Make a splash with popular pool trends
Lagoon-style pools often use free-form shapes, rocks and water features to reflect the natural landscape,
as illustrated here in the pool Crystal Clear Pools desgined for the Wise family of Brentwood.
By AMY STUMPFL
For Brentwood Home Page
Looking to make a splash this summer? There's no better way to keep cool than in your own backyard swimming pool.
And whether you're looking to create an exotic oasis or simply spruce up an existing pool, you'll want to consider the latest trends in both design and materials.
From colorful fiber optic lighting and specialty water features to heat-resistant decking and saltwater systems, the possibilities are practically endless. But before you start sketching up plans and picking out tile, it's important to give some serious thought to what you want and why.
"I go into every project by asking the homeowner 'What do you want this pool do to for you?'" says Steve Hood, owner of Crystal Clear Pool Co. "Are they looking to create a certain atmosphere for entertaining, or is it more about function? Do they want a play pool for the kids or a place to exercise?
"Communication is key to the success of any project."
Hood – who grew up around his father's pool business in Texas and started his own company here in Middle Tennessee in 1997 – builds both gunite and vinyl-lined pools. He says that both methods offer benefits.
"The vinyl liners can be $10,000-$20,000 less expensive, depending on the size and scope of the pool. But the gunite pools tend to be a little more durable, and offer greater flexibility in terms of customizing shapes and special features, such as benches."
Saltwater systems – which use electrolysis to convert salt into chlorine – are extremely popular these days, offering an eco-friendly alternative to traditional chlorine.
"I don't think I've put a pool in in the last five years that didn't include a salt system," Hood says. "It's a much more controllable and steady source than tablets or powdered chlorine."
The big advantage is that saltwater is easier on the skin, hair and eyes. And while the startup costs are a little higher, the long-term maintenance is much less expensive than traditional chlorine.
When it comes to design elements, Hood says there are a number of ways to increase visual impact.
"The newest trends in this area would probably include negative or infinity edge pools, where the water looks like it just drops off into thin air," he says. "That's accomplished by pumping water over a thin edge into a catch basin or gutter. The water is collected in the basin and pumped back into the pool through the filter system."
Another popular option is the sun shelf or tanning ledge, which enables people to cool off without totally submerging in the pool.
"It's simply a shallow area – generally 8-10 inches deep – where tanning lounges or folding chairs can be placed," Hood says, noting that sun shelves can also create a shallow play area for young children.
Automation is another big trend, particularly with pool/spa combinations.
"In almost every instance where I build a spa, we raise it up and let it spill over into the pool during the filtering cycle, causing a nice waterfall effect," he explains. "With the touch of a wireless remote, the motorized valves turn so that the water stops overflowing and begins to circulate solely in the spa. Then with the same remote, they can adjust the temperature. All of this can be done at preset times during the day or night, along with the control of the lights and water features."
Brentwood residents Steve and Anne Wise, recently built a lagoon-style, saltwater pool with spa using Crystal Clear Pool Co.
"My wife grew up on the Jersey Shore and loves the beach, so we wanted a very natural look – not just a plain cement pool," Steve Wise says. "Steve [Hood] worked with us all the way, helping us create the pool we wanted."
The result is a lovely free-form shape with flagstone decking and a raised spa that spills over into the pool. A two-foot stacked rock wall with waterfalls provides a dramatic focal point, with a natural diving rock completing the exotic look.
"We're very happy with the pool. It looks fantastic, and I love the fact that I don't have to mess with the chlorine. Plus I can sit inside with my remote control and take of everything with the touch of a button."
Update existing pool for new look
Designing the pool of your dreams is one thing. But according to Hanley Crawford, owner of Clearwater Pools in Brentwood, there are plenty of ways to update an existing pool, as well.
"New tile, coping in brick or stone, and new plaster can really make an older gunite pool look new," he says. "New types of plaster, such as Hydrazzo and Diamond Brite, come in beautiful colors and textures that look great. We can also add saltwater systems and computer/remote controls, as well as water features like bubblers, sprayers or waterfalls, to existing pools.
"With vinyl liner pools, a new liner can make all the difference. We can also do coping, remote controls and water features on vinyl pools."
Crawford points to Don and Vicki Young as an example. The Brentwood couple recently remodeled the pool at their Belle Rive home.
"It's just a standard, traditional pool," Don Young says. "And that's fine by us. We have a highly landscaped back yard, so we wanted to keep the simple, traditional look of the pool. We just enjoy swimming laps and cooling off on a hot day."
Crawford started by removing the old diving board, along with some bad tile. He re-plastered, replaced the tile and added new coping for a fresh, updated look.
"The result is just beautiful," Young says. "Everything looks great, and we couldn't be happier.... We're looking forward to spending a lot of time in the water this summer."
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