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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!

 

A Few Maintenance/Planting Tips – Before the Leaves Fall

Over the next weeks, we’ll provide more in depth information on specific fall backyard maintenance. But today, we’ve got a few tips to begin planning.

 

Fall Foliage Is Coming

Fall Foliage Is Coming

 

 

It may be weeks yet before you’ll have to face falling leaves, but for sure that colorful foliage will fall in the not too distant future. So kick back and give a few thoughts to some backyard maintenance that can be done now — and that might make falling leaves less of a problem.

 

 

 

 

Pruning at: Berkshire Botanical Garden

Pruning at: Berkshire Botanical Garden

 

Pruning is not something to wait doing. Actually right now — on the cusp of early fall — is the ideal time for this bit of maintenance. Cutting plants back now will give them enough time to callous over before the first frost.

Without callouses, frost can cause them to die back or not bloom come spring. And we don’t want that.

 

 

 

 

Ponds

Pond Netting

Pond Netting

If you have a pond or water feature, before too long, it will be time to protect your feature from falling leaves.

“Netting your pond before fall foliage is important,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “But once the leaves have all fallen, you can pull out the netting and easily dispose of the leaves and have pristine clear water come spring. By the way, water features can be enjoyed all through fall, and even into winter.”

Pond experts suggest “tenting” the net so it doesn’t sag into the water when it becomes heavy with leaves and debris.

It’s also a good idea to trim back aquatic plants to reduce the amount of organic material decomposing in the colder months.

 

Tree Trimming

Photo: Courtesy of Aquascape Inc.

Photo: Courtesy of Aquascape Inc.

 

Before the leaves start falling off your trees, check them out to see if there are any branches that do not have leaves on them.

“This will tell you which branches might offer potential problems later down the road,” says Dave.

“Come the cold weather, dead limbs snap off due to the weight of ice and snow. This can cause havoc with power lines. Not to mention they can be a source of accidents to cars, people and homes.”

So, tree trimming should be on that “to do” list before the leaves fall.

 

 

 

Plantings

Skimmia:

Skimmia: (Photo Credit: Musical Linguist at the English language Wikipedia)

To give plants a head start before spring, beginning now, through the end of October, is a great time to be planting.

Many of you will, of course, be thinking of planting bulbs for spring beauties like tulips, daffodils etc. But you can get all kinds of perennials in the ground now that will give you buds in spring, and color next fall/winter.

In an earlier blog, we discussed — Skimmia — along with other plants that offer color in the colder months. In spring these will give you vibrant white flowers; in fall, crimson red fruits (berries) that last through winter.

 

 

 

Deck and Patio pond project built during winter

Deck and Patio pond project built during winter

 

 

A bit of effort before the leaves fall — brings big rewards come next outdoor season. Clean pond water, tidy and safe yards, blooming with color.

 

 

 

 

 

By |2022-09-15T13:35:07-05:00September 15th, 2022|Backyard Maintenance, Backyard Refurbishments, fall maintenance, Landscaping, Outdoor Living, outdoor maintenance, Plants, Ponds & Water Features, Seasonal Landscapes, Streams, trees|Comments Off on A Few Maintenance/Planting Tips – Before the Leaves 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. 

 

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.” 

 

Caring for Your Deck From July 4th and Beyond

Once July 4th kicks off summer entertaining, and fun in the sun, your deck gets a lot of use. Indeed, for many of us, decks and summer are the heart of the outdoor living season.

 

Deck Structure/Deck and Patio Fiberon Deck

Deck Structure/Deck and Patio Fiberon Deck

 

So how can you take good care of your deck during all this activity? A while ago, we spoke with Edie Kello from Viance — the company that makes the preservatives for pressure-treated lumber.

Kello answered some of the most common questions homeowners have regarding maintaining their decks:

 

 

Question: When it comes to decks, what’s your advice on maintaining them.

Answer: “A deck should last for years. Keep it looking its best with the right deck cleaners sealers and stains to ensure its long-term beauty. Here’s some tips:

 

For New ‘Wood’ Decks:

• Allow the wood 6-8 weeks to dry prior to applying any sealer or stain.

• Apply a high-quality oil or water-based finish with UV protection to slow down the process of the wood turning gray from exposure to the sun.

• Apply a water repellent sealer at least every two years.

• And always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for new and re-applications.

• To provide long term aesthetic appeal, maintain a deck that is dry and clean.

• Keep your deck free from dirt and debris.

• Liquid detergents, water and a stiff bristle brush will remove most mildew and dirt.

• For hard to clean wood surfaces, use a deck brightener containing Oxalic acid to retain the wood’s natural beauty.

• Always follow the manufacturer’s mixing and application instructions.

• Never use household chloride bleaches on decks as it can cause damage to the wood fibers and fasteners.

• Care should be taken if a pressure-washer is used for cleaning decks, as excessive pressure may cause damage to your deck’s surface.

  • Make sure water can drain away from the deck and there is adequate ventilation so water can evaporate to lessen mold and mildew growth.”

— Edie Kello, Viance Company

 

Of course not all decks are natural wood. What about composite materials? 

Well, all decks benefit from a bit of care and cleaning — even durable capped composite decks. Depending on the type of composite you have or choose, the cleaning materials may vary. So Deck and Patio went right to the manufacturer’s mouth, so to speak and have included links where helpful:

 

Popular Composite Decking

 

Deck and Patio Trex Pool Surround & Deck

Deck and Patio Trex Pool Surround & Deck

 

 

Trex Decking

This deck and pool surround was designed and built by Deck and Patio using Trex Decking. For details on maintaining your Trex deck, check out the information at their website.

 

 

 

 

Award-winning Deck and Patio Fiberon Project

Award-winning Deck and Patio Fiberon Project

 

 

Fiberon Decking

This multi-level deck with pool surround included a level devoted to the family’s new portable hot tub. Here’s how to care and maintain your Fiberon deck from the manufacturer’s website’s blog.

 

 

 

 

TimberTech Deck by Deck and Patio

TimberTech Deck by Deck and Patio

 

 

TimberTech Decking

Here Deck and Patio built another raised multi-level deck with spaces devoted to different outdoor living spaces — from dining, lounging, and barbecuing. And as for TimberTech, you can download a PDF on how to care for your TimberTech Capped Composite Decking.

 

 

 

 

Soften Your Property’s Hardscape With Soothing Colors

Lots of us are looking for ways to quiet down the atmosphere around us, including with lovely outdoor plants and gardens. However, another way is to choose hardscape materials in soothing soft colors.

Granted, one doesn’t usually think of pool surrounds, patios and driveways as soothing. However, in their many choices of styles, the pavers available today can greatly add to the serenity of one’s outdoor experience. 

“Hardscape areas often take up a quite a bit of a property,” says our own Dave Stockwell. “So choosing soft tones can greatly add to a peaceful atmosphere.”

 

Cambridge Pavingstones with ArmorTec

One particular paving stone company — Cambridge Pavers Inc. — offers a special soft-hued line of pavers in their South Beach Collection.

In soft pinks and blues, these pastel shades have names like “Pink Sands” and “Sky Blue” and it’s easy to imagine these tones offering a beach-y feeling to any backyard pool area or water view — or around any outdoor space you was to be soothing.

 

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 soft-hued Cambridge Ledgestone patios and bright plantings.

 

Techo-Bloc Pavers

Techo-Bloc’s Pavers

Techo-Bloc’s Pavers

 

Techo-Bloc, another company Deck and Patio uses a great deal, offers superb paving stones — or “artscapes” as they call them. Techo-Bloc’s popular “Monticello” pavers, for example, and their newest paver designs (left) provide pastel hues that are perfect for softening the landscape. 

Many of their outdoor slabs can be purchased in multiple colors. Two of our favorites are the Chocolate Brown with its slight rose hue and the Azzurro color with a blue underlining hue. Also, Techo-Bloc’s Mini-Creta collection, in Sandlewood, offers echoes of rose and blue from the gray.

 

How to Choose the Right Soothing Pavers for You

Sometimes the exact color (particularly its name) will not reflect how it will appear in sunlight, or shade, or at night once installed. Depending on these lighting factors, a sandy “earth tone” may appear pinkish depending on the conditions.

Now if you find comparing the colors of the many different landscaping materials daunting — viewing online photos can distort color and texture — Deck and Patio is happy to help you if you visit our design center or when we visit your property.

“If desired, our staff can explain the different benefits of each material — be it bluestone, brick, concrete pavers, permeable pavers, Travertine, etc.,” says Dave.

So Deck and Patio can confidently say: go yard-wide with soothing colors. Restful outdoor spaces are always in style.

 

Pool/Spa Surround in Techo-Bloc “Monticello”:

Pool/Spa Surround in Techo-Bloc “Monticello”:

 

 

Feature Photo Above: We used Techo-Bloc pavers to surround this pool upgrade and custom-installed portable spa Note: Deck and Patio has portable spas in stock and can provide custom design ideas to add it into your existing outdoor space.

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Professional Tips for Enjoying Your Deck in Winter

‼️ Removing Snow – ‼️Keeping Warm on Your Deck – ‼️Trapping Your Heat – ‼️A Fun Deck Amenity (Hot Tub)

 

So far —  knock on wood — in our part of the Northeast, we’ve been experiencing quite the mild spell as the official winter season approaches. But even if and when it gets much colder, you’ll be surprised how much you can use your deck, even after it snows.

To provide some professional tips on doing just that, we spoke a while back with Edie Kello, Director of Marketing Communications at one of the top capped-composite decking manufacturers: Fiberon Decking. 

 

‼️ Removing Snow From Your Deck

 

Remove Snow from Your Deck/Photo Fiberon

Remove Snow from Your Deck/Photo Fiberon

 

It is key to remove any existing snow from your deck, says Kello. But he notes, 

whether you have a wood or capped-composite deck, he recommends not using metal shovels for this, but plastic ones. 

“And 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,’” he says.

He suggests not using sand to remove ice and snow. Sand can mar a deck’s surface.

Protecting Your Pets

Protecting Your Pets

 

“If the snow is light, a broom is a good choice or, again, a plastic shovel. Also, sweeping the used rock salt into the trash, then rinsing the deck off to remove any residue is a very good idea. 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.“

 

 

‼️ Keeping Warm on Your Deck

 

Having a deck heater (or patio heater) will allow you to enjoy your winter wonderland and the fresh crisp air longer. 

“These heaters will throw heat down and around where you are sitting,” says Kello.

Not to mention you can make s’mores and keep hot cider and hot chocolate warm. Available in building supply stores, they come free standing, fit on a table top, and usually run on propane gas.

“However, fire pits and fireplaces are other very popular choices. If you are not using a natural gas heat source, we recommend putting a fiber-cement mat (made of a mix of wood pulp and cement) underneath a fire pit to catch any embers.

“It is also important to ensure heat doesn’t build up against the wood or composite decking, so keep any heat source up off the deck by at least a foot.”

 

Fire Pits/Fire Tables: A fire pit adds warmth and is the perfect place to roast a marshmallow for s’mores. Photo: Fiberon Decking and Railing

Fire Pits/Fire Tables:
A fire pit adds warmth and is the perfect place to roast a marshmallow for s’mores. Photo: Fiberon Decking and Railing

 

‼️ Trapping Your Heat

 

Deck Covering/Fiberon Decking and Railing

Deck Covering/Fiberon Decking and Railing

 

Since heat rises, Kello says you probably want some sort of deck covering that will help trap the heat. 

“It’s great if you can add a roof, but if you have a pergola, you can put a tarp or outdoor fabric over it, or add an awning. These options help keep harsh elements off the deck as well, so there’s less shoveling.

 

 

 

‼️ Now, for A Fun Deck Amenity!

 

If we go through the effort of keeping our decks clear of snow and add a source of warmth, that means we get to use our outdoor grills much longer into the winter season.

Additionally, some people install a hot tub to take full advantage of winter outdoor living — even when there is a massive amount of snow. Just be sure any hot tub is properly supported within the sub-structure of the deck, says Kello.

Additionally, some people install a hot tub to take full advantage of winter outdoor living — even when there is a massive amount of snow. Just be sure any hot tub is properly supported within the sub-structure of the deck, says Kello.

 

She also suggests the addition of lights for a cozy winter atmosphere. “If you don’t have any deck lights built into the railing, just add Christmas/holiday lights, or snowflake lights along the railing, pergola, shrubs/planters, or even on a deck umbrella.”

She also suggests the addition of lights for a cozy winter atmosphere. “If you don’t have any deck lights built into the railing, just add Christmas/holiday lights, or snowflake lights along the railing, pergola, shrubs/planters, or even on a deck umbrella.”

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and a general Happy Holidays to everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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