Today’s trends are all about the staycation. Families are deciding to invest in sometimes one-of-a-kind backyard designs, including the pool, rather than spending thousands of dollars on a two-week vacation. This trend has encouraged the development of new technology that makes your backyard customized to your style and use or minimizes the amount of work you must do to maintain that environment.
Take the time to analyze how you expect to use your pool before you start installing it. Do you have children who will use the pool for the next decade? Are you installing the pool as your primary home fitness center? Is the pool going to be the place for relaxation and stress relief? Will it be used mainly just by your family or is the pool meant to be an entertainment center for you and your friends?
The answer to these questions will help you decide which features you want in your new pool or which features are worth retrofitting into your existing pool. Here are some of the advances that you may want for your pool.
1. The Infinity Pool
The infinity pool has a glass edge that gives the illusion of no edge at all. The water will blend with the sky, or, if overlooking the ocean or lake, the water will look as if the pool is part of the water beyond and go on to infinity.
These pools are beautiful no matter what your view is. Just as spectacular as the pool overlooking the water is the pool that overlooks the city lights at night, or a scenic view of a woodland, or a pasture with grazing animals. The infinity pool brings the surrounding area into your pool environment.
2. Pool Tiles
Traditionally, the pool tile has been the bright tropical turquoise color throughout the pool. That has changed completely. More pool owners are opting for a more dramatic look with a darker-color tile to give more depth to the water color.
Some people are mixing the stone types used in their pool and around the pool. There are also different types of finishes on the tile, from glossy to matte. Some tiles have a stone surface for a more natural look. Glass tile gives a very elegant look. Different color tiles can be used to define the stairs or a depth change as well.
Pools are being surrounded by natural rocks, sometimes right to the pool edge to give the look of a lagoon. Whether you prefer a sleek modern look for your pool, a natural look, or anything in between, the choice of tile will help achieve the look you want.
3. Pool Lights
Pool lights have also seen a revolution. Typically, the swimming pool always had at least one light installed into the pool wall during the pool construction. This single light, sometimes more, depending on the size of your pool, was a clear light meant only as a safety item for night swims.
Today, the light system for your pool can include in-pool lights, floating lights, and surrounding lights, which include overhead lights, feature lighting, and pool deck lighting. Lights also can come in different colors. Some pool owners choose different colors to highlight different sections of the pool area, such as orange in the spa and deep purple in the pool. Some choose to use the lighting to delineate different depth levels in the pool.
Feature lighting can be used to emphasize a particular specimen plant or tree, or behind a waterfall to magnify its importance. There are many different styles of floating lights that can make the pool look more romantic or add to the party atmosphere. The same is true of overhead lighting. Strings of colored lights can give a tropical party feel to your pool, while strings of clear lights can give a more sophisticated look. Always make sure the lights you use are made for pools and are installed by a licensed electrician.
4. Pool Sound Systems
Sound systems for your pool area have become very desirable, but there are some considerations when choosing the best system for your pool. The first consideration is your neighbor. How close is your pool to his yard? If your pool is in the middle of a large property, you can rock out every weekend no problem. However, if your neighbor’s patio is just over the fence, you may have to limit your sound system to a soft musical background.
Another consideration is the number of features you have in your pool that will compete with the music of your system. If you have a waterfall running into your pool and perhaps a spa circulating water, it may be difficult to hear the music over the sound of these features. However, if the sound system will mainly be used to provide background for relaxing on the patio or during an outdoor meal, your system should be designed for that purpose.
You can have your system permanently installed in your pool and patio area with underground wiring, but it will not be changeable, or you can use portable remote speakers that can be placed where needed. These can be hidden with plants in the landscape, or there are speakers that are embedded in lightweight simulated rock material to blend in with the landscape. There are also systems that will float on the water next to you while you are relaxing on the water.
5. Pool Water Features
Many pool owners are customizing their pools with additional water features. These can include water slides for the kids, fountains, waterfalls, or splash pools. Water slides have been a feature at commercial water parks for some time, but now you can build one into your own pool. Some pool owners construct a slide into the landscape so that it can function as both a stream and slide.
The splash pool is gaining popularity also. In the past, many pools had a bench incorporated into the pool design but these were usually only large enough for one or two people. The splash deck will allow several people to use it at the same time. It is an area of your pool that is shallower than the rest. You can even put a lounge chair into this area and relax in the water. Its lower depth makes it a play area for the younger children in the pool or the adults who are supervising the kids in the pool.
Waterfalls have become increasingly popular as a water feature in swimming pools. Sometimes, the spa is installed on a higher level than the pool, and the waterfall is made from water from the spa flowing over the side into the pool, where it is recirculated into the spa. Some pool owners will build a slope on one side of the pool and install a waterfall or stream from the top into the pool, where it is recirculated back to the top again. The sound of the water falling into the pool can be very relaxing and soothing.
Jet sprays are a fun feature in your pool too. The jet is installed in the deck or landscape, or some can be installed into the side of the pool. The jet can be adjusted up to a 10-foot arch landing in the pool water. This is a fun feature when swimming and also gives the relaxing sound of waterfalls.
6. Pool Hardscape
While some pool owners prefer the sleek clean lines and minimalist look for their pool, some want their pool to appear to be a work of nature. They will be interested in manipulating the area surrounding the pool with rocks and plants and designing an irregular pool shape that gives their pool the look of a naturally formed pool in the landscape.
The advances in the materials, as well as the construction techniques, allow pool owners to design a one of a kind shape that fits into their landscape to give their pools their unique appearance.
7. The Adjustable-Depth Pool
There is a company that is developing a pool with an adjustable-height platform that can be raised and lowered in the pool with the push of a button to the height you want at that particular time. When fully raised, the platform serves the purpose of a deck and can be used with furniture for an outdoor meal or casual seating. When lowered to splash pool depth, it will be perfect for the grandkids. Lower it even more and use your pool for water exercises or lower the platform to the maximum depth for swimming. Besides accommodating the various uses of the pool, the platform also functions as a safety feature and eliminates the need for a safety cover.
8. Automated Pool Covers
It used to require two or more people to maneuver a pool cover on and off the surface of your pool. Then, you tried to store the cover out of the way while you swam. The covers were unwieldy and difficult to wind on a spindle manually. Today, a touch of the remote, and your pool cover rolls up automatically while you swim, and then another touch of the remote unrolls the cover after you’ve finished swimming. Besides the convenience, you will save costs by keeping your pool cleaner and retaining heat.
9. Remote Controls
You can turn your pool filter on and off with a remote. The same is true for the pool lights and the light level. You can also use your mobile device to manage the pool chemical levels as well. Each time new pool technology allows a function of pool maintenance to be controlled with the remote, you will save time and money.
10. Salt Water Systems
While salt water systems are not new, they are only recently becoming popular for the backyard pool. A salt water system sends a continuous supply of chlorine to your pool, eliminating the build-up of chloramines, which cause the burning red eyes and asthma-like symptoms in swimmers. The water and a low level of salt are combined, and then a weak electric charge is introduced, which causes the molecules to form hypochlorous acid, a strong and safe sanitizer. After cleaning your pool of bacteria and other unwanted material, the salt molecules reform to be used again.
11. Robotic Vacuum
These have been around a while, but they also have been improved. Today’s robotic vacuums can crawl up the walls of your pool as well as the steps. They are much more efficient, have a greater capacity, and can be remote controlled.
12. Plunge Pools
Plunge pools are designed for the homeowner with a small yard. There are plunge pools that are less than ten feet long. Plunge pools can also be fitted with swim jets that give you the effect of swimming laps in this very compact backyard pool.
As backyard pools become more and more common, manufacturers are constantly making improvements in the designs, as well as the materials used to construct your pool. They also recognize the importance of making improvements in pool technology that allow the pool owner to enjoy being in their pool instead of maintaining and cleaning their pool. There are sure to be many more improvements in the future that will make pool ownership not only possible but affordable for everyone.