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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.

 

 

Mini Pools Make the Most of Small Yards and Budgets

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

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

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

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

Here’s that Deck and Patio spool story.

 

Spool: Before, After, and In-Between

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

Large Properties

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

“Before” photo of Manhasset property

Manhasset Project (After)

Manhasset Project (After)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

— a custom pavilion with fireplace and an outdoor kitchen

— patios made with custom inlays of our own design;

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

Lovely upgrade, yes?

 

Before (left) & After (right)

Before (left) & After (right)

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

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

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

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

 

Small Properties

 

"Before"

“Before”

"After"

“After”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

However, even though they knew they’d love spending time outdoors in their new hot tub, they also wanted something beautiful to look at while in it. They certainly did not want to be facing their home’s siding, or even just a plain line of healthy evergreens. They decided on koi pond with waterfalls next to the hot tub.

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

 

Properties With Challenges

 

"After" of Deck and Patio Dix Hills Project

“After” of Deck and Patio Dix Hills Project

"Before"

“Before”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

“Before” (left) “After" (right)

“Before” (left) “After” (right)

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

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

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

 

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

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Festival Logo

Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Festival Logo

 

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

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

 

 

 

Here’s the when and where:

LIFALLFESTIVAL/Photo: Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce

LI FALL FESTIVAL/Photo: Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce

 

Heckscher Park, Huntington

Friday, October 7,  5-10pm

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

Monday, October 10, 11am – 5pm

 

 

 

Deck and Patio’s Participation

Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio

Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio

Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio

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

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

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

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

 

 

Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio

Heckscher Park: Deck and Patio

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

 

LI Fall Festival

LI Fall Festival

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

What Is the Perfect Outdoor Living Plan for Your Family?

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

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

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

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

 

Manhasset Project's Pool and Patio

Manhasset Project’s Pool and Patio

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

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

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

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

— a custom pavilion with fireplace and an outdoor kitchen;

— patios made with custom inlays of our own design;

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

 

 

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

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

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

Custom Pavilion with Outdoor Fireplace:

Custom Pavilion with Outdoor Fireplace:

 

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

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

 

 

Pavilion’s Outdoor Fireplace

Pavilion’s Outdoor Fireplace

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

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

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

 

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

 

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