Cutting-Edge Vinyl Marvels
The Deck & Patio Company draws on the latest in design concepts to create luxurious pools and spas. Although the company designs and builds gunite in addition to vinyl-lined pools, many of its clients prefer the padded, smooth, soft feel of vinyl.
“Vinyl-liner pool styles have become almost limitless due to new robotic technologies that cute a liner to conform with any in-pool features,” explains Bill Renter, owner of The Deck & Patio Company. “Vanishing edges, swimouts and beach entries have entered the realm of reality.”
Company designers begin by asking customers about their plans for a pool, their lifestyles and their children’s needs, then come up with a unique concept to fulfill every desire. The Deck & Patio Company uses 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.
Pools by The Deck & Patio Company combine structural stamina with standout style. Under the glamorous surface, 10-in. thick steel-reinforced poured-concrete walls support the pool. Once built, the company’s fitting crew spends an entire day obtaining precise measurements of every aspect of the pool, including loveseats, tanning shelves, barstools or benches, before ordering a perfectly fitted vinyl liner. The company installs a quarter-inch padding between the vinyl liner and the concrete, giving the steps and walls a cushiony feel. The latest equipment and technologies, including variable speed pumps and automated computers, are recommended to ensure ease of maintenance, energy efficiency and years of enjoyment.
A recipient of more than 70 regional and international design and pool construction competitions, The Deck & Patio Company constantly innovates, bringing every homeowner a poolscape with everything from pergolas to colorful plantings and moss-covered boulders to the relaxing sound of a babbling brook or other water feature.
Deck and Patio Helps Create Your Own Paradise…
Part I of III
In your mind, a picture perfect paradise setting. You can see the bright and colorful plants peeking from around the natural rock waterfalls. The cascading water spills into a lagoon inspired pool. The stone patio beneath your feet is cool to the touch and exudes a warm ambiance welcoming you to this bliss. You take a moment to order a cocktail from the pool bar and bring it back to the lounge chair beneath an umbrella. You sit back and think to yourself “Life is good.” Once you awaken from your daydream, reality hits you. It is a scorching hot July day; the summer sun would have baked you and your family if you hadn’t retreated to the solace of the air conditioning.
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.
To get the most out of you time and money you should be looking for a contractor that offers both design and build services “Design/build firms think, not only about the way the project will be constructed, but also a number of other factors including functional family spice in the yard, sun location, viewing angles, elevation changes, drainage considerations and landscaping,” says Bill Renter who has been in the design/build industry for over 20 years. Some pool companies sell what is referred to as a “kit pools” which limits what can be done. Custom design lets you have more freedom when it comes to the planning stage. When using a design/build firm, you can customize your entire project.
A swimming pool or spa is usually the main part of creating a personal paradise. You will need to make a big decision; do you want gunite/shotcrete or a vinyl lined pool?
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 you 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 pole that 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.
A real design/build firm does not consider a sketch on the back of an estimate pad an acceptable plan. “Pool Studios is the most high tech and most effective software we have ever used. It allows us to replicate the customers house, property, pool, patios, and landscaping and walk through it in 3D animation. When the customer sees the proposed project on the plasma screen in our design center, they know exactly where the pool will be in relation to the house and the rest of its surroundings. The software is so powerful that it shows moving water on waterfalls, vanishing edges, and fountains complete with accompanying audio. It is simply the best way to visually see exactly what your back yard will look like because it is 3D,” says Bill Renter of The Deck and Patio Company.
Lastly, look 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 you 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 adds 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, do your homework and choose wisely.
Deck & Patio Goes ‘au naturale’
“Designing a natural landscape on a difficult site requires expertise,” explains Bill Renter, owner of The Deck and Patio Company in Huntington Station.
“For this East Northport project, we were called in by the pool company, South Shore Pools. They needed us to design a pool area that would help be up against a steep hill. And it addition to a pool and spa, the customer wanted a large block retaining wall,” says Renter.
“I suggested using the hill in the design by adding natural elements like moss rock, a stream, and a beautiful waterfall and using boulder coping to retain it,” he continues. Renter adds that they immediately went back to the office and stared a concept plan, which begins with enlarging the survey and sketching ideas.
“Once we get to a concept that we are happy with, we draft it in ‘Autocad,’ a computer design program the company uses,” explains Renter. The final plan shows the pool’s shape – in this case it included a two-level pool patio, lounging area with embedded umbrellas boulder coping, a gentle stream, waterfall, deep-end stairs as well as a spa in a unique location.
The hot springs spa was nestled into the slope using a hidden wall. To soften the effect and hide the skirting boulders and plants were added.
Attractive moss rock steps were designed to lead to the small blue stone patio near the spa. “Overall, it looks like a natural steam meandering down the hill into the spa and then continues down to the waterfall at the pool.”
Renter says these types of projects can be intimidating at first. “We’ve now done several like this and the integration of the pool and the slope is fascinating. The result is a beautiful, natural space that was unusable prior to out work.”
This backyard was designed and built by The Deck and Patio Company of Huntington Station and South Shore Pools of East Islip. In October of 2007 this pool area won a Silver Medal in the NESPA (Northeast Spa and Pool Association) Design Awards.
Deck and Patio Makes the Backyard Gorgeous
Compared to the relatively flat terrain and beautiful sandy beaches of South Shore Long Island offers, the North Shore is a unique environment formed by receding glaciers thousands of years ago. With undulating topography, massive boulders, mature trees, streams and ponds, many North Shore homeowners, townships and villages look to preserve what is left of this new built and disturbed ecosystem. Now more than ever, designers and home builders alike are faced with many stringent construction and land use codes in an attempt to hold on to what the North Shore represents to the landscape environment.
As with many residential landscape design projects across the Island, there are in many instances, site constraints or landform challenges that may limit what can or cannot be constructed. Creating unique outdoor living spaces with “limitations” tend to challenge a designer to become more creative in the design process. Director of design and sales at The Deck and Patio Company, Marc Wiener, ASLA, states, “Every project, form inception to completion requires a hands-on approach in order to better understand every aspect of the site’s characteristics, architecture, building codes, its impact to the surrounding environment and be able to incorporate the client’s wish list into the design. It’s a culmination of these factors that separate a good design from an award winning design.”
Many homeowners cannot visualize such extreme makeovers to their property on a blueprint. The Deck and Patio Co. utilizes state of the art design technology and provides their client’s with a computerized 3-D animation of their project. “This presentation format clearly aids our clients in understanding the design as we try to eliminate them from guessing what the project will look like. It also allows their construction crews to have a better understanding of what is expected to be constructed. To design and build a 22’ x 42’ freeform pool and raised spa with water falls nestled into a 20 foot hillside and incorporate multiple patios at different elevations with landscaping requires more than just lines on paper,” says Wiener.
This property’s undulating hillside enabled Deck & Patio to create an “amphitheater like” environment with two spectacular water features; a 6 foot high waterfall into the pool and a 4 foot high cascading waterfall from the spa into the pool. These large water features presented not only a visual impact from every viewing angle, but enhanced the water features sound effect minimizing noise pollution from the nearby heavily trafficked road. A unique combination of tumbled pavers, natural rock steps, Long Island boulders and retaining wall systems helped create a supple transition from the house, pool and spa patios and captured the similarities in the earth tones throughout.
The freeform concrete wall, vinyl-lined pool was designed to sit uniquely into the hillside utilizing the pool wall to serve as part of the retaining wall system. Wiener adds “a curved steel reinforced concrete wall has significant strength to withstand the natural forces of pressure exerted by the slope and the sheer weight of 20 tons of boulders sitting on the pool beam itself. Many retaining wall systems are not normally hidden by a body of water.” A Techno-bloc Quarry Stone wall was located at the main patio to not only serve as an aesthetic feature to hide the grade changes to the pool area, but become a seat wall as well. Long Island boulders were used throughout the landscape to support the remaining surrounding grades and serve as a visual impact as well.
With a degree in landscape architecture, Wiener has and abundances of knowledge with plant material. “It’s the knowledge of how plants will grow, sequentially bloom and react to soil conditions, solar exposure, irrigation, etc. With so much rock and pavers built into the design, it is imperative that we soften the impact of these massive structures by scalloping the plants into the hillside with a wide variety of colorful perennial, deciduous and evergreen plant material for a year round impact. Once the pool is closed for the season, it’s nice to see an impact during the winter months as well,” says Wiener.
Moreover, energy conservation is of great importance. Technology today makes operating a complex pool/spa and water feature combination with great ease and the equipment features on today’s pools are more energy efficient and programmable which helps with surging energy costs. Pool automation is a growing tool of the trade and makes it very user friendly to pool owners. A simple touch of a button, whether with a remote control or dial into the automation computer through the internet from your office, a homeowner can turn up the heat in the pool or spa, activate the waterfalls, program the in-pool cleaning system, lighting, etc. For many satisfied pool customer’s automation is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.
Design, construction and preserving the natural environment takes on many facets and the culmination of these components needs to be thought through thoroughly during the design phase to create the client’s overall intent of luxury outdoor living.
- This pool and spa recently won two 2007 NESPA (Northeast Spa and Pool Assoc.) awards: Silver Medal, Second Place, and an Outstanding Achievement in Design and Building award.
- LIPSA- Long Island Pool and Spa Association Inc. – Silver Award, Second Place.
Deck and Patio’s Sound Design
By June Sullivan
With its seemingly endless miles of beautiful shoreline, Long Island has been a summer playground of choice for generations. In facet, this particular Glen Cove home and property boasts such a lovely view of “the Sound,” it was rumored that President Richard Nixon was a regular visitor here during his presidency in the early 1970’s.
However, that was the 70’s and today’s expectations for outdoor recreation on Long Island have progressed beyond simply a beautiful view to include resort-style amenities. “And this property’s two-level back yard,” says Bill Renter, owner of The Deck and Patio Company, in Huntington Station “had a drawback to that, a steep – and dangerous – slope or bluff at its edge. Its new homeowner was savvy, however,” he continues. “She knew that a “vanishing edge” pool would make its deep slope an advantage and become the centerpiece of a beautiful resort-style outdoor living area.
“When the homeowner came to us, she put no limits on a plan,” says Renter. “She was pleased with finished projects of ours that she had seen. Her main requests were for the vanishing edge pool and that we keep the site’s already existing pond.
“She was very open to additional new ideas,” continues Renter, “and there was a collaborative and cooperative relationship between us.”
Renter says that one way they work together was through the use of Deck and Patio’s computer software program called “Pool Studio, which is a 3-D animation program that allowed them to literally fly over and walk through the project as it was developing.
“She could experience walking across the new patio to see things from different angles,” says Renter. “We have a talented designer who draws the plans. All aspects of the design — from the existing house to the proposed patio, pool, waterfalls, outdoor kitchens, and expanded pond – could be experienced in motion. Even the gas campfires.” This was particularly helpful, he says, to fully appreciate the water-to-water views of the proposed vanishing edge pool. These pools, explains Renter, are an optical illusion that suggests the water is vanishing out of the back edge of the pool. The ultimate vanishing edge, he adds, is when, as with this Glen Cove project, the illusion looks as if the water in the pool is connected to the water in the view behind.
“I should add, however, that it doesn’t have to connect to a water to be spectacular,” says Renter. “Some of the most dramatic vanishing edges simply have something beautiful behind them. It could be a beach, or as simple as a beautiful flower garden or charming wooded area. What happens is that the vanishing edge catches your eye and makes you focus on the spot.” Renter continues that even the size of the space doesn’t matter. “It just requires an attractive focal point behind it and, together with the pool edge, it can take your breath away.”
In reality, nothing is vanishing, of course, says the Deck and Patio owner. The water is clinging to a recess in the pool wall which then drops into a catching pool below. And while this sounds simple enough, it requires a good deal of mastery to design it correctly.
For example, says Renter, an undersized catch pool can almost never be corrected.
“I deal with an industry expert who is the foremost authority for vanishing edge pools. I asked him if I could fax him drawings and he called back and in formed me that the size of our catch basin could potentially be too small. We immediately changed the design to accommodate a larger one.” Renter explains that if the catch pool or basin isn’t large
enough there won’t be enough water returning to the main pool and the catch pool will run dry. That can trigger huge water bills because it would have to be constantly refilled to compensate for not having enough room to store water. Or, he adds, during rain falls, the basin could be overwhelmed, leading to it overflowing, or eroding or liquefying the soil behind it.
“At the very least, it might cause the pool to shift, rotate or settle and then it’s no longer a vanishing edge,” says Renter. “That is why we take such great care to ensure it is done correctly.”
Renter’s roster of experts are also useful in the construction of the pool itself.
“The pools we build are typically vinyl, not gunite,” says the Deck and Patio owner. “They have steel reinforced concrete walls, which are thicker and stronger than a typical gunite pool.”
“The real challenge is measuring and accurately cutting and welding the three vinyl pool liners for a project like this, e.g., a spa liner, pool liner and catch pool liner. For that, we called in experts at Dover Vinyl in New Jersey who can do complicated projects. They came to the Glen Cove job site to verify all measurements, to ensure the liners would fit perfectly, which they did.”
One concern potential customers have regarding vinyl pools, says Renter, is that some people are not certain they will like the feel of vinyl. In this case the homeowner initially thought that a vinyl pool might not be worthy of her new resort-style back yard. Renter says that he took her to his own home to demonstrate what a vinyl pool/spa combination would look like and how automation works.
“She took off her shoes and stepped into my spa and swimming pool,” says Renter. “Having been a gunite pool owner previously, she was surprised that’s she liked the smooth soft feel of the padded stairs in the vinyl pool. After that visit, she was really excited to go ‘vinyl’ and actually insisted on it.”
The entire project includes the vanishing edge pool with five water pumps, 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. In the pool, there are two waterfalls, five bar stools, three staircases, and in-floor cleaning. Plus the original pond she had wanted to keep was in need of restoration. Renter says he and his team gave it a face-lift and expanded it. It now includes a waterfall, bridge, moss rock cave, a savio skimmer and aquascape biofalls.
The lighting that creates the extraordinary night views was done by Outdoor Lighting Perspectives in Huntington. “And just as their carefully hidden lighting gives wonderful effects – yet goes unseen,” says Renter, “all the expertise and technology behind the waterfalls, water pumps, the DE filter, gas heater, LED lights, EOS wireless automation, etc. also go unnoticed.
What you do notice, he says, are the breathtaking views and stunning outdoor living areas.
“The homeowner, her family and friends, in particular appreciate the swim up bar, which, on its opposite sides, is also a walk up bar, and that it includes a barbecue, refrigerator, ice maker, cabinets and hot and cold water running sink,” says Renter.
In fact, the homeowner says she doesn’t need to travel anywhere now. Her beautiful piece of Long Island has become more than a summer playground. “It’s a multi-seasonal resort worthy of today’s presidents,” says Renter. “It’s all hers to enjoy and share.”
Deck and Patio’s Double Vision
Deck & Patio design this backyard to be enjoyed from both inside and out.
STORY BY JUNE SULLIVAN
When the owners were building this beautiful North Hills/Manhasset home, landscaping was by no means an afterthought. From early in the process, they brought on board The Deck & Patio Company of Huntington Station to help develop a harmonious vision for a new home and property.
Deck & Patio owner, Bill Renter, says that Marc Wiener was his company’s designer for this project.
“March worked hand-in-hand with the owners, architect and builder throughout the two-and-a-half-year project.”
This early collaboration, says Wiener, is evident in the seamless integration of house, landscaping and nature. The
natural earth-tone concrete tumbled pavers of the patios and drive-ways are like extensions of the geometric patterns and hues of the house’s Glen Gary brick.
Also, the curve of the house’s turret was inspiring to Wiener. That curve is echoed in the soft meanders of the back yard’s multi-level terracing and in the freeform curves of its center-piece: the stunning 45-by-25-foot vinyl pool and 11-by7-foot spa. Even an above-pool stream gently bends through new flower beds, ending in one of the pool and spa’s three waterfalls.
When the architect for the house (Michael Gadaleta/MG New York Architects in Manhattan) showed the homeowner his sketches, he suggested a change in the size of the kitchen windows.
“He said that Deck & Patio’s landscaping plan was so beautiful that we should increase the windows’ original in order to fully appreciate what was going to be a magnificent view,” says the owner. “They all worked together, e-mailing each other and making adjustments. The result is when you are standing inside the bay of the turret, it is just like standing in the back yard.”
“That was our plan,” admits Wiener. “My design took into account what the view would be from inside as well as out.” Wiener adds that the ease of the back and forth collaboration between the parties, was aided by Deck & Patio’s 3-D computer animation program “Pool Studio” that 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 says Wiener. “The Town has strict set back restrictions – meaning one can only build within a certain area of the property or otherwise one must seek a variance in a very lengthy process. These restrictions limit the amount of impervious surfaces such as driveways, patios, etc. that retain water and cause run off.
“This resulted in 13 dry-wells being dug, some exceeding 70 feet in depth,” he continues. “This complicated or work as they dug beneath the heavy clay soil to reach sandy soil that would allow drainage.”
Being able to use their 3-D animation program before the Town’s architectural review board, says Wiener, was particularly an enormous help in explaining their detailed plans.
“The board was in awe of what we showed them,” says Wiener. “It really aided in getting permits granted and is one of the reasons that all our permits were approved in a fairly timely fashion.”
In the end, heavy equipment handled over 3,500 CY of soil generated from the excavation, grading, backfilling and contouring the site, says Wiener.
Other Town requirements forced the placing of pool equipment in the middle of the backyard, which is directly in the line of site when viewed from inside the front door and foyer. Because of Deck & Patio’s design, however, all this was hidden by and eight-foot-high pondless waterfall.
“The waterfall is powered by a 10,000 GPH pump and is center-lined on main axis of the house,” says Deck and Patio owner Bill Renter. “It actually 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, he adds. “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 front property for this project was kept very formal, adds Wiener. “An alee of trees along a curvy layout has been planted to provide privacy as they grow. “But we also included a lot of mature planting material to provide instant gratification.”
Deck and Patio’s landscaping and installations for this beautiful new home have garnered two prestigious awards: Northeast Spa and Pool Association (NESPA) Gold Metal “for freeform pools” and First Place for “Residential Concrete Pavers of more than 5,000 square feet” from Hardscape North America (HNA).
It was also noted by the publisher of the awards that Deck and Patio’s inspired backyard design “makes the landscape 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 concrete.”
Beyond such official recognition, however, according the home’s owner, the public is speaking, too. “Everybody who comes here tells me that the landscaping is natural and beautiful, which is exactly what I had been looking for: something that appeared pre-existing, that had been here for years and years,” he says.
He adds that when it is all blooming in front, the beautiful curb appeal causes people to stop – even on what is a fairly busy street – to look at his property.
“People also call me and ask if they can come walk around my property and see it,” he says, adding that he looked at other houses when he was building this one.
“If I heard of something special, sometimes I asked people if I could see their yards. So I don’t mind that people are always wanting to walk around my home. Frankly, it’s something beautiful!”
Deck and Patio Company Offers Budget-friendly Options for Beautiful Landscape Design
In the following interview, Bill Renter, owner of The Deck and Patio Company, in Huntington Station, suggests some interesting ideas for operating within a modest landscape design budget.
Q: There are a lot of outdoor lovers wanting to create an oasis on their property but are concerned about costs. Can you give them a reason for hope?
A: I understand their passion. As an avid skier and hiker, experiencing nature is a life to me. As long as you include nature’s major elements: land, water, air, and fire, there is a wide range of options open. So, yes, there definitely is hope. In fact, much of our work at Deck and Patio is done in regular backyards, in phases, and within a modest budget. One way to keep costs down is to work from a scaled sketch and photos of the products, rather than have homeowners invest in a formal and intricate plan.
Q: Can you give me an example?
A: Budget pergola and fireplace kits can be half the price of custom ones and you can get a clear picture of what they will look like before hand. Such kits can produce a beautiful outdoor stage for a Great Room – the perfect spot for star gazing and sharing good times with family and friends.
Q: Can you recommend a cost effective alterative to an in-ground pool?
A: A hot tub can be an ideal budget option to a pool. In addition, by surrounding it with rocks and a small garden, it suggests that “in-ground” look even if it’s not.
Q: What type of fire pits do you recommend?
A: I prefer gas fire pits over wood-burning ones because they are smoke-free and sparks and embers don’t blow around whenever there is a puff of wind. A nice budget-conscious option is the “Inspiration” gas fireplace, with Venturi flame technology. It has only one flame but gives and intense tornado-type appearance through use of mirrors.
Q: Do you have any other favorite products or equipment?
A: Well we often use Bullfrog Spas because they have less plumbing than others. In addition, their removable jetted hot tub seats, called JetPaks, allow them to be individually selected by the customer for a perfect massage to relieve stress and increase flexibility.
Q: What about cost-friendly paver areas?
A: Instead of a brick or masonry pavers, we often create a meandering natural path with bluestone stepping stones. Each stone is about three or four feet wide and long. They give a more natural aged look as they invite guests to go from one spot to another, sometimes through a garden.
Q: Any last thoughts?
A: Don’t feel because you aren’t ready for a large or expensive landscape project that you can’t have an outdoor oasis. There’s more than hope. There really are options available for every budget. It just takes a little creativity.
Written By: June Sullivan
The Deck and Patio Company Updates this Backyard for a Truly Relaxing Environment
When the owners of this Huntington home decided to update their backyard, they researched magazines and websites to find a qualified pool area remodeler. The same name came up again and again. They chose The Deck and Patio Company in Huntington Station because of their many awards, magazine articles and website that was loaded with helpful photos.
They met with Bill Renter and Ronnie Brown to discuss their ideas. The plan was to keep the existing gunite swimming pool and remove the small and confining patios to open up the space and show off their spectacular water view of Long Island sound.
After the first meeting ended the design team went to work. They used autocad and 3-D animation to show how this multilevel pool area would change. “We used what the client described as a problem area as a feature” described Brown. “We enlarged the upper area where the client liked to sit in the shade and enjoy the view.” The lower area was expanded for sunning and an outdoor kitchen was added for entertaining.
Boulders and a waterfall were added to the spillover spa. The spa patio was enlarged by the master bedroom. The side of the house has a secret garden path that leads to clients private bbq patio and pondless water feature.
The landscaping was arranged to screen out unwanted views and enhance the water views and enhance the water view with colorful plants and flowers.
The result of this transformation is breathtaking views and space from all areas. The clients’ ideas were turned into reality with the blending of the old pool and new patios, waterfalls, boulders and of course landscaping.
Photos of this project will be submitted for local, regional and international awards this fall.