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Get Ready for Summer with a Stone Bar and Trellis

These Long Island, NY, clients wanted to upgrade their backyard with lots of outdoor living amenities. But space was at a premium. There wasn’t room, for example, for a pond with waterfalls. Also, designing/adding a waterfall area to their new pool (something Deck and Patio is known for) would have reduced the desired patio space. 

Sheer Descent Waterfalls

Sheer Descent Waterfalls

“So our design team came up with the idea of having two sheer descent waterfalls  flowing out of the stone outdoor bar they wanted,” says our own Dave Stockwell.

“We designed the waterfalls be be ‘pondless’ — so the spill is captured below ground without the usual above-ground presence of a pond.”

(Sheer descents are also known as sheet falling or water curtain waterfalls.

 

 

 

'Pondless' Waterfalls

‘Pondless’ Waterfalls

The best part of these waterfalls is their ability to offer the audio and visual enjoyments of continuous flowing water while using only a minimum of water flow. The Aquascape underground “pondless waterfall” system stores and recirculates the captured water through an underneath pump that sends the water up through a filter.

Note: The charming block of plantings in front of the bar provides a natural softscape that breaks up the surrounding hardscapes with bursts of color and softness.

 

 

Custom Wood Trellis/Pergola

Custom Trellis

Custom Trellis

 

The addition of a custom wood trellis over the bar helped create an “outdoor great room” effect through the use of this attractive piece of architecture.

It also adds to the private escape feeling which is desirable anytime, but which is particularly valuable these days when travel is so unappealing to many. 

Homeowners can add climbing roses or other climbing plants to such a trellis for additional natural beauty. And the shade from the pergola will increase over the years as the vines continue to grow.

 

 

 

 

Custom Bar with Trellis

Custom Bar with Trellis

The custom bar with trellis was set across from a slightly raised patio lounge area furnished with circular wicker seating and a shade umbrella.

The bar’s stone mimics the lovely patio paving stones; it is topped by a counter made from composite decking material that gives the appearance of wood, but without the cracking, rotting, or splitting.  This countertop also requires no sealants because the composite materials are already protected from UV rays, and is very resistant to damage from insects, water or sun.

 

A note about the Cambridge Random Pavers used in this project. 

Cambridge Pavingstones

Cambridge Pavingstones

To create the patio pool surround and other patio areas, we compacted the soil back around the pool to allow for the immediate installation of the new pavers around the pool.

This compacting process is not done by many contractors. We, however, have been doing it successfully for over 15 years with little or no soil movement.

The idea is that, using compacted soil, the base will not settle so you don’t have to wait to install a patio around a new pool. Many contractors still install concrete slabs under their patio. In our experience we find this does not work well. Settling still occurs under the slab allowing the patio to crack or settle.

After the base materials were finished, we installed chestnut-hued durable pavers. The pavers’ protective coating means these clients will have a clean-lined modern look. Even after being subjected to snow plowing, de-icing salts and normal wear, they will keep their color and beautiful appearance.

 

 

Vinyl Pool

Vinyl Pool

 

 

This project also included a vinyl-pool with automated cover and additional patio lounging areas.

 

 

 

Destination Swimming Pool: Deck and Patio Design/Builds Backyard Oasis

 

Have you ever fretted that your property has too many challenges for a backyard oasis? Well, the fact is, few properties have an ideal landscape for this. Some are small, others have severe slope problems, still others are limited by local code setback restrictions, or all of the above.

Cool refreshing lemonade

Cool refreshing lemonade

What frequently delights our clients, however, is discovering how drawbacks can bring out creative answers that turn proverbial lemons into cool, refreshing oasis-lemonade. This Dix Hills, Long Island, project is a perfect example.

The homeowners wanted a pool, and because of  the sloping topography, they knew any pool would have to be a “destination” pool — or a pool area that, because it is a distance from the house, includes convenient amenities such as an outdoor kitchen, bathroom, living room area, changing room, etc.

Before photo of new destination pool oasis

Before photo of new destination pool oasis

On looking over the property, Deck and Patio’s Bill Renter took a glance up the sloping hill from the proposed pool area and immediately realized the hill offered the potential for creating something spectacular. The slope was the perfect terrain for a meandering stream cascading down into a new koi pond beside the pool. This would turn the destination swimming pool area into a destination oasis.

There was, however, one large concern. It would be a real loss if such a delightful feature as a stream and waterfall couldn’t be enjoyed up the hill from the patio near the house. Would they have to be down at the pool to enjoy it?

The solution was to add an additional waterfall at the top of the slope that faced the house-kitchen area. That way, they could see a waterfall, as well as the beginning of the stream. And just beyond that vantage point, the stream would take an abrupt U-turn, and flow down through five separate cascades, before ending in the lower area pond.

 

Destination Pools:

Destination Pools:

Because of the topography, the pool was located far from the house, down a steep grade. We added beautiful creeping ground cover and natural boulders, so that even the property’s challenging raised grades were turned into benefits. Also, by installing enough retaining boulders and plant materials, Mother Nature’s own gravity coaxes water naturally over rock etc. into a pond.

 

Destination Pools:

Destination Pools:

The walk from the house down to the pool is part of the oasis experience. Beautiful plantings flank on either side and an additional natural looking waterfall falling over the edge of the swimming pool draws the eye forward. Also note how comfortably large the pool surround is for entertaining as well as family time spent by the pool.

 

Backyard Water Features:

Backyard Water Features:

Our vision was to take advantage of the steep property grade to create a beautiful slope with five cascading waterfalls, moss rock boulders, evergreens, perennials and annuals, plus a series of stairs and landings to bring them down to a new lower pool area.

 

 

Picture-Perfect Waterfalls:

Picture-Perfect Waterfalls:

We ended up creating an additional waterfall at the top of the slope that faced the house-kitchen area. That way, the family could see a waterfall and the beginning of the stream; slightly beyond that vantage point, the stream takes an abrupt U-turn, and flows down through five separate cascades, before ending in the lower area pond.

 

 

 

How Many Dream Amenities Can Fit In Your Backyard?

Many Deck and Patio clients are surprised what can fit into their yard. For this project, the homeowners had a nicely sized backyard, rimmed by healthy trees, but they believed it was not expansive enough to hold everything they wanted in a dream backyard.

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, came up with a plan that included it all: a geometric vinyl pool, separate patio areas, gas fire pit, custom stone bar with water feature, dramatic custom wood trellis, several banks of shade umbrellas, quiet lounging areas, and artful landscaping.

Bill’s design also included an automated pool cover. When not in use, the cover coils up at one end of the pool where its powerful motor and mechanisms are artfully hidden under an attractive swath of bluestone.

Because space was at a premium, the usual type of water feature — where waterfalls are fed by streams and ponds — was not practical. Bill came up with the idea of having two “sheer descent” waterfalls flowing out of the stone bar where the water is re-circulated without the usual above-ground presence of a pond.

The addition of a custom wood trellis over the bar area helps create an “outdoor great room” effect through the use of this attractive piece of architecture. It also adds to the private escape feeling so sought after these days. In addition, the shade it provides will increase over the years as any vines added by the homeowners continue to grow.

 

Vinyl Pool:

Vinyl Pool:

Our design included a lovely geometric vinyl pool with seating ledge and swim-out steps. While we design and build gunite pools, many of our clients prefer the padded, smooth feeling of vinyl. Of course, the base construction of a vinyl pool is the same as any other. “Vinyl” simply means the method used to line a pool’s interior.

 

 

Automated Pool Cover:

Automated Pool Cover:

Using a pool cover when the pool is not in use saves money as well as much of the time normally dedicated to keeping the pool free from debris. Made to fit this pool exactly, all the homeowners need do is press a button and the pool cover will automatically cover the entire pool within a minute.

 

 

Cambridge Pavers:

Cambridge Pavers:

The chestnut-hue of the random Cambridge pavers echoes that of the trellis and siding on the house, as well as the facade of the custom stone bar, creating one harmonious whole. These particular pavers have little or no color fade and the random design pattern adds interest.

 

 

Custom Outdoor Bar:

Custom Outdoor Bar:

This custom bar is set across from a slightly raised patio lounge area furnished with circular wicker seating and a shade umbrella. The bar’s stone mimics the lovely patio paving stones; it is topped by a counter made from composite decking material that gives the appearance of wood, but without the cracking, rotting, or splitting.

 

 

Sheer Descent Waterfalls:

Sheer Descent Waterfalls:

A special feature of sheer descent waterfalls is their ability to offer the audio and visual enjoyments of continuous flowing water while using only a minimum of water flow. An underground Aquascape “pondless waterfall” system stores and recirculates the water through an underneath pump, up through a filter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When an Outdoor Oasis Includes More Than a Pool

 

These clients had five children under age of six, and they were seeking a vision that would suit their large young family. They knew they wanted a pool, but because of the topography, the pool would have to located far away from the house. Therefore, any pool would become a “destination” pool, with an outdoor kitchen, bathroom, living room area, changing room, etc. nearby.

However, as Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, looked up the hill from the designated pool area, he felt: yes, it was nice, but it was also a great opportunity to create something spectacular. The clients loved his complete vision that included the pool area, plus a meandering stream that would cascade down the slope into a new koi pond.

However, there was one major concern. How could they enjoy the waterfall and stream from the house and upper patio area? It seemed they would have to be down at pool area to enjoy it.

We ended up creating an additional waterfall at the top of the slope that faced the house-kitchen area. That way, they could see a waterfall, and the beginning of the stream; from slightly beyond that vantage point, the stream takes an abrupt U-turn, and flows down through five separate cascades, before ending in the lower area pond.

 

 

Destination Pools:

Destination Pools:

Because of the topography, the pool had to be located far from the house, down a steep grade. Our vision included adding beautiful creeping ground cover and boulders, so that even the property’s challenging raised grades were turned into benefits. Also, by installing enough retaining boulders and plant materials, we coaxed Mother Nature’s own gravity into pumping water naturally into a pond.

 

 

 

Attracting Wildlife In Backyards:

Attracting Wildlife In Backyards:

Not just humans appreciate a pond water feature. Birds and butterflies will be attracted as well. Birds love gently moving water. Just provide a place for them to land, such as rock platforms, or design a shallow end as part of the feature. And by keeping the water circulating, this will also help prevent mosquito larvae from hatching.

 

 

 

Backyard Water Features:

Backyard Water Features:

Our vision was to take advantage of the steep property grade to create a beautiful slope with five cascading waterfalls, moss rock boulders, evergreens, perennials and annuals, plus a series of stairs and landings to bring them down to a new lower pool area.

 

 

 

Backyard Ponds:

Backyard Ponds:

A properly-designed pond will not attract mosquitoes, as mosquitoes prefer stagnant water to produce their offspring. Most backyard-ponds have constantly moving water because of the stream feeding it. Additionally, any mosquito larvae that manage to hatch will either be sucked into the pond skimmer, or eaten by the fish.

 

 

 

Picture-Perfect Waterfalls:

Picture-Perfect Waterfalls:

We ended up creating an additional waterfall at the top of the slope that faced the house-kitchen area. That way, they could see a waterfall, and the beginning of the stream; from slightly beyond that vantage point, the stream takes an abrupt U-turn, and flows down through five separate cascades, before ending in the lower area pond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Designed Outdoor Retreats Come From a Passion For the Outdoors

With a special passion for the outdoors, Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, designs and builds spectacular award-winning outdoor retreats

 

 

A good deal goes into creating a wonderful outdoor living space. This is true for any artistic endeavor, including something as simple as baking a great loaf of bread. You start with basic ingredients. Then something special is added to make it all rise. For bread, that something special is yeast: in landscape design, it is a passion for the outdoors.

When he’s not working 14 hour days as owner of Deck and Patio in Huntington Station, Bill Renter enjoys spending time at his second home in the mountains of upstate New York. There, he enjoys quiet times hiking the mountainous landscape where streams flow into breathtaking natural waterfalls, wild flowers break out of crags and cover expanses. In this still beauty, he takes time to study how the water, plants, soil, and rocks live together. He says that with each such nature walk some fresh inspiration comes to him on how to design and build a new natural looking outdoor space.

However, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert also understands that passion on its own isn’t enough. Design/build expertise, and depth of experience, is essential (see tips for choosing qualified design/build firms below). In addition, the particular ingredients for each project must come into play: budget considerations, property size and gradations, and the preferences and tastes of homeowners.

Once you have all of this working for you, you probably will end up with a very nice backyard retreat. However! If your designer/builder also brings a deep passion for the outdoors, this special “yeast” will raise the routine waterfall to the glorious and a conventional pool surround to the acclaimed.

 

Spectacular Backyard Water Features:

Spectacular Backyard Water Features:

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert designed and built this stunning man-made waterfall to appear as if it had been created by Mother Nature herself.

 

Harmonious Pool/Spa and Surround:

Harmonious Pool/Spa and Surround:

This elegant geometric pool and spa, with a linear pattern surround ideal for entertaining and sun bathing, was designed by Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert to be in perfect harmony with each other.

 

An avid skier and hiker, our outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, has said: “Experiencing nature is life to me.” And despite all the awards Deck and Patio has received for grand projects, much of our work at is done in regular backyards, in phases, and within a modest budget. You don’t have to be on a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound to inspire Bill Renter to create a thrilling outdoor living space that you will want to be in all the time.

Backyard Retreats Are For Everyone:

Backyard Retreats Are For Everyone:

Bill Renter can create a sublime vanishing edge pond overlooking Long Island Sound; however, most of his work is in creating spectacular outdoor living spaces in regular backyards.

 

Are You Ready To Begin Creating Your Own Paradise?

One of the most important steps in achieving your goals for a pool project is to contact the proper type of contractor, warns Bill Renter. He offers here some helpful hints on what to take into consideration when approaching the bidding and design process.

Note: You can also call or email us for a copy of Deck and Patio’s book: 10 Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Landscape Contractor.

Landscapers: 10 Things You Should Know:

Landscapers: 10 Things You Should Know:

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert offers a free book on choosing the right design/builder for your backyard retreat.

Bill Renter’s Tips

  1. Starting early is the best way to get all your ducks in a row. This gives you a chance to plan effectively, square away any variances needed, secure permits and finalize plan details.
  1. Another important thing to consider, he adds, is choosing a designer/builder that have insurance and are licensed to work in your area. Ask to see this license and contact your local licensing bureau to make sure it has not been revoked.
  1. Ask any designer/builder how long they have been in business. Remember, you are not being   overly cautious by requesting this information and your contractor should not hesitate to fulfill your request.
  1. Call or meet with three different designers and see how they respond. Unanswered phone calls may indicate poor management or the inability to get someone to respond when an issue arises in the future. Compare bids and pay close attention to details. Many times a cheaper bid is missing many important aspects of the job that when added in will equal the high priced bid. Make sure all specifications, including size, shape, color, brand and quantity are detailed for you.

Insert Photo of Bill w/Client

Caption: Choosing The Right Designer/Builder: Call or meet with at least three different designers to see how they respond; compare bids and pay close attention to details.

  1. Many contractors utilize the services of subcontractors. Ask your design/building contractor for details about the subs. For example: Are they licensed and insured? Who will be responsible for any repairs necessary for the duration of the warranty? Ask who will be responsible to coordinate the subs and get them on site when the time is right. A good design/build firm will take on the responsibility of coordinating the subs. Find out if you will be responsible for the payment of these subcontractors. Many contractors prefer you deal directly with their subcontractors when it comes to payment and they will step in to coordinate the work for you.
  1. Town codes and zoning can be complicated. Make sure your contractor has these guidelines in mind prior to finalizing the design process. Some design/build firms such as The Deck and Patio Company can put you in touch with an expeditor to assist you with the permit process.
  1. Inquire about the company you are intending to sign with before going into contract with them. Check their references and ask them how the contractor performed. Ask about job supervision. Find out how many crews you can expect and how many crew leaders and/or project managers will be on the site. Find out how long their crews have been working for the company.
  1. Review the contract carefully before you sign it. Make sure all your warranty information matches what you were verbally promised. If anything is unclear ask them to be more specific.

These tips, along with our companion book on how to choose the right landscape designer, will help you not make any serious mistakes for choosing a reputable designer. Finding one who also has the “yeast” — or the passion for the outdoors and creating scenes as they appear in nature — is harder. If you can, view some of their previous work, but be sure to compare apples with apples. Someone who creates lovely lawns and flower beds might not know how to make a waterfall appear as it comes from nature or a koi pond look like it was always there.

 

6uQx4urQBlhVnMSxoVhYshPyVPX5yycpUi5vLy0fIZM With the right designer/builder, you will not need to limit yourselves as to what’s possible. Any backyard, with the right inspiration, can be turned into something spectacular. Indeed, a “regular backyard” (see third photo above), in the hands of Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, became the following South Sea-style paradise, complete with “lagoon” vinyl freeform pool, natural looking bonfire, multi-level waterfalls, slide, and colorful lush plantings. You can almost hear the steel drums.

Enjoy A Dream Backyard Even Where Space Is Limited

Creating a complete backyard retreat within limited space

 

The designing and building of a beautiful outdoor space can be a complicated endeavor, even when space is not limited. However, when space is a factor, it becomes very important that the team involved can offer creativity backed by years of experience and education.

For this project, the homeowners had a nicely sized backyard, rimmed by a large growth of healthy trees. The dream backyard they wanted would allow them to use their yard in many different ways — swimming, sunning, relaxing, entertaining, as well as room to play outdoor games.

We came up with an ideal plan that included a lovely geometric vinyl pool with automatic pool cover, separate patio areas made from elegant Cambridge pavers, gas fire pit, custom stone bar with water feature, dramatic custom wood trellis, several banks of shade umbrellas, quiet lounging areas, and artful landscaping for beauty as well as to soften the hardscape areas. Deck and Patio was even able to dedicate an area for one of the families favorite enjoyments — ping pong.

 

Dream Backyard Retreat:

Dream Backyard Retreat:

Our design included a lovely geometric vinyl pool with automated pool cover, elegant Cambridge pavers, custom trellis and stone bar with water feature.

Vinyl Pool

Deck and Patio’s design for this project included a vinyl pool with seating ledge and swim-out steps. While Deck and Patio designs and builds gunite, many of our clients prefer the padded, smooth feeling of vinyl. Of course, the base construction of a vinyl pool is the same as any other. “Vinyl” simply means the method used to line a pool’s interior.

Automated Pool Cover

Using a pool cover when the pool is not in use saves money, as well as much of the time normally dedicated to keeping the pool free from debris. And because the easier a pool cover is to use the more you will use it, an automated pool cover is ideal. When not in use, this project’s pool cover coils up at one end of the pool where its powerful motor and mechanisms have been artfully hid under an attractive swath of bluestone. Made to fit this pool exactly, all the homeowners need to do is press a button and the automatic pool cover will cover the entire pool within a minute.

 

Vinyl Pool/Automated Pool Cover:

Vinyl Pool/Automated Pool Cover:

Using a pool cover when the pool is not in use saves money as well as much of the time normally dedicated to keeping the pool free from debris.

Stone Bar and Trellis

This project includes a custom bar set across from a slightly raised patio lounge area furnished with circular wicker seating and a shade umbrella. The bar’s stone mimics the lovely Cambridge paving stones of the patio; it has been topped by a counter made from composite decking material that gives the appearance of wood, but being a composite fabrication, there should be no cracking, rotting or splitting. This countertop also requires no sealants because the composite materials are already protected from UV rays, and is very resistant to damage from insects, water or sun.

The custom wood trellis over the bar area helps create an “outdoor great room” effect through the use of this attractive piece of architecture. It also adds to the private escape feeling so sought after these days. To increase over time the shade enjoyed from the trellis, the homeowners can add climbing roses or other climbing plants to the trellis that will add additional natural beauty to this backyard retreat.

 

Stone Bar and Trellis:

Stone Bar and Trellis:

Stone Bar and Trellis: A custom wood trellis over the bar area helps create an “outdoor great room” effect.

Pondless Water Feature

Because space was at a premium, the usual type of water feature — where waterfalls are fed by streams and ponds — was not practical here. Our outdoor living expert came up with the idea of having two “sheer descent” waterfalls coming out of the stone bar where the water is re-circulating without the above-ground presence of a pond. This “pondless waterfall” system works much like a normal pond but it is designed under-ground with a deeper hole, lined with rock and gravel, and filled with water. This water keeps circulating through the use of an underneath pump, up through a filter. So, in fact, a type of pond is there, but it is underground and is not visible.

The feature’s “sheer descent” waterfalls provide the desired gentle rushing sound through attractive glass-like sheets of water to create the relaxing atmosphere derived from water features. The best part of these waterfalls is their ability to offer the audio and visual enjoyments of continuous flowing water while using only a minimum of water flow. In the charming block of landscaping in front of the bar plantings, a natural softscape breaks up the surrounding hardscape areas with bursts of color and softness.

Sheer Descent Waterfalls:

Sheer Descent Waterfalls:

A special feature of sheer descent waterfalls is their ability to offer the audio and visual enjoyments of continuous flowing water while using only a minimum of water flow.

Cambridge Random Pavers

To create the patio pool surround and other patio areas, we compacted the soil back around the pool to allow for the immediate installation of the new pavers around the pool.

This compacting process is not done by many contractors. We, however, have been doing it successfully for over 15 years with little or no soil movement. The idea is that, using compacted soil, the base will not settle so you don’t have to wait to install a patio around a new pool. Many contractors still install concrete slabs under their patio. In our experience we find this does not work well. Settling still occurs under the slab allowing the patio to crack or settle.

After the base materials were finished, we installed chestnut-hued durable pavers. These particular pavers have little or no color fade and the random design pattern adds interest to the patio. The pavers’ protective coating means these clients will have a clean-lined modern look. Even after being subjected to snow plowing, de-icing salts and normal wear, they will keep their color and beautiful appearance.

The chestnut-hue of the chosen pavers handsomely echoes that of the trellis and siding on the house, as well as the facade of the custom stone bar, creating one harmonious whole.

Flexible Shade

Embedded umbrellas, and the flexible shade opportunities they provide, were used liberally in this project to not only offer shade but to help delineate the different use areas. When the umbrellas are open, they provide a bank of shade, perhaps 27 to 36 feet long, depending on how many umbrellas are placed next to each other.

While the pergola adds drama and architectural impact, an abundance of umbrellas adds flexibility over what fixed-shade amenities can offer. This is because various umbrellas can be open and closed at the same time. All open, and you have a perfect area to place a buffet lunch or relax in full shade; partially closed, and those who want shade can lounge next to those who want sun.

 

Cambridge Random Pavers:

Cambridge Random Pavers:

The chestnut-hue of the pavers handsomely echoes that of the trellis, siding on the house, and custom stone bar; banks of shade umbrellas offer flexibility on shade choices while helping to delineate different functional patio areas.

This outdoor retreat, despite a limited amount of space, fulfilled each item on the homeowners wish list. They have a lovely padded vinyl-lined pool with easy-to-use automated pool cover, a water feature that provides continuous relaxation and enjoyment, beautiful landscaping, a bar area with attractive trellis, various lounge and seating areas — and even space for one of their family’s favorite enjoyments — ping pong.

 

Ideal Backyard Retreat:

Ideal Backyard Retreat:

There was even delineated space for one of their family’s favorite enjoyments — ping pong.

 

 

By |2017-01-21T16:34:49-05:00November 14th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments