vanishing edge pools

Are You Afraid to Keep Koi in Your Pond?

When a pond water feature is well designed and built, koi will naturally help balance the entire pond ecosystem. However, many pond owners fear that the fish will be harmed or will not survive.

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, offers encouragement: “While it’s true that koi can be tempting to cats, raccoons, and herons, etc., there are precautions one can take that will mitigate these threats.”

For example, adding koi castles and tunnels at the bottom of the pond will give fish a safe place to hide from many predators. Also, including rock overhangs around the outside of the pond, which first and foremost will make any pond appear more natural, also discourages cats and raccoons from reaching into the water after the fish.

In addition, planning a water feature with sufficient water depth can dissuade raccoons and cats further, since neither enjoy swimming to get their dinner. Plus deeper water at the edges (more than 18” deep) discourages heron wading. Another helpful idea is adding a waterfall feature. The continuous movement of its water, or even water from nearby sprinklers, we have found will put off many avian predators.

Other precautions koi pond owners can take is including scarecrows, such as owl statues. In the end, if all else fails, a netting can always be installed over the pond.

Here’s some of The Deck and Patio’s favorite award-winning pond features. And, yes, even if not picked up in the pictures, there’s koi in each and every one.



Pond Ecosystems:

Pond Ecosystems:

Koi is a healthy part of this pond’s natural ecosystem; they have lots of room to hide as well as swim. There are also plenty of rock overhangs to discourage predators.




Reflecting Pond:

Reflecting Pond:

The homeowner wanted to accentuate the beautiful 1880 stone bridge structure with a reflecting pond. To allow the entire stone gazebo to reflect in the water, the pond had to be more than 250 feet long and 45 feet wide. This created the perfect habitat for koi. Lots of flowing water, rock overhangs, and lots of space to hide.




Natural Ponds:

Natural Ponds:

When creating a new pond, we consider each rock’s form, texture, shape and height. In addition, incorporating such finishing touches as plant material and gravel helps it appear as if it was created naturally.




Where to Position Ponds:

Where to Position Ponds:

We always look over the property for any new pond — both from inside and outdoors — in order to place the pond in the perfect location. Since in the northeast, we spend more time indoors that in our yards, it is essential to see, and perhaps hear, any water feature from key indoor locations.




Pond Water Movement:

Pond Water Movement:

Having the force of moving water into your pond is not only an aesthetic choice, but will deter many natural koi predators. Also —even if it comes from nearby sprinklers — pond water movement helps keep the pond ecosystem healthy by eliminating stagnation.






The Best Designed Outdoor Retreats Come From a Passion For the Outdoors

With a special passion for the outdoors, Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, designs and builds spectacular award-winning outdoor retreats



A good deal goes into creating a wonderful outdoor living space. This is true for any artistic endeavor, including something as simple as baking a great loaf of bread. You start with basic ingredients. Then something special is added to make it all rise. For bread, that something special is yeast: in landscape design, it is a passion for the outdoors.

When he’s not working 14 hour days as owner of Deck and Patio in Huntington Station, Bill Renter enjoys spending time at his second home in the mountains of upstate New York. There, he enjoys quiet times hiking the mountainous landscape where streams flow into breathtaking natural waterfalls, wild flowers break out of crags and cover expanses. In this still beauty, he takes time to study how the water, plants, soil, and rocks live together. He says that with each such nature walk some fresh inspiration comes to him on how to design and build a new natural looking outdoor space.

However, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert also understands that passion on its own isn’t enough. Design/build expertise, and depth of experience, is essential (see tips for choosing qualified design/build firms below). In addition, the particular ingredients for each project must come into play: budget considerations, property size and gradations, and the preferences and tastes of homeowners.

Once you have all of this working for you, you probably will end up with a very nice backyard retreat. However! If your designer/builder also brings a deep passion for the outdoors, this special “yeast” will raise the routine waterfall to the glorious and a conventional pool surround to the acclaimed.


Spectacular Backyard Water Features:

Spectacular Backyard Water Features:

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert designed and built this stunning man-made waterfall to appear as if it had been created by Mother Nature herself.


Harmonious Pool/Spa and Surround:

Harmonious Pool/Spa and Surround:

This elegant geometric pool and spa, with a linear pattern surround ideal for entertaining and sun bathing, was designed by Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert to be in perfect harmony with each other.


An avid skier and hiker, our outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, has said: “Experiencing nature is life to me.” And despite all the awards Deck and Patio has received for grand projects, much of our work at is done in regular backyards, in phases, and within a modest budget. You don’t have to be on a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound to inspire Bill Renter to create a thrilling outdoor living space that you will want to be in all the time.

Backyard Retreats Are For Everyone:

Backyard Retreats Are For Everyone:

Bill Renter can create a sublime vanishing edge pond overlooking Long Island Sound; however, most of his work is in creating spectacular outdoor living spaces in regular backyards.


Are You Ready To Begin Creating Your Own Paradise?

One of the most important steps in achieving your goals for a pool project is to contact the proper type of contractor, warns Bill Renter. He offers here some helpful hints on what to take into consideration when approaching the bidding and design process.

Note: You can also call or email us for a copy of Deck and Patio’s book: 10 Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Landscape Contractor.

Landscapers: 10 Things You Should Know:

Landscapers: 10 Things You Should Know:

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert offers a free book on choosing the right design/builder for your backyard retreat.

Bill Renter’s Tips

  1. Starting early is the best way to get all your ducks in a row. This gives you a chance to plan effectively, square away any variances needed, secure permits and finalize plan details.
  1. Another important thing to consider, he adds, is choosing a designer/builder that have insurance and are licensed to work in your area. Ask to see this license and contact your local licensing bureau to make sure it has not been revoked.
  1. Ask any designer/builder how long they have been in business. Remember, you are not being   overly cautious by requesting this information and your contractor should not hesitate to fulfill your request.
  1. Call or meet with three different designers and see how they respond. Unanswered phone calls may indicate poor management or the inability to get someone to respond when an issue arises in the future. Compare bids and pay close attention to details. Many times a cheaper bid is missing many important aspects of the job that when added in will equal the high priced bid. Make sure all specifications, including size, shape, color, brand and quantity are detailed for you.

Insert Photo of Bill w/Client

Caption: Choosing The Right Designer/Builder: Call or meet with at least three different designers to see how they respond; compare bids and pay close attention to details.

  1. Many contractors utilize the services of subcontractors. Ask your design/building contractor for details about the subs. For example: Are they licensed and insured? Who will be responsible for any repairs necessary for the duration of the warranty? Ask who will be responsible to coordinate the subs and get them on site when the time is right. A good design/build firm will take on the responsibility of coordinating the subs. Find out if you will be responsible for the payment of these subcontractors. Many contractors prefer you deal directly with their subcontractors when it comes to payment and they will step in to coordinate the work for you.
  1. Town codes and zoning can be complicated. Make sure your contractor has these guidelines in mind prior to finalizing the design process. Some design/build firms such as The Deck and Patio Company can put you in touch with an expeditor to assist you with the permit process.
  1. Inquire about the company you are intending to sign with before going into contract with them. Check their references and ask them how the contractor performed. Ask about job supervision. Find out how many crews you can expect and how many crew leaders and/or project managers will be on the site. Find out how long their crews have been working for the company.
  1. Review the contract carefully before you sign it. Make sure all your warranty information matches what you were verbally promised. If anything is unclear ask them to be more specific.

These tips, along with our companion book on how to choose the right landscape designer, will help you not make any serious mistakes for choosing a reputable designer. Finding one who also has the “yeast” — or the passion for the outdoors and creating scenes as they appear in nature — is harder. If you can, view some of their previous work, but be sure to compare apples with apples. Someone who creates lovely lawns and flower beds might not know how to make a waterfall appear as it comes from nature or a koi pond look like it was always there.


6uQx4urQBlhVnMSxoVhYshPyVPX5yycpUi5vLy0fIZM With the right designer/builder, you will not need to limit yourselves as to what’s possible. Any backyard, with the right inspiration, can be turned into something spectacular. Indeed, a “regular backyard” (see third photo above), in the hands of Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert, Bill Renter, became the following South Sea-style paradise, complete with “lagoon” vinyl freeform pool, natural looking bonfire, multi-level waterfalls, slide, and colorful lush plantings. You can almost hear the steel drums.

Which Type of Pond Works Best For Your Yard?

We feel pretty much any yard can accommodate a pond water feature. Whether you have an expansive lawn or what you jokingly call a backyard postage-stamp, this type of water feature can range from a modest koi pond to one with a glorious vanishing edge.

So prepare to open up your outdoor chaise lounge, pour yourself something cool, and take in some gentle sounds and beauty along with that cool drink.




As design and build experts, we always advise installing your pond where you can enjoy it from a deck, patio, bedroom, or kitchen. It’s important to note that not just humans appreciate a pond water feature. In addition to the family pooch being endlessly fascinated, birds and butterflies will be attracted. Birds, in particular, love gently moving water.

Just provide a place for them to land, such as rock platforms, or design a shallow end as part of the feature. And by keeping the water circulating, this will also help prevent mosquito larvae from hatching.




We used stepping stones as a way to cross this pond. Stones provide a more natural aged look and create an exhilarating way to go from one spot to another.

In addition to increasing the natural appearance of the pond, stabilizing boulders and creeping plant material helped reduce the need for a costly retaining wall.




A helpful tip: Because ponds do not have too much water action, water lilies are ideal plants. Not only do they produce fragrant flowers that are beautiful to look at, they add shade which helps keep the water temperature down during the heat of summer.

This also reduces algae growth and when koi or other fish are present, water lilies provide great shelter for the fish and help keep the water clear and clean-looking.




We tucked a pond and waterfall into the corner of the driveway for these clients. By adding beautiful creeping ground cover and boulders, even the property’s challenging raised grades were turned into benefits.

Also, by installing enough retaining boulders and plant materials, we coaxed Mother Nature’s own gravity into pumping water naturally into a pond.




Here, we were brought in to create an extraordinary outdoor oasis with several water features. One part of the project was to restore an existing 40-foot koi pond which we did by expanding it and giving it a face lift.

It now includes a waterfall, bridge, moss rock cave, a Savio Pond Skimmer and Aquascape Biofalls. The entire plan includes a vanishing edge pool, restored and expanded koi pond, 3,000 square feet of Techo Bloc tumbled stone patio, two natural gas campfires, and large evergreen trees that flank the left and right side for privacy.




We think ponds can reach their zenith when given 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 water feature which captures in its stillness the glorious sunsets over Long Island Sound and appears to connect right out to the Sound. 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 is continuously maintaining the feature’s crystal clear water.



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