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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.

Pool Slides: Enjoying Waterpark Thrills at Home

Imagine no heavy traffic, packed beach bags and lunches to bring the family to a waterpark. When you have your own pool slide, all those thrills can be enjoyed right at home.

Some of these home slides come in names like Cyclone, Vortex and Typhoon. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? S.R. Smith, for example, makes the Cyclone as well as Turbo Twister, Typhoon etc.) Aquaslide offers Julgle Joe and Jungle Joe II.

“Deck and Patio has been installing these brands on Long Island and the NY Metro area for years,” says our own Dave Stockwell. “In fact, a while back, one of our dramatic waterfall/slide projects, shown today at the top of this page, drew the attention of the famous group, Pool Kings, who asked us to start working with them.”

Dave adds that although the size and shape of our installed swimming pool slides vary — depending on the client’s budget, property size, and the amount of adrenaline rush they desire — they all provide a summertime thrill for the family and their friends.

“Although we specialize in dramatic and beautiful landscapes surrounding pool slides, clients can always opt for a slide to the simply well-secured to their pool without any of the special landscaping,” says Dave.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you would like a slide designed and configured to fit your property and landscaping plans, Inter-Fab Inc. offers BYOS 1 and BYOS 2 slides that are made to fit your plans and ideas.

“One thing very special about BYOS,” adds Dave, “is they can be funky and fun, or they can be set into a sloped landscape to look almost natural. You decide everything. That’s the neat part of it.” 

 

Side Benefit of a Pool Slide

After slides are installed, we learn from clients that an unexpected benefit from installing a slide is the calming sounds of water spilling from it into their pool. They say it transforms their ‘wild rides’ into a gentle water feature.

So, outdoor living lovers, your pool slide doesn’t have to be just for thrills. On any given day they can help you relax!

 

 

Wild Ride Slide:

Wild Ride Slide:

Next to the Wild Ride water slide with its water falling into the pool, Deck and Patio installed a separate moss rock waterfall that flows with force over extended rock.

 

 

Access to Pool Slide:

Access to Pool Slide:

One thing when installing a pool slide is to provide sufficient room to allow easy access to the slide and any surrounding patio. For this 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. It is the one we mentioned above that inspired Pool Kings to contact us to participate in their projects and which have aired on HGTV.

 

 

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.

 

 

BYOS Slide:

BYOS Slide:

This slide project 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 Inter-Fab Inc.

 

 

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!

 

 

Backyard Waterfalls: A White Noise That’s Always Welcome

Yes, a welcome sound can be white noise! If the sound is coming from the frothy rush of bubbly-white falling water. Not only are the sounds of waterfalls relaxing, they can be employed to block out unwanted sounds like nearby traffic.

“Many parts of Long Island are fairly built-up,” says Deck and Patio owner Dave Stockwell. “In Nassau County, the homes can be quite close together. But even in Suffolk, it’s hard to get completely away from traffic.”

The following Roslyn, NY, homeowners had longed for a respite from the noise of a busy four-lane road close by. It was hard to imagine enjoying a pool and spa amid such clamor.

“We were happy to reassure them that they could have an undisturbed backyard oasis,” says Dave. 

“The key was including in the landscaping design a substantial rushing waterfall near the pool. It would not only be beautiful to look at, but its relaxing sounds would mask unpleasant street sounds.”  

Note: A short video that captures the sounds of their waterfall can be found below after our first two photos.

 

Natural Moss Rock Backyard Noise Barrier:

Natural Moss Rock Backyard Noise Barrier:

Today’s feature photo: Not far from the right edge of the pool, Deck and Patio built a 19-foot natural moss rock barrier with a “pondless” waterfall.

A small upper patio sits between this attractively landscaped barrier and the project’s spillover spa with its own waterfall.

“The waterfall also gives the impression one is vacationing on some south sea isle — away from everyday life,” says Dave.

 

 

 

Backyard Waterfall Blocks Out Traffic Noise:

Backyard Waterfall Blocks Out Traffic Noise:

This is a closeup of the very eco-friendly main waterfall. Water flows down moss rocks in a natural-looking way and seeps through river rock where it is captured in an underground reservoir. The water is filtered and recirculated.

Here’s the promised video that lets you hear the delightful sounds of rushing water at this Roslyn, Long Island, NY, project.

 

 

 

Vinyl Freeform Pool Retreat:

Vinyl Freeform Pool Retreat:

Deck and Patio surrounded the backyard retreat’s new freeform vinyl pool and raised spillover spa with handsome Cambridge Ledgestone patios and bright plantings. 

The raised spa has its own separate overhead waterfall as well as a spillover into the pool. All this adds to an undisturbed backyard experience.

A diving rock and landscaping cutouts add to this pool area’s summer charms. In addition, the Cambridge paving stones are tough when it comes to winter’s cold weather. The pavers seem to withstand abuse better than any poured and stenciled concrete.

 

Backyard Paradise That is Noise Free:

Backyard Paradise That is Noise Free:

Pleasant sounds are the very opposite of unpleasant noise. And this backyard retreat is blessed with delightful sounds that can be enjoyed: in the pool, while sunbathing on a wide patio, when relaxing in a quiet upper patio, when rocking back and forth in the outdoor swing — not to mention when relaxing in the spillover spa that boasts its own overhead waterfall.

 

Poolside Landscaping:

Poolside Landscaping:

Bright plantings with green ground cover, along with river stone gravel and delightful stepping stone path, add to the natural look and serenity of the barrier/pool area.

 

 

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.

 

 

Pondside: Relaxing and Dining ’Al Fresco’

Even before COVID, dining and relaxing ‘al fresco’ has long been part of the outdoor experience for those with a backyard pond. 

With weather warming, and Memorial Weekend not all that far off, now is a great time to plan a backyard upgrade with a view to enjoying delightful pondside dining and relaxation right at home.

As Certified Contractors of Aquascape Inc. — one of the country’s leading manufacturers of pond and water feature products — Deck and Patio continually stays informed and trained on all the latest techniques and technologies for ideal waterscapes.

Each year, our expert teams can be found installing ponds, water gardens and other water features across Long Island and her environs. And because of our breadth of expertise, we can design/build a complete oasis, including decks and patios, pools, custom and portable hot tubs to complement any waterscape.

We also specialize in eco-friendly ponds sustained through rainwater harvesting. “We also specialize in landscaping waterscapes with gorgeous water plants, stocked with healthy pond fish, and aerated with naturally-looking waterfalls,” says our own Dave Stockwell.

The one thing our ponds all have in common, adds Dave, is how much a backyard pond adds to each family’s outdoor experience. Having such a water feature — with the sounds of moving water and natural beauty this provides — makes outdoor living and dining an exceptional experience.

 

Pond-side Living:

Pond-side Living:

Deck and Patio designed/built a new deck with a viewing platform pondside where the family can dine and relax outdoors. You’ve heard of Xanadu, well how about Zen-adu. Imagine. After dinner they can walk across a set of large stepping stones to view the pond from another vantage point.

 

Al Fresco Drinks/Dining by a Pond:

Al Fresco Drinks/Dining by a Pond:

This feature photo (see also top of page), was shared with us by Aquascape Inc. Here a group of family and friends — and even someone’s favorite pet —- enjoy a meal beside an exquisite pond stocked with koi. Soothing sounds from the waterfall help everyone relax and be at ease.

 

Backyard Sanctuary Perfect for Dining Al Fresco:

Backyard Sanctuary Perfect for Dining Al Fresco:

Deck and Patio created this natural backyard retreat complete with a large deck and pond that comes up to it. Our design formed different settings and focal points; our team planted over 4,000 bulbs, 300 species of deciduous woody plants, evergreens, and perennials, including 150 different varieties of these species. 

Imagine having the option of dine on your deck or in a backyard glass conservatory. (Note: Deck and Patio did not build the conservatory but worked with the contractors the family hired to bring this beautiful project together harmoniously.)

 

“Deck” Pond Perfect for Dining Al Fresco:

“Deck” Pond Perfect for Dining Al Fresco:

Aquascape Inc. also provided us with this photo of a charming dining area set on a deck with pond. Note how the wall mural picks up where the real plants leave off, giving a smallish water garden area the sense of natural expanse. The homeowner also chose blue cushions to go with the mural’s water scenes, which helps to tie it all together.

 

A big thank you to Aquascape for sharing some of today’s photos with us.

 

How Can I Keep My Pond Fish Safe from Predators?

According to retailers, the pond and water garden industry has enjoyed a leap is sales during the pandemic. This jump has appeared in both water feature installations and maintenance services. 

“Ponds are a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors without having to leave home. And they can be built in any size,” says Dave Stockwell. “But those who want a pond large enough for koi often worry if they will be able to keep their pond fish safe from predators.”

Pond fish are worth protecting. They are not just lovely to look at; koi help balance the entire ecosystem of a pond.

 

Safety Begins with Good Pond Design

Herons Don’t Like Deep Water

Herons Don’t Like Deep Water

 

“If your koi pond was designed and built well, it was designed and built deep,” says Dave.

A water feature with sufficient water depth will dissuade, for example,  raccoons and cats from going after your fish, since neither species enjoy swimming to get their dinner.

Plus deeper water at the edges (more than 18” deep) discourages the most challenging predator, the heron, from wading into your pond. Herons enjoy walking around in slightly shallow water.

Deep water really puts them off.

So a pond designed with high rock ledges and no easy wading entrance discourages a heron from hunting your fish.

 

 

 

Pond Water Features:

Pond Water Features:

Another helpful idea is adding a waterfall feature. The continuous movement of bubble rocks, waterfalls, or even water from nearby sprinklers will put off many predators. 

Also, unlike still water which offers a glass-like surface, bubbling water from a waterfall etc. disturbs that serene surface, making it harder for predators to see the fish underneath.

 “In addition, when we construct a pond, we frequently include underwater koi castles,” says Dave.. “When the koi sense danger, they can hid in there until the creature has given up.”

 

1. Statues: Some swear by scarecrows like owl statues. Others recommend a decoy-heron. Indeed, being territorial, herons will usually avoid conflict with what they perceive as another heron. Be sure the decoy is large enough to appear as a reasonable threat, however. And it is also important to move the decoy every few days. Herons are clever and will soon figure out a decoy that never moves isn’t a danger.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

 

2. Another effective deterrent is installing a motion-activated sprinkler. We found, for example, one gardening expert, the Laidback Gardener, who says that after testing just about every animal repellent conceivable: “…the only simple deterrent that keeps most animals away in the long run is the motion-activated sprinkler.”

The motion-activated sprinkler is just one of several deterrents that should be used, adds Dave. “It can be effective, but works best in combination with some of the other suggestions we’ve given here today.”

3. Pond Netting/Fish Wire: “The most effective guarantee for safeguarding pond fish is pond netting,” says Dave. “But, because they spoil the look of the pond, most people prefer to use netting only during fall foliage. However, another suggestion which you’ll see in the following video seems a better alternative. Fish wire can be strung around pond areas where predators can get close enough to grab your fish.

 

 

The following YouTube video is by Foisy Aquatics who has a YouTube channel devoted just to fish.

 

 

 

Final Note: Koi are a healthy part of this Deck and Patio pond’s natural ecosystem. We construct ponds so they have lots of room to hide as well as swim. We also ensure the pond is sufficiently deep, including around the edges. We add plenty of high rock overhangs to discourage predators. A motion-activated sprinkler and a koi castle offer the final bits of security.

 

 

Self-Sustaining Water Features Are More Than Restful Escapes

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater Harvesting

The sounds and sights of moving water can turn any property into a restful escape. But a backyard water feature can be more than beautiful and restful — if it is ‘self-sustaining.”

Self-sustaining ponds and “pond-less” water features boast rainwater harvesting components, which offer great ways to save water and aid the local ecology.

Such rainwater harvesting systems support all types and combinations of water features  — fountains, waterfalls, ponds, streams.

In addition to replenishing the ponds, streams, waterfalls etc. themselves, captured rainwater can also replenish the surrounding landscapes, and wash a car, rinse down a deck or patio, etc.

 

 

As certified installers of renowned Aquascape Inc. products, the water conservation systems and other water garden products Deck and Patio uses are both technologically and biologically efficient.

 

 

 

Project # 1

Koi is a healthy part of this pond's natural ecosystem

Koi is a healthy part of this pond’s natural ecosystem

 

 

The Aquascape products Deck and Patio used for this project include high efficiency pumps, skimmers, biological filters, and gravel beds.

Note: Koi can also be a truly beneficial part of a pond’s eco-system, including this self-sustaining one.

 

 

 

 

Project # 2

Deck and Patio Rainwater Harvesting (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio Rainwater Harvesting (Long Island/NY):

The Aquascape ‘green’ rainwater harvesting process for this Deck and Patio feature combines a decorative water feature with a completely sub-surface collection system — thereby creating a beautiful backyard oasis that is very eco-friendly.

“The collection system is located completely below ground,” says Deck and Patio owner Dave Stockwell.

“The reservoir is a truly maintenance-free source that keeps topping off the water feature.

“There is no requirement for city water. It comes completely from rainfall on the roof of the clients’ house — where gravity alone draws it into pipes.”

 

 

Project # 3

 

Deck and Patio Water Feature (Long Island/NY)

Deck and Patio Water Feature (Long Island/NY)

This Deck and Patio water feature includes a beautiful pond, waterfalls and stream with a bridge across it.  Along with the right water plants, everything works together to create a very healthy eco-system — underpinning the peaceful vistas which restore the soul.

Why is this important? Such products create a total natural biological system around ponds and waterfalls that can be replenished and maintained entirely through rainfall.

 

Project # 4

 

Deck and Patio Pondless Water Feature (Long Island/NY):

Deck and Patio Pondless Water Feature (Long Island/NY):

With a “pondless” waterfall, the waterfalls and stream do not drop into a pond, but seep through gravel where it is first filtered and then collected in an underground reservoir and continually recirculated. Because you are continually filtering and recirculating water, such a project is definitely eco-friendly.

However, natural evaporation of the water feature will require, like this Deck and patio one, that the recirculating water be “topped off” and refreshed occasionally. So for those who would prefer to go totally “green” and not use any town water by even occasionally replenishing your stream/waterfall, Aquascape also makes the reservoir system we used here.

With their rainwater harvesting system, runoff rainwater — either from a roof or permeable pavers is collected to maintain the water feature’s system through completely green rainwater harvesting methods.

 

There are many routes to sustainability. And the beautiful water feature you choose for a restful respite will be truly that…having no tinge of guilt about its impact on the environment.

‘Pool Shell’ Change Is Perfect Time for Other Backyard Upgrades

If you’re planning to change the shell of your pool from, say, vinyl to gunite, or from gunite to vinyl, this is the perfect time to add other wonderful outdoor features. 

When an Oyster Bay family wanted to change their existing vinyl-lined pool to gunite, they knew there would be so much tearing up going on anyway in their yard, why not upgrade the area.

In discussions with Deck and Patio, it became clear they also wanted to change the shape/design of their pool to better match the architecture of their home. 

“We were able to create a more unified look for them by upgrading their existing pool into a geometric shape,” says our own Dave Stockwell. 

This required expanding the size of their pool, which meant extending it very close to their property’s sharp hillside. 

“For the pool’s retaining walls, we tracked down the same brick used on their home’s exterior. We also had to shore up the slope with boulders, creating various small retaining walls to hold back the grade,” adds Dave. “The trick was to bring in machinery and put the boulders in place before we dug the pool and area out.”

To give the clients the natural look they wanted, we surrounded the pool with beautiful bluestone. “The shape of these stones also mimic the overall geometric design we were going for.”

 

Other design elements: 

— steps at the base of the retaining wall lead to a peaceful woodland path — at the end of which we hid all the pool equipment, 

— sheer descent waterfalls along the inside of the pool add extra contemporary elegance,  

—and landscape lighting created a beautiful romantic scene at night.

 

When the whole transformation was complete, not only was the family ecstatic, but their pet turtles seemed to love the transformation as well. With more room to swim in, they took to the new pool like, well, turtles. 

 

Geometric Gunite Pool (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Geometric Gunite Pool (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Deck and Patio remodeled an existing vinyl pool into a larger, geometric gunite, with elegant sheet falling waterfalls. The new design handsomely complements the home’s architecture.  

 

Steps to Woodland Path (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Steps to Woodland Path (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Steps faced with the same brick as used around the pool’s retaining wall, lead to a peaceful woodland path where the pool equipment has been hidden out of sight.

 

Bluestone Patio (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Bluestone Patio (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

The pavers of the previous patio/pool surround had not been compacted properly and were separating. The family also wanted a more natural product. Bluestone was chosen and its hues blended nicely with that of the brick-faced retaining walls; in addition, the rectangular shapes of the stones echo the shape of the pool and house windows.

 

Sheet Falling Water Feature (Oyster Bay Cove/NY): 

Sheet Falling Water Feature (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Beautiful sheet falling waterfalls (often called ‘sheer descents’) perfectly harmonize with the overall more contemporary feel to their upgraded pool area.

 

Pool Lighting (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

Pool Lighting (Oyster Bay Cove/NY):

It’s hard to decide which time of day presents the most beautiful picture; but nighttime has to be near the top!  

 

 

Backyard Upgrades: Now Is the Time to Spring Into Action

Plan Now for This Summer

Plan Now for This Summer

Don’t wait for the clocks to change. When it comes to planning backyard upgrades, now is the time to spring forward.

“Early February is a really good time to plan,” says our own Dave Stockwell. “Once robins are singing and trees are budding, the phones at Deck and Patio have been ringing for weeks with requests for projects.”

One reason, Dave explains, is there are so many different local codes and variances required for upgrades across Long Island. “And in order to secure permits, we need to get to that early.”

Special projects also require pulling together the right people for every aspect of the design plan. Again, starting early ensures each team will be available to work in a way that doesn’t slow the job down.

 

How to begin

 

The “A” Team: Deck and Patio at work with HGTV’s Pool Kings

The “A” Team: Deck and Patio at work with HGTV’s Pool Kings

 

Choosing the right design/builder is perhaps the most important decision you have to make when planning your outdoor retreat. Here are just a few of the questions you should consider:

—  Will your design/build firm be using subcontractors and if so, are they licensed and insured? Who will be responsible for any repairs during the warranty?

—  Will your design/builder obtain town codes and zoning information or will you be doing this? Some firms such as The Deck and Patio Company can introduce you to an expeditor to help in the permit process, if required.

—  Take the time necessary to verify the references of your designer/builder and how many workers will be on the site at any given time. Will there be a supervisor there, for example.

—  Review any contracts carefully before signing on. Ensure you have all the warranty information that was promised.

 

 

Landscape Planning Should Begin in Winter (Long Island/NY):

Landscape Planning Should Begin in Winter (Long Island/NY):

Even if there’s snow on the ground, a good design/build firm is able to see underneath it to plan an outdoor retreat. In fact, we built these dual ponds (immediately above) for a client during winter. 

“The ground was getting hard and it was brutally cold,” says Dave. “But, in one way, it was a good time of year for such a project because we had more time in our schedule than we usually do in spring. So it was cold, but stress-free.”

This water feature was designed as an ecosystem pond with a natural-looking moss rock waterfall. It includes a stone bridge. And the stream we added just behind the pond feeds the pond area and boasts an additional waterfall.

 

Backyard Water Features (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Water Features (Long Island/NY):

Planning glorious backyard water features takes time, especially if you want a man-made feature like this to appear as if Mother Nature designed it herself. This requires ordering and installing the perfect-sized rocks and boulders that urge the water to flow in natural spills into either a pond or pondless-reservoir.

 

Deck Design/Building:

Deck Design/Building:

The structure of a deck is most often attached to the house. It’s usually elevated, that is, designed to suit the “lay of the land.” The land’s topography also helps determine how high and how many levels it should be.

In addition to choosing the right design/build experts, the most important thing is choosing the deck material you want to use, i.e., natural wood, capped composite and pressure-treated wood.

You want to have all the materials you need when you are ready to start construction. Planning ahead is key.

 

 

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