Frank and Jody Genovese of Clifton Park don’t care to travel that much, so they put their efforts into their backyard and created an at-home vacation spot that would rival any resort.
This Saturday, they’ll open their backyard to the public as part of the Capital Region Pond Tour, sponsored by Decker’s Landscape & Aquatics to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.
Capital Region Pond Tour
WHERE: Clifton Park, Schenectady, Glenville, Rexford and Pattersonville
WHEN:, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
HOW MUCH: $10 per car
MORE INFO: 887-5552, www.thepondpeople.net
The yard was a challenge for the couple because it was so wet and they had trouble growing grass there. Instead of fighting the wet soil, they opted for a water element.
The centerpiece of the backyard is a pond surrounded by large Missouri moss rocks and a series of small waterfalls formed by more rocks that zigzag their way down a slope into the pond.
The steep slope of the yard might have created a challenge for gardeners, but the cascading waterfall is perfect for it.
Jody Genovese said that the slope was “a dream” for designer Alan Decker, who created the space. “It was like a palette,” she said.
The pond element allows Frank Genovese to combine one of his hobbies, tropical fish, with pure relaxation. The pond is now home to koi, and Decker designed a tunnel made of rocks so the fish have a place to be out of the sun during the day.
The pond itself is landscaped with various aquatic plants. There are purple water hyacinths and two different kinds of tropical lilies that will spread across the top of the pond to a width of about 8 feet, providing shade for the koi. One lily is planted in a pot that sits at the bottom of the pond, and the Genoveses bring it inside in winter. There is also jurassic water lettuce, a plant that floats and grows right on the pond. Other plants, including parrot fern, creeping jenny, sedum, forget-me-nots and vinca, border the area around the pond.
Both sides of the waterfall are landscaped with flowering plants, ornamental grasses and shrubs. A small area to the right of the pool has carpet roses and umbrella pine trees.
Adjacent to the pond and waterfalls is a small patio area with a fire pit, which provides another space for family and friends to relax.
Nighttime is a particular treat, and the Genoveses find themselves outside enjoying the backyard just about every evening. They have dinner at a patio table near the house and enjoy the view. Lights low in the pond add to the ambience. “It just has that ethereal kind of glow,” said Jody Genovese. “It’s very Zen.”
The couple love to watch the wildlife that the plants and water attract, and they have placed birdhouses around the yard. A bluebird stands sentinel over the yard atop one of the posts, from which a wind chime hangs. The frogs start calling back and forth to each other in the evening. “They’ll hop in the pond and spread-eagle glide across the water,” Jody said.
The Genoveses are able to enjoy the backyard even when they’re inside. Every window on the back side of the house has a perfect view of the backyard, and at night, with the windows open, they can hear the waterfall. “It’s a slice of the Adirondacks right here,” Frank said.
Decker planted a bank of evergreen trees on the left side of the yard that provides a natural wall that blocks the view of the road and traffic.
In addition to the water element, those on the tour will be able to enjoy Jody’s garden artistry. Using a method patented by gardener Pamela Crawford of Georgia, Jody creates baskets of plants that sit on posts. Plants not only grow from the top of the baskets but also from the sides, creating round arrangements.
In addition to the Genoveses’ pond, those on the tour will be able to see a pond with a stream and cascading waterfalls alongside a raised patio, a pond with a fish cave and bog waterfall with a natural ecosystem, a natural pond and multiple tiered streams, a natural ecosystem pond nestled alongside a deck and hot tub and a front yard pondless waterfall. These residences are in Glenville, Schenectady and Rexford. Decker’s Landscape & Aquatics will host a final stop with a hot dog barbeque reception.
Tickets and maps are available at Decker’s Landscape & Aquatics, 1632 Main St. in Pattersonville, and Experience & Creative Design, 510 Union St. in Schenectady.