Whether you’re designing a new pool or renovating an existing one, water features are always an important element. They add visual interest and aesthetic appeal to your backyard and bring impact to an otherwise simple pool design.
While fountains and waterfalls are popular choices, they tend to be more of a focal point in the design, while other features can support and accentuate. We love the affect that bubblers and deck jets have on a pool design. Here are water features we love for their stunning displays and their innovative designs.
Splash!Down is a fountain that shoots up from your pool floor for a stunning display. They can be installed in various patterns or designs in around the pool, from pool steps to shallow wading areas and spas. A&A Manufacturing has created them in different fountain styles to suit a variety of pool and backyard designs:
Splash!Down Crystal Spray creates a fun, cascading fountain.
Splash!Down Water Jet creates a bubbling oasis in your pool.
Splash!Down Water Lilly forms an elegant, clear dome effect.
We love the Splash!Down fountains not only for their beautiful displays, but also for their innovative design. When the fountains are turned off, they retract to be flush with the pool surface to create more room for swimming or play. They are virtually undetected until they are switched on.
We install A&A’s Living Waters system to bring movement to a simple or otherwise dull pool design. While other water features are designed to be stagnant (once on, they just spray), the Living Waters creates a bubbling water display that brings continuous action to any area of the pool. They can be installed in water up to 18 inches deep, offering design flexibility. And like all other A&A water features, they remain flush with the pool surface when turned off. We like to use them in beach entries or ledges to bring movement and life to a design. They offer a very natural, “hot springs” feel to the pool or spa.
For a classic, Romanesque water feature we like to use A&A’s AquaArch nozzles. Mounted flush on the pool deck, they create a stunning stream of crystal water that archs across the pool. The low-flow stream of water reaches approximately seven feet, making for a truly impressive display. They can be arranged around a spa, in a single row on a raised wall, or down the length of the pool on each side for a canopy effect- the design options are numerous.
You don’t have to be a water chemistry professional to understand the science behind how chemicals keep your pool water safe. Adding the appropriate chemicals to your pool is vital because it helps the filters keep your pool clean and safe for swimming. By carefully manipulating the chemical balance in your pool, you can keep dangerous bacteria from thriving and avoid making your family sick during a routine summer swim.
To eliminate unwanted pathogens and bacteria, the first step is to add a disinfecting agent to the water. The most common way to handle this is with chlorine as a solid in calcium hypochlorite or a liquid in sodium hypochlorite. When you add these compounds to your pool, the chlorine kills any bacteria that might be lurking in the water. You can add chlorine to your pool using a chemical feeder right after the filtering process. If you don’t use a chemical feeder, you can add it directly to the pool by placing chlorine tablets in skimmer boxes. However, this method is generally not as safe because it makes the chlorine levels much more concentrated in the area around the box.
Most common pool chlorines are created with a stabilizing agent like cyanauric acid. This helps to prevent any reaction from exposure to sunlight and it keeps the chlorine from degrading as quickly.
Know Your pH Levels
Another important element of pool chemistry is the pH level. You can use simple strips to test the water’s pH levels and decide whether you need to adjust the amount of chlorine. If the water is too acidic, it can cause corrosion on your metal ladder and even lead to skin irritation for swimmers. On the other hand, water that is too alkaline can become cloudy and lead to scaling on the surface of the pool.
Regularly test the pH level of your pool water and you can easily see whether your chlorine is doing the job or if you need to adjust the amount you add.
Rain, dirt, debris and even swimmers can alter your pool’s water chemistry, so clean your pool often and test your water after storms or pool parties.
Extreme heat and long periods of strong sunlight can reduce chlorine’s affects in your pool water and also cause evaporation, so it is important to pay close attention to your pool’s water chemistry when experiencing heat waves.
Having fun outside is what toddlers do best. When summer time rolls around, a great way to keep toddlers entertained is to take them to the pool. Here are a few ideas for pool games that you can play with your toddler the next time you go swimming:
On those hot days when you know ahead of time that you will be going to the pool, you may want to try the “ice game”. The “ice game” is something that will keep your child entertained, and it will also help them learn. The night before your trip to the pool, make some ice cubes, all different shapes if you can. Pack them in a cooler or thermos and bring them along to the pool. When your child gets in the pool, have him take an ice cube in with him and watch it melt. This will help to teach children about hot and cold while also helping to cool them down.
Another great game that toddlers will love is a scavenger hunt in the wading pool. Bring a bucket and some pool toys and have your toddler search for certain types of toys in the pool. This game will help them learn how to share with other children who may also be interested in the toys that you have brought. If your child is still getting used to going into the water, this may encourage him to wade further into the water than he would otherwise.
The last great game for toddlers involves something they love doing-pouring out water. Bring a watering can or jug into the wading pool or the shallow end of your pool. Float toy flowers (or flower heads from your garden) in the water and let your toddler enjoy filling the watering can or jug over and over again to water the flowers. They’ll have so much fun doing this again and again- but be prepared to get watered yourself!
July 4th is a special day for the United States and many families will gather to enjoy good food, good laughs, and perhaps even a few fireworks. What better way to enjoy your Independence Day than by having your friends and family over for a pool party? The pool is a great place for people to gather, eat, talk, and have a fun evening. Additionally, the pool is also great for cooling off since the summer months are extremely hot. Here are a few ideas for a great pool party:
Start the party out right by having great decorations throughout your outdoor area. The pool might be the center of attention, but torches, streamers, and balloons can also accentuate it. No party is complete without a few decorations, so go all out and celebrate the birth of our nation by having a spectacular party.
Another great idea for a masterful pool party is to have good food. Patriotic dishes are always a hit around the 4th of July. Perhaps you could try your hand at a red, white, and blue ice cream cake? Ribs, burgers, and hotdogs are also staples of any good pool party.
Have you considered what type of entertainment you might have at your party? Sure the pool will be used, but what about some specific water sports-perhaps water volleyball or basketball? Maybe a good game of chicken is what the family needs? When the whole crew is together, be sure to utilize your pool in the best way possible.
Finally, be sure to take a few moments and reflect on this special time. Remember the men and women that have given their lives for our country and for our freedom and celebrate their efforts.
Pools offer many options and are often custom tailored for each particular family. In many cases, swimming pools are designed with a specific feature or option in mind. One of the choices that many people struggle with is the pool depth. While the average, residential, in-ground pool has a depth of 8 feet, some people are not comfortable with this depth. Here are 5 things to consider when choosing your pool depth.
1. What are your plans for this pool?
If you are simply looking for a pool to swim laps in then you are not going to need a pool that is very deep. 8 feet will not only cost more, but it will be a waste of resources.
2. Are you planning on using a diving board, jump rock or water slide?
If so then you will definitely need a pool that has a minimum depth of 8 feet. Diving is fun but it can also be dangerous if the pool is too shallow.
3. Have you considered the ground in your yard?
All yards are different, so what works at one home may not work at another. If there are any issues with your soil, such as over saturation, then you might not be able to use a deeper pool.
4. Can every member of your family swim?
This may sound odd, but it needs to be addressed. A deeper pool will require a stronger swimmer. If your family members cannot swim, or if they cannot swim well, you might need to consider a uniform depth for the safety of all.
5. Is it affordable to care for a pool that is extremely deep?
Deeper pools will require more water and more chemicals. Also, keep in mind that the majority of the time you spend in a pool is going to be in the more shallow areas.
6. Do you have pets?
If you have a dog or a cat you might as well plan on them making their way into the pool at some stage. They are curious little guys! But deep pools can be dangerous, especially with no easy escape route. Remember that they will probably jump or fall in, but climbing a pool latter won’t be as easy for them. Choosing a sloped beach entry or a shallow wading end with large steps will ensure that pets and other curious critters can easily find their way out before drowning.
In order for you and your family to enjoy all the benefits of having a pool, you must keep your swimming pool maintained throughout the year. While it can be easy to overlook your pool during the summer months, this is a time when you need to stay vigilant about proper upkeep. When it comes to proper maintenance, there is nothing more important than good swimming pool water chemistry. This Summer Pool Water Chemistry Checklist will help you keep a sparkling pool all season long!
Test Your Water
Your pool water can change very quickly and if you are not routinely checking the pH balance, the chlorination levels, or the calcium levels, you could potentially find yourself in a sticky situation. To know how to treat your water, you need to first test it to show you the levels of: chlorine, stabilizer, pH, alkalinity, and calcium.
The most common sanitizer for pool owners, chlorine helps kill bacteria and it keeps your water clear. It is recommended that you keep your chlorine levels around the 1.0 parts per million or ppm for short. Chlorine comes in tablet form, granular form, as well as liquid form.
A stabilizer is a type of acid that is used in swimming pools to help your chlorine work better and last longer. The sun will break down chlorine over time, and stabilizer keeps this from becoming too much of an issue. It is best to keep your stabilizer around 40 ppm. This chemical is typically used 3-4 times throughout the year.
Alkalinity is a measure of the carbonates and bicarbonates in your pool. It is a good idea to keep this level in the range of 80-120 ppm. When kept in the safe range, this will allow you to better control your pool’s pH balance.
The pH level of your water is a measure of the baseness or acidity of your water. The best pH level for a pool water is in the 7.4-7.6 range. Not only will a proper pH level allow the chlorine to work better, but it will help maintain the integrity of your pool.
Monitor and Adjust Calcium as Needed
Calcium tests will measure the hardness or softness of your water. The acceptable range varies, but most will agree that the best range is between 180-220 ppm.
If you’re in the middle of a pool design, you may be asking, “What is pool coping?” The term will come up soon in your design process, if it hasn’t already. When it does, we’d like you to know exactly what your designer is talking about and what your options are!
Swimming pool coping is essential to the structure of the pool and adds a touch of class and beauty to the pool itself, but what is coping? Coping is the material that is used to cap the pool shell; it is always placed directly over the wall of the pool. When it comes to coping, there are many options that you have to consider. While a common type of coping is a basic plastic form, this is not always the best style option and can cheapen the look of your pool. Here is a quick rundown of some of the most popular coping styles right now.
A style that has made somewhat of a comeback, the cantilever edge is simply a poured concrete that forms a square edge all around the pool. This is a very common coping in commercial pools found in recreation centers and hotels.
Brick is a very popular building material and it has become an even more popular pool coping option. Just like a brick home, brick coping offer many different colors and shapes. This type of coping can be placed around the edges of your pool and worked seamlessly into the concrete to form a smooth surface.
Natural stone has become the go to option for many modern pool lovers. This material offers earthy colors and really has an ability to blend your pool paradise with your surroundings. Natural stone coping can be made from limestone, granite, or even fieldstone, so the stone that you use is up to you.
Coping is essential to any pool. It adds strength to the structure and it helps bring the total look of the pool together. Be sure to spend some time considering the type of coping that would best fit your home and the vision that you have for your backyard pool escape.
As pool season approaches, many Cypress pool owners are going to be faced with the challenge of “opening” their swimming pool. This can be a daunting task for many people, so we have put together a simple step-by-step plan to show you how to open a Cypress pool and walk you through the process.
1. Swimming Pool Chemicals
Make sure you have all needed chemicals before starting, including chlorine and algaecide . If you do not have all of your needed chemicals, you will not be able to open your pool properly.
2. Pool Cover
Removing the swimming pool cover will require some time. If your pool has been covered with a solid cover, you will need to drain any standing water with a pump. Make sure that you remove as much water and debris as possible, as this will make your life easier when the cover actually comes off. After the cover has been removed it is always a good idea to wash your cover with a strong cleaner. Allow the cover to dry before folding and storing for the season.
3. Pool Water
Remove any skimmer guards and winter plugs that might have been installed. Fill your pool with clean, fresh water to the normal level.
4. Pool Equipment
Now is the time to reattach and startup and pool equipment that may have been disconnected. Make sure your pump and filter is connected properly. It is always a good idea to lubricate any and all O-rings. This will minimize cracking and drying out issues. Check your debris baskets for any issues. Finally, make sure your lines are open before starting the pump. If you have removed your ladders and ropes prior to the winter months, this is the time to reinstall them
5. Swimming Pool Debris
Now is the time to remove any large debris from the pool. Do not attempt to vacuum this debris, as it will only lead to problems. Once the large debris has been removed, you may begin the process of vacuuming.
6. Shocking the Pool
Once the pool has been cleaned of all debris, it is a good idea to shock the pool. Shocking the pool is the process of using more than the normal requirement of chlorine. Follow the guide on your chemicals and allow the pool water to circulate for 24 hours. If you have questions regarding the best shock treatment, feel free to contact us any time.
7. Pool Chemistry
Once the pool has circulated for 24 hours, you will need to check the water stability. This involves checking the pH balance, hardness, as well as the salinity of your swimming pool water.
Once the hard work is done, your pool is clean and you can now relax in your own personal oasis.
Swimming pools have been around for hundreds, even thousands of years. It would seem that people have always had an affinity for lounging in or near the water. Perhaps it is our innate desire to be close to a water source, or maybe it has everything to do with the need to unwind. Regardless of what the real motivation is, people love to swim.
If you have considered having a swimming pool installed in your backyard living environment, there are many different questions that you have. One of the most common questions that people have is in regards to the actual shape of the pool. Many people are unsure about the many possibilities that await them when it comes to construction and design of their new swimming pool. The reality is that swimming pools are as diverse as the people that love them.
The most common shape for swimming pools is the basic rectangle. This is an old design that harkens back to the Greco-Roman era. This classic design has been installed in thousands of areas around the globe, but it is not the only option that you have. Did you know that you could have a circular pool, or even a diamond shaped pool? Many customers have opted for a “kidney” shaped pool that has no sharp corners. Perhaps you are not interested in having a basic design. If this is you, we are proud to offer custom designed pools as well.
So how do you choose the right design? Much of this discussion is going to be based on the preference of the homeowner. However there are other issues that must be looked at as well. For example, you might have a small or oddly shaped yard. In this case, the custom design might be best for you. Maybe you would like to have your pool encompass your entire backyard. Whatever you like, we have a design just for you.
While it cannot be denied that Houston homeowners love their swimming pools, there is a huge debate regarding the best decking for the pool. If you have made the decision to install a swimming pool, then you have undoubtedly discovered that there are many different types of pool decking materials available. With so many different trends and materials, which is the best? Each person has a different taste when it comes to proper pool decking, but in an effort to highlight this most important pool aspect, lets take a few moments and discuss some of the possibilities that you could look at for your future pool deck surface. To help you get an idea of what decking is right for you, here are some of the most popular pool decking trends Houston homeowners are choosing this year!
New Concrete Pool Decking Trends
The most common pool deck material is concrete. Concrete has been used for thousands of years and it has become the standard for most budget pool installations. Not only is this material readily available, but it is also relatively easy for the contractor to install. Most contractors are comfortable working with this material and this may lead them to push for concrete more often.
While basic concrete is very common, it is somewhat boring and it might not add to the look that you are hoping to achieve. If you like the strength of concrete, but you would prefer a more desirable look, stamped concrete might be an option for you. Stamped concrete takes a cost effective decking option and makes it look luxurious. It’s a pool decking trend that many Houston homeowners are falling in love with. With several stains and patterns to choose from, customizing this decking option is very easy.
Stone Decking for Luxury Pools
Another great pool decking material found in the our area is natural stone. This could include stones such as granite, flagstone, or smaller quartz stones. Natural stone is a great way to add a special touch to your project and it has a unique ability to blend with the surrounding landscape. With so many options to choose from, finding a stone that complements your style and color scheme shouldn’t be hard. But talk to your pool builder before making any purchases. Some stone decking options are very expensive yet chip, crack or fade easily. Depending on your installation method and stone choice, replacing damaged stones might be difficult and pricey- so it’s a good idea to tell your builder what look your after and ask for his or her recommendations.
Water features are always very exciting and awe inspiring. From the time that you where a small child, you have probably always been amazed by the look and the feel of water. So why is it that we install basic pools without ever adding any extra touches of class? Did you know that there are many different features that could be added to your pool? Are you aware that every pool has the capacity to hold one or more water features?
Water features are anything that is placed in or around your pool that can release water. Here are 5 options to keep in mind when looking for a great water feature.
The waterfall is a common feature that has been popular for many years. There is nothing that looks more stunning or more spectacular than a precisely placed waterfall. Backyard waterfalls could even be backlit to add extra ambiance; the possibilities are endless.
Fountains are always a lovely addition to any backyard living space. They can be placed in a variety of places, including directly in the pool or on the edge of the pool deck.
This is a wonderful water feature that is built directly into the wall of your swimming pool. Placed above the water level of your pool, the return water will run across a tray and empty into your pool. The fall of the water can be minimal or it can be increased for more intense enjoyment.
If you like the look of fountains, but are looking for something a bit more unique, then maybe you need to utilize the deck jet. Deck jets are essentially fountains that are placed inside your pool deck and they shoot water directly into your pool.
Perhaps you would like to have your returned water to come from a decorative element, such as a pot. If so, then this is the feature for you. This is a basic function of every pool, but it is spiced up with the addition of an aesthetically pleasing clay pot.
Have you always dreamed of the chance to create a tropical lagoon style pool? Whether you are renovating an existing swimming pool or putting together plans for a new pool, now is the time to make those dreams come true with these pool design trends. It only takes a handful of design elements to transform a standard pool design into a tropical getaway. You’ll feel like you’ve left home and been transported to your favorite tropical destination. As you create a tropical lagoon style pool, consider the following design features.
Planters with Tropical Plantings
It is up to individual pool owners to choose the tropical plants that will best fit their current landscaping and personal preferences. Popular options for tropical pool plantings include palm trees, princess flowers, hibiscus, and bird of paradise. Consider planting lush vines throughout the yard that can grow over fences and tree trucks and complete the tropical look for the landscaping. Don’t forget to coordinate the planters with the tropical aesthetic as well.
Fountains and Waterfalls
There are a wide variety of pool fountains or bubblers available with something for everyone. The shape and size of the pool will largely determine the options that will work best for your particular pool. Think about adding a waterfall or grotto to give the tropical feel your after. Consider space, lighting and budget when choosing the right water feature for your design.
Travertine is a classic paver option for tropical lagoon style pools. It is cooler on the feet than concrete, brick, flagstone, slate, and bluestone. Its timeless beauty endures for many years without risk of cracking or damage. It is extremely slip resistant even when it is wet, making it an excellent option for homes with children or elderly family members.
Wading Pool or Spa Area
Many tropical lagoon style pools feature a wading pool or spa area. Wading pools can be separate areas from the pool, or simply a shallow beach entry or tanning ledge. One of the best aspects of adding this wading pool is the versatility that it brings. A wading pool is a safe area for young children to use while still getting to hang out with the family. Once the kids are a little older, it is easy to transform it into a spa area for adults.
Bridges and Stairways
If you have a pool with multiple levels (i.e. a waterfall or spa that spills over into the main pool) or have the space for larger pool features, you may want to consider adding a bridge and/or stairway. There are a variety of stone, concrete, and wood options available for both features.