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Creating Backyard Retreats: Size Doesn’t Matter

Feeling like you can’t have a backyard oasis because you don’t have enough room? Here’s some good news. The Deck and Patio Company works a good deal in parts of Long Island, NY, where backyards are often small. And one thing our Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, enjoys most is surprising homeowners with what can be accomplished.

Some yards are seemingly so cramped that families rarely use them. In hot weather, some live indoors. Discovering much more was possible than they originally thought, the wife for this project worked closely with Bill Renter and the pool builder to design their new pool’s shape, which wraps around close to the house, almost into its corner. The design required variances, but it allowed Deck and Patio to fit in an expansive two-level patio, a raised spa, two waterfalls, a stepping stone path, and beautiful lush plantings — in other words: a true oasis.

When working with tighter spaces, our team ensures the chaise lounge, dining and outdoor kitchen patio areas are all large enough for furniture, and have room enough to walk around, sufficient even when entertaining. We also try not to over-build or paver the whole space. It is also important to leave room for plantings and lawn, add landscape-lighting, and make sure the overall project looks interesting, by designing curvy or geometric patterns.

There’s no need to feel because you don’t have a large yard, you can’t have your own bit of paradise. It just takes a little creativity.

 

Patio Design:

Patio Design:

Instead of one-sized brick being placed throughout an entire patio or retaining wall, we recommend attractive designs: this project’s random pattern is in lieu of straight lines, flat images, or a running block pattern. Also, manufacturers often offer a wide list of product materials, so matching stones are readily available for complementary retaining walls, steps, risers, pool coping, etc.

 

 

 

Limited Backyard Space:

Limited Backyard Space:

Manipulating the grades by adding different levels (upper and lower patios, raised spa. etc.) is one of the things we do to create a larger sense of space. Such gradations are not only attractive and spatially functional, but, when done correctly, they can make smaller yards appear considerably more expansive.

 

 

 

Family Spa:

Family Spa:

True Blue Swimming Pools worked with Deck and Patio to build this vinyl pool and spa for our clients. The clients’ children use the spa all the time; after enjoying the pool, if they get a chill, they go to the spa with their friends. In fact we’re told everyone retreats to the spa after swimming. Go into there w/friends. On chilly days, even though the pool is heated, they say in the spa on.

 

 

 

Pool Lighting:

Pool Lighting:

In the ‘gloaming,’ as a poet described ‘twilight,’ is a beautiful time of day to enjoy a new pool. Outdoor lighting glows warmly — like the sun’s final rays as it drops below the horizon. Artful lighting generates the first tranquil water reflections of the evening and continues to sketch nightfall with romantic hues.

 

 

 

Waterfalls:

Waterfalls:

Every stone and moss rock boulder was chosen carefully to create the most natural looking waterfall possible. The water spills are coaxed over them causing flows of water just like in nature.

 

 

Different Level Patios, Flower Beds and Raised Waterfall Make Backyard Appear Larger

The homeowners of this property had an existing small koi pond. They dreamed of also having a pool, with landscaping and a waterfall, but felt they didn’t have the space for it all.

When viewing the property, Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, saw the the main drawback was how flat the grade was. Through 3-D renditions, he showed the homeowners how different patio levels would make the yard appear bigger.

Bill designed the new pool, waterfall, patios and plant beds to fit perfectly with their pond. The new landscaping boasts hydrangeas, roses, ornamental grasses, and flowering perennials.

The homeowners children were about 9 or 10. After the project was finished, the clients say they no longer had to go to family and friends to enjoy the outdoors, but their children could love growing up in their own home.

Our clients added that bringing in a special lighting scheme allows them to enjoy the backyard retreat from the day on into night. The lighting transforms their backyard into a completely different, yet still beautiful, atmosphere.

 

 

Gorgeous Patio Areas:

Gorgeous Patio Areas:

Beautiful plantings, punctuated by accent boulders and moss rocks, paint a natural setting around the multi-tiered tumbled stone patio. Adding crepe myrtles to the landscaping offers an extended picture-perfect landscape season — they bloom from August through October.

 

 

 

Backyard Al Fresco Dining:

Backyard Al Fresco Dining:

Waterfalls cascading over natural rock creates the perfect mood for meditation or romantic al fresco dining. A sound system was added that pumps music, and with waterfall running, together is perfect for entertaining or more intimate family fun.

 

 

 

Landscape Design:

Landscape Design:

By creating the multi level patio, waterfall and different levels and colors of plant beds, new dimensions were added. For example, the new bold apricot-pink roses attract attention, causing the landscape to recede behind them, making the overall area appear larger.

 

 

 

Stepping Stone Paths:

Stepping Stone Paths:

The homeowners wanted a path to the tool shed. But with extensive multi-level pavers being used, in such a small back yard, it was natural the homeowners didn’t want more swaths of brick. The stepping stone path offers a more natural feel and sofens the landscape.

 

 

 

Why Choose A Design/Build Firm For Your Backyard Retreat?

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What if you could have a vacation resort of your own in your backyard? Knowing how to do it and who to call is an important first step. www.deckandpatio.com

Ready For Your Own Vacation Resort?

If you are considering a vacation resort in your own backyard, to get the most out of your time and money, you should be looking for a contractor that offers both design and build services. That is because design/build firms not only think about the way the project will be constructed, but also about other factors, such as sufficient functional family space in the yard, the sun’s location from different yard locations, viewing angles of water features and other focal points, elevation changes, drainage considerations and colorful landscapes.

 

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Our outdoor living expert says a design/build firm will consider such factors as sufficient functional family space for children to play as well as sun location and viewing angles of focal points.

Where to Begin:

A swimming pool or spa is usually the main part of creating a personal paradise. That means you will need to make a big decision: do you want a gunite/shotcrete, or vinyl-lined pool? At Deck and Patio we build them all but some pool companies sell what is referred to as “kit pools” which limit what can be done. A custom design lets you have more freedom when it comes to the planning stage. In fact, when using a design/build firm, you can customize your entire project.

We always begin by asking customers about their plans for a pool, their lifestyles and their children’s needs. Then we come up with a unique concept to fulfill every desire. At Deck and Patio we use CAD drawings, digital imaging and a 3D animation video on a flat screen television to show clients how the pool will look with the existing home and environment.

 

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A design/build firm helps you decide what kind of pool you want and which amenities. Will you want swim up bar stools in the pool, for example?

 

What to Watch Out for in a Design/Build Firm:

When looking for someone to build your swimming pool make sure you are comfortable with them. The design process can take anywhere between several days to several months and you and your builder may see a great deal of each other. Remember that you will be interacting with your contractor in good times and in bad so it is important they be responsible and reliable. When choosing a design/build firm look for a company that has an office and/or showroom so that you know where they are. Be wary of people who will not provide you with an address or give you just a P.O. Box and look for one that will give you their cell phone numbers.

 

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When choosing a design/build firm look for a company that has an office and/or showroom so that you know where they are.

Realizing Your Dream:

As you consider contacting a design/build firm, a picture perfect paradise that fits your dreams starts to beckon. In your mind, you can almost see the bright and colorful plants peeking from around the natural rock waterfalls, the cascading water spilling into a lagoon inspired pool. The stone patio beneath your feet is cool to the touch and exudes a warm ambiance that welcomes and entices. You imagine ordering a cocktail from the pool bar and bringing it back to the lounge chair beneath an umbrella. You can see yourself sitting back and thinking: “Life is good.”

Once you awaken from your daydream, reality hits you. It is a scorching hot day; the sun would have baked you and your family if you hadn’t retreated to the solace of the air conditioning. As this summer comes to an end, its lingering warm temperatures are a reminder that next year will be just as hot. Now may be the perfect time to start planning the backyard of your dreams.

 

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You can almost see the bright and colorful plants peeking from around the natural rock waterfalls, the cascading water spilling into a lagoon inspired pool.

 

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Your perfect outdoor retreat might offer the ability to get a cocktail from the pool bar and bring it back to the lounge chair beneath an umbrella where you sigh: “Life is good.”

Lastly, we suggest looking for a designer/builder that is certified by Association of Pool and Spa professional (APSP). These certified building professionals (CBP) are tested and certified every three years. A CBP can assist you in choosing the right equipment for your project as well as provide or recommend a service professional for your ongoing maintenance. Look for things such as awards from industry groups and certifications from other professional organizations.

A swimming pool project is a big task to take one. Pools are a long lasting investment that add enjoyment to your life and value to your home. When you decide that you want to stop daydreaming and start enjoying your own backyard paradise, remember three things: start early (that means start planning now to be ready for next year’s summer heat), do your homework and choose wisely.

 

 

When to Use Paving Stones

Whether it is for a patio, stepping stone path, driveway, or spa and pool surround, there we often recommend concrete pavers. In many cases, these are not only cost-effective, but because they come in so many designs, shapes, and colors, they are extremely flexible and adaptable to a large variety of jobs.

Also, we love them because they look so natural. Instead of one-sized brick being placed throughout an entire patio or retaining wall, some manufacturers’ kits — which include varying shapes — ensure an attractive design, for example, a random pattern in lieu of straight lines and flat images, or in a running block pattern. It also means that because of manufacturers often offer a wide list of product materials, matching stones are readily available for complementary retaining walls, steps, risers, coping, etc. The following is one example of an attractive random pattern.

 

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For this project, we helped our clients choose an attractive random pattern for their patio.

For another design and build project (below 2 photos), our outdoor living expert created five different patio levels around a pool and integrated moss rock stone with the pavers.

In addition to the patios, this overall project features cascading water, a hot water fall into a new spa, then a spillover from the spa five feet above the main pool. In total there are five waterfalls. From the highest waterfall to the lawn below is an elevation change of twelve feet — all with different grades.

 

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We created five different patio levels around the pool, all comprised of concrete pavers.

Five feet above the main pool, this backyard retreat renovation features cascading water into a new spa surrounded by spa patio made from concrete pavers.

We also believe that using pavers will not only provide a beautiful pool deck, but they offer a safer surface that prevents slipping.* In addition, they maintain a cooler walking area and can handle moisture better than concrete surfaces. And because the pavers we recommend to our clients are stronger than regular concrete, they are extremely durable for regular entertaining.

In another design and build project (below), we added a swim up bar in the main pool that features stunning granite countertops, as well as in-pool bar stools, swim out steps, a slide, and pergola.

 

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Durable and resilient, certain concrete pavers can create a pool surround that stands up to lots of foot traffic.

In addition to using our favorite paving stones for the following patio project, we recommended using one manufacturer’s “Rocka” steps, along with moss rock boulders and creeping plant material. This combination handsomely stabilized a hill area without the need of a retaining wall.

 

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The “Rocka” steps we recommended have a wide-walking slip-resistant surface* — key to any project that is part of a water feature. www.deckandpatio.com

*Note: Some pavers claim to surpass the slip resistance standards established by the American Disabilities Act. However, these manufacturers also say that some sealers on the market can decrease the friction coefficient of pavers under wet conditions. Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert therefore recommends speaking with a professional when considering sealing pavers where non-slip resistance is desired.