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Landscaping Tips: Be Prepared for Snow This Winter

Even though we’ve not been hit with much winter weather yet, if you believe the Almanac, their forecasts suggest a colder than usual winter and a snowfall above normal. December being a possibility they say, as are January and February. 

 

Acrobatics Required

Acrobatics Required

 

 

Even if snow is light, if it’s followed by sleet, and/or warming, then freezing, the driveway or walkway can become so slick that getting the family from the front door to the car can require the skills of a Cirque de Soleil acrobat.

 

 

 

 

 

So it’s a good idea to ‘be prepared. And here’s some winter snow tips — whether or not you are handling your own snow removal:

 

— Ensure your snow blower, roof rake, deicers etc. are readily at hand;

— If you have a generator, have it checked out to be sure it’s operating properly;

— Put some fresh batteries in your carbon monoxide monitor.

 

Snow Removal:

Snow Removal:

Speaking of snow blowers. Even an inexpensive one is better than using a shovel.

 If you’re going to shovel, coat the scoop part with non-stick cooking spray. 

And lastly, whether you are using a snow blower or shoveling, remove the snow in small increments — don’t try to do it all at once.

 

Now. The real fun begins. 

Pre-Storm Driveway Preparation

 

Plow Stakes

Plow Stakes

 

No matter who will be doing the plowing of your property — a firm like our own Dix Hills Snowplowing, or on your own — even before word that a storm is approaching, “prep” your property (or have it prepped) by installing fiberglass stakes (sometimes called “plow stakes” or “snow stakes”).

Note: wood plow/snow stakes aren’t as strong as fiberglass and can be easily damaged.

The idea is to highlight where any costly Belgium Block or other edging is located, keeping it from being damaged by snow plows. For more on this, click here.

 

 

Roof Prep

 

Gutters in Winter

Gutters in Winter

 

 

Snow can cause a lot of pressure on your roof. 

One of the best ways to remove it is with a roof rake, so it’s good to have it readily on hand.

Also take a look at your gutters to make sure ice doesn’t dam them up and cause leaking into your home or attic. 

Some experts recommend stringing heat cables through them, or on the roof just above the gutters.

This should be done, of course, before major snowstorms to avoid any Clark Griswald-like ice rockets from a frozen gutter fail.

 

 

 

 

Professional Snow Removal

 

Dix Hills Snowplowing

Dix Hills Snowplowing

Of course, the easiest way to handle some of this is to contact professionals like Deck and Patio’s Dix Hills Snowplowing.

In speaking with our own Office Manager, Linda LaRose, if you live in our corner of Suffolk County (Huntington/Dix Hills) and wish to have us take care of your snow removal, you can contact us with no obligation (631-549-8100).

Once we hear from you, Linda will email a contract to review and you can always call her with questions before signing on, or incurring any expense. When you make this initial contact, this would be the right time to let us know if you have any special requirements: e.g., early service, service at 1-inch (ours usually begins at 2”), sand service, if garage doors need to shoveled, mail box cleared, etc.

We can also stake the driveway for you, if you ask for it. (Note: For snow removal from roofs, you should contact a roof contractor for their specialized service.)

 

 

By |2022-12-08T14:12:45-05:00December 8th, 2022|Backyard Maintenance, Bullfrog Spas, Deck and Patios, Driveways, Landscaping, outdoor maintenance, Patios & Decks, paving stones, Seasonal Landscapes, Snow Removal, Techo-Bloc|Comments Off on Landscaping Tips: Be Prepared for Snow This Winter

Winter-Friendly Durable Construction Products

Our winters on Long Island don’t always come with a lot of snow, but we do face extended cold streaks. For this reason alone, Deck and Patio values durable construction products that also look good.

 

Techo-Bloc Construction Paver Materials

 

Snow Removal:

Snow Removal:

Techo-Bloc products are engineered in Canada where they require extra strength due to our neighboring country’s extreme weather changes. Their pavers handle very well the freeze/thaw that occurs in our own corner of the Northeast.

“The stones will remain adaptable, even, and stable for years, as long as they are installed properly,” says our own Dave Stockwell.

Techo-Bloc pavers are nearly three times stronger than poured concrete, And when it comes to snow, these pavers can be plowed and shoveled. 

Actually, the edges and joints around the pavers assist in melting snow and ice, says the manufacturer. And that using de-icing salt (sodium chloride or calcium chloride) to remove snow and ice will not harm these paving stones.

Deck and Patio Project Using Techo-Bloc

Deck and Patio Project Using Techo-Bloc

 

This photo shows how natural Techo-Bloc pavers look. Instead of one-sized bricks placed throughout your entire patio or retaining wall or driveway, their kits provide “random” instead of straight lines for a handsome outcome.

“These products are available in pavers, slabs, walls, for facing outdoor features such as fire pits, edging, and include permeable materials,” says Dave.

 

 

 

Fiberon Capped Composite Decking

 

Photo Courtesy of Fiberon

Photo Courtesy of Fiberon

Fiberon offers capped composite decking boards, like the ones shown here. They are made of materials and a cap that resist moisture. Fiberon boards include a “cover” that provide added protection against the elements and everyday living.

Most wood decking materials face challenges in holding up to such weather.  Even moisture-resistant woods require regular sealing and parts of the underside can’t help but trap moisture.

“While most reputable capped composite manufacturers produce superb products that are stain, insect, mold and splinter resistant,” says Dave Stockwell, “Fiberon’s special warranty can also be a factor. Not only do clients get the usual 25-year warranty on materials, with Fiberon they also get a five-year warranty on labor.”

That said, the most important aspect to ongoing outdoor winter enjoyment is to remove any existing snow.

“Whether you have a wood or capped-composite deck, we recommend not using metal shovels for this, but plastic ones. If you feel it necessary to use de-icing materials, rock salt is the best choice for any deck surface.  Be sure to choose rock salt that is labeled safe for flagstone or concrete and will not kill grass.”

 

Award-winning Deck and Patio Fiberon Project

Award-winning Deck and Patio Fiberon Project

The Director of Marketing Communications at Fiberon, Edie Kelly does not recommend using sand to remove ice and snow because that can mar a deck’s surface.

“If the snow is light, a broom is a good choice or, again, a plastic shovel, Kello recommends sweeping the used rock salt into the trash, then rinsing the deck off to remove any residue. This is especially important if you have pets.

“You can use a pressure washer if you like, but we recommend not going beyond 3,000 PSI (pounds per square inch). Also, keep the nozzle about 10” above the deck. This applies to both wood and composite decking.“

Fiberon also says it is important to shovel parallel to the boards and not horizontally.

 

 

Snowy, Icy Landscape

Snowy, Icy Landscape

 

Backyard Upgrades: As you learn the best ways to enjoy your deck and patio during winter, it’s a great time to ponder what changes you’d like to make for spring.

And it’s okay if you have no idea how to look through snow and plan for spring. The key is: design/build experts like Deck and patio do know. And we can help you see through winter to 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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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