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Pond-side Living: The Home-Refuge You Never Knew You Wanted

Just about every one on Long Island has a “can’t wait to do” list for when social distancing is over. Being locked down has been a struggle. Every inch of our properties, inside and out, have been under family microscopes — causing us to make still another list: “must-have improvements” as soon as possible!

This week, Deck and Patio is focusing on a landscape idea for that second list. A landscaping transformation that will be enjoyable for the whole family. 

Imagine for a moment an eco-friendly water garden, steps from your door. A water feature that provides endless hours of entertainment and draws family members outside, together or on their own. An outdoor spot alive with interest and stimulation that is a delight in all seasons.

This home-refuge idea is: Pond-side living.

 

Ponds in Spring

Deck and Patio Pond in Spring

Deck and Patio Pond in Spring

As the weather warms, pond fish come out of winter hibernation. As koi lethargy turns to activity, inactivity in the family is also overcome. Children want to run outside and feed them. Even Fido is thrilled.

With flowers blossoming, trees budding, pond-side in spring is a paradise for families. Not only are pond fish a delight to study but a healthy pond attracts more birds, a few frogs, etc. Backyard strolls are enjoyed with a symphony of birdsongs and croaks — melting any winter-built-up tensions away.

We should add, spring is also a time for pond cleaning and maintenance: the removal of debris, revving up of the filtration system, installing a pump or skimmer, and sometimes changing the water. 

“Having designed and built over 300 ponds on Long Island, Deck and Patio has our share of spring pond maintenance contracts,” says Dave Stockwell. “Spring pond maintenance isn’t all that hard really. Frankly, we specialize in creating low-maintenance ponds. Their ecosystems work naturally with Mother Nature to keep the pond clean and clear. So very often the maintenance is minimal.”

 

Ponds in Summer

Natural Swimming Ponds

Natural Swimming Ponds

If your pond was designed to be a natural swimming pond, summer is a wonderful time for pond-side living. Regular swimming pools are terrific, too, but there’s not much to see when snorkeling in a concrete pool. 

Another pleasure of a natural swimming pond is the lack of chemicals. This means you’ll run across the odd dragonfly flitting across your pond’s surface. You may also spy a salamander at its edge. And frogs (who eat the more undesirable insects around your pond) may parent some tadpoles in any natural pond. That aside, swimming in a well-maintained pristine natural pond is not just possible, it is thrilling. Children and adults alike love it. 

Whether or not it’s a swimming pond, most ponds are designed with waterfalls which add to the peaceful enjoyment while they aerate the water. The sounds of moving water is as good for relaxing as a massage. 

Reading a book next to a water garden or dining al fresco with the family is a wonderful way to spend summer hours.

 

Pond-side Living:

Pond-side Living:

This pond project by Deck and Patio included a new deck with a viewing platform where the family can dine and enjoy the pond and its robust landscaping. After dinner they can walk across a set of large stepping stones to view the pond from another vantage point.

 

Ponds in Fall

Ponds/Water Features

Ponds/Water Features

As long as the weather permits, family pond enjoyment continues well into autumn. The fish continue swimming about and wanting to be fed as long as the water temperature is above 60 degrees. 

The addition of an outdoor fireplace, fire pit or fire table — perhaps at the edge of a patio or deck — makes the whole experience that more relaxing, extending the outdoor season.

And can you imagine a more peaceful spot to watch the trees turn from a bright green to yellow, crimson and orange? 

From spring through fall, your pond will be the hobby of the whole family. It’s perfect for relaxing or dining beside, koi keeping, nature study, and water gardening.

Note: As the weather cools and fall arrives, once again there’s some maintenance to get the pond ready for winter.

 

Ponds in Winter

Ponds in Winter

Ponds in Winter

Some pond lovers say the real magic begins in winter. True, you won’t be sitting or dining pond-side when it’s really cold or wintry. However, ponds can help create a winter wonderland that is delightful during crisp winter walks.

Indeed, many people love to be outdoors in winter. A popular trend these days is creating a winter walk “event” for strolling by lighted trees or bushes, a fully-operating water feature with waterfalls, and even skating on your pond-rink. While it may take some preparation and care to create a safe rink, it is very doable. 

As for your pond’s fish, Dave Stockwell says it is a common myth that you can’t leave your pond fish outside once the cold sets in.

“Actually, fish do just fine during winter. That said, I always caution pond owners to be alert. When ice covers the pond, the fish might not be getting enough oxygen.” To learn more about that, click here.

Pond-side living is a home-refuge gift for all seasons. A gift that, until the recent pandemic, you may never have known you wanted.

Blog photos: With the exception of our feature photo at the top of the page all photos are of Deck and Patio ponds. The feature photo is from a blog post on Aquascape Inc.’s website, titled: “Growing Up Around a Pond.” The writer included this photo of her son encouraging a friend to join him in the pond. Photo: Courtesy of Aquascape Inc.

 

Plan Your Backyard Upgrade While Dreaming of Warmer Days

There’s more than a deep chill in the air. It even snowed a little over much of Long Island this week. It may not be officially winter yet, but many of us are already dreaming of warmer days.

So as you gaze out over your yard, here’s some ‘before and after’ Deck and Patio projects that might inspire the perfect upgrade for you — done in plenty of time for next year’s outdoor living season.

 

Backyard Upgrade on a Budget

"Before"

“Before”

"After"

“After”

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Massapequa couple, says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell, hankered to enjoy their backyard more  — which was tidy but not enticing.

Space was also at a premium. And in lieu of a rather more expensive pool, the couple settled on installing a quality hot tub, in-ground.

An in-ground installation makes a portable hot tub appear like it’s a custom-made spa.  Plus it would be easy to get in and out of (see before/after photos above).

However, even though they knew they’d love spending time outdoors in their new hot tub, they also wanted something beautiful to look at while in it. They certainly did not want to be facing their home’s siding, or even just a plain line of healthy evergreens. 

Upshot? The pond with waterfalls, hot tub installation and landscaping were still less expensive than a pool.

 

Large Pond Under Stone Bridge

"Before"

“Before”

"After"

“After”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shortly after the homeowner purchased his property, he contacted us. An entrance he had to drive over each day, on his way to and from work, had not been kept up for many years.

He asked us to accentuate a beautiful 1880 bridge structure with a man-made reflecting pond.

Our design allowed the pre-existing bridge’s entire stone gazebo to be reflected in the pond water. The water feature we designed and built is more than 240-feet-long and 60-feet-wide, so it also captures the surrounding landscape. Plus, such a wonderful expanse of water made the perfect habitat for koi. 

Our team ensured the pond design included lots of flowing water, with rock overhangs, and plenty of space for pond fish to hide and thrive. Such a design makes it difficult for natural predators to reach the fish.

The stone bridge with turret creates a stunning pond reflection in its crystal clear water, doesn’t it?

 

Pool and Retaining Wall Upgrade

"Before"

“Before”

"After"

“After”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A family in Dix Hills, NY, called on Deck and Patio when they decided to update their 1980”s backyard pool area. Their old wood deck and red brick patios were small and unusable for parties and entertaining. But they couldn’t come up with a complete plan themselves to transform the space.

“We suggested a unique idea to deal with the large wall behind the pool and small patio spaces,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “The plan was to remove the wood retaining wall, re-grade the slope, and create a large natural waterfall, stream, and woodland garden.”

The plan also called for draining the pool and removing the liner; a poorly built concrete block wall was uncovered and we straightened the wall and filled the block in with concrete and steal rebar for strength. New vinyl-covered stairs were added to the pool, plus new pipes, returns, skimmers, pump, filter and a new liner.

 

New Modern Deck

"Beginning Construction"

“Beginning Construction”

"After Construction"

“Completed Construction”

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Centerport, NY, homeowners were both outdoor enthusiasts with a property that had a nice water view. Their wish list included: an attractive modern-looking deck from where they could best appreciate their view; a deck/railing that did not in any way obstruct the view; and a conveniently placed portable spa.

It was clear a two-story deck was needed. But we realized that the deck also needed to be large enough to allow designated areas for grilling, dining, lounging and hot tubbing. Plus, the railing would need special consideration.

An important choice for this Trex Deck project was the steel cable railing by Feeney does not obstruct the water views from any place on the deck. Deck and Patio built a custom spa “cradle” as a mount for their new hot tub. This positioned the spa so they could enjoy the views when inside the tub.

 

New Backyard ‘Spool’

"Before"

“Before”

"After"

“After”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deck and Patio built this backyard ‘spool” (a cross between a spa and pool) several years ago. The homeowners decided on a ‘spool” for their yard  because they didn’t have room for a full-sized pool.

A spool would also allow them to enjoy it year-round. They could opt to run cool water in the spool during warm months, and hot water during cold months and cool evenings.

In addition, the mechanics of a spa provides the benefits of hydrotherapy massage — not to mention the amazing experience of sitting under flowing water from an added waterfall. A new fence was added for contrast and a bit of drama; a rushing stream flows through the large moss rock boulders to become a waterfall flowing into the spa. Lush plantings and a new patio completed their new backyard retreat.

So let it snow or blast cold. You can stay warm while planning your new backyard upgrade. 

Some Like It Hot: Enjoying Red Fall Foliage at Home

Fiery Red Foliage

Fiery Red Foliage

When the weather gets cool, some really like it hot…fiery red hot, that is. The heat we’re talking about is blazing red foliage — bursts of color that some find ease the pain of the outdoor season coming to an end.

More than that, say experts, the color red goes beyond sensual pleasure. It stimulates the human system — even increasing pulse and heart rates. It’s well worth it then to be able to enjoy autumn’s bursts of fiery red daily, by having the right trees in your yard.

That said, brilliant red foliage outside our very own windows requires planning. To get all the dirt on what trees to plant, we spoke with Angelo Puleo, Nursery Division at Bissett Nursery (Holtsville, NY).

 

Maple Trees

“One of the most popular and widespread deciduous trees that produces bright reds in autumn is the beautiful Maple tree,” says Pueleo. “In particular, along with oaks, we recommend Sugar Maples for great fall red color.”

 

Choosing the right Maple

Choosing the right Maple

 

Note: Be sure to ask experts at an established nursery or landscaping firm which variety of maple, etc. will produce red leaves in fall, as some varieties offer up a blazing yellow instead. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…it’s just for another blog post.

 

 

Red Maple in Fall:

Red Maple in Fall:

A beautiful shade tree in summer with brilliant color in autumn, the Red Maple can be planted any time of year, including fall.

 

Cleveland Select Pear 

Puleo also recommends the Cleveland Select Pear for robust color. Like the Oak and Maple, it is also hardy and can withstand most winds and storms, including ice storms — a real plus in our neck of the woods (the Northeast).

Cleveland Select Pear:

Cleveland Select Pear:

“In spring, the Cleveland Select Pear bursts awake in beautiful white flowers, and in the fall, its leaves offer up a deep orangey-red blaze of color,” adds Pueleo.

Bradford Pear Tree:

Bradford Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Abrahami):

A close cousin of the Cleveland Select Pear, the Bradford is pictured here as its leaves begin to turn from green to fall-red.

 

Japanese Maple 

When it comes to smaller trees, Deck and Patio designers often consider Japanese Maples in landscaping plans; red-leafed versions of this beautiful tree offer degrees of red from spring through fall (see last photo). Planting them in early fall allows for new root growth in time for spring.

Japanese Maple (Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳):

Japanese Maple (Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳):

This beautiful Japanese Maple is native to Japan and other nearby Asian countries such as South Korea. It’s prized for the shape of its leaves and rich red color. It’s useful to note that there are different types of Japanese maples. Some stay red ’til their leaves drop in autumn but others leaf out in brilliant reds in spring and turn to yellows and orange in fall. These, of course, can be dazzling, too, but be sure you get what you want.

 

Mighty Oaks

In 2004, the gorgeous and majestic oak tree was designated the USA’s official national tree. Known for its wonderful shade and lumber it grows to great heights from just an acorn. You can begin from a seed, but you might also want to transplant one that is partially grown. While you can transplant up to between 5 and 8 feet in growth, it’s best to go with a smaller tree to allow its roots to cope in the process.  

Mighty Oak:

Mighty Oak:

A few varieties of oak grow rapidly (e.g., Heritage Oak, Swamp White Oak and Northern Red Oak), making them an ideal choice. Like all the trees mentioned in this blog post, leave about 10 feet between each one when planting. The oaks are sun lovers so choose a sunny spot. Note: For those who keep horses, the oak’s acorn and leaves can be toxic to animals such as horses. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list for fiery red foliage. But we hope it’ll be enough to get your heart pumping every time you walk outdoors next fall. The fiery red scene will so take you away that you’ll forget you’re wearing a jacket.

 

 

By |2019-10-24T12:42:51-05:00October 24th, 2019|Backyard Upgrades, Creative Design, Gardening, Landscaping, Seasonal Landscapes, trees, Updating Landscape|Comments Off on Some Like It Hot: Enjoying Red Fall Foliage at Home

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

Changing a Liner Pool to Gunite Is Perfect Time for Backyard Haven

Changing a liner pool to a gunite, (or a gunite to vinyl) is a bit of a job. Since there’s some tearing up going on anyway, this is a great opportunity to create the haven you’ve been desiring.

That is exactly what evolved when these Oyster Bay Cove, NY, clients approached Deck and Patio a while back.

The family wanted a change from their existing vinyl-lined pool to a gunite. But during our consultation, it became clear they wanted more than a change in pool materials. They were also unhappy with the pool’s shape/design which didn’t fit well with the architecture of their house. And despite the steep grade that limited construction in their backyard, they really wanted an overall larger pool.

To expand the size of the pool we knew we would have to extend it extremely close to the property’s sharp hillside. “This would require shoring up the slope with boulders, creating various small retaining walls to hold back the grade,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell. “The trick was to bring in machinery and place the boulders in place before we dug the pool and area out.”

Our design team also helped create a more unified look with their contemporary home by designing the upgraded pool in a geometric pattern. “We also tracked down the same brick used on their home’s exterior,” adds Dave. 

In addition, to give the clients the natural look they wanted, we surrounded the pool with beautiful bluestone. “The shape of these stones also mimic the overall geometric design we were going for.”

Other design elements: 

— steps at the base of the retaining wall lead to a peaceful woodland path — at the end of which we hid all the pool equipment, 

— sheer descent waterfalls along the inside of the pool add extra contemporary elegance,  

—and landscape lighting created a beautiful romantic scene at night.

When the whole transformation was complete, not only was the family ecstatic, but their pet turtles seemed to love the transformation as well. With more room to swim in, they took to the new pool like, well, turtles. 

On visiting the project after its completion, the lady of the house let us put an underwater camera on one of them — and the turtles filmed what it’s like inside the pool as he swam. The pool transformation became a haven for them as well.

Here’s that precious video:

 

Geometric Gunite Pool (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Geometric Gunite Pool (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Deck and Patio remodeled an existing vinyl pool into a larger, geometric gunite, with elegant sheet falling waterfalls. The new design handsomely complements the home’s architecture.  

 

Steps to Woodland Path (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Steps to Woodland Path (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Steps faced with the same brick as used around the pool’s retaining wall, lead to a peaceful woodland path where the pool equipment has been hidden out of sight.

 

Bluestone Patio (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Bluestone Patio (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

The pavers of the previous patio/pool surround had not been compacted properly and were separating. The family also wanted a more natural product. Bluestone was chosen and its hues blended nicely with that of the brick-faced retaining walls; in addition, the rectangular shapes of the stones echo the shape of the pool and house windows.

 

Sheet Falling Water Feature (Oyster Bay Cove/NY): 

Sheet Falling Water Feature (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

 

Pool Lighting (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Pool Lighting (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

It’s hard to decide which time of day presents the most beautiful picture; but nighttime has to be near the top!  

 

 

Community Spirit on Stage During Long Island Fall Festival Oct 5-8

Fall Festival Logo

Fall Festival Logo

 

October 5 through 8th at Heckscher Park in Huntington, NY, Long Islanders will once again come together for the popular Columbus Day weekend Fall Festival. 

If previous years are any gauge, festival-goers can expect crisp air, underneath a canopy of changing leaves, where dads, kids, grandparents can revel in reconnecting outdoors.

 

 

 

Festival attendees have come to expect only the best from this weekend-long party:

#LIFALLFESTIVAL/Photo: Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce

#LIFALLFESTIVAL/Photo: Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce

-a world-class carnival,

-hundreds of vendors,

-three stages of entertainment,

-international food courts,

-a Hilltop Brewery,

-farmer’s market,

-coffee house

–and numerous activities designed especially for young children.

 

The organizer of this premier event is The Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce.  

“The Long Island Fall Festival is truly a celebration of community spirit,” says the Chamber’s Executive Director, Ellen O’Brien.

“It’s a collaborative effort joining local businesses, not-for-profit, government and local residents for a weekend of fun.”

Deck and Patio is happy to say that we will be one of the vendors. Our exhibit space in Heckscher Park will be just west of one of the three entertainment stages — the Chapin Stage.

“The event is a great opportunity for local businesses etc. to exhibit what we do in a relaxed, fun, atmosphere,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell. “Visitors can stop and ask questions without feeling any pressure, not to mention being able to see up close things they might only see in photos on the web.”

Dave adds that Heckscher Park with all its natural beauty is an ideal place for us to showcase some of what we do. 

“For example, ponds, waterfalls are just the kind of thing you’d run across in parks and woodlands when you’re out walking a trail. So our exhibit which includes a water feature will look right at home. 

 

 

Deck and Patio Design Center

Deck and Patio Design Center

 

“We have a waterfall and stream outside our Huntington Station design center, but here, at a park, it’ll be easier for homeowners and business-owners to see one without any sense of obligation.”

Deck and Patio will also have a fire pit, landscaping ideas, pavers and boulders at the park. 

 

 

 

 

LI Fall Festival

LI Fall Festival

LI Fall Festival

LI Fall Festival

 “So come for a world-class carnival, two international food courts, four stages of live entertainment — and also get to know local Long Island businesses like us,” says Dave.

 

 

All festival photos, including our feature photo at the top of the page are courtesy of Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

 

By |2018-09-27T11:45:59-05:00September 27th, 2018|Landscaping, Moss Rock and Stones, paving stones, Plantings/Pondscapes, Pondless Waterfalls, Ponds & Water Features, Seasonal Landscapes, Updating Landscape|Comments Off on Community Spirit on Stage During Long Island Fall Festival Oct 5-8

Get Your Heart Pumping with Some Fiery Fall Foliage

 

insert-1

When the weather gets cool, some really like it hot…fiery red hot, that is. The heat we’re talking about is blazing red foliage — bursts of color that some find ease the pain of the outdoor season coming to an end.

In fact, experts say the color red goes beyond sensual pleasure. It stimulates the human system — even increasing pulse and heart rates.

 

However, brilliant red foliage outside our very own windows requires planning. To get all the dirt on what trees to plant, we spoke with Angelo Puleo, Nursery Division at Bissett Nursery (Holtsville, NY).

“One of the most popular and widespread deciduous trees that produces bright reds in autumn is the beautiful Maple tree,” says Pueleo. “In particular, we recommend Sugar Maples, and, of course Oaks for great fall red color.”

 

autumn-1101327_1280

Note: Be sure to ask experts at an established nursery or landscaping firm which variety of maple, etc. will produce red leaves in fall, as some varieties offer up a blazing yellow instead. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…it’s just for another blog post.

 

Cleveland Select Pear

Cleveland Select Pear

 

 

Puleo also recommends the Cleveland Select Pear for robust color. Like the Oak and Maple, it is also hardy and can withstand most winds and storms, including ice storms — a real plus in our neck of the woods (the Northeast).

“In spring, the Cleveland Select bursts awake in beautiful white flowers, and in the fall, its leaves offer up a deep orangey-red blaze of color,” he says.

 

 

When it comes to smaller trees, Deck and Patio designers often consider Japanese Maples in landscaping plans; red-leafed versions of this beautiful tree offer degrees of red from spring through fall (see last photo). Planting them in early fall allows for new root growth in time for spring.

 

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Another option is the Crape Myrtle tree (immediately below), which, as Puleo admits, is not quite as brilliant as the other trees, but it does offer an attractive reddish-orange color.

In addition, when the Crape Myrtle finishes flowering in fall, it pods-up with berries, and attracts such delightful visitors as the Yellow-rumped Warbler, a sweet little visitor who feeds on these berries after insects are gone.

 

 

 

 Crape Myrtle Tree:

Crape Myrtle Tree:

The Crape Myrtle tree that thrives on Long Island is a hybrid of other Crape Myrtles that flourish in warmer climates such as the Southern United States. Clusters of pink blossoms appear in late spring (shown here) which are so delicate and crinkly they look like they are made of crape paper. In fall, it showcases bright red-orange-y leaves.

 

 

Red Maple in Fall:

Red Maple in Fall:

A beautiful shade tree in summer with brilliant color in autumn, the Red Maple can be planted any time of year, including fall. Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, place it in the ground, and fertilize and water well, says Angelo Puleo of Bisset Nurseries.

 

 

 Mighty Oak:

Mighty Oak:

The oak grows rapidly, making it an ideal choice. Like all the trees mentioned in this blog post, leave about 10 feet between each one when planting. Note: For those who keep horses, the oak’s acorn and leaves can be toxic to animals such as horses.

 

 

Cleveland Select Pear Tree in Spring:

Cleveland Select Pear Tree in Spring:

This tree brings forth three great seasons of leaves; white blossoms in spring (shown here), lively green leaves in summer and bright reds in fall (see above).

 

 

Bradford Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Abrahami):

Bradford Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Abrahami):

A close cousin of the Cleveland Select Pear, the Bradford is pictured here as its leaves begin to turn from green to fall-red.

 

 

Japanese Maple Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳):

Japanese Maple Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳):

This beautiful Japanese Maple is native to Japan and other nearby Asian countries such as South Korea. It’s prized for the shape of its leaves and rich red color.

 

So, get your heart pumping every time you walk outdoors come fall. The fiery red scene will so take you away that you’ll forget you’re wearing a jacket.

 

 

 

 

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

 

Landscaping Ideas: Inspiration Can Come from Unlikely Places

 

When looking for ideas to update their properties, it’s not unusual for homeowners to turn to such online social networks as Pinterest, Houzz, Google Plus, etc. Certainly, we post our own projects on these sites and find inspiration there, too.

That said, our design staff gets most of its best ideas outside, when taking in vistas that we can hear, smell, and touch. Indeed, when you’re passionate about the outdoors, you find you can’t turn off your inspiration-antenna, even when on vacation.

Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World Resort, Florida), Author: Lee Bailey from Beverley, UK

Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World Resort, Florida), Author: Lee Bailey from Beverley, UK

That was the case for Deck and Patio’s Bill Renter after he visited Disney World. And what awed him there became the inspiration behind one of our company’s most awarded projects.

“These clients wanted something very special,” says Renter. “When thinking about it, I realized I had been really impressed with how Disney World had been a feast for the senses — that there was always something around the corner, something to draw you to the next space. And that’s what my design was all about for these clients.”

Indeed, the homeowners admit to be in awe of what Deck and Patio Co. accomplished.

“You almost don’t want to stop anywhere,” says the husband. “You can’t wait to see what is coming up next. You climb on huge moss-covered rocks, or stroll around the spa waterfall to get to the water slide, then down a little bluestone walkway, even passing by a stream on the way. It’s spectacular.”

His wife loves how their new backyard “resort” offers the thoughtful comforts of many hotel/resort amenities. For example, four embedded umbrella stands are installed in the main tumbled stone patio.

Landscaping Ideas:

Landscaping Ideas:

“They are positioned perfectly,” she says. “I just open them for parties or when serving food and get 50 percent shading of the patio area. Or for sunbathing, I just close them and the sun will go all the way across.”

Landscaper Renter has also successfully mimicked the background music at hotel resorts – that is heard but is never intrusive.

The landscaper adds that in 2005, this project also won the “International Award of Excellence – Gold Medal” – from the APSP (The Association for Pool and Spa Professionals) in the category of a vinyl pool in excess of 601 square feet.

Yet, a beautiful as the completed project is, the awards were given for more than just what meets the eye. Design and execution challenges for this 46-by-32-foot free-form vinyl pool/spa began with a 13-foot elevation change that runs the length of the pool area.

In addition to a stunning pool, spill over spa, patio area, multiple waterfalls and a swim up bar in the backyard, Renter added a gorgeous pond with waterfalls on the side of the property, just below a rolling green lawn.

“Sometimes you want a break from all the fun and activity of the pool/patio area,” says Renter. “And we gave them that. It’s even beautiful in winter to stop and spend a few moments there.”

 

 

Pool Water Slides:

Pool Water Slides:

Renter adds that, of course, the clients love the built-in water slide, and there are five waterfalls (one reaching 7×10 feet), plus immense moss rocks — some weighing in excess of six thousand pounds.

 

Swim Up Bars:

Swim Up Bars:

Family and friends really enjoy being able to get a cool drink by swimming up to the 38-foot “swim-up bar” that has submerged barstools. He adds that this amenity is very popular with adults, as it is a great spot for swimmers and strollers to meet and talk, without the swimmers having to get out of the water.

 

Swimming Pools:

Swimming Pools:

And for nighttime entertaining, the automated color logic lights, the ten speakers that pick up commercial-free satellite radio, the glorious 7×11 foot vinyl-lined spa, and the romantic gas campfires, make this anyone’s definition of nighttime paradise.

 

Backyard Ponds and Waterfalls

Backyard Ponds and Waterfalls:

Away from all the activity the pool area generates, these clients now have a gorgeous spot for meditation that includes a fish pond. wooden bridge, multiple waterfalls, lush plantings and garden bench.

 

Ponds in Winter:

Ponds in Winter:

Even after the snow falls, these clients find they can’t resist stopping by their pond and enjoy quiet moments alone with nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Fiery Fall Foliage: Are You Barking Up the Right Trees?

To get the lowdown on the best trees to plant for fiery Fall color, Deck and Patio spoke with Angelo Puleo, Nursery Division, Bissett Nursery (Holtsville, NY).

“One of the most popular and widespread deciduous trees that produces bright reds in autumn is the beautiful Maple tree,” says Puleo. “In particular, we recommend Sugar Maples, and, of course, Oaks for great Fall red color.”

Puleo also recommends the Cleveland Select Pear for robust color. Like the Oak and Maple, it is also hardy and can withstand most winds and storms, including ice storms —a real plus in our neck of the woods.

“In Spring, the Cleveland Select bursts awake in beautiful white flowers, and in the Fall, its leaves offer up a deep orange-y-red blaze of color,” he says. Another option is the Crape Myrtle tree, which, as Puleo admits, is not quite as brilliant as the other trees, but it does offer an attractive reddish-orange color. When the Crape Myrtle finishes flowering in the Fall, it also pods-up with berries, and attracts such delightful visitors as the Yellow-rumped Warbler, a sweet little visitor who feeds on these berries after insects are gone.

In addition, when it comes to smaller trees, Deck and Patio designers often consider Japanese Maples in landscaping plans; red-leafed versions of this beautiful tree offer degrees of red from Spring through Fall. Planting them in early Fall allows for new root growth in time for Spring.

Note: Be sure to ask experts at an established nursery or landscaping firm which variety of maple, etc. will produce red leaves in the Fall, as some varieties offer up a blazing yellow instead. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… that’s just for another blog post.

 

Red Maple in Fall: (Photo With Permission © by Jeff Dean)

Red Maple in Fall: (Photo With Permission © by Jeff Dean)

A beautiful shade tree in summer with brilliant color in autumn, the Red Maple can be planted any time of year, including Fall. Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, place it in the ground, and fertilize and water well, says Angelo Puleo of Bisset Nurseries.

 

 

Mighty Oak: (Photo With Permission: SimMaster)

Mighty Oak: (Photo With Permission: SimMaster)

The oak grows rapidly, making it an ideal choice. Like all the trees mentioned in this blog post, leave about 10 feet between each one when planting. Note: For those who keep horses, the oak’s acorn and leaves can be toxic to animals such as as horses.

 

 

Cleveland Select Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Ltshears/Photos of Flowers)

Cleveland Select Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Ltshears/Photos of Flowers)

This tree offers up three great seasons of leaves, white blossoms in Spring (shown here), lively green leaves in Summer, and bright reds in Fall.

 

 

Bradford Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Abrahami)

Bradford Pear Tree: (Photo With Permission: Abrahami)

A close cousin of the Cleveland Select Pear, the Bradford is pictured here as its leaves begin to turn from green to Fall-red.

 

Crape Myrtle Tree: Photo With Permission: Southern Lagniappe)

Crape Myrtle Tree: Photo With Permission: Southern Lagniappe)

The Crape Myrtle tree that thrives on Long Island is a hybrid of other Crape Myrtles that flourish in warmer climates such as the Southern United States. Clusters of pink blossoms appear in late spring (shown here) which are so delicate and crinkly they look like they are made of crape paper. In Fall, it showcases bright red-orange-y leaves.

 

 

Crape Myrtle Berries: (Photo With Permission: Forest & Kim)

Crape Myrtle Berries: (Photo With Permission: Forest & Kim)

In Fall, as they finish flowering, the leaves of the Crape Myrtle pod up into pretty berries.

 

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler: (Photo With Permission: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Yellow-rumped Warbler: (Photo With Permission: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Escaping the harsher winters up north, the Yellow-rumped Warbler makes a home in our area as Fall sets in. With insects less available, it loves to feast on Crape Myrtle berries. If you plant this tree, this little fellow — and some of his friends — will no doubt visit and stay awhile.

 

 

Japanese Maple:  (Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳)

Japanese Maple:  (Photo With Permission: Wikipedia 松岡明芳)

This beautiful Japanese Maple is native to Japan and other nearby Asian countries such as South Korea. It’s prized for the shape of its leaves and rich red color.