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Extending Outdoor Season with a Pool House

Happily, as of this writing, there’s lots of summer left to enjoy. But as August rolls closer to September, school children aren’t the only ones dreading the end of summer. Adults and kids alike do not want the carefree feelings of outdoor living to end.

One way to ensure outdoor living continues long into fall (and begins again in early spring) is with a well-appointed pool house. Indeed, when the owners of a very large property on Long Island’s North Shore asked The Deck and Patio Company to plan a new destination pool area, one key element they wanted was a comfortable space for family and entertaining activities.

Also, the pool area was to be a distance from their main house, so, in addition to wanting a place to relax ‘bug-free,’ they wanted the ability to cook by the pool.

To be certain our team at Deck and Patio gave them everything they wanted in the pool house design, our team consulted with an architect familiar to us. This collaborative effort inspired a building that is in keeping with their main home’s overall elegance. In fact, it was their home which inspired the pool house’s reverse gable.

 

The pool house boasts:

two 20-by-20-rooms: one great room with sofa, flat screen television, refrigerator, washer/dryer, and storage closet is a cozy haven when nights become cooler — comfortably extending the outdoor season.;

the other is a 20-by-20 room with screens on two sides where they can enjoy warmer nights by the pool without pesky insects.

Deck and Patio also worked with a reputable lighting firm to create the stunning nighttime scenes.

 

The complete plan included:

•800-square-foot pool house with a 20-by-20 screened room and bathroom

•elegant Travertine patio

•50-foot-long and 26-foot-wide pool (approximate),

•spillover spa, waterfalls,

•outdoor kitchen with natural stone facade,

•outdoor shower.

 

Initially, this comprehensive plan came in way over budget for the clients. They declined our bid and sought estimates elsewhere. We were thrilled when they came back to us, because, in the end, they loved our ideas.

Their judgment must have been right, since the completed project won an International Silver Pool Award from the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) the very next year after winning a 2009 Bronze Pool Award from the Northeast Spa & Pool Association (NESPA).

 

Pool House Ceiling (Long Island/NY):

Pool House Ceiling (Long Island/NY):

An expanse of cedar planks allows for drama and a clean natural look inside the pool house.

 

Vinyl Pool (Long Island/NY):

Vinyl Pool (Long Island/NY):

With concrete wall and a vinyl liner, the approximately 50’-long-and-26’-wide pool offers a spillover spa, tanning shelf, volleyball court, diving rock and moss rock waterfall. The free-form pool is surrounded by an elegant Travertine patio.

 

Pool House Outdoor Kitchen (Long Island/NY):

Pool House Outdoor Kitchen (Long Island/NY):

The pool house’s outdoor kitchen (and indoor bathroom) required a second septic system to support such amenities as a kitchen sink, built-in barbecue, storage, and small refrigerator. A real stone veneer adds natural elegance.

 

Destination Pool and Pool House (Long Island/NY):

Destination Pool and Pool House (Long Island/NY):

At night, the destination pool area is as romantic as it is serene. It is an idyllic spot for parties that begin in the day and continue long into the night.

 

 

Creative Solutions: Designing Pool Wall As Part of Retaining Wall System

Sometimes when designing/building an outdoor retreat, it is essential to preserve the natural environment. However, when site constraints or landform challenges limit what can or cannot be done, this often causes Deck and Patio to be more creative.

For example, unattractive retaining wall systems — often required on Long Island’s rocky sloping properties — are not normally hidden by a body of water such a pool. But, for this award-winning outdoor retreat, that’s just what we did.

 

“We conceived the freeform concrete wall of a vinyl-lined pool positioned into the hillside,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio.

“This way, the pool wall became part of a retaining wall system.”

Deck and Patio designed a curved-steel, reinforced-concrete wall with the strength to withstand the pressure exerted by the slope — and the sheer weight of 20 tons of boulders sitting on the pool beam itself.

 

 

In addition, a stone wall was located at the main patio to not only serve as an aesthetic feature to hide the grade changes to the pool area, but to become a seat wall.

Long Island boulders were used throughout the landscape to support the remaining surrounding grades as well as to give visual impact.

In order to incorporate a client’s wish list into a design, every project — from inception to completion — requires a hands-on approach to better understand a site’s characteristics, architecture, building codes and its impact to the surrounding environment.

That said, many homeowners cannot visualize from a blueprint how such extreme makeovers will look completed. As an aid, our team utilizes design technology to provide clients with a computerized 3-D animation of their project.

 

 

This presentation format means clients do not have to guess what the project will look like such as the case for this project. Such presentations also allow construction crews to have a better understanding of what exactly is being constructed.

To design and build a 22’ x 42’ freeform pool and raised spa, with waterfalls nestled into a 20 foot hillside — and incorporate multiple patios at different elevations with landscaping — requires more than just lines on paper if a job is to be successful.

 

 

This property’s undulating hillside enabled Deck & Patio to create an “amphitheater-like” environment with two spectacular water features:

–a 6-foot-high waterfall into the pool, –and a 4-foot-high cascading waterfall from the spa into the pool.

These large water features not only present a visual impact from every viewing angle, but the enhanced sound effect of the cascading waters minimizes the noise pollution coming from a nearby heavily trafficked road.

 

A unique combination of tumbled pavers, Techo-Bloc Quarry Stone walls, natural rock steps, Long Island boulders and retaining wall systems helped create a supple transition from the house and pool and spa patios by capturing the similarities in the earth tones throughout.

For the landscaping, we applied our extensive knowledge of how plants will grow, sequentially bloom, and react to soil conditions, solar exposure, irrigation, etc. With so much rock and pavers built into the design, we understood it was imperative to soften the impact of these massive structures by scalloping the plants into the hillside with a wide variety of colorful perennial, deciduous and evergreen plant material for a year-round impact.

Landscaping Also Key

The landscaping is also very important, because once the pool is closed for the season, it’s nice to see an impact during the winter months as well. But, in the end, all the amenities of this backyard refuge (automated pool, spillover raised spa, waterfalls, natural retaining walls, seating walls, raised patios) hinge on a creative design that made use of the pool in a surprising way: as part of a needed retaining wall.

Awards

Forgive us if we brag, but this pool and spa won two NESPA (Northeast Spa and Pool Assoc.) awards:

  • Silver Medal, Second Place, and an Outstanding Achievement in Design and Building award.

And in addition it won:

  • LIPSA- Long Island Pool and Spa Association Inc. – Silver Award, Second Place.

 

 

By | 2017-08-10T12:32:34+00:00 August 10th, 2017|Awards, Backyard Escapes, Backyard Upgrades, Creative Design, Deck and Patios, Landscaping, Outdoor Living, Patios & Decks, Ponds & Water Features, Pool Surrounds, Pools & Spas, Retaining Walls, Spillover/Custom Spas|Comments Off on Creative Solutions: Designing Pool Wall As Part of Retaining Wall System

The Many Uses of Concrete Paving Stones

Paving stones are extremely flexible and adaptable to a large variety of jobs. Be it a simple stepping stone path, expansive driveway, patio, or spa and pool surround, Deck and Patio often recommends concrete pavers as a cost-effective choice.

3 Main Types of Pavers

There are basically three types of pavers: “interlocking,“ “slab,” and “permeable.” These three can frequently be used interchangeably, except when it comes to (1) driveways, where the durability of interlocking pavers is essential, and (2) where water runoff may be a problem and permeable pavers would be a much better choice.

What makes them so versatile is pavers come in many designs, shapes, and colors and are durable against weather, and traffic, so that they can virtually be used anywhere in a variety of ways.

“Plus they are wonderfully suited to the freeze/thaw conditions of the Northeast where we work,” adds Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “One caveat, however. Finished projects made of interlocking concrete pavers will not look quite as random in shade and shape as natural stone. Paving kits installed by experienced professionals, however, can be laid in attractive random designs even if they will have more similarities than natural stone would.”

 

The following Deck and Patio’s projects highlight these different paving stones.

 

We believe that using pavers will not only provide a beautiful pool deck, but they offer a safer surface that prevents slipping.* Here, we created five different patio levels around this pool using only interlocking concrete pavers and stepping stones (slabs).

Five feet above the main pool, where the backyard retreat renovation features cascading water into a new spa, even there we surrounded the spa with a patio made from concrete pavers.

In addition, we find that pavers maintain a cooler walking area and can handle moisture better than poured concrete surfaces. And because the pavers we recommend are stronger than regular concrete, they are extremely durable for frequent entertaining (high traffic areas).

 

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

The durable and resilient interlocking concrete pavers we chose create a handsome pool surround that stands up to lots of foot traffic. The manufacturer in this case produces kits that ensure an attractive random pattern in lieu of straight lines and flat images, or in a running block pattern. The finished look is natural — a good accomplishment for such an expansive area.

 

 

 

 

Here we recommended to our clients they use one manufacturer’s “Rocka” (slab) steps, along with moss rock boulders and creeping plant material.

This combination handsomely stabilized a hill area without the need of a retaining wall.

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

 

 

 

We used interlocking concrete pavers for this pool and spa surround as well. The pavers offer an attractive alternative to asphalt and poured concrete.

These pavers are extremely durable and beautiful and 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.

 

 

 

If you ever pass by Huntington Train Station (Long Island/NY) you will see a great example of the use of permeable pavers. Here Deck and Patio worked in cooperation with the Town of Huntington to beautify the landscape around the train station — all while capturing rainwater for irrigation.

In fact, where once was only a dirt path from the sidewalk to the train parking lot, the landscaped water feature and permeable pavers we added allow easy walking (arrow area pavers) while capturing and filtering rainwater for reuse. The pavers are Techo-Bloc Victorien Permeable Pavers.

Note: Of course, permeable pavers are very useful in private areas such as patios and driveways — wherever controlling or collecting water runoff is a key consideration.

 

If comparing the many different landscaping materials available seems daunting —  indeed, viewing online photos can distort color and texture — Deck and Patio has addressed this by creating an outdoor display at our design center, so visitors can see many of the available materials close-up.

When visiting our outdoor display, those interested can walk-on them, and even touch various patio materials to get a proper sense of how a finished hardscape will look in natural light. Plus, if desired, our staff can explain the different benefits of each one — be it concrete pavers, permeable pavers, bluestone, brick, Travertine, etc.

 

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

 

By | 2017-07-20T11:35:09+00:00 July 20th, 2017|Backyard Refurbishments, Creative Design, Deck and Patios, Design and Build Experts, Driveways, paving stones, Ponds & Water Features, Pool Surrounds, Steps, Swim Up Bars|Comments Off on The Many Uses of Concrete Paving Stones

When It Comes to Long Island (NY) Landscaping: Stones and Boulders Really Rock

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert uses hard rocks: boulders, stone — and even man made wet-cast concrete — to create soft effects in backyard landscapes

 

Rocks are a natural part of nature, and when chosen well and positioned perfectly, they can make a man-made waterfall appear as if it’s flowing from a natural mountain stream.

Elsewhere in your landscape, a single, perfectly-sized, durable rock can make a diving board feel like you’re jumping from a small cliff into a Caribbean lagoon. Plus, a group of flat, well placed stepping stones can turn a functional lawn-protecting pathway into a peaceful stroll well worth taking.

An avid outdoor enthusiast, Deck and Patio’s own Bill Renter spends as much time as he can walking the hillsides of NY’s Catskills and studying the landscape. His expertise in how rocks affect streams and waterfalls is well known. Over the years, he has received a multitude of awards for choosing the perfect rocks, and artfully installing them to great effect and function.

 

Man-made Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

Man-made Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

Waterfalls cascading over natural rock creates perfect mood for meditation or romantic al fresco dining. Rocks used here include river rock, moss rock, spill rocks, and bluestone stepping stones.

 

 

Diving/Jump Rocks (Long Island/NY):

Diving/Jump Rocks (Long Island/NY):

Set against lush landscaping and a beautiful man-made waterfall, this diving rock and paving stone patio feel like they’ve come about organically.

 

 

Backyard Hardscapes (Long island/NY):

Backyard Hardscapes (Long island/NY):

Here rocks have been used to create two stepping stone paths; a natural looking and sturdy set of stairs; a custom raised spa set above the pool, from where a heated waterfall flows; and a retaining wall of natural stones.

 

 

Stepping Stone Paths (Long Island/NY):

Stepping Stone Paths (Long Island/NY):

Stepping stones can be round, square, or irregularly shaped; place them squarely along your intended path.

 

 

Upgrading Existing Backyard Retreat

Upgrading Existing Backyard Retreat

Where once stood an outdated moss rock waterfall, now stands a sophisticated and elegant fountain style water feature with three spilling sheets of water.

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.

Destination Backyard Retreat Makes a Splash

The owners of a very large property on Long Island’s North Shore asked The Deck and Patio Company to plan a new destination pool large enough for volleyball. Also, because the pool area would be a distance from the house, they wanted the ability to cook by the pool, as well as have a place to relax — bug free.

Deck and Patio’s plan included:

  • 50-foot-long and 26-foot-wide pool (approximate),
  • spillover spa, waterfalls,
  • 800-square-foot pool house with a 20-by-20 screened room and bathroom
  • elegant Travertine patio, and
  • outdoor kitchen with natural stone facade
  • outdoor shower.

However, our comprehensive plan came in way over budget for the clients. They declined our bid and sought estimates elsewhere. We were thrilled when they came back to us, because, in the end, they loved our ideas. Their judgment must have been right, since the completed project won a 2010 International Silver Pool Award from the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) the very next year after winning a 2009 Bronze Pool Award from the Northeast Spa & Pool Association (NESPA).

When designing the pool house, our Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, consulted with a good friend and architect, James DeLuca. Their collaborative effort inspired a building that is in keeping with their home’s overall elegance,which inspired the reverse gable.

Bill Renter also worked with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives to create the stunning nighttime scenes.

 

Pool House:

Pool House:

This pool house boasts two 20-by-20-rooms: one great room with sofa, flat screen television, refrigerator, washer/dryer, and storage closet; the other is a 20-by-20 room with screens on two sides where they can enjoy nights by the pool without pesky insects.

 

 

Destination Pool

Destination Pool:

At night, the destination pool area is as romantic as it is serene. It is an idyllic spot for parties that begin in the day and continue long into the night.

 

Pool House

Pool House:

An expanse of cedar planks allows for drama and a clean natural look inside the pool house.

 

Vinyl Pool:

Vinyl Pool:

With concrete wall and a vinyl liner, the approximately 50’-long-and-26’-wide pool offers a spillover spa, tanning shelf, volleyball court, diving rock and moss rock waterfall.

 

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Kitchen:

The outdoor kitchen (and indoor bathroom) required a second septic system to support such amenities as a kitchen sink, built-in barbecue, storage, and small refrigerator. A real stone veneer adds natural elegance.

 

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.

 

 

 

Turning a Tired Backyard Into Award-Winning Retreat

Like many homeowners, you may already have a landscaped backyard, possibly with a pool that’s been through a number of summers. You’ve probably considered doing something with it, but what? Take a look at this pool renovation project that helped our Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, capture the #1 ranking several years ago in patio design.

As the mason contractor on the job, our firm was dealing with a 20-year old pool with similarly-aged coping surrounded by grass where had never been a patio. There was also a concrete spa the family never used because it was uncomfortable.

The fact that the clients really loved the existing pool coping made Bill’s job even more interesting. After visiting several mason suppliers, and finding it impossible to obtain the original coping, he turned to Techo-Bloc to make a match. This coping had tan and grey tones, and Techo-Bloc’s sandalwood paving stones were an extremely good complement.

We also constructed a retaining wall and masonry steps down to the pool patio. The finished design featured a five-level patio all around the swimming pool. Later we added new maintenance-free decking.

So if you’re interested in creating your own backyard paradise, whatever the size of your space, a little creativity goes a long way.

 

 

Cascading Water Features:

Cascading Water Features:

There are five different patio levels around the pool, all comprised of Techo-Bloc. The design features cascading water, a hot water fall into a new spa, then a spillover from the spa five feet above the main pool.

 

 

 

Raised Spillover Spas:

Raised Spillover Spas:

We began by demolishing the old uncomfortable spa and replacing it with a new acrylic one. Using Techo-Bloc “Creta” wall stone, we created the face between the raised acrylic spillover spa and the swimming pool.

 

 

 

Techo-Bloc Patios

Techo-Bloc Patios

The couple didn’t want to deal with much maintenance and our solution was a raised patio design. The challenge was the steep slope that ran away from the house making it necessary to put solid compactable materials underneath to avoid settling issues later on.

 

 

 

Backyard Retreats:

Backyard Retreats:

In total, there are five waterfalls, plus a swim-up bar in the pool that features stunning granite countertops and a shade pergola. From the highest waterfall, to the lawn below, is an elevation change of twelve feet, all with a different grades.

 

 

 

 

 

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