patios with retaining walls

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Backyard Makeovers: No Need to Break the Bank

Transforming a backyard within clients’ budget

 

Project Showcase: This family wanted an entirely new makeover for their mid-1980s backyard pool and surroundings. They had big dreams for this upgrade but initial estimates from other companies were way beyond their budget. To their delight, we were able to offer creative ways to give them all they wanted for a price they could live with.

The key element to stay within budget was to keep the existing pool but upgrade it with all new plumbing, main drain, returns and skimmers, new pool equipment, and a new finish on the pool interior.

The addition of accent boulders along the backside of the updated geometric pool contributed to a warm natural pool setting. In addition, because the backyard was very overgrown and the pool couldn’t be seen from the house, the surroundings had become like two separate backyards. That had to be addressed in order to create a unified backyard retreat that was inviting, particularly when entertaining.

 

To stay within budget, we kept the existing pool but upgraded it with all new plumbing, main drain, returns and skimmers, new pool equipment, and a new finish on the pool interior.

To stay within budget, we kept the existing pool but upgraded it with all new plumbing, main drain, returns and skimmers, new pool equipment, and a new finish on the pool interior.

 

Other than the pool, everything else in the backyard was removed to make room for a new upper patio with a fire pit, hot tub/spa, barbecue, outdoor kitchen and dining area, as well as a new lower patio with custom cabana-pavilion. Connecting it all would be a spectacular multi-faceted backyard water feature.

The homeowners were also delighted that during the construction process we retained and transplanted most of their property’s original mature growth trees. They now have a beautiful pool and wonderful places to entertain, like the cabana, that are set in lush surroundings.

Our outdoor living expert retained and transplanted most of property’s original mature growth trees to create a lush setting for pool and cabana area. Resort-style mood of backyard retreat is at its romantic best at sunset.

Our outdoor living expert retained and transplanted most of property’s original mature growth trees to create a lush setting for pool and cabana area. Resort-style mood of backyard retreat is at its romantic best at sunset.

 

Pavilion floor was created by our outdoor living expert as an extension of pool area's patio pavers, creating one continuous surface.

Pavilion floor was created by our outdoor living expert as an extension of pool area’s patio pavers, creating one continuous surface.

 

 

Tying the whole project together is the backyard’s spectacular water feature which creates a natural look, in an eco-friendly way, while turning needed retaining areas into exquisite settings.

The original property’s sloping backyard needed retaining in several areas. Our team did something called “cut and fill.” This process cut into the hill and used the cut out fill in lower areas to create the level space needed for entertaining.

Fill was also needed around the backside of the pool because of the grade. However, you can’t take loose soil and put it behind a pool. It has to be compacted properly so things don’t shift and move.

At Deck and Patio, we have a terrific way of cutting costs and increasing the aesthetic value by using large moss rock boulders instead of expensive and unattractive retaining walls.

In this case, we integrated these boulders into the staircases that surround the water feature. A machine puts them in rather than needing a skilled mason. And it creates a very natural look. In addition to retaining the grade level of the sloping property, these natural moss rock boulders create the ideal surroundings for streams and waterfalls.

We have a terrific way of cutting costs and increasing the aesthetic value of graded property by using large moss rock boulders instead of expensive and unattractive retaining walls.

We have a terrific way of cutting costs and increasing the aesthetic value of graded property by using large moss rock boulders instead of expensive and unattractive retaining walls.

 

 

Indeed, it is this backyard makeover’s water feature, with multiple falls and streams, that is the heart of the transformation. The waterfall offers 360-degree viewing in the backyard, say the homeowners. They love the soothing sounds of all the water areas.

We installed one side of a waterfall to spill toward the house, just outside their backdoor. It can be enjoyed even during the months when the pool is closed down. From there, this upper-level waterfall gets split into two streams that flow downward along the property grade, into two separate waterfalls that can be enjoyed from the swimming pool area.

Collecting the water at the lower level is a pondless reservoir designed to seemingly disappear into the gravel instead of being collected. The reservoir acts as a ‘green’ maintenance-free source for the water feature that can run from March through December, 24-7. City water is not used. The water is harvested from rainfall on the roof of the house and gravity alone collects it into pipes.

Deck and Patio created the upper-patio source-waterfall to spill away from pool so it can be enjoyed from the house and upper patio including during the months when the pool area is closed down.

Deck and Patio created the upper-patio source-waterfall to spill away from pool so it can be enjoyed from the house and upper patio including during the months when the pool area is closed down.

 

 

For the new custom pavilion-pool house, the homeowners wanted it to be a gathering area around the pool that was protected and private. The finished pool-pavilion includes a shower, and a sitting area where they can watch television or entertain.

Half of the pavilion’s space is for seating and there is an outdoor flat-screen television with a ceiling fan overhead. There is also a two-level bar — one level for sitting at the bar and another set at counter height for cooking and bar-tending.

The finished pool-pavilion includes a shower, and a sitting area with an outdoor flat-screen television where they can watch television or entertain; a ceiling fan is overhead.

The finished pool-pavilion includes a shower, and a sitting area with an outdoor flat-screen television where they can watch television or entertain; a ceiling fan is overhead.

 

Bright delicate impatiens, moss rock boulders and large mature trees beautifully naturalize original geometric pool area.

Bright delicate impatiens, moss rock boulders and large mature trees beautifully naturalize original geometric pool area.

 

Quality Pool & Spa Surrounds Provide Best Seats in the House

We love our backyards and spend as much time sitting around the pool or spa as swimming or relaxing in them. Indeed, the atmosphere of a water feature offers an ideal space for entertaining, sunbathing, talking, eating, and pure relaxation.

Therefore, making the right choice for a pool or spa surround will definitely increase the comfort and enjoyment of the outdoor experience.  Below are four examples of quality pool and spa surround options that we have used for a few of our clients. We designed and built these, as we do all our projects, with function, beauty, and durability in mind. The result being that such new outdoor living areas quickly become the best seats in the house.

The following four examples showcase (1) composite decking, (2) all natural hardwood, (3) concrete pavers, and (4) limestone. Pull up a lounge chair and enjoy!

 

Trex Transcend Decking

Trex Transcend Decking

1. For this very special pool and spa (unseen) surround, we chose composite materials manufactured by Trex Transcend Decking. This decking has a wood grain appearance, but is actually made from combined plastic and wood. Note how the eye tricks you into thinking you are looking at solid wood.

With some exceptions, composite decking, with its protective shell, is unrivaled for being fade, stain, scratch and mold resistant. The “Gravel Path” color used here enhances the wood grain appearance with earth tones. Tip: Whenever possible, you want a deck to go all the way around a pool as seen here.

 

 

Brazilian Hardwood Decking

Brazilian Hardwood Decking

2. For this project, we used a durable Brazilian Walnut hardwood. This all-natural wood offers a warm choice for pools and spas due to ease of construction and is a particularly smart choice for an above-ground pool or spa.

When handled properly, it can make a relatively inexpensive above-ground water feature, such as this spa, look like an in-ground pool. This particular natural wood is very strong, hard and durable and resists splintering, termites, wear, rot, fire, chemicals and marine borers — and almost every threat imaginable. And because it is all natural wood, it is recyclable at the end of what is sure to be a long service life.

 

 

Concrete Pavers for Pool Surround

Concrete Pavers for Pool Surround

3. We used concrete pavers for this pool and spa surround. These pavers offer a durable, interlocking alternative to asphalt and poured concrete.

Extremely durable and beautiful, concrete pavers won’t show signs of color loss or fading over time, and have blemish-free surfaces. We used Cambridge Ledgestone pavers (“Toffee Onyx” color, in random pattern) to create the natural rustic appearance seen here.

 

 

Travertine Pool Surround

Travertine Pool Surround

4. We designed and built this lovely natural limestone pool surround using Travertine, which has gone through a “brushing” process to obtain the warm and antique look it enjoys. It comes in tiles with hand-chiseled (chipped) edges with an antiqued and unfilled surface.

Valued for its banded, pitted “distressed” appearance, Travertine adds rich, distinctive character that stems from the way the limestone is formed: being deposited at the mouth of mineral springs and in caves. For this pool surround, we added a stone ledge, which, together with the limestone, suggests a romantic Roman bath.

 

 

4 Quality Ideas for Pool & Spa Surroundings

We love our backyards and spend as much time sitting around the pool or spa as swimming or relaxing in them. It’s the ideal space for entertaining, sunbathing, talking and eating. Therefore, making the right choice for a pool or spa surrounding will definitely increase the comfort, tranquility and enjoyment of the outdoor experience.

Here are 4 examples of quality pool and spa surrounding options that we have used for our clients. We designed and built these (and all our projects) with function, beauty, and durability in mind.

 

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1. For this very special pool and spa surround, we chose a composite decking that has a wood grain appearance. Actually made from plastic and wood, the eye tricks you into thinking you are looking at solid wood. With some exceptions (see “2.” below), composite decking, with its protective shell, is unrivaled for being fade, stain, scratch and mold resistant. The “Gravel Path” color used here enhances this wood grain appearance and earth tones. Tip: Whenever possible, you want a deck to go all the way around a pool as seen here.

 

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2. We used a durable Brazilian Walnut hardwood here. This all natural wood offers a warm choice for pools and spas due to ease of construction and is a particularly smart choice for the above-ground pool or spa. If handled properly, it can make a relatively inexpensive above-ground water feature, such as this spa, look like an in-ground pool. This particular natural wood is very strong and hard and durable and resists splintering, termites, wear, rot, fire, chemicals and marine borers — and almost every other threat imaginable. And because it is all natural wood, it is recyclable at the end of what is sure to be a long service life.

 

 

 

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3. We used concrete pavers for this pool and spa surround which offers a durable, interlocking concrete pavement alternative to asphalt and poured concrete. Extremely durable and beautiful, these pavers won’t show signs of color loss or fading over time, and have blemish-free surfaces. We used a “Toffee Onyx” color in a random pattern to create the natural rustic appearance.

 

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4. We designed and built this lovely natural stone pool surround. The limestone has gone through a “brushing” process to obtain the warm and antique look seen here. It comes in tiles with hand-chiseled (chipped) edges with an antiqued and unfilled surface. Valued for its banded, pitted “distressed” appearance, it adds rich, distinctive character stemming from the way the limestone is formed: being deposited at the mouth of mineral springs and in caves. For this pool surround, we added a stone ledge, which together with the limestone suggests a romantic Roman bath.

 

 

Cambridge Ledgestone Design Kits: Foundation for your dreams

At Deck and Patio we’re finding that it’s not just a desire for “stay-cations” motivating Long Islanders to want their own spectacular outdoor retreat. It seems, as the economy improves, the desire to celebrate is in the air. And with the onset of great weather, we’re hungering to hold life’s special occasions — outdoors.

Whatever the motivation or celebration, any outdoor oasis must start with the right foundation. We have found Cambridge Pavingstones with ArmorTec to be the most durable and beautiful. That’s because these pavers do not show signs of color loss or fading over time, and have blemish-free surfaces. In particular, at Deck and Patio, we often recommend the “Ledgestone 3Pc. Design Kit” from Cambridge’s “The Sherwood Collection,” for the pavers’ particular shape, surface and unique design opportunities.

Cambridge also has a good line of Wallstones to complement the pavers laid down in patios, terraces, walkways, and pool surrounds. Constructed to the right height, in

addition to delineating outside spaces attractively, these walls can make perfect seating benches. Such extra seating is great for friends and family to gather around a large- screen television for ballgames, or a fire pit to toast hot dogs and marshmallows, or to sit when eating from a buffet plate.

In addition, no one plans an outdoor oasis to enjoy just for one season. We’re talking about a lifestyle change — which is another reason why we love Cambridge Pavingstones so much. For as summers get hotter and winters get colder, these seem to withstand abuse better than any poured and stenciled concrete. They are also quite resistant to chipping, de-icing salts and snow plowing.

Of course, maybe you don’t want to create the “ideal” outdoor paradise all at once. If that’s the case, you are not alone. Budgetary realities might mean starting small — but with a plan. Here at Deck and Patio we have a terrific computer program. We can design an oasis that can be done over time. And you can see how it will look each step of the way.

Perhaps the first phase will be simply a new walkway, or terrace — beautifully made from durable Cambridge Pavingstones. Another phase might include a fire pit and pergola. Still later, a pool, or water feature, spa, and outdoor kitchen. A stepping stone path, new deck, patios — the sky’s the limit for your dreams.

 

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Photo: Cambridge Pavingstones

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo: Cambridge Pavingstones

 

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