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Creative Solutions: Designing Pool Wall As Part of Retaining Wall System

Sometimes when designing/building an outdoor retreat, it is essential to preserve the natural environment. However, when site constraints or landform challenges limit what can or cannot be done, this often causes Deck and Patio to be more creative.

For example, unattractive retaining wall systems — often required on Long Island’s rocky sloping properties — are not normally hidden by a body of water such a pool. But, for this award-winning outdoor retreat, that’s just what we did.


“We conceived the freeform concrete wall of a vinyl-lined pool positioned into the hillside,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio.

“This way, the pool wall became part of a retaining wall system.”

Deck and Patio designed a curved-steel, reinforced-concrete wall with the strength to withstand the pressure exerted by the slope — and the sheer weight of 20 tons of boulders sitting on the pool beam itself.



In addition, a stone wall was located at the main patio to not only serve as an aesthetic feature to hide the grade changes to the pool area, but to become a seat wall.

Long Island boulders were used throughout the landscape to support the remaining surrounding grades as well as to give visual impact.

In order to incorporate a client’s wish list into a design, every project — from inception to completion — requires a hands-on approach to better understand a site’s characteristics, architecture, building codes and its impact to the surrounding environment.

That said, many homeowners cannot visualize from a blueprint how such extreme makeovers will look completed. As an aid, our team utilizes design technology to provide clients with a computerized 3-D animation of their project.



This presentation format means clients do not have to guess what the project will look like such as the case for this project. Such presentations also allow construction crews to have a better understanding of what exactly is being constructed.

To design and build a 22’ x 42’ freeform pool and raised spa, with waterfalls nestled into a 20 foot hillside — and incorporate multiple patios at different elevations with landscaping — requires more than just lines on paper if a job is to be successful.



This property’s undulating hillside enabled Deck & Patio to create an “amphitheater-like” environment with two spectacular water features:

–a 6-foot-high waterfall into the pool, –and a 4-foot-high cascading waterfall from the spa into the pool.

These large water features not only present a visual impact from every viewing angle, but the enhanced sound effect of the cascading waters minimizes the noise pollution coming from a nearby heavily trafficked road.


A unique combination of tumbled pavers, Techo-Bloc Quarry Stone walls, natural rock steps, Long Island boulders and retaining wall systems helped create a supple transition from the house and pool and spa patios by capturing the similarities in the earth tones throughout.

For the landscaping, we applied our extensive knowledge of how plants will grow, sequentially bloom, and react to soil conditions, solar exposure, irrigation, etc. With so much rock and pavers built into the design, we understood it was imperative to soften the impact of these massive structures by scalloping the plants into the hillside with a wide variety of colorful perennial, deciduous and evergreen plant material for a year-round impact.

Landscaping Also Key

The landscaping is also very important, because once the pool is closed for the season, it’s nice to see an impact during the winter months as well. But, in the end, all the amenities of this backyard refuge (automated pool, spillover raised spa, waterfalls, natural retaining walls, seating walls, raised patios) hinge on a creative design that made use of the pool in a surprising way: as part of a needed retaining wall.


Forgive us if we brag, but this pool and spa won two NESPA (Northeast Spa and Pool Assoc.) awards:

  • Silver Medal, Second Place, and an Outstanding Achievement in Design and Building award.

And in addition it won:

  • LIPSA- Long Island Pool and Spa Association Inc. – Silver Award, Second Place.



By |2017-08-10T12:32:34+00:00August 10th, 2017|Awards, Backyard Escapes, Backyard Upgrades, Creative Design, Deck and Patios, Landscaping, Outdoor Living, Patios & Decks, Ponds & Water Features, Pool Surrounds, Pools & Spas, Retaining Walls, Spillover/Custom Spas|Comments Off on Creative Solutions: Designing Pool Wall As Part of Retaining Wall System

How A Landscaping Plan Solved Backyard Noise Problem

Rendering of Ancient Rome

Rendering of Ancient Rome (320 AD)

Complaints about outdoor noise date back to ancient Rome. And while no one today has to deal with the teaming hoards of Rome’s cart-traffic and congestion, many do live in modern sprawling cities, or perhaps simply near a busy intersection.

In the case of this project showcase, the homeowners’ longed for a restful backyard, but their property was located close to a highly-trafficked four-lane road. How could they enjoy a pool and spa amid disturbing noise?

“We were happy to reassure them that they could have an undisturbed backyard oasis,” says Deck and Patio’s owner, Dave Stockwell. “The key was including in the landscaping design a substantial rushing waterfall near the pool. It would not only be beautiful to look at, but it’s relaxing sounds would mask the more unpleasant street sounds.” (A short video that captures the sounds of their waterfall is posted below the first two photos.)

The project’s waterfall flows over a 19-foot sound barrier of natural moss rock boulders. “It includes a 4-foot-by-eight-foot ‘pondless’ waterfall between the wall and their new pool,” adds Dave. “The barrier with its rushing waterfall not only blocks out noise, but it also gives the impression one is vacationing on some south sea isle — away from everyday life.”

Deck and Patio surrounded the backyard retreat’s new freeform vinyl pool and raised spillover spa with handsome Cambridge Ledgestone patios and bright plantings. The raised spa has its own separate overhead waterfall as well as a spillover into the pool. All this adds to an undisturbed backyard experience.


Natural Moss Rock Backyard Noise Barrier:

Natural Moss Rock Backyard Noise Barrier:

Not far from the right edge of the pool, Deck and Patio built a 19-foot natural moss rock barrier with a “pondless” waterfall. A small upper patio sits between this attractively landscaped barrier and the project’s spillover spa with its own waterfall.


Backyard Waterfall Blocks Out Traffic Noise:

Backyard Waterfall Blocks Out Traffic Noise:

This is a close up of the Rosyln, NY main waterfall. Water flows down moss rocks in a natural-looking way, and seeps through river rock, where it is captured in an underground reservoir. The water is filtered and recirculated, making it very eco-friendly.


The following video lets you hear the delightful sounds of rushing water at this Rosyln, Long Island, NY, project.



Backyard Paradise That is Noise Free:

Backyard Paradise That is Noise Free:

Pleasant sounds are the very opposite of unpleasant noise. And this backyard Roslyn, NY, paradise retreat is blessed with delightful sounds. These sounds can be enjoyed in the pool, while sunbathing on a wide patio, when relaxing in a quiet upper patio, when rocking back and forth in the outdoor swing — not to mention when relaxing in the spillover spa.


 Vinyl Freeform Pool Retreat:

Vinyl Freeform Pool Retreat:

A diving rock and landscaping cutouts add to this pool area’s summer charms. In addition, the Cambridge Ledgestone IV Paving stones are tough when it comes to winter’s cold weather. The pavers seem to withstand abuse better than any poured and stenciled concrete.


Poolside Landscaping:

Poolside Landscaping:

Bright plantings with green ground cover, along with river stone gravel and delightful stepping stone path, add to the natural look and serenity of the barrier/pool area.



How To Solve Outdoor Noise Problems

Sometimes trying to solve a problem can be the spark for something magical. This property, for example, is located next to a busy four-lane road and the homeowners longed for a peaceful backyard, with a pool and spa — without all the traffic noise.

In addition to a beautiful freeform vinyl pool and spa, we built for them a 19-foot sound barrier of natural moss rock boulders, and installed a 4-foot x 8-foot pondless waterfall between the wall and their new pool. This stone barrier with rushing waterfall not only blocks noise, but suggests they are vacationing on some south sea isle — far and away from everyday problems.

Their finished multi-faceted outdoor oasis includes a vinyl pool with raised spillover spa, elegant Cambridge Ledgestone patios, a natural rock barrier with high waterfall, and lush plantings.


Vinyl Freeform Pool:

Vinyl Freeform Pool:

New pool has a deep end swim-out, swim-out stairs at opposite end, diving rock, natural boulder accents, handsome coping and a raised spill-over spa.


Pondless Waterfall:

Pondless Waterfall:

Pondless waterfall cascading over imported moss rock boulders beautifully eliminates noise; raised patio offers idyllic sitting area to enjoy pool and landscape.


Raised Spill-Over Spa:

Raised Spill-Over Spa:

Waterfall flows down into vinyl spill-over spa and, in turn, spills into the pool.


Cambridge Ledgeston IV Paving Stones:

Cambridge Ledgeston IV Paving Stones:

With summers getting hotter and winters colder, these pavers seem to withstand abuse better than any poured and stenciled concrete.


 Natural Looking Waterfall:

Natural Looking Waterfall:

Waterfall’s pristine clear water is collected in a pondless reservoir, which acts as a “green” maintenance-free source of fresh water for the water feature.






By |2017-01-21T16:34:48+00:00February 20th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Two “Winter Friendly” Construction Products For Your Backyard Retreat

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert touts two favorite construction materials that stand up well to Northeast winters


Renowned for his talent in creating glorious backyard retreats, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, has earned many accolades for his expertise in the “hows and whys” of construction materials and landscape design. This enables him to create beautiful retreats that will endure. Considering the weather changes the Northeast faces from season to season, year to year, Bill Renter has come to value construction products for their durability as well as aesthetics. Today our blog is sharing two of these products.

The first is Techo-Bloc pavers. Engineered in Canada where they require extra strength due to the country’s extreme weather changes, these pavers can well handle the freeze/thaw that occurs in our corner of the Northeast. Our outdoor living expert adds that as long as these pavers are properly installed, the stones will remain adaptable, even, and stable for years. The joints between the pavers create flexibility, which avoids cracking, while still allowing subtle movement. Techo-Bloc pavers are nearly three times stronger than poured concrete, having a minimum compressive strength of 8,000 psi and a maximum of five percent water absorption.

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert has found that just like concrete and asphalt pavements, Techo-Bloc pavers can be plowed and shoveled. Actually, the edges and joints around the pavers assist in melting snow and ice, explains their manufacturer. Using de-icing salt (sodium chloride or calcium chloride) to remove snow and ice will not harm these paving stones they say.

Another reason Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert loves these paving stones is they look so natural. Instead of one-sized bricks being placed throughout an entire patio, retaining wall, or driveway, a Techo-Bloc kit — with its varying shapes — ensures an attractive design, whether “random” instead of straight lines and flat images or in a “running block” pattern.


Winter-Friendly Techo-Bloc Pavers:

Winter-Friendly Techo-Bloc Pavers:

Using de-icing salt to remove snow and ice will not harm Techo-Bloc pavers, driveways, or retaining walls.


For the following Deck and Patio’s project, just outside the house on the upper level of the property, our outdoor living expert replaced the old decking with a new raised Techol-Bloc patio. In addition to a new outdoor kitchen, he added wide wrap-around stairs, and a portable spa that appears to be built into the patio.

At the pool level, our outdoor living expert used a new Techo-Bloc product called “Inca” — a concrete slab that looks remarkably like natural stone. Of course, it is much less expensive than say, bluestone, and doesn’t retain heat in summer like other natural stone products, making it great for use around a pool.

Five-Level Patio:

Five-Level Patio:

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert created five different patio levels around this pool — all comprised of winter-friendly Techo-Bloc.


The second “winter-friendly” product our Deck and Patio outdoor living expert loves is “vinyl-lined” pools. In winter, when seasons change and the ground goes through expansion and contraction, in some cases water can get underneath a swimming pool and push the swimming pool up out of the ground and while Deck and Patio certainly designs and builds gunite pools, we find that a vinyl pool resists damage due to such ground movement better than concrete pools.

The base construction of a vinyl pool is the same as any other, however. “Vinyl” simply means the method used to line a pool’s interior. The vinyl-liner pool arrives at the pool site as various components, produced in a factory and assembled onsite. After the pool site is excavated, footings are poured and panel walls are assembled and fastened together supported by the footings.

Once the walls are in place, which are a solid 8″ thick concrete, with double steel reinforcement, a vinyl liner is spread out over the interior and connected to the panel walls. If you consider that all the large buildings and bridges in the United States are built with steel and not just concrete and rebar, you can understand why our outdoor living expert believes so much in the product and process.

Of course it’s not just the durability of the vinyl-liner system that is so attractive. Our outdoor living expert finds that many of our clients prefer the padded, smooth, soft feel of vinyl. Plus, the wide range of liner colors can create breathtaking effects — some suggesting grottos or lagoons. In fact, there are reports that there are now more vinyl pools worldwide than any other combined group.

Vinyl pools’ poured steel reinforced concrete indeed stand up to weather changes. The real challenge is measuring and accurately cutting and welding the various pool liners, particularly if you are including stairs, benches, in-pool bar stools, spas etc. Fortunately, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert deals with professionals who can handle well such complicated projects.

Pools With Stairs, Bar Stools, Benches, and Spas:

Pools With Stairs, Bar Stools, Benches, and Spas:

The real challenge for vinyl pools is measuring and accurately cutting and welding the various pool liners, particularly when including stairs, benches, in-pool bar stools, spas, etc.


The following vinyl pool was designed with the intent to be “organic” with its natural surroundings. The 24’ x 42’ freeform concrete wall, vinyl lined swimming pool and raised 8’ diameter vinyl-lined spa with spillway captured the very essence of the clients desire to have a body of water that would be harmonious with the residence existing patio, outdoor kitchen area, waterfall, stream and koi pond (below).

Vinyl-Lined Pool:

Vinyl-Lined Pool:


The water feature also included a 5’ high multi-tiered waterfall and 35 feet meandering stream which discharged into a 10’ x 15’ freeform Koi pond. The pond was built with much consideration for the fish as natural predators exist in and around the north shore locale. A small cave was constructed for the fish to hide and to lay dormant during the winter months.

It’s a comfort to know that when the koi are hibernating, your concrete steel reinforced vinyl pool is managing through the winter just as well.

Koi Pond Near Pool

Koi Pond Near Pool