Houston winters are generally very mild and rarely involve snow. However, we inevitably experience a bit of a nip in the air every year well into January. When exactly these sudden temperature changes will arrive is also somewhat unpredictable. As many Houstonians know firsthand, a warm day can turn into sweater weather overnight this time of year!
Don’t let the chilly weather force you to stay indoors all winter! With a few special additions, your backyard will be comfortable regardless of the weather. For an especially cozy addition, how about giving yourself an outdoor fire to complete the winter atmosphere? And don’t worry–you’ll want to use your new fire feature even in the summer! Learn more about our different types of fire features here.
Why Install a Fire Feature?
Fire pits are natural crowd pleasers! An open flame provides the perfect focal point for a party, dinner under the stars, or even an at-home date night. Even better, that’s a section of the backyard where you don’t have to worry about lighting! No amount of fancy decor or electric lighting will be able to compete with the natural atmosphere of an outdoor fire pit.
Backyard Fire Pits
The most common fire feature homeowners choose is a fire pit. An inground stone fire pit not only provides an excellent accessory to any evening party, but it’s also the perfect place to grill over an open flame! Kids will also love the chance to roast marshmallows in their own backyard. Best of all, once the sun has set, the reflection of flames in your swimming pool is truly a sight to behold.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning to use your fire pit for cooking as well as for a party atmosphere, talk to your pool contractor about installing a wood-burning pit instead of a gas-powered one.
Bowls of Fire
A bowl of fire uses the same idea as a fire pit, but usually on a smaller scale and with a bit of a twist. Bowls of fire are generally used more for decoration than for functionality. While this does make them less useful if you want to cook over an open fire, their smaller size and greater versatility mean they can be installed just about anywhere. Some homeowners even have fire bowls installed on top of pool scuppers to put the flames right next to the water for a truly exotic appearance! Choosing a bowl of fire lets you get more creative with your placement and design.
Add a Flair to Your Backyard!
With the addition of a backyard fire pit, you’ll be ready to enjoy the rest of winter in outdoor comfort. And once summer comes, you won’t want to stop using your fire pit! What started as an addition to keep you warm and cozy will contribute to an appealing backyard atmosphere all year round.
Connect with us to see how our other clients incorporated backyard fire features into their designs!
Designing your ultimate backyard? Don’t forget a shady spot! Whether you opt for a patio cover, tree cluster, or just a big umbrella, setting up a shade structure near your pool elevates your entire backyard.
Any Houstonian knows the importance of shade on a hot day. And while comfort is certainly one of the larger reasons to set up a shade source, it’s far from the only reason. Here’s why your backyard needs a shaded area if you don’t already have one.
Shaded Water Aerobics
Do you use your pool to exercise? If not, try it out–water aerobics are fantastic and an excellent way to tone up! But just like any form of outdoor exercise, water aerobics can get pretty uncomfortable under a hot sun. That’s where a shade structure comes in! Protect yourself from the heat and work out in comfort.
Any Houstonian will know this advantage all too well. A sunburn, in addition to being painful, can lead to more serious health concerns if it keeps occurring. Don’t let the possibility of sunburn spoil your time outside! Shade part of your pool deck so you can swim or just read a book and enjoy the fresh air without burning.
Pro Tip: Even in the shade, don’t forget to wear sunscreen! Protect yourself from any reflected UV light.
Finally, shade just gives you a nice place to hang out. After all, who wants to bake in the sun while reading or napping? Setting up a shaded structure gives you the freedom to enjoy your backyard without enduring the heat or potential sunburns. Cover your outdoor spaces and start enjoying your newfound flexibility!
Customize Your Shade Near Your Pool
Once you’ve chosen the perfect shade structure for your backyard, make it your own! Mount speakers on a patio cover or string fairy lights on a big umbrella. Your new addition to the backyard will perfectly complement the rest of your decor. In the meantime, you get to enjoy a shaded area near your pool!
Connect with us to browse our collection of shade structure offerings.
One of the most fun parts of designing your own swimming pool is adding customized features just for yourself or your family. Each choice adds up to a swimming experience uniquely tailored to your preferences. And of all the features you can add, what’s more fun than a swimming pool slide? Kids and adults alike love sliding into the water! But how should you plan for this new addition to the backyard?
Planning for Your Swimming Pool Slide
Adding a slide to your pool is more complicated than just updating your design. You’ll need to consider such complications as how to keep the slide wet, safety regulations to follow, and whether or not homeowners’ guidelines will allow you to build one in the first place. Let’s take a look at the most important factors to investigate:
- Homeowners’ association regulations
- Safety considerations
- Keeping the slide wet
1) Homeowners’ Association Regulations
Local homeowners’ associations have rules in place about changes you can make to your property. Depending on their exact regulations, your slide may have to have certain dimensions or be a particular color. Even if you don’t think adding a slide will cause problems, make sure to look up your local HOA regulations first. Knowing your responsibilities ahead of time can save you fines and significant revisions later on.
Pro Tip: Besides HOA regulations, what might get in the way of adding custom pool features to your yard? See if you have any pipes, power cords, or other underground obstacles that could be a problem before construction begins.
2) Safety Considerations
How tall will the completed slide be? Will it be made of the same material as the rest of your pool? Will the stairway to reach the top need a handrail? While most safety regulations apply to slides that will be sitting next to your pool rather than build into the structure itself, you should consider how the design and size of the completed slide will impact your family’s safety.
3) Keeping the Slide Wet
For both comfort and safety’s sake, your new slide has to stay wet. After all, who wants friction burns from sliding down a dry slide in a wet swimsuit? Fortunately, you have a couple of options. The simpler method is to simply get out the garden hose whenever you plan on using your slide and spray the surface down or install a spray kit to keep the hose hooked up to your slide while it’s in use.
However, using the garden hose can lead not only to a chemical imbalance in your pool, but also to potentially causing the pool to overflow and cause water damage to your yard. The better solution is to ask your pool contractor to add plumbing to your slide to pull water from the pool and keep the slide wet. This way, you can enjoy your slide in comfort without the added problems of using a garden hose.
Enjoy Your New Slide!
It may seem complicated to deal with all the questions and safety concerns during the planning phase. But once you’re done, you’ll be getting a brand new swimming pool slide perfectly tailored to your preferences! What more could you ask for?
Connect with us for more information on the custom features we offer for your pool.
A swimming pool is a perfect addition to anyone’s backyard during the hot summer months. However, homeowners should remember that a swimming pool is still an open body of water. Even if you’re confident your family and friends know better than to get hurt while swimming, accidents may still happen. That’s why it’s so important to select and install good swimming pool safety features long before anything goes wrong.
Swimming Pool Safety Features
While not every item of pool safety equipment is legally required for homeowners, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to a swimming pool. Before you or anyone else start using your pool, make sure these features are installed and working properly:
- Pool fences
- Anti-entrapment equipment
1) Pool Fences
In Texas, swimming pool owners are required to install a 4-foot fence around an inground pool to prevent people from falling in. The law leaves room for particular appearances and styles, so long as a fence is constructed. This feature is especially critical for families with small children. Read more about your legal responsibilities and pool fence requirements here.
There are two primary types of safety covers for swimming pools: conventional tarp-like covers and a pool net. Both are about equally effective at preventing people from accidentally falling in, though they both have other pros and cons of their own. For instance, a pool net lets you enjoy the natural atmosphere of an open body of water at all times but doesn’t catch leaves that may fall into your pool. As long as you choose a reliable safety cover, the aesthetics are entirely your choice.
3) Anti-Entrapment Equipment
A pool or spa drain creates a powerful suction that even adults have trouble escaping. Imagine what could happen to a child! Because of the danger these drains can present, many pool owners are highly encouraged or required to use anti-entrapment equipment, which is simply pool parts that cover drains and facilitate a quick emergency shutdown if necessary. This is perhaps one of the most crucial pieces of pool safety equipment you could possibly buy. Learn more about this equipment’s legal history and your exact responsibilities here.
Pro Tip: The same requirements and recommendations for pool drain covers apply to public pools too. If you notice a public pool has uncovered drains, the risk isn’t worth it–find a safer place to swim.
Finally, one excellent way to secure your swimming pool is to make sure that no one gets in without your permission. Install alarms on pool covers, gates in pool fences, and any other access points so you know immediately if someone tries to sneak in. While it may not save someone from drowning, it can prevent the situation from ever escalating to that point in the first place.
Protecting Yourself and Others
You can never predict a swimming pool accident or emergency. If you or a friend make a mistake near the pool, you’ll be immensely grateful you made sure your swimming pool’s safety features were installed correctly and ready to protect you.
Join the conversation to learn more about keeping yourself and your friends safe around swimming pools.
Who doesn’t love a backyard pool party? Now that the weather is finally beginning to cool down, it’s the perfect time to have your friends and family over for a swim and a cookout. Is your backyard up to the challenge?
If your backyard needs a bit of a facelift before you can host party guests, make sure you know what to plan for. Do you entertain guests often? You’ll probably need a more elaborate backyard built to keep a large group comfortable. If your guests tend to be small friend gatherings instead of huge groups, you may not need quite as many lavish accessories. Let’s take a look at different features that may be appropriate for different backyard uses.
How Many Guests and How Often?
Do you host the entire neighborhood every weekend, or is your backyard just the occasional hangout spot for yourself and a few friends? Ultimately, your backyard’s features depend on your party habits. For frequent parties involving dozens of guests, a fully furnished outdoor kitchen and covered dining area will give you and your partygoers plenty of room to cook and share a big meal. On the other hand, if you don’t entertain crowds nearly that often, you may just want a few smaller features. A fire pit or hearth gives you the chance to cook a few simple dishes over an open fire, for instance, or you could opt for a slightly less lavish outdoor kitchen better suiting your smaller gatherings.
Who are You Hosting For?
Regardless of the number of guests, it’s also important to consider who is coming to your house and why. Hosting a birthday party is very different from hosting a semi-formal dinner with your boss. Who you’re hosting has an immediate effect on your entire evening from the food you serve to the outfit you wear to greet everyone. However, it can and should also affect the semi-permanent features you add to your backyard. A swimming pool may be a great idea for birthdays and family reunions, while it’s less of a good feature for a business dinner. Plan your backyard design around your most frequent guests.
Will You Use the Backyard Yourself?
If you don’t spend much time in your backyard outside of holding parties there, there may not be much point in installing elaborate features that will barely be used. Fortunately, there are two possible solutions to this problem. The first is to install protection over rarely used features to lower required maintenance and ensure they’re ready for your next party. For instance, if your pool mainly exists for birthday parties and those don’t happen very often, keep it covered when not in use to keep bugs and leaves out.
The second solution is to simply spend more time outside! After all, that new pool or outdoor kitchen is as much for you as your guests. Take advantage of it and soak up some sun as the weather begins to cool down.
Pro Tip: Between parties, convert your covered outdoor dining area into a storage space or hangout area with some comfy chairs. Add a single-stall bathroom or closet for an especially relaxing environment!
A Backyard Pool Party to Remember!
A custom-designed backyard is a perfect way to enjoy the pleasant weather and entertain your friends. As you plan your backyard pool party, consider upgrading a few existing backyard accessories or adding some new ones. You may be surprised at what a difference it makes!
Join the conversation for more pool party ideas and tips on backyard hosting.
Adding a swimming pool to your backyard already gives your house a unique flare and certainly more curb appeal. Why not step it up a little? Make this new custom swimming pool as uniquely yours as possible with a few extra features. Your pool contractor will help you make your vision a reality.
Customizing Your Dream Backyard
A custom pool is designed to fit perfectly with the rest of your backyard, along with your overall home aesthetic. As part of your design, you should consider any additional custom features that appeal to you. Do any of these popular choices match your backyard design?
A fire pit, a bowl of fire, or another fire feature near your swimming pool adds an exotic atmosphere to your backyard. Imagine what an after-dark pool party would look like! As a bonus, adventurous homeowners can hold a marshmallow roasting session over an open fire without going on a long camping trip.
Fountains are always a popular way to make elegant use of water. You can replicate this on a smaller scale by adding bubblers to your pool, filling your backyard with the sound of softly splashing water. For a truly magical look, install LED lights in your bubblers and flip them on after dark.
How many people can say they’ve swum under a bridge before? If your swimming pool pinches to a narrow point, a bridge not only gives you a quick way across, but it also gives you the unique opportunity to swim underneath a bridge in your own backyard. Connect different parts of your pool or yard with an elegant bridge!
Waterfalls are a simple but elegant way to make decorative use of the water in your pool. Whether you opt for a natural-looking waterfall over a rock formation or a more modern waterfall that looks like a sheet of glass, your custom pool builder will help you find the perfect waterfall to match your overall pool aesthetic.
Pro Tip: The sound of running water is almost universally considered soothing and comforting. A waterfall gives you the chance to enjoy a relaxing sound as you swim or host a party!
Looking for a special way to entertain your kids or frequent guests? What about a pool slide? Add an equally elegant and stable stone pool slide to your design for an additional fun feature. Combine a slide with a rock waterfall for a particularly creative appearance!
Your Backyard Paradise
A custom swimming pool is a perfect addition to your unique backyard paradise, and a great way to show off your creativity in pool design. Choose some custom features from the list or talk with your swimming pool builder about your own ideas. Make your pool match your home and your personality!
Join the conversation for more custom pool design ideas.