Complete 3-Dimensional Multi-Medium Front Yard



The front yard was a design that, like many other Exterior Concepts projects, evolved through the construction process into what you see from the attached photos.  Normally, our water features are constructed in the rear of the home where they interact with the outdoor living spaces we create.  However, due to the limited space available at this particular property, the front yard quickly became the best option for a pond/water feature.

The water feature is a 3 tiered pond, with two standard koi ponds on the upper levels flowing into a pondless water feature at the lowest level.  The two ponds are oxygenated by water plants and stocked with koi.




The upper pond is fed from two water features; a waterfall, built against the garage wall that aims to achieve balance by channeling the flow of water outward and away from the home, and a small basalt.  There are two drops into the bottom pool.  This bottom pool acts as a reservoir for the entire system.  To complete the organic cycle, a pondless waterfall faces the main water feature back towards the home, which in turn directs the energy correctly towards the house, a concept we try to accomplish with most of our designs.





The rest of the hardscape was done using Old Castle product.  The original driveway was concrete (a construction product that we do not care to use in our designs, nor do we consider it a medium for outdoor living.)  It was poorly aged and cracked in many places and was also at least 2′ too narrow to be a usable 2 car driveway.  The new design was widened and can now comfortably fit a 3rd car.  After the driveway was completed, it comfortably fit two cars and with the widening contour on the left front side, possibly three.







From this driveway, two walkways were incorporated.  Both walkways lead to the gate on the right side of the home and were designed with bridges passing over the koi ponds because a water feature becomes more natural when one can interact with it.  These bridges had a curve as well as an arch incorporated into the design to follow the contour of the pathways.

We used Mega-Arbel and Arbel, both with the Knights Bridge color, from Old Castle to create our desired look.  The Mega-Arbel was used in the driveways and beautifully blended into Arbel for the walkways.To create the contour for the bridges, we had a custom cut done along the sides of the pavers to create the organic form.  The entire design is woven together, giving life to the property instead of being an ornamental piece with no purpose other than a common showcase.







Coloroc, a company we have been using for at least 12 years now, had been purchased by Old Castle some years back.  When choosing pavers, Old Castle is our first choice, but with cultured stone, Coloroc is our favorite.  I chose a cultured stone that would match closely to the stone used to construct the pond.  Growing up fishing in trout streams in the Poconos, I am partial to using Pennsylvania antique field stone and accent boulders for most of our water features.  As seen in the attached photos, certain walls were chosen to use cultured stone for the full height where the others were built 3′ up in height.  This helped to create a smooth flow with the upper waterfall stemming from the garage wall.






The last real hardscape feature was the mailbox which started out as a simple idea but evolved into a pondless water feature with three 1″ copper pipes used as spillways.  







The two finishing touches necessary for any project to become an organic whole that is greater than the summation of its parts, are always the landscaping and lighting.

Our main goal is to give our customers the best experience possible, and we accomplish this by personalizing the atmosphere created by our outdoor living artwork.  This project was landscaped in such a way that even though this pond is in the front of the house, it is intimately private for the homeowner and their guests, and not easily viewed from the street.




Summertime Concepts


Exterior Concepts has had outstanding project management through the sweltering heat of a Florida summer this year. When the sun is high and the job has only just begun, our experienced carpenter and project manager Justin is ready to take on any unpredictable challenge a work site can throw at the outdoor living construction process.



Over the course of this summer season, Justin has handled over a dozen projects with his own crew and many others he has overseen as the representative of the Exterior Concepts construction process. He handles a project with the utmost integrity and leaves nothing but certainty at the end that the project was built with quality and care.



Carpentry is Justin’s forte but he does not flinch at the opportunity to work with other medians as you can see from this water feature he built back in June. The materials were ordered and a few days later, the water flowed beautifully into the pondless reservoir completely concealed underneath the polished mexican river pebble below adding nature’s music to what once was an unused outdoor space.

A Beautiful Day in Palm Bay

When given a nearly blank canvas with environmental obstacles, it is not the difficulties that are focused on but rather the possibilities. Behind this beautiful home in Palm Bay lies a drop off into what seemed to be swamp land. The grass was gone, and just a few trees were left protruding in all directions.






After reviewing the possibilities for creation and brainstorming those ideas, we decided to construct a 3-tiered deck to account for the 36” elevation drop and allow the 4 existing palm trees to blossom through the deck floor. This seemed like the most natural approach to blending the house, deck, and backyard together with gestalt.

Project Manager, Shawn Sims, worked enthusiastically throughout the project, and took great care aligning the retainment wall with the house and sanding the beautiful curve along the 2nd tier’s step. The efficiency and accuracy of our project managers coupled with quality materials ensures a finished project that is functional, well-blended, and can stand the test of time.

Composite decking provided by Moisture Shield is our personal choice in building a deck of this magnitude and grace. It ensures the elegant appeal of a colorful deck over many decades with minimal maintenance. Moisture Shield’s composite decking, holding the original 3 patents on composite formulation, has provided a durable and reliable product and has not had a field failure for 28 years. Moisture Shield composite decking is designed and proven to withstand the world’s most extreme environments and is guaranteed under a lifetime transferrable warranty to do so. When decided how best to suit Rob’s needs we chose only the best to build with and Moisture Shield was an easy choice for Exterior Concepts.

With a clear sky and a beautiful rainbow over the horizon, this multi-tiered deck has evolved into an organic part of this backyard living space.


LawnStarter Recognizes Exterior Concepts

As an outdoor living space expert, landscaping is one of the many talents of our founder Dave Hetrick. Although landscaping is one small part of creating an exceptional experience for our customers, it is not overlooked. We are honored to have been rated among the top 8 landscape designers in the Tampa area and will continue to work with diligence and detail to give our customers beautiful outdoor living spaces.

Top Landscapers in Tampa

A Touch of Glass

We were given the pleasure of rejuvenating an older second story deck in Riverview, Florida. This particular deck had several different elements brought together. This project has truly come full cirle, from an interlocking paver landing, two flights of stairs, a durable Trex Select composite decking, a newly set hot tub, custom lattice work, and a view through custom tempered glass railings. Each aspect of the deck took careful consideration to design and transform.

Once the demolition of the existing deck took place, the true craftsmanship started to commence.

 The custom lattice is hand constructed on site from pressure treated 1″ x 2″ lumber that beautifully conceals the underside of the deck. There is also a double lattice gate at the private dock entrance that ties it all in to the home. The home owners wanted to integrate a relaxing, sunken hot tub into the deck.

This decision made the decking choice an easy one. We constructed the decking out of Trex Select composite decking. Trex brings many positive factors to the table, such as their 25 year warranty. Not only does Trex come in an array of appealing color options, but also it will last through many years of use and look just as good as the day it was installed. Putting material like this up against a hot tub, where water is a constant element, is a huge safety benefit to the customer.

With a second story view like this, how could we cover it with traditional railing? You shouldn’t, and we

definitely did not. We used a strong tempered glass, polished to perfection. Looking through the glass to see such luscious vegetation, while enjoying yourself in the sunken hot tub leaves most questioning why one would ever want to go back indoors.

The Clarion Courtyard Make-Over Pergola and Waterfall Installation

The Clarion Courtyard Make-Over Pergola and Waterfall Installation

rsz_imag0937A few years ago, we constructed a series of cypress pergolas and water features when the Clarion took over the Best Western and preceded with an ‘over the top’ restoration. Our scope of work was limited to the outdoor courtyard and swimming pool area. A series of five big timber Cypress Pergolas were constructed surrounding three sides of an existing L-shaped swimming pool. All five pergolas were constructed in similar fashion with similar components. Each pergola was built rsz_imag0933approximately 10’ in height, using 6x6” posts wrapped with circular cast concrete ornamental columns. The entire upper carnage framework of each Pergola was constructed using rough cut cypress, while the members of each pergola were also in uniform. Dual ornamental, boxed 2”x12”s were used as girders, ornamental 2”x10”s were used as shades, and 2”x4”s were used as purlins.

rsz_imag0932We used two milled 2”x12”s, 32 feet in length, as girders for a pergola that was constructed over one end of the swimming pool. This pergola would also be used as the framework for two separate water features. A stone waterfall was constructed in one corner of the swimming pool, around one of the 6”x6” pergola support posts. This waterfall was built using Navajo Fieldstone, a tannish white stone blended in with the courtyard patio. The second water feature was built using a 2” copper pipe inset between the two cypress 2”x12” girders. rsz_imag0934A hole was drilled every 1/4th of an inch to create an effect of a sheet of water falling. The frame of the stone waterfall was constructed using a low voltage lighting transformer, and concrete blocks, leaving the center hollow to house the pump. We used a Pentair (intelliflo xf) pump with a 2”2” intake and a 3” outtake to supply both water features. The Pentair pump was sufficient, even with the 10 feet of head pressure needed for the pergola water feature.

We constructed a third water feature as a backdrop to the raised travertine patio, that was built to be utilized as a bandstand. This water feature was basically a rectanglular, raised retainment pool veneered in tile, that projected a sheet of water approximately 8 feet across and 8 feet off the ground.

rsz_imag0945Finally, because this entire travertine courtyard area would be occupied more often in the evenings, all the Pergolas and water features were lit up using LED Low Voltage lighting. In part, low voltage lighting was used for function, lighting up the sitting areas, as well as pathways, exits and entrances. Low voltage outdoor lighting was also used for an aesthetic effect by lighting up the water features, as well as some of the landscaping. Lastly, as we have done with a lot of our pergolas, outdoor ceiling fans were attached. Looking at our final product, I really feel we accomplished our customer’s goal. The space has a lot of appeal and can accommodate a large volume of people for enjoyment and entertainment. It has the rsz_imag0950variables needed to draw people in; a swimming pool, a full service bar, a large bandstand, etc. But, most importantly to me, it has a great aesthetic and artistic appeal. I have listened to many people talk about the Clarion Courtyard and its appeal. Even my own daughter, who is not easily impressed after years of exposure to my organic designs, was in awe of it after spending a few evenings there, and had no idea that I designed and constructed it until I gave her this blog to post.