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Beautiful Solutions for 3 Landscape Problem Areas

For many of us, when we look over our home’s property, it’s much like looking in a mirror — all we see are the flaws. That said, sometimes our yards really do have issues that keep us from enjoying the outdoors.

3 Problem Landscaping Issues

1— Noise from nearby traffic can be very annoying when trying to enjoy time outside.

2 —Privacy can be an issue when neighborhood properties flow together with no separation.

3 —Soil erosion along steep grades — often the most challenging —  can severely limit what we think can be done in our yard.

We thought we tackle some of the most difficult first.

Soil Erosion/Sloping Grades

Even when there is a steep grade, the addition (or rearrangement of) boulders, rocks and plantings can transform a problem area into a real advantage. 

Natural Retaining Wall for Pool

Natural Retaining Wall for Pool

Natural stone path to water slide

Natural stone path to water slide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the first photo (above left), in order to add a pool, a retaining wall of support was needed to hold back the grade. Instead of an unattractive wooden one, Deck and Patio suggested the addition of boulders etc. as the ideal spot for several waterfalls and a water slide nestled into the slope . This turned the area into a natural vista that enhances, instead of takes away, from the family’s enjoyment of their yard.

The photo (above right) shows how, in addition to adding water features, a natural stone path up to the top of the slide can also be as beautiful as helpful. Not only are the steps attractive and in keeping with the rest of the design, but they serve as additional support in retaining the grade.

In both projects, we also added different shaped stones as diving rocks and the overall landscaping plan utilized colorful plantings to aid in soil retention.

7-ft Waterfall Replaces Old Retaining Wall

7-ft Waterfall Replaces Old Retaining Wall

 

Here, Deck and Patio replaced an old double 4-foot wooden retaining wall and water slide with a 7-foot-high water feature.

“When we did this project, we actually removed an existing slide that went in to their old pool,” says Dave Stockwell. “Instead of adding a new slide, we used the space for a ‘pond-less’ waterfall system by Aquascape that filters and collects water flow underground and recirculates it.

We even added a stepping stone path in front of the waterfall so they can stroll right past it — as if they were on vacation in the Caribbean or the like.”

 

 

 

Blocking Out Traffic Noise

Waterfalls Block Out Unwanted Noise

Waterfalls Block Out Unwanted Noise

Deck and Patio loves constructing water features for their beauty and peaceful ambience but did you know they are also a way to eliminate traffic and other outdoor noises? 

This closeup of a backyard stream with waterfalls was added to the yard of Roslyn, NY, Deck and Patio clients. It is the main waterfall in a series of several that flow down moss rocks in a very natural-looking way.

These clients also did not want a pond, so we used the same Aquascpe Inc. equipment that captures the water underground in an reservoir where it is filtered and recirculated — making it very eco-friendly.

You might be thinking, will a waterfall really drown out traffic noise? The following video of a single Deck and Patio waterfall falling into a custom spa that gives you an idea of how effective a waterfall can be to reduce noise.

 

 

Backyard Privacy

Privacy for Backyard 'Spool'

Privacy for Backyard ‘Spool’

We all want to enjoy the outdoors with some feeling of privacy. That can be especially true when we have a pool or a spa. 

For these clients, where space was at a premium, the clients wanted a ‘spool’ (combined pool/spa), but the property had no natural barriers for privacy. 

“When making the landscaping design we planned for color from April through late-October,” says Dave. “And in order to ensure they’d have an attractive privacy screen, we added Skip Laurels, Leyland Cypress, and Cedars along the periphery. For more texture and color and additional buffering dividers, the plan called for flowering deciduous shrubs.”

The clients not only got privacy but an extended outdoor season, adds Dave. “The waterfall runs warm water in the cooler months and along with a natural gas campfire, they can stay sitting outside whether in or out of their spool.”

 

No Room for a Pool? How About an Award-Winning ‘Spool?’

 

Not everyone has room for, or even wants, a full-sized swimming pool. But what if you still yearn for a water feature that you and your family can enjoy? Well, the answer for these clients was an in-ground “spool” or combination “spa/pool.”

After listening to their needs and preferences, we suggested the idea of spool with a spilling waterfall that keeps the spool cool in the summer, and hot during the evenings or cold winter months. This type of water feature has room for several adults and can be enjoyed year round without having to maintain a full-sized pool.

Because the clients’ 8’x10’ completed custom vinyl-lined spool operates as a spa, it includes massage jets for relaxing hydrotherapy. Above it, a stream of water flows through moss rock boulders and lush plantings into a soothing waterfall that can be enjoyed when soaking anytime of year.

The clients also opted for a handsome patio of Techo-Bloc paving stones (Elena in Sandlewood) which are durable and will withstand a lot of activity and weather changes. The landscaping was also carefully planned to provide color from April through late October: Skip Laurels, Leyland Cypress, and Cedars were used to create an attractive privacy screen. Plus, texture and color were brought into the buffering divider by incorporating flowering deciduous shrubs.

We were very pleased that this custom ‘spool’ not only perfectly suited the clients desires for a backyard refuge that fit well within their yard, but it also won for us two prestigious awards: Gold from the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA) and Silver from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

 

Small Backyard Pool/Spa:

Small Backyard Pool/Spa:

Tucked beautifully into a corner of their backyard patio, these clients enjoy year-round their custom in-ground vinyl spa-pool combo — or “spool.”

 

 

Backyard Refuge:

Backyard Refuge:

Deck and Patio also designed/built the clients handsome Techo-Bloc patio (Elena in Sandlewood) in rich earth tones. In cooler months the waterfall runs warm water; a natural gas campfire also helps extend the outdoor season whether the clients are sitting in or out of the spool.

 

 

Spa/Pool Combo:

Spa/Pool Combo:

Rushing stream that flows through large moss rock boulders and lush plantings creates soothing waterfall to be enjoyed while soaking in spa.

 

 

Pool/Spa Combo for Small Backyard:

Pool/Spa Combo for Small Backyard:

These clients wanted a pool or a water feature, and a patio as a fun place to entertain, but their backyard was too small for a pool. Their new spool, which can stay cool during hot summer days and can be heated up on a cool evening or winter’s day, was the perfect solution.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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!