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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.

 

 

 

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.