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Natural Landscaping Design: Why You Need Moss Rock

Ever notice in old classic movies how distracting fake scenery looks outside, say, a car that actors are supposedly traveling in?

Well, that’s true in landscaping as well. Creating a serene outdoor scene that looks natural — like Mother Nature sculpted it — requires knowing what elements will make it appear genuine.

For example, whenever we design and build a new water feature or landscape wall, moss rock is always part of the design.

“Deck and Patio finds that these sandstone or flagstone rocks, with their red and brown undertones, provide the ‘mountain stream-woodsy appeal’ that is key to any natural looking water feature and surrounding landscaped garden,” says owner Dave Stockwell.

Moss grows well in shady areas, Dave adds. And along with ferns, it helps transform any backyard into a natural cool setting. “Of course, choosing the right size rocks and knowing where to position them is also key to creating a natural-looking scene.

About Moss Rock

Moss rocks are harvested from quarries nationwide; later moss is added. While the moss on the rocks do not flower, the initial planting reproduces through its tiny spores, absorbing water and nutrients through their foliage. The only requirement for healthy growth is the moist conditions derived from water features or other sources.

For our first project showcased below, Deck and Patio added tall grasses and evergreens like Juniper Parsoni, to complete the rich, lush, green backdrop to see. Coneflowers and Spirea Anthony Waterers help bring in the bright bursts of color. During winter months, the moss rock boulders themselves form breathtaking ice sculptures that extend enjoyment of the water feature.

 

Backyard Stream with Moss Rock

Backyard Stream with Moss Rock:

We designed and built this natural looking meandering watery trail and lined it with natural moss rock boulders and river stone gravel. Robust plantings along the stream also add to the natural look of it all.

 

Spill Rocks for Backyard Streams:

Spill Rocks for Backyard Streams:

Each spill rock along this second backyard stream was carefully positioned to depict the most natural water movement. The stream flows down and over a 2-foot-by-2-foot-wide moss rock waterfall and cascades into a 10-foot-by-15-foot pond. It looks like it has always been there, part of the natural environment.

 

Natural Retaining Wall with Moss Rock:

Natural Retaining Wall with Moss Rock:

Natural Retaining Wall with Moss Rock: One of our outdoor living experts was called in by the pool company to design a pool surround positioned against a steep hill. Our design plan also included a large retaining wall made of natural elements like moss rock, a stream, a beautiful waterfall, and boulder pool coping — instead of constructing a less attractive wooden retaining wall. Overall, it looks like a natural stream created by Mother Nature meandering down a woodsy hill.(See also 2nd photo below)

 

Moss Rock Creates Attractive Hot Tub Installation:

Moss Rock Creates Attractive Hot Tub Installation:

In addition (see immediate photo above), moss rock steps leading to a small blue stone patio became part of Deck and Patio’s overall design. Plus, a portable hot tub was installed on a flattened area in front of the patio.

 

‘Small Backyard’ Upgrade Enhances Outdoor Living

Backyard Project Showcase, Massapequa, NY

 

Long summer days and warm weather begs us to come outdoors. But a small backyard can make you want to turn around and go right back in the house. The good news is: You don’t have to sell the house you love to also experience the best of outdoor living.

Even small yards can be turned into a delightful backyard retreat. Designing a makeover that’s ideally suited to a family’s outdoor living preferences just takes creativity.

For example, Deck and Patio’s regular territory includes Long Island’s Nassau County and neighboring New York City — where properties can be tightly compacted. Sometimes a pond with robust landscaping is all a family desires. But those who want a fuller range of summer fun amenities have had their dreams met, too.

The project we’re showcasing today perfectly illustrates how, with a bit of creativity, Deck and Patio was able to give the clients everything they wanted within a tight area: deck, patio, free-form pool, spill-over spa, two waterfalls and lush landscaping.

 

Maximizing Small Backyard (Massapequa, NY):

Maximizing Small Backyard (Massapequa, NY):

Looking back to the house from the raised-spa patio, you don’t get the feeling that the property is small. The pool’s shape was designed to wrap around and run close into the house. This concept did require variances but it was worth the extra effort as it also allowed room for an expansive two-level patio and left a bit of lawn for the kids to play.

 

 

Small Backyard Makeover (Massapequa, NY):

Small Backyard Makeover (Massapequa, NY):

When work began, the initial piles of dirt and stone panicked the clients, especially within such a cramped space. “I soon learned everything they did had a purpose and I came to enjoy watching each stage unfold,” said the client. Because the property was flat, our Deck and Patio 3-D renditions showed how we would make the yard appear bigger — even indicating what the views would look like from various areas inside the house.

 

 

Ways to Make Backyard Seem Larger (Massapequa, NY):

Ways to Make Backyard Seem Larger (Massapequa, NY):

Adding different patio levels by manipulating the grades is one way Deck and Patio can create the sense of a larger space, which is what we did here. Of course, such gradations have to be more than attractive, they must be functional. There needs to be room left for some lawn, plantings, and the patio/deck layouts must be of sufficient size to accommodate chaise lounges, dining tables and chairs, plus an outdoor kitchen if desired.

 

 

Swimming Pools in Small Yards (Massapequa, NY):

Swimming Pools in Small Yards (Massapequa, NY):

Deck and Patio worked with True Blue Swimming Pools to build the vinyl free-form pool, which the whole family loves. We also learned that the clients’ children spend a great deal of time in the spa — particularly after a long time in the pool, when they want to warm up with their friends.

 

 

Pool Waterfalls (Massapequa, NY):

Pool Waterfalls (Massapequa, NY):

For the most natural looking waterfalls, Deck and Patio chooses every stone and moss rock boulder for it’s desired purpose. This way, the water is coaxed over them so it flows and spills just like it would if Mother Nature engineered it herself.

 

By | 2017-06-22T12:54:30+00:00 June 22nd, 2017|Backyard Escapes, Backyard Upgrades, Creative Design, Deck and Patios, Design and Build Experts, Landscaping, Outdoor Living, Patios & Decks, Pools & Spas, Spillover/Custom Spas, Vinyl-lined Pools|Comments Off on ‘Small Backyard’ Upgrade Enhances Outdoor Living

How To Be Confident In Backyard Design Plans

Sometimes even having a reputation as a top notch landscape design/build firm isn’t enough. For, while these Deck and Patio clients were enthusiastic about our design ideas, not being able to picture how it all would look when it was finished concerned them.

This was understandable. We weren’t being hired to simply tidy up their yard. They were looking for a backyard retreat that included a pool with spillover spa, dramatic pool surround, pool house and bar area and attractive landscaping — all in a contemporary design that fitted their style.

3D Landscape Design Plan

3D Landscape Design Plan

“However, our design team had an easy solution,” says Deck and Patio owner Dave Stockwell. “We completed a 3D digital animation of the entire project using a special computer program. This permitted them to view every part of the retreat from any angle they wished. Once they saw what it all would look like, they were eager to go forward.”

Dave adds that having this computer program allowed us to document changes during the project — thereby giving the clients confidence that any alterations would appear as expected.

“A major part of their retreat was a custom-designed pool house, with all the amenities of a home. The patio was built with Cambridge Ledgestone 3 pavers that are reminiscent of old-time European plazas; but we laid them in a random pattern that complemented the lines of the geometric pool.”

Outside the pool house is a custom 25-foot-wide pergola that enhances their ability to entertain in comfort. Providing shade while sitting at the bar or in lounge chairs, it is also a beautiful architectural piece that adds drama to the space.

The project was recognized by the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) with a Gold Award for geometric pool design.

“The award, although given to us, was as much the clients’ as ours,” says Dave. They contributed and participated at every level.”

 

 Backyard Retreat (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Retreat (Long Island/NY):

The main feature in this award-winning project was a striking geometric pool with a raised spa surrounded by a multi-level patio. Deck and Patio’s carpentry crew and masons worked tirelessly on this project. From the 25-foot-long microlam beam on the pergola to the smallest detail and door stop on the pool house, everything was built from scratch.

 

Raised Spa Over Geometric Pool:

Raised Spa Over Geometric Pool:

The raised spa, topped with the same Cambridge Ledgestone pavers used on the patio, spills over through a rectangular cutout that echoes the pool’s overall geometric design.

 

 

Outdoor Bar Under Shade Pergola:

Outdoor Bar Under Shade Pergola:

As the clients step out of the pool house, they walk under a 25-foot-wide shade pergola making this space ideal for entertaining; there is also a handsome bar area, fitted with a sink and all the components necessary to keep everyone supplied with fresh beverages.

 

 

Pool House with Pergola (Long Island/NY):

Pool House with Pergola (Long Island/NY):

A major part of the project was this custom-designed pool house, complete with a bathroom, changing room, and living room with internet access, phone, flat screen TV and a spectacular view overlooking the pool.

 

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.

 

 

What Time of Day Showcases this Backyard Retreat Best?

Boasting a spectacular view of Long Island Sound, this award winning project is one that Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, is understandably proud of.  Complete with large patio areas, infinity pool, large spillover spa, waterfall, pond with wooden bridge, and spectacular LED lighting, its design took into consideration how it would appear at different times of day.

The vanishing edge pool brings the dramatic view of the shoreline right up to the backyard — creating a variety of changing images depending upon whether it is day, evening, or night. And not only the pool and patio offer these fabulous sights. The custom spa was also positioned to take in these “vanishing edge” vistas.

The same care went into the design of the upgraded and expanded pond area. Its beautiful details are delightful during the day, intoxicating at sunset, and oh so romantic at night.

The entire project comprises: vanishing edge pool with five water pumps, 3,000 square feet of Techo-Bloc tumbled stone patio, an outdoor kitchen with patio bar, two natural gas campfires, and extensive landscaping that includes large evergreen trees that flank the left and right side for privacy. In the pool, there are two waterfalls, five bar stools in front of a swim up bar, three staircases, and in-floor cleaning. (Note: this project garnered several awards, including three gold awards.)

We invite you to look over the photos and tell us what time of day do you think showcases this project best.

 

Vanishing Edge “Infinity” Pools:

Vanishing Edge “Infinity” Pools:

During the day, the view out to Long Island Sound is breathtaking from both the pool and spa. Note: the outdoor kitchen includes two bars: a patio bar with bar stools, and a swim up bar with in-pool seats.

 

 

 

Backyard Ponds:

Backyard Ponds:

Even during the day when all details are clear, the serene pond area, with waterfall, bridge, and moss rock cave, offers no hint of the technology keeping the pond healthy and pristine, e.g., a Savio skimmer traps most debris before it settles at the bottom of the pond, and an Aquascape Biofalls system continually filters the pond naturally by using bacteria to break down any pond waste.

 

 

 

Backyard Retreat:

Backyard Retreat:

At sunset, not only unobstructed views of Long Island Sound are brought up to the patio and vanishing edge pool and spa, but the reflection of the setting sun is also; also at sunset, the edge of the infinity pool is exquisitely tinged in pale orange.

 

 

 

Backyard Retreat:

Backyard Retreat:

At sunset, in the far distance, evening lights on Connecticut’s shore twinkle under a deep blue sky that is brushed with rose-colored radiance; LED lights and glowing natural gas campfires emphasize different areas of the retreat, providing security, drama and beauty.

 

 

 

Backyard Pond:

Backyard Pond:

Just as sunset is about over, LED lighting creates mystery and romance around the pond. Traces of a pink sky makes a delightful backdrop to the evening pond’s browns and greens.

 

 

 

Backyard Retreat:

Backyard Retreat:

Some might say that nighttime offers the ultimate outdoor experience. The lighting, which creates such extraordinary vistas, has been carefully hidden to give wonderful effects, yet go unseen. In fact, all the expertise and technology behind the waterfalls — water pumps, the DE filter, gas heater, LED lights, EOS wireless automation, etc. — go entirely unnoticed.

 

 

 

Let Your Home’s Architecture and Landscape Inspire Your Next Upgrade

This elegant multi-level deck, expansive landscaped lawn with play area, and pool/spa with patio surround were designed to both enhance the traditional look of this Long Island residence, and to fit harmoniously within the contours of its sloping property.

Making use of property gradations, Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, designed a multi-level deck with separate functional areas open to different sections of the lawn, including a close-by play area.

For the deck levels, stairs, rails, benches and plants, he chose Trex composite materials, in a gray tone that perfectly blends with the siding on the house. As an added benefit, Trex is manufactured from reclaimed and recycled materials, and does not require preservation treatments.

The spacious wide wraparound stairs were placed to maximize the view of the pool area. The landscaping was also planned to enhance the property’s scenic views. A bluestone stepping stone path meandering to the pool ensures that too much hardscape does not disturb the pastoral scene.

The geometric vinyl pool includes interior steps, loveseats, an acrylic spillover spa, tile walls; a Nicolock multi-level patio creates an elegant surround. An aluminum estate fence winds around the property, blending with colorful evergreen and perennial plantings.

 

Multi-level Decking;

Multi-level Decking;

The wood grain appearance of this splinter-free and slip resistant composite decking is a beautiful alternative to natural wood.

 

 

 

Trex Decking and Railing:

Trex Decking and Railing:

The railing around the deck frames the deck handsomely, while offering added safety on a multi-level deck.

 

 

 

Nicolock Pool Surround:

Nicolock Pool Surround:

An all-Nicolock paver surround is vibrant and durable.

 

 

 

Spillover Raised Spa:

Spillover Raised Spa:

The tiles that face the spa beam underneath this raised spa complement the vinyl linings of the spa and pool.

 

An accessible cedar barbecue cabinet with a built in stainless steel weber grill was installed close to, but out of the view from, the kitchen doors. Future plans for this property include a pavilion at the pool with a wet bar and refrigerator.

 

 

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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