outdoor fireplaces

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Fall Outdoor Season: Color It Autumn

Many of us in the northeast retreat very reluctantly to a winter spent indoors. We make every effort to extend the outdoor season with the addition of fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, hot tubs, some even adding a four-season room.

4-Season Room

4-Season Room

Outdoor Fireplace

Outdoor Fireplace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So its natural that when we see the first leaf turn from green to crimson high in a backyard tree, we know we’re heading into the last outdoor living sprint. The subject today is: how can we make this precious outdoor living time richly colorful for the maximum enjoyment?

Outdoor Displays

One way to make the outdoors inviting is by displaying some of fall’s bounty: gorgeous plants, fruits, vegetables and even berries — all perfect for decorating yards and front door entries.

“Annuals provide color when certain plants are no longer in bloom,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell.  “Great color producers for fall that last well into several frosts before dying back to the ground include kale, cabbage, decorative peppers, mums, cyclamen, etc.”

It’s also important to add compost to these plants so they get plenty of food while they are blooming, says Dave. 

“Cold hardy mums, for example, require water every other day as they have copious flowers and use up a lot of energy and will require additional watering if there’s isn’t sufficient rainfall. But what a cheerful display these fruits and plants offer.”

 

Outdoor Decorating for Fall:

Outdoor Decorating for Fall:

Believe it or not, the pumpkin is not a vegetable — it’s a fruit, and a berry at that. Along with hardy mums in bright yellow, etc., at Deck and Patio’s design center in Huntington Station we love displaying lots of these fall ‘berries’ for pops of bright orange.

 

Grouping Fall Plants:

Grouping Fall Plants:

 

 

For different texture and color, it’s a good idea to create a grouping of fall plants. This nice grouping includes cabbage, deep red mums, and winter pansies for a bright, bold statement. (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ornamental Peppers

Ornamental Peppers

Aren’t these ornamental peppers beauties! Grown for their decorative value (although edible, they are rather lacking in flavor) as are the leaves and flowers of the deep red Celosia Cristata (aka cockscomb) behind them.  (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

 

Planning Ahead for Fall Color

Fall can be a great time to plant color for future autumn glory. Here’s two great ideas:

 

Rosehips:

Rosehips:

Rosehips come from plants also known as Autumn Wild Rose. They can enhance any autumn landscape. Note: Since they can take three years to grow from seeds, you’ll probably want to transplant a grown bush. This is done during the dormant season — sometime between November through February.

This beautiful plant is a wildflower with bright red fruit hips that ripen in fall — and stay around through winter. The rose hips grow as the petals of the summer flowers drop off. These hips contain the seeds of the rose. Prune the bushes down to the ground in winter and then wait. When the temperature warms again in spring, they begin to regrow. By summer, you have wild roses, and in fall, you get the rose hips again.

 

Sumac:

Sumac:

When we recommend a great plant for fall color, we emphasize ones that are interesting throughout the year. With Sumac shrubs and trees, their displays begin with large flower clusters in spring, gorgeously colored fall foliage (as seen here) with berries that can last into winter. 

Any well-drained soil works for this adaptable plant. It can take full sun or partial shade. Note: for the most dramatic fall colors, the flame leaf or prairie sumac have the best flowers and color when planted in full sun.  

 

Backyard Fire Pits: Keeping the Home Fires Burning

 

insert-1 In days of yore, when family members had to travel to hunt for food, etc., candles in the windows and village campfires were welcoming signs that led them home. And it’s no different today. Home fires still beckon family and friends to gather round a warm blaze.

Of course, in this millennium we can get a bit more sophisticated with our home fires than our ancestors. Modern fire features are stylish, designed to harmonize with their immediate surroundings.

Choices vary widely: e.g., pre-made fire pit tables, custom fire features that are set-in-stone, easy-to-move portable campfires, cast iron fire pits, and dramatic custom or pre-fabricated fireplaces.

crespi “The size and complexity of any fire feature depends on how you plan to use it, and the amount of outdoor space that requires warmth to extend the outdoor season,” says Bill Renter of Deck and Patio.

“Whatever home fire(s) you decide on, however, we do recommend that the fuel source be propane or gas, rather than wood-burning. Gas/propane features are smoke-free, and they don’t cause sparks and embers to blow around whenever there is a puff of wind.”

In the end, style, size and fuel remain very personal choices — as you will see from the variety of Deck and Patio fire feature projects we’re showcasing today.

HOWEVER! There is one thing all fire features have in common: s’mores frequently are involved. Frankly, if the warm glow of fire features aren’t sufficient to beckon friends and family, warm gooey marshmallows with melting chocolate definitely will.

So enjoy some of our Deck and Patio projects with fire features (below). And because we treasure our readers, we follow these with a s’mores recipe from no one other than Long Island’s own Ina Garten — the Hampton’s Barefoot Contessa. YUM!

 

 

Customized Gas Campfire:

Customized Gas Campfire:

Like many of our clients, these family members are true outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to a beautiful pool with spillover spa and natural-looking waterfalls, the homeowners had room for an expansive patio with several areas designed for different uses. For their inviting seating area, they wanted a gas fire pit surrounded with natural rock that complemented the natural look of their pool’s waterfalls.

 

 

Custom Fire Pits:

Custom Fire Pits:

Throughout this enticing outdoor living area, Deck and Patio emphasized earth’s natural elements such as wood, stone, fire and water. A backyard stream with waterfalls, surrounded by moss rock boulders, moves past a portable hot tub set against a two-level patio with fire pit. The patio was made from Techo-Bloc “Borealis” modular slabs that allowed us to give the patio the rich look of wood flooring. The fire pit was faced with stone for its handsome natural appeal.

 

 

Customized Gas Campfires:

Customized Gas Campfires:

Because of the five different patio levels we created around their pool with cascading waterfalls, a hot waterfall into a new spa, then a spillover from the spa five feet above the main pool, plus diving rock, natural stone was featured throughout the yard. Because the various gathering area, warmth was needed in a variety of places. Again, natural stone was used to make natural gas campfires fit their surroundings.

 

 

Cast Iron Fire Pit:

Cast Iron Fire Pit:

Sometimes clients want to burn wood or coals in their fire pits. This handsome cast iron fire pit warms not only the deck seating area but also those sitting in the hot tub. It fits perfectly with a natural wood deck.

 

 

Custom Outdoor Fireplace:

Custom Outdoor Fireplace:

Sometimes Deck and Patio’s fire pits go a bit larger — and become a whole fireplace. This is because clients occasionally want a stronger architectural statement as well as the fire. Set beside a lovely shingle-roof gazebo/pergola, this fireplace offers warmth in autumn and winter months and creates a perfect ambience.

 

 

Custom Outdoor Wood-burning Fireplace:

Custom Outdoor Wood-burning Fireplace:

At one edge of their patio, a beautiful wood-burning stone fireplace with mantel beautifully harmonizes with the stones surrounding an adjacent pondless waterfall. A blazing fire makes you want to gather round, doesn’t it.

 

 

An Invitation to S’mores:

An Invitation to S’mores:

Especially when the properties are small, Deck and Patio tends to push pools off to one side and leave lawn area for the children to play or just to have some “softscape.” In this case, such planning allowed the homeowners a nice spot for a much-desired outdoor campfire. The campfire we added uses propane stainless steel burner with moss rock boulders around it and outdoor fireplace logs. Note the amusing s’more’s sign the homeowners put behind their campfire.

 

This leads us to the promised Ina Garten recipe for S’mores. Enjoy!

 

S'mores photo: © Ina Garten

S’mores photo: © Ina Garten

Total Time:
10 min
Prep:  5 min
Cook:  5 min

___________

Yield:  1 serving
Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients
1 marshmallow
2 Graham crackers
Milk chocolate with raisin and nut or dark chocolate with raspberry

Directions
Thread a marshmallow onto a stick or skewer and toast it over an open flame. Sandwich the cooked marshmallow with a piece of chocolate between 2 crackers.
2012, © Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved.

Deck and Patio Wins 2013 APSP Awards of Excellence And Merit

The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals’ (APSP) awards program recognizes Deck and Patio’s achievements

 

When considering to build a new, or upgrade an existing, pool, spa, hot tub, water feature, or landscaping, it is not unusual to search out companies who have been recognized for their expertise and talents through the winning of awards.

Deck and Patio Company’s outdoor living expert has written many articles on these subjects and is considered an expert in these fields by his peers and professional associations. He is particularly proud that year after year, his firm has earned special recognition for the firm’s design and construction excellence. And it is with great delight that we share today award honors for 2013 received from The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP).

 

APSP’s 2013 Bronze awards (see APSP video immediately below) includes two awards for Deck and Patio.

 

Bronze Awards

1.  APSP’s first Bronze Award for Deck and Patio Company (found at .20 seconds) falls under the category “Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Exterior/Interior Portable Hot Tubs.”

Background

When Deck and Patio was restoring an existing pool and deck destroyed during super storm Sandy, the homeowners decided they wanted a “full water experience.” So beyond the wonderful dock/water access they already had on a Long Island canal, and the new upgraded pool and deck our outdoor living expert was designing and building for them, he also created a new spa/lounge area with a portable Bullfrog Spa.

The new hot tub is located just steps down from the backdoor where it is set into the deck for a pleasing “built-in” appearance. The hot tub’s cover can be left upright to provide additional privacy and easily dropped down to cover the hot tub when not in use.

Special Note: Deck and Patio includes a hot tub cover with all its Bullfrog Spa packages. We feel this is important because when the wind blows and dirt and leaves fall, they throw off the balance of the water quality by affecting the sanitary conditions of the water. In addition, clients will use the cover more regularly if it’s easy to open and close and if it is attractive and suits their hot tub model. Such is the case for this hot tub’s cover which fits the hot tub’s size, design and where the homeowners wanted it placed.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert took a “before” photo of damaged pool and deck as it appeared after super storm Sandy.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

While restoring existing pool and deck, Deck and Patio installed new spa/lounge area that included a Bullfrog Spa for a “full water experience.”

The project’s new hot tub, just steps down from the backdoor, has been set into the deck by Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert for a pleasing “built-in” appearance.

 

2.  APSP’s second Bronze Award for Deck and Patio Company (found at 1.06 seconds) falls under the category “Pool Renovations.”

This pool renovation was part of a total reconstruction of the backyard. It included a complete revamping of the pool’s pipes, interior, finish and the incorporation of new swim outs at the deep end. Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert also built a new spa encasement with a stone facade on top of Techo Bloc patios. The spa included special plumbing.

Deck and Patio also built a matching accent/privacy wall, with a fire bowl and water feature that spills water into the hot tub. The base of the spa also spills its water into the pool for a beautiful hot springs/Roman pool effect. At night, the scene is nothing short of glorious.

Special Note: The feature’s “sheer descent” waterfalls provide a gentle rushing sound via an attractive glass-like sheet of water. 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 areas of landscaping around the spa, this natural softscape breaks up the surrounding hardscape areas with bursts of color and softness.

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

This pool renovation was part of a total reconstruction of the backyard. It included a complete revamping of the pool’s pipes, interior, finish and the incorporation of new swim outs at the deep end.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

In the charming areas of landscaping around the spa, Deck and Patio created a natural softscape that breaks up the surrounding hardscape with bursts of color and softness.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

With the fire bowl blazing and attractive hot tub LED lights shimmering, nighttime scenes for this project are nothing short of glorious.

 

APSP’s 2013 Merit awards (see APSP video immediately below) includes two awards for Deck and Patio.

 

 

1.  APSP’s first Merit Award for Deck and Patio Company (found at .24 seconds) falls under the category “Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Hot Tub Shells.”

In addition to a Bronze Award (see above first video), Deck and Patio won a second “Merit” award for the encasment of a portable spa in a stone facade on top of a Techo Bloc patio.

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

Deck and Patio built a matching accent/privacy wall, with a fire bowl and water feature that spills water into the hot tub. The base of the spa also spills its water into the pool for a beautiful hot springs effect.

2. (Found at .29 seconds) APSP’s second Merit Award for Deck and Patio Company

Category: Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Exterior/Interior Portable Hot Tubs.

Project Background

This project — with its elegant decking, gazebo/pergola with shingled roof and stately white columns, small pond, hot tub (underneath its own separate pergola), stepping stone bridge and paths, plus a second, larger, vanishing-edge pond with waterfall and connecting stream — was accomplished in three phases.

The beautiful new deck, hot tub, and pergola was Phase I of this special outdoor retreat. The hot tub case was carefully chosen to match the tone of the composite decking. Once the other phases were complete, they became stunning views to be enjoyed from lounge areas as well as when relaxing in the hot tub.

At the edge of a patio, beside the project’s lovely shingle-roof gazebo/pergola, a fireplace not only offers warmth in autumn and winter months but it creates the perfect ambience while soaking in the hot tub as well providing a close-by comfortable lounge area when taking breaks from the spa waters.

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

The hot tub case, underneath its own separate pergola, was carefully chosen by Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert to match the tone of the composite decking.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

The adjacent gazebo/pergola and fireplace offer the perfect ambience when soaking in the hot tub as well as a comfortable lounge area for taking breaks from the spa waters.

 

3. (Found at .34 seconds) APSP’s second Merit Award for Deck and Patio Company  falls under the category “Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Residential Water Features.”

The hot tub merit award was one of two awards for the same project. A multi-faceted water feature for this backyard boasts a vanishing edge upper pond and lower pond, waterfalls, and a gentle stream — all of which can be enjoyed from the hot tub.

Underneath this water feature, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert installed an extremely high tech and a complex natural biological filtration system that continuously maintains the feature’s crystal clear water. The vanishing edge upper pond is raised in front of a bluff. Water spills from it into a delightful connecting meandering stream down to the lower pond located at the side of the house.

In autumn, leaves from the trees fall into the water and are pushed along the stream where they are caught in a bed of gravel and are easy to remove, like emptying a skimmer basket in a pool. Considering the energy efficient pumps, which only ramp up when the homeowners arrive home, as well as the fact that the system harvests rain water to help sustain its underground water reserve, it’s a project to delight the heart of any green enthusiast.

While vanishing edge swimming pools are familiar projects on Long Island and nationally, only one other vanishing edge pond had ever been created in the United States before our outdoor living expert executed this award-winning vanishing-edge pond on Long Island (New York).

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior:

The vanishing edge upper pond rises to a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound; underneath its stillness, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert installed an extremely high tech and a complex natural biological filtration system that continuously maintains the feature’s crystal clear water.

 

APSP 2013 Award:

APSP 2013 Award:

The vanishing edge upper pond is raised in front of a bluff; Deck and Patio designed its water to spill into a delightful connecting meandering stream down to the lower pond located at the side of the house.

 

 

A Backyard Upgrade With A Unique Garden Fence

This project was an interesting one for us. Our clients’ Long Island, NY, home is part of a beach community where properties are close together, and where shade and privacy is at a premium.

Our planned backyard upgrade included new amenities such as: patio, shade pergola, wood-burning fireplace, fire pit, attractive landscaping — and, a small herb/vegetable garden. The only problem was the homeowners feared the larger of their two dogs would trample any garden created. Some sort of fencing would be required, but would that detract from the limited natural space they had?

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, considered their concerns as work began. And when they were cutting down a large overgrown bush in the yard, a unique idea occurred to him.

“I remembered they also have a ski lodge in the Catskills and it occurred to me that a fence made from the old bush would offer a whimsical piece of Catskill design to the yard.”

The result is the bush clippings didn’t end up at the dump, and, instead, were used to good effect. The custom pergola beautifully provides shaded areas in their backyard, as well as privacy around the sitting areas. Cool evening ocean breezes are eased by the fireplace and fire pit, and the couple has fresh herbs and vegetables already budding — unmolested.

Note: Many will also wish to know that their cherished larger dog hasn’t gotten into any trouble — at least because of any harm to their garden.

 

 

New Patio and Pergola:

New Patio and Pergola:

The project’s new shade pergola and fireplace offer privacy in this compact beach community; the new patio is made from Cambridge Renaissance 6 x 9 Ruby Onyx pavers.

 

 

Vegetable Garden Fencing:

Vegetable Garden Fencing:

Deck and Patio used some unique materials to protect the newly created herb/vegetable garden. A 2.5-foot-high fence with gate was made from brush twigs; it not only protects the garden, but offers an interesting focal point to the yard.

 

 

 

Garden Fence Construction:

Garden Fence Construction:

The garden fence made from cut down brush is completely custom and is a unique part of the backyard upgrade design.

 

 

 

Outdoor Fireplace:

Outdoor Fireplace:

The new wood-burning fireplace in made in cultured stone: Country Ledgestone, in the color “Bucks County.” The fire pit table is “Snowbird” made with a stainless steel burner: its clear fire jewels appear to be bubbling when the flame is lit.

 

 

 

Shade Pergola:

Shade Pergola:

The custom shade pergola can be enjoyed for its beautiful architectural interest alone. However, it also offers privacy and shade during the intense heat and light of summer.