man-made streams

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Seasonal Pool Closings: Great Time to Talk Upgrades/Renovations

Pool Closings: Good Time to Discuss Upgrades

Pool Closings: Good Time to Discuss Upgrades

When it comes to the outdoors, the best way to add value to your home is to renovate.

And since many people already own a pool, patio, deck or barbecue area, we thought pool closing season is a great time to consider value-based ideas to spruce up these areas.

Whether or not you do any of these upgrades in early fall when closing down the pool, or whether you just discuss ideas for spring, now is a great time to think some upgrades through.

 

 

In-ground Pools

 

Pentair Energy Efficient Variable Speed Pump

Pentair Energy Efficient Variable Speed Pump

Upgrading Pool Pump

It doesn’t really matter if your pool is gunite or vinyl, there is one easy way to upgrade and save big money say pool experts.

“Consider changing your current one-speed filter pump to an energy efficient variable speed pump,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio.

“These pumps are so efficient that they can cut your energy costs to 1/6th of what they currently are. There are several manufactures that offer these pumps including Pentair, Sta-rite and Jandy. And the cost of the new pump is paid back quickly — often in three years or less.”

 

 

Some Easy Pool Upgrades

Other upgrade ideas would be to simply change the tile and color of your pool. In gunite, there are many color options in marbledusts, pebble finishes and even all-tile pools.

Also, you could upgrade the coping to make a fresh, dramatic statement.

Adding New Pool Coping

Adding New Pool Coping

“In this case (above), we added bright blue coping to a pool in Oyster Bay, NY. Our design called for installing the coping on the far side of the pool — flush with the lawn.”

 

Pool Liners

Change to Pool Liner Makes Beautiful Difference

Change to Pool Liner Makes Beautiful Difference

In vinyl pools, you can change a staircase, add a bench or swimout, change the coping — and of course change your old liner.

Liner color choices are almost limitless and it is amazing what a new liner does to an old faded pool as seen in this photo (right).

There are even pebbled colored liners in a tan tone that make them look more like a gunite pool.

 

 

 

Pool Patio Surrounds, Waterfalls

Patio/Pool Surrounds Make Great Upgrade

Patio/Pool Surrounds Make Great Upgrade

Renovating around a pool is sometimes easier than renovating the pool itself.

It could be something as easy as fixing a settled or damaged patio.

Other ideas might be upgrading to a new patio material like Techo-Bloc “Inca” pavers. Be sure to compact and install enough base to prevent future settling.

Another popular upgrade is adding a slide and/or waterfall. Insist on a rubber liner under the waterfall to ensure that it will be leak free for a long time.

 

 

 

 

Backyard Upgrade Ideas: Don’t Forget the Focal Point

A backyard focal point could be a tree that’s beautiful all year, a butterfly garden that includes late blooming plants, or a garden bench set amid wispy ornamental grasses and trees with bright fall foliage. Or, like in the backyard upgrade we’re highlighting here, what catches your eye (and ear) when you walk outdoors can be an inspiring water feature.

In the end, the focal point is simply what you are emphasizing. You can have more than one if your yard is large enough, but it should be done in a way so that various points do not compete with each other.

When these clients approached us for a full backyard upgrade, they wanted several elements:  a two-level patio, fire pit, hot tub, fresh landscaping, and an outdoor kitchen. They also wanted a special water feature that could be enjoyed wherever you are in the yard — or a main focal point that wasn’t static but a “living landscape.”

Water Feature

The completed water feature consists of a “pond-less” waterfall and stream — and, of course, it was all strategically placed so as to be viewed from both the main kitchen window, the new two-level patio, and the hot tub.

An added benefit is the feature was made with all Aquascape Inc. components, so it is eco-friendly: the water is kept clean and healthy without the use of any chemicals.

Patio and Outdoor Kitchen/Bar

To support the water feature’s natural appeal, the two-level patio was made with a Techo-Bloc paver that gives the suggestion of natural wood and the fire pit and outdoor kitchen facade were made of natural stone. Despite the height of the outdoor kitchen, and the impressive patio pattern, the water feature’s size, movement, and drama means it is never outshone.

That does not mean, however, that the other elements aren’t beautiful and significant. Indeed, everything should work together as one harmonious whole.

 

 Backyard Focal Points:

Backyard Focal Points:

Moving water is delightful to listen to as well as watch. This pond-less stream and waterfalls were positioned so as to catch the eye immediately when stepping outside; it can also be enjoyed from the kitchen window.

 

 

Backyard Focal Points:

Backyard Focal Points:

The stream and waterfalls flow next to the clients’ new Bullfrog Spas’ hot tub — adding another layer of relaxation to the spa experience.

 

 

Techo-Bloc “Borealis”

Techo-Bloc “Borealis”

By providing the rich look of wood flooring, Techo-Bloc Borealis’ modular 5”-and-10”-wide slabs have been called trompe l’oeil by industry professionals. Offering such a natural wood look, it was the perfect choice for a patio that sits beside a flowing stream with waterfalls.

 

 

Outdoor Kitchen:

Outdoor Kitchen:

The clients’ new outdoor kitchen/eating bar was set on the lower-level of their new patio — just next to the end of the waterfall/stream. An ideal place for gathering for drinks before dinner is made all the better with the sounds and movements of an adjacent water feature.

 

 

Outdoor Kitchens and Fire Pits:

Outdoor Kitchens and Fire Pits:

The mechanics of the fire pit and outdoor kitchen are hidden within stone facades. The outdoor kitchen’s barbecue cabinet has a built-in stainless steel grill, an ample work area, sink, refrigerator and eating bar with bar stools.

 

 

Flexible Shade:

Flexible Shade:

When open, embedded umbrellas provide flexible shade opportunities anywhere they are needed. Moved behind the eating bar, the umbrellas are a great substitute for a pergola; they are more flexible than fixed shade amenities because various umbrellas can be open and closed at the same time or moved as the sun does. When all open, you have a perfect area to place a buffet or sit and and relax in full shade.

 

 

 

Right As Rain: Rainwater Harvesting Group Wins Award

Update (8-11-15): At their annual Pondemonium teaching event, a few days ago Aquascape Inc. awarded Bill Renter and The Deck and Patio Company “Conservationist of the Year” for this project!! We added a photo of Bill getting the “Top Frog” award immediately below. Note: This new award is above and beyond its earlier 2013 award.

 

Bill Renter Receives Aquascape Inc. Award

Bill Renter Receives Aquascape Inc. Award

 

 

The sustainable division of The Deck and Patio Company — Rainwater Harvesting Group — recently won a prestigious award for a rainwater harvesting project at the LIRR station, in Huntington Station (NY).

“Rainwater harvesting is just what it sounds like,” says Deck and Patio owner, Bill Renter. “It’s a green method of capturing rainwater, which can be used at your residence or business for tasks that don’t require treated water: washing vehicles, lawn watering, washing a deck, or maintaining a garden or water feature. In this case, the project was for a public water feature at our local train station.”

It came about one day when Bill was engaged in a casual conversation with a few women who live nearby. They were planting flowers near the station to brighten it up. As the local landscaper for the area, he offered to help them by adding plants, flowers, shrubs and moss rocks.

“However, I learned at that time there was no immediate access to clean water. The women had been lugging five-gallon buckets of water from their condos to maintain the plants they put in. I thought there must be a way to help with that, too.

“First, we added some moisture retention product to the soil so less water was needed. Then I noticed there was no walkway beyond the small brick and cement sidewalk. There was only a dirt path. It was not handicap accessible and it seemed like the spot needed more than just plants and shrubs.”

After consulting with our Rainwater Harvesting Group, and gaining the support of the Town of Huntington, we installed a lovely water feature as well as a paver pathway for direct access from the curb to the parking lot.

We laid Techo-Bloc permeable pavers over gravel and a rubber liner. The gravel and liner filter the water runoff before it is sent to the reservoir we installed at the end of the stream in the water feature. The system we used is a RainXchange Harvesting System, produced by Aquascapes Inc.

“There is enough captured water to not only sustain the water feature, but to also irrigate all the plantings,” adds Bill. “Plus, this eco-friendly system keeps any non-filtered rainwater from going into the Town’s sewer system and on into Huntington Bay.”

This project has ignited interest in creating an entire rainwater harvesting park as part of the Town’s on-going revitalization of Huntington Station. Just recently, our company received a 2014 Bronze Award from Long Island Pool & Spa Association (LIPSA) for the feature.

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting at Huntington Station NY

Rainwater Harvesting at Huntington Station NY

Where once was only a dirt path from the sidewalk to the train parking lot, permeable pavers allow easy walking (arrow area pavers) while capturing and filtering rainwater for reuse. The pavers used are Techo-Bloc Victorien Permeable Pavers.

 

 

Water Feature (Huntington Station/NY)

Water Feature (Huntington Station/NY)

The water feature is not just for aesthetics, but it is highly functional. Its waterfall aerates the water — or oxygenates it. The water plants that our Rainwater Harvesting Group planted absorb nutrients and pollutants  to help purify the water. All together, the gravel, liner, and plants create a self-sustaining rainwater harvesting garden. The area is now a magnet for local birds who come here to bathe and drink.

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting System

Rainwater Harvesting System

The RainXchange Harvesting Systems (produced by Aquascapes Inc.) includes an auxiliary pump connected to the irrigation system. This ensures that the water used isn’t city water, but harvested entirely from rainwater. The below ground Aquascape Aqua Blox Reservoir holds 500 gallons of rainwater.

 

 

Collecting and Recycling Rainwater

Collecting and Recycling Rainwater

This project has ignited interest in creating an entire rainwater harvesting park as part of the Town’s revitalization of the area. In such a park, the rainwater would be harvested from different areas and sustain park streams, ponds, as well as irrigate the turf and plantings.

 

 

 

Planning A Landscape For All Seasons

An undulating backyard landscape, with shrubs and trees at different heights, and berms and pitches causing changes in the property grade, make a great canvas for Mother Nature to paint on in every season.

If budget and room permits, an in-ground free-form pool can suggest a natural South Sea lagoon — which will entice you outdoors from late Spring through Autumn. Planting a few trees chosen for their fall foliage can set your yard ablaze in color come Fall. And when winter arrives, the undulating landscape, dusted with snow, is a wonderland that brings the child out in everyone.

Such vistas on their own are, indeed, lovely. BUT! Now, add in a few very special touches, such as a stream or pond with waterfalls — landscaped with an array of long-blooming plants, including some hardy evergreens — and you have scenery that will truly uplift your spirit any time of year.

At Deck and Patio, we keep our waterfalls running all winter. You need not worry about your koi either.

Even without much of the above, something that guarantees outdoor winter enjoyment is the addition of a hot tub. Used all year, especially on cool nights, or when you want to warm up after a long swim in the pool, a spa’s bubbling warm waters is especially welcome in winter.

 

Winter Landscape (Long Island, NY):

Winter Landscape (Long Island, NY):

With evergreens offering punches of color against a blanket of white, and grades in the property adding interest, this front yard looks like a fairytale in winter.

 

 

Summer Landscape (Long Island/NY):

Summer Landscape (Long Island/NY):

This is how the same front yard, pictured above, looks in summer. The stream works its way down a hill through several spills, with a final spill freshening the pond; bridge crosses over the stream for the perfect stroll through it all.

 

 

Garden Gnomes (Long Island/NY): Garden gnomes manage to make you smile no matter the season or weather.

Garden Gnomes (Long Island/NY): Garden gnomes manage to make you smile no matter the season or weather.

 

 

Hot Tubs in Winter (Long Island/NY):

Hot Tubs in Winter (Long Island/NY):

A steamy hot tub, set in this same yard, is so inviting in winter. Plus, it offers an ideal spot to sit outdoors and enjoy your backyard winter wonderland.

 

 

Enjoying Hot Tub inWinter (Long Island/NY):

Enjoying Hot Tub inWinter (Long Island/NY):

Bill and Gina Renter particularly appreciate their hot tub in winter.

 

 

Backyard Winter Pond (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Winter Pond (Long Island/NY):

This is Deck and Patio’s display pond and waterfall at our Design Center. We run this all winter long.

 

 

Summer Outdoor Paradise (Long Island/NY):

Summer Outdoor Paradise (Long Island/NY):

With an in-ground free-form pool, attractive surround, lush plantings, and waterfalls, you’ll find it hard to ever go back indoors.