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Custom Cabinetry for Discriminating Homeowners


Unmatched 5-year warranty on our carpentry

222 E. Bridge Street Morrisville, PA

215-295-7123 800-295-7123 SHOWROOM HOURS:
Mon.Fri. 9-5; Sat. 9-3; Evening hours by appointment

Live the legend with an exquisite outdoor retreat, custom designed and
installed to quench your every whim. All created by the areas foremost authority on luxurious living. No detail is overlooked including meticulous service and maintenance throughout the season. Start dreaming today. Call us for a complimentary consultation in your home.
Newtown Square, Pa.


Family Owned & Operated for Over 36 Years The Hansbarger Family 35 Swamp Road Newtown, PA (Down the street from Council Rock North)


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Expires 3/31/09


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MARCH 2009


Blueprints available with 3D virtual computer imaging tour of your project! Theater rooms. Kitchen & bath design and installation. Wine cellars. COMPLETE BASEMENT ENTRYWAYS AND WELL UNITS INSTALLED IN ONE DAY!

Family owned and operated since 1890 5th generation

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pen up your home to the true beauty of your surroundings with the comfort of Phantom Screens. Let cool summer breezes and the fragrance of your garden into your home with doors and windows open wide without unwelcome flying visitors or direct sun glare. When you dont need Phantom Screens, they retract completely out-of-sight. Expertly fitted to your doors, windows and outdoor living areas by professional installers, Phantom Screens complement your unique dcor. With custom colors and unique wood grain finishes, Phantom Screens keep your home true to your vision.

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on the cover An extravagant freeform pool becomes the focus of this outdoor living space created by KS Greenday, Inc., Langhorne, PA. Read more about planning and designing outdoor spaces like this beginning on page 40.

interior design and remodeling ideas
26 34 40 42 46 56 52 70
Special Section

Annual Landscape, Pool, Patio & Deck 2009 Resource Directory Landscape Planner
Get ready for spring and summer.

Backyard Transformations
Life in the great outdoors gets better if you add a pool!

Garden Portals
Gates and entryways usher guests into the beauty beyond.

Pondscapes and Water Gardens

Go one step beyond gardening.

Paving Progress
Check out these porous options for patios, sidewalks and driveways.

Pool Trends
Create extraordinary retreatsright in your own backyard!

Top 10 Tips
Make your home stand out.

16 20 24 38 58 60 62 64 66 68 76 77
Editors Note Around Town
Workshops, classes, shows and events

Arts & Antiques Editors Picks Landscaping

Why water gardens work.

Interior Design
Select dcor wisely for a home library or study.

Book Buzz Social Talk

Highlights of the Bucks-Mont CotY Awards Evening of Excellence

Go Green Spotlight
Tend to your garden in style.

Index of Advertisers The Gallery


Call before the end of the month for your copy of the 54 page PA Dutch Buyers Guide 717-442-4544

From the initial concept to final installation, Compass Ironworks did an outstanding job with the finished details of our new dream house. -Jon & Loretta Runyan
Ah, March. Spring, and its unmistakable fever, is in the air. And you know what that means: moods are naturally uplifted and tulips are popping up everywhere! I love tulips. They are wonderful in that you dont even need a green thumb to grow them. Once the bulbs are planted, like dutiful soldiers, they know the drill, theyre steadfast and diehard, resurfacing year after year, standing at attention, straight and tall...timeless, reserved... Proper, if you will, fitting for spring. You dont have to do anything but enjoy this classic delight of the garden. Tulips work like magic for non-gardeners like me. On the other hand, if youre so inclined, our March issue is your ticket to planning, creating and experiencing life in the great outdoorsright in your own backyard! Picture this: hair blowing in the wind as you lounge on your brand new patio, floating in your pool under the sun or stars, swaying on a hammock fastened between two trees, or relaxing in your secret garden inhaling the aroma of honeysuckle that wafts your way. Overall, the mood you choose to create in your backyard space should beckon you to come, sit, play and stay awhile. Use our Annual Landscape, Pool, Patio & Deck Resource Directory as a starting point and valuable reference in locating top local companies that are experienced and ready to offer firsthand advice and direction on any outdoor project you have in mind. Whether you want to design and create an entirely new outdoor living space or improve an existing one, these experts will walk you through any stage of your project and guide you along the way. They offer valuable input and help with decision-making based on many years of experience. In this issue, youll find the latest information on landscape and hardscape planning, suggestions in choosing products and materials to mix and match, as well as tricks of the trade when building a resort-style backyard pool with

think spring: survey your landscape

editors note
Margo Levin, Editor
elaborate rock treatments or water features. Youll learn to go one step beyond gardening by creating a pondscape or water garden and about the peace and well-being that is brought forth from a captivating environment like this. You may be surprised to find that choosing aquatic plants and fish, as well as maintaining a healthy ecosystem, is easier than you think. Depending on your budget requirements and what you have in mindfrom a flowering garden respite in the far corner of your yard to a spectacular open air living room and kitchenour experts have the ability and wherewithal to turn your vision into reality. The right blend of softscape (plants and plantings) and hardscape (patios, decks, kitchens, grilling stations, etc.) works together to produce an overall pleasing effect. If youve been putting an outdoor project on hold, now is the time to turn those ideas into a plan of action. You want your new space ready, along with you, to welcome the warm weather and celebrate the laid-back season ahead. You may not end up with the stunning vista of a well-traveled hot spot like Big Sur or the breathtaking panorama of St. Martins mountain-, land- and seascape, but with a little imagination and the expertise of a skilled contractor, you can work little wonders of your own using the good earth right outside your door. Its time. Get rid of your winter stuff! Prepare your home and its surroundings for spring and summer. And at the very least (if you havent already done so), get those tulip bulbs in the ground!

Hand crafted wrought iron from Pennsylvania Dutch artisans, can help project an elite status unlike any other building detail. Timeless Classic Wrought Iron designs sets your home apart as distinctively upscale. Call for a free brochure or an assessment to have an iron artist expert evaluate your project.


Did H&H help you with a home makeover project? We love to hear from you! Email your success story to and let me know. H& H

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Bucks County


PUBLISHER House & Home Magazine, Inc. EDITOR Margo Levin ASSISTANT EDITOR Greg Williams CONTRIBUTORS Amy Angradi, Jere Bradwell, Debi Bryant Lindsey Getz, Denise Hickey, Gena Kannengieszer Harvey Marks, Sharon A. Shaw ART DIRECTOR Debbie Epting SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Sanford Molinaro GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Michelle Bucci Jamie Dacanay PHOTOGRAPHERS Bill Cartledge, Ozzie RVOIII OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Annette Korkus PRODUCTION MANAGER Lisa Santangelo ACCOUNTING DIRECTOR Darlene Versak SALES MANAGER Andrea Zane MARKETING CONSULTANTS Rochelle Dodge, Lynn Nelson, Tina Perrotta, Gary Edelstein, Jerry Kwait, Joye Minnick, Amy B. Weiss, Kathie Bachmann, Barbara Arnold MARKETING DIRECTOR Bob Doran

Advertising Information Call: 888-202-5501 BUCKS COUNTY HOUSE & HOME

HOUSE & HOME Magazine, Inc., dba Bucks County HOUSE & HOME (H&H). H&H reserves the right to determine the suitability of all materials submitted for publication and to edit all submitted materials for clarity and space. H&H is not responsible for loss, damage or any other injury to unsolicited manuscripts, unsolicited artwork or any other unsolicited materials. Furthermore, H&H will assume that unsolicited photographs, as well as ad photographs, are being submitted for possible publication and should they be published, no fee is due the photographer or model unless otherwise agreed upon in advance in writing. Bucks County HOUSE & HOME is a news magazine with emphasis on home repair and remodeling. H&H does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial content, nor does H&H or its staff, editors or writers assume responsibility should such advertising or editorial content appear in any publications. Readers are encouraged to notify H&H if they suspect false or misleading advertising. Before attempting any renovation or repair project mentioned in H&H, readers are advised to consult with professional home repair and renovation specialists for assistance, and to take any and all appropriate safety precautions. Bucks County HOUSE & HOME has not independently tested any products or services advertised herein and has verified no claims made by its advertisers regarding those services or products. Bucks County HOUSE & HOME. makes no warranties or representations and assumes no liability for any claims regarding those services or products or claims made by advertisers regarding such products or services. Readers are advised to consult with the advertiser and/or other home repair and renovation professionals regarding any such claims and regarding the suitability of an advertisers products. No reproduction of printed materials is permitted without the consent of the publisher of Bucks County HOUSE & HOME. Copyright 2009 by HOUSE & HOME. Magazine, Inc., all rights reserved. Subscription available for home delivery at our website,, at a cost of $19.95 per year.

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National Sales Office: HOUSE & HOME Magazine, Inc. 2820 Audubon Village Drive, #385 Audubon, PA 19403 Phone: 888-202-5501 Fax: 215-689-4999 Email: Regional Editions: Montco/MainLine East HOUSE & HOME PA Central Jersey HOUSE & HOME NJ DelChester/MainLine West HOUSE & HOME PA South Jersey HOUSE & HOME NJ View to view digital versions of each of the above editions.


Warminster, PA
MARCH 2009


Pools & Patios by KS Greenday

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save the date for these local area events

Village, Lahaska, PA More details: or 215-794-4051 Through April 25 A VERY BRADY MURDER A spoof of the old Brady Bunch TV show joins the Bradys after they are all grown up and about to celebrate Mike and Carols 25th Anniversary when a murder occurs. Greg, Jan and Cindy are part of the story too, but where are Marcia, Peter and Bobby? Everyone is a suspect! Includes a fullcourse dinner and dessert served with coffee and tea, optional cash bar available. Must be 18 or older to attend. Hours: 7:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings Fee: $47.95 per person Location: The Cock n Bull Restaurant, 5800 Upper York Road, Lahaska More details: or 215-794-4051 March 20 MOMS NIGHT OUT: TELL ME A STORY Storyteller and poet Luray Gross tells traditional folktales, myths and fairytales that touch on the pleasures and challenges of being women. Listen to stories, tour the galleries, draw from original works of art in the museum, or simply enjoy refreshments with friends. Hours: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Fee: $25 Location: The Michener Museum, 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown More details: or 215-340-9800 March 20 March 22 BUCKS BEAUTIFUL GARDEN AND HOME SHOW More than 60 exhibitors feature the latest products and services for the garden and home. Visitors can also experience free workshops with tips and techniques for garden and home projects. Friday night is Family Night with special workshops and entertainment for children. Hours: 3 to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.

to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Fee: $8, under 12 free Location: Delaware Valley College, Route 202 South, Doylestown More details: or 215-348-3913 March 21 LEND A HAND IN THE LOG HOUSE: SPRING CLEANING Help a costumed interpreter prepare the Mercer Museums log house for the spring season. Stack firewood, stuff the bed with new straw, help with the washing and learn more about log house living in early Bucks County. Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fee: Free with admission. Admission is $9 adults; $8 seniors; $4 ages 5 to 17 Location: Mercer Museum, 84 S. Pine St., Doylestown More details: or 215-345-0210 March 21 WINE, WOMEN AND SONG AT THE SELLERSVILLE THEATER A night of entertainment featuring the New York cocktail pop quartet Lascivious Biddies, the soulful musician Carsie Blanton and singer-songwriter and cabaret performer Karen Gross. A pre-show art exhibit and wine and cheese sets the stage for a fun ladies night. Hours: 6 to 7:30 p.m. for art exhibit; 8 p.m. showtime Fee: $25 (includes one free glass of wine) Location: Main and Temple Streets, Sellersville More details: or 215-257-5808 March 27 March 29 HOUSE OF BUCK...PRECIOUS GEM QUILT SHOW The Pearl S. Buck Estate hosts its first show featuring quilt displays, appraisals, lectures and the raffle of an Asian-inspired, queen-sized quilt made and donated by PSB Volunteer Association member Helen Wolf. On Saturday, a special QSI...Determining Your Quilts Value lecture is included with the

Beautiful designer room displays are always a favorite at the Bucks Beautiful Garden & Home Show. Photo courtesy of Bucks Beautiful Garden & Home Show

March 20 22 SUGARLOAF CRAFTS FESTIVAL The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival features more than 300 artisans displaying and selling unique creations in functional and decorative pottery, sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion, home dcor, furniture, items for the garden and photography. Demonstrations of wheel-thrown pottery, stone carving, metal-spinning and paper-making by professional craftspeople enchant visitors. Live music and activities to engage children enhance the festival atmosphere. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday Fee: Adults $7 online, $8 at the door; under 12 free Location: Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 422 Business Center, Oaks More details: or 800-210-9900 Mondays through March 30 EVENING IN THE COLONIAL KITCHEN AT PEDDLERS VILLAGe Experience different Colonial-era characters from the American Historical Theater as they share fascinating tales of Americas early days. Dinner guests can interact with food historians that prepare their fourcourse, 18th century-style dinner

over a roaring fire. Learn the secrets of baking pies in a Dutch oven, roasting beef on a clock-work jack or in a tin kitchen, among other unique Colonial cooking techniques. Select two hearty main courses or one favorite entre and receive a keepsake menu along with a pamphlet of Colonial recipes. Period musical entertainment throughout the evening. Fee: $19.95 adults; $10.95 children Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Location: The Cock n Bull Restaurant, Peddlers Village, Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska More details: or 215794-4000 Through April 5 QUILT COMPETITION DISPLAY Quilters show their wares in the Village Gazebo and compete for more than $1,400 in prizes in seven categories: Traditional, Appliqu, Creative, Amish, Quilted Clothing, Childrens and Potluck. Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday Fee: Free Location: Village Gazebo, Peddlers
MARCH 2009



For more than 360,000 homeowners its an Anthony & Sylvan pool. When youre looking for the right swimming pool, ours is the name you can trust for quality and dependability. Weve been building custom pools for homeowners all across the country for over 60 years. Why spend another summer wishing that you had a refreshing pool? Jump in with a company who will stand behind their pools for years to come.

MARCH 2009



price of admission. Special estate tours are available. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fee: $5 Location: Pearl S. Buck Estate, 520 Dublin Road, Perkasie More details: or 215-368-0484 March 27 March 29 INTERNATIONAL ORCHID SHOW AND SALE AT LONGWOOD GARDENS Stunning exhibits fill the conservatory and a wide variety of orchids are for sale. Enjoy the American Orchid Society judged show, guided tours, informative talks and a breathtaking sales pavilion. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; until 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Fee: Included with admission; $16 adults; $14 seniors; $6 students ages 5 to 22; under 4 free Location: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square More details: or 610388-1000 March 28 BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR AT FONTHILL MUSEUM This tour travels up Fonthills tower and down through its back passages. Visit portions of the building not on the regular tour, including the kitchen, servants quarters, basement and terrace pavilion. Hours: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Fee: $15 Location: Fonthill Museum, East Court St. and Route 313, Doylestown More details: or 215-348-9461 April 1 May 6 HEART & SOUL YOGA AT THE MICHENER Explore the world of yoga in a peaceful setting overlooking the stunning beauty of the Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden. For those who have wanted to try yoga, this is a great opportunity to learn in a unique, serene space. Bring a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothing that allows you to stretch. Beginners

welcome. Hours: 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Fee: $85 for the session, $18 single session Location: Ann and Herman Silverman Pavilion, The Michener Museum, 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown More details: or 215-340-9800 April 8 ANNUAL EGG HUNT This annual egg hunt features special prize eggs for each age group and small treats in every egg collected. The Easter Bunny makes a special appearance to delight children of all ages. Egg hunts held for age groups: 2 to 3, 4 to 6 and 7 to 9. Hours: 4 p.m. Fee: Free Location: Doylestown Township Central Park, 425 Wells Road, Doylestown More details: or 215-348-9915 April 9 EASTER EGG SCRAMBLE Children ages 3 to 10 can participate in an annual Easter Egg Scramble with the Easter Bunny. Eggs are scattered around the Warminster Recreation and Education Center (WREC) for ages 3 to 4, 5 to 7 and 8 to 10 years. Event held rain or shine. Hours: 4:30 p.m. Fee: Free, pre-registration required Location: WREC, 1101 Little Lane, Warminster More details: or 215-443-5428 Information compiled by Amy Angradi. Confirm information before making your plans by calling the listed number or visiting the listed website. Information for inclusion in this section should be emailed to or faxed to 215-689-4999 at least two months before scheduled date.

H& H


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arts antiques
tion include nearly a millenniums worth of art from across the Himalayan region and from neighboring areas under its cultural influence. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; until 8:45 p.m. Friday Fee: $14 adults; $12 seniors; $10 students and ages 13 to 18; under 13 free Location: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street, Philadelphia More details: or 215-763-8100
Tina Newberrys Valley Girl, 2007. Courtesy of Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, DC, is part of the Lucid Dreaming exhibition at the Michener Art Museum.

Through April 12 SLOW CLAY: THE CERAMIC ART OF WILLI SINGLETON Local ceramicist Willi Singleton uses clay from his own backyard in Kempton, Berks County. His work is world recognized for its contemporary and elegant design, which he achieves using a traditional wood-fired climbing kiln. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday Fee: $6 adults; $4 senior citizens and students; $3 children 6 to 12; under 6 free; free general admission every Sunday Location: Allentown Art Museum, 31 N. Fifth St., Allentown More details: or 610-432-4333 Through April 12 LUCID DREAMING From daydreams to nightmares, images and stories fill our heads and help us solve problems, explore fantasies and even unlock hidden feelings. Lucid Dreaming, the second exhibition in the series, Shift: Investigations in Contemporary Art, features paintings, photographs, film and sculpture of

artists dreams. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday Fee: $6.50 adults; $6 seniors; $4 children 6 to 18; under 6 free Location: Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine St., Doylestown More details: or 215-340-9800 Through May 17 CZANNE AND BEYOND Paul Czannes posthumous retrospective at the Salon dAutomne in 1907 was a watershed event in the history of art. The immediate impact of this large presentation of his work on the young artists of Paris was profound. This exhibition features 40 paintings and 20 watercolors and drawings by Czanne, displayed alongside works by several artists for whom Czanne has been a central inspiration. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; until 8:45 p.m. Friday Fee: $14 adults; $12 seniors; $10 students and ages 13 to 18; under 13 free Location: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Benjamin Franklin
MARCH 2009

Parkway at 26th Street, Philadelphia More details: or 215763-8100 Through May 31 THE PRIVILEGE OF PAINT: PORTRAITS FROM THE COURTS OF INDIA During the 16th and 17th centuries, the royal painting workshops of the Mughal emperors introduced a type of portraiture based on accurate renderings of individualized facial features and physiognomy to the Indian subcontinent. This was a new, more naturalistic manner of representing the human figure. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; until 8:45 p.m. Friday Fee: $14 adults; $12 seniors; $10 students and ages 13 to 18; under 13 free Location: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street, Philadelphia More details: or 215763-8100 Through May 31 PEAKS OF FAITH: BUDDHIST ART OF THE HIMALAYAS The masterpieces in this exhibi-

April 5 Fall 2009 PAINTED METAPHORS: POTTERY AND POLITICS OF THE ANCIENT MAYA The great Maya creation story, the Popol Vuh, sanctified the mountains, caves and rivers of todays Guatemala where events played out in mythic time. Except for the excavations done by Penn Museum in the early 20th century, the region is almost unknown archaeologically. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday Fee: $8 adults; $5 senior citizens and students; under 6 and Penn students and staff free Location: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 3260 South St., Philadelphia More details: or 215-898-4000 Information compiled by Lindsey Getz. Confirm information before making your plans by calling the listed number or visiting the listed website. Information for inclusion in this section should be emailed to arts& or faxed to 215-689-4999 at least two months before scheduled date. H& H

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MARCH 2009





B&T Landscape & Patio Design 215-256-0989 Bob Coleman Landscaping & Tree Service 610-664-5052 Bucks Country Gardens- pg. 43 215-766-7800 Deans Landscaping 610-793-2386 James Ponds - pg. 47 866-868-8007 KS Greenday - pg. 19 215-702-9876 JT Jennings Hardscaping/Princeton Rock-n-Stone 215-369-7672 Land & Seascapes 610-572-1690 Landscape Plus LLC - pg. 37 215-488-7141 McFarland Landscape Services 215-543-7275 Nash Omniscaping 302-654-4000 NaturaLawn of America 866-248-1800 Paragon Landscaping Corp 484-902-0337 Pezzotti Brothers 610-647-1028 Potters Landscaping, LLC 610-647-2926 Redwood Landscaping 610-631-1372 Ron Wilson Landscaper 215-670-8879 Sandone Landscaping 610-942-3181 Schnatz & Rohrer Landscaping 610-696-5108

Athletic/Game Courts DeShayes Residential Resort Design 866-448-8091 Fencing/Iron Work Access Control Experts - pg. 76 215-364-7875 Artesano Iron Works 215-661-8870 215-483-9273 Compass Ironworks- pg. 16 717-442-4544 Hometown Vinyl Systems - pg. 55 856-423-1107 Key Link 717-355-7130 Northeast Precast LLC 866-699-2557 Superior Plastic Products 717-556-3240 800-633-7093 The Fence Guys 215-395-6478 TimberTech 937-655-5222 Garden Centers/Statuary Albrechts Garden Center & Nursery 610-664-4300

Bucks Country Gardens - pg. 43 215-766-7800 C&K Unique Garden Center 215-536-8570 Daniels Lawn & Garden Center 610-287-9144 Geerlings Garden, Gift & Patio 215-794-7672 Green Acres Nursery - pg. 35 215-822-3334 Lawn Barn 215-757-3850 PassionFlowers 610-584-4590 Wehrungs Lumber & Home Center 610-847-2100 Golf Putting Greens Y-Turf - pg. 29 609-654-5247 Landscape/Design/ Ponds/Waterfalls AFN Landscapes/Paver Pros 610-459-3466 AMC Nursery & Landscaping Inc. 215-710-0213 Artichoke Design Landscape Architecture 215-646-4418
MARCH 2009

DeMichele Inc. 610-631-7832 Elite Landscaping 856-753-1944 800-582-6598 Emil P. Weiss 610-892-0969 Environmental Landscape Associates - pg. 79 215-268-7915 610-616-3243 Field of Dreams 484-840-1400 302-234-8090 Garrett Churchill Inc. 215-657-9160 Garys Landscape and Design 215-628-4070 Gasper Landscape Design & Construction - pg. 31 215-364-2400 Green Acres Nursery - pg. 35 215-822-3334 Green Ridge Landscaping Inc. 610-222-4733



Coronados Pool Plaster - pg. 17 215-723-5885 Crystal Clear Signature Pools 215-355-7665 Gasper Landscape Design & Construction - pg. 31 215-364-2400 JMK Pools 800-427-3070 215-723-8168 KS Greenday - pg. 19 215-702-9876 Pool Designs Inc. 609-324-9900 888-POOLS11 (766-5711) Teds Pools - pg. 3 610-359-1301 Pool Enclosures/Safety Best Defense Pool Enclosures 215-214-2199 877-355-7665 Sheds Eagle Sheds 610-241-0225 Shade Awning Co. 610-584-9457 ext 108 Decks/Porches Archadeck of Chester County 610-696-3340 Atlantic Building Products Inc - pg. 45 215-538-2333 Beatty Lumber & Millwork 610-789-5036 Decks-R-Us 717-656-4843 Distinctive Decks 610-461-1390 610-534-9054 DunDraft - pg. 63 866-313-0569 First Class Decks & Patios Inc. 610-584-9456 ext 108 McHenry Deck Builders 484-369-1261 Sequoia Supply 866-650-DECK (3325) 215-918-DECK (3325) Tague Lumber 215-848-2500 Universal Poly Products 717-556-3240 Excavation Mini DIG 215-699-6121 Grills/Fireplaces/ Stoves/Chimneys Chase Toppers 610-323-2705 Gas Works Inc. 610-296-3557

Shan-Gri-La Contractors LLC - pg. 32 866-619-7231 Texada Landscaping 610-240-9360 Varrese Landscaping 610-277-4616 Waterloo Gardens 610-363-0800 610-293-0800 302-356-9800 Landscape Lighting/ Electrical Botanical Lighting 610-519-1212 Home Lighting Inc. 610-647-2370 Home Lighting 2 LLC 484-420-4153 Landscape Illuminations Co. 610-917-1090 Outdoor Lighting Perspectives 877-598-3746 Wes Carver Electrical Contracting 215-253-7024

Tree Services Bob Coleman Landscaping & Tree Service 610-664-5052

Swimming Pools/Hot Tubs/Spas Anthony & Sylvan Pools - pg. 21 877-SAY-SWIM Aqua Bello Designs - pg. 33 215-997-7568 Aqua Vision Pools LLC 215-230-3302 Artesian Pools & Spas 215-340-0433 800-905-POOL Arista Pool & Spa Inc. 610-489-6000 Barto Pool & Spa 610-933-2910 Blue Haven Pools & Spas - pg. 15 215-996-0900 800-219-2141 Carlton Pools - pg. 12 215-822-1301 215-674-2083 215-396-8483 610-459-3334 610-336-4446 610-831-1805 908-685-1424
MARCH 2009

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MASDA Corp. 800-452-9729 Salters Fireplace & Stove Shop 610-631-9372 The Woodburners Stove and Artisan Shop 215-362-2443 Hardscaping/Pavers/Concrete AFN Landscapes/Paver Pros 610-459-3466 AJR Environmental Inc. 610-272-2588 AMC Nursery and Landscaping Inc. 215-710-0213 Architectural Concrete Design - pg. 11 866-525-7919 Atlantic Building Products Inc - pg. 45 215-538-2333 B&T Landscape & Patio Design 215-256-0989 Belgard Oldcastle APG - pg. 9 877-BELGARD (235-4273) B. Shapiro Supply LLC 215-957-1424

C&K Unique Garden Center 215-536-8570 Chameleon Ways 610-797-2645 Capitol Pavers & Retaining Walls Inc. - pg. 23 800-254-5098 CM Masonry & Landscaping - pg. 75 484-375-8097 Concrete Impressions of PA - pg. 57 215-478-6693 DeMichele Inc. 610-361-7832 Driveway Impressions - pg. 69 888-323-7595 Enhanced Concrete Design 215-343-2360 Evergreen Hardscaping 302-633-1819 Field of Dreams 484-840-1400 302-234-8090



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Armento Design offers distinctive interior design, decorative painting and plastering services. The firms design philosophy is simple: to create timeless interiors with a modern sensibility. Felisa Armento uses her natural talent and skill to conceive and develop interior environments that are rooted in the clients vision. Her hands-on expertise in the field of decorative painting and plastering is unique to each design approach. Armento and her team of artisans have been working their magic since 1991. From offering help in selecting furniture to redesigning an entire kitchen remodel, the company is committed to making the design process easy and enjoyable. Armento Design is located 260 Mather Road, Jenkintown, PA. Visit or call 215-327-4897 for more information.

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MARCH 2009

get ready for spring and summer

nows the time to

design, prepare and plant a beautiful outdoor environment


A combination of well-thought out landscaping with colorful plantings, plus some beautiful hardscaping elements can enhance any backyard.
Photo courtesy of Landscape Plus LLC

Harvey Marks

Photo courtesy

Theres a lot more to landscaping than installing trees, shrubs and flowerbeds and just hoping for the best. A successful landscape requires thoughtful decisions about how to maximize the beauty and pleasure you get from your home while enhancing the visual relationship between your house and the land it sits on. Practicality enters into it as well, since no landscape design can possibly succeed in the long-run if it requires too much expense or work to maintain, or if it simply isnt right for local growing conditions. MUTUAL AGREEMENT To start, consider your familys interests and preferences. A design that focuses on installing plants and decorative elements wont succeed if it crowds out the people who would otherwise use the space. So rather than guessing or taking matters for granted, its a good idea to solicit thoughts and suggestions from everyone affected, and

The right landscaping can enhance the front of your home as well.
of Green Acres Nursery and Garden Center



MARCH 2009

Adding a pathway, such as this one using CST pavers distributed by B. Shapiro Supply, can be a great way to improve your landscape design. Photo courtesy of B.
Shapiro Supply, LLC

together come up with a list of landscape essentials. Based on these discussions, you might decide that you require turnaround space or offstreet parking, instead of a basic driveway. You might decide you need more privacy and it would be better to plant large bushy hedges, rather than roses along the fence. Perhaps the children would like an outdoor play area with recreational equipment, or how about a plot of land for growing vegetables and herbs? These are just some of the interests your plan might address. In most cases, there will be several different ways to satisfy your objectives, but the best landscapes are always practical and beautiful. And they are never static. A well-designed layout changes with the seasons and should improve with age. >>>

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MARCH 2009



Incorporating both landscape and hardscape elements will make your yard appealing.

Photo courtesy of Landscape Plus LLC

CONSIDER YOUR SURROUNDINGS Once you have a list of essentials, it might be a good idea to look carefully at some yards in your neighborhood or community. What do you like or dislike about them? What plants and styles work and for what purpose? The key here is not to find a design you can copy but specific ideas that can be incorporated into your own landscape creation. While landscape design cant be reduced to a series of strict rules, a good plan generally creates a visual relationship between the house and its immediate environment. A large home with stately pillars and ornate entryways probably looks best with formal gardens, orderly borders and manicured lawns. For a 1960s ranch-style home, however, that might be too much landscaping. A more informal style is likely to be a better solution. Another good idea is to create visual continuity by repeating the materials, colors and architectural lines of your home through your choice of walls, fences, paved surfaces, overhead structures and other objects. Generally, weathered wood, natural stains, concrete, stone and earth-toned brick work well since these materials will usually blend with existing construction materials and relate to the natural environment while helping to reduce routine maintenance. GARDENING GUIDELINES Group trees, shrubs or other plants to create general effects or add emphasis while providing a sense of unity and order. For instance, a line of trees can help shade areas while enhancing your privacy and serving as a windbreak. Grouping can also help to relate your landscape to the overall environment since plants often occur together in

Including hardscape possibilities can really make your home stand apart from the rest. Photo courtesy of Environmental Landscape Associates

nature. Hardy, well-adapted plants serve best for this purpose. And make sure the soil, drainage and sunlight are similar; otherwise, plants may grow unevenly and some may fail to grow at all. Create interest and useful contrast by adding accent plants. Flowering trees, such as crape myrtles, dogwood and redbuds work especially well. Be careful, though, not to overdo it or the results could be visual chaos. Numerous local nurseries cater to the landscape and gardening needs of homeowners by offering plenty of plants and great advice. Consider getting professional help to fine-tune and implement your ideas. A lot of work and supervision goes into a successful landscape design, and without expert assistance, the project can become overwhelming. DONT OVERLOOK THE HARDSCAPING Essentially, hardscaping is everything else besides the plants. Blending hardscape with landscape is an art in which balance, continuity and functionality are all key elements. Hardscaping encompasses a wide range of possibilities. Those could include a crushed granite path winding across a lush lawn and through stately gardens. It might mean a large paved patio or perhaps a flagstone sitting area softened by mini-mondo grass or aromatic thyme. It could even be something as simple and satisfying as a bubbling urn fountain or a small pond. It may seem like a successful landscape design involves a lot of decisions, but it doesnt have to be overwhelming. Once you lay the right groundwork, the results are likely to grow in satisfaction for years to come. H& H

B. Shapiro Supply, LLC Warminster 215-957-1424 Environmental Landscape Associates, Inc. Doylestown 800-ELA-9252 Green Acres Nursery and Garden Center Colmar 215-822-3334 Landscape Plus, LLC Pipersville 215-646-1235 RINOX Pavers LLC Douglassville 866-99-RINOX
Visit our online resource directory at to find additional companies that offer these products and services.

Patios, Walkways and Driveways Landscape Design and Installation Swimming Pool Hardscaping Lighting Outdoor Kitchens & Fireplaces Garden Ponds

Creative Hardscapes and Landscapes since 1983 Designs by Degreed Horticulturist ICPI , NCMA and Techo-Bloc Certified Previous exhibitor at Philadelphia Flower Show


MARCH 2009





get comfortable with Crazy Creek

The Crazy Creek Crazy Legs Leisure Chair is the perfect outdoor seating pick for the park, backyard, beach or campground, thanks to its comfortable, portable and durable design. A captains-style seat, the chair features a handy flip-up side tableperfect for snacks and drinksand has convenient side organizer pockets to easily store a book or other supplies. Padded armrests further guarantee comfort, and the chair is easy to set up, store and carry, due to its flatfolding design and carrying strap. Offered in fun prints, like trout, bass and tie-dye, it retails for $70. Visit or call 800-3310304 for more information.

handwoven inspiration for any room

Made from 100-percent handwoven, hand-dyed silk fabrics in many new patterns, Lulan Artisans reed rugs offer casual luxury for every room in the home. The patterns are highly textural yet discreet, with sophisticated, multi-layered weaves. Lulan Artisans partners with master weavers in small workshops in Southeast Asia, designing and producing luxurious yet sustainable textiles for the home. Original contemporary designs merge with centuries-old Southeast Asian techniques. The Orange Reed Runner, which retails for $59.99, is shown. Lulan collections are available through designer showrooms and select specialty retailers. Call 843-722-0118 or visit for more information.

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MARCH 2009



backyard transformations


in the great outdoors

This exquisite poolscape blends seamlessly into its surrounding landscape. Including a custom fireplace extends the outdoor season and adds an element of drama.


Lindsey Getz

Its no secret that the state of the economy is encouraging people to stay home more than ever. In fact a national consumer survey conducted by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) found that half of all American homeowners say they are spending more time at home than they were five years ago. And spending more time at home means that homeowners are investing in making sure their home meets all of their wants and needs, rather than move or invest in uncertain options. One home design trend that has grown increasingly popular is creating outdoor living spaces. In fact, the PERC survey found that when it comes to spending time at home, four out of five homeowners (80 percent) say that its important to have an outdoor living space where they can relax and entertain. KS Greenday, Inc., a design-build firm specializing in swimming pools, hardscaping and landscaping design and buildsis helping homeowners cre-



MARCH 2009

Our biggest plus is that we handle every aspect of the job in-house.
-Eric Konyves, president, KS Greenday, Inc.
gets dark. An increase in creating outdoor living areas that the whole family can enjoy is definitely a trend that KS Greenday has noticed. These spaces allow a homeowner to extend the amount of space their home offers without building a costly and timeconsuming addition. A welcoming outdoor room gives homeowners a reason to spend more time outside. These areas may include a pool, but often a variety of additional elements are selected simply to enhance the area. We build outdoor kitchens, pavilions, pool houses, cabanas, patios, fireplaces and more, says Konyves. It is just bringing areas of the interior of a home to the outdoors. Adding these types of structures prevents the homeowner from having to run constantly back and forth into the house. Everything they need is already outside. GO GREEN WITH GREENDAY If theres one thing thats on almost everyones minds today, its going green. Homeowners are more concerned than ever about making their home more eco-friendly, and KS Greenday can make that happen. By going green, youll not only be doing something good for the environment, but youll also be saving moneysomething thats also on a lot of homeowners minds today. Notes Konyves: A pool can be expensive to run so it makes sense to run it using more energy-efficient means. For instance, a swimming pool pump is the second most expensive feature to run, but we now have high energy-efficient pumps available that greatly cut down the cost. We also have high-performance pool heaters which use less gas and are more efficient to run. KS Greenday also offers a product called IntelliChlor, manufactured by Pentair, which turns ordinary salt into chlorine in the pool. It, too, is eco-friendly since fewer resources are used in the production, packing and transportation of chemical compounds. Instead, table salt can be transformed into chlorine to safely and effectively sanitize a pool. Choosing KS Greenday means having a company that will be committed to transforming your backyard into something spectacularwhatever the project may entail. Weve been in business for 12 years and are dedicated to what we do, says Konyves. Our goal is to provide outstanding professional services which will exceed all of your expectations. KS Greenday, Inc., is located at 1060 Big Oak Road in Langhorne. For more information, visit or call 215-702-9876. H& H

ate the backyard of their dreams. One of the unique aspects of KS Greenday is that the company is a complete design-build firm. This means they handle every aspect of the job from start to finish without subcontracting the work to other companies. Our biggest plus is that we handle every aspect of the job in-house, says Eric Konyves, president. When theres masonry work, wood work, a patio build and the construction of the swimming pool, we handle it all. And we complete the full design as well. Our clients meet with us and we walk them through the design stage. We get a feel for what they want and then we help them achieve it. Working with KS Greenday starts with an initial consultation where the company will get an idea of exactly what the homeowners want for their pool, hardscape or landscape project. If the client prefers, we can assist them with custom design-ideas for their property, says Konyves. We observe every detail including the propertys sunlight exposure, soil and any other obstacles, and we come up with a creative solution to the projects needs. KS Greenday then takes digital photos of the clients property and uses those images to create a photo-realistic representation of the proposal for the project. We also use a 3-D design rendering program of the clients backyard, which allows them to see the whole project in its finished form, says Konyves. We can even create evening or night shots showing landscape lighting that we provide so clients can see what their home will look like after it

garden portals

Try a dramatic sculptural piece, perhaps with a filled planter on top thats visible from all angles in your garden. Terri Glanger, photographer

garden gates

and entryways usher guests into the beauty beyond

Debi Bryant

When I was young and visiting my grandparents, I remember being enchanted by the gate to their backyard. A vine-covered trellis arched over a white picket gate led to a lush, varied garden overflowing with flowers, bushes, potted plants and my granddads lifelong collection of river stones and driftwood. To a wide-eyed girl from the West Texas plains, that garden felt magical, and the feeling began at the gate. A well-chosen entrance to a garden can convey the homeowners intentionmagical or otherwise. Pickets and wrought iron reflect a certain openness and willingness to share. In addition to providing security, solid gates indicate a desire for privacy or may hint at mystery. With gates, you have the opportunity to make a statement; for instance, a bright eye-catching color says something bold. The right garden entryway can enliven the overall design, especially when the additional element, be it a gate, arch or trellis, matches the styling of your home. MATERIALS MATTER Cedar and redwood are good choices for material. Cedar, in particular, is a good option because it wears well and is resistant to insects. Bamboo and rattan are also sturdy materials. They work really well with an Oriental or contemporary garden. Plus, they are less expensive than wood. If you like to mix textures, consider wood and painted aluminum. Aluminum doesnt erode and rust like iron. While its roughly 40 percent more expensive than iron, you can expect it to last about 50 years. Love the antique look? Go ahead and buy that antique gate. Then have a fence custom-built around it, or hang an antique gate on the wall as a trellis. TRICKS OF THE TRADE Does your garden have slippery, expansive soil? If you have a gate with a knob, the locking mechanism may not line up properly because the ground has shifted. An arch over the gate can serve as a frame that keeps the gate square and plumb
Japanese maple trees, rosemary and ferns accent this backyard, paved with crushed stone for minimal upkeep and maximum drainage.
Terri Glanger, Photographer


This ornate gate slides on a base roller and opens to a lovely courtyard.

Photo courtesy Windswept Landscape Studios

A secret garden beckons through a brick archway draped with white roses.
Photo from The French Connection by Betty Lou Phillips, courtesy Gibbs Smith

A double swing-door iron gate adds a bit of security and extends a charming welcome.

with the knobs receiving plate. Want to maintain your wooden gates and fences? The gray color you see on older cedar fences is mildew. To clean it, spray straight bleach onto it. Let it sit in good sun for about 24 hours, then seal it. It will look like new again. IN FOCUS A focal point brings the garden into focus and gives it definition. You instantly know where to bring your attention. It is often referred to as directing the eye or giving the eye a place to rest.

Gates, arches and trellises can be used as focal points to break up an oversized yard by placing them in the near distance. Focal points can also be used to make a small yard appear larger. Placing a mirror behind a far gate gives the illusion of depth. You can further the illusion by setting stones on the other side that taper off. A gate on the back fence can also make use of your neighbors landscape. Any focal point adds beauty and interest.

H& H

Windows and Doors Decking and Railings Deck Lighting Pergolas and Awnings Everything for Your Outdoor Living Project OPEN TO HOMEOWNERS and THE PROFESSIONALS
2560 Milford Square Pike (Route 663) Quakertown, PA (215) 538-2333 Fax: (215) 538-9933

MARCH 2009



pondscapes and water gardens

one step beyond gardening

Top: This pond, stream and waterfall by Aquatic Artists serve as a beautiful complement to its adjacent swimming pool. Above: This aquatic escape by DeMichele, Inc., soothes the mind and body, while enhancing its surrounding property.


Gena Kannengieszer

Those of you with a green thumb know the pleasures of gardening the ability to enhance your environment, relieve stress, and build relationships with nature and loved ones. Enjoying the colors, sounds and smells is the ultimate relaxation. Those of you without, know the painshours of labor and slow results. Regardless of which side of the spectrum youre on, water gardens are the perfect solution for any nature enthusiast. They provide the benefits of a traditional garden, with less work. Water gardens can consist of water features, such as fountains and waterfalls, or ponds, set into the ground, that sustain a living ecosystem. Components include hard material for structure and containment, such as boulders, stone, brick or wood, and a liner. Mechanicals include submergible pumps and a filtration system, says Jeannie Marcucci, landscape designer for B. DeMichele Enterprises, Inc. There are three basic options for your water feature or pond: pre-

This waterfall by James Ponds is a feast for the senses. The relaxing sound of running water is enhanced by a splendid view of aquatic plants.

fab, do-it-yourself and custom. Prefab ponds are tub-like structures, made of plastic or fiberglass. Do-it-yourself kits come with all the materials and full instruction to build a small water feature. Its important to remember, however, that any water garden not installed by a professional can be hard to fix if not installed properly. Custom-built ponds are completely naturalized and professionally installed with a full filtration system. The liner is rocked in, which means it is made to look like part of the surrounding environment. Liners allow you to customize your pond, says Chris Chwal, landscape design consultant for Munds Landscaping. The cost of a custom project varies and is determined by budget, size, choice of materials and complexity. LOCATION Before installing your pond, you want to decide on the best possible location. Ponds will thrive in full sun or full shade. Diane Baker, coowner of James Ponds, advises placing the pond as close as possible to your viewing area. You want to be able to interact with it at all times; you want to see it and hear it. She notes that keeping scale is key. You want your pond to be in proportion to the landscape, i.e., large ponds best suit large spaces. Baker also suggests avoiding wet areas of the yard, as water can build up underneath the feature, thus pushing up the liner. Chuck Rienzi, owner of Aquatic Artists, recommends placing the pond at a high point in the yard if possible. You dont want water runoff from the surrounding property to reach the pond, which could create problems with water quality. Marcucci reminds homeowners to be wary of trees. Areas under trees are not good sites for ponds or water features as the leaves will be a maintenance issue. Installation may also harm tree roots during excavation. Before breaking ground, be sure to see the design on paper, says Marcucci, as it gives you the chance to visualize the project. PLANTS Aquatic plants are needed to develop a healthy ecosystem. They help filter the water and keep it clear by absorbing nutrients. Additionally, plants are visually pleasing and can hide mechanical components. There are three basic categories, Marcucci explains: plants that are rooted in soil beneath the surface of the water but displayed on top of the water (such as water lilies or lotus); plants that are rooted in soil beneath the water surface and must stay completely submerged >>>
MARCH 2009

Specializing in Custom Aquascapes Ponds, Streams, Pondless Waterfalls & Rain Water Harvesting Renovations & Maintenance



ately stocked with plants, it is not necessary to feed fish, says Marcucci. If not, fish should be fed up to once a week, says Rienzi. Feeding them too much creates water quality issues. In low temperature weather, you want to use food that is low in protein. The fish begin to hibernate and cant process it, so it just sits in their belly and rots, says Baker. In warm weather, switch to regular fish food that is high in protein. In addition to a good diet, plants with surface leaves, like lilies, provide fish some shade and protection from predators, like herons, says Marcucci. Fish caves built into the pond also provide a place to hide from predators, and netting the pond in fall and winter can provide additional protection. ACCESSORIES One of the most popular accessories for water gardens is lighting both in the walls of the pond and alongside the pond, explains Marcucci. Waterfalls, too, are popular. A waterfall should complement the overall style of the water garden and general landscape, she says. One constructed out of rocks and boulders will look more informal, while one made out of cut stone or a large piece of granite will look more formal. Though a waterfall creates its own music, some owners like to add music to the pond area to enhance relaxation, says Chwal. Outdoor furniture and statues can also create a soothing feel in the pond area, while floating glass balls can add color and personality to the pond. MAINTENANCE Once a pond ecosystem is established, minimal maintenance is required. Filtration, plants and fish will all help keep the water clear. Beneficial bacteria should be added to the pond. This is an enzyme that breaks down algae and waste so that you have better water clarity in the pond, explains Baker. This bacteria dies off in the cold, so when the water reaches 50 degrees, it should be added, she says. More bacteria is required at the start of the season, and as the pond begins to maintain itself, less and less is required. Your pond professional can instruct you how to apply it, as different ponds have different needs. Other general maintenance includes weekly removal of debris, says Marcucci, and filter cleaning. Occasionally, water will need to be added to the pond. Evaporation can occur even in colder months, explains Baker, and can result in losses of up to one inch or

Photo courtesy of Create-A-Scape

(like pondweed and hornwort); and plants that live at the margin of the pond (such as Iris and rushes). Lilies are a good starter plant, says Rienzi, as they help cover, fill in and shade the pond. Though, lilies do need at least five hours of sunshine per day, so they will not bloom in a shady area, explains Marcucci. According to Baker, other good starter plants include: Variegated Sweet Flag, Japanese Iris, Iris Versicolor, Black Gamecock Iris, Arrow Arum and Papyrus. Also consider tropicals; they give great variety of color and texture, she says. Most aquatic plants are marginals, reminds Baker, and require zero to six inches of water. Therefore, when installing a pond, its important to create shelves in the earth for the plants to sit on. Care varies according to the species. Aquatic plants require trimming and fertilizing, just like plants would in any garden, says Baker. Fertilizer can enhance color and blooms and should be applied as needed. Ensure the label indicates that it is appropriate for aquatic plants, adds Marcucci. FISH Fish are essential to a healthy ecosystem. They eat bad bacteria, like algae. The most common species for pond life are koi and goldfish, including comet and shubunkin. Koi can grow large, up to three feet long, and live very long, making them better suited for larger ponds (at least 11by 16 feet and 3 feet deep). Goldfish can survive in smaller ponds that are at least two feet deep. As a rule of thumb, There should be one inch of fish for every square foot of pond surface, says Rienzi. Fish also add to the enjoyment of pond ownership. Fish are very friendly and intelligent, says Baker. They know habit but have no long-term memory. If trained, fish will even eat out of your hand. She suggests feeding from the same spot every time and clapping beforehand, as fish will then associate the sound with food. Putting a bit of garlic on your fingertip, and then putting it in the water, will help attract the fish. A good diet is important for fish health. If the pond is appropri48 BUCKS COUNTY HOUSE & HOME MARCH 2009

This formal-looking waterfall and pond by Munds Landscaping command attention as the focal point of the yard.

more per month in hotter weather. If you have chlorinated (city/tap) water, you will need to add a de-chlorinator to the water, she points out. While ponds require little maintenance and are suited for all climates, they do need to be winterized. Many contractors offer this service. The mechanics (pump and filter) should be shut off and taken out of the pond, says Rienzi. In winter, a small pump or heater should be added so that the water will continue to circulate, thus creating oxygen; fish need aeration (bubbles) to breathe, explains Baker. This pump also ensures that the surface will not freeze. Keeping a hole in the ice allows poisonous gases, created by plants breaking down and fish waste, to escape, she says. Marcucci explains another strategy to prevent ice from forming: Greenhouse plastic or canvas can be placed on a frame six inches above the surface of the pond. One potential problem that pond owners encounter is water quality. Algae, which can be cased by direct sun, improper filtration, or an unbalanced ecosystem, is easily dealt with. In addition to balancing the ecosystem, an algicide can be used on an as-needed basis, says Rienzi. Homeowners should ensure any algicide is safe for fish or plants and apply according to package instructions, says Marcucci. Leaves and branches in the pond can cause tea-colored water, Rienzi notes. Adding carbon to the water absorbs the brownish color. BENEFITS The benefits of owning a pond or water feature are great. The biggest benefit is the Zen factor says Chwal. A pond creates a therapeutic

A seat on this patio, in full view of a serene pond and waterfall by Aquatic Artists, provides stimulation for all the senses.

place to relax right in your own backyard. Seeing an aquatic ecosystem come to life before your eyes is also very rewarding, assures Rienzi. Its personal when you see this climate grow and change over the years. The fish become pets, says Baker, and are like an addition to your family. Adding a pond or water feature to your home may even increase the property value, says Marcucci. As with any project, its important to do your research. There are many sources available on the Internet for help starting a project. Check with your local municipality, says Chwal, as some towns require permits. Its also a good idea to consult professional installers, >>>

MARCH 2009



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Children enjoy their pets pondside in this water feature by James Ponds. Koi, which are well-suited for pond life, are extremely social fish.

who will tell you what you need and where to go. Baker and Rienzi recommend seeking a Certified Aquascape Contractor by visiting for more information. Check the companys website and credentials, he says. You want a company that shows scope and variety. The most important thing, he says, is to find a contractor that stands behind and services their product after installation.

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pool trends

extraordinary retreats
right in your own backyard

Photo courtesy of Carlton Pools

Lindsey Getz


Pools have come a long way since the days of a standard inground rectangle with little or no design features. Todays pools have pizzazz, showcasing unique elements, such as dancing water features, fountains, fiber optic and LED lighting, rock treatments, swim-up bars, sun shelves, caves, grottos, slides, built-in or raised spasyou name it! Customized treatments are more popular than ever, and pool themes range from traditional to tropical to ultramodern with resort-like features. Pool companies are transforming backyards into complete entertainment oases. Its not just a pool in the center of the yard anymore, the whole backyard is incorporated with landscaping, walls and water features, says Steve Benedetto, construction manager, Carlton Pools. All the add-ons that homeowners are choosing make the pool more of a retreat. People are spending more money on their pools to create an entire backyard experience. Pool designs are evolving rapidly with new construction innovations that are making their way quickly into backyard swimming pool designs every year, adds Tom Casey, vice president of sales at Anthony & Sylvan Pools. Consequently, the old pool area has morphed into a new and expansive outdoor entertainment space for both families onthe-go and those comfortable with having parties at home. ENHANCING THE LOOK Todays homeowners are investing in their own backyard, rather than

paying for a vacation or moving to a new location. People are staying home more now than ever, so theyre putting more money into their home, says Eric Konyves, president, KS Greenday, Inc. That means they want a pool that goes above and beyond with added amenities and design elements. The option to add water features is one of the most popular ways to make your pool design more exciting. These create both sight and sound sensations that are soothing and relaxing. Dancing fountains, jets or flowing waterfalls that are built into the pool add an upscale sense of enhancement. Water features allow homeowners to relax poolside and let the strains of their working day drift away, says Casey. Additionally, they tend to complete an amazing backyard retreat by breaking the surface tension of the pool and bringing the area to life. Besides the way it upgrades the look of your pool, Peter Fineberg, general manager of Teds Pools, says that homeowners really enjoy the soothing sounds. You can get that sound through a steady stream or a small waterfall, which has more of a trickling sound, he says. People enjoy listening to the water as they relax by their pool. For those who want a quieter experience, a sheer descent water feature provides a curtain of water that silently drops from a predetermined elevation down into the swimming pool, says Casey. Aesthetically, this is a dynamite addition to any swimming pool plan

The old pool area has morphed into a new and expansive outdoor entertainment space.
-Tom Casey, vice president of sales, Anthony & Sylvan Pools
This Anthony & Sylvan freeform pool and spa is the perfect backyard getaway with its multi-level stone patio that offers plenty of room for entertaining or relaxing by the pool.

that incorporates waterfalls into the pool design. Lighted water features are incredibly popular as well, reports Fineberg. You can shoot an arching bead of water into the pool and light it with an LED light displaying multiple colors, he explains. Its really beautiful at night. Raised spas, which include water features, are also popular today, says Benedetto. The spa can have an opening for a waterfall where water runs into the main pool. POOL FINISHES AND DECKS The finishes available for pools today have also vastly improved. Interior surface finishes continue their march toward expanding color options and greater durability, says Casey. Manufacturers recognize that pool owners today expect their pool surfaces to

last longer and remain unaffected by normal water chemistry fluctuations. There was a day when pool finishes were all white. It was classic, but it didnt give the homeowner many options. Nowadays, the choices are extensive. The days of 100-percent white plaster finishes are now giving way to the newer, color-quartz aggregate finishes and the more popular pebble finishes, which come in a variety of colors for todays discriminating buyer, says Casey. There are innumerable options in colors and textures now flooding the market. The finish is one way to customize your pool and truly make it your own. Benedetto says that Carlton offers custom blended finish colors that were created specifically for Carlton, which have become very popular. Once the pool is built, the finish is really one of the most important features, he adds. It completes the look of your pool. In addition to finishes, the pool deck is also important. Like the boring white finishes of the past, concrete pool decks are no longer >>>

Photo courtesy of Carlton Pools


which pool type is best for you?

When gazing at a beautiful poolscape, you quickly observe the pool, its engaging features, possibly some eye-catching tile work, the decking style and where the pool is positioned within its setting. But theres no immediate clue as to the pools construction type, which affects the overall cost, installation and maintenance. Below are three common types of pool construction and a brief description of each. The latest high-tech features in both design and upkeep can be included in any one of them. Concrete The greatest advantage of concrete is its design flexibility. Concrete pools can be customized to your specifications in any shape, size or design, offering a high-end, upscale look, as well as the ability to include just about any elaborate enhancement you can imagine. Though they take longer to construct (several weeks or more) depending on the materials, finishes and amenities selected, concrete is a popular choice among first-time pool buyers. Fiberglass Most fiberglass pools are pre-made at the factory, and the shell is then crane-lifted and installed in one piece into the pre-dug hole in your backyard that awaits it. Because of the smooth, non-porous surface of fiberglass, easy maintenance is its biggest selling feature. Fiberglass doesnt require resurfacing or acid washes and typically uses fewer chemicals. Vinyl-Lined Considered a very affordable pool type, the liner and the pool structure itself are separate entities in vinyl-lined pools. This pool features a custom-made sheet of vinyl (available in many colors/patterns) that is spread over the interior of the pool and covers the floor and walls (usually made of metal or rigid plaster). Like a fiberglass pool, the smooth and nonporous surface makes it easy to clean.

plain, Benedetto points out. Decorative concrete pool decks allow the homeowner to choose from a variety of colors and textures and are very trendy. Its an upgrade that a lot of our customers are requesting, adds Benedetto. GOING GREEN Like so many other areas of their house, homeowners want to know how to make their pool more eco-friendly. The big trend now is to go green, reports Konyves. And its not only beneficial for the environment, but can save you money, too. Energy-efficient pool pumps cut down the operating cost. Homeowners are interested in anything green, when it comes to their pool, agrees Fineberg. We have solar systems to heat your pool. Were also putting in energy-efficient pumps. In certain states these are mandated, but even though they arent in Pennsylvania, its still a great thing to have. National Pools & Spas sells a product called IntelliChlor, manufactured by Pentair, which turns ordinary salt into chlorine in the pool. Its eco-friendly since fewer resources are used in the production, packing and transportation of chemical compounds. Instead, table salt can be transformed into chlorine to safely and effectively sanitize a pool. In lieu of putting chemicals in and checking them daily, the chlorine generator converts salt to chlorine, says John Buchko, sales manager at National Pools & Spas. Its been very popular and it is all digitally controlled as well. Buchko says the company also installs IntelliFlo pumps, also manufactured by Pentair, which are digitally controlled and vary in speed. This can lead to huge cost savings as homeowners have the ability to

Anthony & Sylvan Pools 877-SAY-SWIM Carlton Pools Warminster, PA 215-674-8185 KS Greenday, Inc. Langhorne, PA 215-702-9876 National Pools & Spas Robbinsville, NJ 609-448-3366 Teds Pools Newtown Square, PA 610-359-1301

Visit our online resource directory at to find additional companies that offer these products and services.

This Anthony & Sylvan pool and elevated spa features a customized pool shape, as well as a stone patio, rock waterfall and eloquent landscaping. Special lighting allows safe swimming at night.

custom program the pump speed or water flow for various functions. Of course, safety is also a crucial issue for anyone that has a pool. In rare cases, hair has been sucked into pool pumps, trapping the swimmer under water. But the IntelliFlo pump would automatically shut down in that event, says Buchko. Another emerging trend for homeowners who are eco-conscious and want a more natural pool is the concept of bio pools, something

thats brand new for Teds Pools. Essentially the sanitation is completely done by an adjacent pond, explains Fineberg. We build a pond nearby the pool and the water is filtered into the pond and through naturally occurring ground material and plants for sanitation, and then recycled back into the pool. No matter what design or eco-conscious elements you opt for, all homeowners should take the process of selecting a pool builder seriously. Prospective buyers must choose their builder carefully, advises Casey. They must weigh all the options and prices cautiously and select their builder based upon the companys experience and reputation, as well as guarantees offered. H& H

MARCH 2009



paving progress

porous options

Japanese maple trees, rosemary and ferns accent this backyard, paved with crushed stone for minimal upkeep and maximum drainage. Terri Glanger, Photographer

for patios, sidewalks and driveways



Harvey Marks

Planning a driveway, patio or sidewalk paving project? Before you choose traditional concrete or stone, consider the special advantages that come with using porous paving materials. Permeable pavement surfaces can be as simple as gravel or steppingstones laid atop gravel or grass beds. The newest permeable pavement materials are generally made from specially prepared concrete, allowing rainwater to soak back into the soil naturally to nurture trees and other plants, instead of running off into storm drains or bayous and potentially contributing to flooding. Gravel and crushed stone are also highly popular porous materials being used for driveways and sidewalks, as they allow water to soak into the ground. That makes porous paving an attractive green alternative for your homes outdoor hardscape surfaces. In fact, a recent study at North Carolina State University suggests porous pavement systems can reduce runoff volume by an average of 60 percent. And because porous pavement systems filter some pollutants out of the water before it is absorbed, the water absorbed into the ground tends to be purer, helping to reduce groundwater pollution. Porous paving materials also absorb and radiate less heat than

traditional concrete, further adding to their impressive environmental credentials. STRONG AND ATTRACTIVE Porous pavement has been around since the 1970s. The main difference between it and regular concrete is that porous pavement is manufactured without fine aggregate materials, such as silica sand and other small particles that give traditional concrete its dense, waterproof structure. As a result, porous concrete traditionally tends to have a somewhat rough-hewn appearance without any significant sacrifice in strength. Some people have even suggested it bears a slight resemblance to a rice cake. This rougher look is caused by small waterways or channels connecting the surface of the permeable pavement to a gravel bedding layer underneath. Newer, more stylish options include interlocking pavers that are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors. Porous concrete can also be stained, contributing additional style to your paving project while continuing to provide the full range of environmental benefits. If youre considering a porous paving project, be aware that prices

Interlocking pavers available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors extend an attractiveand environmentally friendly welcome to your home.
Photo courtesy Belgard

Exterior Worlds uses spaced sandstone slabs with blackstar gravel for a porous paving treatment.

tend to run somewhat higher than those for traditional impervious materials. On the positive side, porous paving systems can function for 20 years or more with just routine maintenance, allowing homeowners to amortize their cost over time. And, of course, there are the significant environmental advantages, such as reductions in water runoff and flooding, less water pollution and healthier trees and other plants.

WHERE TO LOOK Like any other paving project, correct design and installation are essential ingredients, and its important to work with skilled and experienced professionals. Some companies specialize in porous pavers that can be customized to meet a wide variety of color, size and shape preferences. Porous paving has been around awhile, but with the renewed emphasis on protecting and beautifying the environment, its future has never been brighter or more attractive. Homeowners planning a hardscape project will find it a highly viable option, and one they can feel very good about.

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MARCH 2009



water, water everywhere


Sharon A. Shaw

Top: A stone bridge crosses the stream of this water garden creating a spot for children to feed the fish or splash their feet. Left: This stream runs behind a freestanding hot tub where the sound of splashing water adds to the relaxation and creates a more natural setting.

Water is all around us. It comes down as winter snow and summer rain. It fills the rivers, lakes and oceans. But water also fills our desire for fun and relaxation. No matter what style your landscape or what size your yard, a water garden can fit your lifestyle. Water gardens offer features that no other element in the garden can, such as sound and movement. Even the plants that grow in a water garden are unlike those found elsewhere. Floating lily pads, elegant lotus and large tropical taro leaves all offer unique textures. Incorporating lights into a water garden allows it to be enjoyed at night when the light reflecting on the ripples creates beautiful sparkling patterns. A water garden provides beauty through every season, even winter when the ice adds another component to the garden. When the Hoyt family of Newtown renovated their backyard they wanted a landscape that would provide a relaxing vacation at their own home. In addition to a fabulous outdoor kitchen and fireplace,



MARCH 2009

they also wanted to add a freestanding hot tub. Thanks to the choice of complementary stone and consistent style choices, the elements of their landscape blend seamlessly. The Hoyts wanted to incorporate the hot tub with the same sense of design. Keith Frederick of Environmental Landscape Associates, who designed and built the project, suggested a water garden to help integrate the tub into the landscape. Both an upper and lower pond add beauty to the gardens. These two ponds are connected by a stream that cascades over rocks behind the hot tub. By locating the stream so close, the hot tub seems to become a part of the pond environment, instead of a separate unit. While using the tub, one feels as though they are in the stream where the sound of the splashing water adds to the relaxation. The Yidell family of Langhorne undertook a similar backyard makeover designed and built by Environmental Landscape Associates. This familys focus, however, was providing entertainment for their young family. They added a treehouse for the children to play in, as well as an outdoor kitchen, fireplace and water garden, which offers the beauty of plants, fish and even a bridge to cross the stream or dip your feet. Adding water to an outdoor living space can actually cool the area through evaporation, but dipping your toes in is a guaranteed way to cool off. A water garden can attract beneficial animals, such as toads, dragonflies and beautiful birds, who will eat many garden pests. Colorful fish not only help to keep a pond healthy, they are lovely to watch. Feeding the fish is an enjoyable responsibility of owning a water garden. Kids love to interact with the wildlife around a water garden, which may also include butterflies, turtles and salamanders. Observing the life cycles of these creatures can be very educational. Water gardens rely on the balance of nature to function properly. A healthy pond should include rocks to create an environment for beneficial bacteria to live. As debris, such as leaves and fish waste fall to the bottom of the pond, it collects in the gravel where the bacteria break it down into harmless nutrients. The roots of the water plants then absorb these nutrients and in return release oxygen, which the fish need to survive. Fish aid in pond maintenance by eating pesky mosquito larvae and algae. This biological process requires minimal intervention and no chemicals. Once it is functioning, a water garden requires basic seasonal maintenance. In the fall, the pump should be removed to prevent damage from freezing. If the pond includes a deep enough area, most fish and plants can survive the winter. A small floating heater will maintain a hole in the ice to allow for air exchange. Performing a seasonal clean-up will remove any accumulated debris. Pond care is easy and the benefits are numerous. Whatever the intent for your outdoor environment, there is surely a reason to include a water garden. Photos and article courtesy of Keith Frederick, president, Environmental Landscape Associates Inc., Doylestown, PA. For more information, visit the companys website at or call 800-ELA-9252.

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the great escape

a home library or study


Jere Bradwell

One of the pleasures of having a library or study is that it offers privacy and a space where you can pursue your own interests. Whether working from home at the computer or quietly reading in a favorite armchair, a room like this creates a personal escape. A STRONG FOUNDATION Decorating trends come and go, but the traditional English club look endures. This look is synonymous with English style and tradition, consisting of dark paneled walls, marble fireplaces and booklined shelves from floor to ceiling. It is such a classic look that it never goes out of style, and it has been reproduced throughout the world for many years. In numerous households, the library or study is a sanctuary from the rush of everyday lifefor both men and women. With increasing numbers of people working from home, it has become an essential part of many homes. Chances are this room may acquire a masculine look due to the use of a good-sized desk, ample chairs and filing cabinets. Rather than trying to counteract this, let this theme prevail. A room with generous proportions is helpful in establishing this dcor and necessary to house an oversized desk and chairs. Use builtin bookshelves or handsome bookcase furniture to add to the English flavor. If possible, these shelves should span from floor to ceiling to

Top left: A floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelf is brightened by cheerful window treatments that contrast with the dark background of the room. Top right: A softer, more feminine approach uses a petite ladies desk nestled in the corner of this office. Above: This handsome dark walnut oval partners desk makes a nice work area for two or more people.

This club room has many of the classic furnishings of a traditional English library.

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give your space a tall visual feel. A good organizational tip is to create cabinets with doors or built-in filing drawers in the base of your shelving. If you dont have lots of books to place on your shelves, this can be a great place to showcase a collection of favorite objects and family pictures.
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FURNISHING THE STUDY The desk chair must be generous and comfortable, allowing you to work from it easily. One with wheels that is upholstered in rich Old World leather will help to complete the dcor. If space permits, perhaps a small settee against one wall and one or two wing-type chairs will make the space more comfortable and welcoming. LIGHTING, COLOR, ACCENT PIECES The dark rich colors and intense wood paneling should be accented with pools of soft light, as part of this decorating approach. You can introduce vibrant colors and patterns through upholstery and window treatments, or by way of a rich oriental-style area rug to punctuate the dark surroundings. Books and other publications inject interest, as do photographs and personal possessions that are placed in view. The use of oil paintings on walls helps maintain the club look. This room can also be the perfect place to display collections, which may well provide the starting point for the color and decorating theme. Choose a background color that shows the collection to its best advantage. There should be adequate lighting over the desk area. Its possible to add drama with an appropriately sized chandelier hanging over the desk, or with good spotlighting from recessed fixtures in the ceiling. When displaying a collection on the library shelves, it is a good idea to add subtle accent lighting in the shelving area as well. Include as many lamps around the room as possible. Using a combination of table and floor lamps lends a nice approach. Lamps are the jewelry in any room. Make certain that the lamps are interesting to look at and good quality. Lamps should be wired for three-way light bulbs, if possible. This way, both soft light and bright light remain options. One last decorating tip? If your study includes a computer as most do, consider using a laptop. With todays technology, wireless Internet and printers will clean up the inevitable tangle of wires. Got a Question? Jere Bradwell is the senior designer at European Home Collection, located at 5222 York Road, Buckingham. Email design questions to Include Design Question in the subject line. Visit, or for a personal consultation, call 215-794-4443.

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MARCH 2009



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Gardens Private & Personal, A Garden Club of America Book

Explore the gardens of more than 90 Garden Club of America (GCA) members from across the country who have opened their gates to a photographic tour of their beautiful

and treasured backyard oases. Through the pages of this lovely book, readers will discover gardens from Maine to Hawaii and from Washington to Florida, and beyond. Each chapter explores a different design element: entryways, water, containers, color and much more. Intimate passages from GCA members offer additional insight, giving readers the sense that each garden owner is walking with them as they describe and name cultivars, recall the history of a property and its plants, and tell the story of an individual garden. A quiet and refreshing journey! Written by Nancy DOench and Bonny Martin; photography by Mick Hales. Published by Abrams Books, HNA, Inc., a Subsidiary of LaMartinire Groupe, New York, NY. 2008. $50.

HOME OUTSIDE: Creating the Landscape You Love

Homeowners often tend to ignore improvements to the outside of their home, favoring a fix-up of the interior. The exterior of the home, however, is what guests and passersby see most

often; it strongly affects the value of the home and makes a first impression. In this book, author and award-winning landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy offers her knowledge of reviving a homes landscape. With more than three decades of landscape design experience, she can help homeowners make their outside land as valuable as the inside of the home, and give them a space they can enjoy outdoors. This user-friendly guide features photographs, beforeand-after images, diagrams, case studies and plenty of helpful tips. Written by Julie Moir Messervy. Published by Taunton Press, Newtown, CT. 2008. $30.

garden varieties
While water is usually a gardeners best friend, too much of it can be problematic. Fortunately author John Simmons offers this definitive guide to managing a variety of wet garden sites. An area that receives a lot of water can actually be an opportunity to cultivate an unexpectedly large and unique range of plants. This handy guide will inspire readers to not only accept the challenges of too much water, but to appreciate the potential benefits by turning muddy soil into a beautiful reward. Written by John Simmons. Published by Timber Press, Portland, OR. 2008. $39.95.

Managing the Wet Garden: Plants That Flourish in Problem Places

1000 Garden Ideas: The Best of Everything in a Visual Sourcebook

With photographs taken all over the world, this fascinating collec-

tion offers the cleverest solutions, the most original choicesthe best of everything a gardener could wish for! Cliff s eye for design and creative ideas capture a planets worth of inspiration on elements to enhance a garden. The result is a visual encyclopedia bursting with the best choices for paths, plants, paving, plots, ornamental gates, sundials and beyond. Myriad images are shown to fascinate and enthrall readers while offering help in creating a unique secret garden of their own. Written by Stafford Cliff. Published by Artisan, a Division of Workman Publishing, Inc. New York, NY.2007. $35.

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social talk

An Evening of Excellence CotY Award Recipients Recognized at NARI Award Ceremony

Mike Irby, Photographer,

Shown here: Clark and Joyce Doebler, Interiors by Decorating Den in Hatfield, and Janet Stevenson, Closet City in Montgomeryville.

The Bucks-Mont NARI 2009 Contractor of the Year (CotY) Award winners pose proudly.

Jon Atkins of Doylestown Remodeling is presented with the CotY for Residential Interior Specialty by Paul Landes of High Aim Resources.

Victor Brubaker Builders of Philadelphia won a total of three CotYs. He is pictured here with his CotY for Residential Addition $100,000 to $250,000.

Presenting sponsor Lutron awarded the Lutron Lighting Award to Wes Carver Electric. Pictured left to right: Rhett Thomas, Lutron; Mike Cory of Wes Carver; Matt Kurtz, Lutron; Wes Carver, Wes Carver Electric; and Michael Smith, Lutron.

George and Mike Foering of Custom Craft Contractors, Lansdale, celebrate their first CotY in the category of Residential Kitchens $60,000 to $100,000.
MARCH 2009

Anticipation and excitement were the order of the evening, yet camaraderie prevailed. Lots of happy, smiling faces, eager to accept an award graciously or ready to offer congratulatory support to a fellow award winner were everywhere. The Bucks-Mont Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) held its annual Bucks-Mont NARI Contractor of the Year awards presentation on Friday, January 23, at the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, PA. Participation in this years event exceeded previous years. More than 160 attendees enjoyed the music and humor of John OHara at a wonderful stand up dinner afterwards, which was held at the Washington House. Each year Bucks-Mont NARI recognizes the accomplishments of its members by selecting winners based on the excellence of

their projects, judged by members of the Central Jersey chapter. Judging is based on problem solving, functionality, aesthetics, craftsmanship, innovation, degree of difficulty and overall entry presentation. There were a total of 22 CotYs awarded, as well as meritorious and chapter awards. To be considered for a CotY Award, a company must be a NARI member in good standing. NARI members represent an elite group of the approximately 800,000 companies and individuals in the US identifying themselves as remodelers. Happiness and goodwill prevailed the entire evening, and this years 2009 CotY Award winners proudly accepted their awards, beaming with success and a gleam in their eye that told onlookers they were already anticipating next years entry.

H& H


Congratulations 2009 CotY Award Winners!

McHale Kitchen & Bath, Residential Kitchen Under $30,000 Superior Woodcraft, Residential Kitchen $30,000 to $60,000 Custom Craft Contractors, Residential Kitchen $60,000 to $100,000 Haines Contracting, Inc., Residential Kitchen Over $100,000 McHale Kitchen & Bath, Residential Bath Under $30,000 Gehman Custom Remodeling, Residential Bath $30,000 to $60,000 L.J.S. Builders, Residential Bath Over $60,000 Victor Brubaker Builder, Residential Addition $100,000 to $250,000 Victor Brubaker Builder, Entire House Under $250,000 R&R Morano Restoration & Renovation, Entire House $250,000 to $500,000 J. Schwartz Fine Home Building & JFA Architecture, Entire House $500,000 to $1,000,000 Superior Woodcraft, Inc., Residential Interior Under $100,000 Van Dame Custom Builders, Residential Interior Over $100,000 Doylestown Building & Remodeling, Residential Interior Specialty Harth Builders, Residential Exterior Under $100,000 Gemmi Construction, Inc., Residential Exterior Over $100,000 Archadeck of Bucks-Mont, Residential Specialty Brett King Builders, Residential Historical Renovation/Restoration Stone-Glidden, Home Theater & Media Rooms $150,000 and Over Monarch Construction, Inc., Commercial Interior Creative Contracting, Inc., Commercial Specialty Wes Carver Electrical Contracting, Inc., Lutron Lighting Control Chip and Carla Greth of Innovative Kitchens & Baths, Eagleville, were among the attendees at the CotY awards. Harth Builders of Spring House won the CotY for Residential Exterior Over $100,000. Greg Harth, Allyn Harth and Tim Wrona are shown here. Mark Kinsey of PKG Insurance was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award. Mark has been a member of the chapter since its inception in 1991 and has served as president and chaired many committees. He currently chairs the Government Affairs Committee.

Dinner sponsor Marvic Supply was represented by (left to right) Darrell Schwartz, Jeff Ennis and Bub Martucciall of Marvic Supply, North Wales.

In addition, the following received Meritorious Awards. Lifestyles Design, Residential Kitchen $30,000 to $60,000 Gemmi Construction, Inc./Conti Design, Residential Kitchen $60,001 to $100,000 Creative Contracting, Inc./Village Handcrafted Cabinetry Residential Kitchen Over $100,000 Gehman Custom Remodeling, Residential Bath $30,000 to $60,000 Creative Contracting, Inc., Residential Bath Over $60,000 Victor Brubaker Builder, Entire House $250,000 to $500,000 Harth Builders, Residential Interior Under $100,000 Superior Woodcraft, Inc., Residential Interior $100,000 and Over R&R Morano, Residential Interior Specialty $100,000 Masters Craft Construction, Residential Exterior Under $100,000 Gehman Custom Remodeling/Interiors By Decorating Den/Stone-Glidden Home Theater/Media Room Under $150,000 More good news? Three members of the Bucks-Mont chapter of NARI were announced Regional Winners and will be honored at the National Evening of Excellence in Atlanta on March 26, 2009. The winners are: Superior Woodcraft Residential Interior Under $100,000 Masters Craft Construction Residential Exterior Under $100,000 J. Schwartz Fine Home Building Entire House $500,000 to $1,000,000 Correction Joseph Gebler, Home & Business Solutions, Perkasie PA, 215-258-0340, should have been listed under Contractors, not Services in the Bucks-Mont NARI Directory.

Tim McHale of McHales Kitchens & Baths in Levittown won the CotY for Residential Kitchens Under $30,000. McHale is pictured here with category sponsor Angela Flebbe of Kohler.

Superior Woodcraft of Doylestown was a three-time CotY winner this year. Pictured here are Superior Woodcraft designer Ellyn Barr, CKD, and sponsor Dale Smith, Sterling Kitchens.

Correction Left: This photo by Haines Contracting Inc. was a Residential Kitchen Over $100,000 2009 CotY Award Winner and should have appeared in the February Bucks-Mont NARI Directory section on page 38.

go green


Nationally, landscape irrigation consumes more than half of all water supplied to homes and much of it is wasted. Check your system frequently for broken or misdirected spray that can cause overspray onto the pavement. Adjust, clean or replace malfunctioning spray heads. Have an irrigation audit performed annually to ensure your system is leak-free. Operate your system manually. This prevents the system from operating during or after a rain event. Set your system controller to apply the correct amount of water for your landscaping needs. Run your system for two or three short cycles instead of one long cycle to ensure that the water soaks into the ground, rather than run off your yard. If you do not have an automatic irrigation system, use sprinklers that disperse large drops of water close to the ground.


Check your toilets for leaks. A leak in the toilet can waste 20 gallons of water per day. To determine if your toilet has a leak, put a few drops of food coloring or a leak detection tablet in the toilet tank. After 15 minutes, check the bowl to see if there is dye color in the water. If there is, or you see water flowing into your bowl, its time to replace the flapper. The flapper is the rubber flush valve that controls the volume of water passing from the tank to the bowl during the flush cycle. After installing a new flapper, run the dye test again to ensure that the leak is repaired. If the leak persists, contact a plumbing professional for repair. To reduce your indoor water use by as much as 20 percent, install low-flow toilets.




Install a high-efficiency clothes washer to save thousands of gallons of water per year and provide energy savings.

5 ways to conserve water


Clothes washers are one of the highest water users in the home. Installation of a high-efficiency clothes washer can save thousands of gallons of water per year and provide energy savings. Be sure to run only full loads of clothing, matching the water level with the load size. Set the wash and rinse cycle temperatures to cold water to save on energy costs. Some cities offer rebates for water- and energy-saving washers. Check with your salesperson or city staff to see if a rebate is available. Check your water supply hose frequently for leaks or cracks. Replace the supply hose periodically to prevent leakage and potentially costly water damage to your home. Consult your clothes washer owners manual on other areas to check for potential leaks.

Denise Hickey







Left in disrepair, water leaks waste a tremendous amount of water and can develop into more serious problems. Your water meter keeps track of how much water your household uses. The water meter is usually located along the sidewalk or in the front yard of your home. You can check for leaks on individually metered residences using your meter. While no water is being used inside or outside, check the meter to see if the dials are progressing, indicating water is being metered. If the lower indicator (triangle or star) is turning, there is a leak. Or note the location of the pointer and the last two numbers on the far right window. Do not run water for 30 minutes. If the pointer has moved or the numbers have progressed, there is a leak. It pays to repair leaks promptly.

Swimming pool or spa leaks can cause substantial damage and result in huge water bills. Some warning signs of pool or spa leaks are: a loss of one-quarter inch or more of water in a two-day period, loose or falling tiles, algae formation after chemical treatment, and cracks or gaps in the decking or pool shell. To determine if water loss is caused by evaporation or a leak, place a bucket on the top step of the pool and fill it with water even with the water level in the pool. After a day, if the water level in the pool is lower than that of the bucket, a leak might exist. A pool professional can locate and repair the leak. To minimize evaporation, use a pool cover and reduce the use of fountains and waterfalls. Also maintain proper chemical levels to prevent water quality issues that require draining your pool.

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Top: Go sofa shopping to replace a worn piece and then take the furniture with you when youre ready to move. This Logan stationary sofa and matching chair and ottoman are by BradingtonYoung. Above: Need more space at home to take care of business? If so, now is the perfect time to add a roomy and well-organized office.
Photo courtesy of California Closets

The national housing market is in a slump, worse in some cities than others. Generally, entry- and mid-level priced houses arent selling as quickly as they did a year ago. Here are 10 fix-up ideas that can help turn your existing home into a place youll want to live in longer. Then when the timing is right and youre in the mood to sell, these improvements might help to turn your home into someones hot new real estate listing. ADD A ROOM A room addition might be just what you need. Whether it fixes an out-of-date floor plan or adds extra space and convenience, a house addition can make a big difference. Traditionally, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens rank among the most popular add-ons, but home offices are joining the list as more homeowners are working from home.



MARCH 2009

Rethink your kitchen cabinets. Make them look more like furniture and then design them for both efficient storage and great looks. Photo courtesy of BMC West
Building Materials

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New kitchen cabinetry unites and enhances the look of a favorite gathering room. Photo by Anthony Rathbun;
Courtesy of Kitchen & Bath Concepts and Wood-Mode

Designate a cheerful sitting area with just a few cans A gorgeous new countertop might be just what you of paint. These colors from Sherwin-Williams are need to spruce up your kitchen. Photo by Miro Dvorscak copper pot and autumnal.

An addition should fit in with the rest of your house, or it might actually drive potential buyers away and reduce your homes selling price.
Whatever room you decide to add, do it right. Inside and out, an addition should fit in with the rest of your house, or it might actually drive potential buyers away and reduce your homes selling price. CONSIDER THOSE CABINETS Reface or get new cabinets in your kitchen. Refacing can range from updating hardware and repainting existing cabinets and drawer fronts to stripping them and applying veneer or other decorative elements. For a more complete overhaul, consider replacing old doors with new ones in an entirely different style. Best of all, refacing or installing new cabinets can brighten up and change the look of your kitchen, taking it from drab to dramatic in one step.

Quartz countertops by Silestone resist stains, scratches and scorching. Silestone is a tough-performing material for livable, usable kitchens. Photo by Miro Dvorscak

Upscale your kitchen to chef class with a pot filler, one of todays hottest kitchen tools. Photo courtesy of Grohe


If youve landscaped in front, then its time to look out the back window to your next project: the backyard. Here, an uncultivated and overgrown lawn has been transformed into an inviting outdoor space.

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COUNTERTOPS CAN STAND OUT Put in new kitchen countertops. Granite remains the surface of choice, and the natural beauty of the stone can help even the most modest kitchen stand out. Engineered stone, which duplicates the look of natural stone and never has to be sealed, is another popular option. Ceramic tile can also bring a splash of extra color and style to a kitchen. Other bright choices include laminates, such as Formica , solid surfaces like Corian or even concrete for a kitchen that makes a strong contemporary statement. GIVE DRIVEWAYS AND WALKWAYS CURB APPEAL Never underestimate curb appeal by fixing up your driveway and sidewalks. The drive is the road to your house, and the front sidewalk brings visitors right to the front door, so why not make these features as attractive and inviting as possible? Concrete driveways and sidewalks are perennially popular and available in customized colors, stenciled patterns and numerous finishes. Brick is hardwearing and attractive, especially in a herringbone pattern. Pavers are available in a variety of different stones and in numerous sizes, shapes and shades. How about a gravel or pebble driveway or sidewalk? Its a great low-cost way to add a bit of casual style to any home. >>>

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Results will vary and are determined by individual financial institutions. The information contained herein does not constitute an offer or a solicitation to lend or extend credit. Contact our United First Financial independent agent for further details.

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TAP INTO NEW FAUCETS AND FIXTURES Replacing old and worn-out kitchen or bathroom fixtures can go a long way to making those rooms more appealing to potential buyers. As a general rule, select fixtures that complement and dress up the existing style, whether its classic, contemporary or modern. And dont forget towel bars, toothbrush holders, soap dishes and

other fixtures. They might be small touches, but they can make a big impact. CHANGE YOUR FLOORING The right answer could be there at your feet. A new hardwood floor can transform an interior. Resanding and finishing old wood floors can add a touch of elegance. Laminate flooring with a wood look is a less expensive and highly practical alternative. Ceramic tile can bring a welcome infusion of color and style, too. For a great first impression, replace old worn carpets with new ones. CHANGE THE SETTING WITH LANDSCAPING Nothing makes a better first impression than an attractive yard or garden. New plants and bushes can provide instant color, or consider transplanting existing ones for maximum visual impact. Various structures, such as trellises, gazebos or a well-placed lawn display are also quite appealing. If thats too ambitious, something as simple as a new bench or chair can add an inviting touch of tranquility to any yard. BUY A NEW SOFA In most cases, potential homebuyers arent buying your furnishings, but new pieces can help showcase a room, dressing it up while calling attention to the rooms true potential. The trick here is to choose furniture that you really like and that will also be the right hue and size for your new living room. GET OUT THE PAINT Nothing refreshes a room like fresh paint, turning dull walls into bright inviting surfaces. Traditional wisdom holds that you should choose neutral whites and beiges. Avoid colors that might limit your

Create the lighting effect you want with a new window treatment. From Hunter Douglas, the Pirouette window shadings are soft, adjustable fabric vanes that float gracefully in front of a sheer. Find Hunter Douglas products at Creative Custom Blinds. Practically nothing can give a room a lift more quickly than a fresh coat of paint. Here, calm yet crisp hues of blue and green turn this living area into a bright oasis. Photo courtesy of Pratt & Lambert



MARCH 2009

Make a statement with a steppingstone sidewalk, a creative alternative to the traditional walk. Photo courtesy of Windswept Landscape Studios

Make room for his-and-her sinks in the bath, and then add complementary fixtures, such as the Rothbury in chrome by Moen.

homes appeal. Some judicious accents are always appropriate, or else your home could end up being just a bit too bland. Before you start, just remember that every house is different. But with just a bit of paint here and there in your home, yours can be a real standout when potential buyers come knocking. DRESS UP YOUR WINDOWS Window treatments, such as draperies, curtains, shades and blinds,

make a great addition to any room, letting in natural light while still enhancing privacy. These treatments come in a variety of materials, fabrics and styles to give you an almost endless array of choices and nuances. Make sure youre matching them to your rooms style and color, then choose the ones you like best. H& H

MARCH 2009



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