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Ask the Architect

Not your average pool deck

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Q. We’re planning a pool this spring, and want to do something different. Our taste is very modern, and we want to put in an “endless pool” where we won’t see the edges. We want something special, something very modern, for the patio around the edges of the pool. We found out about something called permeable paving, which our village requires. Do you know about it? We also have had a hard time with the people we’ve spoken to, because they want to get average kinds of paving stones, bricks, block, colored concrete, etc. We were hoping for something like large areas of stone, like granite, to make the look we want. What can you suggest we do, and who installs this kind of work? Our pool guy says he’ll do it, but the pictures he shows us are for regular paving, not the look we want.

A. It’s common these days, especially in smaller municipalities, to see requirements for permeable paving, meaning that water can trickle back into the ground between paving material joints. The point of this is to “recharge,” or allow the rain to go to the aquifer below so that we don’t run out of clean drinking water. The theory may work better than practice, however, since the majority of the rain water doesn’t actually get through the joints, but instead takes the path of least resistance, to any low point, where it sits until it percolates down, hopefully in a grassy area or flower bed.

    Another way that water is required to be collected is in large underground cylinders called drywells. This concept works better than permeable paving, but only if the water is correctly directed to the drywell low point, and only if the drywell is kept clean. Either way, it costs the homeowner instead of the municipality.

    There are several stones that meet your requirements, including natural stone and the better choice, man-made stones and porcelain surfaces. This is a large international industry, and imported, man-made stones, with a slight non-slip texture, are available. I suggest either working with a design professional to plan the selection and layout of the material, working with a landscape architect or giving the pool company the chance to equate their experience to the masons. Just because they haven’t set larger slabs doesn’t mean they are unable to. The experience is based on the demand, just as in any business.

    The important issues are the base material selection, proper drainage, correct setting of the stone so that edges match and slope is attained. Hicksville has a concentration of stone and tile importers, but there are many good tile and stone places around you as well. You can walk indoors through many aisles of large stone slabs to select just the right look and have it cut to order. A few importers have factories that compress the man-made stone to your specific color choice.

© 2020 Monte Leeper. Readers are encouraged to send questions to yourhousedr@aol.com, with “Herald question”  in the subject line, or to Herald Homes, 2 Endo Blvd., Garden City, NY 11530, Attn: Monte Leeper,  architect.