backyard upgrades

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Mini Pools Make the Most of Small Yards and Budgets

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

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

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

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

Here’s that Deck and Patio spool story.

 

Spool: Before, After, and In-Between

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

Large Properties

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

“Before” photo of Manhasset property

Manhasset Project (After)

Manhasset Project (After)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

— a custom pavilion with fireplace and an outdoor kitchen

— patios made with custom inlays of our own design;

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

Lovely upgrade, yes?

 

Before (left) & After (right)

Before (left) & After (right)

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

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

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

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

 

Small Properties

 

"Before"

“Before”

"After"

“After”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Properties With Challenges

 

"After" of Deck and Patio Dix Hills Project

“After” of Deck and Patio Dix Hills Project

"Before"

“Before”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

“Before” (left) “After" (right)

“Before” (left) “After” (right)

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

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

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

 

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

 

What Is the Perfect Outdoor Living Plan for Your Family?

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

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

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

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

 

Manhasset Project's Pool and Patio

Manhasset Project’s Pool and Patio

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

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

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

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

— a custom pavilion with fireplace and an outdoor kitchen;

— patios made with custom inlays of our own design;

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

 

 

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

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

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

Custom Pavilion with Outdoor Fireplace:

Custom Pavilion with Outdoor Fireplace:

 

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

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

 

 

Pavilion’s Outdoor Fireplace

Pavilion’s Outdoor Fireplace

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

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

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

 

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

 

Pavilion or Gazebo: Individual Architectural Statement for Your Yard

Here, in Long Island, NY, we are passionate about outdoor living. And for many, there’s no better way to enjoy al fresco living than under the shade of a handsome pavilion or gazebo. 

Open to breezes and the scents of blooming flowers, but shut to the sky’s burning rays or drizzling rain, these structures offer both shelter and aesthetic appeal. A large variety of designs permit individual architectural statements in any yard. 

 

Deck and Patio at work in Manhasset

Deck and Patio at work in Manhasset, NY

“One pavilion project we built was in a section of Manhasset — Flower Hill — is a dramatic 16’ x 28’ pavilion. Here, we’re showing you our team at work. But when it was finished, it boasted roofing shingles to match those of their new custom home, interior AZEK finishes, stone bases for the pavilion’s columns, and a fireplace to name just some of its amenities.”

In addition, the clients don’t have to rely only on the fireplace for warmth. Because of modern technology, Deck and Patio was able to add built-in heating to the pavilion, that with a flip of a switch, warms up the interior.

The overall backyard project also included a new gunite pool and sumptuous landscaping. 

 

Shingle-roof Pergola/Pavilion/Long Island, NY:

Shingle-roof Pergola/Pavilion/Long Island, NY:

 

 

This pergola/pavilion with fireplace project was installed at the edge of a patio that also boasts a hot tub. Note how the handsome lighted columns on stone pillars of the pavilion match those of the fireplace. The lighting on the pillars and inside the roof contribute to a perfect evening ambience.

Also note that Deck and Patio sells portable spas right from our Greenlawn location!

 

 

Outdoor Pavilions and Gazebos (Long Island/NY

Outdoor Pavilions and Gazebos (Long Island/NY

 

Some clients’ taste for outdoor space includes a romantic statement such as this lovely gazebo and harmonizing deck. Bright plantings surround the area and a charming stepping stone path adds additional appeal. 

Notice how there’s little doubt that these inhabitants like to entertain. One can easily imagine this as the perfect spot at any time — but it’s especially well designed for inviting over friends and family.

 

 

 

Backyard Pavilion with Ceiling Fans (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Pavilion with Ceiling Fans (Long Island/NY):

 

 

Feature Photo: This dramatic shingle-roof pavilion with interior lighting has two ceiling fans. The columns rest on stone pillars that match the stone on the yard’s new steps. (Note how the roof shingles match those of the clients’ home.)

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of Exposure to Nature

When surfing social media, the posts that get most attention are beautiful landscaping photos. If catching a quick glimpse of nature online seems to refresh the spirit, imagine what time spent outdoors in a natural setting does.

The University of Washington wrote a piece on this very subject not too long ago. And after two years of study, while they remain baffled as to “how” nature heals more than the soul, they do know that exposure to a beautiful landscape is beneficial to one’s overall well being.

The study also indicated that some doctors in their areas were already suggesting “doses of nature to their adult patients to treat conditions ranging from heart disease to depression.” 

The researchers also discovered that spending time in nature can be a challenge, depending on one’s neighborhood, etc. But providing specific spots to “safely enjoy nature” is worth the effort both at home and in the local community.

We thought we’d share today some examples of Long Island homeowners who have employed Deck and Patio to create mini-natural havens in their own yards.

 

Creating Beautiful Backyard Escapes

Creating Beautiful Backyard Escapes

Deck and Patio carefully selected the boulders and stones, along with bright plantings to create this beautiful vista. And as many would agree, it would not have been an ideal outdoor refuge without some sort of water feature. A stream with waterfalls flowing under a charming wooden bridge, combined with the imported boulders and rocks we chose, created a natural walking trail like one would find in the mountains.

 

Mixing Softscapes with Hardscapes:

Mixing Softscapes with Hardscapes:

There’s no need to sacrifice a patio with spaces for entertaining for a natural vista that will nourish your soul. You can have both. Here we built multi-level patios and carefully spaced how each area was to be used. 

We set up one area for relaxing and taking in a section of the yard’s multi-faceted water feature. Another spot off to the side — in front of a thicket of trees — was designed as a private patio. Sections for sunning and being near their pool were also planned out.

 

Award-Winning Backyard Twin Ponds:

Award-Winning Backyard Twin Ponds:

This project is a great example of building a nature lover’s escape on a property that did not have a lot of slope. It is actually three bodies of water: twin ponds and a swimming pool. 

The lower pond was intended to be the fish pond, with the upper pond for aquatic plants. However, Mother Nature is always boss. For not long after this award-winning* project was complete, the pond fish began jumping over the waterfall stone that separated the ponds to swim upstream into the upper pond. 

(*This project won an international silver medal for water features from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

 

Backyard Nature Walk:

Backyard Nature Walk:

Because these clients had a lovely wooded yard, Deck and Patio had a beautiful backdrop to work our magic. We weaved stone steps, streams, and waterfalls in an around the property’s existing bridge and nature walks — all just below a park-style bench. We also lavished it all with robust plantings and green ground cover. To just about any eye, the completed nature walk appears as if Mother Nature put it all together herself.

 

Natural Stepping Stone Bridge:

Natural Stepping Stone Bridge:

Taking a walk in this backyard is as much meditation as exercise. In homage to Japanese Garden styles, Deck and Patio fitted large natural stones with smooth walking surfaces across a newly completed backyard pond. When doing the landscaping, we anchored each side of the pond with beautiful deep colors midst the lush green ground cover.

 

Feature Photo

Feature Photo

Feature Photo (Top of Page):

Since we can’t travel daily to natural habitats, how can we pause daily to rest our minds? The answer may be found right in our own backyard.

Did you know that since Deck and Patio began designing/building ponds and pondscapes, we have created over 300 such peaceful water features here on Long Island alone? Local nature lovers have found that their backyards don’t have to be just a patch of green with some flower beds. They can be glorious escapes that act as the perfect elixir.

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.

 

 

Backyard Upgrades: Now Is the Time to Spring Into Action

Plan Now for This Summer

Plan Now for This Summer

Don’t wait for the clocks to change. When it comes to planning backyard upgrades, now is the time to spring forward.

“Early February is a really good time to plan,” says our own Dave Stockwell. “Once robins are singing and trees are budding, the phones at Deck and Patio have been ringing for weeks with requests for projects.”

One reason, Dave explains, is there are so many different local codes and variances required for upgrades across Long Island. “And in order to secure permits, we need to get to that early.”

Special projects also require pulling together the right people for every aspect of the design plan. Again, starting early ensures each team will be available to work in a way that doesn’t slow the job down.

 

How to begin

 

The “A” Team: Deck and Patio at work with HGTV’s Pool Kings

The “A” Team: Deck and Patio at work with HGTV’s Pool Kings

 

Choosing the right design/builder is perhaps the most important decision you have to make when planning your outdoor retreat. Here are just a few of the questions you should consider:

—  Will your design/build firm be using subcontractors and if so, are they licensed and insured? Who will be responsible for any repairs during the warranty?

—  Will your design/builder obtain town codes and zoning information or will you be doing this? Some firms such as The Deck and Patio Company can introduce you to an expeditor to help in the permit process, if required.

—  Take the time necessary to verify the references of your designer/builder and how many workers will be on the site at any given time. Will there be a supervisor there, for example.

—  Review any contracts carefully before signing on. Ensure you have all the warranty information that was promised.

 

 

Landscape Planning Should Begin in Winter (Long Island/NY):

Landscape Planning Should Begin in Winter (Long Island/NY):

Even if there’s snow on the ground, a good design/build firm is able to see underneath it to plan an outdoor retreat. In fact, we built these dual ponds (immediately above) for a client during winter. 

“The ground was getting hard and it was brutally cold,” says Dave. “But, in one way, it was a good time of year for such a project because we had more time in our schedule than we usually do in spring. So it was cold, but stress-free.”

This water feature was designed as an ecosystem pond with a natural-looking moss rock waterfall. It includes a stone bridge. And the stream we added just behind the pond feeds the pond area and boasts an additional waterfall.

 

Backyard Water Features (Long Island/NY):

Backyard Water Features (Long Island/NY):

Planning glorious backyard water features takes time, especially if you want a man-made feature like this to appear as if Mother Nature designed it herself. This requires ordering and installing the perfect-sized rocks and boulders that urge the water to flow in natural spills into either a pond or pondless-reservoir.

 

Deck Design/Building:

Deck Design/Building:

The structure of a deck is most often attached to the house. It’s usually elevated, that is, designed to suit the “lay of the land.” The land’s topography also helps determine how high and how many levels it should be.

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

You want to have all the materials you need when you are ready to start construction. Planning ahead is key.

 

 

For Well-Being Bring the Natural World Into Your Experience

There was a time when mankind spent a huge part of its daily life in the outdoors. But we’re a long way from those hunter/gatherer days. Today, we’re so advanced, we spend much more time staring at our screens rather than starring at the night sky — or watching a mother bird feed its young (in someone’s online tweet doesn’t count). 

As reported in a recent The Atlantic feature, there’s reason to reassess the way we balance our lives. Psychologists of late, while measuring happiness and well-being, have discovered a “significant association between nature connectedness and life satisfaction and happiness.

Ensuring the family visits more regularly parks and arboretums, etc. can help. But for a greater immersion, and presumably increased well-being, it might be worth exploring some natural environments that Deck and Patio either designed/built for nature-loving clients or has designed/built similar ones.

When Your Backyard Space Is Tight

We don’t all have such a large wooded property that we can enjoy ‘forest bathing’ like some researchers suggest, or a deep large pond for swimming. But many have enough space to fit in a small pond with a bit of inspired landscaping.

Small “Pondless” Waterfall (Photo: Aquascape Inc.)

Small “Pondless” Waterfall (Photo: Aquascape Inc.)

“A pondless waterfall,” says our own Dave Stockwell, “not only requires less space than a regular pond, but is ideal when a family has very young children. Some of our clients worry that a full, deep pond might present safety concerns for toddlers.”

Plus, adds Dave, a pondless waterfall doesn’t require much maintenance so is easier to care for.

Budget, too, is also a consideration. A pondless waterfall offers the joys of flowing water, it attracts beneficial wildlife, and draws the family outdoors. A great option.

 

 

Room for a Large Pond

Swimming with the Koi (Photo: Aquascape Inc.)

Swimming with the Koi (Photo: Aquascape Inc.)

Swimming in a pristine natural pond is thrilling and chemical free — a delight. Of course, unchecked by the chemicals of a regular swimming pool, the odd dragonfly will no doubt flit across your natural pond; you might even find a salamander sunbathing at its edge. 

In addition, frogs (who eat the more undesirable insects around your pond) may parent some tadpoles in any natural pond. And if there’s koi in the pond, it’s important to keep them free of disease.

All that said, people swim in lakes and the ocean and even water holes. So this is really the same thing and children love it. Plus, a large gorgeous pond is an attraction for your family whether or not you create it for swimming. 

 

Aquatic Plants are Helpful

Aquatic Plants are Helpful

When there is room and a budget for a large pond, like this koi Deck and patio pond with several waterfalls and a stream, a backyard can become a private sanctuary to begin enjoying all the positive effects of being out in nature.

Note: because ponds do not have too much water action, water lilies are ideal plants, which is especially helpful in larger ponds.

Not only do they produce fragrant flowers that are beautiful, they add shade which helps keep the water temperature down during the heat of summer.

The lower temperature reduces undesirable algae growth; and when koi or other fish are present, water lilies provide great shelter for the fish while keeping the water clear and clean-looking.

 

Reaching a Pond’s Zenith

Deck and Patio Infinity Pond

Deck and Patio Infinity Pond

A pond can reach its zenith if it’s possible to give it a vanishing edge. Although these are more commonly done for pools, if local regulations limit the addition of a pool, a pond might be the answer.

That was the case for this multi-part Deck and Patio water feature. It captures the glorious sunsets over Long Island Sound and appears to connect right out to the water’s edge. The project includes a stream, waterfalls, and second lower pond.

Under the feature’s beauty, an extremely high tech and complex natural biological filtration system using Aquascape Inc. products is continuously maintaining the feature’s crystal clear water.

Now, tell us you wouldn’t spend more time enjoying nature with any of these water features! And the benefits for your well-being are priceless.

 

Landscaping Ideas: Pulling Out All the Stops

You love to cook and no ordinary outdoor barbecue will do. Gathering with family and friends in the evening around a fire is also your nirvana. And you want your kids to spend time enjoying a good swim.

The question is how do we as a family want to spend time together in 2022?

To formulate the perfect landscaping plan for your family, first, it is the job of professionals like Deck and Patio to understand each client. Are you avid gardeners, for example? Or will you want plants that survive with little effort?

How a plan combines hardscapes (patios, driveways, etc.) with the softscapes (trees, plantings and grasses) is very important. In addition, how homeowners will use the space, the size of the property — and, of course, budget — will greatly affect decisions.

Deck and Patio Project Showcase

 

Manhasset Project

Manhasset Project

This Manhasset, Long Island, 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. 

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

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

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

 

Custom Pavilion with Outdoor Fireplace:

Custom Pavilion with Outdoor Fireplace:

 

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

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

 

 

 

Pavilion’s Outdoor Fireplace

Pavilion’s Outdoor Fireplace

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

This different view of the project is also today’s feature photo (above). It shows the beautiful custom inlays we installed into their Cambridge patio.

This different view of the project is also today’s feature photo (above). It shows the beautiful custom inlays we installed into their Cambridge patio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designing and Building a Water Feature During the Colder Months

“You would be quite surprised what can be built during these colder months,” says our own Dave Stockwell. “Depending on the water feature you want, even if it’s not fully built until spring, now is a great time to start. 

Backyard ponds can become rinks in winter

Backyard ponds can become rinks in winter

“Ponds and other water features can also be stunning in winter,” says Dave. “Many people love to be outdoors in winter and a pond helps create the perfect winter wonderland in their own yards.

Indeed, a popular trend these days is creating a winter walk “event” by strolling by lighted trees, a fully-operating water feature with waterfalls, and also enjoying an ice rink for skating.

Even if begun today, however, a backyard pond won’t be ready in time for Santa to skate on it this Christmas. But it’s possible, depending on the weather, that it will be ready in time for some family ice skating later this winter.  (See below for some tips on turning a pond into a skating rink.)

 

Landscape Design/Build During Winter

While the following project isn’t a pond — it is a ‘spool’ (or a cross between a spa and pool — it is a good example of designing and building backyard upgrades in winter. 

 

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

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

 

“During.” Winter snow was upon us not long after we began the project. We did have time to dig out the area for the spool which would give us a head start come spring. Then we covered the hole while we all waited for it to arrive.

“During.” Winter snow was upon us not long after we began the project. We did have time to dig out the area for the spool which would give us a head start come spring. Then we covered the hole while we all waited for it to arrive.

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Enjoying water features all year long:

 

Ponds in Autumn

Ponds in Autumn

 

Ponds in Winter/Photo courtesy of Aquascape Inc.

Ponds in Winter/Photo courtesy of Aquascape Inc.

 

A few autumn leaves falling into a backyard pond is not a problem. Some leaves actually add to the health of a pond’s ecosystem.

However. If your pond is surrounded by deciduous trees, autumn’s storm of foliage are leaves of a different color.  Learn more here.

 

Creating Your Own Ice Rink

Creating Your Own Ice Rink

 

It takes some prep work and lots of caution and care to make a rink, but according to naturally-recognized “The Pond Guy” you can, indeed, turn your pond into a rink for skating.

The Pond Guy has several blogs on this topic covering how to create good ice, what red flags to look for, how to check the ice, and how to create a glassy smooth surface. For two of his blogs, click here and here. 

 

 

 

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