Pool Maintenance: DIY or Hire a Pro?

Pool Maintenance: DIY or Hire a Pro?

Pool Maintenance: DIY or Hire a Pro?

If you’re having your swimming pool built in the fall to reduce your wait time, you’re probably looking ahead to the near future for plans. You’ll be able to host pool parties in your own backyard once it’s done, after all! But what happens when the party ends and it’s time to clean up? Do you have a long-term plan to keep your pool clean?

Basic pool maintenance is rarely challenging on its own. The biggest problem you’ll have to deal with is simply finding the time to get all the tasks done. Unfortunately, if you’re an especially busy homeowner, you may struggle to dedicate enough time to do a good job cleaning your pool. When you find yourself in that situation, it’s time to ask: should you stick to DIY or hire a pro?

As a busy homeowner, should you perform DIY pool maintenance or hire someone to help? Here’s how to decide. #AquascapesPools Click To Tweet

Time & Performance

How familiar are you with cleaning and caring for your swimming pool? You probably already know the importance of scooping out leaves and twigs periodically, but do you know the proper chemical balance to prevent algae from forming? What about how to repair or replace a faulty pool filter? If your knowledge is lacking, you may find yourself struggling to do a good job on your own.

On the other hand, even an expert knowledge of pool maintenance doesn’t do much good if you don’t have time to keep your pool clean. Maybe you travel frequently or work long hours and can’t afford the time to dedicate to keeping your pool clean. And unfortunately, a neglected swimming pool will gradually become more and more unpleasant to use.

How Professionals Can Help

When you hire a professional to take care of your pool, you can rest assured they know exactly what they’re doing. They’ve been thoroughly trained to keep your pool as clean as possible using only the best products. Additionally, you never have to worry about them running out of time to care for your pool. Their schedules are built to ensure they take care of every client on time. Your pool will always be sparkling clean!

Pro Tip: Professional pool cleaners may also give you tips on how to prevent your pool from becoming too dirty in between service visits. That way, you don’t have to wait for a visit to keep using your pool!

What Should You Never Do on Your Own?

Even if you opt to handle some or all of the pool maintenance work yourself, there are still several tasks you should always delegate to a professional. Some are simply too risky for you to attempt without expert knowledge. Call an expert to handle these significant issues:

  • Cracks in the pool shell
  • Burnt-out motor or pumps
  • Leaky pipes or hardware
  • Severe algae growth

Enjoy Your Clean Pool!

Whether you ultimately decide to stick with DIY or hire a pro, you and your guests will always appreciate a well-maintained swimming pool for parties and hangouts. If you’d rather save money and get a little exercise, make your monthly pool cleaning your personal DIY project! On the other hand, if you find the time commitment and work too much to handle, hire a professional to give your pool the best treatment possible.

Would you rather DIY or hire a pro for your pool cleaning work? Let us know and learn more about the advantages of either scenario.

Why You Need Shade Near Your Swimming Pool

Why You Need Shade Near Your Swimming Pool

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.

If you get too much sun in your backyard or pool, it’s time to find a good shade structure to protect yourself! Learn more about the advantages of shade here. #AquascapesPools Click To Tweet

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.

Sunburn Protection

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.

Comfort

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.

Keep Bugs Out of Your Swimming Pool with These Simple Solutions

Keep Bugs Out of Your Swimming Pool with These Simple Solutions

If you’re planning to spend time outside in your pool, what’s the only thing worse than Houston heat that might hold you back? Probably bugs. Whether bees, wasps, or mosquitos, bugs in the backyard are one of the least pleasant obstacles to a fun afternoon in the pool.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to keep bugs out of the swimming pool. Before you call an exterminator, try one of these simple tricks to prevent the bugs from settling in and ruining your afternoon.

Insects in your swimming pool are unpleasant and potentially unsafe. Try one of these easy methods to make your pool less appealing and encourage the bugs to move on. Click To Tweet

Get Rid of Mosquitoes

When it comes to mosquitoes, the best strategy is prevention. Maintain the proper pool chemistry to keep any mosquito eggs from surviving, and cover your pool when it’s not in use. Dump standing water in buckets or other landscaping fixtures and replace the water in any fountains or other features regularly. Don’t let them get a foothold in your yard.

If mosquitoes have already moved in, then it’s time to take stronger measures. Find a method to kill the ones already there and keep more from coming. One excellent choice is a mosquito mister, a device that sprays pesticides all around your yard. Just make sure to check with your local regulations first to make sure the chemicals you’re using are allowed. Some homeowners also set up a pond to attract dragonflies, the natural predator of mosquitoes. This is an effective method of curbing local mosquito growth in your local neighborhood as well as your backyard–you’ll be doing your neighbors a service!

Pro Tip: Aquascapes offers mosquito mister installation to keep bugs from ruining your afternoon! Get in touch with us to install your mister and keep your backyard mosquito-free.

Discourage Wasps from Moving In

Wasps are not easy to get rid of. Since they’re regarded as somewhat beneficial bugs, it’s best to try simply encouraging them to leave before you call an exterminator. You have two primary methods at your disposal for this. First, you can purchase and hang up decoy wasp nests to convince your unwanted visitors that other wasps are already living there. Since wasps are very territorial insects, they’ll look elsewhere.

Second, you can hang a chunk of raw meat far away from your pool to encourage the wasps to go there for a snack. Just don’t hang a piece that’s too big, or the wasps won’t be able to finish it all and it will rot.

Keep Bees Out of Your Pool

If you see bees hovering around your pool, chances are they’re after the water. The best way to get around this is to offer them an alternative source of water to drink. Set up a small fountain or waterer with a rock inside so they can climb out if they fall in. Not only will this keep the bees out of your pool, but you’ll also be helping the bees!

Unfortunately, an alternative source of water won’t be enough for every bee swarm. If you still can’t convince them to leave, set a few dryer sheets outside under a weight or in a decorative basket. Bees hate the smells dryer sheets produce. Even as you get to enjoy the fresh scent, the bees will want to move on.

Maintain a Bug-Free Pool

Not every bug problem requires an exterminator’s solution. As in the case of important bugs like bees, sometimes it just requires offering an alternative to keep the bugs happy. But your goal is ultimately to maintain a safe, enjoyable swimming experience for yourself and your family. Don’t let bugs ruin that for you! Keep bugs out of your swimming pool and enjoy your autumn.

Join the conversation to learn more about keeping bugs out of your swimming pool and maintaining a fun environment.

5 Swimming Pool Games for Kids

5 Swimming Pool Games for Kids

What do kids like more than a private swimming pool in the backyard? Playing swimming pool games, of course! Whether it’s a made-up game or one with predetermined rules, kids love playing in the pool on a hot day.

These swimming pool games for kids are sure to entertain swimmers of all ages! #outdoorliving Click To Tweet

Playing in the Pool

For a more structured playtime, encourage your kids to try playing a game while they swim. Not only will this encourage their enjoyment and usage of your swimming pool, but depending on the game choice, you may be able to sneak some education into their playtime! Here are a few popular pool games your kids are sure to love:

  1. Bucket race
  2. Balloon boat race
  3. Underwater obstacle course
  4. Treasure hunt
  5. Push relay

1) Bucket Race

Sink two buckets in the pool, toss in some sinking pool toys, and have the kids try to fill their team’s bucket first. Who’s going to win?

For a couple of variations on this game, try floating buckets instead so your kids have to surface frequently during the game. If you prefer an educational twist, use balls with numbers written on them and have the kids add up their score afterward. Whoever has the most points wins!

2) Balloon Boat Race

Buy or build a few little balloon boats and have your kids race them across the pool. Try stirring up the water first or, if you prefer not to race, see if you can get the boats to glide in circles in the pool water. These tiny little toys are sure to entertain and delight!

3) Underwater Obstacle Course

With a few hula hoops, set up an underwater obstacle course for your kids to swim through. Tie some string to the hoops and weigh them down to keep them underwater. For a real challenge, vary the lengths of each string so your hoops float at different heights.

4) Treasure Hunt

Toss some change into the pool, set a timer, and let your kids scoop up as much as possible! This is a great way to get rid of the excess change we always seem to have, as well as give the kids a chance to practice math by counting their winnings. Just make sure none of the coins get stuck in a pool drain or they may cause damage to the pipes.

5) Push Relay

Give your kids a chance to practice treading water! Divide everyone into two teams, each with an even number of players, and have them try to rush a large ball or watermelon to the other side of the pool without touching the pool floor. Whoever gets to the other side first wins.

Pro Tip: Using a watermelon gives the winning team a snack after the race is over!

Games in the Swimming Pool!

A warm summer day is the perfect time to try some of these entertaining games with your kids. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get in on the fun too! Enjoy your swimming pool while the warm weather lasts.

Join the conversation to learn more about swimming pool games and how to encourage kids to play outside.

Designing a Backyard Ready for Pool Parties

Designing a Backyard Ready for Pool Parties

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.

Is your backyard up to the challenge of hosting awesome pool parties? Here’s how to plan and design the perfect backyard for lots of fun! Click To Tweet

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.

Restoring a Neglected Swimming Pool

Restoring a Neglected Swimming Pool

Have you just bought a pre-owned house with a swimming pool that was clearly not maintained well? Alternatively, have you just not kept up to date on caring for your own swimming pool? Regardless of why your pool is now green and disgusting, it’s important that you clean it up quickly to prevent further damage and keep your family from getting sick.

Restoring a neglected swimming pool takes significantly more work and time than simple pool maintenance. However, with the right tools and cleaning supplies, you’ll have a sparkling pool again in no time. Here’s how to restore your pool and get started swimming again.

A neglected swimming pool quickly becomes a hotbed of algae and potential sickness. Here’s how to reverse the process. Click To Tweet

Decide Whether or Not to Drain the Pool

For a severely neglected swimming pool, the best way to clean it is to drain all the water, sanitize the pool shell to kill the algae, and refill the pool. However, about the only type of swimming pool that can be completely drained safely is a gunite pool. A pool with a fiberglass shell will likely “float” out of the ground, especially if your area has a high water table. Double-check to make sure that your pool can be safely drained before you begin cleaning. 

Clean the Pool Shell

Although it’s certainly easier to clean the pool shell when the water has been drained, regardless of whether you drain the water or not, you’ll need to clean the shell very thoroughly. Start by vacuuming the bottom of the pool. Once you’re done, scrub the entire shell with a rough algae brush to knock as much algae off as you can. Don’t try to vacuum up the algae–your goal is to kill the growth, not merely make it appear to go away.

Restore the Water

Once you’re done scrubbing the shell, note the pH of the water for later reference so you can balance it properly. Shock your pool at least twice with chlorine shock, refill the pool to its proper level, and turn the filter on. Leave the filter running constantly for up to five days and monitor the water to make sure it’s becoming clearer. Once the water appears clean enough, balance the pH as necessary. You’re finally ready to start swimming again!

Pro Tip: When you shock your pool to kill the algae, the pool shock you use MUST contain at least 70% chlorine. Any less will not be nearly as effective in killing the algae permanently.

Get Your Sparkling Clean Pool Back

Not only is a neglected swimming pool gross, but it also could make you or your family sick if you attempt to use it or even leave it alone for too long. Additionally, if algae and bacteria have plenty of time to grow, irreversible damage may occur. Your best course of action is to clean your pool as quickly and as thoroughly as possible and maintain that same level of cleanliness.

Join the conversation to learn more about swimming pool restoration and maintenance.