Design/Build Showcase: Deck and Patio transforms cramped backyard into perfect landscape for parties and entertaining
When this Dix Hills family decided to update their dated backyard pool area, their main problems were that their old wood deck and red brick patios (above left photo) beside the pool were too small and unusable for parties and entertaining.
In addition, the old retaining wall took away from the attractiveness of the pool area.
Our creative team introduced a unique concept to deal with this area: re-grade the slope, turning it into a “natural” retaining wall (above right photo) including a dramatic waterfall, stream, and woodland garden in its place.
For the seven-foot-high “sheet” waterfall and stream, we used Aquascape Inc.’ pondless waterfall system, which allows for a good deal of water volume to create the dramatic effect.
“We particularly value Aquascape’s waterfall systems because they focus, like we do, on an ecosystem approach to water features,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “For this project, the pondless system relies on a natural balance of circulation, filtration, plants, rocks and gravel to ensure sustainability.”
Another reason our waterfall retaining wall system looks so natural is our waterfall installation team understands how water flows over rock and how it releases from the rock in order to create a natural look and feel.
We avoid the look of steps in the waterfall by making the water change directions in the waterfalls and streams.
Once the stream and waterfall was complete, we pressed boulders into the surrounding slope. After that, we addressed the landscaping. Our crew installed natural woodland plantings to tie in with the tall oaks that exist on the property’s perimeter and added evergreen shrubs to ensure year-round color.
With the slope stabilized, our team addressed pool renovation. After draining the pool and removing the original liner, a poorly built concrete block wall was uncovered.
The solution was to straighten the wall and fill the block in with concrete and steel rebars for strength. New vinyl covered stairs were then added, as well as new pipes, returns, skimmers, pump, filter and new liner was installed.
After this, the pool was carefully backfilled and tamped. We compacted the soil back around the pool in three-inch lifts to allow for the immediate installation of new pavers around the pool.
This compacting process is not done by many contractors. The idea is that using compacted soil the base will not settle, so you don’t have to wait to install a patio around a new pool. Many contractors still install concrete slabs under their patio. In our experience we find this does not work well. Settling still occurs under the slab allowing the patio to crack or settle.
After the base materials were finished, we installed chestnut-hued durable pavers from Cambridge (Sahara). These particular pavers have little or no color fade and the random design pattern adds interest to the patio. The pavers’ protective coating means these clients will have a clean-lined modern look. Even after being subjected to snow plowing, de-icing salts and normal wear, they will keep their color and beautiful appearance.
The clients chose elegant clean-lined pavers in a random pattern for the new patio areas surrounding the pool.
The clients love their new patio and pondless waterfall. Not only do they find themselves outside more often enjoying nature’s sights and sounds, they have room for parties and entertaining.
In fact, their perfect backyard was there all along — it just needed a vision to bring it out.