Monthly Archives: February 2013

Top 10 Inspirational Outdoor Living Spaces

By Jonathan Allard

resort style backyard waterfallTo have a great outdoor space, does not necessarily mean it is the most spacious or expensive. It it how the space is designed and utilized to create a well organized area outside of those four walls. This Top 10 List of Inspirational Outdoor Spaces range from an outdoor cinema to a paradise concrete “Man cave”. We are counting down to the most inspirational space, Neptune Style!

10. So Relaxing.

Number 10 on our list is a simple but rustic outdoor seating area. This space is great if you are accompanying a guest for coffee, or you and your significant other want to have a space to yourselves. The fireplace creates a warm ambiance and makes this a relaxing outdoor area with an indoor feel. This is a great example of utilizing an outdoor patio with a trellis acting as an open style roof to give the feel as if it is an enclosed space. Great Job!

9. Spa-Inspired Alfresco Escape.

Number 9 on our countdown also implements a simple seating area, but adds a country-flair to it. The in-ground spa gives the feel as if you have a bath in your own backyard. Complimenting this beautiful spa is a modern table design with an integrated fireplace, side tables, seating and ottomans, also notice the mountain scape in the background. This inspiration comes from Emiliana Design Studio, and Outdoor Spaces by Kettal. Thank You!

8. Great for Gatherings.

For those of you who love to host gatherings or parties, here is an excellent use of a backyard space. Having the fire pit in the center of this engagement is a wonderful conversational piece, and creates a warming environment. Hosting parties should not be a chore, but more of a fun experience, and our number 8 on the countdown makes it that much easier. Give them a standing “U”…because it is U-shaped, get it?

7. Movie Night.

Number 7 on our countdown to the most Inspirational Outdoor Space is this walk-up outdoor movie theatre. This open style cinema is a great way for children and adults to relax under the open stars. This is a fun and cost effective approach to make your backyard a comfortable yet exciting way to watch all your favorite movies. By using just a few candle-lit torches, a futon mattress, a couple throw pillows, and some yummy home-made popcorn, going to the theatre is not so bad anymore…

6. Botswana-Style.

Just imagine the serenity that this outdoor bathtub for two creates. It is a very desirable and eloquent yet simple space to engage the romantics. This candle-lit bath is designed to relax and sooth the body while enjoying the beautiful scenery. It is a completely secluded area made simply for comfort. This inspiring concept can be found at the Sanctuary Baines Camp in Botswana.

5. Backyard Ecosystems.

You do not have to have expensive things to create an amazing outdoor space. Take number 5 for example, this aesthetically pleasing backyard is not full of material items, but  “GREENscaping”. It is designed to create many areas with multiple functions. The pond accents the surrounding greenery and opens up a world of ecosystems. These ecosystems will help maintain the beauty of this landscape just by playing their roles in society, therefore making it almost self-sustaining and captivating. It is easy to see why this space is inspirational, and starts the top 5!

4. Outdoor Kitchen.

Number 4 on the countdown is for the chef, inside and out. This kitchen brings the party outdoors and makes for a great gathering place. It is fully furnished with a; gas barbeque, wood burning grill, kitchen sink, regular refrigerator, wine refrigerator, a beer kegerator and an ice maker. To top it off, it is covered with a granite countertop.

3. Faux Rock Grotto.

This Twin Creek Farms Estate pool designed by Caviness Landscape, is the ultimate in luxury pool design. From beach entrance, to multiple entertainment areas, everything is included to make it the perfect entertaining or relaxation space. This luxurious pool is home to this gorgeous 900 square foot faux rock grotto, which is found alongside the pool’s three swim-through natural boulder waterfalls.  Faux Rock is a great alternative to real stone because it is cost effective and looks extremely realistic, one can’t even tell the difference. To top off number 3 on the countdown, there is a swim up bar, dry grotto area with a 46” outdoor plasma television and sound system. A dry entrance to the grotto which leads to a kitchen, and a restroom that is tucked away for convenience. WOW!!

2. The Tree-House Theory.

The runner up to our Top 10 countdown is every child’s dream, the tree house. While blending into it’s surrounding this tree house serves many purposes. One of which being a place for kids to hang out, play games, and hide secrets from their parents. They can even become very practical additions to anyones backyard. For example tree houses are perfect to organize a home office there or to become a guest bedroom. This is an inspirational space because if there is one thing a tree house sparks is…imagination!


1. Resort Living.

The designers at Pacific Outdoor Living captured all the elements above in one incredible outdoor space. This private home resort is captivating with features such as; A secluded spa, common gathering areas, conversational seating, beautiful greenery, mountain-scapes, outdoor bar and modern architecture. A backyard sure to impress any guest whether it be a family gathering, neighborhood get-together, or just your significant other. This is one space sure to inspire the creative edge in all of us. Great job to the guys over at pacific outdoor living!

There you have it folks, our Top 10 Inspirational Outdoor Spaces, Neptune Style. We have gathered information from all types of industries, from landscapes to aquascapes to designers. From tree houses to a simple rustic fireplace, all of the above are sure to relax the body and give one a sense of their own paradise. Comment below and tell us what you would have done differently, or an outdoor space that should have made the list for inspiration.

What is your Private Paradise?

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How To Build Backyard Waterfalls With Neptune Panels

So how do you build a custom water feature with Neptune Panels?

Neptune Panels are a custom water feature system that can be installed anywhere from a swimming pool edge to a stand-alone feature in any residential or commercial location.

With five basic steps to construct Neptune Panel water features, you will be able to install projects with predictable time frames, simplifying your project scheduling.  The end result will be satisfied customers and healthy profit margins.

Here is an overview of the 5 steps.

making-neptune-panel-moldscreate panels from mold

Step 1: Making panels

Neptune Panel molds are made from true stone textures to capture the most realism on the market today. With a simple mixing procedure panels are made by casting the mix on top of the Neptune mold. By adjusting the way the mold lays, you can produce countless different shapes with just one mold. Panels can be demolded after a minimum of 4 hours, and reproduced several times a day to allow for a stockpile to be built up to be ready for any project that comes your way.

prepping the site for a backyard watrefall

Step 2: Prepping the site.

To prepare for a typical medium-sized stand-alone water feature you will need approximately a half day to excavate and install rebar. Your pond will be excavated and at the same time you will excavate for your footing. After that you will install your rebar in grid fashion and tie at all intersections. This typically can be done with a 2 man crew and minimum tools. Your plumbing will also be done at the same time.

building a backyard waterfall

Step 3: Pouring the catch basin and frame footer.

With a small crew you can expect to be able to pour your pond and footer area for the frames in a matter of 3-4 hours. You will wet set the frames into the footer area as well plaster, carve, and texture the pond.


attache the neptune panels to the frame for the backyard water feature


Step 4: Hanging panels.

Once you are ready to hang your panels you will want to start at the lowest area of the front of the feature. Work in rows around the entire structure moving upward. After all your panels are hung you can begin to mud the seams and do all your patch work. This can take anywhere from 5-6 hours or several days depending on the size of the feature.

The ability to cantilever panels is one major aspect that makes Neptune Panels stand above the rest. There is no limit on what you can create from sheer descents, dramatic falls, massive clefs, and unmatched textures; Neptune Panels gives you the complete package.

applying stain and color to water feature

Step 5: Coloring and Sealing.

Now you are going to color your feature using the Neptune stains. Choose a color scheme and use sprayers and brushes to apply. Just as with nature, nothing is perfect. There are no two stones or rocks that look exactly alike or have the exact same coloring or even texture. Since nature doesn’t color every stone perfectly or consistently, achieving perfection on your project requires a degree of randomness.

backyard waterfall completed

This is a brief outline of the steps in creating a water feature using the Neptune Panel system. Be sure to take a look at the videos showing a waterfall being installed for further reference. If you have any questions or comments on Neptune Panel systems leave a comment or send us an email.

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What People are saying about Concrete Developments LLC, Backyard Waterfalls

Since the development and launch of the Concrete Developments LLC, Neptune Panels System for resort style backyard water features, hundreds of backyard waterfalls have been installed. Using a frame and panel system, the customization of projects is limitless. So what are customers saying about these backyard transformations?

backyard waterfall

Here is what Customers are saying about these Backyard Transformations?

“Our freinds are blown away!”

“Exceeded all our wildest expectations.”

“Most people come to our house and thimk it’s real”

“You wouldn’t know it wasn’t real.”

In the first section of the video you’ll see how customers of Concrete Developments LLC Installers, Connie and Lee Cummings of Cummings Masonry & Landscape, Inc. designed and built three separate waterfalls with a fire pit, using the Neptune panel system. After receiving quotes from other contractors that the project would take 8-9 months to complete, Lee and Connie completed the project in less than one-quarter the time, leaving the customer amazed and beyond satisfied.

Next, David Montoya speaks with a couple at the Deerfield Fair sitting on the waterfall project he completed there. Since the whole project was created with concrete, the guests had a difficult time distinguishing the difference between real rock and the Concrete Developments LLC, rock.

The following video shows the process used in the Concrete Developments, LLC, Neptune Panel System.

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7 Benefits To Backyard Water Features

Creating a backyard retreat is like adding additional rooms to a home. Outdoor kitchens, patios and…for a peaceful setting; water features. Large or small, water features add serenity to a backyard. The tranquil sound of trickling water is a great way to unwind after a long day.

backyard waterfall

Here are 7 reasons to consider adding a waterfall or pond less waterfall to backyard projects.

  1. Adds aesthetic appeal – There’s a magical aura to the site and sound of running water.
  2. Low maintenance – It only takes a few minutes a week to maintain.
  3. Focal point – A beautiful water feature attracts attention.
  4. Relaxing – The sight and sound of trickling water helps to melt away daily stresses.
  5. Doesn’t take a lot of space – A pond less waterfall can be designed to work in just about any space.
  6. Safety – Is safe for children and pets.
  7. Less than a day to build – From design to build, a waterfall can be completed and running in less than a day

The following video shows the process used in the Concrete Developments, LLC, Neptune Panel System.

Creating A Backyard Oasis: Swimming Pool Waterfalls

Swimming pool waterfalls will add an effect of drama to an otherwise mundane in-ground swimming pool. In addition to the form and style of a typical pool itself, the location of your pool and the surrounding landscape can play a factor in deciding which type of waterfall best matches the swimming pool. Waterfalls can connect two separate pools, add a touch of nature while masking something very unnatural or make the horizon indistinguishable from the pool itself.

backyard waterfall

Swimming pool waterfalls certainly are a way for you to add style and design to a pool, adding a focal point in addition to a functional part into your pool. The flow of water can act as a pool pump, keeping water clean and flowing, and can also offer swimmers a place to interact physically together with the fall of water. Pool waterfalls are available in many different shapes, sizes and designs, and may be custom-made depending on pool owner’s specifications.

Swimming pool waterfalls can work as a lot more than just a water feature for swimming pools with curved edges. A large, rocky outcropping built surrounding a curved fringe of the swimming pool creates a natural-looking waterfall. Waterfalls built more than 3 feet tall make ideal camouflage for pool slides. The steps start at one end of the rock wall with the slide curving around and into the swimming pool from roughly the midpoint.

The amount of space available in the back yard or patio area decides the size of the waterfall as well as the slide. When designing this kind of a waterfall installation, the first selection would be the water slide. The contour of the slide acts as a skeleton for the rock formation. The open space below the slide is an ideal place to hide the waterfall’s pumping equipment.

A few of the features of swimming pool waterfalls would be the color variations in the rock structure. Shades of gray, white, blue, black or natural stone are popular in many different custom built designs. Tiered rock formations teamed up with pump speed create many different flow of water amongst the falls, with everything from a powerful, steady flow to a minimal, tranquil trickle effect.

Lighting can also appear in different locations behind or nearby the falls so the pool along with the waterfall can very well be enjoyed at nighttime. Some waterfalls have small nooks for plants in order to create a tropical atmosphere.

Swimming pool waterfalls can vary in size from 3 feet across all the way to 24 or more feet. The height is typically1 to 3 feet. Some pool waterfalls are tiered on different-sized platforms that gradually decrease in size as they get taller. Pool waterfalls generally pump around 200 to 250 gallons per hour and also have adjustable settings to increase or decrease the flow of water, making them very energy efficient.

Think about the type of pool that you have prior to deciding to purchase or build a swimming pool waterfall. Above-ground pools as well as some smaller fiberglass pools are not well suited for waterfalls because of their size and shape. In-ground gunite or concrete pools are the perfect foundation for waterfalls, because the waterfalls can be strategically placed to mesh into the sides of the pool to have a more conforming and natural look.

The following video shows the process used in the Concrete Developments, LLC, Neptune Panel System.

Panel System For Dramatic Swimming Pool Waterfalls

New for 2012, Concrete Developments LLC, has engineered an innovative panel system for creating swimming pool waterfalls, backyard waterfalls and commercial water features. Created with molds from New Hampshire mountain ledge rock, the patent pending Neptune Panel System for waterfalls allows swimming pool and hardscape contractors the opportunity to create custom, realistic water features in days, not weeks.

backyard waterfall

There are two components to the system. A custom frame is placed to provide the skeleton to build upon. This insures the stability of the structure and provides a starting point to attach the panels.

The second component is the panels. The panels are created from a mold using a proprietary mix that is three times stronger than concrete yet weigh one-third that of concrete. Once the panels are placed the gaps are filled to provide the finished look.

The final step in the process is applying the color. Virtually any color can be applied giving the waterfall the truly natural look of ledge rock.

One of the key advantages to this system is the fact that the contractor makes their own panels. A single mold will produce hundreds of panels. The only products that are shipped are the molds themselves, the frames, and the mix for the molds. There’s no need to worry about damage in shipping or the costs associated with shipping unusual sized panels.

The following video shows the process used in the Concrete Developments, LLC, Neptune Panel System.