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Backyard Upgrade in Huntington/NY: How to Cope with a Slope

You might not believe it from the finished results, but this backyard upgrade involved one of the most challenging sites Deck and Patio ever worked on.

“It literally had a seven-foot elevation from one end of their rather small yard to the other,” says Dave Stockwell. “And their hopes for a full outdoor retreat — pool, spa, patio, waterfall, custom fire pit — and on a tight budget — added to the challenges.

“Our biggest problem to solve was how to make everything look like it fit in naturally without it all looking like a giant hill.”

Dave says the way our design/build staff approached the project was to take on the grade in small bites — working out from an existing lower level patio to a new raised patio and then up to a pool. 

Initial Design Plan

Initial Design Plan


“We worked with True Blue Swimming Pools (Dix Hills) to accomplish this. After the plans were initially made, the clients decided they also wanted a spa.



The best solution was adding a portable hot tub that we could nestle in between the two new patios.”


Bullfrog Spa With Custom Installation (Huntington/NY):

Bullfrog Spa With Custom Installation (Huntington/NY):

By surrounding the hot tub with natural stone boulders with colorful plantings, the hot tub has a custom set-in-garden appeal. It was also positioned close to their back door so they can enjoy easy access year-long.

Note: the hot tub is accessible from both the upper and lower patios. We also used rock boulders imported from Pennsylvania to create steps from the patio into the spa.


Partial in-Ground Pool (Huntington/NY):

Partial in-Ground Pool (Huntington/NY):

The pool is 16′ x 36’ — a wonderful full-size in such a small backyard. We pulled the pool out of the ground 16″ to create a seat wall, and used large boulders and plants to hold back the grade and soften the hard boulders. 

The job site was so small that we had to partially build the pool, install boulders. slide, and waterfall, and then complete the pool wall construction.


Small Yard Pool Construction (Huntington/NY):

Small Yard Pool Construction (Huntington/NY):

Here’s a photo of moss rock boulders being installed on the wall of the pool. Boulders like these were also needed to form the moss rock waterfall.


Pool Moss Rock Waterfalls (Huntington/NY):

Pool Moss Rock Waterfalls (Huntington/NY):

Here you see the completed moss rock waterfall with the sweet potato vine we added. Landscaping helps bring a setting to life and softens the hardscape.


Natural Staircase (Huntington/NY):

Natural Staircase (Huntington/NY):

One way to make use of the slope on a property to to create a stepped pathway. Here we made a stone stairway with natural plantings on either side which coordinates with the hot tub setting and pool/patio design.



Backyard Upgrade: From Very Nice to Sublime

The owners of this Brookville, NY, property had a charming backyard that consisted of a large patio separate from an attractive pool area. When Deck and Patio met with them to discuss a patio upgrade — along with new fire pit and outdoor kitchen — we learned they also hankered for a spa to go with their existing gunite pool.

“The clients were surprised at our suggestion that, rather than design/build a custom in-ground gunite spa, they opt for a portable spa,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “And when they saw how such a hot tub would fit harmoniously within the yard’s new overarching design theme, they were delighted with this idea.”

The complete upgrade included adding an encased portable spa with a waterfall flowing out of it into the existing pool. A privacy wall also faced in stone stands behind it, topped with a fire bowl and second waterfall to create a spectacular setting — day and night.

Plus, the new handsome Techo-Bloc pool surround pavers the clients chose were repeated in the lower patio where a new granite-topped L-shaped outdoor kitchen, and fire pit, both faced in matching stone, were added.

The theme tying it all together, of course, is the stone-facing on many of the elements — balanced by soft hues in the plantings and choice of pavers. Whether it’s going up the steps from the patio to the pool where a stone wall accents the elevation change, sitting around the custom fire pit, barbecuing on a granite-topped outdoor kitchen, or taking in the whole scene while soaking in the spa, the various elements work together beautifully.

The soft hues of the Techo-Bloc’s Aberdeen pavers for the pool surround and lower patio were chosen to add a hint of contemporary flair to the traditional style of the stonework. Their subtle pinks, blues and creams, accented with robust landscaping, add a soothing feeling throughout the backyard oasis.

“This upgrade really brought an already attractive backyard into a true oasis,” says Dave. “Day or night, the only word for it is sublime.”


Backyard Upgrade With Unifying Theme:

Backyard Upgrade With Unifying Theme:

Stone facing of several amenities help tie this oasis together: fire pit, outdoor kitchen, patio wall and steps, as well as the portable spa encasement (not seen), are all faced in matching stone.


Hot Tub Added to Existing Pool:

Hot Tub Added to Existing Pool:

The clients wanted a custom in-ground gunite spa added to their gunite pool. Instead, they opted for Deck and Patio’s suggestion for a custom installation of a portable Bullfrog Spa. With the portable spa operating separately from the pool, it can be used when the pool is closed down. Plus they get the therapeutic benefits of Bullfrog’s renowned JetPaks (hydro jets) without sacrificing drama and elegance.


Hot Tub Installation:

Hot Tub Installation:

One truly enjoyable aspect of the clients’ new spa is where it was installed. When soaking in it, they get a perfect view of what’s going on in and around the pool as well as all the way to the lower patio area where the outdoor kitchen and fire pit are.


Granite-Topped Outdoor Kitchen:

Granite-Topped Outdoor Kitchen:

A beautiful and highly functional outdoor kitchen, topped in granite and faced in stone, was positioned adjacent to the patio’s dining area and new fire pit.


Waterfalls and Fire Features:

Waterfalls and Fire Features:

One of the features of the clients’ new spa is a sheet-falling waterfall that flows out from its encasement into the pool. A privacy wall holds a dramatic fire blow that spills a waterfall into the spa.


Techo-Bloc Aberdeen Paving Stones:

Techo-Bloc Aberdeen Paving Stones:

These Techo-Bloc paving stones are packaged separately giving flexibility in design. Here soft hues (blues, creams, pinks) and various sizes placed in random patterns create the perfect pool surround and patio for this backyard upgrade.



Outdoor Enthusiasts Get New Deck and Hot Tub

“We were originally contracted to do only a deck for these Centerport, Long Island clients,” says Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter. But, as is often the case when building one, the homeowners soon after requested a spa.”

It was very important to them that any new deck and railing would embrace, and not block, their lovely backyard water views. Regarding the hot tub, they wanted it to blend well with the deck, and that the complete outdoor area be maintenance-free as well as elegant.

“A key decision was the stainless steel cable railing we chose, which does not obstruct the yard’s water views from any place on the deck, even when they are sitting,” says Renter. “And, indeed, all the materials used for the deck do not require painting or staining.”

Our team also helped them choose a maintenance-free encasement for their new Bullfrog Spa; it coordinates handsomely with the Trex Transcend deck planks.

“Plus we set the hot tub on a matching custom platform to make it easily accessible from anywhere on the two-story deck. It’s just steps out their back door, which ensures these outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy it even during snowy and cold winters — something they especially wanted.”

This  project won The Deck and Patio Company a prestigious 2014 Merit award from the Northeast Spa & Pool Association (NESPA).


Decks and Railings

Decks and Railings:

Trex “Lava Rock” Transend decking and CableRail by Feeney together offer not only the sleek look the homeowners wanted, but the cable infills do not obstruct views from any position.



Deck Railings

Deck Railings:

The rail caps are Trex Deck board chosen to match the decking; the railing infills are CableRail by Feeney and the balusters part of Feeney’s Designer Rail system.



Deck Lounge Area

Deck Lounge Area:

Whether it’s from the hot tub, or the dining and lounge areas, the deck is an ideal spot to appreciate the property and location.



Portable Spa

Portable Spa:

Deck and Patio helped the homeowners choose the right-sized portable spa and integrated it into the new deck, partly by adding a spa encasement of mahogany PVC boards that look like wood, but, like the deck material, will not rot, and which suggest a modern, rich and upscale look.



Deck Dining Area

Deck Dining Area:

It was important that when the clients sat on their new deck, the railing infill (here made of stainless steel) did not spoil their exquisite views.



Spa Installation

Spa Installation:

Set high on a platform, the spa is conveniently located just steps out their back door, ensuring they will use the spa even during snowy and cold winters — something these homeowners especially wanted.

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