outdoor living spaces
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These State College Homeowners had a pond and waterfalls constructed in their backyard several years before we met them. The Team from Tussey Landscaping was called in to remedy several design and construction problems. After evaluating the existing stream, Tussey agreed to remove the existing stream and surrounding landscape and rebuild the Waterfalls.
This pond had water clarity issues that stemmed from an improperly designed ecosystem. To address the water quality issues, the crew from Tussey increased the filtration capabilities on this pond. Also, a dosing system was added to maintain healthy levels of beneficial bacteria in the pond's ecosystem.
Raw Limestone rocks in the previous stream were leaching, raising the PH of the water. this contributed to the water quality issues that needed corrected.
By using weathered sandstone boulders and rocks in the new waterfalls, the crew diminished the alkaline affects of the raw boulders. These aged Pennsylvania transfer a look of timelessness to the new waterfalls.
After the stream rebuild was done, our crew landscaped the surrounding areas, adding some River Birch trees for some mixed shade. Our crew installed low voltage lighting in the landscape beds. Underwater lights were added to both the stream and the pond. After shrubbery and perennials were planted, the beds were mulched and all disturbed lawn areas were reseeded.
This Water feature and landscape renovation brought new life and beauty to this backyard. If you have dreams for your home, or want ideas on how to bring beauty to your backyard, begin the process today
For this project, We returned to one of our outstanding clients, to extend their outdoor living space to a new dimension; a fire pit. This Fire pit area design was to meet several requirements. Obviously, an easily accessible fire pit was the center of this project. But the owners wanted a function as well as beauty. a fire to cook over as well as to socialize around. These goals were integrated into a formal fire pit and seating area, which seamlessly connected to the existing outdoor living space. The construction of this project followed suite, and the final project delivery followed...
This project construction was a hubbub of activity. After the fire pit was constructed, our mason began lining the inside of it with heat resistant firebrick and mortar, to protect the block, while another crew began building the base of what would become the seating wall.
As the patio and fire pit design became a reality, our team recognized some needed changes. The mature landscape, that once was a backdrop to the pond area, was now blocking the view of the waterfalls from our newly installed fire pit seating area. So we incorporated some landscape renovations into this project. We needed the surrounding landscape and lighting to flow together as seamlessly as the walkways and patios did. After removing some of the mature shrubbery that was blocking the waterfall view, our team replanted the surrounding areas with a mix of lower plants that would compliment the patio seating area, while still encouraging easy viewing of the pond and waterfalls beyond.
When the final details to this project were completed, the results were stunning. The fire pit and seating area hold a distinctly defined and formal look, yet they still combine the colors and textures of the corresponding kitchen and patio areas. the complementing landscaping and lighting create a natural aura to enhance the sights and sounds of the Aquascape pond and waterfalls. This entire backyard is an integrated haven of function and beauty, earth and stone, fire and water.
If you want to watch this fire pit and seating area come together, check out our video of this project from beginning to completion.
If you have questions about this project, or if you want to start a conversation with us about your next outdoor project, contact us below
In a matter of a few days, what started as grass, weed-infested gravel walkways, and a tree stump were beautifully transformed into what you see in the photo above.
After discussion with the homeowner our project plan was as follows:
1. Remove the problematic walkways.
2. Remove the tree stump.
3. Build a patio, fire pit, seating wall, steps, and walkways (where walkways and stump had been).
4. Build a wall enclosing the bottom of the gazebo.
About halfway through the job, our project manager was reviewing the project's progress with the homeowner. In the course of that conversation, the project manager couldn't help but mention that he felt like something was missing - the sound of water.
The homeowner loved the idea and was very grateful for the suggestion. Later, they drove up to Tussey Mountain Mulch Landscape Center where we have a number of water feature displays. They decided on the Appalachian Run, which is our Premiere Collection 10' Pondless Waterfall.
Project Photo Gallery
At the end of the project, the homeowners were thanking us profusely for the suggestion and for adding the water feature to the project. It is their favorite aspect of all the work that we did. The waterfall is the centerpiece of their backyard. They mentioned later how they love to sit on the patio in the evenings and listen to the relaxing sound of the water.
This space wasn't big, but we were able to gracefully accommodate a patio, firepit, waterfall, landscaping, seating wall, steps, retaining wall, and walkways. This project is a testament to the fact that it doesn't take a massive budget to create a very inviting outdoor living space that you'll love.
Check out the project video below!
This old backyard koi pond had several issues. After discussion options with the homeowners, we came to the conclusion that the simplest solution was to replace it with a new pond.
We needed to address several major issues in this re-build:
1. Small boulders along the side were shifting and falling into the pond.
2. The filtration system was set up poorly.
3. The pond leaked due to improper construction.
4. The waterfall feature was not visible from the home's deck because of how the pond was designed.
We set out to solve all of these issues and started by removing the old koi pond. Once removed, we packed in topsoil so that we could carve out the shape and design of the new pond the way we wanted. Through detailed discussions and planning with the homeowners, we were able to solve all of the issues that were preventing them from truly enjoying their koi pond.
With a koi pond, what matters is not about how much money you spend. What matters is who you choose to plan and build it for you.
Unfortunately, every year we tear out water features that were built using the same products we use, but were installed improperly. In most cases, there is no easy fix. The takeaway is to be intentional about who you choose to build your dream koi pond and hire a Certified Aquascape Contractor (CAC).
Graystone Apartments is a locally-owned luxury apartment chain in Central PA.
To date, Graystone has hired us to install large koi ponds at 7 of their apartment complexes.
Commercial projects often involve working in confined spaces, which often requires a unique design. In this case, the entrance had ponds on either side, which were connected underneath the entrance walkway. The water flowed out of the wetland bog filter, into the first pond, through a pipe that went under the walkway and into the second pond.
To create a dramatic effect for visitors and residents arriving at the front entrance, we made the pond 3 feet deep and with abrupt vertical edges, which allows viewers to see the full depth from the edge of the pond. We used large weathered mossy boulders from the Ozark mountains of Missouri to give the pond an aged look. Then, we then added a few copper bowls for an ornamental twist, to match the rest of the building which is quite ornamental and elegant.
Graystone residents are now greeted by friendly koi when they come home.
This business was remodeling its entrance to create a more beautiful, upscale appearance.
The remodel involved replacing the front doors and adding a roof over the exterior entryway. For our part of the project, we added a fountain with stacked slate urns, copper bowls, a few bubbling boulders, and a stump to create a rustic, natural fountain (on the left).
On the entrance's right side, we added a trio of copper bowls. We then added outdoor lighting, landscaping, and trees to complete the look.
The business owners were pleased with the outcome because it gives all their visitors a pleasant and welcoming experience when visiting the business.
When we started on this property, it had little more than grass, fence, and a trampoline. This young family wanted to entertain friends outdoors and create an atmosphere that got their kids out of the house more often. To accomplish that, we planned two specific features: a firepit to gather around and a koi pond, to give the kids fish to feed, frogs to chase, and to bring them closer to nature.
We began with the patio area. We built an elaborate seating wall with wide benches and a back. The seating wall is so wide and comfortable you could take a nap on it. Next we tackled the fire ring, patio pavers, and walkways.
After the hardscape components were completed, we built the 8' x 11' koi pond with 8' stream. The pond is tucked against the patio's edge, so the owners could enjoy watching the fish swimming and enjoy the aquatic plants that bloom beautifully in the summer - all from the comfort of the patio seating area. Lastly, we graded and landscaped the entire property and seeded a new lawn.
This project completely transformed this home. It turned the backyard from boring to an inviting outdoor room ideal for family BBQs and inviting friends over to hang out.
The homeowners first contacted us to ask about building a patio for their home. During the site visit, the homeowners showed us the previous work that had been completed around the back of the house. Upon inspection, we identified a number of issues that needed to be addressed.
Issues To Correct
To solve the drainage problem, we re-designed the outdoor space that would give the family enough room move around comfortably, while also being visually appealing.
All of the old plantings, the patio, and walkways had to be removed. Once the old work was removed, we started building a retaining wall to support the side of the patio. This wall also allowed us to create the patio on one level, making the space much more usable. The retaining walls continue out of the ground to create a enclosure affect around the edge of the patio providing safety and more of an outdoor room feel.
Landscaping, Walkway, and Lighting
We incorporated some plantings to the inside of the walls to bring a little greenery into the patio space. Low-voltage lighting was installed in the walls and pillars to provide a comfortable light level for safety and beauty during evening hours. A wide walkway was the constructed to connect the patio to the driveway to create an easy access path to the patio. Landscape lights were also installed along the walkway.
In the end we were able to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that added a lot of value to the home!
Project Features: Permeable Driveway Pavers, Koi Pond, Patio, Lighting, and Walkways
This was an amazing property makeover complete with permeable paver driveways, eco-friendly landscape design, and eco-system koi pond. This was a full property project that started with just a simple conversation on how to improve what they had. The homeowner's words were: "I just want to walk outside and say WOW!"
As you can see from the Before images, the property was nice, but upon closer inspection, it had many underlying issues – the pond was not built correctly by another contractor, and there were issues with the structural integrity of the installed hardscapes, drainage issues, and maintenance issues.
The driveway and walkway pavers were installed flat, preventing drainage, which left water pockets and ice patches in winter. The water feature had constant water quality issues, maintenance was difficult, and the rocks were not stable. In short, it wasn't built correctly with biological filtration.
The lesson here is to always thoroughly research and vet any contractor before hiring one. Fortunately, the homeowners were able to afford to correct all the issues their property was facing. But being able to re-do poorly installed projects is usually the exception in most cases that we see.
Everything had to come out. The old koi pond, the improperly installed hardscape walkways, patio, and the 2 driveways– everything. The Tussey team worked to re-install a new koi pond with wetland filtration and reverse bog, Techo-Bloc paver driveways, patios, and walkways correctly to certified standards, and then applied finishing touches with landscaping, and added a fireplace and LED landscape lighting.
The homeowners initially called us because they wanted more privacy from the street and asked for a quote to do a green barrier with shrubs and trees. The homeowner's comment about wanting a "wow-factor" led us to a discussion about redoing the pond correctly with wetland bog filtration and making it bigger. Then we talked about adding another patio along the pond edge, which led to a conversation about meshing the look of the new hardscape mesh with the existing hardscape.
While completing the initial work we had agreed upon, we discovered how bad the previous work had been done and the homeowners began entertaining the idea of starting over from scratch. We worked with the homeowners to re-design the entire property, add a new pond, a new patio, and landscaping and lighting. We were halfway through that project when the homeowner asked us to evaluate the paver driveways. Same story. The pavers weren’t draining properly because the installation was incorrect. In the end, we completely over-hauled everything on the property: driveways, front walk, landscaping, and lighting.
The result was a property where all elements flowed together seamlessly, and the features all complimented one another.
This landscape project was installed at a new home in Altoona PA. So when we showed up, there was virtually nothing. Just a brand new home. We had a clean slate. But... the property was large, and the homeowners had many ideas, beyond what their current budget supported. So, no problem, we simply worked together to create the design that they envisioned, and once the design was created and approved, we chose what elements to complete first, and what to hold off for future phases of the project. In this case, we decided to do the front of the home first, which included the front walkway with Techo-Bloc Blu 60 mm pavers, landscaping and trees, landscape lighting, and the water feature facing the driveway, greeting all who arrived at the home with a spectacular view.
Below are some BEFORE and AFTER images of the front, which we completed in Phase 1 of the project.
Above you can see what was accomplished in the Front Yard Phase of the project. The following summer we came back to install the first half of the backyard phase. Which included natural flagstone walkways, natural stone steps, some drainage work, and landscaping. Below are photo galleries of the before and after on that.
The next summer, (3rd time we were back) The 3rd and final phase consisted of a large entertaining patio and firepit, kind of set away from the rest of the backyard. Creating a destination point. Also included in this phase was more flagstone walkways and natural stone steps leading to the basement doors of the home. All of it was surrounded by landscaping and LED landscape lighting for nighttime enjoyment and beauty.
That completes this full property landscape design. This achieved many goals for this home. It beautified the front and gave a welcoming and inviting appearance. Next it provided a large entertaining area in the backyard and completed a full outdoor living space. Below you can watch the full project showcase video of this entire project happening.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments on this article! We'd love to hear what your thoughts are, or if you have any questions. We'll be happy to respond and help in any way we can. Cheers!
- Weston Zimmerman
8583 Woodbury Pike
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
Call us: 814.696.3700