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Swim-Up Bars Bring Vacation Experience Back Home

What Is a Swim-up Bar?

Swim-Up Bar

Swim-Up Bar


For the uninitiated, a traditional swim-up bar is a regular bar with a “wet side” and “dry side” which allows guests to swim-up and ask for a drink without having to leave the pool.

Standard swim-up bars consist of (1) a regular bar with countertop along the edge of your pool, (2) submerged and fixed bar stools in a more shallow part of the pool, (3) and a custom workstation on the swim-up bar’s “dry side.” 


Why does this pool amenity remain so popular?

Riviera Maya Caribbean Resort

Riviera Maya Caribbean Resort


“Swim up bars remind people of their Caribbean and other exotic vacations where they could stay in the pool or on the beach, order and enjoy their piña coladas,” says Dave Stockwell.

“They are also great spots for swimmers and sunbathers to meet up and talk, without the swimmers having to get out of the pool or the backyard strollers to get wet.”




Doing Double-Duty

Deck and Patio Swim-up Bar

Deck and Patio Swim-up Bar

“If swim-up bars are designed well,” adds Dave, “they can also be used as a dry bar — that is they can be enjoyed solely from its other side.”

In fact, Deck and Patio specializes in creating bars that do just that — do double duty as a dry bar and swim-up. Take, for example, this stunning bar shown here. 

It’s really enjoyable to swim up to this 38-foot “swim-up bar”with submerged barstools.

“The key is each swim-up bar should be unique, designed and custom-made for each project,” says Dave. “Whether it’s the bar’s counter-top, any necessary retaining walls, masonry work, in-pool stools, electrical and plumbing work, it takes skill and experience to ensure it’s perfectly functional, safe, and beautiful.”

Note: As you can see from this Deck and Patio swim-up, it’s also a dry bar on the other side.


Swim-Up Bars Shade Structures

While not necessary, a shade structure with the swim-up bar is frequently requested. As a licensed contractor, Deck and Patio is well known across Long Island for award-winning design and custom building.

Some shade structure options are:


Shade Structures

Shade Structures


— shade pergolas, 

— trellises, 

— gazebos and 

— pavilions. 




A shade structure should blend harmoniously with other elements in your yard and can include everything from an outdoor kitchen, pizza oven, fireplace,” says Dave. “With such additions, your guests can enjoy dining, as well as drinks, from your swim-up bar.” 

The main point, of course, is to have sufficient sun protection in that part of your yard and pool.


Lagoon-style Swimming Pools:

Lagoon-style Swimming Pools:

In addition to a dramatic waterfall area, a stunning Cambridge paver patio and water slide, these clients wanted a swim-up bar with in-pool stools, and Tiki umbrellas. 

Landscaping: Throughout this backyard retreat, smaller groups of boulders were fitted with plantings for natural and attractive retaining areas.

The photo below shows the other side of the swim up bar with examples of the landscaped boulders and plants.


True Backyard Retreat

True Backyard Retreat

“With True Blue Swimming Pool’s beautiful pool, the clients got what everything they wanted, a full oasis that “wows,” says Dave.



Deck and Patio Swim-Up Bar


Today’s Feature Photo at Top of Page: This is an example of combining many elements — use landscaping, a swim-up bar, pool waterfalls, natural retaining wall, shade structure,  etc. — to create a true enticing backyard resort.





When Should I Begin Planning My Backyard Upgrade?

While it’s not too cold now, you might be thinking that the weather could change abruptly at any moment. This is New York, after all. So you might be considering waiting until spring to plan and begin any major backyard upgrades.

“People think they can’t begin planning until it’s warm,” says Deck and Patio owner Dave Stockwell. “But that’s really not necessary at all. It can be done during any season, including winter.”

Google Earth Map

Google Earth Map


“Granted, it is helpful to see close up any existing patio or pool that’s being upgraded or replaced,” says Dave. “But much of our planning can be done through surveys and Google Earth. 

“Even if the ground is covered in snow, our experts don’t need to see the ground to begin,” adds Dave. “Plus, with the computer software available today, the drafting and collaboration design process is surprisingly quick — even providing an accurate representation of how your outdoor spaces will look after the work is done.”




How Computer Animation Helps


Backyard 3-D Animation Plan

Backyard 3-D Animation Plan

Completed Backyard Upgrade

Completed Backyard Upgrade








The 3-D animation (top left) not only shows what the yard will look like — including from different perspectives — tweaking and changes can easily be changed as the project goes along.

For this completed Long Island, NY, project (top right), the property had existing patios and a pool. The key was to decide what to keep and what to remove. 

One part of the design expanded the original confining upper and lower patios into both shady and sunny expansive areas. This also helped open up the space to allow unobstructed views of Long Island Sound.


Full Deck and Patio Backyard Retreat

When you’re hoping for a major upgrade that includes lots of special outdoor amenities — and especially if your property presents challenges to adding them — it is really a good idea to get started very early.

“In the following case, 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 a closeup of 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.






Lush Landscapes

Lush Landscapes


Today’s Feature Photo at Top of Page: Vibrant, lush landscaping as well as a new patio, pool area with water slide, and custom spa with waterfalls takes planning. It’s wise to start, yes, even in January. 

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














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










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!


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. 



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.


Backyard Waterfalls: A White Noise That’s Always Welcome

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

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

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

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

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

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


Natural Moss Rock Backyard Noise Barrier:

Natural Moss Rock Backyard Noise Barrier:

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

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

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




Backyard Waterfall Blocks Out Traffic Noise:

Backyard Waterfall Blocks Out Traffic Noise:

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

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




Vinyl Freeform Pool Retreat:

Vinyl Freeform Pool Retreat:

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

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

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


Backyard Paradise That is Noise Free:

Backyard Paradise That is Noise Free:

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


Poolside Landscaping:

Poolside Landscaping:

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



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.”



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