winter garden.”

 

 

 

Flora

To achieve color through flora, a previous Deck and Patio blog includes a fairly comprehensive list of flora that will help “lift winter doldrums with outdoor color and texture” — information that we put together also with the help of Sandra Vultaggio.

Winterberry (shown here) is a great example of the color and texture available in winter. 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 needs to be said.

 

By |2017-11-16T13:35:00+00:00November 16th, 2017|Gardening, Landscaping, outdoor maintenance, Seasonal Landscapes|Comments Off on Winter Garden Hues: Birds of a ‘Colorful’ Feather

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.