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Memorial Weekend: Time to Take It Outside!

We Remember.

We Remember.

With a little help from the weather gods, outdoor living season kicks off over Memorial Weekend.

Of course, Memorial Day itself is first and foremost a time to honor our fallen soldiers. And we all want to do that.

But as a precious long weekend, it has also become a time of getting together with family and friends. And as the first weekend of the outdoor living season, it’s ideal for opening pools, heating up the barbecue, spending time gardening — or just reveling in being outdoors.

 

Locating Your Outdoor Kitchen

 

Locating Outdoor Kitchen

Locating Outdoor Kitchen

Fully equipped kitchens have become a key outdoor living amenity.

And there are reasons for locating your outdoor kitchen away from the house — if you have a ‘destination’ pool, or if other key outdoor living areas are set at a distance.

However, it’s generally a good idea to position your outdoor kitchen as close to the house as possible.

Proximity to your indoor kitchen is one obvious reason for this. But your home’s extended roof, not to mention house walls, can provide protection from the elements.

It’s also easier to hook up electricity by being so close to the home’s utility lines.

 

 

Combo Kitchen/Bar

Combo Kitchen/Bar

When you want your kitchen to be equal parts cooking, dining, and drinking spot, however, you may want to set your kitchen where the outdoor activities take place.

In this case, your outdoor kitchen needs to be fully equipped so there’s less back and forth to the house. This means having lots of storage areas for bowls, cooking utensils, frequently used condiments, and definitely it should have a sink.

Wherever you locate your kitchen, just remember you don’t want to get burned up from intense sun during cooking or dining. A pergola is one answer. But another is to have moveable — yet sturdy — outdoor umbrellas for flexible shade.

 

Stand Alone Outdoor Bars

 

Bar With Water Feature

Bar With Water Feature

 

Depending on what amenities you already have, or your particular landscape, it can be wise to have an outdoor bar/dining spot separate from where the cooking is being done.

And don’t limit yourself to what a bar can be. For example, you can even add waterfalls. The elegant sheet falling ones seen in the photo here gave our clients the sleek modern look they wanted. And, of course, they also provide a very pleasant relaxing sound. This helps friends and family de-stress and invites easy conversation.

We installed the waterfalls with an Aquascape Inc. pondless waterfall system so a pond was not required to capture the falling water.

 

Adding Pool Amenities

 

Pools with Waterfalls

Pools with Waterfalls

Speaking of de-stressing. You might think that being able to cool off, do laps, or play water polo is enough to demand of a swimming pool.

But adding waterfalls can provide a whole new delightful experience.

Not only are these beautiful to look at, but imagine treading water underneath one. Or swimming under it.

Adding such a feature to a pool opens up lots of possibilities like incorporating other fun amenities with it: diving rocks, slides, as well as bright plantings.

There’s lots more to enjoying the outdoor living season. And we will highlight some of these as the season goes on.

 

 

Pool Waterfall

Pool Waterfall

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Memorial Weekend everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landscaping Ideas: Inspiration Can Come from Unlikely Places

 

When looking for ideas to update their properties, it’s not unusual for homeowners to turn to such online social networks as Pinterest, Houzz, Google Plus, etc. Certainly, we post our own projects on these sites and find inspiration there, too.

That said, our design staff gets most of its best ideas outside, when taking in vistas that we can hear, smell, and touch. Indeed, when you’re passionate about the outdoors, you find you can’t turn off your inspiration-antenna, even when on vacation.

Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World Resort, Florida), Author: Lee Bailey from Beverley, UK

Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World Resort, Florida), Author: Lee Bailey from Beverley, UK

That was the case for Deck and Patio’s Bill Renter after he visited Disney World. And what awed him there became the inspiration behind one of our company’s most awarded projects.

“These clients wanted something very special,” says Renter. “When thinking about it, I realized I had been really impressed with how Disney World had been a feast for the senses — that there was always something around the corner, something to draw you to the next space. And that’s what my design was all about for these clients.”

Indeed, the homeowners admit to be in awe of what Deck and Patio Co. accomplished.

“You almost don’t want to stop anywhere,” says the husband. “You can’t wait to see what is coming up next. You climb on huge moss-covered rocks, or stroll around the spa waterfall to get to the water slide, then down a little bluestone walkway, even passing by a stream on the way. It’s spectacular.”

His wife loves how their new backyard “resort” offers the thoughtful comforts of many hotel/resort amenities. For example, four embedded umbrella stands are installed in the main tumbled stone patio.

Landscaping Ideas:

Landscaping Ideas:

“They are positioned perfectly,” she says. “I just open them for parties or when serving food and get 50 percent shading of the patio area. Or for sunbathing, I just close them and the sun will go all the way across.”

Landscaper Renter has also successfully mimicked the background music at hotel resorts – that is heard but is never intrusive.

The landscaper adds that in 2005, this project also won the “International Award of Excellence – Gold Medal” – from the APSP (The Association for Pool and Spa Professionals) in the category of a vinyl pool in excess of 601 square feet.

Yet, a beautiful as the completed project is, the awards were given for more than just what meets the eye. Design and execution challenges for this 46-by-32-foot free-form vinyl pool/spa began with a 13-foot elevation change that runs the length of the pool area.

In addition to a stunning pool, spill over spa, patio area, multiple waterfalls and a swim up bar in the backyard, Renter added a gorgeous pond with waterfalls on the side of the property, just below a rolling green lawn.

“Sometimes you want a break from all the fun and activity of the pool/patio area,” says Renter. “And we gave them that. It’s even beautiful in winter to stop and spend a few moments there.”

 

 

Pool Water Slides:

Pool Water Slides:

Renter adds that, of course, the clients love the built-in water slide, and there are five waterfalls (one reaching 7×10 feet), plus immense moss rocks — some weighing in excess of six thousand pounds.

 

Swim Up Bars:

Swim Up Bars:

Family and friends really enjoy being able to get a cool drink by swimming up to the 38-foot “swim-up bar” that has submerged barstools. He adds that this amenity is very popular with adults, as it is a great spot for swimmers and strollers to meet and talk, without the swimmers having to get out of the water.

 

Swimming Pools:

Swimming Pools:

And for nighttime entertaining, the automated color logic lights, the ten speakers that pick up commercial-free satellite radio, the glorious 7×11 foot vinyl-lined spa, and the romantic gas campfires, make this anyone’s definition of nighttime paradise.

 

Backyard Ponds and Waterfalls

Backyard Ponds and Waterfalls:

Away from all the activity the pool area generates, these clients now have a gorgeous spot for meditation that includes a fish pond. wooden bridge, multiple waterfalls, lush plantings and garden bench.

 

Ponds in Winter:

Ponds in Winter:

Even after the snow falls, these clients find they can’t resist stopping by their pond and enjoy quiet moments alone with nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In-ground Swimming Pool Trends: What’s Making a Splash?

Talk about making a splash with beautiful backyard escapes! Swimmingpool.com recently highlighted some of the hottest trends in swimming pool design under such sub-headings as: “Attached Hot Tubs,” “Hardscapes,” “Geometric Design,” and “Go Big at Home.”

We can attest to much of the specifics of their post. As Long Island swimming pool designers and builders, we’ve been including many of these amenities for some time. Here’s some examples of how Deck and Patio has incorporated these trends into swimming pools we’ve done for a few of our savvy clients:

 

Attached Hot Tubs:

Attached Hot Tubs:

According to Swimmingpool.com, a growing trend is to “make the hot tub appear ‘invisible’ in the design.” These spa beauties are often placed with walkways or steps as you see here.

For these clients, an up-to-date style wasn’t the only inspiration for the design. With three young children, safety had become a major concern and they also wanted an automatic pool cover. Designing a geometric pool with a built-in spill-over spa recessed inside the pool allowed us to give them one automatic cover for both bodies of water. In addition, special automation allows them to isolate the spa and heat only the spa water.

 

 

Raised Spas:

Raised Spas:

In order to better view a beautiful pool when in the spa, another trend covered under Attached Hot Tubs is elevating spas “above” the pools. Indeed, we proved this a stunning choice for an existing pool by installing a portable Bullfrog Spa with a beautiful natural stone raised above the pool.

Special plumbing was added to regulate the new spa’s sheer descent water feature: water spills from the fire bowl into the hot tub; in turn, spa water flows out into the pool for a beautiful hot springs/Roman pool effect, and, of course, you have the perfect vantage point to enjoy the pool.

 

 

In-ground Swimming Pool “Hardscapes”:

In-ground Swimming Pool “Hardscapes”:

Sometimes, only elegance will do. One of the trends listed for pool hardscapes is Travertine and we have used it for some of our clients such as in this pool surround. Cool even in the heat of summer, Travertine is a type of limestone and is quite different from marble or granite. In climates such as the Northeast, with our freeze/thaw conditions, we’ve found that where Travertine is quarried determines how practical it is. More vital Travertine info.

 

 

Geometric In-ground Pool Design:

Geometric In-ground Pool Design:

Free-form has been popular for a long time, and frankly still is, but there is a trend back to the geometric design. Here the striking geometric pool, with sheer descent waterfalls, is surrounded by a stunning patio in complementary random geometric patterns.

The steps at the far end of the pool — part of a natural retaining wall of boulders and plantings — lead to a delightful landscaped wilderness where pool equipment has been artfully hid.

 

 

Custom In-ground Swimming Pool Features:

Custom In-ground Swimming Pool Features:

Under Swimmingpool.com’s trend “Go Big at Home” doesn’t mean building huge pools necessarily, but this trend is for incorporating ever more custom pool features. Here for drama you see a high waterfall spilling over a romantic grotto with spa inside. A gazebo with outdoor great room, elegant patio surround for entertaining and sunbathing, and lush colorful landscaping are just some of this backyard oasis’ amenities.

 

 

How Many Dream Amenities Can Fit In Your Backyard?

Many Deck and Patio clients are surprised what can fit into their yard. For this project, the homeowners had a nicely sized backyard, rimmed by healthy trees, but they believed it was not expansive enough to hold everything they wanted in a dream backyard.

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, came up with a plan that included it all: a geometric vinyl pool, separate patio areas, gas fire pit, custom stone bar with water feature, dramatic custom wood trellis, several banks of shade umbrellas, quiet lounging areas, and artful landscaping.

Bill’s design also included an automated pool cover. When not in use, the cover coils up at one end of the pool where its powerful motor and mechanisms are artfully hidden under an attractive swath of bluestone.

Because space was at a premium, the usual type of water feature — where waterfalls are fed by streams and ponds — was not practical. Bill came up with the idea of having two “sheer descent” waterfalls flowing out of the stone bar where the water is re-circulated without the usual above-ground presence of a pond.

The addition of a custom wood trellis over the bar area helps create an “outdoor great room” effect through the use of this attractive piece of architecture. It also adds to the private escape feeling so sought after these days. In addition, the shade it provides will increase over the years as any vines added by the homeowners continue to grow.

 

Vinyl Pool:

Vinyl Pool:

Our design included a lovely geometric vinyl pool with seating ledge and swim-out steps. While we design and build gunite pools, many of our clients prefer the padded, smooth feeling of vinyl. Of course, the base construction of a vinyl pool is the same as any other. “Vinyl” simply means the method used to line a pool’s interior.

 

 

Automated Pool Cover:

Automated Pool Cover:

Using a pool cover when the pool is not in use saves money as well as much of the time normally dedicated to keeping the pool free from debris. Made to fit this pool exactly, all the homeowners need do is press a button and the pool cover will automatically cover the entire pool within a minute.

 

 

Cambridge Pavers:

Cambridge Pavers:

The chestnut-hue of the random Cambridge pavers echoes that of the trellis and siding on the house, as well as the facade of the custom stone bar, creating one harmonious whole. These particular pavers have little or no color fade and the random design pattern adds interest.

 

 

Custom Outdoor Bar:

Custom Outdoor Bar:

This custom bar is set across from a slightly raised patio lounge area furnished with circular wicker seating and a shade umbrella. The bar’s stone mimics the lovely patio paving stones; it is topped by a counter made from composite decking material that gives the appearance of wood, but without the cracking, rotting, or splitting.

 

 

Sheer Descent Waterfalls:

Sheer Descent Waterfalls:

A special feature of sheer descent waterfalls is their ability to offer the audio and visual enjoyments of continuous flowing water while using only a minimum of water flow. An underground Aquascape “pondless waterfall” system stores and recirculates the water through an underneath pump, up through a filter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy A Dream Backyard Even Where Space Is Limited

Creating a complete backyard retreat within limited space

 

The designing and building of a beautiful outdoor space can be a complicated endeavor, even when space is not limited. However, when space is a factor, it becomes very important that the team involved can offer creativity backed by years of experience and education.

For this project, the homeowners had a nicely sized backyard, rimmed by a large growth of healthy trees. The dream backyard they wanted would allow them to use their yard in many different ways — swimming, sunning, relaxing, entertaining, as well as room to play outdoor games.

We came up with an ideal plan that included a lovely geometric vinyl pool with automatic pool cover, separate patio areas made from elegant Cambridge pavers, gas fire pit, custom stone bar with water feature, dramatic custom wood trellis, several banks of shade umbrellas, quiet lounging areas, and artful landscaping for beauty as well as to soften the hardscape areas. Deck and Patio was even able to dedicate an area for one of the families favorite enjoyments — ping pong.

 

Dream Backyard Retreat:

Dream Backyard Retreat:

Our design included a lovely geometric vinyl pool with automated pool cover, elegant Cambridge pavers, custom trellis and stone bar with water feature.

Vinyl Pool

Deck and Patio’s design for this project included a vinyl pool with seating ledge and swim-out steps. While Deck and Patio designs and builds gunite, many of our clients prefer the padded, smooth feeling of vinyl. Of course, the base construction of a vinyl pool is the same as any other. “Vinyl” simply means the method used to line a pool’s interior.

Automated Pool Cover

Using a pool cover when the pool is not in use saves money, as well as much of the time normally dedicated to keeping the pool free from debris. And because the easier a pool cover is to use the more you will use it, an automated pool cover is ideal. When not in use, this project’s pool cover coils up at one end of the pool where its powerful motor and mechanisms have been artfully hid under an attractive swath of bluestone. Made to fit this pool exactly, all the homeowners need to do is press a button and the automatic pool cover will cover the entire pool within a minute.

 

Vinyl Pool/Automated Pool Cover:

Vinyl Pool/Automated Pool Cover:

Using a pool cover when the pool is not in use saves money as well as much of the time normally dedicated to keeping the pool free from debris.

Stone Bar and Trellis

This project includes a custom bar set across from a slightly raised patio lounge area furnished with circular wicker seating and a shade umbrella. The bar’s stone mimics the lovely Cambridge paving stones of the patio; it has been topped by a counter made from composite decking material that gives the appearance of wood, but being a composite fabrication, there should be no cracking, rotting or splitting. This countertop also requires no sealants because the composite materials are already protected from UV rays, and is very resistant to damage from insects, water or sun.

The custom wood trellis over the bar area helps create an “outdoor great room” effect through the use of this attractive piece of architecture. It also adds to the private escape feeling so sought after these days. To increase over time the shade enjoyed from the trellis, the homeowners can add climbing roses or other climbing plants to the trellis that will add additional natural beauty to this backyard retreat.

 

Stone Bar and Trellis:

Stone Bar and Trellis:

Stone Bar and Trellis: A custom wood trellis over the bar area helps create an “outdoor great room” effect.

Pondless Water Feature

Because space was at a premium, the usual type of water feature — where waterfalls are fed by streams and ponds — was not practical here. Our outdoor living expert came up with the idea of having two “sheer descent” waterfalls coming out of the stone bar where the water is re-circulating without the above-ground presence of a pond. This “pondless waterfall” system works much like a normal pond but it is designed under-ground with a deeper hole, lined with rock and gravel, and filled with water. This water keeps circulating through the use of an underneath pump, up through a filter. So, in fact, a type of pond is there, but it is underground and is not visible.

The feature’s “sheer descent” waterfalls provide the desired gentle rushing sound through attractive glass-like sheets of water to create the relaxing atmosphere derived from water features. 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 block of landscaping in front of the bar plantings, a natural softscape breaks up the surrounding hardscape areas with bursts of color and softness.

Sheer Descent Waterfalls:

Sheer Descent Waterfalls:

A special feature of sheer descent waterfalls is their ability to offer the audio and visual enjoyments of continuous flowing water while using only a minimum of water flow.

Cambridge Random Pavers

To create the patio pool surround and other patio areas, we compacted the soil back around the pool to allow for the immediate installation of the new pavers around the pool.

This compacting process is not done by many contractors. We, however, have been doing it successfully for over 15 years with little or no soil movement. The idea is that, using compacted soil, the base will not settle so you don’t have to wait to install a patio around a new pool. Many contractors still install concrete slabs under their patio. In our experience we find this does not work well. Settling still occurs under the slab allowing the patio to crack or settle.

After the base materials were finished, we installed chestnut-hued durable pavers. These particular pavers have little or no color fade and the random design pattern adds interest to the patio. The pavers’ protective coating means these clients will have a clean-lined modern look. Even after being subjected to snow plowing, de-icing salts and normal wear, they will keep their color and beautiful appearance.

The chestnut-hue of the chosen pavers handsomely echoes that of the trellis and siding on the house, as well as the facade of the custom stone bar, creating one harmonious whole.

Flexible Shade

Embedded umbrellas, and the flexible shade opportunities they provide, were used liberally in this project to not only offer shade but to help delineate the different use areas. When the umbrellas are open, they provide a bank of shade, perhaps 27 to 36 feet long, depending on how many umbrellas are placed next to each other.

While the pergola adds drama and architectural impact, an abundance of umbrellas adds flexibility over what fixed-shade amenities can offer. This is because various umbrellas can be open and closed at the same time. All open, and you have a perfect area to place a buffet lunch or relax in full shade; partially closed, and those who want shade can lounge next to those who want sun.

 

Cambridge Random Pavers:

Cambridge Random Pavers:

The chestnut-hue of the pavers handsomely echoes that of the trellis, siding on the house, and custom stone bar; banks of shade umbrellas offer flexibility on shade choices while helping to delineate different functional patio areas.

This outdoor retreat, despite a limited amount of space, fulfilled each item on the homeowners wish list. They have a lovely padded vinyl-lined pool with easy-to-use automated pool cover, a water feature that provides continuous relaxation and enjoyment, beautiful landscaping, a bar area with attractive trellis, various lounge and seating areas — and even space for one of their family’s favorite enjoyments — ping pong.

 

Ideal Backyard Retreat:

Ideal Backyard Retreat:

There was even delineated space for one of their family’s favorite enjoyments — ping pong.

 

 

By | 2017-01-21T16:34:49+00:00 November 14th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

What’s “Cool” in Pools

Deck and Patio’s Shares 8 Trendy Pool Amenities

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Award-winning vinyl pool by Deck and Patio showcases lots of what’s ‘cool’ in pools

  1. – Vinyl Pool Liners

The Deck and Patio Company designs and builds gunite (concrete), in addition to vinyl-lined pools. However, many of our clients prefer the padded, smooth, soft feel of vinyl, such as seen above.

In fact, according to reports, there are now more vinyl pools worldwide than any other combined group.

Of course, the base construction of a vinyl pool is the same as any other. “Vinyl” simply means the method used to line a pool’s interior. These liners come in a large variety of colors, which can react with the water to create the romantic “grotto” or “lagoon” effect so desirable today. For all these reasons, we feel we have to put vinyl’s soft cushion-y feel as #1 in what’s “cool” — especially since vinyl pools, designed and built by Deck and Patio Company, have become award winners.

 

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2. & 3. – Custom Raised Spa and Heated Waterfalls

If enjoying a heated waterfall spilling its therapy into a custom raised spa isn’t at the top of desirable pool amenities (pictured above), it may be time to fold our deck chairs and go inside. Imagine! You are seated in just such a spa; the pulsations from a raised heated waterfall are massaging your neck and shoulders, while you lean back in swirling warm water and delightful air bubbles. Add to all this hydrotherapy that there is a picturesque, natural look to it all — the result is you feel as if you are in a small lagoon, created by Mother Nature, in a distant south sea isle. Yup. It’s way up on the “cool” list.

 

Embedded Umbrellas

 

4.  Flexible Shade

Embedded umbrellas, and the flexible shade opportunities they provide, are also at the top of Deck and Patio’s favorite things. Positioned 9 feet apart, when open, they provide a bank of shade, perhaps 27 to 36 feet long, as pictured above. The umbrellas are a great substitute for pergolas; they are more flexible than such fixed shade amenities because various umbrellas can be open and closed at the same time. All open, and you have a perfect area to place a buffet lunch or relax in full shade; partially closed, and those who want shade can lounge next to those who want sun.

 

Tanning Shelf from Deck and Patio

 

5. Tanning Shelves and Custom Steps

Also called “sun shelves”

Tanning shelves (photo above) are a cool way to stay cool when you want to lay out in the sun, says Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert.

These shelves are set in several inches of water and are wide enough for parents to sun bathe while young children play beside them. Tanning shelves (photo above) are a cool way to stay cool when you want to lay out in the sun, says Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert.

Custom steps are additional cool amenities which make moving in and out of the pool natural and comfortable.

 

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6. Bar Stools and Swim Up Bars

Building a vinyl pool requires precise measurements, so plan ahead for such cool extras as tanning shelves, bar stools and swim up bars (see above). Note: Deck and Patio installs a quarter-inch padding between any vinyl liner and the concrete. This is what gives steps, walls, and other amenities their cushion-y feel.

 

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7. Natural Stone Paths

We have to thank the Japanese Tea Ceremony and that country’s love of simplicity and natural beauty for our #7  “cool pool” landscaping idea — the stepping stone path.  Breaking up expansive pool surrounds with a natural stone path allows for “softscape” in between stones to show through, as well as creating a focus to particular directions. They are also great do-it-yourself projects. Just remember: they are best laid down on flat areas around your pool. Wet stepping stones can be dangerous on slopping areas.

 

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8.  Natural Gas Campfires

Deck and Patio help create romantic outdoor mood with addition of bonfire-style fire pits.

You can almost hear the beating of steel drums when your “lagoon” pool has a bonfire-style fire pit — or several — lighting its surround at night (below). This style takes the fire pit from a simple campfire to a piece of art.