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Water Features for Pools

There are several enticing styles of water features you can add to your pool. However, in today’s blog, we are focusing on a particular water feature stand-out: stream-fed waterfalls.

While pools, themselves, are the most prevalent water features, the amenities you add to them, in particular water features, can take them from ordinary to sublime.

Reminiscent of Mother Nature’s own ponds and lakes — where water pools are the outcome of streams and rivers feeding oxygenated waterfalls cascading from above — adding water features provide a very special dimension to a backyard pool.

A key element in giving the feature a natural feel is the use of moss rock. Of course, the skill comes in positioning the rocks in such a way so the water spills over them just like you would see on a mountain hike or woodland stroll.

The first project we are highlighting today showcases a majestic high waterfall spilling over natural boulders into a freeform concrete pool and spa. The waterfall doesn’t flow out from the walls of the pool, but like all the ones in today’s blog, it is fed by a meandering man-made stream.


Water Feature for Freeform Pool:

Water Feature for Freeform Pool:

The spa in this project is private — nestled inside a cove made from moss rock boulders fitted with a structural steel and concrete ceiling. The entire project included a freeform pool with grotto spa, Techo-Bloc tumbled paver patio and in-pool tanning shelf; it won for Deck and Patio a prestigious Silver medal for design from the Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA).


Spa and Pool Waterfalls:

Spa and Pool Waterfalls:

A rushing stream of hot water flows over a large moss rock into a new spa built by Deck and Patio. From there, a spillover waterfall flows out from the spa five feet above the main swimming pool.


Swimming Pool Water Features:

Swimming Pool Water Features:

Imagine sitting at a granite-topped swim-up bar on comfortable in-pool stools while enjoying the sounds and beauty of several stream-fed waterfalls. For this project, Deck and Patio was able to turn the biggest challenge of the property — its rising elevation — into a benefit. Gravity alone moves the water down the slope into the waterfalls. This project won us several gold meals; one from NSPI and one from NESPA.


Natural Swimming Pools with Waterfalls:

Natural Swimming Pools with Waterfalls:

Although we have successfully built natural swimming pools for clients with waterfalls fed by streams, this project is not one of our own.  We are using it today because it so beautifully showcases how much children love natural swimming pools. It was supplied to us by the company that manufacturers much of our water feature equipment — Aquascape, Inc. (St. Charles, IL). The pool waterfalls are stream-fed into a “natural” swimming pond. Swimming in such pools isn’t any different from taking a swim in an old fashioned swimming hole, or the ocean for that matter. Photo: Courtesy of Aquascape, Inc.


 Pool Waterfalls:

Pool Waterfalls:

The sound of waterfalls cascading over natural rock offers relaxing sounds as well as a beautiful vista when dining al fresco. Here, Deck and Patio also added a sound system in this backyard retreat that pumps music; together with the waterfalls the sounds are wonderful for entertaining or family fun.


Pool Water Features:

Pool Water Features:

Sunset is a glorious time to be by the pool, especially when the sounds of multiple waterfalls complete the scene. Here a stream feeds two separate waterfalls on either side of a water slide that makes its own waterfall. This is definitely where you want to be at the end of each workday.



Vinyl-Lined Pools Allow Flexibility in Pool Design

Although Deck and Patio builds concrete (gunite) pools, many of our clients prefer the feel of vinyl and especially the flexibility that vinyl offers in designing a pool.

“Sometimes stringent local setback codes affect pool design, other times the backyard space is small or the terrain challenging. Whatever the difficulties, with today’s advanced computerization of liner fabrications used in vinyl-lined pools, we can construct a swimming pool in any shape, curve, or angle, so there’s freedom in giving clients exactly what they want,” says Deck and Patio’s own Bill Renter.

With such flexibility in pool design, homeowners are also not stuck with what some believe to be unattractive white interior stairs. “The liner is fabricated to include the stairs and any other in-pool amenities. This is helpful because white stairs do not blend with the rest of the pool,” says Renter, “and, of course, there’s no sacrificing a smooth bottom for the swimmers’ feet.”

Of course, the base construction of a vinyl pool is much the same as any other. Vinyl simply refers to the method used to line a pool’s interior. These liners come in a large variety of colors, which can react with the water to create a romantic “grotto” or “lagoon’ effect, so popular today. Plus, the concrete walls of vinyl-lined pools have a lifetime guarantee.

“Often known for being the lowest-cost option, vinyl pools and spas are easily customizable,” adds Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “In addition, replacement cost for the outer liner is modest compared to other pool fixes. Because of this, we can offer a wallet-friendly facelift for a totally new look down the road. Plus, in the Northeast, vinyl-lined pools perform better because of the freeze/thaw climate.”

The first project we’re highlighting today (see first photo below) is unique with an interesting twist on the typical vinyl liner. It’s a swimming pool that looks like a pond – i.e., made entirely of rocks and not the usual concrete or steel – but filtered and treated chemically like a normal pool. Its liner isn’t “vinyl.” Instead, because of the very unique pool design the clients wanted, the best choice was a rubber pond liner. It’s as comfortable as vinyl and was a necessary choice for the job.


Adirondack-style Pool:

Adirondack-style Pool:

Despite looking like it’s a natural pond set within rocks, on the bottom of the pool there are no boulders. We installed a one-piece black rubber liner to contain the pool water, which feels to the feet much like a vinyl pool and is comfortable to swim in. We used a blend of pool and pond materials — a black liner, which reacts with the water to create a stunning pond-like appearance (a 45-mil EPDM pond liner) and Aquascape Inc.’s wide-mouth skimmers and bulkhead fittings to penetrate the liner.



Vinyl-lined Pool Sanctuary:

Vinyl-lined Pool Sanctuary:

Sometimes clients want more than a pool. This newly created backyard sanctuary comprises an in-ground vinyl-lined pool, large patio area, outdoor kitchen, outdoor shower, fire pit, two streams and two waterfalls. Plus, the serenity of it all gives no hint of the high-tech energy efficient components supporting it. The sounds of waterfalls, streams and sprays add tranquility to the backyard retreat.



Award-winning Vinyl-Lined Pool:

Award-winning Vinyl-Lined Pool:

This entire Manhasset, NY project included a free-form, vinyl-lined pool that meanders along the landscape, along with a spillover spa. We tucked it into the back right corner of the clients’ backyard and surrounded it with a stacked stone wall and lush plantings. If you have a small yard — as was the case here — Deck and Patio frequently recommends designing different patio levels which help make the yard appear bigger.



Vinyl-lined Pool and Backyard Retreat:

Vinyl-lined Pool and Backyard Retreat:

Amenities abound in this backyard retreat: beautiful free-form vinyl pool, moss rock waterfalls, diving rock, tanning shelf, portable spa set in-ground, robust plantings, and handsome patio. The movement in the pool’s free-form shape, surrounded by plant material chosen for color and texture – with a view on how it will grow – ensures their backyard retreat will be a lovely oasis for a long time to come.



Outdoor Resort Living:

Outdoor Resort Living:

These clients wanted a good deal more than an outdoor pool and patio; they wanted a wide range of resort-style amenities to enhance their already existing majestic views of Long Island Sound. One such amenity was a vinyl-lined vanishing edge, or “infinity” pool that brings the view of the shoreline right up to their backyard patio. In addition, we included a spectacular custom spa, also perfectly positioned to enjoy the “vanishing edge” views. (Sunset photo of this project follows.)



Outdoor Resort Living:

Outdoor Resort Living:

This resort-style outdoor living oasis includes vanishing (vinyl lined) pool, custom spa, tumbled stone patio, natural gas campfires, evergreen trees for privacy, pool waterfalls, in-pool bar stools, three staircases, and in-floor cleaning. A swim-up U-shaped bar also serves as a patio bar; the pool boasts 5 in-pool stools and swim-out steps.



Steep Terrain: Creating a Backyard Escape that “Wows!”

The owner of True Blue Swimming Pools, Michael Truehart, was contracted to do the pool for this project. Much of the small backyard was sloping terrain, and the clients expected, as part of a new “natural-looking oasis that wows,’ that True Blue would build the pool on their only available flat piece of land.

“But Michael felt it was a pity to use up the flat piece of lawn where their children loved to play,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “He suggested, instead, that the seemingly unusable elevated terrain be sculpted into the backyard retreat they wanted.”

This project would require a lot of creative landscaping, and Truehart recommended Deck and Patio be brought in help with the project.

“Manipulating grades — that is working within different levels— is one of the things we do very well,” says Bill Renter, who took the lead for Deck and Patio. “Such gradations can be not only attractive and spatially functional, but, when done correctly, they can make smaller yards appear considerably more expansive. We are also expert at creating natural retaining walls, which was key for this project.”

Bill adds that when he works within tight spaces, he makes sure the chaise lounge, dining and patio areas are all large enough for furniture, and have room enough to walk around. He also tries not to over-build or paver the whole space.

However, it wasn’t just elevation changes that presented problems.

“In order to fit a full-sized 24’ x 40’ pool, we also had to deal with stringent Town setback codes,” says Michael Truehart. “One way we addressed these problems was designing the pool on one side with an exposed wall. Boulder coping on the opposite side was expanded by Deck and Patio into a beautiful waterfall feature that also does double-duty as a natural retaining wall.”

The finished vinyl-lined pool has a concrete wall; extra rebar was added to the exposed pool wall for strength, and the concrete footing was sunk well below the frost line to prevent heaving and shifting. In addition to the waterfall area, throughout the retreat, smaller groups of boulders fitted with plantings act as natural and attractive retaining areas.

“Along with the finish work on the pool, including the Cambridge ledgestone veneer on the exposed wall, we also designed/built the Cambridge XL paver patio,” says Renter. “Our work, combined with True Blue’s beautiful pool, gave the clients what they wanted: a full oasis that “wows” — with a little unexpected space left over for their children to play.”


Note: This project won an international Gold medal from APSP (Association of Pools and Spas Professionals) Bronze medal from LIPSA (Long Island Pool and Spa Association)


Backyard Oasis:

Backyard Oasis:

This project’s pool and pool-side amenities include a Wild Ride slide, granite swim-up bar with 3 vinyl-covered in-pool stools, diving rock, Tiki (Hula) patio umbrellas, outdoor shower, and lush plantings.


Lagoon-style Swimming Pools:

Lagoon-style Swimming Pools:

Along with designing a freeform shape, True Blue Swimming Pools chose a Loop-Loc “Sea Blue” vinyl liner to give the pool an enticing South Seas’ lagoon appeal. Fullnose coping also offers a harmonizing curved form.


Pool With Exposed Wall:

Pool With Exposed Wall:

“One way we addressed the problems in using sloping terrain was designing the pool on one side with an exposed wall, which Deck and Patio veneered in Cambridge ledgestone,” says Michael Truehart of True Blue Pools.


Elevated Backyard Terrain:

Elevated Backyard Terrain:

The pool’s vertical Cambridge ledgestone veneer adds drama to the lower patio area. Natural boulder steps (left) lead up to the pool surround’s main lounging area. Restful waterfalls running over moss rock (on the Wild Ride slide part of the pool) are not just beautiful to look at, they do double-duty as a retaining wall.


Pool Amenities:

Pool Amenities:

An impressive granite swim-up bar — with 3 vinyl-covered in-pool stools shaded by Tiki (Hula) patio umbrella — contribute to the “wow factor” the clients were looking for.



3 Award-Winning Hardscapes

Deck and Patio’s ability to use proper materials for desired effect garners awards


The design ability and competence of our installation team has gained us a good deal of recognition. We believe this stems from our using the proper materials for the effect intended. The ability to do this comes from knowledge gained over time. For example, it is important to take the texture and shape of the materials into account for each project so they provide the desired natural look in their setting. This includes choosing the proper color and shading of brick and stone to complement any residence.

1. Our first design/build patio project (below two photos) showcases five different patio levels around a pool where we integrated moss rock stone with the pavers. We chose pavers which look like natural stone. This particular manufacturer offers many different sizes and shapes and a broad range of colors, which makes designing the right hardscape for a particular project easier. Once down, hey look both natural and eye-catching. Instead of simply one brick that repeats throughout the entire patio or retaining wall, you get an attractive random-looking design, instead of just straight lines and flat images. For this project, we were able to design/build matching patios, retaining walls, steps, and risers for a cohesive and attractive whole. It captured for us the #1 ranking in the North American Decorative and Durable Pavement Awards.


Multi-level Patios:

Multi-level Patios:

For this design/build project, we created five different patio levels around a pool where we integrated moss rock stone with the pavers.


Raised Spill-over Spa:

Raised Spill-over Spa:

We used a special “Creta” wall stone to create the face between the raised acrylic spillover spa and swimming pool.

2. Three months of site preparation was key to the success of the next hardscape project (see two photos below). Stabilization of the property came from engineering a manufactured stone, which offers the same hand-chiseled and handcrafted look of actual quarried stone, into a retaining wall, conforming to a compaction ration of up to 99.9 percent — at a 36” depth with recycled concrete aggregate. More than 5,000 square feet of tumbled pavers cover the patios and 3,000 pounds of moss rock boulders and a 20 step system we installed. Two bars, faced with cultured stones and topped with granite are also part of the project: one is a swim-up bar adjacent to the pool and spa, the other is a 56” U-shaped that integrates a number of modern appliances.

This project won an APSP Gold Award in the category of “Concrete paver, more than 5,000 square feet.”


Tumbled Pavers:

Tumbled Pavers:

More than 5,000 square feet of Sandalwood tumbled pavers were used to cover the patios, 3,000 pounds of moss rock boulders and a 20 step system were also used.


Pool-side Bars:

Pool-side Bars:

We designed and built two bars faced with cultured stones and topped with granite for this project: one is a swim-up bar, the other U-shaped bar integrates a number of modern appliances.

Our next award-winner also garnered a Gold Award from APSP in the 1,000-5,000 square-foot category.

In dealing with several site challenges — a 20-foot elevation change with several large Long Island stone boulders among them — the solution we came up with was nesting patios into the slope of the property (see photo below). A 20’-by-40’ free-form concrete wall provides boundary; the deck utilizes 1,400 square feet of tumbled pavers, combined with a 20”-high manufactured stone seat wall and 20 irregular bluestone stepping stones. The pavers and stone captured the tones of the Long Island boulders used for waterfalls and soil retention.


Our designs frequently include lush plantings with bright colors and long bloom periods, spillover spas, cascading water, hot water fall into spas, waterfalls, streams, ponds, and natural. We often recommend gas “firepits” around our pools to create warm areas on the patios, especially on cool evenings. We frequently install wireless outdoor speakers. Instead of placing a single speaker in one spot, we place as many as ten throughout the project area so our clients enjoy a subtle, consistent sound all around them. www.deckandpatio.com

With recent advances in landscaping, swimming pools, and technology, virtually anything you can conceive of should be discussed with an experienced landscape and mason contractor. With a little imagination, the sky’s the limit.



Why Choose A Design/Build Firm For Your Backyard Retreat?



What if you could have a vacation resort of your own in your backyard? Knowing how to do it and who to call is an important first step. www.deckandpatio.com

Ready For Your Own Vacation Resort?

If you are considering a vacation resort in your own backyard, to get the most out of your time and money, you should be looking for a contractor that offers both design and build services. That is because design/build firms not only think about the way the project will be constructed, but also about other factors, such as sufficient functional family space in the yard, the sun’s location from different yard locations, viewing angles of water features and other focal points, elevation changes, drainage considerations and colorful landscapes.




Our outdoor living expert says a design/build firm will consider such factors as sufficient functional family space for children to play as well as sun location and viewing angles of focal points.

Where to Begin:

A swimming pool or spa is usually the main part of creating a personal paradise. That means you will need to make a big decision: do you want a gunite/shotcrete, or vinyl-lined pool? At Deck and Patio we build them all but some pool companies sell what is referred to as “kit pools” which limit what can be done. A custom design lets you have more freedom when it comes to the planning stage. In fact, when using a design/build firm, you can customize your entire project.

We always begin by asking customers about their plans for a pool, their lifestyles and their children’s needs. Then we come up with a unique concept to fulfill every desire. At Deck and Patio we use CAD drawings, digital imaging and a 3D animation video on a flat screen television to show clients how the pool will look with the existing home and environment.




A design/build firm helps you decide what kind of pool you want and which amenities. Will you want swim up bar stools in the pool, for example?


What to Watch Out for in a Design/Build Firm:

When looking for someone to build your swimming pool make sure you are comfortable with them. The design process can take anywhere between several days to several months and you and your builder may see a great deal of each other. Remember that you will be interacting with your contractor in good times and in bad so it is important they be responsible and reliable. When choosing a design/build firm look for a company that has an office and/or showroom so that you know where they are. Be wary of people who will not provide you with an address or give you just a P.O. Box and look for one that will give you their cell phone numbers.




When choosing a design/build firm look for a company that has an office and/or showroom so that you know where they are.

Realizing Your Dream:

As you consider contacting a design/build firm, a picture perfect paradise that fits your dreams starts to beckon. In your mind, you can almost see the bright and colorful plants peeking from around the natural rock waterfalls, the cascading water spilling into a lagoon inspired pool. The stone patio beneath your feet is cool to the touch and exudes a warm ambiance that welcomes and entices. You imagine ordering a cocktail from the pool bar and bringing it back to the lounge chair beneath an umbrella. You can see yourself sitting back and thinking: “Life is good.”

Once you awaken from your daydream, reality hits you. It is a scorching hot day; the sun would have baked you and your family if you hadn’t retreated to the solace of the air conditioning. As this summer comes to an end, its lingering warm temperatures are a reminder that next year will be just as hot. Now may be the perfect time to start planning the backyard of your dreams.




You can almost see the bright and colorful plants peeking from around the natural rock waterfalls, the cascading water spilling into a lagoon inspired pool.




Your perfect outdoor retreat might offer the ability to get a cocktail from the pool bar and bring it back to the lounge chair beneath an umbrella where you sigh: “Life is good.”

Lastly, we suggest looking for a designer/builder that is certified by Association of Pool and Spa professional (APSP). These certified building professionals (CBP) are tested and certified every three years. A CBP can assist you in choosing the right equipment for your project as well as provide or recommend a service professional for your ongoing maintenance. Look for things such as awards from industry groups and certifications from other professional organizations.

A swimming pool project is a big task to take one. Pools are a long lasting investment that add enjoyment to your life and value to your home. When you decide that you want to stop daydreaming and start enjoying your own backyard paradise, remember three things: start early (that means start planning now to be ready for next year’s summer heat), do your homework and choose wisely.



What’s “Cool” in Pools

Deck and Patio’s Shares 8 Trendy Pool Amenities


Award-winning vinyl pool by Deck and Patio showcases lots of what’s ‘cool’ in pools

  1. – Vinyl Pool Liners

The Deck and Patio Company designs and builds gunite (concrete), in addition to vinyl-lined pools. However, many of our clients prefer the padded, smooth, soft feel of vinyl, such as seen above.

In fact, according to reports, there are now more vinyl pools worldwide than any other combined group.

Of course, the base construction of a vinyl pool is the same as any other. “Vinyl” simply means the method used to line a pool’s interior. These liners come in a large variety of colors, which can react with the water to create the romantic “grotto” or “lagoon” effect so desirable today. For all these reasons, we feel we have to put vinyl’s soft cushion-y feel as #1 in what’s “cool” — especially since vinyl pools, designed and built by Deck and Patio Company, have become award winners.



2. & 3. – Custom Raised Spa and Heated Waterfalls

If enjoying a heated waterfall spilling its therapy into a custom raised spa isn’t at the top of desirable pool amenities (pictured above), it may be time to fold our deck chairs and go inside. Imagine! You are seated in just such a spa; the pulsations from a raised heated waterfall are massaging your neck and shoulders, while you lean back in swirling warm water and delightful air bubbles. Add to all this hydrotherapy that there is a picturesque, natural look to it all — the result is you feel as if you are in a small lagoon, created by Mother Nature, in a distant south sea isle. Yup. It’s way up on the “cool” list.


Embedded Umbrellas


4.  Flexible Shade

Embedded umbrellas, and the flexible shade opportunities they provide, are also at the top of Deck and Patio’s favorite things. Positioned 9 feet apart, when open, they provide a bank of shade, perhaps 27 to 36 feet long, as pictured above. The umbrellas are a great substitute for pergolas; they are more flexible than such fixed shade amenities because various umbrellas can be open and closed at the same time. All open, and you have a perfect area to place a buffet lunch or relax in full shade; partially closed, and those who want shade can lounge next to those who want sun.


Tanning Shelf from Deck and Patio


5. Tanning Shelves and Custom Steps

Also called “sun shelves”

Tanning shelves (photo above) are a cool way to stay cool when you want to lay out in the sun, says Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert.

These shelves are set in several inches of water and are wide enough for parents to sun bathe while young children play beside them. Tanning shelves (photo above) are a cool way to stay cool when you want to lay out in the sun, says Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert.

Custom steps are additional cool amenities which make moving in and out of the pool natural and comfortable.




6. Bar Stools and Swim Up Bars

Building a vinyl pool requires precise measurements, so plan ahead for such cool extras as tanning shelves, bar stools and swim up bars (see above). Note: Deck and Patio installs a quarter-inch padding between any vinyl liner and the concrete. This is what gives steps, walls, and other amenities their cushion-y feel.




7. Natural Stone Paths

We have to thank the Japanese Tea Ceremony and that country’s love of simplicity and natural beauty for our #7  “cool pool” landscaping idea — the stepping stone path.  Breaking up expansive pool surrounds with a natural stone path allows for “softscape” in between stones to show through, as well as creating a focus to particular directions. They are also great do-it-yourself projects. Just remember: they are best laid down on flat areas around your pool. Wet stepping stones can be dangerous on slopping areas.



8.  Natural Gas Campfires

Deck and Patio help create romantic outdoor mood with addition of bonfire-style fire pits.

You can almost hear the beating of steel drums when your “lagoon” pool has a bonfire-style fire pit — or several — lighting its surround at night (below). This style takes the fire pit from a simple campfire to a piece of art.



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