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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Bucket race
- Balloon boat race
- Underwater obstacle course
- Treasure hunt
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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Adding a custom swimming pool to your backyard? Why stop there? Your entire backyard design can complement your swimming pool and create a perfectly well-rounded experience for yourself and your guests.
Pool landscaping can take many different forms or styles depending on what you’d like to showcase with your efforts. For most people, the goal is to create a comfortable, visually appealing backyard with a pool as the centerpiece. Let’s look at a few key features you can use in your backyard to create the perfect look.
Plants are the perfect way to add a soft, natural look to your backyard. Your choice of plants can even communicate the atmosphere you want to emulate. For a tropical feel, plant some palm trees or ferns near your pool. Alternatively, a vegetable garden or gently creeping plants will complement a pond-like pool for an enchanted atmosphere. Finally, a modern home and backyard design is perfectly suited to a few well-manicured hedges and a neatly mowed lawn.
Pro Tip: Plants growing near your pool can drop leaves and twigs into the water. Make sure to scoop them out regularly to avoid clogging the filters.
If you’ll be spending a lot of time in your backyard, why not move your cooking outside too? An outdoor kitchen lets you prepare yourself a good meal and host cookouts near your pool. Customize whatever appliances and equipment you need to suit your cooking habits. Your guests will love the chance to cook and eat right by the pool, and so will you!
Patio covers or similar structures give you the chance to create an outdoor living room to complement your new outdoor kitchen. Why take your dinner inside to eat when you can relax in the shade outside? Customize your new patio cover to perfectly complement the rest of your house and provide an extension for your backyard area.
Backyard Designs that Complement Your Pool
Your swimming pool is the centerpiece of your new backyard, and as such, needs a few complementary designs to make it truly feel natural. Fortunately, with a little creativity, it’s easy to design an outdoor living space stylized exactly to your preferences. Browse what other people did with their pools for more ideas!
Connect with us to schedule your pool consultation today!