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The Backyard Sanctuary You Always Wanted

 

 

Wish Lists Are Key

Wish Lists Are Key

 

Have you been wanting a backyard sanctuary but don’t know what to do first? Sometimes, the best way to begin is to create a wish list.

That’s what these Deck and Patio clients did. This is what they wanted for their outdoor sanctuary:

 

 

 

Wish List Come to Life

Wish List Come to Life

That’s what these Deck and Patio clients did. This was their list for an outdoor sanctuary:

— an in-ground vinyl-lined pool

— large patio area,

— outdoor kitchen,

— outdoor shower,

— fire pit,

— serene streams and waterfalls, and

— high-tech/energy-efficient pool components that are undetectable in the landscape.

 

“We were happy to assure them that we could bring together all the expertise necessary and design and organize it all,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell. “In fact, incorporating outdoor technology with all the mechanics well hidden in beautiful settings fit right into our wheelhouse. It’s one of our trademarks.”

 

Energy-Efficient Pool

Insulation

Energy-Efficiency

Energy-Efficiency

 

The water in a pool is often around 85 or 90 degrees, while the surrounding soil is considerably cooler. Adding insulation around the outside of the pool wall, as we did for this project, creates a thermal break between the warm water and the soil that really saves energy by helping the pool water to retain its warmth.

 

 

Heaters/Pumps

We worked with the owners to find energy-efficient solutions for the whole project. There are many ways to increase efficiency:

To heat the pool, we added a hybrid system that uses both a gas heater and an electric heat pump. The heat pump acts like a reverse air conditioner, pulling in warmth from the air and transferring it into the pool. This design not only adds heat taken from the air — and not from electricity — but the gas heater can act as back up when the air temperature is very low or when creating heat more quickly is required.

The “variable speed pump” is an extremely efficient pump that allows low energy use by slowing down the motor dramatically. It decreases the amount of energy the pump uses. It can run twenty-four-seven much more efficiently than others pumps that are used only a few hours a day.

Automation

Raising and lowering the speed of the pump is programmed by computer and they can control when it turns on and off. The computer will also monitor the chemical levels in the pool and decrease or increase them as required.

 

 

Hiding the Automation Equipment

Hiding Pool Equipment

Hiding Pool Equipment

Deck and Patio hid the pool equipment away, up a delightful pathway, behind the waterfalls.

We designed and built the streams and waterfalls to flow through berm with moss rock. The gentle sounds of two streams leading to two separate waterfalls, as well as the splash of jet sprays, screen out any sounds from high-tech pool equipment.

 

 

 

 

Backyard Sanctuary (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Sanctuary (Long Island/NY):

This serene backyard sanctuary gives no hint of high-tech energy efficient components supporting it all. The sounds of waterfalls, streams and sprays add tranquility to backyard retreat. 

An outdoor shower stands at base of stepping stone pathway (right) that leads up to pool equipment.

 

 

Vinyl-lined Pool Sanctuary (Long Island/NY):

Vinyl-lined Pool Sanctuary (Long Island/NY):

Sometimes clients want more than a pool. This newly created backyard sanctuary comprises an in-ground vinyl-lined pool, large patio area, outdoor kitchen, outdoor shower, fire pit, two streams and two waterfalls.

Note: Updating Your Pool

With vinyl pools you can also change a staircase, add a bench or swim-out, 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. There are even pebbled colored liners in a tan tone that make them look more like a gunite pool.

 

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Bar/Kitchen

Outdoor Bar/Kitchen

Their sanctuary’s outdoor kitchen includes ample work area, barbecue, sink, refrigerator and eating bar with bar stools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Award-Winning Project Showcase: Turning Challenges Into Benefits

When creating this beautiful backyard retreat, the first challenge facing Deck and Patio Company’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, was meeting the expectations of both the husband and wife: he wanted a place to take full advantage of the sun; she wanted a cool place to relax with friends.

The solution was (1) to position the pool in the sun, in order to gain the most sun exposure during the day and, (2) for congregating in comfort, create a shady pergola, over a granite swim-up/walk-up bar and patio.

The second challenge was ensuring the plan would fit in the 12-foot elevation change from the rear of the home to the back of the property. To alleviate this problem, we built a multi-tiered Techo-Bloc system of patios, including a raised patio, with a wide, wrap-around stair, leading to the pool, lower patio, and a sunken swim-up-bar patio.

We did all this without using rails and fences, which would obstruct views of the natural stone waterfall and vibrant landscaping. By designing wide stairs, multi-level stone walls and generous planting beds, we were able to create a colorful buffer between the upper and lower levels.

Both husband and wife were delighted with the design, and the property’s most difficult challenge — its rising elevation — was turned into a benefit.

This project won several awards, including the prestigious Gold prize from the National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI).

 

Patio Landscaping:

Patio Landscaping:

Matching steps, walls, coping and moss rock add elegant finishing touches to the Techo-Bloc patios that surround this inviting free-form vinyl pool.

 

 

 

Pool-Side Bar

Pool-Side Bar:

This 32-foot, U-shaped swim-up granite-topped bar, in cultured stone and rock facing, curves around to be enjoyed from patio as well.

 

 

 

Techo-Bloc Patios

Techo-Bloc Patios:

Techo-Bloc’s Elena/Sandlewood, with its warm gray and tan earth tones, in random sizes, creates welcoming spacious patios around new free-form vinyl pool.

 

 

 

Vinyl Pool Swim-Up Bar

Vinyl Pool Swim-Up Bar:

For the ultimate in outdoor socializing, guests can walk up to, or swim up to, this U-shaped bar and sit on patio or in-pool stools.

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.

 

 

 

Backyard Sanctuary Offers No Hint of Hi Tech Underpinnings

Incorporating the latest outdoor living technology, beautifully hidden in natural surroundings, is one of my passions,” says Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter.

That passion is vividly expressed in this backyard sanctuary comprised of a new in-ground vinyl-lined pool, large patio area, outdoor kitchen, outdoor shower, fire pit, two streams and two waterfalls.

Its first, and most challenging, major hi tech component is an automatic pool cover attached to the vinyl free-form pool. These covers are difficult to attach to the free-form pool style and shape. In fact, previously, the homeowners were told it wasn’t possible to do so.

“We were glad to assure them that we could bring together all the expertise necessary to design and build it all,” adds Renter. “And when not in use, the cover retracts out of sight.”

Other technology: To heat the pool, we added a hybrid system that uses both a gas heater and an electric heat pump. The heat pump acts like a reverse air conditioner, pulling in warmth from the air and transferring it into the pool. This design not only adds heat taken from the air — and not from electricity — but the gas heater can act as back up when the air temperature is very low or when creating heat more quickly is required.

The “variable speed pump” Deck and Patio used is an extremely efficient pump that allows low energy use by slowing down the motor dramatically. It decreases the amount of energy the pump uses. It can run twenty-four-seven much more efficiently than others pumps that are used only a few hours a day.

 

Backyard Sanctuary:

Backyard Sanctuary:

This serene backyard sanctuary gives no hint of high-tech energy-efficient components supporting it all. Our biggest challenge was creating a four-inch ledge around pool which secures closed pool cover.

 

 

 

Hi Tech Pools:

Hi Tech Pools:

The gentle sounds of two streams leading to two separate waterfalls, as well as the splash of jet sprays, screen out any sounds from high-tech pool equipment. Outdoor shower stands at base of stepping stone pathway (right) that leads up to pool equipment.

 

 

Hiding Pool Equipment:

Hiding Pool Equipment:

High-tech pool equipment is well hidden behind berm, at end of the stepping stone path.

 

 

 

Automatic Pool Cover:

Automatic Pool Cover:

Automatic pool cover, when closed, supports clients’ young children should they walk on it unsupervised. This particular ‘rigid slated plastic’ pool cover, however, had never been fitted to this type of pool in this part of the world before.

 

 

 

Automatic Pool Cover:

Automatic Pool Cover:

Pool covers reduce evaporation of water — thereby reducing the chemical usage required. Because automated pool cover is so easy to use, it is more likely to be closed when not in use — increasing energy-efficiency as well as safety.

 

 

 

Outdoor Kitchen:

Outdoor Kitchen:

The mechanics of this outdoor kitchen’s amenities are hidden handsomely within a work station with stone facade; outdoor kitchen includes ample work area, barbecue, sink, refrigerator and eating bar with bar stools.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Enjoying a Tropical Holiday Every Day

After returning from a holiday in Costa Rica, which is bordered on one side by the Pacific, and on the other by the Caribbean, these homeowners wanted to keep enjoying the tropical experience they so enjoyed there.

The first challenge facing Deck and Patio Company’s outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, was to meet the expectations of both the husband and wife: he wanted a place to take full advantage of the sun; she wanted a cool place to relax with friends.

The solution was (1) to position the pool in the sun, in order to gain the most sun exposure during the day and, (2) for congregating in comfort, create a shady pergola, over a granite swim-up/walk-up bar and patio.

The second challenge was developing a plan that would fit in the 12-foot elevation change from the rear of the home to the back of the property. To alleviate this, we built a raised patio, with a wide, wrap-around stair, leading to the pool, patio, and sunken swim up bar patio.

We did all this without using rails and fences, which would obstruct views of the natural stone waterfall and vibrant landscaping. By designing wide stairs, multi-level stone walls and generous planting beds, we were able to create a colorful buffer between the upper and lower levels.

Both husband and wife were delighted with the design, and the property’s most difficult challenge — its rising elevation — was turned into a benefit. The main thing, is they both feel like they’re back in Costa Rica, every single day.

This project won several GOLD MEDAL awards from the several design awards awards from the NSPI and NESPA.

 

Techo-Bloc’s “Elena” in Sandlewood:

Techo-Bloc’s “Elena” in Sandlewood:

Techo-Bloc’s Elena/Sandlewood, with its warm gray and tan earth tones, in random sizes, creates welcoming, spacious patios.

 

 

Patio Landscaping:

Patio Landscaping:

Matching steps, walls, coping and moss rock add elegant finishing touches to the Techo-Bloc patios.

 

 

 

Pool-Side Bar:

Pool-Side Bar:

This 32-foot, U-shaped swim-up granite-topped bar, in cultured stone and rock facing, curves around to be enjoyed from patio as well.

 

 

 

Vinyl Pool Swim-Up Bar:

Vinyl Pool Swim-Up Bar:

For the ultimate in outdoor socializing, guests can walk up to, or swim up to, this U-shaped bar and sit on patio or in-pool stools.

 

 

 

Two “Winter Friendly” Construction Products For Your Backyard Retreat

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert touts two favorite construction materials that stand up well to Northeast winters

 

Renowned for his talent in creating glorious backyard retreats, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, has earned many accolades for his expertise in the “hows and whys” of construction materials and landscape design. This enables him to create beautiful retreats that will endure. Considering the weather changes the Northeast faces from season to season, year to year, Bill Renter has come to value construction products for their durability as well as aesthetics. Today our blog is sharing two of these products.

The first is Techo-Bloc pavers. Engineered in Canada where they require extra strength due to the country’s extreme weather changes, these pavers can well handle the freeze/thaw that occurs in our corner of the Northeast. Our outdoor living expert adds that as long as these pavers are properly installed, the stones will remain adaptable, even, and stable for years. The joints between the pavers create flexibility, which avoids cracking, while still allowing subtle movement. Techo-Bloc pavers are nearly three times stronger than poured concrete, having a minimum compressive strength of 8,000 psi and a maximum of five percent water absorption.

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert has found that just like concrete and asphalt pavements, Techo-Bloc pavers can be plowed and shoveled. Actually, the edges and joints around the pavers assist in melting snow and ice, explains their manufacturer. Using de-icing salt (sodium chloride or calcium chloride) to remove snow and ice will not harm these paving stones they say.

Another reason Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert loves these paving stones is they look so natural. Instead of one-sized bricks being placed throughout an entire patio, retaining wall, or driveway, a Techo-Bloc kit — with its varying shapes — ensures an attractive design, whether “random” instead of straight lines and flat images or in a “running block” pattern.

 

Winter-Friendly Techo-Bloc Pavers:

Winter-Friendly Techo-Bloc Pavers:

Using de-icing salt to remove snow and ice will not harm Techo-Bloc pavers, driveways, or retaining walls.

 

For the following Deck and Patio’s project, just outside the house on the upper level of the property, our outdoor living expert replaced the old decking with a new raised Techol-Bloc patio. In addition to a new outdoor kitchen, he added wide wrap-around stairs, and a portable spa that appears to be built into the patio.

At the pool level, our outdoor living expert used a new Techo-Bloc product called “Inca” — a concrete slab that looks remarkably like natural stone. Of course, it is much less expensive than say, bluestone, and doesn’t retain heat in summer like other natural stone products, making it great for use around a pool.

Five-Level Patio:

Five-Level Patio:

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert created five different patio levels around this pool — all comprised of winter-friendly Techo-Bloc.

 

The second “winter-friendly” product our Deck and Patio outdoor living expert loves is “vinyl-lined” pools. In winter, when seasons change and the ground goes through expansion and contraction, in some cases water can get underneath a swimming pool and push the swimming pool up out of the ground and while Deck and Patio certainly designs and builds gunite pools, we find that a vinyl pool resists damage due to such ground movement better than concrete pools.

The base construction of a vinyl pool is the same as any other, however. “Vinyl” simply means the method used to line a pool’s interior. The vinyl-liner pool arrives at the pool site as various components, produced in a factory and assembled onsite. After the pool site is excavated, footings are poured and panel walls are assembled and fastened together supported by the footings.

Once the walls are in place, which are a solid 8″ thick concrete, with double steel reinforcement, a vinyl liner is spread out over the interior and connected to the panel walls. If you consider that all the large buildings and bridges in the United States are built with steel and not just concrete and rebar, you can understand why our outdoor living expert believes so much in the product and process.

Of course it’s not just the durability of the vinyl-liner system that is so attractive. Our outdoor living expert finds that many of our clients prefer the padded, smooth, soft feel of vinyl. Plus, the wide range of liner colors can create breathtaking effects — some suggesting grottos or lagoons. In fact, there are reports that there are now more vinyl pools worldwide than any other combined group.

Vinyl pools’ poured steel reinforced concrete indeed stand up to weather changes. The real challenge is measuring and accurately cutting and welding the various pool liners, particularly if you are including stairs, benches, in-pool bar stools, spas etc. Fortunately, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert deals with professionals who can handle well such complicated projects.

Pools With Stairs, Bar Stools, Benches, and Spas:

Pools With Stairs, Bar Stools, Benches, and Spas:

The real challenge for vinyl pools is measuring and accurately cutting and welding the various pool liners, particularly when including stairs, benches, in-pool bar stools, spas, etc.

 

The following vinyl pool was designed with the intent to be “organic” with its natural surroundings. The 24’ x 42’ freeform concrete wall, vinyl lined swimming pool and raised 8’ diameter vinyl-lined spa with spillway captured the very essence of the clients desire to have a body of water that would be harmonious with the residence existing patio, outdoor kitchen area, waterfall, stream and koi pond (below).

Vinyl-Lined Pool:

Vinyl-Lined Pool:

 

The water feature also included a 5’ high multi-tiered waterfall and 35 feet meandering stream which discharged into a 10’ x 15’ freeform Koi pond. The pond was built with much consideration for the fish as natural predators exist in and around the north shore locale. A small cave was constructed for the fish to hide and to lay dormant during the winter months.

It’s a comfort to know that when the koi are hibernating, your concrete steel reinforced vinyl pool is managing through the winter just as well.

Koi Pond Near Pool

Koi Pond Near Pool

 

 

 

3 Award-Winning Hardscapes

Deck and Patio’s ability to use proper materials for desired effect garners awards

 

The design ability and competence of our installation team has gained us a good deal of recognition. We believe this stems from our using the proper materials for the effect intended. The ability to do this comes from knowledge gained over time. For example, it is important to take the texture and shape of the materials into account for each project so they provide the desired natural look in their setting. This includes choosing the proper color and shading of brick and stone to complement any residence.

1. Our first design/build patio project (below two photos) showcases five different patio levels around a pool where we integrated moss rock stone with the pavers. We chose pavers which look like natural stone. This particular manufacturer offers many different sizes and shapes and a broad range of colors, which makes designing the right hardscape for a particular project easier. Once down, hey look both natural and eye-catching. Instead of simply one brick that repeats throughout the entire patio or retaining wall, you get an attractive random-looking design, instead of just straight lines and flat images. For this project, we were able to design/build matching patios, retaining walls, steps, and risers for a cohesive and attractive whole. It captured for us the #1 ranking in the North American Decorative and Durable Pavement Awards.

 

Multi-level Patios:

Multi-level Patios:

For this design/build project, we created five different patio levels around a pool where we integrated moss rock stone with the pavers.

 

Raised Spill-over Spa:

Raised Spill-over Spa:

We used a special “Creta” wall stone to create the face between the raised acrylic spillover spa and swimming pool.

2. Three months of site preparation was key to the success of the next hardscape project (see two photos below). Stabilization of the property came from engineering a manufactured stone, which offers the same hand-chiseled and handcrafted look of actual quarried stone, into a retaining wall, conforming to a compaction ration of up to 99.9 percent — at a 36” depth with recycled concrete aggregate. More than 5,000 square feet of tumbled pavers cover the patios and 3,000 pounds of moss rock boulders and a 20 step system we installed. Two bars, faced with cultured stones and topped with granite are also part of the project: one is a swim-up bar adjacent to the pool and spa, the other is a 56” U-shaped that integrates a number of modern appliances.

This project won an APSP Gold Award in the category of “Concrete paver, more than 5,000 square feet.”

 

Tumbled Pavers:

Tumbled Pavers:

More than 5,000 square feet of Sandalwood tumbled pavers were used to cover the patios, 3,000 pounds of moss rock boulders and a 20 step system were also used.

 

Pool-side Bars:

Pool-side Bars:

We designed and built two bars faced with cultured stones and topped with granite for this project: one is a swim-up bar, the other U-shaped bar integrates a number of modern appliances.

Our next award-winner also garnered a Gold Award from APSP in the 1,000-5,000 square-foot category.

In dealing with several site challenges — a 20-foot elevation change with several large Long Island stone boulders among them — the solution we came up with was nesting patios into the slope of the property (see photo below). A 20’-by-40’ free-form concrete wall provides boundary; the deck utilizes 1,400 square feet of tumbled pavers, combined with a 20”-high manufactured stone seat wall and 20 irregular bluestone stepping stones. The pavers and stone captured the tones of the Long Island boulders used for waterfalls and soil retention.

 

Our designs frequently include lush plantings with bright colors and long bloom periods, spillover spas, cascading water, hot water fall into spas, waterfalls, streams, ponds, and natural. We often recommend gas “firepits” around our pools to create warm areas on the patios, especially on cool evenings. We frequently install wireless outdoor speakers. Instead of placing a single speaker in one spot, we place as many as ten throughout the project area so our clients enjoy a subtle, consistent sound all around them. www.deckandpatio.com

With recent advances in landscaping, swimming pools, and technology, virtually anything you can conceive of should be discussed with an experienced landscape and mason contractor. With a little imagination, the sky’s the limit.