Monthly Archives: February 2023

Stepping Stones Help Make the Most of Your Backyard 

Long Island has many expansive properties — as well as places where space is at a premium. No matter its size, stepping stones can help you make the most out of the property you have.


Create Stepping Stone Areas in Lieu of Patios

Stepping Stone Paths (Long Island/NY):

Stepping Stone Paths (Long Island/NY):



These clients, for example, wanted a footpath leading to their tool shed. But they had a small backyard. And we were already installing extensive multi-level paver patios. So it wasn’t surprising they didn’t want more solid hardscape on the opposite side of the pool.

Instead, bluestone stepping stones allowed for greenery to show through. Along with attractive plantings on either side of the pathway, the journey to their shed offers an uplifting experience that’s not just about the tasks at hand.




Hide Storage and Equipment 

Long Island/NY Backyard Nature Walk:

Long Island/NY Backyard Nature Walk:


For these Deck and Patio clients, we combined several good ideas for maximizing space.

The stepping stones were installed to make a special walking area for the homeowners as they move around their backyard.

“While this kind of space is ideal on its own,” says our own Dave Stockwell, “the idea came to us when we were looking for a creative way to hide their new swimming pool equipment.

“We decided to create this wilderness area with plantings etc. in a way that offered contemplation moments while at the same time finding a creative way to hide their pool equipment.”




Create Memorable Escape


Waterfall Walk

Waterfall Walk




In this Deck and Patio project, the bluestone stepping stones were installed to lead past cascading waterfalls, including a dramatic 7’-high waterfall. “This is a very special experience for the clients,” says Dave. “The waterfall is reminiscent of their family’s vacations.

“Usually waterfalls drop into a pond or pool and you can’t walk this close to them. But these fall on firm ground, installed over river rock, underneath which is a ‘pondless’ reservoir.








Practical Pathway 

Stepping Stones and Ponds

Stepping Stones and Ponds

Not all stepping stones are flat bluestone slabs. The Japanese introduced Zen-garden landscape design centuries ago, inspiring the world to place larger stones as stepping stones across ponds and water feature

“The clients’ desire for a natural-scape in this yard helped inspire us,” says Dave.

First, Deck and Patio installed regular flat bluestone stepping stones leading up to a flowing stream water feature we were doing. Then, larger natural stones were added to walk across the stream.

More flat bluestone was positioned on the other side as a walkway up to the clients’ pool area. Finally, we also added moss rock in various places which adds color and texture.

“Our clients even enjoy it in winter when the moss rock boulders around the stream become sparkling ice sculptures,” adds Dave.




Ponds, Decks, and Landscaping

Ponds, Decks, and Landscaping

Feature Photo: A deck can be part of the pond/stepping stone contemplation space, too. This Deck and Patio deck was designed with a viewing platform to enjoy the new pond with waterfalls and beautiful landscaping.

At the bottom of a set of stairs, we placed the first of several large stepping stones leading from the deck, providing a delightful walk across the pond to other viewing areas of the multi-faceted water feature.




Backyard Upgrades that Fido And Kitty Will Love

Like humans, dogs and cats love the outdoors. So today we’re all about backyard upgrades that Fido or Kitty will love.



  1. Synthetic Turf Dog Run

Photo: SYNLawn

What’s not to love about synthetic grass? There’s no mowing. No watering. No weed pulling. Synthetic turf does not harbor fleas or ticks. It offers good drainage. Is kid-friendly — and above all, dog friendly. Not to mention your pet will not be exposed to chemicals or natural-grass pesticides that some believe cause allergies.

If that’s not enough reason to go synthetic for Fido, imagine no brown spots or holes to fill because of the dog’s activities. Plus, after a rambunctious outing, he’ll be as clean as he was before he went out — no tracking mud and dirt back into the house, even when the weather is bad. We also understand cleaning synthetic turf is quite easy.

There are a variety of manufacturers of turf grass. Our photo today is courtesy of SYNLawn. We want to thank them for sharing a photo of two best-pups relaxing on a dog run made from their synthetic turf.


2. Upscale Pet Playhouse

Photo: Long Island Builders institute’s (LIBI)

Photo: Long Island Builders institute’s (LIBI)


We’re highlighting this pet playhouse because, although it was built to be a donation, it highlights a growing trend for residential backyards. It was showcased along with other upscale pet playhouses at Long Island Builders Institute’s (LIBI) Annual Home, Trade and Remodeling Expo a while back. The playhouses were built by various LIBI members and were later donated to local town animal shelters.

This handsome playhouse is shaped like a dinosaur, which the team at LIBI describes as welcoming “any little animal who wants to play and rest.” It was donated to the Hempstead animal shelter. Cool, yes?

Thanks to LIBI for sharing it with us.




3.  Good Pond Design

Deck and Patio Pond in Spring

Deck and Patio Pond in Spring


While Kitty may not be the best pet to have around a koi pond (not if you love your fish, too). But Fido will enjoy watching and not harm these friendly aquatic jewel companions. 

Tip: As the weather warms, pond fish come out of winter hibernation. As koi lethargy turns to activity, inactivity in the family is also overcome. Children want to run outside and feed them. And Fido can’t wait to get up close and spend time watching his friends swim around.




4. Garden Fences

Garden Fence Construction:

Garden Fence Construction:

Vegetable Garden Fencing:

Vegetable Garden Fencing:








In recent years, there has been a huge surge in home vegetableSo, today, the garden fence idea we’re sharing is intended to help you keep Fido out of mischief.

This was on the mind of Deck and Patio clients — who brought us in to build a new patio, shade pergola, wood-burning fireplace, fire pit, landscaping etc. — also wanted a small herb/vegetable garden.

The only problem was the homeowners feared the larger of their two dogs would trample any garden they created. Some sort of fencing would be required. But they wanted something that didn’t detract from the limited natural space they had.

While considering our clients’ concerns, we were cutting down a large overgrown bush in the yard when a unique idea occurred to our project manager. A fence made from the old bush would offer a whimsical piece of natural design to the yard.

And speaking of fencing …



     5. Install a “catio”

Catios Require Proper Enclosures

Catios Require Proper Enclosures

Just like the name suggests, a ‘catio’ is a cat-patio. They can stand alone or be attached to one of your home’s doors or windows. In this way, the cat can go out and in when it chooses.

What you want for this space is an opened-framed enclosure that has walls. While some suggest chicken wire for this, a building expert known to this writer also happens to help run a cat shelter. He says be sure to choose 16-gauge galvanized fencing, because regular chicken wire leaves jagged edges and the kitties can actually get their claws stuck in it and hurt themselves.

For a wide variety of catio ideas we suggest the blogs by Catiospaces.



6.  A Water Fountain for Kitty

Fountain for Kitty

Fountain for Kitty


Cats are notorious for being fussy about their water bowls. And forget about giving them a bath. 

But did you realize they do like running water? They are smart enough to stay away from standing water which can grow bacteria while recognizing running water is fresh.

So providing Kitty some sort of gentle fountain outdoors will ensure your cat drinks more water during the day. And considering many cats don’t drink enough water, such a fountain solves that problem while providing an enjoyable sound for humans as well.

“We can build a special custom fountain for your yard,” says our own Dave Stockwell, “and we also have ready-made fountain kits that you can install yourself or we can install for you.”





7.  Provide Hiding Spots

The upscale pet playhouse (shown above) is a good idea for cats as well. Creating warm, dark, enclosed spaces where your cat can get away to is just as helpful outdoors as indoors.

Outdoor scratching posts and something they can safely climb are also good ideas. 


Cats, dogs, cows, pigs all love being outdoors. Even in winter! We thought all you pet lovers would enjoy a few moments of watching animals frolicking in the snow. 

Valentine Roses: Red Isn’t The Only Color We Love

Valentine’s Day Dinner/Red Rose

Valentine’s Day Dinner/Red Rose


Red roses are always a great option for your Valentine and for a Valentine’s own garden plans. Indeed, for Valentine’s you’ll find that most of the focus on roses will be on the “red” rose, which are known for symbolizing love and passion.





But there are other options that have strong appeal.

“One thing we’ve learned in our landscaping work at Deck and Patio,” says our owner Dave Stockwell, “is red isn’t the only rose color that people love. And not only are there very different rose colors, there are also beautiful variations of red.”

But you don’t have to take just our word. The editor of the Los Angeles floral trade publication has been quoted as saying, “Studies show that women don’t necessarily prefer red roses. Indeed, most women prefer another color.”


Examples of Landscaping with ‘Other’ Roses

Orange (Apricot-Pink) Roses 

Orange (Apricot-Pink) Roses


One beautiful choice Deck and Patio made was this stunning apricot-pink rose bed that we planted next to our client’s pool. “Such a brightly hued plant gets attention,” says Dave, “and in smaller spaces like this, the dramatic color helps the landscape recede behind it — causing the overall area to seem larger.”

It is arguable that “orange” roses like these have the most attitude in the rose family. These beauties are known for enthusiasm, not to mention passion.

The color also suggests a sense of significance and even urgency — perhaps just the right color to draw your loved ones outside on a warm summer day.



Pink Roses

Pink Roses



When it comes to pink roses — like these beautiful ones planted and cared for by Deck and Patio — their color symbolizes gentleness and poetic romance, making them another great choice for Valentine’s Day.

They are extremely delicate and graceful and make an exquisite statement in any garden.





Yellow Roses

Yellow Roses

Traditionally, yellow roses symbolize friendship but they are so sunny that they spread joy to anyone who stops to smell them.

The very earliest yellow roses discovered by Europeans was in the Middle East. But when they brought them home, they noticed they lacked the red rose’s enticing scent.

Through cultivation since then, however, the yellow rose boasts the same lovely fragrance as their sister flora. You simply can’t go wrong giving yellow roses or planting a garden blooming with sunny yellow roses.




Caring for Roses


Mystic Rose - Photo/Sandra Vultaggio

Mystic Rose – Photo/Sandra Vultaggio

Whatever their color, roses need a bit of care in your garden.

Sandra Vultaggio, a local Horticulture expert, says roses should be planted in the sun.

“Also, they need a good amount of air circulation around them,” she says. “Strictly avoid overhead irrigation or sprinkler heads. They will get more disease that way because viruses prefer wet environments. Keep them watered at the roots through a drip system or soaker hose.”

Sandra adds that the best time to plant is really any time throughout the growing season. “An ideal time would be early in the season — April or May.”



Knockout Rose

Knockout Rose

“Contrary to popular belief,” adds Dave Stockwell, “while knockout roses are extremely hardy and withstand blights, that doesn’t mean they don’t need some care like fertilizer, pruning and water. Also, some knockouts have succumbed to rosette disease. But if you do the basics, and keep an eye out for any strange looking bright red shoots, these are a great choice.”

Because of their hardiness, Deck and Patio gets a lot of requests for knockout roses, partly because they bloom for a long time throughout growing season and are much easier to care for. They are known to be disease and insect resistant which has made them quite popular. 




New Love Rose

New Love Rose



Here’s to all the Valentines of 2023! Whether it is roses on the big day or for your gardens. Let the color rose you love bring love to your day.




By |2023-02-09T14:32:42-05:00February 9th, 2023|Backyard Maintenance, Backyard Refurbishments, Backyard Upgrades, Gardening, Gift Ideas, Landscaping, Outdoor Living, outdoor maintenance, Plantings/Pondscapes, Plants, Pool Surrounds, Seasonal Landscapes|Comments Off on Valentine Roses: Red Isn’t The Only Color We Love

Staycations: Small Backyard Landscaping Ideas

The weather is going to be pretty cold over the next few days. A good time to stay indoors and plan for warm weather staycations

That said, there are many of you with small backyards who find themselves living inside even during the warm outdoor season. You may want to be outside, but like the following clients, you may not enjoy your less-than-special backyard. As for upgrading, you may fear the practicality and costs of to create anything of quality. 

Budget-Friendly Decks

Fiberon Protect Advantage Cedar Capped Composite Decking: Lattice not only makes an attractive base, its gaps provide ventilation, thereby inhibiting mold growth underneath the deck.

Fiberon Protect Advantage Cedar Capped Composite Decking: Lattice not only makes an attractive base, its gaps provide ventilation, thereby inhibiting mold growth underneath the deck.

“Not all decks need be elaborate and expensive,” says our own Dave Stockwell. “For example, this budget-friendly deck we built for clients is modestly sized, yet large enough for a dining table, loungers and barbecue. It was designed to be just two steps above grade so a railing was not required either — another cost saver.” 

Quality: The material Deck and Patio used is from Fiberon. We liked this composite decking for its beautiful wood-like multi-chromatic grain pattern, says Dave, which belies how highly functional it is. 

As a composite cellular material of durable polymer, it is moisture resistant. Plus, no organic material is involved, so no mold will grow on it. Low maintenance, lovely to look at, sufficiently ample in size, yet it was very budget-friendly.

Small Backyard Landscaping Tip: “When working with tighter places,” adds Dave, “allow enough room for a chaise lounge, dining, barbecue, and sufficient space to walk around. At the same time, do not overbuild the whole available space.”

Fiberon Protect Advantage Cedar Capped Composite Decking:

Fiberon Protect Advantage Cedar Capped Composite Decking:

This is the project described above. Another small backyard landscaping tip: Planters are a budget-friendly way to add bursts of color around the deck. You can even grow vegetables in planters such as a “summer salad” container for tomatoes and cucumbers, says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell. You can be sure these clients use their backyard a good deal now — for sun bathing, dining, and entertaining.


Small Backyards with Hot Tubs












“We’re frequently asked about how to make a pretty setting for a hot tub in a small backyard,” says Dave.

As you will see from the before photo (above left), space for these clients was tight. Even so, this Massapequa couple longed to enjoy their backyard more.

“So in lieu of what would have been a more expensive pool, the couple decided on a hot tub, installed with a custom look, in-ground, which would also made it easier to get in and out of,” says Dave.

However, even though these Deck and Patio clients knew they’d love spending time outdoors in their new hot tub, they wanted something beautiful to look at while in it. 

They certainly did not want to be facing their home’s siding, or even just a plain line of healthy evergreens. The idea of a pond, with soothing waterfall, and colorful koi swimming about that they could feed right from the hot tub, was the perfect complement (see right photo) 




Upshot? The pond with waterfalls, custom hot tub installation, and landscaping were still considerably less expensive than a pool. “A small backyard is an ideal place for a hot tub,” adds Dave. Note: Deck and Patio has portable CAL Spas in stock at our design center.


Fountainscapes Are Perfect in Small Spaces




Even a simple fountain will provide the delightful sound of moving water and a picturesque setting. Such sounds upgrade a routine garden into a spot that makes you want to stay home and just relax.

Certainly this Deck and Patio landscaping project included just the right touch to take it from pretty to sublime. There’s nothing quite like the sound of water to make us relax.

Although Deck and Patio installed this “stacked stone urn” fountain for the clients, they are easy DIY projects.

The kits come pretty well fabricated with a catch basin, pump, piping, and in different sizes. The one we used is the smallest (32” tall) — a perfect scale for this garden.


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