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3 of the Top Kid-Friendly Water Features for the Backyard

Kids love playing with water, so what better way to keep them entertained than adding kid-friendly water features to a backyard or pool landscape?  Some of the best pool water features are tried and true, and now more than ever there are ways to put a modern spin on them while also being able to keep a classy and chic backyard atmosphere.  

 

Slides.  Integrating a slide into the landscape of a pool is a beautiful way to provide children with a fun and enticing water experience.  Water slides come in a variety of sizes which can be presented within the landscaping of a pool, whether it be tiles, rocks, or other landscaping.  A slide with a gentle curve can offer a safer, slower speed, but for kids who love a fast drop into the swimming pool, a straight slide is the way to go. 

 

Diving Boards.  Diving boards have changed over the years, evolving into higher end water features that come in a variety of unique shapes and natural colors.  They are still some of the most exciting pool water features for children who love to splash and swim.  And for parents who would rather not look at a diving board that stands out from the rest of the pool, a unique board can be designed to fit in with the character of the pool design. 

 

Splash Pads.  A splash pad is essentially a unique type of water playground which excites children of any age.  The non-slip surface and lack of standing water make this backyard water feature a safe and fun place to cool down on a hot summer day.  Streams of water shower, mist, or shoot from the various nozzles creating an inviting and interactive experience that kids love.  A splash pad can keep kids entertained for hours, right in the backyard.  

 

 

Customize Your Charlotte Pool Design with a Pebble Tec Finish

Once you’ve designed your backyard, selected your desired features, and built the new swimming pool, you’re mostly done with the pool construction process. However, before you fill your newly-minted swimming pool with water, you’ll need to customize it with a finish of your choice. There is no better pool finish option – either for Charlotte pool design or for the pool design industry as a whole – than Pebble Tec finish.

 

Born in 1960s Australia, where master carpenters developed a method for applying aggregate finishes – in essence, finishes comprised of exposed pebbles and several other ingredients – to decks, pools, and other surfaces to create a natural, durable, and visually striking finish. In the 1980s, these pool specialists traveled to the Australia, witnessed the wonderful simplicity but remarkable strength of the aggregate finish, and returned to the United States to acquire a patent and found Pebble Tec.

 

Now, Pebble Tec is a popular design feature and pool finish all over the country, and is overwhelming popularity in Charlotte pool design market. Pebble Tec employs trained installers and licensed applicators for its aggregate finish throughout the United States. It all starts with Pebble Tec representatives, who dig through riverbeds to find the best pebbles for pool and deck finishes. These pebbles are then blended with cement to create a finish that can be applied to pools and spas. The end result is a pool finish that allows pool owners to have the feel and look of a riverbed right in their own private residential pool.

 

After careful application, which involves hand troweling to make sure that the Pebble Tec finish has been applied evenly in all areas of the pool, the finish is cleaned several times as it hardens. The final result is even, smooth, and free of cement impurities or messy loose stones. If you are looking for the strongest and most natural looking pool finish for your next Charlotte pool design, choose Pebble Tec: there’s a reason this finish is renowned all across the country.

5 Pool Tile Trends Worth Investing In

Pool tile options can make the different between a generic garden-variety pool and a gorgeous visual tour-de-force that makes your entire backyard look like an oasis of tasteful design and enjoyable relaxation. If you are looking to inject your pool with its own unique design sensibility, the five pool tile trends listed below can provide you with numerous different ways to do so.

 

1. Glass: In modern pool design, ornate glass tiling has become arguably the most popular pool tile trend available. With a wide range of colors and shapes available, many pool owners use glass tiling mosaics on the walls and floors of their pool to add a splash of luxury that most other pool tile options can’t touch.

 

2. Porcelain: While porcelain isn’t generally considered as visually striking as glass by pool tile trend markers, it has one advantage above virtually all other pool tile options: durability. Porcelain is an incredibly strong tiling material, but is also lightweight – making it easy to handle and build into your pool – and zero percent absorbent, meaning it can last at the bottom of your pool for years at a time.

 

3. Stone: Give your backyard swimming pool a natural wading pool feel with stone pool tiling. Combined with water features and paired with complimentary landscaping, stone is arguably the most classic pool tile option on the market, and is therefore a trend that will never go out of style.

 

4. Glazed Tile: Glazed tile is perhaps the pool tile that most people expect to see in swimming pools, thanks to their experiences with hotels pools and spas. The glazed pool tile trend is a particularly great one to invest in if you have a taste for images or patterns in your pool, such as wave-like designs along the sides of the pool or dolphin tiles scattered intermittently.

 

5. Metal Tile: Less common than the other four options, but no less visually impressive, metal tiles and their ornate moldings can be an excellent pool tile option if you want to add a grandiose singularity to your swimming pool.

 

5 Climbing Plants for a Romantic Arbor or Pergola

Arbors, pergolas, and arches are a great way to add a classic and homegrown feel to your garden or another part of your yard. If you are considering adding an arbor to your backyard landscaping, however, you should know that all arches and other free-standing structures will be enhanced tenfold by the addition of pergola plants. Here are five climbing plants that you can add to your arbor or pergola to really make it pop.

 

1. Climbing Roses: Both romantic and classic at the same time, climbing roses can add a brilliantly unique aesthetic to your backyard landscaping, whether on your arbor or your garden fence. Climbing roses can be a lot of work for gardeners, and won’t yield any blossoms in the first year, which is a drawback for some. However, the gorgeous pink blossoms that come once the plant reaches maturity are second to none.

 

2. Star Jasmine: Some backyard landscaping enthusiasts want climbing plants that are more about the green vines than the colorful flowers. For those people, star jasmine is the perfect pergola plant. It does yield small, unassuming star-shaped flowers, but is most impressive for its long and ornate evergreen vines.

 

3. American Honeysuckle: If you want to turn your backyard into a butterfly den, American honeysuckle should be your climbing plant of choice. American honeysuckle plants wind their way around arbors and pergolas freely, producing unique looking and wonderfully smelling flowers that always bring butterflies in droves.

 

4. Clematis: Turn your backyard landscaping into a sweeping swath of color with clematis, a climbing plant with many varieties and colors to offer.

 

5. Climbing Hydrangea: Not all pergola plants will do well in the shade, but if you need a climbing plant that will function well out of the constant glow of the sunlight, the climbing hydrangea should be your choice. The plant produces lovely white blossoms and is easy to care for.

6 Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Charlotte Pool Builder

So you’ve decided that you want to add a pool to your backyard, but you don’t know where to start. While we associate pools with leisure and relaxation, there are actually a lot of questions you need to ask yourself before you add a pool to your home. Prior to contacting a Charlotte pool builder, make sure you know the following six pieces of information.

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1. What type of pool do you want? Under the umbrella of “pool,” there are quite a few styles to be chosen from. Do you envision yourself lounging in an aboveground pool or an in-ground pool? What shape of pool (square, rectangle, circle, etc.) matches the design of your home and the geographical features of your yard? How large do you want the pool to be, and do you have enough space to fit your chosen design on your property? Answering these questions can help you find the perfect Charlotte pool design.

 

2. What is your budget?  Different pool designs and pool building services will yield varied price tags. Decide what budget you are willing to set aside for your new pool and then use that information to help you choose a design and a builder.

 

3. What material do you want in your pool? Swimming pools may look similar from a distance, but can actually be built from a wide range of materials. From granite to gunite, vinyl-lined to poured concrete, the style and material build of your dream pool is one of the first questions your Charlotte pool builder is likely to ask.

 

4. What equipment will your pool use? Your Charlotte pool builder should help guide you through the selection of your pool filter and other pieces of pool maintenance equipment, but you should know the basics of different filter systems and chlorination methods before you meet with your pool builder.

 

5. What is your builder’s reputation like? Once you have sketched out the basic idea of your pool in your mind, you will start looking around for Charlotte pool builders and making a list of potential hires. If you have friends or family in the area, ask for references. If not, hit the internet to read customer reviews.

 

6. Do you trust your builder? Eventually, you will narrow down your Charlotte pool builder options to one or two contractors. Meet with the remaining candidates and see if you feel comfortable with the people who will be building your pool. The pool construction process can take some time, and you need to be able to trust the person working near, in, and around your home.

 

5 Steps to Uncovering and Treating Your Charlotte Pool for Spring

1. Remove the debris from the pool cover: Unless your area experienced an unseasonably warm and calm winter, chances are that your pool cover has born the brunt of the rough weather. Dead leaves, dirt, and excess water from melted snow can be just a few of the types of debris littering the top of your cover. Before opening a pool, clean and dry the cover so that you can store it away without worrying about mold or mildew. You can use a cover pump to collect the snow melt and debris into an easy to clean up pile or puddle.

 

2. Check the water: Most pool specialists recommend that you leave the water in your pool all winter long, no matter how cold it gets in your area. If you followed this directive, your next step is to gauge the water level and check the water for impurities. In order to start treating a pool for spring, you will want to vacuum out all of the dirt and debris you can from the bottom and sides of the pool.

 

3. Check the filter: You can only get so far in treating a pool for spring by hand. Your filter will help out nicely; just make sure you check all of the cartridges and valves after opening the pool to make sure that everything is in working order. If you removed and stored the pool pump and filtration unit, hook them back up to the pool system.

 

4. Replenish the water level: When opening a pool for spring, you may find that the water level is not quite where you want it to be. Once you start filtering the pool system, drag your hose out of storage as well and start refilling the pool.

 

shutterstock_161877653 The last step to opening a pool in spring is the actual treating of the pool water. Run your usual chlorine, alkalinity, and pH tests and add chemicals when necessary to get the water back to a safe chemical balance.

Love Modern Pools? These Features are a Must for Your Contemporary Charlotte Pool Design

shutterstock_150150737Modern interior and exterior design principles have extended all the way to the swimming pool, bringing contemporary classiness in residential properties to a whole new level. If you consider yourself an aficionado of modern pools, make a point of keeping the following contemporary pool features in your mind while you look into Charlotte pool design.

 

Angular designs: Gone are the days of the circular swimming pool. Nowadays, contemporary pool obsessives want their pool to match up with the modern design of their home. In many cases, that means sharp and distinct angles with a lot of rectangles. You might even consider creating a long and narrow rectangular pool to better accentuate your home’s architecture and your yard’s landscaping.

 

Tasteful Tiling: The arrangements and patterns of the stones, both in and around your pool, can be features that add worlds of beauty to your modern pool. Crystalline mosaic tiling inside the pool, contrasted by modern rectangular stone decking outside of it, is a tasteful modern technique that has caused quite a wave in Charlotte pool design.

 

Water and fire features: Modern pools aren’t just spots to swim and relax in the summertime. On the contrary, a contemporary pool should also be a visual wonder that wows guests and makes you feel more content with your living situation, all in one fell swoop. Waterfalls and in-pool fountains can be the kinds of pool features that perfectly strike the balance between classic and modern. Fire features, on the other hand, can add a fascinating dynamic of contrast to your pool and can make summertime cookouts and nighttime swim sessions as beautiful as a beachside resort.

 

In-Pool Illumination: Speaking of nighttime swim sessions, fire isn’t the only pool feature that can add a nice splash of light and color to your pool. Glow stones and filtered color lights can turn your modern pool into a nighttime visual attraction that is at once both haunting and alluring. 

Is a Salt Water Pool for You?

shutterstock_4282489Salt water pools have been growing in popularity in recent years, and not just at luxury resorts. People are putting salt water pools in their own backyards with increasing frequency. However, before asking your Charlotte pool builder for a salt water pool – or converting your traditional pool to salt water – make sure this is the right choice for you and your family. Salt water pools, like any pools, come with pros and cons.

Advantages of Salt Water Pools

Salt water pools have lower levels of chlorine. It’s a myth that salt water pools don’t contain chlorine at all, but it is true that you do not have to add it manually. These pool systems convert the salt into chlorine with special chlorine generators. This lower chlorine level is gentler on your skin and eyes and is less likely to aggravate allergies or sensitivities.

In addition, while their name makes salt water pools sound like they are filled with ocean water, they actually contain much less salt than that. The amount of salt in these pools is about the same as your tears – meaning that opening your eyes under water is safe. A self-cleaning salt water pool also requires less maintenance than a chlorine pool, so you can go out of town for weeks without worrying about returning to green water.

Disadvantages of Salt Water Pools

A regular pool can be more economical to install, making it the best choice for many. Once installation of a salt water pool is complete however, you will spend less money on chlorine, meaning that in the long run, you can actually save money.The higher upfront cost remains a deterrent for some people.

Also, the wastewater or backwash from a salt water swimming pool may kill nearby plants. For this reason, you should be familiar with the ordinances concerning salt water pools in your area to make sure you are in compliance. Even though salt water pools do require less maintenance, they do use more electricity, which may be a concern for some.

It’s up to you to decide whether the benefits of a salt water pool outweigh the disadvantages. Ask your Houston pool builder for more information. 

Choosing the Right Appliances for Your Outdoor Kitchen

shutterstock_150192149Cooking in an outdoor kitchen is a fun way to entertain or even just feed your family, and come summer, you’ll be glad for a way to cook without heating up the indoor kitchen. If you grill often (or want to), love to host cookouts, have available patio or deck space, and would love to branch out in your outdoor cooking beyond hamburgers and steaks, an outdoor kitchen is a great option for you. Make sure to design it for optimal enjoyment, convenience, and ease of use.

Selecting the Grill

Your grill will end up being the centerpiece of your outdoor kitchen. Choose one with wheels if you want to be able to move it around. However, if the kitchen is to be a permanent part of your outdoor living in Charlotte, then choose a built-in grill with countertops on either side. You will need a grill cover, and all parts of your outdoor kitchen must be made of weatherproof materials, such as stainless steel or slate.

Once you have chosen the grill, other components of your kitchen to choose include:

–        Grill accessories: baskets for grilling vegetables or fish; a good set of tongs; a meat thermometer; and more

–        Side burners: most grills include these already; you usually have your choice of how many you want

–        Lighting: direct light for the cooking and prep area is best. Softer mood lighting is nice for the dining area, and don’t forget the candles.

–        Patio heaters: using these can turn your outdoor kitchen into a year-round amenity.

–        An exhaust hood: nice for keeping smoke from blowing onto your guests.

–        A refrigerator

–        A sink: you can either connect this to your garden hose or to the water supply in your house

–        Warming drawers: nice to have so that food stays hot until ready to serve

–        An ice machine: eliminates the need to drag a heavy cooler around

–        A wood-burning stove: perfect for pizza and for roasting vegetables or meats

The sky’s the limit when designing your outdoor kitchen. Think about how you will use it the most and which appliances you would like to include. The great thing about outdoor living in Charlotte is the homeowner’s ability to design a custom space that suits their individual preferences perfectly.

 

Benefits of Building a Swimming Pool in the Winter

Snow landscape1. Freedom of choice. Charlotte pool builders are very busy in the summer, and the wait time before work can begin on your project can be long. This means that you might be tempted to hire a less qualified builder in order to get your pool completed more quickly, which can result in stress and frustration throughout the pool construction process.

2. Winter discounts. Because work slows down for Charlotte pool builders in the winter, homeowners can sometimes benefit from off-season discounts. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so your choice should never be based on price alone when building a swimming pool. Ask for references to be sure.

3. A full first season. Building a swimming pool in the winter means that as soon as the weather warms up enough, your pool will be ready to go. Wait until spring to start, and you will miss out on some of your first season with your new pool.

4. More personalized service. Pool builders have more available time in the winter, meaning even more time and personal attention to each project. A reputable pool builder, however, gives every project the same top notch attention – that’s why it can be so hard to get on their schedules come spring.

5. No space or scheduling conflicts for landscaping, gardening, or any other outdoor spring projects. By then, your pool will be done and the pool builder will be out of the way of other outdoor living professionals.

If you are considering building a swimming pool, but are thinking of waiting until spring to give the matter serious attention, think again. Right now is the best time to get started on your custom pool design and have your own personal backyard retreat ready and waiting come spring.