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Best Outdoor Living Spaces: Pool House, Pool, Patio, and a Raised Spa

When you’re looking for the best outdoor living space ideas, it never hurts to consider award-winners, like our project showcase today.

Forgive our shameless self-promotion, but this backyard upgrade earned Deck and Patio a “Gold” award for geometric pool/spa design from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

The main feature in this project’s design was a striking geometric pool, with a raised spa, surrounded by a multi-level patio and a custom pool house with dramatic pergola. Our own team pulled together additional pool design and build experts for the project.

“The use of technology from AutoCad to 3D animation helped our clients picture the project,” says Dave Stockwell. “Starting with this design idea, and working hand in hand with the clients and pool experts, we were able to produce an end result that is absolutely breathtaking.”

After these initial meetings and the opportunity to see what it would look like, the client was very enthusiastic, adds Dave. “The landscaping design offered easy to care for cutout areas around the pool and pool house that offers pops of color and green in a way that continued the overall geometric design.”

Pool With Raised Spa:

Pool With Raised Spa:

The overall plans had a large variety of details and was far from ordinary. The main feature, of course, was the pool and its raised spillover spa, all surrounded by a multi-level patio. The pavers we used were Cambridge Ledgestone 3 pavers — a product that evokes thoughts of old time European plazas.

 

Custom Pool House:

Custom Pool House:

A major part of the project was a custom designed pool house, complete with all the amenities of home. The pool house has a bathroom, changing room and living room with internet access, phone, flat screen TV and a spectacular view over looking the pool area. It is the perfect spot to take breaks from the spa – an important element for spa enjoyment and safety.

 

Custom Pergolas:

Custom Pergolas:

Stepping out of the pool house, a 25-foot wide shade pergola was built to shade guests from the hot summer sun. Underneath, there is also a stunning bar area, complete with sink and all components necessary to keep everyone supplied with fresh beverages. 

The bar and raised spa are faced with matching cultured stone, which ties the areas together from a design standpoint.

 

Design/Build 3D Automation:

Design/Build 3D Automation:

This 3D animation allowed the client to view every aspect of the project from any angle they wanted. The 3D technology also allowed us to make changes during the project. This gives clients confidence that last minute changes will fit the overall look we are trying to achieve.

 

Sheet Falling Waterfalls: Add a Splash of Elegance to Your Yard

Whether they’re called ‘sheer descent,’ ‘sheet falling,’ or ‘water curtains,’ these elegant waterfalls add a splash of elegance to any yard.

“Clients with free-form pools, and more natural landscape designs, often prefer free-flowing waterfalls,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell. “But those who style tends toward the contemporary, and who prefer, for example, geometric pools, really appreciate the modern feel of sheet falling waterfalls.” 

These sheet falling water features flow in an attractive angle to produce a sleek effect in both sight and sound, says Dave. Falling in a continuous stream (or sheet), their water flow thrusts outward in an arc from a pool wall or other encasement and the water pressure may be adjusted for a range of effects.

Pool equipment companies, including Jandy, manufacture this type of waterfall fixture with self-contained plumbing that is simple to install for an easy upgrade in many areas of your yard. 

For example, Deck and Patio incorporated these waterfalls in a variety of ways — as the “spill” of a spillover spa, an elegant flow inside pools, and even flowing from an outdoor bar. (See examples below.)

Wherever they are added, these water features are a sheer joy — perfect for just about any size space.

 

Pool Waterfall/Howard Beach, NY:

Pool Waterfall/Howard Beach, NY:

We installed this fountain-style ‘sheer descent’ waterfall within a Techo-Bloc Graphix wall attached to their home’s backyard pool, at the same time we added a new Techo-Bloc paver pool surround. The contemporary look of the wall and arched water flow perfectly complement their geometric pool.

 

Sheer Descent Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

Sheer Descent Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio built this outdoor bar with a sheer descent waterfall feature. The two waterfalls use only a minimum of water flow. This is because we installed an underground Aquascape “pondless waterfall” system that captures the falling water after it seeps through the ground, and filters it as it pumps it back up into fresh falling water. (Note: This is a closeup photo of the feature photo at the top of today’s page.)

 

Salt Water Pool with Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

Salt Water Pool with Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio’s landscape designer chose Techo-Bloc pavers to harmonize with the vinyl pool liner by Loop-Loc (installed by True Blue Swimming Pools). 

The two flanking sheer descents flow out of a raised patio lounging area — a perfect spot to enjoy the sounds of the waterfalls while sun bathing.

 

Custom Hot Tub With Waterfall (Long Island/NY):

Custom Hot Tub With Waterfall (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio’s complete upgrade of our clients’ pool included an encased portable spa with a sheer descent waterfall flowing out of it into the pre-existing pool. A new privacy wall, also faced in stone, stands behind it, topped with a fire bowl and a second waterfall to create a spectacular setting — day and night.

 

Geometric Pool with Landscaping (Long Island/NY):

Geometric Pool with Landscaping (Long Island/NY):

The steps Deck and Patio installed just above the far end of the pool are part of a natural retaining wall of boulders; they lead to a delightfully landscaped wilderness where pool equipment has been artfully hid. And, of course, the pool includes elegant sheer descent waterfalls and is surrounded by a patio in complementary random geometric patterns.

 

 

By |2018-07-26T13:36:57-05:00July 26th, 2018|Backyard Upgrades, Design and Build Experts, Outdoor Living, Pondless Waterfalls, Ponds & Water Features, Pool Waterfalls, Spillover/Custom Spas, Sustainable Water Features|Comments Off on Sheet Falling Waterfalls: Add a Splash of Elegance to Your Yard

Bringing Your Vacation Experience Back Home

This year's cold snap

This year’s cold snap

If during this winter’s record-breaking cold snap you sought haven in some warmer climate, no doubt you came back with more than memories of indoor resort comforts.

For example, when clients of ours a few years ago returned from Costa Rica they didn’t want to loose the happy family times they had experienced. A small country, bordered by two big bodies of water (the Caribbean and the Pacific,) they relished all that the sunny and water-surrounded country offered.

It’s not surprising, then, that our clients wanted to continue some of the happy family outdoor activities back home.

But they feared that creating their very own backyard resort — that would offer similar outdoor amenities they enjoyed on holiday — would be hard to achieve.

First, there were conflicting priorities between the husband and wife. She wanted cool places to relax with friends and he wanted to take full advantage of the sun’s rays.

Then, of course, there was the challenges presented by their property’s 12-ft elevation change in the property.

 

Pergola and multi-level patio

Pergola and multi-level patio

The solutions Deck and Patio recommended were to place their new vinyl-lined pool directly in the sun while at the same time creating an shaded area for congregating in comfort via a swim up/walk up bar with an overhead pergola.

To address the elevation, Deck and Patio’s design called for using the elevation for building a raised patio, with a wrap-around stair leading to the patio/pool and sunken swim up bar patio, plus creating a large pool natural stone waterfall area with plantings to hold back the grade.

 

Natural Retaining Wall

Natural Retaining Wall

“We were able to design the retaining area without having to add rails or fences that might have blocked views of their resort-style free-form pool,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio.

“Plus the addition of the natural stone waterfall with water slide didn’t just help act as a retaining wall, it also contributed to re-creating memories of their happy Costa Rican vacation.”

 

 

Custom In-ground Spa

Custom In-ground Spa

 

To complete their backyard resort, on the upper patio, nearer the house, we built a custom in-ground vinyl-lined spa.

Operating separately from the pool and being just steps from their door, they can use this resort amenity all year long.

 

 

The clients were delighted with their new retreat. And for an added bonus, the project won Deck and Patio several gold medal design awards from NSPI (National Spa and Pool Institute) and NESPA (Northeast Spa & Pool Association).

 

Deck and Patio Backyard Resort (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio Backyard Resort (Long Island/NY):

A Techo-Bloc multi-tiered patio, natural stone steps, lush landscaping almost completely surround a handsome free-form vinyl-lined pool with swim up bar with pergola, in-pool bar stools; a natural retaining wall with waterfalls and slide adds to the resort feeling.

 

Swimming Pool Amenities (Long Island/NY):

Swimming Pool Amenities (Long Island/NY):

Considered the ultimate in outdoor living, this vinyl-lined pool includes a U-shaped granite-topped swim up bar with submerged bar stools.

 

Pool-side Bar (Long Island/NY):

Pool-side Bar (Long Island/NY):

The 32-foot swim-up bar is faced in cultured stone and rock and curves around to be enjoyed from the patio and well as from in the pool. It is a way of bringing everyone together — those who want to be in the pool and those relaxing on the patio.

 

Spill-over Custom Spa (Long Island/NY):

Spill-over Custom Spa (Long Island/NY):

Even though it’s not near the pool, the custom spa was designed as a “spill-over” in order to provide the delights of a waterfall when sitting on the patio. The sounds are peaceful — truly reminiscent of their Costa Rican vacation.

 

10 Ways to Enhance Outdoor Living This Season

Camping trips and the rugged outdoor experiences they provide are fine in short bursts. But a full 5 or 6 month outdoor season spent enjoyed in one’s backyard cries out for comfortable and superbly functional amenities.

Today’s blog, however, will not focus so much on the key foundations of outdoor living — patios, decks, and large water features such as swimming pools — as the delightful amenities that enhance them.

 

Here’s Our 9 Ways!

This first photo from Fiberon Decking, for example, highlights two opposite outdoor living enhancements — an attractive fire table that adds warmth on cool evenings and a shade umbrella that reduces the heat of the day.

In addition, note how an awning provides even more relief from the sun on the upper deck level. And very comfortable outdoor furniture means no sense at all of ‘camping out’ when sitting on this deck. Plus a highly functional outdoor kitchen means no need to limit the dining experience — although marshmallows roasted over the fire table is one camping treat worth bringing home.

 

 

A garden gazebo is another wonderful amenity for providing shade and comfort. As architectural statements, gazebos are beautiful to the eye while providing shade, protection from rain, as well as comfortable seating.

But a gazebo can be used in many more ways: as a meditation center; a spot for exercising; the ideal location for a hot tub; a venue for special celebrations like a wedding ceremony. Indeed, we believe this gazebo, built at the edge of a new deck by Deck and Patio, would be a gorgeous location for a wedding. A reception held on this poolside deck would truly be memorable.

 

 

 

 

Trellises and pergolas also make dramatic architectural statements. They require less materials than a gazebo (or 4-season room) to construct, and provide limited shade with just support beams and rafters.

Taking the time to grow vines on a trellis/pergola, however, will eventually increase the amount of shade. In the meantime, one can always add a canopy overhead — a good idea if the space underneath is used frequently when the sun is high.

 

 

Swim-up bars turn a regular backyard pool into a full-blown resort. Looking at these two Deck and Patio projects, one can almost hear steel drums in the background, can’t you? Whenever a a swim-up bar is added to the pool, all that’s needed to complete a vacation-resort feeling are small drink umbrellas in the Mojitos and Piña Coladas.

Deck and Patio not only designs in-pool submerged bar stools for swim-up bars, but we can design it all so this amenity can also be used as a dry bar, enjoyed on the other side.

 

 

In-pool amenities that make a splash include waterfalls and jet sprays like those shown here. When either of these are added to a pool, their gentle sounds screen out in a delightful way any noise from the pool’s high-tech equipment and even nearby traffic.

This Deck and Patio project also includes another outdoor living enhancement — an outdoor shower (not shown). It is located at the base of a stepping stone path that leads up to the hidden pool equipment.

 

Information about tanning shelves (a.k.a. Baja shelves, tanning ledges) seen above in this blog’s feature photo can be seen here. 

 

 

 

Water Features: Memorial Weekend Kicks Off Outdoor Entertaining Season

Deck and Patio’s design/build team is frequently asked what goes into creating a backyard that is ideal for entertaining, as well as outdoor fun.

Depending on what a budget permits and the size of the property, we usually recommend a water feature — be it a pool, pond, stream with waterfalls, or a simple portable hot tub — as a focal point of its surroundings.

“Any time a client wants a water feature in one of our projects, we know it will help make a home run,” says Deck and Patio’s Bill Renter. “Water is the one of the essential elements of life, and people are naturally drawn to it — which is what you are looking for when entertaining. So after determining all the needs of the client, we ask ourselves — how can water be part of it all.”

 

 

Infinity Pool

Infinity Pool

Pools  

Pools, of course, are the most popular water feature. According to Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio, what makes one pool appear awesome over another is usually its surroundings. “Choosing the right harmonizing elements is what makes something breathtaking. It’s how you blend water with its hardscape and landscaped environment.”

Pools vary in shape and complexity and homeowners can also choose between a vinyl pool and gunite, freeform and geometric. When budgets and property sizes are tight, rather than a full-sized regular pool, a smaller “spool” can function as both a small pool and spa.

 

Pool Placement

Pool Placement

The placement of swimming pools and patios is very important. “If you don’t use a landscape designer, you may find that some pool builders simply plop the pool where it’s most convenient for them,” says Deck and Patio’s Bill Renter. “We tend to push pools off to one side and leave lawn area for the children to play or just to have some “softscape.” That was the case for this award-winning pool (left), where we worked with True Blue Swimming Pools. The yard was small but they still got their pool — and enough lawn left for the kids to enjoy.

 

 

Surrounding Patio Areas   

Pool Surrounds

Pool Surrounds

“When it comes to ‘hardscape,’ we try to create truly functional spaces,” says Renter. “We often see a surrounding patio that is 10’ or 12’ feet wide all around the pool. Instead, we specialize in creating functional spaces of different sizes and shapes. We’ll ask if they have patio furniture and we measure it to ensure that there is ample room for that particular grouping, while allowing for easy circulation.”

Deck and Patio also looks to see how the sun comes across the yard. “The chaise lounging area should face the water feature and the afternoon sun. You and your guests wouldn’t want to sit by your pool and have the sun to your back.”

 

 

Dining Areas and Outdoor Kitchens  

We generally locate outdoor kitchens fairly close to the inside of the house — unless it’s a destination pool. In the case where all the outdoor living areas are a distance from the house, this requires different planning. “But usually it’s key to be near to the home’s kitchen,” says Renter.

 

Outdoor Kitchen with Ronda insulated drawers

Outdoor Kitchen with Ronda insulated drawers

Extra Tip: One trend we’re seeing in outdoor kitchens are warming/cooling drawers made by companies like Ronda. These insulated drawers are sealed and work without electricity so your drinks stay cool or your food stays warm depending on what you put in its lower drawer.

“They have a magnetic seal, which along with being waterproof will also keep away bugs and dust. Indeed, you can choose a single drawer just for keeping dishes and cutlery completely clean,” says Renter.

 

 

Outdoor Bars and Dining Areas

 

 

Outdoor Bar/Dining Area

Outdoor Bar/Dining Area

Outdoor bar with waterfalls

Outdoor bar with waterfalls

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bar/dining area is a great place for guests and family to gather. You can even add waterfalls. Shown here (above right) are sheet waterfalls, which offer a sleek modern look as well as a very pleasant sound. This helps people de-stress while inviting easy conversation.

 

 

 

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Wild-Ride-slide

Wild-Ride-slide

Fun for Kids and Adults 

Kids love water and action. Pool slides and diving rocks are two favorite pool amenities. “When we add a slide, we try build it safe for the kids by setting it in around boulders and plants so if they ever fall, it won’t be far and with a soft landing,” says Renter.

 

 

 

Tanning-Shelf

Tanning-Shelf

 

 

Other kid favorites: swim outs, deep end stairs and tanning shelves. We’ve found kids love to dive, swim out and dive or slide into the pool again, over and over. A tanning shelf or deep end stairs allow adults and other kids to watch them playing on the slide, etc. These are great places for young and old alike to gather.

 

Backyard Ponds

 

Natural Swimming Ponds:

Natural Swimming Ponds:

Deck and Patio specializes in building ponds so clear and pristine you can swim in  them (even if you don’t wish to). Remember, all bacteria isn’t bad, some good bacteria kill the bad guys. A healthy natural swimming pond is very possible and is worth all the care you give it. The goal, of course, is that any pond at a minimum be healthy for fish and aquatic plants. This kind of water feature is a joy to sit by, listen to; it’s also the perfect outdoor attraction for entertaining.

 

Pondless Waterfalls

Pondless Waterfalls

 

The simplest pond to have is pondless. It will take much less time to clean up a pond-less waterfall (left) than a pond basin each season and it is a safer environment when children are very young.

 

 

Hot Tubs Make Great Water Features

 

This pondless waterfall/stream was installed beside a portable Bullfrog Spas. The stream is a lovely, tranquil sight from the patio as well as the hot tub itself.

This pondless waterfall/stream was installed beside a portable Bullfrog Spas. The stream is a lovely, tranquil sight from the patio as well as the hot tub itself.

 

Keeping it Simple

 

 FirePits and Outdoor Furniture:

FirePits and Outdoor Furniture:

Sometimes all you need is need is a fire pit and some comfortable furniture on a handsome deck. It would be easy to add a simple water fountain on such a deck so as to not miss out on its tranquil sounds. The deck shown here is Fiberon. Photo: Courtesy of Fiberon Decking.

 

 

 

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What Time of Day Showcases this Backyard Retreat Best?

Boasting a spectacular view of Long Island Sound, this award winning project is one that Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, is understandably proud of.  Complete with large patio areas, infinity pool, large spillover spa, waterfall, pond with wooden bridge, and spectacular LED lighting, its design took into consideration how it would appear at different times of day.

The vanishing edge pool brings the dramatic view of the shoreline right up to the backyard — creating a variety of changing images depending upon whether it is day, evening, or night. And not only the pool and patio offer these fabulous sights. The custom spa was also positioned to take in these “vanishing edge” vistas.

The same care went into the design of the upgraded and expanded pond area. Its beautiful details are delightful during the day, intoxicating at sunset, and oh so romantic at night.

The entire project comprises: vanishing edge pool with five water pumps, 3,000 square feet of Techo-Bloc tumbled stone patio, an outdoor kitchen with patio bar, two natural gas campfires, and extensive landscaping that includes large evergreen trees that flank the left and right side for privacy. In the pool, there are two waterfalls, five bar stools in front of a swim up bar, three staircases, and in-floor cleaning. (Note: this project garnered several awards, including three gold awards.)

We invite you to look over the photos and tell us what time of day do you think showcases this project best.

 

Vanishing Edge “Infinity” Pools:

Vanishing Edge “Infinity” Pools:

During the day, the view out to Long Island Sound is breathtaking from both the pool and spa. Note: the outdoor kitchen includes two bars: a patio bar with bar stools, and a swim up bar with in-pool seats.

 

 

 

Backyard Ponds:

Backyard Ponds:

Even during the day when all details are clear, the serene pond area, with waterfall, bridge, and moss rock cave, offers no hint of the technology keeping the pond healthy and pristine, e.g., a Savio skimmer traps most debris before it settles at the bottom of the pond, and an Aquascape Biofalls system continually filters the pond naturally by using bacteria to break down any pond waste.

 

 

 

Backyard Retreat:

Backyard Retreat:

At sunset, not only unobstructed views of Long Island Sound are brought up to the patio and vanishing edge pool and spa, but the reflection of the setting sun is also; also at sunset, the edge of the infinity pool is exquisitely tinged in pale orange.

 

 

 

Backyard Retreat:

Backyard Retreat:

At sunset, in the far distance, evening lights on Connecticut’s shore twinkle under a deep blue sky that is brushed with rose-colored radiance; LED lights and glowing natural gas campfires emphasize different areas of the retreat, providing security, drama and beauty.

 

 

 

Backyard Pond:

Backyard Pond:

Just as sunset is about over, LED lighting creates mystery and romance around the pond. Traces of a pink sky makes a delightful backdrop to the evening pond’s browns and greens.

 

 

 

Backyard Retreat:

Backyard Retreat:

Some might say that nighttime offers the ultimate outdoor experience. The lighting, which creates such extraordinary vistas, has been carefully hidden to give wonderful effects, yet go unseen. In fact, all the expertise and technology behind the waterfalls — water pumps, the DE filter, gas heater, LED lights, EOS wireless automation, etc. — go entirely unnoticed.

 

 

 

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.