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Welcome Guests with Pops of Color this Labor Day

Labor Day Weekend — the last of summer’s three big holiday weekends — is just a week away. And while it’s not the end of the outdoor season (see last week’s blog for ideas on how to extend it), it is one of the last big outdoor weekends for entertaining.

So if you are hosting an event, you might want to make it extra special by adding pops of plant color around your deck or patio. Even if you’re not hosting yourself, you might be in need of a hostess gift — like a bouquet from your very own garden.

 

 Sandra Vultaggio

Sandra Vultaggio, Horticulture Consultan

Now, if you’re wondering if it’s too late to be adding flowers that will not only make Labor Day colorful, but will also last well into the fall, not to worry. We have below some great ideas from Sandra Vultaggio, Horticulture Consultant at Suffolk County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension, who has just the right plants in mind.

“Late in the summer season is actually a great time to add some perennials,” says Vultaggio. “And you can usually get good deals on them this time of year.” 

 

 

As for which ones to look out for, she agrees with Deck and Patio that the beautiful Honorine Jobert Anemone (aka Windflower) is a great choice to add mid-to-late August. The Windflower will bloom through October and it prefers shade-to-partial sun, and moist, well-drained soil.

Honorine Jobert Anemone (aka Windflower)

Honorine Jobert Anemone (aka Windflower)

 

Vultaggio offered several more perennial choices. For example, Chelone, (aka Turtlehead). “This purple/red flowering plant does well in both shade and sun,” she says.

Chelone, (aka Turtlehead)

Chelone, (aka Turtlehead)

 

Sedums (the “upright” like Autumn Joy), as well as Asters, are also great choices,” she continues. “These prefer sun and are available in many different varieties and shades of pink and purple.” 

Sedum — Autumn Joy

Sedum — Autumn Joy

 

For a sunny yellow option, Vultaggio suggests Solidago (aka Goldenrod) which also prefers full sun.

Solidago (aka Goldenrod)

Solidago (aka Goldenrod)

 

“I suggest getting these perennials in the ground sooner rather than later,” she continues. If it hasn’t rained before planting, soak the root systems thoroughly and keep them very well watered and mulched after planting.”

“It’s easy to make a splash this Labor Day weekend with bright plantings around your property,” adds Dave Stockwell. “Sandra’s ideas for adding color and beauty will not only make Labor Day Weekend entertaining colorful, but the impact will last well into the fall.”

Note: Our feature photo at the top of our blog page today shows a lovely colorful flower from the Aster family. 

 

 

By |2019-08-22T13:33:45-05:00August 22nd, 2019|Ask the Experts, Backyard Refurbishments, Gardening, Landscaping, Outdoor Living, Plants, Seasonal Landscapes, Updating Landscape|Comments Off on Welcome Guests with Pops of Color this Labor Day

Backyard Heaven: Discovering You Can Have a Pool

It’s true that not every property can accommodate a pool. But sometimes even experts get it wrong. For while expertise is a great thing, creativity is what really solves problems. That was the case for these homeowners.

The husband and wife had given up their dreams for a pool. They had asked several experts who all told them their property wouldn’t accommodate one. However, that was before they contacted Bill Renter — one of Deck and Patio’s best outdoor living experts.

“They asked me to come look over their old natural-wood deck. They wanted us to renovate it using capped composite materials from Trex Decking,” says Bill.

“While we were chatting, they decided to ask one more time about the possibility of a pool. To their delight, I told them I didn’t think it was impossible at all — but that it would take a bit of innovation.”

What had concerned other experts about their property was how it sloped toward the house. They also had to deal with restrictive town setback codes.

“With Bill leading our team, we tackled these issues by setting the pool mid-grade and building risers up to the pool height,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio.

Dave adds that our design also called for an attractive water feature behind the pool to handle the rising higher grade. The delightful sounds from the water feature also screened out noise from nearby neighbors — all while creating a natural and beautiful vista.

“You might say they finally got their backyard heaven,” says Dave.

 

 

Free-form Vinly Pool: Vinyl-lined pools can be constructed in any shape, curve, or angle, which made it easier to fit a pool in this yard. By taking advantage of the property’s rising grade, Deck and Patio created a natural retaining wall, studded with gorgeous plantings, moss and river rock to hold back the rising soil. Added benefit: the sounds an added waterfall makes their long desired pool experience even better.

Free-form Vinly Pool: Vinyl-lined pools can be constructed in any shape, curve, or angle, which made it easier to fit a pool in this yard. By taking advantage of the property’s rising grade, Deck and Patio created a natural retaining wall, studded with gorgeous plantings, moss and river rock to hold back the rising soil. Added benefit: the sounds an added waterfall makes their long desired pool experience even better.

 

Pool Surround: This pool is surrounded by a patio created from Cambridge’s Round Table pavingstones. The pavers’ dimpled, embossed surfaces gently roll into soft, beveled edges on four straight-sided Cambridge Shapes with ArmorTec. The pavers were laid in a handsome modified herringbone pattern.

Pool Surround: This pool is surrounded by a patio created from Cambridge’s Round Table pavingstones. The pavers’ dimpled, embossed surfaces gently roll into soft, beveled edges on four straight-sided Cambridge Shapes with ArmorTec. The pavers were laid in a handsome modified herringbone pattern.

 

Stepping Stone Paths: Bluestone stepping stones we installed to skim across the backyard sod and connect the pool patio to their new Trex deck and second Cambridge patio located at the house. This area is also home to a new outdoor kitchen area, complete with barbecue and refrigerator. The entire project was finished off with the installation of lush colorful landscaping and low voltage lighting.

Stepping Stone Paths: Bluestone stepping stones we installed to skim across the backyard sod and connect the pool patio to their new Trex deck and second Cambridge patio located at the house. This area is also home to a new outdoor kitchen area, complete with barbecue and refrigerator. The entire project was finished off with the installation of lush colorful landscaping and low voltage lighting.

 

 

Landscaping Ideas: Ending the Summer Entertaining Season with a Splash of Color

While Labor Day weekend (just two weeks away) is not the end of the outdoor season, it is the last of summer’s three big holiday weekends.

This means you’re probably either planning to host or attend one or more family barbecues, pool parties, summer movie parties, or just plain end-of-summer gatherings. There may be corporate shindigs happening as well. Not to mention kids will be begging for a last sprinkler cool-down with friends.

Those hosting such outdoor festivities have probably been looking over their property’s landscaping, with a view of how the yard will look when entertaining.

Sandra Vultaggio

Sandra Vultaggio

We are happy to report that it’s far from too late to add a splash of color and beauty right now that will last well into Fall. In speaking with Sandra Vultaggio, Horticulture Consultant at Suffolk County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension, she offered our readers some great landscaping ideas.

“Late in the season is actually a great time to add some perennials,” says Vultaggio. “And you can usually get good deals on them this time of year.”

As for which ones to look out for, she agreed with the beautiful Honorine Jobert Anemone (aka Windflower) that we showcased on Facebook this week as a great choice to add mid-to-late August.  The Windflower will bloom through October and it prefers shade-to-partial sun, and moist, well-drained soil.

Vultaggio offered several more perennial choices, e.g., Chelone, (aka Turtlehead). “This purple/red flowering plant does well in both shade and sun,” she says. “And Asters, as well as Sedums (the “upright” like Autumn Joy) are also great choices. These prefer sun and are available in many different varieties and shades of pink and purple.” For a sunny yellow option, Vultaggio suggests Solidago (aka Goldenrod) which also prefers full sun.

“I suggest getting them in the ground sooner than later,” she continues, “and because of the drought in the Long Island area, it’s important to soak the root systems thoroughly and keep them very well watered and mulched after planting.”

But what about droughts? Shouldn’t we be considerate and fair in how much water we use? As many of you know, Deck and Patio has a division completely devoted to rainwater harvesting  and we are available to give advice on how best to collect rainwater for use in maintaining water features as well as property landscaping.

“In the meantime, there are things we can do immediately to conserve water for our gardens,” says Vultaggio.

“Think about the water we throw away just when making a pot of pasta. Rather than let it go down the sink, simply let it cool and use it in your garden. The fact that pasta was cooked in the water will not harm your plants. I recommend keeping a bucket for water collection. Put your pasta water there and any leftover water in drinking glasses. Just be mindful of all the water we use that can be conserved. In a recent blog, Gardening in a Drought, I highlighted a variety of ways to ensure a healthy garden despite low precipitation.”

“So don’t feel guilty making a splash this Labor Day weekend with bright plantings around your property,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “Even if you don’t yet have a rainwater collection system, you can nourish your landscape by not wasting household water as outlined by Ms. Vultaggio.”

Below are photos of some ideal plants to add in time for Labor Day. These should add color and beauty well into Fall. And if you aren’t entertaining at home, these would make great hostess gifts. Happy Labor Day wherever you spend it!

 

Anemone Windflower -- or "Honorine Jobert

Anemone Windflower — or “Honorine Jobert

 

 

Chelone or Turtlehead

Chelone or Turtlehead

 

 

Asters

Asters

 

Sedum or Autumn Joy

Sedum or Autumn Joy

 

 

Solidago or Goldenrod

Solidago or Goldenrod

 

All Decking Aside…Where’s the Pool Going to Go?

The owners of this relatively small Nassau County (Long Island/NY) property approached Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, for a new deck. They also shared their dismay at having been told by other firms that their backyard terrain would not allow for the construction of a pool.

As Bill discussed plans for renovating their existing natural wood deck into Trex decking, they were delighted by his assurance that a pool would not be impossible at all; it just would take a bit of creative design.

The major issue with their property was that it inclined toward the house. Other  impediments included restrictive Town setbacks. Deck and Patio tackled these issues by setting the pool mid-grade, and building risers up to the pool height.

In addition, we built the attractive water feature behind the pool to deal with the rising higher grade, as well as to screen out the neighbors — all while maintaining a natural and beautiful scene.

And “pool aside,” the beautiful Trex decking and Cambridge patio and pool surround are pretty special, too.

 

Free-form Vinyl Pool (Long Island/NY):

Free-form Vinyl Pool (Long Island/NY):

By choosing a vinyl-lined pool, which can be constructed in any shape, curve, or angle, this allowed for great flexibility in design. Plus, the homeowners were not stuck with unattractive white interior stairs that wouldn’t blend with the rest of the pool, nor did they sacrifice a smooth bottom for the swimmers’ feet.

 

 

Pool Surround (Long Island/NY):

Pool Surround (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio also surrounded the pool with a patio created from Cambridge’s Round Table pavingstones. The pavers’ dimpled, embossed surfaces gently roll into soft, beveled edges on four straight-sided Cambridge Shapes with ArmorTec. The pavers were laid in a modified herringbone pattern.

 

 

Stepping Stone Paths (Long Island/NY):

Stepping Stone Paths (Long Island/NY):

Bluestone stepping stones skim across the backyard sod and connect the pool patio to the deck and patio at the house, which is also home to the outer kitchen area, complete with BBQ and refrigerator. The entire project was finished off with the installation of lush colorful landscaping and low voltage lighting.

Overcoming Difficult Challenges To Adding a Pool

Take heart if you want a pool, but you’ve been told it’s impossible. Even if you’ve been turned down more than once, it’s worth  it to keep asking. The happy owners of this pool, for example, called our Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, to renovate their deck from natural wood to Trex, and had decided to ask one last time about the possibility of a pool. To their surprise, he told them it wasn’t impossible at all: it would just take a bit of innovation.

The major issue with their property was that it inclined toward the house. Other  impediments were restrictive town setbacks. Deck and Patio tackled these issues by setting the pool mid-grade, and building risers up to the pool height.

In addition, we built the attractive water feature behind the pool to deal with the rising higher grade, as well as to screen out the neighbors — all while maintaining a natural and beautiful scene.

 

 

Free-form Pool

Free-form Pool

Vinyl-lined pools can be constructed in any shape, curve, or angle due to the advanced computerization of liner fabrication. The concrete walls of vinyl-lined pools have a lifetime guarantee. With such a pool, the homeowners are not stuck with unattractive white interior stairs that do not blend with the rest of the pool, nor do they sacrifice a smooth bottom for the swimmers’ feet.

 

 

 

Pool Surround:

Pool Surround:

This pool is surrounded by a patio created from Cambridge’s Round Table pavingstones. The pavers’ dimpled, embossed surfaces gently roll into soft, beveled edges on four straight-sided Cambridge Shapes with ArmorTec. The pavers were laid in a modified herringbone pattern.

 

 

 

Stepping Stone Paths:

Stepping Stone Paths:

Bluestone stepping stones skim across the backyard sod and connect the pool patio to the deck and patio at the house, which is also home to the outer kitchen area, complete with BBQ and refrigerator. The entire project was finished off with the installation of lush colorful landscaping and low voltage lighting.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.”