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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

"Before"

“Before”

"After"

“After”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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) 

 

"After"

“After”

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

Fountainscapes:

Fountainscapes:

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

Pond Maintenance Tips for Fall

 

Netting Ponds in Fall.

Netting Ponds in Fall.

 

 

Our blog a few weeks ago reminded pond lovers to net their pond before the leaves fall. And after you’ve captured them by the net, you can simply pull it out and once again enjoy your pond unobstructed.

But what’s required once the leaves have fallen?

 

 

 

Aquatic Plants Maintenance

 

Deck and Patio Ponds

Deck and Patio Ponds

“After all the leaves have fallen, this is the right time to trim back and remove any dead foliage from aquatic plants,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell. “This helps remove excessive organic material that would otherwise decompose in your water feature. Such decaying material can cause excess gasses and undesirable algae.”

Pond lilies, like you see in this Deck and Patio pond photo, are idyllic water plants for a variety of reasons. But they 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.

 

 

 

 

Chemical Pond Treatments

 

Leaves In Backyard Stream 

Leaves In Backyard Stream

 

 

 

Even with great care, you’ll find that some leaves/debris make it into your pond. Dave Kelly of Aquasacpe Inc. recommends adding a cold water bacteria treatment, which has concentrated strains of beneficial bacteria that works well below 50 degrees (F).

Kelly recommends adding it routinely to help maintain water clarity and quality.  (Photo: Aquascape Inc.)

 

 

 

 

Caring for Pond Fish

 

You can — and should — plump up your koi darlings to survive winter hibernation. As temperatures start to drop, gradually increase how much you feed them. When your pond’s water gets below 59 degrees, we recommend using fish food made for cold water. 

Note: As the temperature continues to drop, gradually reduce the amount you feed them. Once water temperatures go below 55 degrees, says Kelly, 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.

 

Pond Fish in Fall:

Pond Fish in Fall:

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

 

Healthy Ponds:

Healthy Ponds:

Once Spring arrives, and your pond and fish are healthy and thriving, you’ll be glad you took such good care of your pond in the Fall.

 

There! That’s not so bad, is it. Just remember: a little fall maintenance makes all the difference.

 

Pond Netting Makes for Easy Fall Maintenance

Fallen Leaves Affect Pond Ecosystems

Fallen Leaves Affect Pond Ecosystems

For most of Long Island, NY, we are nearing the mid-point of fall foliage color change right now. That means there’s still time to do some quick preventative maintenance in and around your pond or water feature.

“Any leaves left in your feature’s water will cause a messy clean up come spring,” says our own Dave Stockwell.

But pond netting, Dave reminds us, will capture any falling leaves. “Plus it doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of your pond or water feature. Netting may not be the most beautiful addition, but it’s up only a short while.”

The key is to get your netting up before the leaves fall. Then simply pull it out once they’ve changed and dropped

“Just be sure to tent the netting so that it doesn’t sag into the pond water when it’s weighted with leaves,” adds Dave.

 

Value of Pond Netting: (Photo: Courtesy of Aquascape, Inc.)

Value of Pond Netting: (Photo: Courtesy of Aquascape, Inc.)

 

Dave adds that if you are late in putting up the netting, you can always use a long-handle pond net to clear out the debris. It’s just much easier if you use the netting.

Another good idea is to trim back and remove any dead foliage from the aquatic plants before or after you put up the netting. “This cuts down excessive organic material that might otherwise decompose in the water feature,” says Dave.

 

Caring for Pond Lilies in Fall:

Caring for Pond Lilies in Fall:

One of the plants that requires trimming is the pond lily. They are idyllic water plants but unless it is cut back to just about its base, it might droop over into the water. This is true of any other marginal plants you have around the edges of your pond.

 

Treating Unwanted Pond Debris: (Photo: Aquascape, Inc.)

Treating Unwanted Pond Debris: (Photo: Aquascape, Inc.)

 

 

Since some debris will make it into your pond no matter how hard you work, Aquascape Inc. recommends adding a cold water bacteria treatment, which has concentrated strains of beneficial bacteria that works well below 50 degrees (F).  Their expert, Dave Kelly, recommends adding it routinely to help maintain water clarity and quality.

There may be a little work involved, but the joys of autumn are well worth it. Fall foliage viewing, apple picking, and evenings beside fire pits while the kids roast marshmallows — all working up to the big day: Halloween — is a very small effort to pay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

How We Can All Help the Earth Heal

This week, The Washington Post ran an article entitled: “You – yes, you! – can help the planet. Start in your backyard.”

We’re sharing some of these ideas today.

 

Creating Safe Habitats for Caterpillars

Creating Safe Habitats for Caterpillars

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning with simply offering pollinators, like the endangered Monarch butterfly, a place to stop, eat, and rest, e.g., on a flower pot on your balcony, or planting milkweed in your garden to lay their eggs, is doing much.

 

Hummingbirds

 

Put Out a Welcome Mat for Hummingbirds

Put Out a Welcome Mat for Hummingbirds

 

 

These beautiful birds are wonderful pollinators. Bright colored flowers encourage their long slender bills and tube-like tongues for take in nectar — fueling them for their busy work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing the Post piece emphasizes is using native plants to attract pollinators in general. We’re happy to say Butterfly milkweed, a favorite of Monarchs, is native to Long Island as well as the following plants:

 

Black Eyed Susans (Photo: Hicks Nurseries):

Black Eyed Susans (Photo: Hicks Nurseries):

Great for attracting butterflies, these biennials, Black Eyed Susans, are also a haven for other pollinators like bees. Their bright yellow petals and dark centers can’t help but make you smile.

 

 

Easy to Maintain Pond Ecosystem:

Easy to Maintain Pond Ecosystem:

Many coneflowers (Echinacea) are also native to Long Island which you can see on the right of this water feature system consists of a stream, waterfalls and pond, and it is the perfect spot for letting the day’s care’s melt away.

 

Don’t Forget About the Bees

Washington Post Feature Article on Bees

Washington Post Feature Article on Bees

Lastly, don’t forget about those other important pollinators — the bees. Speaking of the Washington Post, several weeks ago they had a wonderful article entitled “The consciousness of bees.” In it, a professor at Queen Mary University of London describes studies that indicate that bees have “surprisingly rich inner worlds.” 

It is a touching piece, which may leave you quite moved by these little creatures, if you weren’t so already.

As for plants that bees love, you’ll find that those listed above today will benefit them as well as butterflies and hummingbirds.

 

Note: The original Post article mentioned today offers other ideas for lawns and landscaping and Deck and Patio is happy to help our clients make adjustments in their yards to create havens for pollinators and make your yard more earth-friendly. And more beautiful! — if we say so ourselves. 

 

The Benefits of Exposure to Nature

When surfing social media, the posts that get most attention are beautiful landscaping photos. If catching a quick glimpse of nature online seems to refresh the spirit, imagine what time spent outdoors in a natural setting does.

The University of Washington wrote a piece on this very subject not too long ago. And after two years of study, while they remain baffled as to “how” nature heals more than the soul, they do know that exposure to a beautiful landscape is beneficial to one’s overall well being.

The study also indicated that some doctors in their areas were already suggesting “doses of nature to their adult patients to treat conditions ranging from heart disease to depression.” 

The researchers also discovered that spending time in nature can be a challenge, depending on one’s neighborhood, etc. But providing specific spots to “safely enjoy nature” is worth the effort both at home and in the local community.

We thought we’d share today some examples of Long Island homeowners who have employed Deck and Patio to create mini-natural havens in their own yards.

 

Creating Beautiful Backyard Escapes

Creating Beautiful Backyard Escapes

Deck and Patio carefully selected the boulders and stones, along with bright plantings to create this beautiful vista. And as many would agree, it would not have been an ideal outdoor refuge without some sort of water feature. A stream with waterfalls flowing under a charming wooden bridge, combined with the imported boulders and rocks we chose, created a natural walking trail like one would find in the mountains.

 

Mixing Softscapes with Hardscapes:

Mixing Softscapes with Hardscapes:

There’s no need to sacrifice a patio with spaces for entertaining for a natural vista that will nourish your soul. You can have both. Here we built multi-level patios and carefully spaced how each area was to be used. 

We set up one area for relaxing and taking in a section of the yard’s multi-faceted water feature. Another spot off to the side — in front of a thicket of trees — was designed as a private patio. Sections for sunning and being near their pool were also planned out.

 

Award-Winning Backyard Twin Ponds:

Award-Winning Backyard Twin Ponds:

This project is a great example of building a nature lover’s escape on a property that did not have a lot of slope. It is actually three bodies of water: twin ponds and a swimming pool. 

The lower pond was intended to be the fish pond, with the upper pond for aquatic plants. However, Mother Nature is always boss. For not long after this award-winning* project was complete, the pond fish began jumping over the waterfall stone that separated the ponds to swim upstream into the upper pond. 

(*This project won an international silver medal for water features from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

 

Backyard Nature Walk:

Backyard Nature Walk:

Because these clients had a lovely wooded yard, Deck and Patio had a beautiful backdrop to work our magic. We weaved stone steps, streams, and waterfalls in an around the property’s existing bridge and nature walks — all just below a park-style bench. We also lavished it all with robust plantings and green ground cover. To just about any eye, the completed nature walk appears as if Mother Nature put it all together herself.

 

Natural Stepping Stone Bridge:

Natural Stepping Stone Bridge:

Taking a walk in this backyard is as much meditation as exercise. In homage to Japanese Garden styles, Deck and Patio fitted large natural stones with smooth walking surfaces across a newly completed backyard pond. When doing the landscaping, we anchored each side of the pond with beautiful deep colors midst the lush green ground cover.

 

Feature Photo

Feature Photo

Feature Photo (Top of Page):

Since we can’t travel daily to natural habitats, how can we pause daily to rest our minds? The answer may be found right in our own backyard.

Did you know that since Deck and Patio began designing/building ponds and pondscapes, we have created over 300 such peaceful water features here on Long Island alone? Local nature lovers have found that their backyards don’t have to be just a patch of green with some flower beds. They can be glorious escapes that act as the perfect elixir.

Escape To Your Peaceful Garden This Summer

Flowers Are for Everyone 

Flowers Are for Everyone

Sometimes it seems like there’s no good news. But we can control agitation by making home a place of peace, including a delightful garden to escape to. 

One great thing about flowers is they respond to everyone the same way. They don’t care where they’re planted either. Spend a little time creating a proper  space — right soil, right amount of water, etc. — and they grow and blossom for you and everyone.

Also, a flower or plant doesn’t care if it’s alone. If taken care of, it will smile its bright colors, give off its scent to the breeze and feed visiting pollinators — all without companions.

Didn’t plant bulbs earlier this year? Don’t worry. Even though the heat of summer is almost upon us, there’s lots of stunning flowers that love summer that you can add — so it’s not too late. This weekend’s weather, for example should be temperate and have enough nice sun, so there’s time to spend in your garden.

 

Summer Plant Ideas

We have a list of plants below which are perfect summer plants. We begin with Lilies. They come in lots of colors and have a lovely symbolism. 

 

 

Lilies:

To enjoy these all summer long, you can plant a variety of the bulbs. Here’s the bloom times for some varieties:

Lilies Bloom from Early June

Lilies Bloom from Early June

 

Madonna Lilly:  blooms in early June

Asian Lilies: Mid-June

Trumpet Lilies: Late-June

Oriental Lilies: Early August

Nepalese Lilies: Mid-August

Speciosum Hybrids: September

 

 

 

Coneflowers (Black-eyed Susans)

A favorite Deck and Patio is the wildflower — the black-eyed Susan, a.k.a., coneflower. These plants are hardy and take heat and bright sunshine well. They provide gorgeous bursts of color to any garden, including around water gardens. 

But they don’t just turn the outdoors lovely. As cut flowers, they make great bouquets.

The following two photos celebrating coneflowers are Deck and Patio projects.

 

Coneflowers/Curb Appeal (Deck and Patio project)

Coneflowers/Curb Appeal (Deck and Patio project)

 

Coneflowers/Backyard Beauties.  (Deck and Patio project) 

Coneflowers/Backyard Beauties.  (Deck and Patio project)

 

 

Red Coleus

Again, this gorgeous plant thrives in the sun. With beautifully leafed flora, they are great as container or bedding plants. Right now is certainly a good time to add them to your gardens — or anywhere you’d like a spot of color — as they don’t survive during frost and cold climes unless you take them inside.

If you plant them now they’ll thrive through the warm months…just pinch the tips from the stems regularly to help growth.

The following Deck and Patio project shows coleus we planted near a water feature.

 

Red Coleus for drama.  (Deck and Patio project) 

Red Coleus for drama.  (Deck and Patio project)

 

 

Globe Amaranth

This lovely annual looks like pom-poms; their flowers come in purple, red, and white and last into fall. Hardy as it is, do water it from the soil, not overhead, which can cause a powderly mildew to grow.

The plants will die back when frost appears. But their seeds will germinate after winter.

 

Globe Armaranth/Three cheers for pom-poms.

Globe Armaranth/Three cheers for pom-poms.

 

 

Hibiscus

 

Hibiscus/worth coddling 

Hibiscus/worth coddling

 

People often think of hibiscus (which is our feature photo today/top of page) as a tropical flower — which it is. But it will thrive surprisingly well elsewhere, including the northeast. They do need lots of space, rich well-drained soil, and plenty of water but are worth the coddling.

Some varieties of hibiscus can grow into trees. How about that.

 

 

 

 

Verbena

Talk about saving the best for the last. Verbena shows its stuff (beautiful blooms) during the hottest of summer heat. Available in annual and perennial varieties, they are long lasting spreaders. They come in 250 varieties so there’s lots of color to choose from, including white, pink, or purple.

Some of the species are drought resistant, too, if that’s on your mind. They are often used in herbal teas…and as if all this wasn’t good enough, butterflies and hummingbirds love them.

 

Verbena/Ideal summer plants

Verbena/Ideal summer plants

 

 

If you’d prefer to have Deck and Patio help plan and landscape your garden, just give us a shout at:

631-549-8100!

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Backyard Upgrades: Two Different Ways To Cope with a Slope

There’s no denying that, even for design/build experts, sloped properties can be a challenge. In the end, as with much of life’s problems — creativity ends up being the key.

“The creative process begins when as we discover who our clients are and what their hopes are for their yard,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “Devoting enough time to the interviewing process is an important first step.”

Today we’re highlighting two very different ways to ‘cope with a slope,’ The first project was for Long Island, NY, clients whose yard had a seven-foot elevation rising up from one end of their yard to the other, says Dave.

 

Project # 1

“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 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.

 

Project # 2

Our second project earned The Deck and Patio Company a Silver Award from the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA). These homeowners are nature lovers. And their property had an unused slope near their patio. 

Our idea was to design/build a 35-foot-stream, with two stepping stone paths on either side, that gently moves along the grade solely with the help of Mother Nature’s gravity. 

We also positioned natural moss rock boulders and plantings, as well as river stones along its banks to make a perfect area for strolling, bird-watching, etc. The water flows down into a lovely free-form pond near the patio.

 

Nature-Loving Family (Long Island/NY):

Nature-Loving Family (Long Island/NY):

This stunning free-form pond is a huge hit with the clients’ entire nature-loving family. Everyone enjoys feeding and watching the vibrant koi as they swim about in it. “We even get to enjoy it all at night,” says the wife. “And we can see it from our home and offices, too.”

 

Picture-Perfect Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

Picture-Perfect Waterfalls (Long Island/NY):

It takes expertise and experience to position rocks in such a way as to coax water into waterfalls just like it happens in nature. Members of Deck and Patio’s team enjoy the woods and hillsides of upstate New York — frequently stopping and studying how water flows over rock, how plants crop up alongside of such water trails, etc.

“The whole area attracts so much wildlife — like frogs and birds,” says the homeowner. “This is really one of our favorite things about having a stream and pond.”

The homeowners say they also enjoy the sounds of the waterfalls and the serenity they feel watching the fish swimming in the pond. “It’s something we look forward to at the end of a long day.”

To learn more about this backyard stream and pond, click here.

 

 

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