When should I close my Pool?

IMG_0223As a pool owner, the times of year for opening and closing your pool are entirely up to you.  However the “pool season” as defined by the industry is typically between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Many pool use this definition as their way of knowing when to open and close their pools.

This is by no means a strict rule but more of a general guideline that people can use.  Some pool owners opt to open their pools earlier in the spring, and close it later in the fall.  They can do this because they either live in an area that stays warm longer or they have a heater that is powerful enough to keep the water warm in cool ambient temperatures.

As a pool owner you just want to make sure that your pool is closed before your area reaches freezing temperatures.  When water freezes it expands and if it expands inside of your swimming pool plumbing components it can cause a lot of damage.  To avoid the potential for this to happen many people wait until after Memorial Day to open their pools, and then close them down again by Labor Day.

DSCN0635I always recommend having a pool professional do the actual opening and closing of your pool, or at the very least the closing part.  It is recommended for a couple of reasons.  First, they tend to know exactly what they are doing.  There can be quite a few steps in the process of closing a pool and if even one small step is missed the result can be dramatic.  The other reason is that many pool companies will guarantee their work.  This means that if anything does happen over the course of the winter, they will be the ones who correct it.  If you were to close your own pool and something happened then the responsibility to fix it would be yours.  Depending on what happens that responsibility can be very costly.

In my opinion the best way to avoid any sort of mishap with your swimming pool over the winter is to make sure it is opened on or after Memorial Day, and closed on or prior to Labor day.  I understand that we generally have warm days outside of that range, but like I stated before this range is more of a general guid line.  Also it is always best to have a swimming pool professional actually do the opening and closing of your pool to ensure that everything will get done the way that it needs to in order to survive the winter.

Is it a Leak or just Evaporation?

IMG_2683This is something that almost every pool owner will ask themselves at some point.  Does the pool have a leak or is the water just evaporating?

Just like every body of water, over time the water will begin to evaporate.  Typically you can expect about a quarter inch of water or less to evaporate each day in an uncovered pool.  There are a number of things that contribute to this.  Wind, sunlight, and humidity are the key players in water evaporation.

Wind can blow across the surface of your pool which will cause the water molecules to evaporate much faster.

Direct, intense sunlight will help to dry up water molecules and cause more rapid evaporation.

DSCN0635Humidity in the air plays a big role in evaporation.  The more humid the air is, the less water in your pool will evaporate.  Conversely, during dry spells you can expect more water loss through evaporation.  If you think about the air outside like a sponge then you can expect that if it is dry, then it will be able to pick up more water from your pool, whereas if it is already wet then it will be limited in how much water it can soak up.

So how do you know if you have a leak or if the water is just evaporating?

You can not be certain just by measuring the amount of water loss in you pool per day.  However you can conduct what is know as the bucket test.  To do this it is best to start with a full pool.  Then fill a five gallon bucket 2/3 of the way full and set it on the second step of the pool.  From there you will mark the water level on the inside of the bucket.  Next turn off you pump and mark the water level on the outside of the bucket.  Once that is done, turn the pump on again and let it sit for at least 24 hours.  At that point you can compare the water levels.  If the level on the outside of the bucket has gone down further than on the inside then there is likely to be a leak in your pool.  If the level is the same both inside the bucket and outside then the water loss is likely to be due to evaporation.

The Amount of Activity in your Pool – How It Affects The Ph of the Water

137A6264Properly maintaining water chemistry is a very important aspect of owning a swimming pool.  The water quality in your pool can not only affect your health but it can also affect the swimming pool itself and the equipment which circulates the water.  That being said you can begin to understand the importance of properly maintaining the water in your pool.

People often assume that by adding more chlorine to the pool they will effectively be keeping the pool water clean.  They also tend to think that with more people in the pool they will need to add more chlorine.  The thing about the water in a swimming pool is that you will never know what it needs without testing it.  This is why test kits were made.  Typically with a heavy bather load in the pool the water quality will decrease.  This is due to the fact that the oils in our skin as well as the sun screen that we use get into the pool and bond with the free chlorine preventing it from effectively killing the bacteria and viruses that may be there.

DSCN0637On the other hand if there is a fairly long period of time in which the pool is not used, will it affect the water quality?  In other words, does inactivity in a pool affect its water quality?

This depends on a couple of things.  Typically the water quality will not change much during time of inactivity.  However, one thing that can change is the volume of water in the pool.  If the volume changes, then the water quality can begin to change.  For instance, if the pool is left open and experiences heavy rainfall throughout the time of inactivity then the volume will increase.  It may not be much, but it may be enough to dilute the amount of chemicals in the pool.  In this case you would need to add more to stay within the appropriate range necessary to maintain a clean, healthy pool.  Conversely, if over the time of inactivity in the pool, the pool is left open and experiences several sunny, windy days then you may find that the water volume in the pool has decreased.  This is due to evaporation caused by the sun and wind.  In this case the amount of chemicals in the pool would seem to increase.  In both cases the amount of chemicals in the pool has remained constant, but because the volume of water changed it will either dilute or concentrate the chemicals in the pool.

The amount of activity your pool receives weather it is more or less will affect the water quality to some degree.  All in all it is really best to test the pool water at least once per week to get a good idea of what it needs in order to maintain a clean healthy pool.

Why does my Vinyl Liner In Ground Swimming Pool Need a Sump Pit

More-Plumbing-001There are many ways to build a vinyl liner in ground swimming pool.  There are many things that go into building a vinyl liner in ground swimming pool.  One thing that many builders do is install a sump pit just outside of the sidewalk that goes around the pool.  Why do they do this?

It actually makes perfect sense when you really think about it.  We all know that when it rains, the ground absorbs much of that water.  The water that gets absorbed by the ground is what is know as groundwater.  More often than not when a pool is dug the groundwater is visible in the deep end.  If the hole were to be left like that, you would likely see that ground water begin to rise a bit, especially when it rains.  Instead, pool builders finish building the pool and put a liner in.  In some cases this process is a race against time.  They have to get the liner in the pool and get water in before the groundwater rises enough to make the liner float.  You may be wondering why the liner doesn’t float anyway, even after the pool is full.  It rains all the time throughout the spring and summer right?  Well the reason the liner does not typically float after the pool is full is simply because the weight of the water in the pool pushing down on the liner is greater than the pressure from the groundwater pushing up on the liner from underneath it.

IMG_2683Keep in mind that I said that a liner will not “typically” float after the pool is full of water.  There are always some that don’t want to behave.  This is why many pool builders install a sump pit right outside of the sidewalk around the pools that they build.  It is more of a precaution.  If the amount of pressure from the ground water pushing up on the liner exceeds the amount of pressure pushing down from the weight of the water in the pool, then the liner will float.  Having a sump pit will allow you to remove some of the excess water from behind the liner to prevent the liner from having a chance to float.

If you have an in ground vinyl liner swimming pool that has a sump pit installed, then I would recommend using it, especially at times when there is a lot of rain.  This will help to ensure you don’t have a problem with the liner floating.

Rainwater and Swimming Pools

rain poolIs it okay to allow rain water to get into your pool, or is it better to cover it?  This is a question that many new pool owners ask themselves the first time it rains after their pool is installed.  After all rain water is supposed to be fairly clean right? So how could it have a negative affect on your pool?

After your pool is installed you will find that there is some initial maintenance that you will have to do.  Basically you fill your pool with water and you then you will have to add chemicals, ie. chlorine, algecide etc. to make it healthy to swim in.  From there you will likely be checking your pool chemicals once a week to maintain that ideal amount.  Obviously this represents a fairly significant investment of time and money.  If you fall behind or just brush it off, and you are not keeping up with it then you may find yourself spending more time and money to get it back to where it needs to be.download

Rainwater can change the chemistry of your pool.  Just as it is, it can “dilute” the chemicals in your pool.  Ideally you want to keep your free chlorine level between 2 and 4 ppm. (Parts per Million) So this is based on the amount of water in the pool.  If more water is added to the pool then you will have to add more chlorine.  So if a lot of rain water gets into your pool, the amount of water increases and in turn you will have to add more chlorine.

LXI400P_LXiHeater-1-1Another thing that is likely to happen is really only an issue if you have a heater or heat pump installed.  Obviously it costs money to run a heater or heat pump.  That being said, if the set temperature is warmer than the temperature of the rain water (which it will likely be) then the cool rain water will decrease the temperature in the pool and you will have to run the heater or heat pump more often to maintain the desired temperature.
So back to the original question.  Is it okay to allow rain water to get into your pool?  The answer is really yes.  It is okay for rain water to get into your pool.  This will not cause enormous problems for the pool and in fact many pools are open to the rain all of the time.  However, if you have the luxury of covering your pool while it is raining, then I would certainly recommend doing so.  It will decrease the amount of time and money you put into maintaining your pool.

Automatic Pool Covers – Things to Know

5When someone gets a vinyl liner in ground pool installed with an Automatic Pool Cover, there will usually be some questions that arise regarding that cover.  Should I close my pool every night? Should I open it during the day while I am at work?

These are good questions and the answer to both of them is… It’s up to you.  I say that because ultimately it is up to the owner of the pool to decide what he or she wants to do with it.  There are some questions you should ask yourself before making this decision.  Is the pool fenced in?  Is it heated by a gas heater or heat pump?  Do you rely on the sun to heat the water?  Are there a lot of trees nearby?

automatic pool coverIf your pool is heated by a heat pump or gas heater, then I would recommend closing the cover at night.  This will help save money on heating cost in the long run.  Basically cool summer nights can really suck the heat out of a pool.  The result would be that you would have to run your heat source more frequently to keep the pool water at the desired temperature.  This in turn would result in an increase in your electric bill or gas bill.  By closing the cover over night you will effectively trap the heat in the pool.  Therefore you will be able to maintain that desired temperature without having to run your heat source as frequently.  Granted there still may be some heat loss over night but I assure you that by keeping the pool covered, you will minimize the amount of heat loss.  If there are a lot of trees around the pool then by keeping it open for long periods such as over night or during the day while you are at work you will run the risk of creating a chore for yourself.  Trees lose leaves throughout the summer and fall.   If you have an open pool nearby then you will likely find that these leaves are landing in the water resulting in you having to scoop them out.

auto cover UvThe other thing that should be considered is do you have a fence around you pool/backyard.  Obviously an open pool in your yard that is not fenced in, and sits open is somewhat of a liability.  If you have a fence around your pool and you don’t have a heat pump or gas heater then you may want to leave your pool open during the mid day heat to allow your water to heat up.  Although you may have a fence around the pool there is still a certain amount of liability to worry about.

Ultimately I find it to be more beneficial to keep your pool covered when it is not in use.  You will cut down on heating costs, decrease the amount of potential debris in your pool, and be able to rest easy knowing that nobody can gain access to your pool while you are not around.

Living the In Ground Pool Lifestyle

When you have your very own in ground swimming pool, you in essence join an elite club of fellow in ground pool owners.  Although there are no membership cards or dues involved in this club, you will find yourself immersed in everything swimming pool related.  You may find yourself online looking at all things swimming pool related.

One of the best aspects of owning a swimming pool is finding new ways to enjoy it aside from the traditional way of swimming in it.  The internet is full of fun ideas that you and your family can do to get the most out of your pool.  These ideas are generally posted by pool owners to help their fellow pool owners get the most out of their pools.

Pintrest is a great platform to share information related to in ground swimming pools and really the swimming pool lifestyle in general.  I have found many interesting ideas on pintrest that I have used to enrich the lives of my own family.  Today I want to share with you some of the things related to the swimming pool lifestyle that I find enjoyable.

First of all owning an in ground swimming pool is a decision that you should not come to lightly.  This is a decision that should involve the whole family.  Some people make this decision to give their kids something fun to do each summer.  However many people without children get pools to give themselves a place to relax after a long day of work.  For them it acts as a fortress of solitude.  Regardless of why you decide to get an in ground swimming pool you will have many choices to make along the way.  Once that pool is installed it is up to you to make the most out of it.

For The Kids:

If you have decided on getting a pool for your kids to use it, is important to understand the safety aspects.  For one, if your children cannot swim, it is important to make sure they have some sort of adult supervision at all times.  However, this will be the perfect opportunity to bond with your children and teach them how to swim while having fun.  It can also become a daily after school routine if your children decide to join a swimming team or just let off some steam.  The fact there is a swimming pool in your back yard ready to go is perfect.  No need for traveling, wasting gas, paying fees to swim with people you do not know or having to worry about “where are the kids?”.  You will know at all times where the kids are and have easy access for getting to them.

In todays society, from elementary to high school kids, technology has taken its tole when it comes to being active.  Majority of children are now stuck from either looking at their phones or playing video games in front of a bright screen.  I remember the days when being outside was fun and every summer my folks would take my siblings and I to the public swimming pool to play in the water and have a great time, and I always did have an amazing time.  However, I did not like the fact everybody was separate from each other while we were at the public pool.  So eventually my folks decided to have a pool in our yard, which was better for everybody.  My parents were able to keep an eye on us and I was not separated from my siblings.  Not only that, but I was able to bring some of my friends over and have a mini barbecue.  So why not bring that kind of fun to your family?  The kids will have a chance to get off of their cell phones, video games and TV, and in exchange they get to have fun being outside in the comfort in their own backyard.  This gives them a change to be active, grow and be happy.

For Yourself:

Nothing wrong thinking about yourself and wanting to be able to spoil yourself.  So, why not spoil yourself with an ground pool?  Sounds like an amazing idea, because it is an amazing idea.  Correction, it’s not just amazing it’s fantastic.  There are other reasons to have a ground pool built in your background.  Some people do so for their families and children, which is still a fantastic idea.  However, there is nothing wrong thinking about yourself and wanting to do something for yourself.  If you have an issue being out in public pools, having your very own is perfect.  You can relax in the comfort of your home without the issue of other people.  Want to have your own party with close friends and family? Invite them over to your awesome place while having a barbecue, kicking back with a few beers and enjoying a nice swim or push your best friend into the water because why not, it is your home, your pool.

Get Ready For Summer

I know that it seems like a long way off but the summer will be here before you know it.  There are a lot of things to do to get ready for it.  One of the things that crosses the minds of most folks is whether or not to get an in ground swimming pool.  For some this is a question that comes up every spring.  In my opinion if this is something that comes up that frequently, then maybe you should look into it a bit more.  More and more people are getting in ground pools these days and it just goes to show that maybe they aren’t that unattainable anymore.  It used to seem like an in ground swimming pool was something that only the upper class folks were able to afford.  This is not the case anymore.  In ground swimming pools are becoming more affordable as time goes on.  I think that this is due to the fact that the materials being used to build in ground swimming pools are changing.  Along with the materials changing, the way that the pools are built is changing as well.

With the cost of in ground pools getting lower, people are now able to spend more money on upgrading their backyards as a whole.  The backyard staycation is becoming a well known idea.  This is the idea that instead of spending money each year to go on an elaborate vacation, people are now spending their money on their own backyards.  Updating their landscaping, installing a swimming pool, and having a pergola built are just a few ways in which people are creating a unique backyard experience.  This is something that I would personally recommend.  Instead of spending all of your money on a vacation that will only last for maybe a week or so.  You can instead save that money and reinvest it in your own backyard.  If you plan this out properly you could likely improve your entire backyard complete with pool for the cost of what many people were spending on a pool alone ten years ago.

Lets break this down into individual components.  To start lets look at the pool itself.  I would recommend starting with the design of the pool, only because this component will likely take up the most space in your backyard.  When deciding on the design and size of your pool you should determine why you want a pool to begin with and take that into consideration.  Some people get a pool to give their families a place to have fun.  Some people get a pool to have a nice place to relax.  The reason you want a pool to begin with may be a contributing factor in the size and shape of the pool.  Once you have that figured out you can then determine what type of landscaping will compliment it well.  Many people will incorporate a nice patio area next to the pool.  This would give you a place to entertain or relax after a long day.  There are also many different types of patio styles to choose from.  Websites like Pintrest and Houzz are great places to get ideas and inspiration for backyard staycations.  Some people have great success by simply talking with their pool builder first.  Typically they can provide you with a drawing of the pool you want to scale which you could take to a landscape designer.  Or in some cases the pool builder might have some contact information on a landscape company that they have worked with in the past.

Regardless of how you go about creating your backyard staycation, the point is that it is in your best interest to do so.  In theory it would likely pay for itself over time by saving you money that you would have spent on vacations.  The other benefit is that it would allow you to create you very own resort in your own back yard, and allow you to customize it to your personal tastes.  If you want a nice place to entertain guests, or if you are looking more for a source of entertainment for your family, a pool is a wonderful way to go.

For more information on the backyard staycation as well as general swimming pool information, please check out the rest of my blog, and feel free to comment.  If there is something that is not clear or something that you want more information on just let me know and I will do my very best to address it.

Outdoor Fun for the Family

Being that we are approaching the winter season, and in some areas feel as if we are already in the winter season I want to use this post to try and bring a little warmth back to you.  To do this I am going to dedicate this post to fun outdoor activities that you can do with your kids when the summer time finally comes back.

I have written specifically about how swimming pools can benefit the lives of you and your family.  In order to keep from repeating myself I want to gear this post more toward activities that you can do with your family in the summertime.  The best way that I can think of to do this is basically to walk you through a day of fun activities that I do and will do with my own kids.  Well at least one kid for now, the second is still on the way.  Thinking ahead to the future there will come a time when I will have to come up with ideas for fun filled summer days.  At this point in my blogging experience I have made it clear that I want my children to have a similar childhood experience to my own without all the electronic devices and video games that many kids today fill their days with.  I don’t intend to offend anyone, it’s just that I feel that a child will benefit much more by being outside and active than they would by being secluded in the house laying on the couch with their nose glued to a screen of some kind.  Okay rant over.

There are plenty of parents that feel this way and many have taken to Pintrest with ideas of ways to get their kids outside.  So taking a bit of information from them it is not too difficult to come up with ways to get kids outside.

My son, like many other younger kids wakes up early everyday and is ready to start playing.  He is a lot like me in that he is not too interested in eating right away.  My wife and I will generally let him play with his toys for a little bit in the morning or he and myself will sometimes pretend to be monsters and try to get Mommy.  This is all in an effort to make him smile as well as work up an appetite.  It doesn’t take too long before he is ready to eat.  Depending on the weather, this is our first chance to get him outside.  Sometimes we like to have our breakfast on the patio.  He seems to enjoy this a good deal as it is not something we do every day.  In addition to that it is a good opportunity for him to use his senses by looking all the little critters like squirrels, and allows him to hear the birds chirping.  Usually he is quick to notify us that he sees, or hears something interesting.  This is the first part of our fun filled outdoor day.

After breakfast we clean up and get him ready for the day.  Once he is changed we usually have a few hours before lunchtime.  This is another opportunity to get him back outside.  We have a fairly large backyard with things for him to do.  we have a sand box full of toys, and other outdoor toys that he can play with.  Sometimes we will just chase each other around or again try to get Mommy.  One of his favorite things in the world is bubbles.  He loves to chase bubbles around the yard and we have a cheap little bubble machine that will make sure that there are plenty of them for him to chase.  It also benefits Mommy and myself by keeping us from hyperventilating while trying to keep up with a bubble popping little boy.  There is one thing that I want to try with him, however I will have to wait until he is a bit older.  Orienteering is a “sport” in which a compass and map are used to navigate from point to point.  Of course these points would be predetermined by Mommy and myself.  This may not sound like a lot of fun for a youngster but I think by adding a surprise at each point I could make it more interesting for him.  This would keep him active and give us something fun to do outside.  It will also teach him how a compass and map can be used to find your way.

It won’t be long before it is time for lunch and again we will try to eat our lunch outside.  We may have our lunch on the patio again, or we might pack it up in a basket and grab a blanket and have our lunch picnic style in the grass or at the park nearby.  If we do have a picnic one thing we might do is, lay on our backs on the blanket and try to show our little guy the clouds.  I have done this in the past but usually it is short lived.  Clouds don’t do much, so his attention quickly goes elsewhere.  It’s always worth a try though.  After lunch we will play a bit more, and then it’s time for a nap.

We like to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in the summer because they have a pool.  My son can’t swim all by himself quite yet but with Mommy and me in the pool with him he is getting much better at moving around in his little floaty.  I don’t know if it is just because he and I are both boys but we like to team up on Mommy a bit.  Let me tell you, one of his favorite pool activities is splashing Mommy.  She is usually a good sport about it, but I feel bad from time to time.  It has got to be tiring running from us all the time.  When we are at my parents, they love to feed us dinner.  More often than not this hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill.  My parents have a very nice deck by the pool with several tables, that we often eat at in the summer time.  In addition to that we have turned their shed into a tiki bar of sorts.  None of us are big drinkers, but my Dad loves to make milkshakes and root beer floats for us all, and my son defintitely loves the milkshakes.  After dinner we will generally stay a little while to hang out with my parents.

When we get home my son usually seems to get a second wind and wants to play some more.  I like to use this time to take him outside and teach him how to catch fire flies. (or lightning bugs depending on where you’re from)  Although it’s Mommy and I who generally do all of the bug catching, it still gives him the chance to see them up close.  We have recently moved further into the country so there is a new critter that comes around in the summer time that we get to observe.  Tree frogs seem to love the siding of our house in the summer evenings.  I showed one to my son last summer but I think he was a bit too young to really appreciate it.

As the evening comes to a close we like to watch a movie to get him to settle from the exciting day.  I know that I said I want my kids to be active and all that, but I don’t think a little T.V. time will hurt.  I usually take all the pillows from the couch, lay them out on the floor, and cover them with a blanket to make a pillow bed.  He loves his pillow bed a lot.  There he gets a little snack and a drink.  It gives him a place to relax while watching one of the 30 Disney movies that we have before bedtime.  Given the active day, he usually won’t make it through the movie and either Mommy or myself will carry him off to bed.  I am really excited for this summer to come for one reason in particular.  I have access to an HD projector that I can plug into my laptop.  I plan on having an outdoor movie night sometime this coming summer.  We will set up a tent in the backyard and project the movie onto the side of the house.  We may or may not sleep in the tent, but that will be up to my son when the time comes.

These are just some of the things my wife and I do and will do in the summer with our son.  I can’t say that we do all of these things everyday because in reality I think this is more exhausting for my wife and I than it is for our little guy, but we do certainly try to find ways to make his summer days more fun and to get him outside for at least a little while each day.  You can use these ideas for your own summer fun or as I have said before, Pintrest is a great source for outdoor summer fun.  I know this post is a little outside of what I normally write about, but I hope it will inspire my readers to find ways to be active with their kids this coming summer.


How to get your backyard ready for your staycation

The backyard staycation.  This is the newest trend among Americans.  This is the idea that you can put your money into your own backyard to transform it into a place where you and your family can spend your summers rather than spending money on expensive vacations every year.  The idea is to transform your backyard to accommodate the needs of your family.  This typically includes a place for relaxation, a place for entertaining, and a place for recreation.  At this point you may be wondering where to start.

I would recommend going about this as if you were packing up a truck for a big move.  Start with the larger items and then move to the smaller items.  This way you know exactly how much room you have to work with after the big things.

A common item that people often get is an in ground swimming pool.  As I have stated in many of my posts, I recommend going with a vinyl liner pool.  For more information on vinyl liner in ground pools check out my other posts.  To save time and space in this post I am not going to get into the reasons why today.  I think that an in ground pool represents the biggest part of the staycation project.  It will likely take up the most space in the backyard, and will likely be one of the higher end costs in the project.  I have also written about the best way to go about deciding on the style and size of the pool in another post.  If a backyard staycation is something that you are seriously considering  I think that it would benefit you to read through my blog as it contains a lot of information on in ground pools in general as well as vinyl liner pools specifically.  An in ground pool will act as a place for recreation for you and your family and friends.  Next I will tackle a place for relaxation.

This can be incorporated into the design of the pool, or you can have it designed to be separate from the pool.  Basically you will want a patio area for sitting and relaxing.  I have noticed a lot of people will incorporate an outdoor kitchen, or a large grill in their patio area.  It all depends on your personal preferences.  In theory you can have all of these components connected to each other or you can separate them almost as if they were different rooms in your backyard.  This will all depend on the space available and how much you are willing to put into it.  Personally I think that I would prefer each area to be somewhat isolated from one another.  I would do this through the landscape design.
Ideally I would have my relaxation area separate from the pool area, and the entertaining area separate from the relaxation area.

Lastly we come to the entertaining area.  Will this be another patio area with a fire place, or would you prefer a grassy area?  It is all up to you on how you want to entertain.  I have seen a lot of examples in which there are multiple levels of patio that represent the different areas.  Typically the pool area will be at the lowest level.  I find that Pintrest is a very good place to get ideas for your backyard staycation.  For the purposes of giving my readers a good place to start I want to give you my ideas on the way I would go about a backyard staycation at my own house.

The Pool (Copied and Pasted from my post title “My Ideal Swimming Pool”)

The design:

Free Form Style Pool

This part is really up to personal taste and backyard space.  My back yard is big enough to accommodate any size pool really so for me it comes down to the style.  I am partial to the free form pool.  I tend to be drawn to the curves and organic layout rather than the basic geometric rectangle pool.  I am not one to be too flashy so I would probably go with a smaller pool probably along the lines of something that would fit into a 16’x32′ space.  There are endless possibilities in regard to the shape so for that I would want to sit down and draw it out.  Did I mention that I am married, so naturally that would affect the design.  In the end we would come up with something that we are both happy with, but as long as she is happy I am cool with it.  Anyway that is a general look into the design I would choose.

The Deck:

Beautiful Decking

I have seen all sorts of decking options for vinyl liner in ground pools.  A lot of people choose to use pavers around their pool.  For me this wouldn’t work well.  I am more of a concrete type guy, however there are some things that I would do to give the pool more of a high end look.  To begin I would start with a 1′ stamped border all the way around the pool.  The color of the concrete would have to be chosen with my wife of course.  Then I would utilize a slightly different color to give the pool some contrast, and again my wife would help with this.  I have also seen a lot of pools that have some grass around them, and I really like the look of that so perhaps I would try to include it in my pool as well.  Again keeping with the organic look of the pool, the deck would also have to be free form with plenty of curves.  I am not a big fan of the “cookie cutter” type pools where your pool looks strikingly similar to your neighbors.  I like to have some aspect of originality without going over the top with it.

The Patio

Japanese style garden

This portion of my backyard staycation would preferably be at a different physical level than the pool itself, and I would use it as a place for relaxation.  I am a big fan of having this area somewhat isolated from the pool area through the use of landscaping.  Take a look at the photo to the left.  Notice how they used some evergreens to separate the patio area from the rest of the yard.  I also like the way that they used paving stones as the patio rather than going with standard concrete.

I happen to find traditional Japanese rock gardens to be very aesthetically pleasing so I would likely incorporate that type of design into my patio area.  The photo to the right displays some traditional Japanese garden ideas complete with a koi pond, and Bonsai.  This would be ideal for me because I have been working on a Japanese maple for a couple of years that would look amazing in this type of setting.  I find koi ponds to be very relaxing and for me this would be a must have.

Entertaining Area

I would prefer this area to again be separate from the other areas, and preferably on yet another level.  This is where I would have my outdoor kitchen and fireplace.  I would again have a patio area with plenty of seating.  As far as isolation goes, I think that I would prefer this area to overlook the pool, that way if anyone were swimming I would be able to supervise without having to look around anything.   The photo to the left is a very nice representation of an outdoor fire place.  However I would choose a different color brick to use.  The idea is to have these three components separate from one another, and yet tie them all together through color and style.  Obviously if you were to have three areas within the same backyard that all looked completely different you may lose some of the continuity.

Another way to go would be to just have a fire pit with some seating around it.  The photo on the right will give you a good idea of how nice a fire pit can look if done properly.  Although the fire pit looks really nice I think that I would still opt for the Fire place.

Next I think that I would want an outdoor kitchen.  This is a place that would have a grill, sink, refrigerator, and counter space.  It would serve as a place to prepare food and drinks for your family and friends.  These come in many different styles so choosing one that suites your needs and tastes would not be too difficult.

These are just my personal tastes and what I would want in my own backyard.  The next step would be to come up with a design that would incorporate all of these components and look really nice.  From there you would want to come up with a design for your landscaping.  One way to do this would be to hire someone.  Many landscaping companies have the know how to do something like this.  The other option would be to design it yourself.  For that I would definitely recommend searching around on the internet.  I know that you can find a lot of examples simply be googling it.  Another website that I find to be very helpful is Pintrest.  There you can collect many different examples and store them on the site itself.  Another site that is quickly growing in popularity is Houzz.  This site allows you to browse through projects that have been done and create a project book where you can keep all the information you want for your own project.

For more information on in ground swimming pools and vinyl liner pool specifically check out my other blog posts.  You can also find more information on these types of backyard projects in my blog, and ways to go about getting started.  As always if anyone has any comments or questions please feel free to share.