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. 

Celebrate Community Spirit at Long Island’s Fall Festival: Oct 7 – 10!

Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Festival Logo

Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Festival Logo


The weather promises to be spectacular for living it up this Columbus Weekend at the largest fall festival of its kind in the Northeast — the Long Island Fall Festival at Heckscher Park in Huntington.

The Town of Huntington and the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce are putting together a truly special community event. World Class Carnival, three stages of Live Entertainment, Beer & Wine Pavilion, 300 vendors overall. 




Here’s the when and where:

LIFALLFESTIVAL/Photo: Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce

LI FALL FESTIVAL/Photo: Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce


Heckscher Park, Huntington

Friday, October 7,  5-10pm

Saturday and Sunday, October 8 & 9, 11am – 9pm

Monday, October 10, 11am – 5pm




Deck and Patio’s Participation

Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio

Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio



Deck and Patio is thrilled to once again be one of the Festival’s vendors. At our installation, you can expect to see close up a handsome Cambridge Pavingstone patio, gorgeous fall landscaping plants, fire features, water feature, and, of course, CAL Spas. 

Note: For the Festival, we are offering CAL Spas on sale — so this is a great opportunity to look them over!





“The Fall Festival is a great opportunity for local businesses etc. to exhibit what we do in a relaxed, fun, atmosphere,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell. “Visitors can stop and ask questions without feeling any pressure, not to mention being able to see up close things they might only see in photos on the web.”

Dave adds that Heckscher Park, with all its natural beauty, is an ideal place for a design/build firm like Deck and Patio — that specializes in outdoor living — to showcase some of what we do. 


Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio

Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio

“For example, ponds, waterfalls are just the kind of thing you’d run across in parks and woodlands when you’re out walking a trail,” says Dave. “So our exhibit which includes a water feature will look right at home.”

Our award-winning staff will be there and can talk to you about any of your outdoor living needs — from pools, patios, decks, water features, hot tubs, pavilions, fire features and, of course, landscaping. Or just stop by and relax as you enjoy all the Fall Festival has to offer.

You can find Deck and Patio’s display area easily as we’re located right in the center of the Festival, overlooking the Chapin Stage in the Chamber Circle. 

“It’s a prime spot,” adds Dave, “we’re right where live streaming is, next to the Festival’s organizers and just west of the wonderful Chapin Stage.



Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio

Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio

See up close handsome patio pavers by Cambridge Pavingstones With ArmorTec, CAL Spas, water features, landscaping plants.


LI Fall Festival

LI Fall Festival



All festival photos (not of Deck and Patio’s own installation), including our feature photo at the top of the page are courtesy of Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce.





“So come for a world-calls carnival, two international food courts, four stages of live entertainment — and also get to know local Long Island businesses like us,” says Dave. 



For Mother’s Day Flowers: Think ‘Aquatic’


If Mom has a backyard pond, stream or water fountain, rather than giving her the usual bouquet, how about gifting her plants for her outdoor waterscape.


Plants for Water Fountains


Aquascape Inc. Garden Fountain

Aquascape Inc. Garden Fountain


A water fountain that is set in a basin is the perfect spot for adding flowers and greenery. Consider free-floating plants which are perfect for a fountain garden. 

Tip: Don’t forget a bit of Miracle Gro. In a fountain basin, floaters won’t get nutrients from other decaying plants that are found in ponds, etc., so they’ll need some nutrients. 

Another tip: Put these plants in the calmest section of the fountain’s basin so they don’t get too much water splashed on them. If the basin is large enough, perhaps there’s room for a few koi as well. Koi and aquatic plants work well together in keeping a healthy waterscape.





Here’s a very short video of the sounds and beauty of a fountain-garden.







Deck and Patio Built Pond

Deck and Patio Built Pond

Aquascape Inc., in St. Charles, IL — the country’s leading experts on all things pond and water gardens — describes the basic groups of aquatic plants as:

  • Water Lilies Lotus
  • Marginal Plants Water Lily-like Plants
  • Floating Plants Submerged Plants

And don’t worry if you’re choosing the right plant. Ponds are all the more beautiful with a variety of greenery and color.

“In fact, the best designs for ponds and water gardens utilize a wide mixture of plants in different heights, textures and color from at least three of the above groups,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell. 

“This gives the most natural look. When installing these, at Deck and Patio we don’t do it in a symmetrical way. We find that a more random placement provides the most natural look.”


And when it comes to gift giving, “random” makes the choosing all the easier.


Here’s some more aquatic plant ideas:


Aquatic Plants and Pond Landscaping (Long Island/NY):

Aquatic Plants and Pond Landscaping (Long Island/NY):


The tall aquatic plant on the left of the pond (canna lily) offers a nice tall statement. It thrives in water conditions that are 70-80 degrees F, with a pH of 6.5-7.5. 

They’re also easy to care for, love natural light and are ideally suited near the edges of a pond. The weeping hemlock at the top right in the photo flourishes in moist soil and offers a bit of shade which helps balance the water temperature.



Aquatic Plants (Long Island/NY):

Aquatic Plants (Long Island/NY):



So think water garden plants for this mother’s day. These plants will live a long time in their water bed. And with the outdoor season coming fast toward us, Mom will thank you indeed for the extra color and texture around her favorite sitting spot. 






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