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What is Involved in Creating a Backyard Oasis Landscape?

You know it when you see it, a backyard so tranquil and lovely — and beautifully designed for entertaining — that it didn’t come about without expert planning.

Of course, you’ll no doubt turn to a professional to install any pool or spa, and perhaps the deck or patio areas. But for you hardy do-it-yourselfers out there, if you want to do the landscaping yourself, for picture-perfect, and useful, outdoor living spaces, here’s a few tips.

It is key to learn which plantings work well together, their bloom periods, those that thrive in full or partial shade, as well as plantings that will need the least care.

In addition, a beautiful backyard retreat can require selectively removing what is already there: trees and shrubs, as well as undesirable rocks and boulders that may be in the way. It’s also important to learn what is needed to nourish your particular property’s soil.

When it comes to soil nutrients, there are several places you can go for information, such as the Cornell Cooperative Extension in your area, where experts can guide you and sometimes even help analyze the soil.

As for the landscape design plan, take into consideration your home’s architecture as well as your style preferences.

“It’s also key to pay close attention to your property grades,” adds Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “We plan so that the landscape will flourish and last for years. Our designs include a layering technique that offers privacy on the periphery and vibrancy where it will be best enjoyed.”

Dave adds that another trademark of great design is the careful combining of ‘softscape’ with ‘hardscape.’ “Careful placement of moss rock will also add to the dimension and texture and a natural appearance.”

 

Landscaping Techniques:

Landscaping Techniques:

Because this property was open on three sides with three homes in full view, we added Skip Laurels, Leyland Cypress, and Cedars on the periphery to create a natural privacy screen. Texture and color were brought in to the buffering divider by incorporating flowering deciduous shrubs.

 

 

Landscaping Techniques:

Landscaping Techniques:

For the same project above, Deck and Patio’s Marc Wiener incorporated creeping evergreen ground covers that cascade and wind over and between the rocks we used. His selection of plants provide color from April through October; the whole design flows beautifully into the back property.

 

 

Year Long Garden Color:

Year Long Garden Color:

Sandra Vutaggio, Horticulture Consultant at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Riverhead, NY says that there are many plant choices that will provide either bark interest, colorful berries/seedheads late-season. The beautiful purple berries of the Callicarpa plant pictured here, for example, begin in fall and last through winter. Photo: Missouri Botanical Garden

 

 

Crepe Myrtle Trees:

Crepe Myrtle Trees:

The Crepe Myrtle thrives on Long Island and the northeast. It’s offers delicate clusters of pink blossoms in late spring (shown behind waterfall); in fall, it shows bright red-orange leaves, and in winter it has interesting bark.

 

 

Purple Allium Sphaerocephalon:

Purple Allium Sphaerocephalon:

These beautiful purple flowers (seen in the foreground) are planted in the fall and are one of the many plantings that offer robust color in the summer outdoor season and thrive nicely on Long Island and in the northeast. Deck and Patio’s Marc Wiener chose them for this design plan for their height as well as their lovely color contrast.

 

 

Landscaping: How the Experts Do It

This is Part II of our two-part feature on professional landscaping.

 

“The design, construction and preserving of the natural environment takes on many facets. For luxurious outdoor living, these components need to be thought through thoroughly during the design phase,” explains Marc Wiener, director of design and sales at Deck and Patio.

With a degree in landscape architecture, Wiener knows of what he speaks. His education has given him an abundance of knowledge of plant material — the basis of such expert designs.

“We’re talking about an in-depth knowledge of how plants will grow, sequentially bloom and react to soil conditions, solar exposure, irrigation, etc,” says Marc. “To accomplish the best results, moss rock and pavers will also be built into the design. It becomes imperative, then, to soften the impact of these massive structures by scalloping plants into the hillside etc. — in a wide variety of colorful perennial, deciduous and evergreen plant material — for year round impact.”

For the first project we’re showcasing today, Marc says that even after the pool is closed for the season, it’s nice to see an impact during the winter months and he planned it that way.

Wiener used a unique combination of tumbled pavers, natural rock steps, Long Island boulders and retaining wall systems to help create a supple transition from the house, pool and spa patios, and captured the similarities in the earth tones throughout.

 

Landscaping Experts:

Landscaping Experts:

Beautiful results like this require a hands-on approach to grasp every aspect of the site’s characteristics, architecture, building codes, its impact to the surrounding environment and to be able to incorporate a client’s wish list into the design. It’s a culmination of these factors that separate a good design from an award-winning design as was achieved here, says Marc Wiener.

 

Professional Landscape Design:

Professional Landscape Design:

“To design and build this 22’ x 42’ freeform pool and raised spa, with waterfalls nestled into a 20-foot hillside, and to incorporate multiple patios at different elevations with landscaping, required more than just lines on paper,” says Wiener.

 

Second Project

Here, the landscape design was by Bill Renter, Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert and Marc Wiener. Their achievement garnered us a gold medal from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

In addition to professional recognition, our work also amazed the clients, because their yard’s beautiful and nature-friendly transformation had been accomplished so quickly.

“I have lived here over 40 years,” says the wife. “Our property had become overgrown. It wasn’t messy but it wasn’t well done anymore. I have always loved birds and flowers and a very natural setting. And we hadn’t seen birds in a long time.

“A full-time bloom was important, as I wanted to attract, in addition to birds, lots of butterflies,” she says. “I also looked at many ponds that other landscapers had done elsewhere. In the end, I felt Deck and Patio’s work looked the most natural, which was extremely important to me.”

 

Landscaping in Harmony with its Surroundings:

Landscaping in Harmony with its Surroundings:

Renter says he also considered how our work would fit with the additional elements the homeowners had hired other companies to do, such as a conservatory and a small bridge — while always taking into account how everything would appear in nature.

 

Using Rocks and Boulders in the Landscape:

Using Rocks and Boulders in the Landscape:

The rocks used in this inspired pond installation – some of which weigh over three tons — were imported from farmers’ fields in New Jersey, says Renter. Each rock was hand picked for its particular use, sometimes for their ideal crevices in which garden perennials could be planted.

 

Beautiful Landscaping:

Beautiful Landscaping:

According to Wiener, The Deck and Patio Co. planted over 4,000 bulbs, 300 species of deciduous woody plants, evergreens, and perennials, including 150 different varieties of these species.

“The layout of the project detailed different settings and focal points,” says Wiener. “In some cases you are sitting next to a pond observing a waterfall; in other cases you’re walking through a woodland path.”

 

 

Professional Landscaping: There’s a Reason You Struggle On Your Own

This is Part I of a two-part feature on professional landscaping

 

There are yards that are so beautiful — so relaxing and inviting — you can’t help but want one yourself. However, to create such an inviting space that can accommodate entertaining for both large and small parties, and which is also a haven where you can relax and meditate, takes professional expertise.

Why Professional Expertise?

In creating idyllic landscapes, professionals know which plantings work well together, their bloom periods, which will thrive in full or partial sun and shade, as well as which ones need the least care.

In addition, professionals have the equipment needed to properly remove trees and shrubs, till soil, and remove rocks or boulders that are in the way. They understand soil, and what is needed to nourish a particular property’s soil. They are also expert at conceiving a well-thought out design.

Spectacular Landscape Design

Beyond even the above basics, firms like Deck and Patio specialize in arranging plants, shrubs, and trees in a manner that makes every detail look like Mother Nature’s own creation.

“In our design plans, we also take into consideration a home’s architecture and the clients’ style preferences, as well as property grades,” adds Bill Renter, Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert. “We plan so that the landscape will flourish and last for years. Our designs also apply a layering technique for privacy on the periphery, and vibrancy where it will be best enjoyed.”

Another trademark of spectacular design is the artful combination of ‘softscape’ (or ‘landscape’) with ‘hardscape.’ Our use of moss rock, which has contributed to our firm’s many awards, adds dimension and texture while creating a natural appearance.

Below are a few examples of our team’s expertise. For the first project, which included an in-ground spa, to finish the surrounding landscape with a star quality, Deck and Patio’s Marc Wiener, ASLA landscaper designer, carefully selected the proper plantings to perfect a design.

 

Landscaping Privacy:

Landscaping Privacy:

This property was open on three sides and in full view of four homes. Skip Laurels, Leyland Cypress, and Cedars were used to create an attractive privacy screen. Texture and color were brought in to the buffering divider by incorporating flowering deciduous shrubs.

 

 

 Landscaping Long Bloom Periods:

Landscaping Long Bloom Periods:

For this same project, Marc Wiener also incorporated creeping evergreen ground covers that cascade and wind over and between the rocks we used. His expert selection of plants provides color from April through October; the whole design flows beautifully into the back property.

 

 

Landscaping for Visual Impact:

Landscaping for Visual Impact:

In order to preserve the surrounding landscape for this second project, instead of clear-cutting the half-acre property, the home was built among mature oaks, maples and pines. When doing the landscaping, space for a pool and spa was left. It was essential to plan in such a way so that any construction of the pool etc. would not disturb existing work.

 

 

Adding Water Features to Existing Landscaping:

Adding Water Features to Existing Landscaping:

Indeed, Marc Wiener successfully incorporate water features into the existing landscape. When considering color and texture he applied his extensive expertise on how plant material will eventually grow. Here we see low-lying evergreens and ground cover perennials in and around the stream and rock outcroppings which soften the large boulders, which he says would “otherwise stand out and detract from the overall intent of looking ‘natural.’”

Larger flowering plantings were installed behind the water feature to provide accenting and screening. On lower portions of the slope, the water feature was planted with flowers for cutting and small beds for annuals so the client could interact with the stream garden throughout the season.

Look for us again next week for our part two on professional landscaping!