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Award-Winning Project Showcase: Backyard Paradise

Creating a seamless integration of landscape, nature with architecture of house

 

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Our design for this special outdoor retreat included seven-foot-high cascading waterfall into pool, a meandering stream with three-foot-high “sheetfalling” waterfall into spa, and two-foot-high spillway from spa into pool.

 

This backyard oasis garnered our firm two prestigious awards (Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA) Gold Metal “Freeform Pools” and First Place for “Residential Concrete Pavers of more than 5,000 square feet” from Hardscape North America (HNA). We believe such accolades are partially due to our early collaboration with the architect and builder in the planning stages. Working hand-in-hand with them and the owners, both the home’s architecture and the outdoor landscape became one seamless integration. www.deckandpatio.com

As a design/build firm, we planned and executed the landscape’s seven-foot-high cascading waterfall, meandering stream with three-foot-high “sheetfalling” waterfall and two-foot-high spillway from a spa into the pool. In addition, the project’s patios and driveway, made of stunning natural earth-tone concrete tumbled pavers, were created by our outdoor living expert to appear as extensions of the geometric patterns and hues of the home’s Glen Gary brick; initial plans by the project’s architect for the house’s turret inspired us to create curves in the backyard’s multi-level terracing design as well as in the backyard’s centerpiece: a glorious freeform pool and spa.

In fact, the architect changed his own plans for the home’s turret so that views from inside the turret of our planned pool area oasis would be fully appreciated. In reference to this, the architect said, “Deck and Patio’s landscaping plan was so beautiful that the windows had to be larger to fully appreciate the view. Now, when you stand inside the bay of the turret, it is just like standing in the backyard.”

 

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Our collaboration with the architect and builder resulted in a the seamless integration of landscape and nature with the architecture of the new house.

Our design and planning team also took into account what the view would be from inside the house. The ease of the back and forth collaboration between the parties was aided by Deck and Patio’s 3-D computer animation program “Pool Studio” which allows viewers to literally fly over and walk through a landscaping project as it is developing.

This 3-D program was also key in getting through some difficult permit processes. The Town involved has strict set back restrictions – meaning one can only build within a certain area of property or otherwise seek a variance  — a very lengthy process. These restrictions limit the amount of impervious surfaces such as driveways, patios, etc. that will retain water and cause run off.

This resulted in our creating 13 dry wells, some exceeding 70 feet in depth. This complicated our work as we dug beneath heavy clay soil in order to reach sandy soil that would allow the drainage. Being able to use our 3-D animation program before the Town’s architectural review board was an enormous help in explaining these detailed plans.

Our outdoor living expert noted that the Town board was in awe of what we showed them. It aided in getting the permit granted and is one of the reasons all our permits were approved in a fairly timely fashion. In the end, heavy equipment handled over 3,500 cubic yards of soil generated from excavating, grading, backfilling and contouring the site.

Other Town requirements forced the placing of the pool equipment in the middle of the backyard, which was directly in the line of sight when viewed from inside the front door and foyer. Because of our design, however, all this was hidden by an eight-foot-high pondless waterfall.

 

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Our design includes an eight-foot-high pondless waterfall which hides pool equipment that local regulations required be put in the middle of the backyard.

The waterfall is powered by a 10,000 GPH pump and is center-lined on the main axis of the house, says Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert. It creates an enjoyable audio-visual impact which runs virtually year-round.

More than half of the pool and spa beam is supported by over 30 tons of moss rock boulders. The spa and boulder work was specifically carved into the hillside to enhance a sense of enclosure and deal with the severity of the gradient change.

The project’s mature woodland setting has been surrounded by lush plantings in bright colors with long bloom periods. The landscape design also left ample lawn space for the homeowners’ children to play.

 

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Mature woodland setting has been surrounded by lush plantings in bright colors with long bloom periods.

It was also noted by the publisher of the awards we garnered that our backyard design “makes the landscaping appear as though it is yielding to the concrete paver patios, pools and retaining walls” and that it “presents nature as in charge of the design, rather than the concrete.”

Beyond such official recognition, however, according the home’s owner, the public is speaking, too. When everything is blooming in front, the beautiful curb appeal continually causes people to stop – even on what is a fairly busy street. Stopping to enjoy what we did to the front yard, which we designed in a more formal way, they always ask if they can see the whole property. After they see the backyard retreat, we are told they are in awe of its beauty.

 

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Boulder work, reflected so beautifully in the pool’s still water, enhances sense of enclosure while dealing with severity of property’s gradient change.

 

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Artful lighting of homeowners’ pool area paints nightfall with languid romantic hues.

 

 

Project Showcase: Recreating Water and Nature As An Art Form

Design/Build Deck and Patio Company balances relationship between architecture and natural surroundings

At Deck and Patio, we are passionate about recreating water and nature in the “built” environment. We sees it as an art form; we also understand that it takes a trained eye, many years of field experience, extensive knowledge of hydraulics and plant material, a true passion for nature, and most importantly, an understanding of how to balance the relationship between architecture with its natural surroundings.

Our outdoor living expert says this is especially true when integrating water with the “built” environment, because many site-related factors must be considered: topography, solar exposure, soil conditions, existing trees, property size, active and passive use areas as well as style of architecture. www.deckandpatio.com

In order to preserve as much of the natural surrounding landscape as possible, for this beautiful project showcase, rather than clear-cutting the half-acre property, the residence was designed and built amongst the property’s mature oaks, maples and pines.

In developing our landscaping plans, taking into consideration the size of the property and overall dimensions of the house became an important aspect for Deck and Patio’s design/build team. We also left space for, and access to, where the pool and spa would be constructed the following year. Our plan also ensured that future construction would not disturb anything already in place.

 

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Our design plan left space for, and access to, where the pool and spa would be constructed the following year; we also ensured that anything already in place would not be disturbed during this process.

The client wanted our design/build team to consider visual and audio impact as key elements, taking into account viewing angles from inside the house and when entering the back yard, as well as interaction with the water feature when sitting outside.

 

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Our design/build team took into account the viewing angles from inside the house, when entering the back yard, and interaction with the water feature when sitting outside.

To make this water feature successful, the installation process was very detailed and relied upon our design team’s keen eye for rock placement which includes comprehensive knowledge of its direct correlation with the ‘architectural’ elements of form, texture, shape and height, including the finishing touches that plant material and gravel provide when recreating nature.

 

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Our design team’s keen eye for rock placement includes comprehensive knowledge of its direct correlation with the ‘architectural’ elements of form, texture, shape and height, including the finishing touches that plant material provide when recreating nature.

So as to minimize the impact of this feature against the much needed lawn area for the clients’ active children, we designed the stream and waterfall to transverse the rear property line; we utilized the existing topography to create multiple spills and changes in water direction so it could be easily seen, as well as heard, from the rear patio and from inside the residence.

Low-lying evergreens and groundcover perennials were used in and around the rock outcroppings and stream for color and texture and to soften these large boulders which would otherwise stand out and detract from the overall intent of looking “natural.” Larger flowering plantings were installed behind the water feature to provide accenting and screening as well as to blend with other mature plantings that existed on the site. On lower portions of the slope, the water feature was planted with flowers for cutting and small beds for annuals so the client could interact with the stream garden throughout the season.

 

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Deck and Patio designed the stream and waterfall to transverse the rear property line and utilized the existing topography to create multiple spills and changes to water direction so it could be easily seen, as well as heard, from the rear patio and from inside the residence.

After a year of enjoying their water feature, the clients decided it was time to install the pool and spa and complete the back yard renovation. The swimming pool had similar design constraints being that the depth of the property was minimal at best; it would take up the majority of the left side of the rear yard once installed. The pool was designed with the intent to be “organic” with its natural surroundings. The 24’ x 42’ freeform concrete wall, vinyl lined swimming pool and raised 8’ diameter spa with spillway captured the very essence of the clients desire to have a body of water that would be harmonious with the residence’s existing patio, outdoor kitchen area, waterfall, stream and koi pond.

The pool was nestled into the landscape with careful consideration for existing trees and mature shrub root systems so that minimal impact would occur during excavation and construction.

The spa was built 12” above the pool water line, providing a picturesque spillway intermingling with the surrounding landscape. From certain vantage points you could see the spa itself, but the client wanted the spa to be unique and provide some seclusion from the main patio and other viewing angles. A 2’ high cascading waterfall was incorporated into the spa design which provided not only a gentle massage should you sit under it, but it also added to the overall theme of visual and audio effects of moving water in the rear yard.

The spa was situated not for ease of access from the pool; rather it was so the client could view the koi pond and waterfalls while relaxing in the spa. Since the client did not wish to remove the entire existing brick patio, nor have a walkway around the entire pool, a random bluestone coping was incorporated which brought the lawn area up to the pool. This also aided in creating an “organic” relationship between landscape and hardscape. With minimal space, such inventive ideas must come into play in order to conserve on cost and impact to the surrounding setting.

 

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A 2’ high cascading waterfall was incorporated into the spa design which provided not only a gentle massage should you sit under it, but it also added to the overall theme of visual and audio effects of moving water in the rear yard.

 

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The spa was situated by Deck and Patio’s design/build team so the client could view the koi pond and waterfalls while relaxing in the spa.

The pool and spa is fully automated with state of the art technology salt chlorine generator, mineral purifiers, pumps and filtration system. All of which can be accessed from inside the house, by the spa or by remote. With rising fuel and energy costs, many of the pool functions are energy efficient and can be programmed to perform minimal tasks to keep the pool water clear and circulating and, when needed, the functions of the pool and spa power the waterfalls, spa jets and filtration system.

The pool was also constructed with a moss rock boulder coping which brings the landscape right up to the beam of the pool and created a natural setting. Vibration flowers and fragrance provided by many varieties of perennials, evergreen and deciduous plantings creates successional color throughout the pool season.

In recognition for the design and installation of the pool, spa and water features, this back yard won two prestigious awards from NESPA and APSP in 2007.

 

4 Quality Ideas for Pool & Spa Surroundings

We love our backyards and spend as much time sitting around the pool or spa as swimming or relaxing in them. It’s the ideal space for entertaining, sunbathing, talking and eating. Therefore, making the right choice for a pool or spa surrounding will definitely increase the comfort, tranquility and enjoyment of the outdoor experience.

Here are 4 examples of quality pool and spa surrounding options that we have used for our clients. We designed and built these (and all our projects) with function, beauty, and durability in mind.

 

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1. For this very special pool and spa surround, we chose a composite decking that has a wood grain appearance. Actually made from plastic and wood, the eye tricks you into thinking you are looking at solid wood. With some exceptions (see “2.” below), composite decking, with its protective shell, is unrivaled for being fade, stain, scratch and mold resistant. The “Gravel Path” color used here enhances this wood grain appearance and earth tones. Tip: Whenever possible, you want a deck to go all the way around a pool as seen here.

 

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2. We used a durable Brazilian Walnut hardwood here. This all natural wood offers a warm choice for pools and spas due to ease of construction and is a particularly smart choice for the above-ground pool or spa. If handled properly, it can make a relatively inexpensive above-ground water feature, such as this spa, look like an in-ground pool. This particular natural wood is very strong and hard and durable and resists splintering, termites, wear, rot, fire, chemicals and marine borers — and almost every other threat imaginable. And because it is all natural wood, it is recyclable at the end of what is sure to be a long service life.

 

 

 

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3. We used concrete pavers for this pool and spa surround which offers a durable, interlocking concrete pavement alternative to asphalt and poured concrete. Extremely durable and beautiful, these pavers won’t show signs of color loss or fading over time, and have blemish-free surfaces. We used a “Toffee Onyx” color in a random pattern to create the natural rustic appearance.

 

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4. We designed and built this lovely natural stone pool surround. The limestone has gone through a “brushing” process to obtain the warm and antique look seen here. It comes in tiles with hand-chiseled (chipped) edges with an antiqued and unfilled surface. Valued for its banded, pitted “distressed” appearance, it adds rich, distinctive character stemming from the way the limestone is formed: being deposited at the mouth of mineral springs and in caves. For this pool surround, we added a stone ledge, which together with the limestone suggests a romantic Roman bath.

 

 

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