Why Your Backyard Needs Hardscape Design

Why Your Backyard Needs Hardscape Design

Why Your Backyard Needs Hardscape Design

So you’ve finally decided to give your backyard the attention it deserves. Congrats! Outdoor living spaces are more popular (and practical) than ever. While some elements are no-brainers (pool, patio) some take a bit more thought. How will you tie your pool and patio together? Will there be any secondary lounging or conversation locations around the yard? Hardscape isn’t usually at the forefront of people’s minds when updating their backyard, but here’s why it should be! Click To Tweet

Hardscape Design

The grounds around your home make the first impression on guests and passersby. Updating a drab or outdated backyard is a great investment and can make your home a destination for friends and family. Hardscape design refers to the elements in your outdoor design that are not living (stone, pavers, patio, walkways, retaining walls, etc.). Your backyard needs a combination of hardscape and landscaping to achieve a good visual balance.

Communicates a Theme

Hardscapes can be relaxed or formal, but the best ones convey a well-defined style and theme. Think of a phrase that describes your vision and stick with it. After selecting your style, choose materials that complement your home’s interior and exterior. You don’t want to have to look at a hardscape with all one color or material, just as you don’t want anything dramatically different than the rest of your home. Here are some ideas for a theme:

  • Grecian garden
  • Tuscan vineyard
  • Modern minimalism
  • Beachside bungalow

Incorporates Your Pool

A backyard with a pool is good, but a backyard with a pool and beautifully executed landscape and hardscape design is great. If you install a pool without thought to the rest of the space, the result could lack cohesion. A thoughtfully designed patio, outdoor living area, pool and landscape with hardscape will give you the most bang for your buck

Pro Tip: Use hardscape and landscape to tie together the various zones of your backyard, making a cohesive design.

Go With a Professional

Successful hardscape design and installation depend on having a landscape designer who knows your style. If you’re embarking on a project that involves a structural wall or a hill with stability issue, you’ll want a team of professional handling it. They’ll be able to prevent serious damage.

Contact Us to learn more about designing a breathtaking backyard. Use our outdoor living gallery to inspire your pool and hardscape design.

How to Cool Your Pool This Summer

How to Cool Your Pool This Summer

There’s nothing worse than jumping into your inground pool on a hot summer day only to find that it’s the temperature of tepid bathwater. So disappointing! This is a common issue that many homeowners encounter after they’ve opted to forgo a chiller. It might be tempting to pass on the initial expense of a chiller, but the Texas heat can wreak havoc on your pool without it. Click To Tweet

Cool Your Pool With a Chiller

Just a 10-degree drop in pool temperature can cause your water’s chemical balance to be completely thrown off. Warm water requires more chemical to balance all the organisms that thrive in warmth.

How It Works

As your pool water circulates through the system, refrigerated airflow removes the heat from the water as it passes. The chilled water is then pumped back into your pool, maintaining refreshing water temps even on the hottest days.

Reversible Pump

Many heat pumps use a refrigerant to maintain a steady swimming pool water temperature. If your pool is set at 70 degrees and drops below that, it will heat circulating water up to get the temperature up. Alternately, a pool set at 70 degrees will be cooled if temperatures go above that.  It may be more beneficial to get a heat pump that can be reversed and used as a chiller to keep your swimming pool cool.

Always Ready

Without a heat pump in the winter and a chiller in the summer, you won’t be able to use your pool year round. It will fluctuate between too cold or too warm, with only a narrow window of perfect. Invest in a heat pump chiller and get the most out of your swimming pool!

Contact Us to learn more about the best system for your pool.

The Great Debate: Saltwater vs Chlorine Pools

The Great Debate: Saltwater vs Chlorine Pools

A clear, sparkling pool in the backyard can make it feel like you have your own island oasis. Taking a dip in the cool water is a refreshing escape from the summer heat. If you’re considering installing a pool in your backyard, you may be conflicted as to what kind to get. Saltwater or chlorine. Chlorinated pools have been around for more than 70 years, while salt water pools are still a recent invention. There are several notable differences between saltwater and chlorine pools, but which is best? Click To Tweet

Saltwater vs Chlorine Pools

The idea of a saltwater pool is a bit misleading, as it still contains chlorine. The actual salt content of a saltwater pool is quite low, at levels similar to human tears! The big difference between the 2 is that a saltwater pool uses salt that passes through a chlorinator and produces hypochlorous acid for sanitation through electrolysis. Chlorinated pools use the addition of chlorine tablets to sanitize the water.

Cost

The costs associated with a chlorinated pool are typically less than a saltwater pool. They are less expensive upfront and do not require a chlorinator or saltwater generator, which must run many hours per day in a saltwater pool.

Maintenance

Saltwater pools need to be drained annually and tested regularly to ensure that ph levels are normal. Chlorinated pools also require regular pH testing, but don’t need to be drained unless there’s a problem.

Longevity

If you are considering renovating or converting a traditional chlorine pool to a saltwater system, keep in mind that salt is fairly corrosive. The salt water may have adverse effects to pool parts, such as the lighting, liner, and masonry. Surrounding landscaping may also be damaged by salt water.

Zodiak Fusion

Using zodiac fusion and adding ozone to a chlorinated pool can significantly and safely lower chlorine levels. The Zodiac fusion process introduces copper and silver ions to the water. Ozone acts as a super shock to kill bacteria and pathogens in the pool. This effectively lowers the amount of chlorine necessary to keep a chlorinated pool clean. Aquascapes uses both of these techniques in all chlorinated pools.

Contact Us to learn more about zodiak fusion and how it can optimize your pool.

5 Beautiful Ways to Make Your Pool Stand Out

5 Beautiful Ways to Make Your Pool Stand Out

As summer approaches, it’s finally time to start getting your pool ready to impress. Having friends and family around to enjoy your backyard escape can create lasting memories. There are many ways to make your pool stand out from the rest, from small changes like lighting, to complete renovations and landscaping. Your backyard is an extension of your home, so ensuring that your pool is part of a cohesive design will add value and beauty to the space. Click To Tweet

Make Your Pool Stand Out

Everyone with a pool dreams of having a beautiful backyard oasis. You want a space that feels inviting, beautiful and tranquil. You want places to sit, sounds to enjoy, and maybe a kitchen for summer meal prep. Whatever your vision, the right designer can make your dreams a reality.

1) Update Coping

If your pool is in generally good shape, but just needs a light renovation, swap out the old coping for something new. Coping is a cap for the edge of the pool, which is both functional and decorative. Adding tile to this creates visual interest and detail. Alternately, you may want to cover the coping by slightly extending your pool patio over the pool’s edge, creating a modern, seamless transition from patio to pool.

2) Add a Water Feature

Water features enhance your pool tremendously, by blocking outside noise and providing ambiance to your backyard. Waterfalls can be made of stacked natural stone, or scuppers can be built into the side of your pool for a sleek, cohesive design.

3) Fire

The fire pits of the past are mobile and separate from your pool. Modern fire pits can be built into pillars around your pool for an exquisite, breathtaking sight. A night swim with fire features is about as magical as it gets!

4) Outdoor Living Areas

A pool by itself is a tremendous asset to your backyard, but a pool with a shade structure and outdoor living room or kitchen will more than pay for itself. Outdoor living areas act as an extension of your home’s usable space, allowing for more comfortable entertaining and leisure. An outdoor kitchen will put the neighbors to shame and make your house the center of every Saturday afternoon.

5) Pergola

A pergola is the perfect shade structure to provide a private seating area or alfresco dining table. Plant climbing ivy or bougainvillea to really make it shine.  You can feature it front and center or tuck it away to encourage quiet conversations and relaxation.  

Time For A Change

If you’re tired of the sight that greets you when you look outside, it’s probably time for a change. Your pool should take your breath away and tempt you to go outside. Dressing up your pool with the right additions will dazzle guests and encourage outdoor entertaining and fun.

Contact Us to find out how to make your backyard the talk of the neighborhood!

5 Easy Changes to Update the Look of Your Pool

5 Easy Changes to Update the Look of Your Pool

Is your backyard boring? Could your swimming pool use a facelift? In order to keep up with changing tastes and trends, you may need to make some smart improvements or additions to your pool. Something as small as new pool lighting can dramatically change the look and feel of your backyard.

Smart Changes That Pack a Big Punch

If your pool is in generally good shape but lacking that WOW factor, aesthetic changes can make a big impression.  Whether is just needs a thorough cleaning or a full resurfacing, a pool professional will be able to help advise you on renovation possibilities. Something you fear will be a massive undertaking might turn out to be a quick fix.

1) Custom Features

Adding custom features like waterfalls, slides or bubblers can add visual interest to your pool and update the whole feel of it. The addition of water features to an existing backyard swimming pool adds elegance and auditory ambiance to your backyard; ranging from a soft comforting trickle of water to an imposing cascade capable of drowning out the neighborhood noise.

2) Lighting

LED lighting offers a huge variety of options, from color changing bulbs to pulsating disco lights. Swimming pool lights not only add safety to night time swimming, but they add an aesthetic touch and unique appeal to any swimming pool. They also use less energy than traditional lights, which will save you a little money.

3) Waterline Tile

Updating the tile along your pool’s waterline can give it a polished, finished look. If the waterline tile is missing grout or just outdated, consider replacing the old tile with something new. It’s a great way to give it an updated look and can prevent costly leaks. Opt for something with a bit of shimmer to play on the water for a beautiful, sparkling effect.

4) Extreme Cleaning

If your pool and patio have started to wear their age, you may need to invest in a pressure or chemical washing. Keep in mind that only pools made of plaster, exposed aggregate or concrete are strong enough to withstand the power of a pressure washer. Pools constructed with vinyl or fiberglass must be cleaned using chemical treatments or other non-abrasive methods. To remove calcium carbonate deposits, use a pumice stone, stain eraser or scale remover.

5) Decking

Updating or refreshing decking can change the entire dynamic of your backyard. Cement can be dyed almost any color imaginable or can be stamped to mimic wood or stone in appearance.  Pool coping can also be updated with the addition of natural stone or tile.

Update the Look of Your Pool to Increase Value

Pool renovations, even small ones, are an investment in your home value. Your pool was expensive to build, and while renovations can seem costly, they’re definitely worth it in the end. Improving your pool’s appearance will make it look newer and will, in turn, make it more desirable to buyers.

To find out how custom features and smart improvements can update the look of your pool, Contact Us.

Pool Problems: When to Repair and When to Replace

Pool Problems: When to Repair and When to Replace

Swimming pools provide year-round fun for the whole family and are the perfect way to connect with friends and bond with loved ones. However, pools don’t take care of themselves and require regular maintenance in order to get the intended lifespan of the pool. In addition to routine maintenance, be aware that there might be some pool problems to deal with over time, that might require repairs or even replacement.

Common Pool Problems

Pool pumps, coping stones, and skimmers are a few pool parts to pay attention to and monitor how they are working in order to prevent and fix pool problems. So, how do you know whether you should repair or replace these pool features? Here are some helpful tips to help you decide whether you need to replace them completely, or if you can get by with a simple repair.

Pool Pumps

Your pool pump is one of the most important pieces of equipment that goes along with your pool. It is needed to help keep your pool clean and hygienic.

Bearings

The most common issue with pumps are the bearings wearing out. Bearings are the most vulnerable part of the pump and you will sometimes hear an abnormal sound or whirring when there is a bearing issue. Bearings are an easy repair and can be done without a lot of cost or time.

Impellers

Another component of the pump that needs watching is the impeller. Impellers are known to clog, especially if there are large amounts of debris your pump is attempting to pass. Other times, the washers, nuts, or diffuser bolts come loose on the impellers and clog the system. As long as the impeller is not broken or deformed, it can be repaired. Broken or deformed impellers will need replacing.

Pump Motors

Occasionally, the motor in the pump will overheat or even burn out over time. This is typically due to negligence. This can occur when there is a sudden amperage increase of the grid current, over speeding caused by dehydration, or bad bearings, or poor circuits. If there is no damage to the overheated motor shaft, there might be a way to repair it, otherwise, contact your pool experts to discuss replacement options.

Coping Stones

Coping is the capstone and top of your pool wall. It is used to finish the pool’s edge and make your pool flush with your deck. Sometimes coping needs replacements or repairs and it is important to occasionally inspect these stones.

Loose Stones

Depending on the type of pool or coping you have, over time you might encounter some loose stones. If the stones wobble when you stand on them, there could be safety issues. Most the time, these stones can be reset by chipping out the old mortar and replacing it with a new thin-set mortar. If your coping has cracked, it might be more beneficial to replace them.

Crumbling Joints

The joints at the coping stones can sometimes crumble and crack. If it is a small crack, it should be fine, however, cracks large enough to allow water in them can cause serious damage. It could be due to chemical breakdown over time or a force applying too much pressure to that area. Again, it is best to check with a professional and have them come out to remove and refill the crumbling joints.

Pool Skimmers

Your pool skimmer plays an important role in removing floating debris from your pool. Skimmers are embedded into the concrete which creates an opportunity for issues. Pool skimmers need regular maintenance, repair and sometimes replacement.

Clogged Skimmers

Skimmers attach to the skimmer pipe and can sometimes get clogged. If you suspect your skimmer is clogged, you might want to see if a plumber’s snake will work to break up the clog. If this doesn’t work, building up and releasing pressure in the line by blocking it with a tennis ball might be a solution. If you still are unable to clear the line, make sure to contact a pool professional to assist you.

Leaking Skimmers

Skimmers are a very common place for leaks. If your skimmer has pulled away from the concrete and is leaking, use an underwater pool putty or silicone rubber to temporarily stop the leak. Then, make sure to call your pool professionals to come and replace or repair the leaking and possibly cracked skimmer.

Skimmer Lids & Weirs

Skimmer lids and weirs are plastic and do wear out over time due to exposure to the sun and other weather. Broken lids can be dangerous if someone accidentally steps on it! The skimmer weir is the important flapper that creates a small waterfall into the basket and helps draw debris into the skimmer. Both of these items should be replaced if damaged.

Concrete and Gunite

Concrete and gunite pools are the most common types of pools in the United States. Once the pool is poured into its frame, the gunite or concrete might be painted, tiled or left plain.

Cracks

If you see a crack in your pool–don’t freak out immediately! Small cracks are typically only in the plaster coating and can be repaired by draining and resurfacing the pool. However, if the crack is larger than a foot or goes completely to the gunite or concrete, it may need to be widened, filled and then refinished. This type of repair is best left to a professional.

Hollow Spots

Sometimes substrate materials separate from the pool causing hollow spots. This leaves sections unsupported and can appear as bulges, divots or a spider web. This, like cracks, needs to be refilled and resurfaced.  

Popping Up

Popping up can be a serious issue. Sometimes, when people live near a high water table–like along the coastline–hydrostatic pressure can cause your pool to literally pop out of the ground. Sometimes, the only option is to demolish your existing pool and start fresh. Make sure to contact a pool professional immediately if you suspect your pool is popping up.

Pool Problems? Contact a Professional

Swimming pools are a fun and relaxing addition to your backyard, but they do come with regular upkeep and repairs. Make sure to perform maintenance, or hire professional pool services to ensure your pool stays safe and without issues.

To learn more about whether you need to repair or replace any parts of your pool, Contact Us.