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Staycations: Plan for Some Backyard Thrills This Summer

Staycations are back — if they ever went away. And our next few blogs will highlight elements that help create a wonderful home-vacation. This week we’re showcasing Deck and Patio water slide projects.

Believe it or not, mid-January is the ideal time to plan for such summer backyard thrills. 

 

Swimming Pool Slides

Vortex Slide

Vortex Slide

Families that have visited waterparks may already be familiar with such names as Vortex, Typhoon, or Cyclone. And such exciting water slides are possible at home, too.

Deck and Patio has installed such slides on Long Island and the New York Metro area for years (see below). Their sizes and shapes have varied, as well as the scope of the project installations — depending on the client’s budget, property size, and the amount of adrenaline rush desired.

Of course, you can have a slide, on its own, well-secured to your pool without any special landscaping. Or you can have a landscaping firm like Deck and Patio design/build a special setting around the slide you choose.

Beyond even that, one company makes a slide that can be custom-built to fit your existing landscape or future landscape plans. BYOS 1 and BYOS 2 slides, for example, are configured and designed to fit your plans and ideas.

“One thing very special about BYOS,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell, “is they can be set into a sloped landscape to look almost natural or just plan funky and fun. You decide everything. That’s the real fun of it.”

 

Wild Ride Slide: Fun for Kids and Adults

Wild Ride Slide: Fun for Kids and Adults

 

Kids love water and action. Pool slides and diving rocks are two favorite pool amenities. “When we add a slide, we build it safe for the kids by setting it in around boulders and plants so if they ever fall when climbing up its steps, it won’t be far and with a soft landing,” says Dave. 

“Also note that next to this Deck and Patio-installed Wild Ride water slide with its water falling into the pool, we installed a moss rock waterfall that flows with force over extended rock.

 

 

Side Benefits of Swimming Pool Slides

No matter the scope of the slide project, when not in use by thrill-seekers, the calming sounds of water spilling from the slide into your pool transforms your new Cyclone, Typhoon, Wild Ride etc. into a gentle water feature.

So readers: You learned it here first. Water slides aren’t just for thrills. On any given day, they can also help you relax.

 

Access to Pool Slide:

Access to Pool Slide:

It is important to have sufficient room to allow easy access to the slide and any surrounding patio. For this Deck and Patio project, in order to cut back on having too much hardscape, we used stepping stones up from the patio to the slide, which are more in keeping with the slide’s natural setting.

 

Serpentine Slide:

Serpentine Slide:

Talk about thrills! Deck and Patio created this award-winning feature several years ago. It called for installing a large serpentine slide around a huge moss rock water feature.

 

Serpentine Slide:

Serpentine Slide:

This is the same slide project as pictured immediately above. When we worked on this water feature, we added large natural stones for the climb up to the top of the slide. Also note how an additional waterfall from the hilltop stream falls into the slide itself for an additional thrill.

 

Natural Retaining Walls:

Natural Retaining Walls:

When planning out this project, we suggested using Rocka steps, moss rock boulders, and creeping plant material instead of the usual retaining wall. This more natural setting provided the sloping landscape required for a fun pool slide. And it makes for a beautiful natural retaining wall, doesn’t it?

 

BYOS Custom Slide:

BYOS Custom Slide:

This slide is not one of ours. It was custom built by BYOS for Pulliam Pools in Texas. It’s a great example of perfectly fitting a custom-slide into a beautiful landscape plan. Photo: Courtesy of BYOS.

 

 

When Should I Begin Planning My Backyard Upgrade?

While it’s not too cold now, you might be thinking that the weather could change abruptly at any moment. This is New York, after all. So you might be considering waiting until spring to plan and begin any major backyard upgrades.

“People think they can’t begin planning until it’s warm,” says Deck and Patio owner Dave Stockwell. “But that’s really not necessary at all. It can be done during any season, including winter.”

Google Earth Map

Google Earth Map

 

“Granted, it is helpful to see close up any existing patio or pool that’s being upgraded or replaced,” says Dave. “But much of our planning can be done through surveys and Google Earth. 

“Even if the ground is covered in snow, our experts don’t need to see the ground to begin,” adds Dave. “Plus, with the computer software available today, the drafting and collaboration design process is surprisingly quick — even providing an accurate representation of how your outdoor spaces will look after the work is done.”

 

 

 

How Computer Animation Helps

 

Backyard 3-D Animation Plan

Backyard 3-D Animation Plan

Completed Backyard Upgrade

Completed Backyard Upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 3-D animation (top left) not only shows what the yard will look like — including from different perspectives — tweaking and changes can easily be changed as the project goes along.

For this completed Long Island, NY, project (top right), the property had existing patios and a pool. The key was to decide what to keep and what to remove. 

One part of the design expanded the original confining upper and lower patios into both shady and sunny expansive areas. This also helped open up the space to allow unobstructed views of Long Island Sound.

 

Full Deck and Patio Backyard Retreat

When you’re hoping for a major upgrade that includes lots of special outdoor amenities — and especially if your property presents challenges to adding them — it is really a good idea to get started very early.

“In the following case, the clients’ hopes for a full outdoor retreat — pool, spa, patio, waterfall, custom fire pit — all on a tight budget and created in a tighter space — added to the challenges of dealing with their yard’s slope.”

Full Outdoor Retreat on Sloped Property

Full Outdoor Retreat on Sloped Property

“Our biggest problem to solve was how to make everything appear like it fit in naturally without it all looking like a giant hill.”

Our design/build staff approached the project by taking on the grade in small bites — working out from an existing lower level patio to a new raised patio and then up to a pool. 

Note: By surrounding the hot tub with natural stone boulders with colorful plantings, the hot tub has a custom set-in-garden appeal. It was also positioned close to their back door so they can enjoy easy access year-long. (Note: You can ask our team about the portable CAL Spas we sell.)

 

Pool Moss Rock Waterfalls (Huntington/NY):

Pool Moss Rock Waterfalls (Huntington/NY):

 

 

Here you see a closeup of the completed moss rock waterfall with the sweet potato vine we added. Landscaping helps bring a setting to life and softens the hardscape.

For more details about this project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Lush Landscapes

Lush Landscapes

 

Today’s Feature Photo at Top of Page: Vibrant, lush landscaping as well as a new patio, pool area with water slide, and custom spa with waterfalls takes planning. It’s wise to start, yes, even in January. 

A Natural Backyard Retreat for All Seasons

Even when snow is falling, a backyard oasis can offer delightful daily escapes.

Once championed mainly for their ‘staycation’ appeal, such natural retreats have become popular for short daily escapes. Listening to the trickle of water while birds sing is an ideal way to escape technology and hyper-activity. 

But did you know these escapes are equally enjoyable in winter — as well as in spring, summer, fall?

Note: The New York Times is reporting this week that there’s health benefits to such relaxing enjoyments. Spending time in nature, says the NY Times, “is good for your mind … [it] decreases stress, sharpens concentration and improves long-term mental health outcomes.”

 

Winter

Relax in Your Spa — While The Koi Hibernate

If you add a backyard koi pond as part of your retreat, it no doubt will include a small cave where the koi can lay dormant during winter months. 

However, that does not mean you need to hide in your own indoor home-cave. Consider this home’s backyard oasis:

 

“Winter Wonderland” Backyard Oasis:

“Winter Wonderland” Backyard Oasis:

The clear, crisp winter air makes for extraordinary sunsets and starry nights — made all the more splendid with a vanishing edge pool or pond.

Under the stillness of one of our large multi-faceted water features (vanishing edge upper pond and lower pond, waterfalls, and a gentle stream) 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.

 

Spring

The same Deck and Patio project shown immediately above is pictured below here in spring. 

Photo: Backyard Water Features/Natural Biological Filtration:

An extremely high tech and complex natural biological filtration system maintains this feature’s crystal clear water all year long.

The same Deck and Patio project shown immediately above is pictured below here in spring. 

 

Backyard Water Features/Natural Biological Filtration:

Backyard Water Features/Natural Biological Filtration:

An extremely high tech and complex natural biological filtration system maintains this feature’s crystal clear water all year long.

 

Summer, Autumn

Again, the same project is a lush paradise when it’s easy being green. 

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.

 

Multi-Functional Water Feature:

Multi-Functional Water Feature:

Every part of this water feature (summer view) has a reason and purpose and works together in an ecologically friendly way. 

Project’s Biological Filtration System

This water feature project includes three bodies of water: two ponds at two levels, and a 3,000-gallon underground storage vault of water – all kept clear and clean with “biological filtration” through the use of beneficial bacteria, plants and other filter media.

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.

Water is pumped from the underground vault to both ponds through variable energy efficient speed pumps. In the upper pond, water enters from its floor. In the lower, it enters through a separate bog – a natural filtering system – and continues through a waterfall into that pond.

Except for what is pumped in from below, everything works through gravity along gradations that our team created in the landscape. Every part of the water feature has a reason and purpose and works together in an ecologically friendly way.

 

 

Winter-Friendly Durable Construction Products

Our winters on Long Island don’t always come with a lot of snow, but we do face extended cold streaks. For this reason alone, Deck and Patio values durable construction products that also look good.

 

Techo-Bloc Construction Paver Materials

 

Snow Removal:

Snow Removal:

Techo-Bloc products are engineered in Canada where they require extra strength due to our neighboring country’s extreme weather changes. Their pavers handle very well the freeze/thaw that occurs in our own corner of the Northeast.

“The stones will remain adaptable, even, and stable for years, as long as they are installed properly,” says our own Dave Stockwell.

Techo-Bloc pavers are nearly three times stronger than poured concrete, And when it comes to snow, these pavers can be plowed and shoveled. 

Actually, the edges and joints around the pavers assist in melting snow and ice, says the manufacturer. And that using de-icing salt (sodium chloride or calcium chloride) to remove snow and ice will not harm these paving stones.

Deck and Patio Project Using Techo-Bloc

Deck and Patio Project Using Techo-Bloc

 

This photo shows how natural Techo-Bloc pavers look. Instead of one-sized bricks placed throughout your entire patio or retaining wall or driveway, their kits provide “random” instead of straight lines for a handsome outcome.

“These products are available in pavers, slabs, walls, for facing outdoor features such as fire pits, edging, and include permeable materials,” says Dave.

 

 

 

Fiberon Capped Composite Decking

 

Photo Courtesy of Fiberon

Photo Courtesy of Fiberon

Fiberon offers capped composite decking boards, like the ones shown here. They are made of materials and a cap that resist moisture. Fiberon boards include a “cover” that provide added protection against the elements and everyday living.

Most wood decking materials face challenges in holding up to such weather.  Even moisture-resistant woods require regular sealing and parts of the underside can’t help but trap moisture.

“While most reputable capped composite manufacturers produce superb products that are stain, insect, mold and splinter resistant,” says Dave Stockwell, “Fiberon’s special warranty can also be a factor. Not only do clients get the usual 25-year warranty on materials, with Fiberon they also get a five-year warranty on labor.”

That said, the most important aspect to ongoing outdoor winter enjoyment is to remove any existing snow.

“Whether you have a wood or capped-composite deck, we recommend not using metal shovels for this, but plastic ones. If you feel it necessary to use de-icing materials, rock salt is the best choice for any deck surface.  Be sure to choose rock salt that is labeled safe for flagstone or concrete and will not kill grass.”

 

Award-winning Deck and Patio Fiberon Project

Award-winning Deck and Patio Fiberon Project

The Director of Marketing Communications at Fiberon, Edie Kelly does not recommend using sand to remove ice and snow because that can mar a deck’s surface.

“If the snow is light, a broom is a good choice or, again, a plastic shovel, Kello recommends sweeping the used rock salt into the trash, then rinsing the deck off to remove any residue. This is especially important if you have pets.

“You can use a pressure washer if you like, but we recommend not going beyond 3,000 PSI (pounds per square inch). Also, keep the nozzle about 10” above the deck. This applies to both wood and composite decking.“

Fiberon also says it is important to shovel parallel to the boards and not horizontally.

 

 

Snowy, Icy Landscape

Snowy, Icy Landscape

 

Backyard Upgrades: As you learn the best ways to enjoy your deck and patio during winter, it’s a great time to ponder what changes you’d like to make for spring.

And it’s okay if you have no idea how to look through snow and plan for spring. The key is: design/build experts like Deck and patio do know. And we can help you see through winter to spring.

 

 

 

Mini Pools Make the Most of Small Yards and Budgets

Whether you call it a mini pool, spool, plunge pool, wading pool or cocktail pool, small pools are growing in popularity. Not requiring as much space or cost as a regular pool, often face fewer building restrictions, and are ideal for small families, properties and budgets.

On Pinterest, for example, posts showcase a wide range of mini pool shapes and amenities. Indeed, Deck and Patio has posted our own projects there. For we’ve been creating a version of these mini pools for some time. 

The ones we’ve most often designed/built we’ve termed “spools” or a combination of pool and spa. But they are a type of mini pool.

And if you think that this is an odd time of year to be thinking about pools, mini or not, you might be surprised to learn that we begin building one of our popular spools on Pinterest in fall, completing it in spring. 

Here’s that Deck and Patio spool story.

 

Spool: Before, After, and In-Between

The homeowners decided on a ‘spool” for their yard  because they didn’t have room for a full-sized pool.

A spool would also allow them to enjoy it year-round. They could opt to run cool water in the spool during warm months, and hot water during cold months and cool evenings.

In addition, the mechanics of a spa provides the benefits of hydrotherapy massage — not to mention the amazing experience of sitting under flowing water from an added waterfall.

 

‘Before:’ Deck and Patio used orange paint to mark the areas for the new spool, waterfall, patio and landscaping.

‘Before:’ Deck and Patio used orange paint to mark the areas for the new spool, waterfall, patio and landscaping.

 

 

“During.” Winter was upon us not long after we began the project. We did have time to dig out the area for the spa. Then we covered the hole while we all waited for spring to continue.

“During.” Winter was upon us not long after we began the project. We did have time to dig out the area for the spa. Then we covered the hole while we all waited for spring to continue.

 

 

“During” Spring As soon as spring came, we began building the concrete shell. As you can see the ground was still hard but the hole was already dug allowing us to proceed early.

“During” Spring
As soon as spring came, we began building the concrete shell. As you can see the ground was still hard but the hole was already dug allowing us to proceed early.

 

 

‘During’ Testing of Waterfall: This is day we tested the waterfall. The completed spool is 8’ x 10’ and is vinyl-lined. Note the patio was complete also. The patio was built using Techo-Bloc paving stones (Elena in Sandlewood) which are durable and will withstand a lot of activity and weather changes.

‘During’ Testing of Waterfall:
This is day we tested the waterfall. The completed spool is 8’ x 10’ and is vinyl-lined. Note the patio was complete also. The patio was built using Techo-Bloc paving stones (Elena in Sandlewood) which are durable and will withstand a lot of activity and weather changes.

 

 

‘Before’ Landscaping: Here a member of our team is marking out the landscaping areas for behind the waterfall up to the garage. You can see (on the right) the spool and waterfall are already complete. You can also see a small segment of the new patio.

‘Before’ Landscaping: Here a member of our team is marking out the landscaping areas for behind the waterfall up to the garage. You can see (on the right) the spool and waterfall are already complete. You can also see a small segment of the new patio.

 

 

“After” Landscaping: First photo angle of “after” job complete. A new fence was added for contrast and a bit of drama; a rushing stream flows through the large moss rock boulders to become a waterfall flowing into the spa.

“After” Landscaping:
First photo angle of “after” job complete. A new fence was added for contrast and a bit of drama; a rushing stream flows through the large moss rock boulders to become a waterfall flowing into the spa.

 

 

“After” Landscaping Second angle of “after” job complete. Here you can see the garage, fence, patio and spool; you can almost feel the warmth from their natural gas campfire. The end result is a beautiful backyard oasis tucked nicely into a corner of their new backyard upgrade.

“After” Landscaping
Second angle of “after” job complete. Here you can see the garage, fence, patio and spool; you can almost feel the warmth from their natural gas campfire. The end result is a beautiful backyard oasis tucked nicely into a corner of their new backyard upgrade.

 

 

 

Five ‘Before’ and ‘After’ Deck and Patio Backyard Upgrades

You are probably aware that fall is a great time to plan for a backyard upgrade. But did you know, it’s also the perfect time to begin the work?

The weather is still inviting enough to be outdoors. So as you spend time in your yard, why not assess what you’d like to improve or add? And to help you with this, we’re including 5 ‘before’ and ‘after’ projects below. 

 

Large Properties

This is a “before” photo of the Manhasset property before we began the upgrade.

“Before” photo of Manhasset property

Manhasset Project (After)

Manhasset Project (After)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Let’s start with today’s feature project. These Deck and Patio Manhasset, NY, clients really wanted to pull out all the stops. And they had a nice size property to design a complete oasis.

Indeed, this family had a large list of amenities that we designed and built for them:

— a large 25’ x 52’ free-form Gunite pool;

— a flowing stream alongside it to feed the pool’s 4’ x 6’ moss rock waterfall and second waterfall;

— a custom spill-over spa with a veneer of Bucks County Country Ledgestone; 

— a custom pavilion with fireplace and an outdoor kitchen

— patios made with custom inlays of our own design;

— and a very special amenity: a large sunken fire pit. 

Lovely upgrade, yes?

 

Before (left) & After (right)

Before (left) & After (right)

2. This homeowner purchased the above property that had an entrance he had to drive over each day. The area had not been kept up for many years. How could Deck and Patio accentuate its beautiful 1880 bridge structure? The idea of a reflecting pond — where the bridge could be seen in its still water — came to us.

Our design allowed the pre-existing bridge’s entire stone gazebo to be reflected in the pond water. The water feature we designed and built is more than 240-feet-long and 60-feet-wide, so it also captures the surrounding landscape. Plus, such a wonderful expanse of water made the perfect habitat for koi. 

Our team ensured the pond design included lots of flowing water, with rock overhangs, and plenty of space for pond fish to hide and thrive. Such a design makes it difficult for natural predators to reach the fish.

The stone bridge with turret creates a stunning pond reflection in its crystal clear water, doesn’t it?

 

Small Properties

 

"Before"

“Before”

"After"

“After”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. “The above project was for a Massapequa couple,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell, “who longed to enjoy their backyard more  — which was tidy but not enticing as well as being on the small side.”

So instead of opting for a more expensive pool, the couple decided on a quality hot tub, with a custom in-ground installation.

“An in-ground installation makes a portable hot tub appear like it’s a custom-made spa,” says Dave.  “Plus it would make it easier for them to get in and out of the spa.

However, even though they knew they’d love spending time outdoors in their new hot tub, they also 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. They decided on koi pond with waterfalls next to the hot tub.

Upshot? The pond with waterfalls, hot tub installation and landscaping were still less expensive than a pool. And they love going outdoors now.

 

Properties With Challenges

 

"After" of Deck and Patio Dix Hills Project

“After” of Deck and Patio Dix Hills Project

"Before"

“Before”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. “We introduced a unique concept to deal with the large wall behind the pool, and small patio spaces,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “The idea was to remove the wood retaining wall, re-grade the slope and create a large natural waterfall, stream, and woodland garden.”

Once the slope was stabilized, it was time for the pool renovation. After draining the pool and removing the liner, a poorly built concrete block wall was uncovered where we straighten the wall and filled the block in with concrete and steal rebar for strength. New vinyl covered stairs were added, plus new pipes, returns, skimmers, pump, filter and a new liner.

 

 

“Before” (left) “After" (right)

“Before” (left) “After” (right)

5. For these homeowners, it was clear a two-story deck was needed. They were both outdoor enthusiasts with a property that had a nice water view. And their deck also needed to be large enough to allow designated areas for grilling, dining, lounging and hot tubbing.

Plus, the railing would need special consideration.Their wish list included: an attractive modern-looking deck from where they could best appreciate their view; a deck/railing that did not in any way obstruct the view; and a conveniently placed portable spa.

An important choice for this Trex Deck project was the steel cable railing by Feeney does not obstruct the water views from any place on the deck. Deck and Patio built a custom spa “cradle” as a mount for their new hot tub. This positioned the spa so they could enjoy the views when inside the tub.

 

So, enjoy this lovely fall weather. But consider making your wish list. We can get started on it well in advance of next spring!

 

A Custom Outdoor Kitchen For the Holidays

 

Baked or Grilled Apples

Baked or Grilled Apples

Do you want to smoke your turkey this year? Could you use another oven for all those side dishes? How about a spot for cocktails to keep guests out of your way while you’re prepping the meal? 

And did you know you can grill an apple pie? Or a pumpkin one? Or how about stuffed and grilled apples?

With Thanksgiving not that far away and several festive celebrations in December, it’s not too late to install or upgrade your outdoor cooking area.

In the following Deck and Patio project, our clients asked that a smoker be added to their new custom outdoor kitchen. 

 

 

Deck Outdoor Activity Center

Deck Outdoor Activity Center:

 

Deck and Patio designed it as part of a custom activity area. We fitted it on the mid-level of a new 3-level deck. Just steps from the top-level’s large seating area, the custom outdoor kitchen/dining area includes a new grill, refrigerator, a small bar to enjoy the water views, and that special smoker/cooker. 

The entire kitchen area is all set within curved custom cabinetry with a raised bar that mimics the decking in style and design.

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Kitchen on Lower Patio

Outdoor Kitchen on Lower Patio

 

This time of year, it’s also great if your outdoor kitchen has a heat source nearby like the custom fire put Deck and Patio created for this family.

We contracted the kitchen’s amenities on a lower of two new Deck and Patio patios. The outdoor kitchen includes a built-in stainless steel grill, expansive work area, sink, refrigerator and eating/drinking bar with stools.

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Kitchen with Ronda insulated drawers

Outdoor Kitchen with Ronda insulated drawers

 

Unless the property has a destination pool area etc., Deck and Patio frequently locates outdoor kitchens fairly close to the inside of the house. 

As for the particular amenities shown here, one trend we’re seeing in outdoor kitchens are warming/cooling drawers made by companies like Ronda. These insulated drawers are sealed and work without electricity. Your drinks stay cool or your food stays warm depending on what you put in its lower drawer.

They have a magnetic seal, which along with being waterproof will also keep away bugs and dust. Indeed, you can choose a single drawer just for keeping dishes and cutlery completely clean.

 

 

An Upgraded Outdoor Kitchen

Can be Cost-Effective

 

Indoor Kitchen Remodel

Indoor Kitchen Remodel

 

“We find sometimes that clients opt for a fully-equipped outdoor kitchen as a more cost-effective way to extend their indoor cooking area — without having to remodel the whole kitchen,” says our own Dave Stockwell. “This is especially true when the home is on the smaller side.”

Of course, adds Dave, even those who already have large modern indoor kitchens love the convenience of an outdoor center that can become the heart of outdoor parties and gatherings.”

 

 

 

Outdoor Kitchens:

Outdoor Kitchens:

 

 

For more ideas on custom outdoor kitchens by Deck and Patio you can simply search our website.  

 

 

 

 

Feeding Your Koi: Fall Requires New Routines

 

Deck and Patio Ponds

Deck and Patio Ponds

 

And you think you have digestion issues. Well, according to top experts (e.g., The Pond Guy/Aquascape Inc.), your pond fish have real issues digesting their food when the temperature changes.

“Keep feeding your fish summer food,” says our own Dave Stockwell, “as long as the weather is consistently warm. Do this until it gets consistently cool. It’s then you should switch to cold weather food.”

 

 

Regularly Check Pond Water Temperature

Feeding Pond Fish in Fall

Feeding Pond Fish in Fall

Begin checking your pond’s water temperature beginning in early fall.

When pond water gets below 59 degrees, you can — and should — plump up your koi darlings to survive winter hibernation. Using fish food made for cold water, gradually increase how much you feed these lovely fish as temperatures start to drop.

As the water temperature continues to drop, gradually reduce the amount you feed them. Once temperatures go below 55 degrees, says Dave Kelly, from Aquascape inc., the metabolisms of pond fish slow way down. 

And when pond water gets down to 50 degrees, do not feed the fish any more. Their systems shut down in the colder water, and food sits inside them and rots. They get very sick and diseased from this.

So even though there is nothing cuter than your koi coming to you for more food, once the water gets to 50 degrees, experts say stop feeding them entirely.

 

 

Aquatic Plants Maintenance

Deck and Patio Ponds

Deck and Patio Ponds

 

“Fall is also a good time to trim back and remove any dead foliage from your pond’s aquatic plants this time of year,” says Dave Stockwell. “This helps remove excessive organic material that would otherwise decompose in the water feature. Such decaying material can cause excess gasses and undesirable algae.”

Pond lilies, for example, which are idyllic water plants, tend to need a little maintenance in fall. It’s a good idea to cut them back to just about the base of the plant; also trim back any marginal plants that might eventually droop over into the water.

 

 

 

Pond Fish in Fall:

Pond Fish in Fall:

There is nothing cuter than your koi coming to you for more food. Just a reminder, however. Once the water gets to 50 degrees, experts say stop feeding them entirely. 

Welcome to fall!

 

Add Some Color to your Labor Day Weekend Bash

It’s not too late for you to get a few pots of flowers or plants to brighten up your deck, patio, or pool area for Labor Day Weekend. Even if you’re not hosting a party yourself, if are attending someone else’s, fresh plantings allow you to create a special hostess gift, like a bouquet from your very own garden.

 

Multi-level Patios

Multi-level Patios Enhanced With Bright Plantings

These Deck and Patio clients (immediately above) wanted some color as they and guests move from one patio up to another. Note the bright red Anemones on the left and yellow Coneflowers on the right. With lots of additional green ferns, the natural stone steps feel like a true nature walk. 

 

Close Up of Coneflowers

Close Up of Coneflowers

Here’s a nice close up of coneflowers. Also known as aka Echinacea, thee are perfect for summer into fall. Native to our neck of the woods, they thrive in our climate. Not to mention, butterflies love them in case any Monarchs are passing by. They come in pink (like our feature photo above, red, orange, white and yellow. 

 

Wooden Bench Beside Brown Wood Fence

Wooden Bench Beside Brown Wood Fence

As you can see from this photo, you don’t require a resort to add a few pops of color. Here, it’s just a simple wooden bench that becomes celebrated by hanging a few planters on a complementary brown wood fence.

 

Anemone Windflower -- or "Honorine Jobert

Anemone Windflower — or “Honorine Jobert

Honorine Jobert offer bright yellow hearts and are a great choice to plant mid-to-late August. The Windflower will bloom through October and it prefers shade-to-partial sun, and moist, well-drained soil.

 

Chelone, (aka Turtlehead)

Chelone, (aka Turtlehead)

Chelone, (aka Turtlehead) boasts purple/red flowerings; it also does well in both shade and sun.

 

Sedum or Autumn Joy

Sedum or Autumn Joy

Sedums like the “upright” like Autumn Joy, as well as Asters, are also great choices. These prefer sun and are available in many different varieties and shades of pink and purple.

 

 

 

Add Pops of Color Poolside

Add Pops of Color Poolside

 

 

“It’s easy to make a splash this Labor Day weekend with bright plantings around your property,” says Dave Stockwell. “These ideas for adding color and beauty will not only make Labor Day Weekend entertaining colorful, but the impact will last well into the fall.” 

 

What Is the Perfect Outdoor Living Plan for Your Family?

As this outdoor living season begins to wind down after Labor Day, it is often a good time to take stock and plan for next year. And it is the job of professionals like Deck and Patio to help you dig deep into what your family most enjoys in order to create the perfect plan. 

Are you avid gardeners, for example? Or will you want plants that survive with little effort? And most of all, how do family members most like to spend their time outdoors?

We also help you consider how best to combine hardscapes (patios, driveways, etc.) with softscapes (trees, plantings and grasses). In addition, we’ll take into consideration how will you use the space, your property’s size — and, of course, budget.

The following special Manhasset, NY, project showcases how getting to know a family helped us bring about the ideal outdoor living spaces for them.

 

Manhasset Project's Pool and Patio

Manhasset Project’s Pool and Patio

After interviewing the Manhasset, Long Island, family, we uncovered and designed a substantial list of amenities that were perfect for them:

— a large 25’ x 52’ free-form Gunite pool;

— a flowing stream alongside it to feed the pool’s 4’ x 6’ moss rock waterfall and second waterfall;

— a custom spill-over spa with a veneer of Bucks County Country Ledgestone;

— a custom pavilion with fireplace and an outdoor kitchen;

— patios made with custom inlays of our own design;

— and a very special amenity: a large sunken fire pit.

 

 

The veneer of the fire pit was also used on the fireplace, and on the inside of the sunken fire pit, as well as on the face of the outdoor kitchen and exterior of the custom spa. It’s all Bucks County Country Ledgestone.

“They wanted us to pull out all the stops,” says our own Dave Stockwell “But that wasn’t what made us so happy to do the job. It was that they were repeat clients — clients who loved our previous work for them which to us is the very best testimonial.”

“The patios are made of Cambridge Pavingstones — from their Sherwood Ledgestone XL series. We laid them in a random pattern from our own design, including inlays with custom cut in borders.”

Custom Pavilion with Outdoor Fireplace:

Custom Pavilion with Outdoor Fireplace:

 

“In designing the large 16’ x 32’ pavilion with fireplace, we also dealt with the fact that our clients wouldn’t be able to screen out bugs by including large ceiling fans. Fans like these are effective in deterring irritating bugs while providing a nice breeze in warm weather,” says Dave.

For colder weather, the large custom fireplace with a mounted television on the mantel was constructed outside of a new pavilion, but flush to it. This allows for the maximum of space.

 

 

Pavilion’s Outdoor Fireplace

Pavilion’s Outdoor Fireplace

Deck and Patio captured some drama with the majestic custom fireplace we set against the large, open-air pavilion. 

“The new fireplace design also includes different ledges capped to match the pillar bases. These are not just architecturally interesting; they will allow them to add pots and lovely plants come spring,” says Dave.

The veneer we used on the fireplace, and on the inside of the sunken fire pit, as well as on the face of the outdoor kitchen and exterior of the custom spa is all Bucks County Country Ledgestone.

 

Enjoy the upcoming Labor Day Weekend. And if there’s anything missing from the family fun — jot it down. And then get in touch. We’re here to help your family create your perfect outdoor living plan.

 

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