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The Backyard Sanctuary You Always Wanted

 

 

Wish Lists Are Key

Wish Lists Are Key

 

Have you been wanting a backyard sanctuary but don’t know what to do first? Sometimes, the best way to begin is to create a wish list.

That’s what these Deck and Patio clients did. This is what they wanted for their outdoor sanctuary:

 

 

 

Wish List Come to Life

Wish List Come to Life

That’s what these Deck and Patio clients did. This was their list for an outdoor sanctuary:

— an in-ground vinyl-lined pool

— large patio area,

— outdoor kitchen,

— outdoor shower,

— fire pit,

— serene streams and waterfalls, and

— high-tech/energy-efficient pool components that are undetectable in the landscape.

 

“We were happy to assure them that we could bring together all the expertise necessary and design and organize it all,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell. “In fact, incorporating outdoor technology with all the mechanics well hidden in beautiful settings fit right into our wheelhouse. It’s one of our trademarks.”

 

Energy-Efficient Pool

Insulation

Energy-Efficiency

Energy-Efficiency

 

The water in a pool is often around 85 or 90 degrees, while the surrounding soil is considerably cooler. Adding insulation around the outside of the pool wall, as we did for this project, creates a thermal break between the warm water and the soil that really saves energy by helping the pool water to retain its warmth.

 

 

Heaters/Pumps

We worked with the owners to find energy-efficient solutions for the whole project. There are many ways to increase efficiency:

To heat the pool, we added a hybrid system that uses both a gas heater and an electric heat pump. The heat pump acts like a reverse air conditioner, pulling in warmth from the air and transferring it into the pool. This design not only adds heat taken from the air — and not from electricity — but the gas heater can act as back up when the air temperature is very low or when creating heat more quickly is required.

The “variable speed pump” is an extremely efficient pump that allows low energy use by slowing down the motor dramatically. It decreases the amount of energy the pump uses. It can run twenty-four-seven much more efficiently than others pumps that are used only a few hours a day.

Automation

Raising and lowering the speed of the pump is programmed by computer and they can control when it turns on and off. The computer will also monitor the chemical levels in the pool and decrease or increase them as required.

 

 

Hiding the Automation Equipment

Hiding Pool Equipment

Hiding Pool Equipment

Deck and Patio hid the pool equipment away, up a delightful pathway, behind the waterfalls.

We designed and built the streams and waterfalls to flow through berm with moss rock. The gentle sounds of two streams leading to two separate waterfalls, as well as the splash of jet sprays, screen out any sounds from high-tech pool equipment.

 

 

 

 

Backyard Sanctuary (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Sanctuary (Long Island/NY):

This serene backyard sanctuary gives no hint of high-tech energy efficient components supporting it all. The sounds of waterfalls, streams and sprays add tranquility to backyard retreat. 

An outdoor shower stands at base of stepping stone pathway (right) that leads up to pool equipment.

 

 

Vinyl-lined Pool Sanctuary (Long Island/NY):

Vinyl-lined Pool Sanctuary (Long Island/NY):

Sometimes clients want more than a pool. This newly created backyard sanctuary comprises an in-ground vinyl-lined pool, large patio area, outdoor kitchen, outdoor shower, fire pit, two streams and two waterfalls.

Note: Updating Your Pool

With vinyl pools you can also change a staircase, add a bench or swim-out, change the coping, and of course change your old liner.

Liner color choices are almost limitless and it is amazing what a new liner does to an old faded pool as seen in this photo. There are even pebbled colored liners in a tan tone that make them look more like a gunite pool.

 

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Bar/Kitchen

Outdoor Bar/Kitchen

Their sanctuary’s outdoor kitchen includes ample work area, barbecue, sink, refrigerator and eating bar with bar stools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closing Down Pools: What It Means to Have You Covered

With temperatures hovering close to 80 during September, summer has lingered here on Long Island. And while most have already closed their pools, a few diehards are squeezing every bit of enjoyment out of them. Most agree, however, that the time has come to close the pool down.

To the uninitiated, closing a pool takes a few steps, says Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter. To get a full picture of what’s involved, our team spoke with a pool contractor who works with Bill on a regular basis — Michael Truehart, CSB, owner of True Blue Swimming Pools in Deer Park.

“In climates like the Northeast,” says Michael, “the most important reason for closing a pool is pipes and other pool equipment can freeze in cold months. Part of what we do is administer a chlorine shock, or algaecides, or phosphate remover to the pool water. Then the pool/spa equipment is taken apart and cleaned, drained of water, and underground pipes are blown out so no water can freeze in them.”

Because our changing seasons cause a lot of falling twigs and leaves especially in the Fall, a pool cover is imperative, says Michael. “We don’t recommend a plain tarp cover that sags under the weight of rain collected on it. We suggest a mesh-type cover that allows rain to seep through it. This does require another step: lowering the pool water level to about 12-18 inches below the coping. Then, as rain water seeps through the mesh cover, the pool can accommodate it.”

Our own Bill Renter adds that he finds these mesh covers, such as the Loop Loc brand, are also important to help ensure that no one gains access to the pool when it’s unsupervised. The mesh covers are very taught he explains. “A plain tarp type cover that holds water on it will collapse if a pet or child walks on it. But mesh covers, with strong straps to hold them in place, allow for water to drain through into the pool.”

“These covers are so taught, they act almost like a trampoline,” confirms Michael.

 

Measuring for Pool Covers

Measuring for Pool Covers:

Installing and measuring a mesh pool cover that involves freeform shapes, waterfalls, etc., must be exact. A mesh cover is strong because its straps with tension springs are connected to anchors set in the patio. For this pool’s water feature area, stainless steel eyelets were drilled into rocks where a cable secures it.

 

 

 Pool/Spa Covers:


Pool/Spa Covers:

For this job, because of the number of rocks involved, a separate Loop Loc cover for the spillover spa was required. Also: installing a hose and cord under the cover permits pumping water out later should too much rain fill up the partially drained pool.

 

 

Pool Surrounds:

Pool Surrounds:

A bluestone area (with grass pepping through) forms part of this pool’s surround. In such areas where there is no hardscape to secure the necessary tension, little anchors are set into a pipe which, in turn, is set deep into the ground. To secure the pool around the grotto on the left — where the cover wraps inside it — the only way to install that was from in the pool on an inflatable raft.

 

 

Gravel Pool Surrounds

Gravel Pool Surrounds

Without strong patio masonry to grip, the pool cover straps and anchors for this pool are set in a pipe anchored into the gravel. For all these jobs, the pool contractor used “Image Loc,” a special measuring process where taking photos from several views are input into a computer which does the measuring. This system works much like forensic technology.

 

Backyard Sanctuary Offers No Hint of Hi Tech Underpinnings

Incorporating the latest outdoor living technology, beautifully hidden in natural surroundings, is one of my passions,” says Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter.

That passion is vividly expressed in this backyard sanctuary comprised of a new in-ground vinyl-lined pool, large patio area, outdoor kitchen, outdoor shower, fire pit, two streams and two waterfalls.

Its first, and most challenging, major hi tech component is an automatic pool cover attached to the vinyl free-form pool. These covers are difficult to attach to the free-form pool style and shape. In fact, previously, the homeowners were told it wasn’t possible to do so.

“We were glad to assure them that we could bring together all the expertise necessary to design and build it all,” adds Renter. “And when not in use, the cover retracts out of sight.”

Other technology: To heat the pool, we added a hybrid system that uses both a gas heater and an electric heat pump. The heat pump acts like a reverse air conditioner, pulling in warmth from the air and transferring it into the pool. This design not only adds heat taken from the air — and not from electricity — but the gas heater can act as back up when the air temperature is very low or when creating heat more quickly is required.

The “variable speed pump” Deck and Patio used is an extremely efficient pump that allows low energy use by slowing down the motor dramatically. It decreases the amount of energy the pump uses. It can run twenty-four-seven much more efficiently than others pumps that are used only a few hours a day.

 

Backyard Sanctuary:

Backyard Sanctuary:

This serene backyard sanctuary gives no hint of high-tech energy-efficient components supporting it all. Our biggest challenge was creating a four-inch ledge around pool which secures closed pool cover.

 

 

 

Hi Tech Pools:

Hi Tech Pools:

The gentle sounds of two streams leading to two separate waterfalls, as well as the splash of jet sprays, screen out any sounds from high-tech pool equipment. Outdoor shower stands at base of stepping stone pathway (right) that leads up to pool equipment.

 

 

Hiding Pool Equipment:

Hiding Pool Equipment:

High-tech pool equipment is well hidden behind berm, at end of the stepping stone path.

 

 

 

Automatic Pool Cover:

Automatic Pool Cover:

Automatic pool cover, when closed, supports clients’ young children should they walk on it unsupervised. This particular ‘rigid slated plastic’ pool cover, however, had never been fitted to this type of pool in this part of the world before.

 

 

 

Automatic Pool Cover:

Automatic Pool Cover:

Pool covers reduce evaporation of water — thereby reducing the chemical usage required. Because automated pool cover is so easy to use, it is more likely to be closed when not in use — increasing energy-efficiency as well as safety.

 

 

 

Outdoor Kitchen:

Outdoor Kitchen:

The mechanics of this outdoor kitchen’s amenities are hidden handsomely within a work station with stone facade; outdoor kitchen includes ample work area, barbecue, sink, refrigerator and eating bar with bar stools.

 

 

 

Backyard Retreat/Project Showcase: Making “the Impossible” Possible

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This serene backyard sanctuary gives no hint of high-tech energy-efficient components supporting it all.

For many, it might have been enough to design and build a new backyard retreat  – when the plans included a new in-ground vinyl-lined pool, large patio area, outdoor kitchen, outdoor shower, fire pit, two streams and two waterfalls. However, add in an automatic pool cover that is very difficult to attach to the desired pool style and shape, and making the clients completely happy becomes quite a challenge. In fact, before they came to us, the homeowners of this backyard oasis had been told what they wanted wasn’t possible. We were glad to assure them that we could bring together all the expertise necessary and design and build it all.

The clients also asked that we incorporate high-efficiency technology throughout the project, with all the mechanics of it well hidden in beautiful settings. This particular request fit right into our wheelhouse. Incorporating the latest technology, beautifully hidden in natural surroundings, is one of our trademarks.

 

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Outdoor shower stands at base of stepping stone pathway (right) that leads up to pool equipment.

 

High-tech pool equipment is well hidden behind berm, at end of stepping stone path.

Automated Pool Cover

The homeowners had chosen a free-form vinyl pool for its padding and softness, as well as for its beauty. The challenging part was they also wanted an automatic pool cover that, when closed, would support their young children should they somehow walk on it unsupervised. This particular ‘rigid slated plastic’ pool cover, however, had never been fitted to this type of pool in this part of the world before.

Challenge: Free-form vinyl pools need to match a vinyl covering to a concrete foundation. In order to secure what is otherwise a “floating” pool cover, measurements for a special pool edge to grip the cover must be exact, requiring several manufacturers’ construction efforts to fit perfectly. We work with only the best companies, whose measurements, and computerization follow-through, are flawless.

 

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Rigid-slated plastic pool cover, shown here closed, is automated and can support weight of two adults and one child.

 

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Our biggest challenge was creating four-inch ledge around pool which secures closed pool cover.

 

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Because automated pool cover is so easy to use, it is more likely to be closed when not in use — increasing safety and energy-efficiency.

The pool cover is not just for safety. Closing it on a regular basis reduces the amount of energy needed to maintain the pool. We worked with the owners to find energy-efficient solutions for the whole project. There are many ways to increase efficiency:

Pool Covers, Heating Pumps

Pool covers reduce the evaporation of water thereby reducing the chemical usage required. This is because the chemicals do not evaporate or burn off. To heat the pool mentioned in this story, we added a hybrid system that uses both a gas heater and an electric heat pump. The heat pump acts like a reverse air conditioner, pulling in warmth from the air and transferring it into the pool. This design not only adds heat taken from the air — and not from electricity — but the gas heater can act as back up when the air temperature is very low or when creating heat more quickly is required.

Swimming Pool Pumps

The “variable speed pump” is an extremely efficient pump that allows low energy use by slowing down the motor dramatically. It decreases the amount of energy the pump uses. It can run twenty-four-seven much more efficiently than others pumps that are used only a few hours a day.

Automation

Today a computer can be programmed to raise and lower the speed of the pump, controlling when it turns on and off. It will also monitor the chemical levels in the pool and decrease or increase them as required.

Insulation

The water in a pool is often around 85 or 90 degrees, while the surrounding soil is considerably cooler. Adding insulation around the outside of the pool wall, as we did for this project, creates a thermal break between the warm water and the soil that really saves energy by helping the pool water to retain its warmth.

 

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The gentle sounds of two streams leading to two separate waterfalls, as well as the splash of jet sprays, screen out any sounds from high-tech pool equipment, says Deck and Patio outdoor living expert.

 

 

Deck and Patio designed and built the streams and waterfalls (left) to flow through berm with moss rock; outdoor kitchen includes ample work area, barbecue, sink, refrigerator and eating bar with bar stools.