Pro Tips with Jamie Snyder

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How to Beautify your Swimming Pool

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Sat, Jul 28, 2012 @ 30:09 AM

swimming_pool_for_your_weekend_homeThe water is sparkling blue. Comfortable deck chairs invite you to take a rest. Fragrant flowers bloom close to the swimming pool area and a beautiful waterfall adds to the atmosphere. The sun is setting; your children happily play in the water while your husband fires up the grill in the BBQ-area.

No question: You will get the most out of your swimming pool if you plan and design the whole area according to your dreams. Nobody wants to jump in a grey looking square filled with water or rest on a plain concrete-dessert or a muddy grass spot. Here are some simple ideas you should consider when planning your swimming pool and backyard oasis

Sparkling Blue Water
First of all you should choose a high quality finish for the surface of your pool. The color of the water is determined by the color of the surface – and this is, what makes the water look sparkling blue. All our fiberglass pools are equipped with Leisure Pools exclusive Aquaguard® Gel Coat finishes. These finishes come in different colors, look stunning and also exhibit outstanding performance, when it comes to weathering, chemical and UV resistance.

Clean Surroundings
Beautiful decks do not have to be expensive: With stamped concrete you can replicate materials such as stone or slate. The design choices are plenty and will give your pool a unique look. Ask Jamie Snyder of Albert Group Landscaping about the best options for your swimming pool project.

Invitation to Relax and Enjoy
Patio furniture should complement the style of your home, pool and deck. If you want a Tiki-Bar your might include wood and bamboo furniture, hammocks, and torches. A waterfall calls for a cleaner style. Talking about clean design: It is always a good idea to purchase a storage-box for toys and pillows with your furniture. This way everything will fit together.

Fire and Lighting
If you want to use your swimming pool not only during the day, you should consider building a fireplace. Seating options can be implemented while building the fireplace and can be a beautiful design-element. Otherwise you can add comfy lounge-chairs or even rocking chairs. Add some string lights or paper lanterns for sparkling party-magic. For more weather-resistant and durable lighting options consider LED pool lights.

Perfect Arrangement
Whichever elements you choose to increase the enjoyment of your backyard swimming pool, think of the right location. A barbeque pit should be close to the kitchen, while it is nice to design a relaxing lounge area in a more secret and hidden spot. Jamie Snyder from Albert Group Landscaping can help you to plan and build the perfect backyard oasis for your needs.

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Albert Group Landscaping: What is the Difference?

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 @ 53:08 AM

swimming_pool_landscaping_nyFor this entry we want to turn the spotlight on our customers. We want to thank you all for working with us and share all the positive feedback you sent our way. For us at Albert Group Landscaping it is all about you – and we are always happy to hear about your experiences and ideas.

When Mr. Vasco called us, he was not very happy with the look of his front yard. Albert Group Landscaping built a new walk way and a retaining wall in the front yard. “Albert Group Landscaping was referred to us through a friend. Jamie Snyder called back right away, to talk about the project and delivered on time. Every little detail he said was done – and it made the house look 100 percent better. We are very satisfied and happy with the job. The work they did was extremely extraordinary.”

Mr. and Mrs. Trapani had called another contractor before they contacted the Albert Group. “We did not get his estimate until Jamie had completed the work”, they say. The Trapanis contracted us in the middle of January, they had problems with the drainage on their driveway and wanted to make sure to have the project done before spring. “Jamie’s team worked very professional and was done on time. We don’t have problems with the drainage any more and the new wall looks great. He even put lights in them. It is just perfect.”

Mr. Fetter had very specific ideas when he contacted the Albert Group to build his swimming pool, and was positively surprised. “The fiberglass pool is very durable, the salt-filter system is much easier to maintain than the chlorine filter system I was used to. The waterfall looks great and it is so much fun to swim under it. We use our built in lights often and enjoy the integrated spa-jets. It is like getting a massage in the pool. We are very happy. It looks great.”

Mr. and Mrs. Enriquez had recently moved to Washingtonville from New York City. As first time homeowners they did not want to make any mistakes and did a lot of research to find the right contractor. Now they don’t have to look any further. “Jamie Snyder is the one person whose word I can take to the bank, if he says that is how it is going to be, I know it will look good. It was almost surreal how smooth everything was”, says Mrs. Enriquez. “Every phone call was answered, the relationship of the team was completely professional, all you saw was work, it was natural for them and at the end of the day the yard looked cleaner than before. The project, a Versa-Lok retainer wall, was of the highest quality, completed on time and within the estimate. The Albert Group exceeded every possible expectation. We recommend you without any hesitation to our families, friends and neighbors.

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Let us know about your experience with Albert Landscaping Group and click here if you are interested in further testimonials.

Should I add a swimming pool to my weekend house?

Posted by James Snyder on Tue, Jun 05, 2012 @ 22:10 AM

Fiberglass Swimming pool installed in a weekend home in Upstate NY

For those of you that have pulled the trigger on a weekend home in the Catskills – you already know how rewarding it is. So bear with me while I bring everyone else up to speed. 

                Owning a weekend home in Orange, Dutchess or Sullivan County becomes a way of life. A place where you can step back in time, wind down from the energetic pace of NYC and simply recharge. Taking a stroll through a wooded path in the spring or snow shooing in the winter becomes a weekly affair. As a landscape designer, and swimming pool builder I have had the opportunity to meet many clients that know firsthand the benefits of owning an upstate home.

                This past weekend I went and visited a client of mine that put a pool in last year and she made a comment that inspired me to write this article. We were talking about the pool and she said “It’s like going on a vacation every week”. That comment really made me feel good. I am glad I was able to be a part of transforming her upstate home to her private resort.

To Receive your free estimate click here!

Swimming Pool Landscaping Ideas

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 01:09 AM

swimming_pool_dealer_chester_nyWhen you decide to add a swimming pool to your backyard, don’t forget to consider how you would like to design the surrounding area. Landscaping the swimming pool area does not only depend on the size and shape of the pool, but also the location in your yard, the existing garden and the ways you want to use it.

We recommend a structured hardscape plan around the swimming pool. This way you won’t have the problems with weeds or don’t have to worry about structural damage due to invading root systems.

Accessibility and Space
With a hardscape are around the pool the maintenance is easier. Since you will have less leaves and pollen floating in your pool, you do not have to worry about clogged up drains and filter systems. Another plus is, that the pool can be accessed from every side and you also will have more space for sitting areas and deck chairs.

Sitting Walls
When you plan it right, you can use a retaining wall as part of your sitting area. Sitting walls can be created around a patio as a structural border. Imagine a half-circle or extend your outdoor fire-place or waterfall with a sitting wall to both sides. If you like, you also can just include some bench-areas in the wall. Walls or sitting walls also provide protection from wind and gusts which can lead to excessive evaporation.

Integrate Flowerbeds
Flowerbeds are a wonderful and colorful addition to any structural work. You could even integrate a flowerbed right behind your sitting wall to add some color – or maybe you would like to pick some berries. When there is enough space between pool and flowerbed you do not have to be quite as careful of what you plant.

Fire pit or Outdoor Water-Feature
Other projects worth considering when planning your swimming-pool area are waterfalls, an area for a fire pit or a stone fireplace. While it is possible to add new features after your swimming pool area is completed, it is always a good idea to think of all possible options before you start building. If you would like to discuss the best options for your swimming pool area, contact Jamie Snyder of The Albert Group Landscaping.

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Swimming Pool Construction: Why a Building Permit is Important

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Wed, May 16, 2012 @ 10:08 AM

swimming_pool_landscaper_nyYes, you do need a building permit before you build a swimming pool. It is a good idea to do a little research about New York States Uniform code requirements and possible other requirements and restrictions of your municipality. Do not worry; we will help you with every step – and will also apply for the permit. Here are some reasons why a building permit is important.

Liability
A building permit protects you as a homeowner from various liabilities throughout the project, for example when someone gets hurt. It also ensures that your contractor is licensed and insured. If you have your permit and a professional contractor working on your swimming pool project, the pool builder’s insurance will cover the costs, in case an injury or property damage occurs.

Inspection
While the pool is being build, most municipal departments will send an inspector to visit your home and check on the construction site. The inspector will examine the project and verify that your pool is being built according to national and local safety standards. He will check for example for underground plumbing, electric and gas line, electrical bonding as well as the final swimming pool and the safety precautions required by law.

Quality
Knowing that you work with a reputable, licensed, insured and bonded swimming pool contractor will ensure you, that you will get the best possible installation of your new swimming pool. Do not work with contractors who insist that you do not need a permit or even ask you to apply for a permit yourself. Hire a professional who can assure you to comply with the industry standards as well as the national and local safety standards.

For more information go to: New York State Division of Code Enforcement & Administration
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Retaining Walls: How to integrate them in your Swimming Pool Area

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Tue, May 08, 2012 @ 02:09 AM

retaining_wall_landscaping_nySince there is no such thing as a flat yard, the first thing, when building a pool is to think of where and how to create a flat level surface. Although there are a few different ways to create a flat area for your swimming pool, we want to focus in this article on different options for retaining walls and how to best integrate them in the landscape of your back yard.

Make it Look Great
Walls can be an eyesore and make the space looked close up, especially if they are too high and do not offer some attractive edge. The Albert Landscaping Group works with Stonemakers’ Concrete, which is versatile and easy to work with. Thanks to the special mixture, it is very strong and durable. Another plus for great-looking landscaping projects is, that Stonemakers’ product can easily be shaped and will look like natural stone when we are done.

Use it the Smart Way
There are also a few design tricks to integrate a retaining wall in the whole landscaping project. First of all: Do not build too high. If the slope is too steep, use grading and filling up in addition to the retaining wall. Also think of the wall as part of your living space. The wall does not have to look like the “Berlin wall” and just act as a divider. Why not build in a patio surrounded by a seat wall? The perfect place to gather after a dip in the pool. Plus: You do not have to gather dozens of chair to provide seating for your friends.

If you love to garden, you can easily add a beautiful flowerbed surrounded by a retaining wall. Did you look for a good place for a sandbox, a play area for your little ones or a BBQ-spot? Voila, here you are. There are plenty of ways to use the area enclosed by a low retaining wall.

Add Water Features
If the height difference between parts of your yard is significant, you can even use the elevation change to integrate a waterfall. The extra plumbing won’t make a big difference in the overall cost and you will add an eye-catching feature to your outdoor living space. The retaining wall does not have to be just functional; it can add beauty and space. Contact Jamie Snyder about the different options for your swimming pool project.

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Stamped Concrete: The best option for Swimming Pool Decks

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 @ 28:07 AM

stamped concrete_pool deck_monroe_nyStamped Concrete simply looks great – and is probably the best choice for your pool deck. It does not only offer impressive design options, but is cost effective, long lasting and fairly fast to install.

Durable
Concrete was already used in ancient Rome, and although the ancient builders did not use reinforcing steel, many of the concrete core structures are still standing, like the Aqueducts or the dome of the Pantheon. While the Romans added horsehair to prevent cracking, today a wire mesh will increase the durability of the concrete - even when exposed to harsh winter weather.

Eye catching
There are various ways to customize the looks of the stamped concrete surface. Ask Monroe landscaper and pool builder Jamie Snyder about the different options. There are basically two ways to add color. The concrete can be dyed, which will give the surface a brighter look. Stains will make it look more naturally colored. A great option if your other, more expensive choice, would be natural stone.

Cost-effective
In addition to the low cost the easy maintenance is another huge advantage of stamped concrete. While natural stone and precast pavers require regular weeding and refilling of the joints, stamped concrete simply needs to be resealed every few years to protect the surface from stains and the colors from fading.

Versatile and Easy to install
Since the concrete can simply be poured and pumped into place, the installation is twice as fast as putting in natural stone for example. And the concrete can be poured in any shape, which makes this building material incredibly versatile. Todays stamping patterns can give your concrete any look you want: flagstone, natural stone, tiles or something new and unique. Contact The Albert Landscaping Group for all available options.

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Insights as to why retaining walls fail – Part 1

Posted by James Snyder on Sun, Feb 27, 2011 @ 36:12 PM

 

If you are reading this chances are you may be considering a retaining wall in the near future. Or you may have already had a wall installed that recently failed. Unfortunately folks, some people this year will buy a retaining wall that will fail. That’s a fact –some dishonest or unqualified contractor will take advantage of someone. Hopefully reading this will give you some basic knowledge so you can avoid being a victim. In a perfect world you would just be able to trust every contractor that showed up to bid and award the project to the lowest bidder and get the same quality of the highest bidder. This will seldom work out.

Check out the video below to hear a client of Albert Group Landscaping & Swimming Pools talk about what they went through when their retaining wall failed and how we helped them.

Failed retaining wall orange county NYHere is a 4 year old retaining wall that needs to be replaced - before it crashes into the homeowners 4 year old garage.

 There will be a lot of information here, so I will post this in two posts. For someone truly looking to buy a retaining wall– I promise to make this article worth the time to read.

Every year - in my relatively small service area - I receive 10-15 calls from people that have had a retaining wall fail. Now I’m not talking about an old tie wall that simply rotted away –I get another 20 or so calls for those. I’m talking about retaining walls less than 5 years old - some less than 1 year old - that have failed to 1 degree or another. I feel that it is my job here to give you the information you need whether it is good, bad or indifferent.

The Good:

If this wall has started to fail and is just leaning it has probably not hurt or killed anyone yet. The good thing is that you now know to keep your family away from it. It’s a good idea not to put anything in front of it either - like a car.

More Good:

You may have actually gotten lucky and learned a lifelong lesson. You get what you pay for. From now on - every project you do – you will also do your “due dillagence.”

The Bad:

When I receive the call for a failed retaining wall the conversation usually starts out like this. “I need someone to come over and give me an estimate to fix a retaining wall.” The bad is that not only are retaining walls not usually repairable, the material often needs to be replaced. See you might be able to re-stack a block retaining wall, but you will not get down to where the problem originated.

More Bad:

A retaining wall will most certainly cost more to fix than you originally paid to build it in the first place. Simply put there is more work to do now. Assuming when the wall was first installed there was no wall there, now you have all a failed wall to throw away. This is not cheap. Now if the reason the original wall failed is that you went with a low bidder, you’d be foolish to go the “cheap route” again.

Even more bad:

Trying to sue the original contractor will only make your lawyer rich. An honest lawyer will tell you that you will probably win the lawsuit. Now once you have a judgment against that contractor he will almost certainly have filed bankruptcy. I personally know of 4 contractors that have used this tactic to avoid payments of one form or another.

The indifferent:

Noting really is indifferent about a retaining wall failure. It will cost you time and money to fix. Your property will become a construction site again. Like buying car parts you are spending money just to get back to where you started.

 

Part 2 coming soon where I analyze:

The 5 top causes of retaining wall failure.

  1. Drainage not installed correctly – or at all - as we will see is sometimes the case.
  2. Soil not reinforced.
  3. Base not correctly installed.
  4. Re-bar not correctly installed in concrete walls.
  5. Block walls not installed correctly (you truly won’t believe this!)

I had the opportunity to interview Mr. & Mrs. Enriquez about their retaining wall project. They were generous enough to talk about what happend to them so that it won't happen to you!

To Scheule a free estimate with Albert Group Landscaping and Swimming Pools click here.

5 ways StoneMakers retaining walls have changed the industry FOREVER

Posted by James Snyder on Wed, Feb 23, 2011 @ 40:11 AM

StoneMakers retaining walls have changed the industry, that's a fact! Here are 5 examples of things that retaining walls can do now that were unthinkable before StoneMakers hit the market.

  1. StoneMakersSPEED - Build a 75' long by 4' tall retaining wall in 5.5 hours. That's not an exaggeration, it's actually an understatement. Just so you understand what used to take me THREE DAYS now takes 5.5 HOURS. You know what this means for the consumer - BETTER PRICES!
  2. VALUE - Make a retaining wall that looks like natural stone, but is stronger than stacked stone or stacked block for that matter. Put simply - you cannot get a stronger or better looking wall for the money.
  3. COLOR THEORY - Block retaining walls come in few colors. Some companies have more than others but the reality of it folks is that most companies hover around 6-7 color choices. StoneMakers has 33 colors! And to top it all off you never use just one, which would not look natural. To make our retainer walls look like natural stone we blend the StoneMakers colors. In the end we have an infinite number of colors to choose from.
  4. MONOLITHIC - Back in the day - say 2009 - If I wanted to make a wall look like natural stone I had two choices. Buy natural stone or use cultured stone as a veneer over some type of concrete wall. This wall could be block or poured but the outcome was the same. Sure cultured stone looks fine if done right. Done wrong it looks like the wall has zits. Either way it's nowhere near as strong as a monolithic (one continuous piece) wall is. And Natural stone is flat out expensive.
  5. ENVIORNMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE - No forms mean no waste. Even if every contractor recycled their forms the wood wasted is staggering. A small retaining wall may have a few hundred pounds of wood used as forms. Multiply that times the number of jobs that contractor does a year and you can see how that ads up. With StoneMakers there is ZERO wood to throw away.

Want a professional to come to your home or business and give you a free estimate for your StoneMakers project? CLICK HERE!

A dozen spring plants to make your flower garden explode with color!

Posted by James Snyder on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 @ 25:02 PM

As the snow starts to melt for however brief of a time I am reminded that spring is right around the corner. And for me that means 2 things spring cleaning and spring planting.

For the sake of this conversation I’ll be talking about bulbs, annuals, perennials and flowering trees.  Landscape designers throughout Orange County NY know to stick with tried and true plants to guarantee success. A simple way to know you are buying a plant intended for this area is to buy from a local nursery. To avoid complaints they only stock plants that work here in Orange County  – Zone 5. If you are in Westchester County NY zone 6 will be more appropriate. To find your zone check out the Arbor Day Foundation’s Hardiness Zone Map by clicking here.

  • Bulbs are awesome. Some varieties will give you dramatic color when nothing else will.  And most bulbs make great cuttings to bring into your house. Try these 3 bulbs – Tulips, Crocus- Daffodils -  the next time you plant for spring to enjoy the early color. Don’t get upset if the deer eat them though, that’s just part of it.

Tulips, Orange County NY landscape contractor

Tulips

Daffodil, landscape gardener monroe nyDaffodil

Crocus, landscape designer orange county nyCrocus peeking through the snow

  • Annuals take over where blubs leave off to continue the wave of color in your gardens. Consider annuals an easy way of updating your garden all year long. Used in accent areas of your garden or in hanging baskets they allow you to easily make a change without breaking your back or the bank for that matter. If they start looking shabby just pull them out and change them.

Begonia, landscape contractor goshen ny

Begonia

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Marigolds

Pansies landscpe contractor orange county nyPansies

 

  • Perennials will be with you for a longer amount of time, so picking them out should require a little more planning. What size will they eventually get to? Do they have maintenance characteristics that match my lifestyle? Will they be suitable for my soil, water, light and wind conditions? Will they be next to the street? If so will they tolerate the salt from the plows? What about deer. As you can see there is a lot to think about. But right now I’m just thinking about early bloomers. Look up these three and see if they fit your needs.

Phlox landscape gardener in fishkill ny

Phlox

Shasta Daisy landscape contractor in wappengers falls nyShasta Daisy

Dianthus landscaper in monroe ny

Dianthus

 

  • Flowering trees are some of the most fickle of the flowering plants. Known to sometimes just not flower at all if the conditions are not perfect makes seeing them flower that much more rewarding. Although they are only in bloom for a short period of time flowering trees are so beautiful that the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC receives more than 700,000 people each year!

National Cherry Blossom Festival Washington DC, green meadows landscapingNational Cherry Blossom Festival Washington DC

Snow fountain weeping cherry tree landscaping monroe nySnowfountain Weeping Cherry

Crape Myrtle landscaper monroe ny

Crape Myrtle

 

 

It’s been fun discussing some of my favorite spring plants. To have Albert Group Landscaping design or renovate your gardens click here.

 

 

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