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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deck and Patio Wins 2013 APSP Awards of Excellence And Merit

The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals’ (APSP) awards program recognizes Deck and Patio’s achievements

 

When considering to build a new, or upgrade an existing, pool, spa, hot tub, water feature, or landscaping, it is not unusual to search out companies who have been recognized for their expertise and talents through the winning of awards.

Deck and Patio Company’s outdoor living expert has written many articles on these subjects and is considered an expert in these fields by his peers and professional associations. He is particularly proud that year after year, his firm has earned special recognition for the firm’s design and construction excellence. And it is with great delight that we share today award honors for 2013 received from The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP).

 

APSP’s 2013 Bronze awards (see APSP video immediately below) includes two awards for Deck and Patio.

 

Bronze Awards

1.  APSP’s first Bronze Award for Deck and Patio Company (found at .20 seconds) falls under the category “Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Exterior/Interior Portable Hot Tubs.”

Background

When Deck and Patio was restoring an existing pool and deck destroyed during super storm Sandy, the homeowners decided they wanted a “full water experience.” So beyond the wonderful dock/water access they already had on a Long Island canal, and the new upgraded pool and deck our outdoor living expert was designing and building for them, he also created a new spa/lounge area with a portable Bullfrog Spa.

The new hot tub is located just steps down from the backdoor where it is set into the deck for a pleasing “built-in” appearance. The hot tub’s cover can be left upright to provide additional privacy and easily dropped down to cover the hot tub when not in use.

Special Note: Deck and Patio includes a hot tub cover with all its Bullfrog Spa packages. We feel this is important because when the wind blows and dirt and leaves fall, they throw off the balance of the water quality by affecting the sanitary conditions of the water. In addition, clients will use the cover more regularly if it’s easy to open and close and if it is attractive and suits their hot tub model. Such is the case for this hot tub’s cover which fits the hot tub’s size, design and where the homeowners wanted it placed.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert took a “before” photo of damaged pool and deck as it appeared after super storm Sandy.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

While restoring existing pool and deck, Deck and Patio installed new spa/lounge area that included a Bullfrog Spa for a “full water experience.”

The project’s new hot tub, just steps down from the backdoor, has been set into the deck by Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert for a pleasing “built-in” appearance.

 

2.  APSP’s second Bronze Award for Deck and Patio Company (found at 1.06 seconds) falls under the category “Pool Renovations.”

This pool renovation was part of a total reconstruction of the backyard. It included a complete revamping of the pool’s pipes, interior, finish and the incorporation of new swim outs at the deep end. Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert also built a new spa encasement with a stone facade on top of Techo Bloc patios. The spa included special plumbing.

Deck and Patio also built a matching accent/privacy wall, with a fire bowl and water feature that spills water into the hot tub. The base of the spa also spills its water into the pool for a beautiful hot springs/Roman pool effect. At night, the scene is nothing short of glorious.

Special Note: The feature’s “sheer descent” waterfalls provide a gentle rushing sound via an attractive glass-like sheet of water. 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 areas of landscaping around the spa, this natural softscape breaks up the surrounding hardscape areas with bursts of color and softness.

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

This pool renovation was part of a total reconstruction of the backyard. It included a complete revamping of the pool’s pipes, interior, finish and the incorporation of new swim outs at the deep end.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

In the charming areas of landscaping around the spa, Deck and Patio created a natural softscape that breaks up the surrounding hardscape with bursts of color and softness.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

With the fire bowl blazing and attractive hot tub LED lights shimmering, nighttime scenes for this project are nothing short of glorious.

 

APSP’s 2013 Merit awards (see APSP video immediately below) includes two awards for Deck and Patio.

 

 

1.  APSP’s first Merit Award for Deck and Patio Company (found at .24 seconds) falls under the category “Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Hot Tub Shells.”

In addition to a Bronze Award (see above first video), Deck and Patio won a second “Merit” award for the encasment of a portable spa in a stone facade on top of a Techo Bloc patio.

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

Deck and Patio built a matching accent/privacy wall, with a fire bowl and water feature that spills water into the hot tub. The base of the spa also spills its water into the pool for a beautiful hot springs effect.

2. (Found at .29 seconds) APSP’s second Merit Award for Deck and Patio Company

Category: Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Exterior/Interior Portable Hot Tubs.

Project Background

This project — with its elegant decking, gazebo/pergola with shingled roof and stately white columns, small pond, hot tub (underneath its own separate pergola), stepping stone bridge and paths, plus a second, larger, vanishing-edge pond with waterfall and connecting stream — was accomplished in three phases.

The beautiful new deck, hot tub, and pergola was Phase I of this special outdoor retreat. The hot tub case was carefully chosen to match the tone of the composite decking. Once the other phases were complete, they became stunning views to be enjoyed from lounge areas as well as when relaxing in the hot tub.

At the edge of a patio, beside the project’s lovely shingle-roof gazebo/pergola, a fireplace not only offers warmth in autumn and winter months but it creates the perfect ambience while soaking in the hot tub as well providing a close-by comfortable lounge area when taking breaks from the spa waters.

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

The hot tub case, underneath its own separate pergola, was carefully chosen by Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert to match the tone of the composite decking.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

The adjacent gazebo/pergola and fireplace offer the perfect ambience when soaking in the hot tub as well as a comfortable lounge area for taking breaks from the spa waters.

 

3. (Found at .34 seconds) APSP’s second Merit Award for Deck and Patio Company  falls under the category “Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Residential Water Features.”

The hot tub merit award was one of two awards for the same project. A multi-faceted water feature for this backyard boasts a vanishing edge upper pond and lower pond, waterfalls, and a gentle stream — all of which can be enjoyed from the hot tub.

Underneath this water feature, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert installed an extremely high tech and a complex natural biological filtration system that continuously maintains the feature’s crystal clear water. The vanishing edge upper pond is raised in front of a bluff. Water spills from it into a delightful connecting meandering stream down to the lower pond located at the side of the house.

In autumn, leaves from the trees fall into the water and are pushed along the stream where they are caught in a bed of gravel and are easy to remove, like emptying a skimmer basket in a pool. Considering the energy efficient pumps, which only ramp up when the homeowners arrive home, as well as the fact that the system harvests rain water to help sustain its underground water reserve, it’s a project to delight the heart of any green enthusiast.

While vanishing edge swimming pools are familiar projects on Long Island and nationally, only one other vanishing edge pond had ever been created in the United States before our outdoor living expert executed this award-winning vanishing-edge pond on Long Island (New York).

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior:

The vanishing edge upper pond rises to a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound; underneath its stillness, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert installed an extremely high tech and a complex natural biological filtration system that continuously maintains the feature’s crystal clear water.

 

APSP 2013 Award:

APSP 2013 Award:

The vanishing edge upper pond is raised in front of a bluff; Deck and Patio designed its water to spill into a delightful connecting meandering stream down to the lower pond located at the side of the house.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Creating Backyard Retreats: Size Doesn’t Matter

Feeling like you can’t have a backyard oasis because you don’t have enough room? Here’s some good news. The Deck and Patio Company works a good deal in parts of Long Island, NY, where backyards are often small. And one thing our Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, enjoys most is surprising homeowners with what can be accomplished.

Some yards are seemingly so cramped that families rarely use them. In hot weather, some live indoors. Discovering much more was possible than they originally thought, the wife for this project worked closely with Bill Renter and the pool builder to design their new pool’s shape, which wraps around close to the house, almost into its corner. The design required variances, but it allowed Deck and Patio to fit in an expansive two-level patio, a raised spa, two waterfalls, a stepping stone path, and beautiful lush plantings — in other words: a true oasis.

When working with tighter spaces, our team ensures the chaise lounge, dining and outdoor kitchen patio areas are all large enough for furniture, and have room enough to walk around, sufficient even when entertaining. We also try not to over-build or paver the whole space. It is also important to leave room for plantings and lawn, add landscape-lighting, and make sure the overall project looks interesting, by designing curvy or geometric patterns.

There’s no need to feel because you don’t have a large yard, you can’t have your own bit of paradise. It just takes a little creativity.

 

Patio Design:

Patio Design:

Instead of one-sized brick being placed throughout an entire patio or retaining wall, we recommend attractive designs: this project’s random pattern is in lieu of straight lines, flat images, or a running block pattern. Also, manufacturers often offer a wide list of product materials, so matching stones are readily available for complementary retaining walls, steps, risers, pool coping, etc.

 

 

 

Limited Backyard Space:

Limited Backyard Space:

Manipulating the grades by adding different levels (upper and lower patios, raised spa. etc.) is one of the things we do to create a larger sense of space. Such gradations are not only attractive and spatially functional, but, when done correctly, they can make smaller yards appear considerably more expansive.

 

 

 

Family Spa:

Family Spa:

True Blue Swimming Pools worked with Deck and Patio to build this vinyl pool and spa for our clients. The clients’ children use the spa all the time; after enjoying the pool, if they get a chill, they go to the spa with their friends. In fact we’re told everyone retreats to the spa after swimming. Go into there w/friends. On chilly days, even though the pool is heated, they say in the spa on.

 

 

 

Pool Lighting:

Pool Lighting:

In the ‘gloaming,’ as a poet described ‘twilight,’ is a beautiful time of day to enjoy a new pool. Outdoor lighting glows warmly — like the sun’s final rays as it drops below the horizon. Artful lighting generates the first tranquil water reflections of the evening and continues to sketch nightfall with romantic hues.

 

 

 

Waterfalls:

Waterfalls:

Every stone and moss rock boulder was chosen carefully to create the most natural looking waterfall possible. The water spills are coaxed over them causing flows of water just like in nature.

 

 

Why Choose A Design/Build Firm For Your Backyard Retreat?

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What if you could have a vacation resort of your own in your backyard? Knowing how to do it and who to call is an important first step. www.deckandpatio.com

Ready For Your Own Vacation Resort?

If you are considering a vacation resort in your own backyard, to get the most out of your time and money, you should be looking for a contractor that offers both design and build services. That is because design/build firms not only think about the way the project will be constructed, but also about other factors, such as sufficient functional family space in the yard, the sun’s location from different yard locations, viewing angles of water features and other focal points, elevation changes, drainage considerations and colorful landscapes.

 

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Our outdoor living expert says a design/build firm will consider such factors as sufficient functional family space for children to play as well as sun location and viewing angles of focal points.

Where to Begin:

A swimming pool or spa is usually the main part of creating a personal paradise. That means you will need to make a big decision: do you want a gunite/shotcrete, or vinyl-lined pool? At Deck and Patio we build them all but some pool companies sell what is referred to as “kit pools” which limit what can be done. A custom design lets you have more freedom when it comes to the planning stage. In fact, when using a design/build firm, you can customize your entire project.

We always begin by asking customers about their plans for a pool, their lifestyles and their children’s needs. Then we come up with a unique concept to fulfill every desire. At Deck and Patio we use CAD drawings, digital imaging and a 3D animation video on a flat screen television to show clients how the pool will look with the existing home and environment.

 

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A design/build firm helps you decide what kind of pool you want and which amenities. Will you want swim up bar stools in the pool, for example?

 

What to Watch Out for in a Design/Build Firm:

When looking for someone to build your swimming pool make sure you are comfortable with them. The design process can take anywhere between several days to several months and you and your builder may see a great deal of each other. Remember that you will be interacting with your contractor in good times and in bad so it is important they be responsible and reliable. When choosing a design/build firm look for a company that has an office and/or showroom so that you know where they are. Be wary of people who will not provide you with an address or give you just a P.O. Box and look for one that will give you their cell phone numbers.

 

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When choosing a design/build firm look for a company that has an office and/or showroom so that you know where they are.

Realizing Your Dream:

As you consider contacting a design/build firm, a picture perfect paradise that fits your dreams starts to beckon. In your mind, you can almost see the bright and colorful plants peeking from around the natural rock waterfalls, the cascading water spilling into a lagoon inspired pool. The stone patio beneath your feet is cool to the touch and exudes a warm ambiance that welcomes and entices. You imagine ordering a cocktail from the pool bar and bringing it back to the lounge chair beneath an umbrella. You can see yourself sitting back and thinking: “Life is good.”

Once you awaken from your daydream, reality hits you. It is a scorching hot day; the sun would have baked you and your family if you hadn’t retreated to the solace of the air conditioning. As this summer comes to an end, its lingering warm temperatures are a reminder that next year will be just as hot. Now may be the perfect time to start planning the backyard of your dreams.

 

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You can almost see the bright and colorful plants peeking from around the natural rock waterfalls, the cascading water spilling into a lagoon inspired pool.

 

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Your perfect outdoor retreat might offer the ability to get a cocktail from the pool bar and bring it back to the lounge chair beneath an umbrella where you sigh: “Life is good.”

Lastly, we suggest looking for a designer/builder that is certified by Association of Pool and Spa professional (APSP). These certified building professionals (CBP) are tested and certified every three years. A CBP can assist you in choosing the right equipment for your project as well as provide or recommend a service professional for your ongoing maintenance. Look for things such as awards from industry groups and certifications from other professional organizations.

A swimming pool project is a big task to take one. Pools are a long lasting investment that add enjoyment to your life and value to your home. When you decide that you want to stop daydreaming and start enjoying your own backyard paradise, remember three things: start early (that means start planning now to be ready for next year’s summer heat), do your homework and choose wisely.