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Staycations: Plan for Some Backyard Thrills This Summer

Staycations are back — if they ever went away. And our next few blogs will highlight elements that help create a wonderful home-vacation. This week we’re showcasing Deck and Patio water slide projects.

Believe it or not, mid-January is the ideal time to plan for such summer backyard thrills. 

 

Swimming Pool Slides

Vortex Slide

Vortex Slide

Families that have visited waterparks may already be familiar with such names as Vortex, Typhoon, or Cyclone. And such exciting water slides are possible at home, too.

Deck and Patio has installed such slides on Long Island and the New York Metro area for years (see below). Their sizes and shapes have varied, as well as the scope of the project installations — depending on the client’s budget, property size, and the amount of adrenaline rush desired.

Of course, you can have a slide, on its own, well-secured to your pool without any special landscaping. Or you can have a landscaping firm like Deck and Patio design/build a special setting around the slide you choose.

Beyond even that, one company makes a slide that can be custom-built to fit your existing landscape or future landscape plans. BYOS 1 and BYOS 2 slides, for example, are configured and designed to fit your plans and ideas.

“One thing very special about BYOS,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell, “is they can be set into a sloped landscape to look almost natural or just plan funky and fun. You decide everything. That’s the real fun of it.”

 

Wild Ride Slide: Fun for Kids and Adults

Wild Ride Slide: Fun for Kids and Adults

 

Kids love water and action. Pool slides and diving rocks are two favorite pool amenities. “When we add a slide, we build it safe for the kids by setting it in around boulders and plants so if they ever fall when climbing up its steps, it won’t be far and with a soft landing,” says Dave. 

“Also note that next to this Deck and Patio-installed Wild Ride water slide with its water falling into the pool, we installed a moss rock waterfall that flows with force over extended rock.

 

 

Side Benefits of Swimming Pool Slides

No matter the scope of the slide project, when not in use by thrill-seekers, the calming sounds of water spilling from the slide into your pool transforms your new Cyclone, Typhoon, Wild Ride etc. into a gentle water feature.

So readers: You learned it here first. Water slides aren’t just for thrills. On any given day, they can also help you relax.

 

Access to Pool Slide:

Access to Pool Slide:

It is important to have sufficient room to allow easy access to the slide and any surrounding patio. For this Deck and Patio 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.

 

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. And it makes for a beautiful natural retaining wall, doesn’t it?

 

BYOS Custom Slide:

BYOS Custom Slide:

This slide 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 BYOS.

 

 

Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year: Living the ‘Viva Magenta’ Life

 

Artificial intelligence was used to generate Pantone’s images of the “Magentaverse.”

Artificial intelligence was used to generate Pantone’s images of the “Magentaverse.”

 

 

Pantone’s vivid crimson color — ‘Viva Magenta’ — is their 2023 color of the year. Elley Cheng, Pantone’s vice president and general manager, said that this tone “merges the warmth of the natural world with the endless, rich possibilities of the digital space.”

 

 

 

Pantone’s color choice may be intended to go beyond our natural world, However, Deck and Patio can’t help but keep our focus on how this vibrant cheerful color, which experts say inspires contentment, cheerfulness, and happiness, can be part of uplifting our clients’ daily lives.

Plant flowers, be happy

Plant flowers, be happy

 

Tip: Deck and Patio designers frequently receive requests for plants in the latest popular colors. We won’t be surprised to be asked for plantings in the vein of Pantone’s color for this year.

So let’s get planning our spring gardens — and magenta away.

 

Phlox paniculata:

Phlox paniculata:

 

 

These star-shaped perennials come in many colors, including a vibrant magenta. They bloom early spring and the tall phlox to mid-to-late summer. Low-growing phlox work well as ground cover while the tall phlox are a superb colorful backdrop.

“And the medium-height of phlox,” says our own Dave Stockwell, “offer a nice fragrance, are low maintenance and can nicely fill in any gaps.”

 

 

 

 

Magenta Coneflowers:

Magenta Coneflowers:

 

 

Today’s feature photo captures one of our pool landscaping projects, with magenta coneflowers helping to add cheer to this fun family space. 

Also known as Echinacea, these flowers are perfect for summer into fall. Native to our neck of the woods, they thrive in our climate. Not to mention, butterflies love them. 

 

 

 

Red Anemones

Magenta Red Anemones

 

Above a natural retaining wall, Deck and Patio carved out a patio area with waterfall where our clients can sit after a stroll and breathe it all in. Note the bright red Anemones on the left, across from the yellow Coneflowers. With lots of additional green ferns, the natural stone steps feel like a true nature walk. And that magenta red really makes you smile.

 

 

 

Monarda (Bee Balm)

Monarda (Bee Balm)

 

 

Native to North America, this beautiful flowering plant is from the mint family. It’s easy to grow, is deer resistant, and attracts pollinators. Its tubular flowers come in a variety colors including these magenta-red tubular flowers.

 

 

 

 

“There are loads of lovely magenta plants or flowers available for local gardens,” says Dave Stockwell. “Just speak with any member of our team, or contact our office, and we’ll be happy to include such cheerful blooms in your yard.”

 

 

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!

 

Should I Add a Deck, Patio, or Driveway in Fall?

Fall is a great time to add or refurbish a deck, patio, pool surround, or driveway. First there are the immediate advantages to extend the outdoor season. Perhaps you’ll include a seat wall and/or fire pit with your new patio. Or a handsome deck bench beside a fire feature. 

“Building in fall not only makes you ready for next year,” says our own Dave Stockwell, “but you can enjoy these amenities well into late fall.”

So, fall is the perfect time to do construction in your yard. For one thing, there will be less damage to plants while digging up your property. Also, there’s less rainfall in autumn, thus shortening the time it takes to build.

 

Decks

 

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

Here’s some of the most commonly used deck materials:

 

 

Determining Height of Deck

Determining Height of Deck

— cedar

— mahogany,

— Ipe

— TimberTech

— Trex

— Fiberon

 

 

Of course, there are advantages and limitations to each of these. And our team is happy to help you choose the best product for your needs.

 

Patios, Driveways, Pool Surrounds

 

Fall Weather

Fall Weather

When it comes to these hardscapes, digging up your property in fall is less of a hassle after the outdoor season is mostly over and you’re not outside as much.

Also, just like with building a deck, there’s less damage to the landscape when plants are dormant. 

Not to mention you’ll find that design/build firms like Deck and Patio have more time open on their schedules in autumn so they can provide quicker service as opposed to our busiest months.

 

Types of Hardscape Materials

Choosing the right hardscape materials is important in the northeast’s freeze/thaw climate. The wrong products trap heat in the summer which can be tough on bare feet. And who wants to wear shoes or sandals around a pool or hot tub?

 That said, it’s equally important that the paving material you choose can stand up to the freezing weather that occurs in our cold seasons. 

“Helping our clients choose the right product is part of our service,” says Dave. 

“And whether the choice ends up being brick, natural stone, pavers or other landscaping materials, at Deck and Patio we know how to install them correctly. We have earned many HNA awards from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute which signify the superior design ability and competence of installation by our construction experts.”

 

Examples of Deck and Patio Hardscape Projects

 

Patio Techo-Bloc Pavers

 

Outdoor Kitchen on Lower Patio

Outdoor Kitchen on Lower Patio

This photo (above) shows a two-level patio we built for our clients in Tech-Bloc’s Borealis’ modular slabs. On the lower of two new Deck and Patio patios, we added an outdoor kitchen with built-in stainless steel grill, expansive work area, sink, refrigerator and eating/drinking bar with stools. 

The upper level is a lovely dining area with custom fire pit and nearby is a hot tub with stream and waterfalls.

 

Driveway Tumbled Pavers

 

Paving Stone Driveway:

Paving Stone Driveway:

Deck and Patio’s design team was brought in during the early stages of planning and construction of this home and its many hardscapes. 

Working with the architect and homeowners, in front, our design team created a driveway in earth-tone concrete tumbled pavers that appear as an extension of the geometric patters and hues of the home’s Glen Gary brick.

 

Pool Surrounds

 

Deck and Patio Travertine Patio/Pool Surround:

Deck and Patio Travertine Patio/Pool Surround:

Here is a lovely example of natural stone. Travertine is a gorgeous natural stone that can make a beautiful patio. Here the Travertine surrounds a 50-foot-long pool, 800-square-foot pool house, an outdoor kitchen with natural stone facade, and an outdoor shower. 

Note: Although Travertine has traditionally been used indoors in colder climates, more and more it is being used outdoors. Be careful, however, from where the stone is quarried. You want Travertine from Italy, Mexico or Turkey, not China, which doesn’t hold up in the freeze/thaw conditions of the Northeast.

 

Cambridge Pool Surround:

Cambridge Pool Surround:

Handsome Cambridge Ledgestone XL “Toffee Onyx Light” pavers (Sherwood Collection) were chosen as a patio/pool surround for this yard. The pavers come in 3-piece design kits for a beautiful random design. 

The color of the pavers nicely pick up both the pool water while simultaneously suggesting beach sand for a beautiful natural appearance.

 

To learn more about different materials and design/build opportunities, contact Deck and Patio during regular business hours at 613-549-8100.

 

 

 

Extend Your Outdoor Season in Comfort

Whether you want a spot that’s bug-free or offers the presence of a fan providing a breeze, or has readily available entertainment like a TV, there is a way to extend your outdoor season with just such comforts.

Including a pool house when adding a pool is one popular way Long Islanders extend the outdoor season well into fall. And when the owners of a very large property on Long Island’s North Shore contacted us, Deck and Patio helped them plan a new destination-pool area that included a comfortable space for family and entertainment activities.

In addition to designing/building a new 50-foot-long and 26-foot-wide pool, with an elegant Travertine patio, spillover spa and waterfalls, because the pool area was to be a distance from their main house, they also wanted the ability to cook by the pool.

 

 

Pool House with Travertine Patio:

Pool House with Travertine Patio:

 

And to enjoy all these amenities at night, in a place that was ‘bug-free,’ for the pool house design, our team consulted with an architect familiar to us.

The collaborative effort inspired a building that is in keeping with their main home’s overall elegance. In fact, it was their home which inspired the pool house’s reverse gable. 

 

 

 

 

Special pool house amenities included:

  • 800-square-foot pool house with a 20-by-20 screened room and bathroom;

  • one great room with sofa

  • flat screen television

  • washer/dryer

  • refrigerator

  • second storage closet

  • outdoor kitchen with natural stone facade, and an

  • outdoor shower

 

 

Even those evenings when it’s too chilly to go in the pool, it’s wonderful to be outdoors in the comfort of a pool house with television. One of the two rooms has screens on two sides where they can enjoy warm or cool nights without pesky insects.

The completed project won an International Silver Pool Award from the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) the very next year after winning a 2009 Bronze Pool Award from the Northeast Spa & Pool Association (NESPA).

 

Pool House Ceiling (Long Island/NY):

Pool House Ceiling (Long Island/NY):

An expanse of cedar planks allows for drama and a clean natural look inside the pool house.

 

Vinyl Pool (Long Island/NY):

Vinyl Pool (Long Island/NY):

With concrete wall and a vinyl liner, the approximately 50’-long-and-26’-wide pool offers a spillover spa, tanning shelf, volleyball court, diving rock and moss rock waterfall. The free-form pool is surrounded by an elegant Travertine patio.

 

Pool House Outdoor Kitchen (Long Island/NY):

Pool House Outdoor Kitchen (Long Island/NY):

The pool house’s outdoor kitchen (and indoor bathroom) required a second septic system to support such amenities as a kitchen sink, built-in barbecue, storage, and small refrigerator. A real stone veneer adds natural elegance.

 

Destination Pool and Pool House (Long Island/NY):

Destination Pool and Pool House (Long Island/NY):

At night, the destination pool area is as romantic as it is serene. It is an idyllic spot for parties that begin in the day and continue long into the night.

 

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.

 

 

 

Create Your Ideal Outdoor Space

It is natural that what is considered an ideal space varies from client to client. Sometimes it’s making room for a pet run, or a deck or patio for dining; other times lush landscaping is wanted to entice the family outdoors; or the sounds of falling water is strongly desired; often it’s comfortable spaces for entertaining that is key. And, sometimes, it’s all of the above.

“One feature many of our clients love,” says Dave Stockwell, “is an outdoor room. These come in all shapes and sizes — from an enclosed pool house to pavilions, and even outdoor rooms without walls.”

 

Pergolas Define Outdoor Space

Pergolas Define Outdoor Space

But as you can see from our feature photo today, sometimes all that needs adding is a handsome pergola, comfortable furniture, and a patio to provide the perfect level of contented breathing room.

The elegance and size of this Travertine patio, for example, gave our clients the perfect floor for a comfortable outdoor living room.

Note how the pergola’s overhead slats create a shadow carpet that helps define the sense of an outdoor living room.

Along with the adjacent dining area, it is only steps from an outdoor kitchen/bar/barbecue, veneered in natural stone.

 

 

 

Lighting for Outdoor Spaces

Lighting for Outdoor Spaces

 

 

When it comes to enjoying your ideal outdoor space into the evening hours, you also have to think about lighting.

One way to handle this is with a closed roof. This shingle-roof pergola/pavilion with fireplace project was installed at the edge of a patio.

Note the handsome lighted columns set on stone pillars that match the fireplace. The lighting on the pillars and inside the roof contribute to a perfect evening ambience.

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Room on Deck:

Outdoor Room on Deck:

 

Of course, your ideal outdoor space doesn’t require a roof, let alone walls. Along with a hot tub set into a new multi-level deck (we sell CAL Spas at our showroom!), all the homeowners needed to carve out their own ideal space was a fire pit and a television.

Note: Today’s LED televisions can be properly encased to be theft-free.

Encasing the television carefully will also ensure the proper internal temperature control/circulation to protect it.

There are also televisions designed for outside use which resist rain, dust and other elements.

 

 

 

Landscaping Can Define Space

Landscaping Can Define Space

And, of course, your ideal space can be designed with no fixed structure at all. Landscaping can beautifully define the perfect outdoor spot. 

Along with lush plantings, these Deck and Patio clients opted to shade a self-supporting hammock with a tilt umbrella. 

They positioned the two next to their pool’s waterfall — creating a dreamy relaxing spot to enjoy leisurely time outdoors. And when the purple Allium is in bloom, (forefront), the space is all the more enticing.

 

 

“You don’t need a pool or waterfalls to create an ideal space,” says Dave. “A simple container garden can be grouped with seasonal flowers and you have the perfect place to relax outdoors.”

 

 

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.

 

 

How Can I Improve My Pool Area?

Long frustrated by a dated backyard pool area, this Dix Hills family was particularly focused on the old wood deck and red brick patios around their pool which were to small for parties and entertaining.

Another issue was an old retaining wall which spoiled the look of the pool area.

Deck and Patio’s creative team inspired these clients with this suggestion: re-grade the slope area and replace it with a “natural” retaining wall with a dramatic waterfall, stream, and woodland garden.

Rather than create a pond to capture the water from the planned seven-foot-high “sheet” waterfall, a pondless waterfall system from Aquascape was recommended. 

 

 

Old Unattractive Retaining Wall.

Old Unattractive Retaining Wall.

New Natural Looking Retaining Wall

New Natural Looking Retaining Wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We particularly value Aquascape’s waterfall systems because they focus, like we do, on an ecosystem approach to water features,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “For this project, the pondless system relies on a natural balance of circulation, filtration, plants, rocks and gravel to ensure sustainability.”

 

 

Deck and Patio creates natural looking waterfalls

Deck and Patio creates natural looking waterfalls

 

To achieve a natural looking waterfall, the design/build team needs to understand how water flows over and releases from rock in nature in order to re-create the feeling you’re hiking or strolling along some natural pathway. 

We avoid a man-made water feature appearance by designing it so the water changes directions in the waterfalls and streams.

Once this project’s stream and waterfall was complete, we pressed boulders into the surrounding slope. After that, we addressed the landscaping. Our crew installed natural woodland plantings to tie in with the tall oaks that exist on the property’s perimeter and added evergreen shrubs to ensure year-round color.

 

 

Refurbished Pool and Patio

Refurbished Pool and Patio

With the slope stabilized, our team addressed pool renovation. After draining the pool and removing the original liner, a poorly built concrete block wall was uncovered.

We straightened the wall and filled the block in with concrete and steel rebars for strength. New vinyl covered stairs were then added, as well as new pipes, returns, skimmers, pump, filter and new liner was installed.

After this, the pool was carefully backfilled and tamped. We compacted the soil back around the pool in three-inch lifts to allow for the immediate installation of new pavers around the pool.

 

 

Note: This compacting process is not done by many contractors. The idea is that using compacted soil the base will not settle, so you don’t have to wait to install a patio around a new pool. Many contractors still install concrete slabs under their patio. In our experience we find this does not work well. Settling still occurs under the slab allowing the patio to crack or settle. 

 

After the base materials were finished, we installed chestnut-hued durable pavers from Cambridge (Sahara). These particular pavers have little or no color fade and the random design pattern adds interest to the patio. The pavers’ protective coating means these clients will have a clean-lined modern look. Even after being subjected to snow plowing, de-icing salts and normal wear, they will keep their color and beautiful appearance.

 

 

‘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!  

 

 

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