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Time to Update Your Backyard Pool Area?

Design/Build Showcase: Deck and Patio transforms cramped backyard into perfect landscape for parties and entertaining

 

 

Old Unattractive Retaining Wall.

Old Unattractive Retaining Wall.

 New Natural Looking Retaining Wall

New Natural Looking Retaining Wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

When this Dix Hills family decided to update their dated backyard pool area, their main problems were that their old wood deck and red brick patios (above left photo) beside the pool were too small and unusable for parties and entertaining.

In addition, the old retaining wall took away from the attractiveness of the pool area.

Our creative team introduced a unique concept to deal with this area: re-grade the slope, turning it into a “natural” retaining wall (above right photo) including a dramatic waterfall, stream, and woodland garden in its place.

For the seven-foot-high “sheet” waterfall and stream, we used Aquascape Inc.’ pondless waterfall system, which allows for a good deal of water volume to create the dramatic effect.

“We particularly value Aquascape’s waterfall systems because they focus, like we do, on an ecosystem approach to water features,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “For this project, the pondless system relies on a natural balance of circulation, filtration, plants, rocks and gravel to ensure sustainability.”

Deck and Patio creates natural looking waterfalls

Deck and Patio creates natural looking waterfalls

Another reason our waterfall retaining wall system looks so natural is our waterfall installation team understands how water flows over rock and how it releases from the rock in order to create a natural look and feel.

We avoid the look of steps in the waterfall by making the water change directions in the waterfalls and streams.

Once the stream and waterfall was complete, we pressed boulders into the surrounding slope. After that, we addressed the landscaping. Our crew installed natural woodland plantings to tie in with the tall oaks that exist on the property’s perimeter and added evergreen shrubs to ensure year-round color.

 

Refurbished Pool and Patio

Refurbished Pool and Patio

With the slope stabilized, our team addressed pool renovation. After draining the pool and removing the original liner, a poorly built concrete block wall was uncovered.

The solution was to straighten the wall and fill the block in with concrete and steel rebars for strength. New vinyl covered stairs were then added, as well as new pipes, returns, skimmers, pump, filter and new liner was installed.

After this, the pool was carefully backfilled and tamped. We compacted the soil back around the pool in three-inch lifts to allow for the immediate installation of new pavers around the pool.

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

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

 

Close up of Installed Patio

Close up of Installed Patio

The clients chose elegant clean-lined pavers in a random pattern for the new patio areas surrounding the pool.

The clients love their new patio and pondless waterfall. Not only do they find themselves outside more often enjoying nature’s sights and sounds, they have room for parties and entertaining.

In fact, their perfect backyard was there all along — it just needed a vision to bring it out.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Design/Build Landscaping: Owning a Piece of Paradise, One Phase at a Time

A backyard oasis can be a major undertaking. Depending on the scope of the project, it isn’t always possible to bring it about all at once. Depending on when you get started, time constraints can limit what is possible to do in one season. Budget can also be a factor. Even local codes may cause temporary roadblocks.

When any these factors frustrate completing your heart’s desire in one season, the answer, of course, is build it in stages. However, in order to ensure that each stage  is in harmony with earlier work, the project’s design requires an extra measure of care.

Phase I should include enough enjoyable elements so that the family can experience a bit of paradise from the get-go. Certainly that was true for the project showcase we’re highlighting here, which was done in two phases.

In addition to a swimming pool and spa, the clients were passionate about having backyard water features in a natural setting that appeared as if Mother Nature did the work — not a landscaping firm. Our Phase I plan included just such backyard delights: a pond, stream and multiple waterfalls that seemed to have always been there.

“In addition to appearing natural, the clients wanted to enjoy beautiful natural sounds and sights from various points in their yard and residence,” says Bill Renter.

“A key decision we made was not to clear-cut their backyard just to make it easy on us to work,” says Bill Renter. “We kept much of the property’s mature oaks, maples and pines in the overall design. In the initial phase, we were also careful to leave sufficient space and access to where the pool and spa would be constructed the following year, taking care that any future construction would not interfere with anything already in place.”

Not only did the homeowners end up with their heart’s desire — owning a piece of paradise that was theirs alone — but the project won Deck and Patio three prestigious awards: Gold, Silver and Bronze from the National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI).

 

Backyard Paradise:

Backyard Paradise:

Before any pool was built, Deck and Patio designed the property’s new stream and multiple waterfalls to transverse the rear property line ending in a koi pond. By using the existing topography, we created spills and changes to water direction so they could be easily heard as well as seen from the rear patio and from inside the residence.

 

 

Swimming Pool with Spillover Spa:

Swimming Pool with Spillover Spa:

After a year of enjoying their water feature, we installed the pool and spa to complete the backyard renovation. The pool was designed to be “organic” with its natural surroundings and to meet the clients’ desire to have a body of water that would be harmonious with the residence’s existing patio, outdoor kitchen area, waterfall, stream and koi pond.

 

 

Spillover Spa:

Spillover Spa:

Built 12 inches above the pool water line, the spa provides a picturesque spillway that intermingles with the surrounding landscape. The clients wanted the spa to be unique and provide some seclusion from the main patio and other viewing angles. A 2-foot-high cascading waterfall into the spa not only offers a gentle massage should you sit under it, but it adds to the overall theme of having pleasant visual and audio effects of moving water.

 

 

Landscaping Backyard Oasis:

Landscaping Backyard Oasis:

The pool was also constructed with a moss rock boulder coping which brings the landscape right up to the beam of the pool in a natural setting. Vibration flowers with fragrance that also offer successional color throughout the pool season include a wide variety of perennials, evergreen and deciduous plantings.

 

 

Backyard Koi Pond:

Backyard Koi Pond:

The spa was situated by Deck and Patio’s design/build team so the client could view the koi pond and waterfalls while relaxing in the spa.

 

 

 

 

Destination Backyard Retreat Makes a Splash

The owners of a very large property on Long Island’s North Shore asked The Deck and Patio Company to plan a new destination pool large enough for volleyball. Also, because the pool area would be a distance from the house, they wanted the ability to cook by the pool, as well as have a place to relax — bug free.

Deck and Patio’s plan included:

  • 50-foot-long and 26-foot-wide pool (approximate),
  • spillover spa, waterfalls,
  • 800-square-foot pool house with a 20-by-20 screened room and bathroom
  • elegant Travertine patio, and
  • outdoor kitchen with natural stone facade
  • outdoor shower.

However, our comprehensive plan came in way over budget for the clients. They declined our bid and sought estimates elsewhere. We were thrilled when they came back to us, because, in the end, they loved our ideas. Their judgment must have been right, since the completed project won a 2010 International Silver Pool Award from the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) the very next year after winning a 2009 Bronze Pool Award from the Northeast Spa & Pool Association (NESPA).

When designing the pool house, our Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, consulted with a good friend and architect, James DeLuca. Their collaborative effort inspired a building that is in keeping with their home’s overall elegance,which inspired the reverse gable.

Bill Renter also worked with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives to create the stunning nighttime scenes.

 

Pool House:

Pool House:

This pool house boasts two 20-by-20-rooms: one great room with sofa, flat screen television, refrigerator, washer/dryer, and storage closet; the other is a 20-by-20 room with screens on two sides where they can enjoy nights by the pool without pesky insects.

 

 

Destination Pool

Destination Pool:

At night, the destination pool area is as romantic as it is serene. It is an idyllic spot for parties that begin in the day and continue long into the night.

 

Pool House

Pool House:

An expanse of cedar planks allows for drama and a clean natural look inside the pool house.

 

Vinyl Pool:

Vinyl Pool:

With concrete wall and a vinyl liner, the approximately 50’-long-and-26’-wide pool offers a spillover spa, tanning shelf, volleyball court, diving rock and moss rock waterfall.

 

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Kitchen:

The outdoor kitchen (and indoor bathroom) required a second septic system to support such amenities as a kitchen sink, built-in barbecue, storage, and small refrigerator. A real stone veneer adds natural elegance.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backyard Retreat In Keeping With Natural Surroundings

The Deck and Patio Company won major awards for this beautiful backyard retreat

 

This property’s residence was carefully designed and built amongst mature oaks, maples and pines. Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, and his team, also took great care to preserve as much of this as possible when we added the various water features: a concrete, vinyl-lined pool, raised spa, stream, waterfalls, and koi pond.

To accomplish this, many site-related factors had to be considered: topography, solar exposure, soil conditions, existing trees, property size, active and passive use areas, as well as the style of architecture.

We have found, in fact, that recreating water and nature is an art form that takes a trained eye, many years of field experience, extensive knowledge of hydraulics and plant material, a true passion for nature, and, most importantly, an understanding of how to balance the relationship between architecture with its natural surroundings.

In recognition for all we accomplished in the design and installation of the pool, spa and water features, this back yard retreat garnered two prestigious awards from NESPA and APSP in 2007.

 

Freeform Concrete Pool:

Freeform Concrete Pool:

Vinly-lined pool was nestled into landscape with careful consideration for existing trees and mature shrub root systems. From spa, clients can view koi pond and waterfalls while relaxing. (Note: Waterfall spilling into the spa acts as a delightful massage.)

 

 

 

Multi-tiered Waterfall/Stream:

Multi-tiered Waterfall/Stream:

5’-high multi-tiered waterfall and 35’ meandering stream discharge into 10’ x 15’ freeform Koi pond. The surrounding moss rock and plantings help create a natural look.

 

 

 

Koi Pond:

Koi Pond:

Pond was built with much consideration for the fish since natural predators exist in and around the locale. The pond’s small cave provides a hiding place where koi can lay dormant during winter months. Plus the pond is fed fresh water continuously from the waterfall/stream.

 

 

 

Pool and Spa Design:

Pool and Spa Design:

This beautiful lagoon-like free-form pool and spa were designed to be “organic” with natural surroundings; they capture very essence of clients’ desire for harmonious body of water in keeping with residence, patio, outdoor kitchen, and new waterfall, stream and pond.

 

 

 

Pool Landscaping:

Pool Landscaping:

Vibration flowers and fragrance — known to bring out the peace within —  are represented here in many varieties of perennials, evergreen and deciduous plantings that also offer robust successional color throughout pool season.

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

Spectacular Backyard Water Features:

Spectacular Backyard Water Features:

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

 

Harmonious Pool/Spa and Surround:

Harmonious Pool/Spa and Surround:

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

 

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

Backyard Retreats Are For Everyone:

Backyard Retreats Are For Everyone:

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

 

Are You Ready To Begin Creating Your Own Paradise?

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

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

Landscapers: 10 Things You Should Know:

Landscapers: 10 Things You Should Know:

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

Bill Renter’s Tips

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

Insert Photo of Bill w/Client

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

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

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

 

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

Enjoy A Dream Backyard Even Where Space Is Limited

Creating a complete backyard retreat within limited space

 

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

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

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

 

Dream Backyard Retreat:

Dream Backyard Retreat:

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

Vinyl Pool

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

Automated Pool Cover

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

 

Vinyl Pool/Automated Pool Cover:

Vinyl Pool/Automated Pool Cover:

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

Stone Bar and Trellis

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

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

 

Stone Bar and Trellis:

Stone Bar and Trellis:

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

Pondless Water Feature

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

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

Sheer Descent Waterfalls:

Sheer Descent Waterfalls:

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

Cambridge Random Pavers

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

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

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

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

Flexible Shade

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

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

 

Cambridge Random Pavers:

Cambridge Random Pavers:

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

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

 

Ideal Backyard Retreat:

Ideal Backyard Retreat:

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

 

 

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

How to Unearth Perfection from the Backyard You Already Have

Design/Build Showcase: The Deck and Patio Company transforms cramped backyard into perfect landscape for parties and entertaining

 

When this Dix Hills family decided to update their 1980s backyard pool area, they called on Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert. The problem with their yard was their old wood deck and red brick patios were too small and unusable for parties and entertaining. In addition, a large wood retaining wall beside the pool took away from the attractiveness of the pool area.

Our creative team introduced a unique concept to deal with the large retaining wall: re-grade the slope and create a large natural waterfall, stream, and woodland garden in its place. Our outdoor living expert chose Aquascape Designs’ pondless waterfall system to create a seven-foot-high “sheet” waterfall and stream, which requires a good deal of water volume to create a dramatic waterfall such as this.

 

Unattractive Retaining Walls:

Unattractive Retaining Walls:

(Before photo) A key problem in the pool area was a large wood retaining wall away from the attractiveness of the pool area.

 

Beautiful Retaining Walls:

Beautiful Retaining Walls:

After Photo: To beautify the area, we-graded the slope and created a large natural waterfall, stream, and woodland garden in its place.

We chose Aquascape’s waterfall system because their focus, like ours, is on an ecosystem approach to water features — in this case relying on the most natural balance of circulation, filtration, plants, rocks and gravel to ensure sustainability.

Another reason our waterfall retaining wall system looks so natural is our talented waterfall team understands how water flows over rock, how it releases from the rock in order to create a natural look and feel. We avoid the look of steps in the waterfall by making the water change directions in the waterfalls and streams.

Once the stream and waterfall was complete, we pressed boulders into the surrounding slope. After that, we addressed the landscaping. Our crew installed natural woodland plantings to tie in with the tall oaks that exist on the property’s perimeter and added evergreen shrubs to ensure year-round color.

 

Natural woodland landscape:

Natural woodland landscape:

Our crew installed natural woodland plantings that tie in with the tall oaks on the property’s perimeter and also added evergreen shrubs to ensure year-round color.

With the slope stabilized, our team addressed pool renovation. After draining the pool and removing the original liner, a poorly built concrete block wall was uncovered. The solution was to straighten the wall and fill the block in with concrete and steel rebars for strength. New vinyl covered stairs were then added, as well as new pipes, returns, skimmers, pump, filter and new liner was installed.

After this, the pool was carefully backfilled and tamped. We compacted the soil back around the pool in three-inch lifts to allow for the immediate installation of new pavers around the pool.

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

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

 

Elegant Patio Pavers design/build:

Elegant Patio Pavers design/build:

The clients chose elegant clean-lined pavers in a random pattern for the new patio areas surrounding the pool.

The clients love their new patio and pondless waterfall. Not only do they find themselves outside more often enjoying nature’s sights and sounds, they have room for parties and entertaining. In fact, their perfect backyard was there all along — it just needed some expertise to bring it out.

 

 

 

 

Landscape Update To Freshen Home’s Exterior

Design/Build: 1980s’ yard is updated by Deck and Patio into new millennium landscape

 

Our foyers and entrance halls make strong first impressions of the interiors of our homes. We sometimes forget, however, that the true first impression is happening outside. If our yards are outdated — even when the inside is fresh and up-to-date — the first welcome our home makes is not what we intend.

Landscape, then, can — and should be — fresh and modern. When the owners of this Long Island home approached our outdoor living expert, they were looking for an innovative and modern outdoor look for their property. Our finished custom landscape brought their outdated eighties’ exterior landscaping into the new millennium. www.deckandpatio.com

New Decking

The homeowner’s initial thought was to only replace their backyard’s old decking with something more modern that suited their busy schedules; in other words, the new deck couldn’t be “high maintenance.” Our design/build team planned and executed the removal of the existing pressure-treated deck and replaced it with sleekly-designed Trex Accents composite decking, in “Saddle.” This new decking offers the warm, natural look of wood, but without the maintenance. Indeed. Trex being a composite fabrication, it eliminates the cracking, rotting or splitting natural wood is known for. It also requires no sealants which saves lots of regular maintenance hassles. These composite materials also protect from UV rays, and allow no damage from insects, water or sun.

In sum: the new deck’s clean lines give a more modern and polished look to their outdoor space and are extremely maintenance-friendly.

 

Maintenance-friendly Deck:

Maintenance-friendly Deck:

The new deck’s clean lines give a more modern and polished look to their outdoor space and are extremely maintenance-friendly.

As the new deck was being completed, the design and build capabilities of Deck and Patio made a strong impression and we were asked to make a complete renovation of the remainder of the backyard as well as the front of the home.

Pool Surround

The patio surrounding the pool was given a fresh style by replacing the old tan Chanford brick pavers with the more modern and elegant look of Techo-Bloc’s “Hammered” tan pavers. Where there once stood a moss rock waterfall, we installed a sophisticated and elegant fountain style water feature with three spilling sheets of water. An old-fashioned, straight lined railroad tie wall was removed; it was replaced with a tan Allan Block wall, laid out in sweeping curves that don’t just define the space, but also soften the lines of their new relaxation spot. Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert chose these blocks because Allan blocks look like natural stone; also they combine a rustic and modern aesthetic that result in an attractive contemporary look. In addition, they are also “dry-stacked” so there was no need for footings, mortar or connectors in the building process because the blocks stay in place once they are stacked together — — a real boon for cost-savings.

 

Fountain Style Water Feature:

Fountain Style Water Feature:

Where there once stood a moss rock waterfall, we installed a sophisticated and elegant fountain style water feature with three spilling sheets of water.

 

Allan Block Wall:

Allan Block Wall:

An old-fashioned, straight lined railroad tie wall was removed; it was replaced with a tan Allan Block wall, laid out in sweeping curves.

 

Techo-Bloc “Hammered” Pavers:

Techo-Bloc “Hammered” Pavers:

We gave a fresh style to the patio surrounding the pool by replacing the old tan Chanford brick pavers with the more modern and elegant look of Techo-Bloc’s “Hammered” tan pavers.

Front Driveway/Steps

With the backyard completely finished, the front required a bit of a makeover as well. The old, crumbling asphalt driveway needed serious attention. The Deck and Patio Company’s design required removing the old driveway and replacing it with durable tan Techo-Bloc. The asphalt walkway was also extracted and a series of graceful Techo-Bloc stairs and landings were installed.

The beauty of the newly installed step and landing were subtly accented by a decorative circle kit giving a charming and aesthetically pleasing finish. Made of interlocking paving stones, the design offered warmth and charm in a design that perfectly suited the design of their home.

Light Piers

Two final “hardscape” additions were the two sets of masonry light piers. The first set was installed at the end of the stairs creating a welcoming feature that would show off the fine details well after the sun went down. The second set of piers was set prominently at the end of the driveway to merely hint at the beauty of the property beyond.

Now a matching driveway — up to the front door of the residence — offers a wonderful “first impression” that is fresh, new, and inviting.

 

Techo-Bloc Driveway:

Techo-Bloc Driveway:

In the front yard, our design required removing the old driveway and replacing it with durable tan Techo-Bloc; the asphalt walkway was also extracted and a series of graceful Techo-Bloc stairs and landings were installed.

 

Steps and Landings:

Steps and Landings:

The beauty of the newly installed step and landing were subtly accented by a decorative circle kit giving a charming and aesthetically pleasing finish.

Gardening and Water Features

Finally, when it comes to updating a home, fresh gardening can raise a home’s value almost instantly and is the least expensive improvement you can make. For example, if your plantings are over 10 years old, they are probably way overgrown; any original landscape design has long faded when plants have grown practically into trees.

For this project, our new “hardscape” design was tied together with lush, colorful perennials throughout and two specimens of green lace leaf maples standing alongside the light piers at the end of the driveway.

In addition, a new pondless waterfall alongside the deck and pool area creates a luxurious and soothing highlight — an added bonus to their outdoor living experience.

 

Great Curb Appeal:

Great Curb Appeal:

 

 Beautiful Water Features:

Beautiful Water Features:

We also created a second lovely water feature area that appeals to the homeowner’s sense of sound as well as sight.

When all the craftsmen packed up upon completion of the project, the homeowners were pleased with how their dream and the vision of their designer’s came to be a reality.