Terraces

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Quality Upgrade Ideas for Your Outdoor Barbecue

 

According to trend spotters, the watchword for today’s outdoor upgrades is:

Quality.

Take the humble barbecue. It remains the beating heart of outdoor entertaining. But more and more it has become only a part of a more expansive outdoor kitchen that’s set in attractive custom cabinetry etc. — and made to last.

 

Of course, the first thing any outdoor kitchen will need is outdoor plumbing and electrical outlets to hook up the sinks and appliances. And it is key to locate the kitchen as accessible to your indoor kitchen as possible. That said, design and function will depend on your style and budget.

Some Deck and Patio Barbecue Projects to Inspire You

 

For easy dining and before and after cocktail hours, Deck and Patio created this handsome stone-faced outdoor kitchen with a raised bar.

The patio paving stones underneath were chosen to stand up to a lot of traffic and weather changes, not to mention the heat from regular cooking on the grill.

Close to the indoor kitchen, and with no obstructions in the way, the custom outdoor kitchen’s appliances and cabinetry should last a good long time.

 

 

 

 

This project  combined a new Trex Transcend deck with a full outdoor kitchen. “Trex is one of several composite decking manufacturers whose names are synonymous with ‘quality,’ says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “Here, the deck is not only an outdoor gathering area, but it makes an elegant foundation for the barbecue.”

The outdoor kitchen itself boasts a durable and stylish granite top. Its cultured stone facade goes all the way to the ground making a dramatic statement that can be appreciated throughout the yard; kitchen amenities include not just the barbecue, but a refrigerator, double-side burner, as well as three drawers — all made with high quality stainless steel. Note how a large space was not required to design/build a superior barbecue area.

 

 

 

Again, Deck and Patio clients wanted their outdoor kitchen’s mechanics and amenities hidden in a work station with a stone facade for elegance and durability. Boasting a large work area, this kitchen includes a sink, refrigerator, eating bar with bar stools — and, of course, a quality barbecue.

The curved shape of the outdoor kitchen’s station, including one end designed as a circle, hints at the home’s turret. Note: A large shade umbrella over the bar can be moved as needed. Also, when sun is intense, extra umbrellas from the patio’s lounge area can be brought to the bar/cooking area.

 

 

When we think of pergolas, we think of beautiful architectural statements. And they are that for sure. They also beautifully delineate spaces such as for an outdoor kitchen.

But did you also consider that a pergola allows you to cover the top with a tarp that can hang down a bit when it’s pouring outside? After all, a quality barbecue and it’s juicy grilled meats and vegetables shouldn’t be inaccessible just when you want a grilled steak the most.

This L-shaped outdoor kitchen countertop also serves as a bar.

 

 

 

Certainly, the more seating the better when planning your outdoor kitchen. Here, Deck and Patio used natural stone for the veneer of the barbecue/bar and added a seat wall made with the same veneer.

We also added the same edge-restraint as the capstone, creating an interesting tie-in with the extensive brick veneer used for the house. The seat wall is handsome and ample in size, but it is also comfortable and will last a long time.

Once again, the curved design of the kitchen and seat wall complement the home’s turret, while some of the dark stones in the veneer echo the turret’s roof.

“One way you know any upgrade you are planning will be, in fact, one of quality,” says Dave Stockwell, “is how well your build/design firm stands by its work. We always recommend materials that are backed with good warranties from trustworthy manufacturers and are proud of our own reputation for ensuring complete satisfaction in our work.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!)

 

 

Patios and Other Hardscape Designs: Paving the Way to Harmony

New patios, driveways and pool surrounds often come about when refurbishment is needed, e.g., when age has deteriorated an existing hardscape, or after a storm, and when some new outdoor amenity such as a pool, pond, or entertaining space demands it.

Done properly, outdoor hardscapes are more than serviceable — they can be an essential element in ensuring that the residence and property remain one harmonious whole.

To accomplish this requires choosing the new hardscape’s ideal hue, texture and pattern so it complements the exterior of your residence and other outdoor spaces, designed in a way perfect for the amount of property space involved and the use it will have. For a truly welcoming entrance, for example, driveways constructed in the right paving stones can offer inviting warmth and distinction. In backyards, the right patio material can feel like an extension of its surroundings.

 

 

If comparing the many different landscaping materials available seems daunting —  indeed, viewing online photos can distort color and texture — Deck and Patio has addressed this by creating an outdoor display at our design center, so 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. Plus, if desired, our staff can explain the different benefits of each one — be it bluestone, brick, concrete pavers, permeable pavers, Travertine, etc.

 

 

 

Paving Stone Driveway:

Paving Stone Driveway:

Deck and Patio’s design team was brought in during the early stages of planning and construction of this home and its many hardscapes. Working with the architect and homeowners, in front, our design team created a driveway in earth-tone concrete tumbled pavers that appear as an extension of the geometric patters and hues of the home’s Glen Gary brick.

 

 

Backyard Oasis:

Backyard Oasis:

For the back of the same residence (photo above), we used a 3-D animation program to help the clients see how their backyard oasis would appear. Techo-Bloc pavers (Elena) in a multi-level terracing design were chosen to perfectly harmonize with the back of the home’s architecture, help the space appear larger, and offer elegant surroundings to the freeform pool, the cascading waterfall, meandering stream with its own sheet-falling waterfall and spillway from the spa into the pool.

 

 

Permeable Pavers:

Permeable Pavers:

Because these Brooklyn clients wanted to collect rainwater for irrigation, they opted for permeable pavers. Voids between the pavers are filled with crushed stone; when rain passes through the pavers’ joint spaces, it flows down into an underneath layer of bluestone gravel and about an inch of crushed stone which filters the water.

 

 

Cambridge Paving Stones:

Cambridge Paving Stones:

We surrounded this vinyl-lined pool and spill-over spa in handsome Cambridge Pavingstones, with artful cut-outs for plantings. The beautiful hue of the pool water caused by its vinyl liner, set against the pavers, with a huge backdrop of lush green grass create a very special setting. In addition, the hardscape was designed to be in perfect harmony with the shape of the pool.

 

 

Pool Surrounds:

Pool Surrounds:

Handsome Cambridge Ledgestone XL “Toffee Onyx Light” pavers (Sherwood Collection) were chosen as a patio/pool surround for this yard. The pavers come in 3-piece design kits for a beautiful random design. The color of the pavers nicely pick up both the pool water while simultaneously suggesting beach sand for a beautiful natural appearance.

 

 

Freeform Hardscapes:

Freeform Hardscapes:

Freeform pools are popular because they meander along with the landscape in a natural way; here we designed the Techo-Bloc patio in “freeform” design as well, and added a stacked stone wall for dramatic outline and extra seating when entertaining.

 

 

ravertine Patios:

Travertine Patios:

Travertine is a gorgeous natural stone that can make a beautiful patio. Here the Travertine surrounds a 50-foot-long pool, 800-square-foot pool house, an outdoor kitchen with natural stone facade, and an outdoor shower. Note: Although Travertine has traditionally been used indoors in colder climates, more and more it is being used outdoors. Be careful, however, from where the stone is quarried. You want Travertine from Italy, Mexico or Turkey, not China, which doesn’t hold up in the freeze/thaw conditions of the Northeast.

 

 

 

Outdoor Living: 5 Tips for Creating Your ‘Quiet Place’

 

As youngsters, we had our bedroom. There, we could hide away from the dictates of too much family togetherness. As adults, we still need a little space we can call our own or, at least, use on our own. Having that quiet nook, and having it outdoors, is perhaps the best escape of all.

However, even when we have a fabulous backyard, fully loaded with amenities, such an escape can still be illusive. It’s hard to find quiet around an always active barbecue and outdoor dining table, or even near a pool that’s frequently being used.

How then do you carve out your own private place?

The next time you are outdoors, take a quick survey of your property and ask: Where would I love some quiet time? If you can’t point immediately to a ready-made spot — where you sneak away to read or do yoga, perhaps — it’s not all that hard to make one.

First, there’s no rule that says, when it calls for it, your getaway can’t serve double-duty as a gathering place when it’s not being used as a place for solitude. And, no, that’s not a contradiction. If it is going to serve double-duty, all you need is a “do not disturb” sign that the family respects when it’s hanging in an agreed spot.

Now for some tips:

Tip # 1

Plan an attractive focal point. One of the enjoyments of an outdoor private space is being close to nature, so a water feature, special planting bed, babbling brook, butterfly garden, etc. are ideal options. These amenities will not only serve your new personal retreat, they can also be shared. A waterfall, or pretty flower bed, by definition can’t help but be enjoyed from a variety of locations in the yard.

Tip # 2

Create a foundation. It can be very easy to extend an existing patio or deck, or add an entirely new area that will offer comfort and permanence underfoot.

Tip # 3

Consider your comfort. A few outdoor features such as comfy seating and shade are important. For seating, you might want a footstool (or a way to put your feet up), and a headrest; if you like movement, you might want a rocker or even a swing. If there isn’t a shade tree, outdoor umbrellas, a pergola, trellis, etc. will do the trick.

Tip # 4

Think both ‘night’ and ‘day.” There’ll be times during the day when you’ll want to sneak away and perhaps read a book, or just listen to birds (and for that you might want to have a bird house or water fountain near your spot); other times you’ll be taking some ‘me’ time after sunset, so a fire pit or campfire will add warmth on cool evenings and offer pleasant lighting when it gets it’s dark.

Tip # 5

Ready-to-Go Basket: Having a private-time-basket that’s always at the ready is a great idea, too. It can be stocked with one or two aromatherapy candles, a favorite cushion, a throw rug for a little spontaneous yoga, ingredients (glass/soda) for your favorite drink, including a corkscrew if it happens to be wine.

 

Here’s some examples of retreat-areas we’ve created for clients:

 

Pondless Water Feature Focal Point:

Pondless Water Feature Focal Point:

Surrounded by lush landscape, this ideal waterfall-focal point was created near the edge of an existing patio. With the addition of an attractive wood-burning stove and handsome wicker furniture it does double duty — you can escape there for some quiet, or enjoy it with friends.

For the landscaping – a layering effect was used; in the background, several Norway Spruce provide privacy; a colorful Japanese Maple holds court behind the upper waterfall with the complementing perennial ornamental grass (Japanese Blood Grass) standing tall nearby;  the pre-existing foundation is handsome Techo-Bloc (Elena in Earth Brown).

 

 

Flexible Private Escape:

Flexible Private Escape:

If you have the basics already in place, such as an attractive, well-laid patio or deck with large trees and shrubs on the periphery, simple container gardening allows you to create a flexible quiet spot — on the spot. If the containers are not too large, they can be moved at a moment’s notice. In this case, Deck and Patio’s clients also have an easy-to-move barbecue, and easy-living, yet elegant, outdoor furniture. An intimate spot away from the pool and main patio, it is also perfect for intimate dining.

 

 

Your Own Private Space:

Your Own Private Space:

If you are planning a whole new patio, this is a great opportunity to plan ahead for that private space. Choosing a multi-level patio design, it made delineating a private get-away space easy. For it, there’s a charming water feature flowing over moss rock covered in lush green ground cover; tall trees create privacy in the background; it’s snug and well away from other patio areas designed for sunning or sitting near the pool.

 

 

Quiet Walking Spaces:

Quiet Walking Spaces:

Sometimes all you need are a few quiet moments in the yard. For these clients, we took advantage of the need to create a place to hide their pool equipment, and made a walkthrough private woodland path. The clients can enjoy quiet moments of contemplation when strolling from one area of the backyard retreat to another.

 

 

Small Patio For Reading or Writing:

Small Patio For Reading or Writing:

Techo-Bloc pavers were used to make this idyllic small patio sitting area next to the water feature. It’s a great spot to read, while sitting next to a trickling stream and the sounds of waterfalls. Note: The Techo-Bloc patio pavers were engineered in Canada, and they can well handle the freeze/thaw that occurs in our corner of the Northeast.

 

 

When Should Your Landscaper and Architect Begin Working Together?

The simple answer to ‘when should your landscaper and architect begin working together’ is: from the start.

This Deck and Patio backyard oasis is a good example of that wisdom. Having garnered two prestigious awards for our firm, we believe such accolades are partially due to our early collaboration with the architect and builder in the planning stages. Working hand-in-hand with them, and with the owners, both the home’s architecture and the outdoor landscape became one seamless integration.

Our outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, supervised and helped plan and execute the project which included the landscape’s seven-foot-high cascading waterfall, meandering stream with three-foot-high “sheetfalling” waterfall, and two-foot-high spillway from the spa into the pool. Initial plans by the project’s architect for the house’s turret inspired our team to create curves in the backyard’s multi-level terracing design, as well as in the backyard’s centerpiece: a glorious freeform pool and spa.

In fact, the architect changed his own plans for the home’s turret so that views from inside the turret of our planned pool area oasis could be fully appreciated. In reference to this, the architect said, “Deck and Patio’s landscaping plan was so beautiful that the windows had to be larger to fully appreciate the view. Now, when you stand inside the bay of the turret, it is just like standing in the backyard.”

 

 

Design/Build Collaboration:

Design/Build Collaboration:

Our collaboration with the architect and builder resulted in a seamless integration of landscape and nature with the architecture of the new house.

 

 

 

Design/Build Creativity:

Design/Build Creativity:

Our design and planning team also took into account what the view would be from inside the house as well as outside. For example, the eight-foot-high pondless waterfall can also be seen from inside. It is not just a beautiful focal point; it hides the pool equipment that local regulations require be put in the middle of the backyard.

 

 

Harmony in Landscaping and Architecture:

Harmony in Landscaping and Architecture:

The project’s patios and driveway, made of stunning natural earth-tone concrete tumbled pavers, were created by Bill Renter to appear as extensions of the geometric patterns and hues of the home’s Glen Gary brick.

 

 

 

Backyard Waterfalls:

Backyard Waterfalls:

The waterfall is powered by a 10,000 GPH pump and is center-lined on the main axis of the house. It creates an enjoyable audio-visual impact which runs virtually year-round and can be enjoyed both day and night.

 

 

 

Design/Build Town Permits:

Design/Build Town Permits:

Being able to use our 3-D animation program before the Town’s architectural review board was an enormous help in explaining our detailed plans.The Town board was in awe of what we showed them. This aided in getting the permit granted, and is one of the reasons all our permits were approved in a fairly timely fashion.

 

 

 

 

 

Different Level Patios, Flower Beds and Raised Waterfall Make Backyard Appear Larger

The homeowners of this property had an existing small koi pond. They dreamed of also having a pool, with landscaping and a waterfall, but felt they didn’t have the space for it all.

When viewing the property, Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, saw the the main drawback was how flat the grade was. Through 3-D renditions, he showed the homeowners how different patio levels would make the yard appear bigger.

Bill designed the new pool, waterfall, patios and plant beds to fit perfectly with their pond. The new landscaping boasts hydrangeas, roses, ornamental grasses, and flowering perennials.

The homeowners children were about 9 or 10. After the project was finished, the clients say they no longer had to go to family and friends to enjoy the outdoors, but their children could love growing up in their own home.

Our clients added that bringing in a special lighting scheme allows them to enjoy the backyard retreat from the day on into night. The lighting transforms their backyard into a completely different, yet still beautiful, atmosphere.

 

 

Gorgeous Patio Areas:

Gorgeous Patio Areas:

Beautiful plantings, punctuated by accent boulders and moss rocks, paint a natural setting around the multi-tiered tumbled stone patio. Adding crepe myrtles to the landscaping offers an extended picture-perfect landscape season — they bloom from August through October.

 

 

 

Backyard Al Fresco Dining:

Backyard Al Fresco Dining:

Waterfalls cascading over natural rock creates the perfect mood for meditation or romantic al fresco dining. A sound system was added that pumps music, and with waterfall running, together is perfect for entertaining or more intimate family fun.

 

 

 

Landscape Design:

Landscape Design:

By creating the multi level patio, waterfall and different levels and colors of plant beds, new dimensions were added. For example, the new bold apricot-pink roses attract attention, causing the landscape to recede behind them, making the overall area appear larger.

 

 

 

Stepping Stone Paths:

Stepping Stone Paths:

The homeowners wanted a path to the tool shed. But with extensive multi-level pavers being used, in such a small back yard, it was natural the homeowners didn’t want more swaths of brick. The stepping stone path offers a more natural feel and sofens the landscape.

 

 

 

Upgrading Backyard Can Create Entirely Different Property

Upgrades are as important to Deck and Patio’s landscaping business as new projects. Often, these jobs require an artful blending of the old with the new. Our outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, recently enjoyed one special upgrade opportunity where the existing pool equipment, for example, was 20 years old.

Getting to the plumbing would have been a challenge, but the homeowners were also seeking improvement to what they felt was a very “confining upper patio area.” That was the area where they enjoyed sitting in the shade and taking in the property’s stunning water views. Since any upgrade plan to extend the patio would call for tearing out all the existing patio areas, this presented the perfect opportunity to gain access to the pool’s dated equipment.

Bill Renter carefully worked out a detailed plan of what to keep, and what to improve or restore: (1) upgrade the existing pool and spa; (2) expand the property’s confining upper and lower patios, which would open up the space, and better show off the property’s spectacular views of Long Island Sound; (3) add new colorful plants and flowers to enhance the opened up water views.

The result? A remodeled backyard that looks like an entirely new property — with upgrades and equipment that will last for many years to come.

 

Patio Upgrades:

Patio Upgrades:

The upper patio — where the clients liked to sit in the shade and enjoy the view — was extended to allow room for lots of comfortable outdoor furniture. In addition, an equally confining lower patio was enlarged for sunning; an outdoor kitchen (at the side of the house) was added for easy entertaining.

 

 

 

Spa Upgrades:

Spa Upgrades:

The spa circulates pool water, constantly fills up with pool water, then water falls via the spillover channel back into their pool. When expanding the patio near the master bedroom, Deck and Patio took the opportunity to upgrade the spa by adding boulders, and turning the spillover into a larger waterfall to create a more beautiful pool scene.

 

 

 

Upgraded Pool:

Upgraded Pool:

Deck and Patio refinished the inside of the pool, changing it from white to dark gray. This new color reacts with the water to give the more desirable “natural lagoon” effect. Swim-out steps were added; new stepping stone path beside the pool provides a swath of natural charm within the expansive patio areas.

 

 

Landscaping Upgrades:

Landscaping Upgrades:

New plantings were included to screen out unwanted views; the addition of colorful plants and flowers enhance the breathtaking water views. The result of the overall transformation is the homeowners enjoy stunning vistas, and a feeling of space from all areas of their yard.

 

 

 

 

Landscape Update To Freshen Home’s Exterior

Design/Build: 1980s’ yard is updated by Deck and Patio into new millennium landscape

 

Our foyers and entrance halls make strong first impressions of the interiors of our homes. We sometimes forget, however, that the true first impression is happening outside. If our yards are outdated — even when the inside is fresh and up-to-date — the first welcome our home makes is not what we intend.

Landscape, then, can — and should be — fresh and modern. When the owners of this Long Island home approached our outdoor living expert, they were looking for an innovative and modern outdoor look for their property. Our finished custom landscape brought their outdated eighties’ exterior landscaping into the new millennium. www.deckandpatio.com

New Decking

The homeowner’s initial thought was to only replace their backyard’s old decking with something more modern that suited their busy schedules; in other words, the new deck couldn’t be “high maintenance.” Our design/build team planned and executed the removal of the existing pressure-treated deck and replaced it with sleekly-designed Trex Accents composite decking, in “Saddle.” This new decking offers the warm, natural look of wood, but without the maintenance. Indeed. Trex being a composite fabrication, it eliminates the cracking, rotting or splitting natural wood is known for. It also requires no sealants which saves lots of regular maintenance hassles. These composite materials also protect from UV rays, and allow no damage from insects, water or sun.

In sum: the new deck’s clean lines give a more modern and polished look to their outdoor space and are extremely maintenance-friendly.

 

Maintenance-friendly Deck:

Maintenance-friendly Deck:

The new deck’s clean lines give a more modern and polished look to their outdoor space and are extremely maintenance-friendly.

As the new deck was being completed, the design and build capabilities of Deck and Patio made a strong impression and we were asked to make a complete renovation of the remainder of the backyard as well as the front of the home.

Pool Surround

The patio surrounding the pool was given a fresh style by replacing the old tan Chanford brick pavers with the more modern and elegant look of Techo-Bloc’s “Hammered” tan pavers. Where there once stood a moss rock waterfall, we installed a sophisticated and elegant fountain style water feature with three spilling sheets of water. An old-fashioned, straight lined railroad tie wall was removed; it was replaced with a tan Allan Block wall, laid out in sweeping curves that don’t just define the space, but also soften the lines of their new relaxation spot. Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert chose these blocks because Allan blocks look like natural stone; also they combine a rustic and modern aesthetic that result in an attractive contemporary look. In addition, they are also “dry-stacked” so there was no need for footings, mortar or connectors in the building process because the blocks stay in place once they are stacked together — — a real boon for cost-savings.

 

Fountain Style Water Feature:

Fountain Style Water Feature:

Where there once stood a moss rock waterfall, we installed a sophisticated and elegant fountain style water feature with three spilling sheets of water.

 

Allan Block Wall:

Allan Block Wall:

An old-fashioned, straight lined railroad tie wall was removed; it was replaced with a tan Allan Block wall, laid out in sweeping curves.

 

Techo-Bloc “Hammered” Pavers:

Techo-Bloc “Hammered” Pavers:

We gave a fresh style to the patio surrounding the pool by replacing the old tan Chanford brick pavers with the more modern and elegant look of Techo-Bloc’s “Hammered” tan pavers.

Front Driveway/Steps

With the backyard completely finished, the front required a bit of a makeover as well. The old, crumbling asphalt driveway needed serious attention. The Deck and Patio Company’s design required removing the old driveway and replacing it with durable tan Techo-Bloc. The asphalt walkway was also extracted and a series of graceful Techo-Bloc stairs and landings were installed.

The beauty of the newly installed step and landing were subtly accented by a decorative circle kit giving a charming and aesthetically pleasing finish. Made of interlocking paving stones, the design offered warmth and charm in a design that perfectly suited the design of their home.

Light Piers

Two final “hardscape” additions were the two sets of masonry light piers. The first set was installed at the end of the stairs creating a welcoming feature that would show off the fine details well after the sun went down. The second set of piers was set prominently at the end of the driveway to merely hint at the beauty of the property beyond.

Now a matching driveway — up to the front door of the residence — offers a wonderful “first impression” that is fresh, new, and inviting.

 

Techo-Bloc Driveway:

Techo-Bloc Driveway:

In the front yard, our design required removing the old driveway and replacing it with durable tan Techo-Bloc; the asphalt walkway was also extracted and a series of graceful Techo-Bloc stairs and landings were installed.

 

Steps and Landings:

Steps and Landings:

The beauty of the newly installed step and landing were subtly accented by a decorative circle kit giving a charming and aesthetically pleasing finish.

Gardening and Water Features

Finally, when it comes to updating a home, fresh gardening can raise a home’s value almost instantly and is the least expensive improvement you can make. For example, if your plantings are over 10 years old, they are probably way overgrown; any original landscape design has long faded when plants have grown practically into trees.

For this project, our new “hardscape” design was tied together with lush, colorful perennials throughout and two specimens of green lace leaf maples standing alongside the light piers at the end of the driveway.

In addition, a new pondless waterfall alongside the deck and pool area creates a luxurious and soothing highlight — an added bonus to their outdoor living experience.

 

Great Curb Appeal:

Great Curb Appeal:

 

 Beautiful Water Features:

Beautiful Water Features:

We also created a second lovely water feature area that appeals to the homeowner’s sense of sound as well as sight.

When all the craftsmen packed up upon completion of the project, the homeowners were pleased with how their dream and the vision of their designer’s came to be a reality.

 

 

How to Breathe New Life into Pool and Landscaping

Just as indoor living areas become outdated over time, outdoor landscaping, patios and pools require updating as well, says our Deck and Patio outdoor living expert. When he was brought in by the homeowners to consult on this special project, for example, he worked out a plan of what to keep and what to improve or restore.

Before work began, our outdoor living expert showed the homeowners exactly what their transformed backyard would look like using our AutoCad 3-D animation computer program. Through this software application, the clients were able to get a clear picture of our proposal which included (1) upgrading the pool and spa; (2) expanding the property’s confining upper and lower patios to open up the space and show off their property’s spectacular views of Long Island Sound; (3) the addition of new colorful plants and flowers to enhance the opened up water views.

 

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Using a 3-D animation computer program, we were able to show clients what upgrades to pool and patios would look like.

The Pool: The existing 20-plus-year-old gunite pool was operating with equipment that was out of date. Since the plan called for tearing out all the existing patios, this presented the perfect opportunity to gain access to the pool’s equipment for upgrading. The old plumbing system was replaced. Also, new items such as piping skimmers, filter, heater, pump and inlet valve returns were added.

We also refinished the inside of the pool, changing it from white to a dark gray. This new color reacts with the water to give a more desirable “natural lagoon” effect. Swim-out steps were added, as well as a new stepping stone path beside the pool to provide a swath of natural charm within the expansive patio areas.

This upgraded pool with its new amenities will be enjoyed for many years to come.

 

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The pool upgrade included refinishing the inside of the pool, adding new pool plumbing, filter, pump, piping skimmers, and inlet valve returns.

The Patios: Our outdoor living expert transformed what the client described as a “problem area” — a confining upper patio — into a special feature. The upper patio was where the clients liked to sit in the shade and enjoy the view and it was expanded to allow flexibility in outdoor furniture choices as well as opening up their property’s vistas of Long Island Sound. In addition, an equally confining lower patio was enlarged for sunning and an outdoor kitchen was added for entertaining.

 

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Backyard retreat renovation includes enlarged patios and beautiful new landscaping.

The existing spa, which circulates pool water, constantly fills up with pool water, then water falls via the spillover channel into their pool. When expanding the patio near the master bedroom, we took the opportunity to upgrade the spa by adding boulders and turning the spill over into a larger waterfall to create a more beautiful pool scene.

 

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Boulders and a waterfall were added to the existing spillover spa. The spa patio was also enlarged by the master bedroom.

Landscaping: In addition to adding a new outdoor kitchen to the main pool patio area, Deck and Patio created a secret garden path at the side of the house that leads to the clients’ private barbecue patio and a new pondless water feature. Other landscaping upgrades included new plantings to screen out unwanted views and the addition of colorful plants and flowers to enhance the breathtaking water views. The result of the overall transformation is the homeowners enjoy stunning vistas and a feeling of space from all areas of their yard.

 

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The landscaping was upgraded to screen out unwanted views and also to enhance the property’s stunning views of Long Island Sound.

 

Our outdoor living expert says of this job, “The clients’ ideas were turned into reality with the blending of the old pool and expanded new patios, waterfalls, boulders and, of course, landscaping. Plus the upgrade of the pool — the heart of their outdoor retreat — means they can enjoy this special backyard retreat for many years to come.”

 

 

Cambridge Ledgestone Design Kits: Foundation for your dreams

At Deck and Patio we’re finding that it’s not just a desire for “stay-cations” motivating Long Islanders to want their own spectacular outdoor retreat. It seems, as the economy improves, the desire to celebrate is in the air. And with the onset of great weather, we’re hungering to hold life’s special occasions — outdoors.

Whatever the motivation or celebration, any outdoor oasis must start with the right foundation. We have found Cambridge Pavingstones with ArmorTec to be the most durable and beautiful. That’s because these pavers do not show signs of color loss or fading over time, and have blemish-free surfaces. In particular, at Deck and Patio, we often recommend the “Ledgestone 3Pc. Design Kit” from Cambridge’s “The Sherwood Collection,” for the pavers’ particular shape, surface and unique design opportunities.

Cambridge also has a good line of Wallstones to complement the pavers laid down in patios, terraces, walkways, and pool surrounds. Constructed to the right height, in

addition to delineating outside spaces attractively, these walls can make perfect seating benches. Such extra seating is great for friends and family to gather around a large- screen television for ballgames, or a fire pit to toast hot dogs and marshmallows, or to sit when eating from a buffet plate.

In addition, no one plans an outdoor oasis to enjoy just for one season. We’re talking about a lifestyle change — which is another reason why we love Cambridge Pavingstones so much. For as summers get hotter and winters get colder, these seem to withstand abuse better than any poured and stenciled concrete. They are also quite resistant to chipping, de-icing salts and snow plowing.

Of course, maybe you don’t want to create the “ideal” outdoor paradise all at once. If that’s the case, you are not alone. Budgetary realities might mean starting small — but with a plan. Here at Deck and Patio we have a terrific computer program. We can design an oasis that can be done over time. And you can see how it will look each step of the way.

Perhaps the first phase will be simply a new walkway, or terrace — beautifully made from durable Cambridge Pavingstones. Another phase might include a fire pit and pergola. Still later, a pool, or water feature, spa, and outdoor kitchen. A stepping stone path, new deck, patios — the sky’s the limit for your dreams.

 

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Photo: Cambridge Pavingstones

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo: Cambridge Pavingstones

 

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