There are endless possibilities for adding extras when remodeling your swimming pool. When you include additional features to your swimming pool area, you are enhancing and customizing your backyard environment. Remember – even the smallest changes can make a difference with a pool remodel. Not only will these features add enjoyment to your swimming pool experience, but can also possibly add value to your home.
There are a number of water features that you can add to a swimming pool area during a pool remodel that can enhance the entire backyard environment. A water feature allows you to enjoy the soothing sound and shimmering sight of falling water.
Add something extra to your pool area with a creative waterfall. Imagine a natural-stone waterfall made with stones collected from your region of the country with water cascading over them into your pool. Many companies also offer natural-looking artificial stone waterfalls for a fraction of the price of natural stones. Waterfalls are the perfect complement to lagoon-style or free form pools, and they also can add visual interest and beauty to more standard shapes. Add a full rock wall complete with cascading water to one end of your pool and enjoy the illusion of relaxing at the foot of a mountain. For a romantic feature, create a private rock cave hidden behind your new waterfall. Underwater seating ledges can make your cave even more appealing!
These features protrude upward like mini-geysers and are usually built into a pool’s shallow sun ledge. They are extremely popular with kids, look great with most pools and are fairly inexpensive.
Create a great look as they shoot streams of water from the deck to the pool, but they must be placed properly to perform well. You can get more dramatic with laminar jets, which produce a solid stream of bubble-free water, and add color by illuminating them with fiber-optics. To prevent water from splashing onto walkways and other areas, wind sensors can be installed to shut off the jets when winds go over 5 mph.
A swimming pool waterslide integrated into the pool landscape gives you the feel of a water park in your backyard! With endless fun for children and adults, a water slide is the ultimate addition to any pool. Modern swimming pool slides come in a variety of sizes. Some provide a straight, quick drop into the swimming pool, while others offer a gentle curve to the left or right. There are even slides that are longer and spin into corkscrew turns. It's possible to build slides into other pool features such as rocks and landscaping. Any pool slide must drop into water deep enough to be safe for the swimmer. Many waterslides require professional installation to meet safety guidelines established by municipal building codes.
A well-lit pool with an interesting lighting design is a must-have feature for your pool remodel that makes it even more appealing. When planning your lighting design, take your yard, landscape and pool size and design into consideration to highlight the best features. The shape of the pool is a notable factor, as curvilinear pools require more land analysis than rectangular ones. The color of the pool's interior finish also influences lighting decisions. For instance, how will the color rendering of the lamp be represented? Also, take into account the texture of the pool's interior. Different lighting sources can produce a variety of shadow effects based on the nature of the surface material, which can sometimes highlight subtle imperfections. Here are some lighting options:
Recent advances in new technologies offer a variety of alternatives to the traditional swimming pool light. Fiber optics employ end-emitting or side-emitting fiber-optic cables, transmitting light from a remotely located high-intensity discharge light box. Side-emitting fiber-optic lighting can be installed in the wall of the pool or under the pool's coping. Fiber-optic applications can generate a soft and uniform lighting effect. End-emitting fiber-optic cables can be strategically placed throughout the pool's bottom to fashion whimsical points of light in patterns that resemble constellations. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are another emergent technology in outdoor illumination and are now available in submerged lighting. LEDs are like tiny light bulbs that fit easily into an electric circuit. Many pool owners choose them over incandescent bulbs because they neither get hot nor do they have a filament to burn out.
When establishing atmosphere, it is important to know where pool owners spend most of their time while outdoors at night. Will they be relaxing, swimming or entertaining? The submerged fixtures in the pool should produce a hint of illumination on the surrounding deck, but in order to achieve an atmosphere of comfort and safety, additional lighting is often required. Instead of lighting the pool deck directly, angle light toward surrounding beds, letting it spill onto the deck. Like the illumination from the sun and the moon, the most natural form of lighting comes from above. If a tree canopy hangs over the pool deck, moonlighting or downlighting can create a mystical effect. Tree-mounted fixtures should be at least 30 feet above the ground, with soft tones filtering through delicate limbs or lacey leaves to evoke subtle shadowing on the beds and walkways below. Seek out trees with interesting architecture. If these trees are dramatically lit and close enough to the pool, turn off the pool lighting and enjoy the tree's tranquil reflections on the water. A combination of uplighting and downlighting on trees will result in a natural grounded effect. If there are no large trees near the pool deck, fixtures can be mounted on pergolas, arbors and even from the eaves of the house. Avoid severe angles and do not point lights toward seating areas.
Soft uplighting adds a touch of class to any setting. Consider creating a wall of light using a series of visually appealing trees. The trees do not need to be on the edge of the property, they may be relatively close to the pool deck, thereby narrowing the view to the immediate area. A general rule of thumb is that the brightest lighting should be the most distant.
Path lighting is a much smaller version of downlighting. This popular fixture treatment displays streams of light along walkways, steps and beds. Be careful not to overuse path lights - less is more. While it is important to light steps and walkways, remember that not all walkways will be used at night. Another way to light stairs is via step lights. They can be built-in during the creation of walls and stairs or surface mounted after construction. For surface-mounted fixtures, consider using deck lights similar to those mounted on the posts of wooden decks.
A fire feature tends to be one of the most popular outdoor additions to a swimming pool area during a pool remodel. Fireplaces and fire pits require the coordination of several key elements – masonry, gas and plumbing, and stonework. Here are a few options to consider:
A fire pit is one of the most common fire features and has become a standard backyard installation. Fire pits can range from 3’ wide to as much as 6’ or greater. Usually at a height of 12”, these are all custom-built to the owners and landscape designer’s specifications. The fire pit can be wood burning or setup for natural gas or propane. A wood fire pit makes for a great evening, but requires cleanup, so, most homeowners tend to prefer the quick and easy gas setup. Fire pits have become popular because of their ability to be the center point of an evening of fun, with everyone sitting and talking around the fire pit.
A fireplace is the best way to make a statement in any backyard landscaping or pool project. This gorgeous focal feature can take on the design and feel of the house, backyard, or patio. A fireplace is more of a daily focal feature but as the night cools off, it becomes the center of the party. The fireplace sets on the edge of the patio, whereas the fire pit sits in the center. With that being said, the fireplace can allow more patio space for landscape projects.
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