Pool & Spa Outdoor Blog

Category: Decks & Hardscaping

Decks & Hardscaping

6 Ways to Update Your Poolscape

Ideas for Updating Your Pool Area


Making some changes in and around your swimming pool can greatly enhance the beauty and enjoyment of your poolscape. From renovating your pool to adding a few simple features, we put together a list of ways to update your pool area this summer. Take a look at the following options and get ready to give your poolscape a whole new look.

1. Update the Pool Interior


Pool with Blue Vinyl Liner InteriorA new interior can dramatically change the look of your swimming pool. Just because summer is here doesn’t mean it’s too late to refinish your swimming pool. Resurfacing a concrete pool generally takes seven to 14 days to complete, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy your newly finished pool. If you have a vinyl-liner pool, the process is even quicker: once you decide on a new liner pattern, the old and new pool liners can be swapped out in as little as one to three days. Today’s vinyl liners include more sophisticated colors and designs, including patterns that give the look and feel of glass tiles. Many vinyl liner manufacturers offer a wide array of designs and patterns to fit any backyard theme or setting.

Taking the time to update your pool’s interior not only enhances its aesthetic appeal but can also extend its life, especially if you upgrade to a higher quality finish. For instance, aggregate finishes, which contain small river pebbles, glass beads, or quartz crystals, provide a harder and more durable pool surface than a traditional plaster (or marcite) finish and can last up to twice as long (aggregate finishes typically last 15 to 20 years compared to 10 to 15 years for plaster).

If your pool is in perfectly good shape, but you still want to update its look consider adding a simple tile border at the waterline. Glass and ceramic tiles add sparkle, light and panache to your pool. They come in an array of colors, shapes, and sizes and can be arranged in any design or pattern to fit your style needs.


Photo courtesy of Loop-Loc, Ltd.



2. Resurface the Pool Deck


Renovated Pool with Grey Concrete DeckYour pool deck plays an important part in the overall enjoyment of your pool area: it’s where you lounge in the sun between laps, relax with a good book, enjoy a refreshing snack, and entertain family and friends.

If your pool deck is in need of repair, tends to get hot from the sun, is stained, or simply doesn’t provide the look you desire, then resurfacing the area may be wise decision.

There are many options for pool deck surfaces, including concrete, stone, exposed aggregate, pavers, and even rubber flooring. While your budget and design preferences play a big role in the deck material you choose, it’s important to consider comfort and safety.


Above: Anthony & Sylvan Pools installed a new slate pattern concrete deck and paver coping to help give this pool a more modern look. See what it looked like before the renovation >>

White Coral Stone Tile Pool DeckStamped or colored concrete, inter-locking pavers, and exposed aggregate are all affordable resurfacing options, but be sure to select a lighter color as these materials absorb sunlight and can get hot very quickly. If you have a higher budget, you may want to consider natural stone decking. Natural stones such as coral and travertine are great for pool decks because they stay cool and are slip resistant.


View more photos of coral stone pool decks >>


Photo courtesy of Coral Stone USA



3. Install Pool and Landscape Lighting


Pool with aqua blue LED in-pool lightingOutdoor Lighting can dramatically improve both the look and safety of your pool area at night. For the best results, install a combination of pool and landscaping lighting. Fiber optic or LED pool lighting will illuminate your pool from within, making it a mesmerizing nighttime focal point, while landscape lighting will light up the area around the pool, making it easier and safer for you and your guests to navigate once the sun goes down.


A variety of landscape lighting techniques can help you achieve a certain look or mood for your poolscape at night. For instance, footlights placed along the perimeter of the pool will add a soft glow to the surrounding hardscape and provide the perfect amount of lighting for late night swimming. (This will also reveal any wet spots to prevent slips and falls.)

For a bit of drama, install uplights in nearby trees and shrubbery to add depth and texture or place a light fixture high in a tree and aim the light down through the branches and leaves to create a subtle moonlight effect. Torch lights are ideal for imparting a tropical ambiance; place several torch lights throughout the backyard to guide guests to the pool and dining area.

Above: This elegant poolscape becomes even more enticing at night thanks to the brilliant aqua blue LED pool lighting. Strategically placed landscape lights and fire features provide further illumination for evening entertaining.


Photo courtesy of Pentair Aquatic Systems



4. Add a Water Feature


Pool with Sheetfall Water FeatureA water feature will boost your poolscape’s allure by adding visual and acoustic delight. The sight and sound of moving water is known to have a calming effect and it can also help cover up background noise from a busy street or neighbors, making your backyard a more pleasant retreat.

A variety of water features are available to fit any style pool or outdoor space. For instance, tiered patio fountains, wall fountains, and sheetfalls (pictured at left) provide an elegant accent for formal poolscapes while planter fountains are a great complement to backyards with a Mediterranean or Japanese Garden theme. A rock waterfall is ideal if you have a tropical or lagoon-style pool. Rock waterfalls can be made with real or artificial rock to seamlessly blend with your surrounding landscape and create the look and feel of an exotic oasis.


View more relaxing spa retreats and water features from Anthony & Sylvan Pools >>




5. Plant Some New Blooms


Pool with plants around landscapeAdding plants around your pool is one of the simplest ways to breathe new life into your poolscape design. Plants will add color, interest, and shade to the pool area and establish a natural transition between the pool and its surrounding hardscape.

When landscaping around your pool, it’s important to choose plants according to their maintenance, hardiness, growing requirements, and function. For instance, some plants may not tolerate the extended exposure to sunlight and harsh swimming pool chemicals while others will litter your pool with leaves or cause damage because of their extensive root system.

Photo courtesy of Barrington Pools, Inc., a Master Pools Guild Builder;
Photography by Megan Kelly Photography

Pool with Tropical Trees and ShrubsShrubs and trees, such as Croton, Salvia, Colorado spruce, Bar Harbor juniper, and Mexican blue palm, are great for adding privacy and structure to the poolscape and require little maintenance.

Ornamental grasses are also popular poolside plants and bring tons of color and unique texture to the area. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and can be planted in beds or along the border of the pool. Some great varieties include Zebra grass, fountaingrass, and blue fescue.



Decorative pots and planters also work well by the pool. Use them to display beautiful flowering plants, like bearded irises, cannas, and hydrangeas. Include a mix of leaf shapes, textures and colors to create an attractive, lush, and pleasant design.


Photo courtesy of Pacific Sun Pool & Spa, an Aquatech Builder



6. Add (or Replace) Poolside Furniture


Circular outdoor furniture set by the poolNew outdoor furniture can alter the look of your poolscape as well as set the tone for how you’ll enjoy the space. Today there are more choices than ever when it comes to furnishing your pool area thanks to a range of durable materials, weatherproof fabrics, and stylish designs.

One of the latest trends in outdoor furniture includes modular deep seating furniture sets that can be grouped together or arranged separately throughout the yard to create multiple seating areas. If you already have poolside furniture, you can create a new look or theme simply by re-arranging the pieces, switching out the cushions and pillows, and adding an outdoor rug.  

A line of chaise loungers next to swimming pool

When selecting and arranging furniture for your poolscape, think of how you intend to use the space. A line of lounge chairs is perfect for tanning or relaxing with friends while a dining table or conversation set is more appropriate if you do a lot of outdoor entertaining.

It’s also a good idea to invest in a patio umbrella, canopy or other shade product to keep the area cool and comfortable all day long.





Photos courtesy of Source Outdoor


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What Makes a Coral Stone Deck Beautiful? Coralina!

HOW Coral stone decking adds beauty to your swimming pool and backyard









Coral Stone coralina decking poolPool builders, landscape architects, and interior decorators around the country are starting to utilize a building material that their counterparts in the Caribbean and Florida already use to create a number of exquisite indoor and outdoor spaces: coralina.

Coralina, also known as coral stone, coralina fossil stone, and keystone, consists of coral and shell fossils, coral, sand, as well as limestone. This unique product is strengthened by nature to withstand a variety of weather extremes, saltwater, pool chemicals, heavy foot traffic, and the occasional mishap with a falling object—making it ideal for pool decking and coping. Virtually non-slip, coralina also absorbs only a minimum of heat and is easily maintained.

“Coralina can transform any outdoor setting into a comfortable and safe environment that swimmers will enjoy no matter how hot and slick it gets,” says Jorge Larrauri, president of Coral Stone USA.

This durable yet beautiful material provides a tropical elegance to all types of settings and is ideal for constructing everything from grand staircases, columns, and indoor flooring to magnificent fountains and pool decking.

“Coral stone, a material that takes thousands of years to develop, is finding its way into today’s contemporary designs,” says Larrauri. “More and more, professionals are discovering that this product adds a refinement to a variety of home interior and exterior styles.”

Harvested from top quarries in the tropics—especially from the high quality ones found in the Dominican Republic—coralina products have a distinctive splendor that appears during processing. One-of-a-kind fossil patterns are revealed, giving the coral stone a fabulous texture that varies from product to product. Depending on what type of surface is desired, a homeowner can choose smooth finishes with a fine grain to more open textures that showcase the encased fossils.

See more beautiful photos of coral stone pool decks >>

Coral Stone coralina stone decking poolAvailable is a wide range of stunning colors from red and gold to white coral, coralina’s richness consistently passes the test of time, rarely losing any of its brilliance and beauty. “When you enhance your pool's deck with keystone stone, you don't just get stylish pool coping along with a cool deck, you also obtain sophistication, added security, and superior quality,” states Larrauri.

In addition to being luxuriantly beautiful, coralina is also easy to install. It requires very little modification once it is cut for a project; in fact, skilled craftsmen are readily able to position the stone in a desired pattern for any number of outdoor projects besides pool decking and coping, including fences, walkways, steppingstones, planters, and other garden accents where an island ambiance is wanted.

By finishing with a quality sealant, the material can handle all types of harsh weather conditions—and survive to be enjoyed during the warm swimming season! “Normally, those homes in warm, sunny states gravitate to coralina’s alluring elegance,” explains Larrauri. “But homeowners from other types of climates are discovering the material’s durability and exquisite good looks, and it is becoming the product of choice for homes everywhere.

To see more photos and videos of coral stone decks, check out Coral Stone USA>>

 

Photos courtesy of CoralStoneUSA.com

Alternative Pool Decking Options - Rubber Flooring, Composite Pavers

Rubber Flooring and Composite Pavers









Learn how alternative pool decking options such as rubber flooring and composite pavers can offer benefits to a pool area.


Rubber Flooring

Rubber Pool Deck FlooringWhen you think of rubber flooring you probably think of rubber mulch chips in the neighborhood playground or poured rubber bond. Rubber flooring is actually a great alternative option for pool decking. Like playground mulch, rubber flooring for pool decks is usually made out of recycled rubber tires, resulting in a product that is eco-friendly and responsibly manufactured. There are two common forms of rubber flooring: poured-in-place rubber bond and interlocking rubber tiles. Poured-in-place rubber flooring must be professionally installed, as opposed to interlocking rubber tiles which can easily be installed by the homeowner; however, poured-in-place rubber bond flooring is thought to be more durable and offers more customization because an array of colors can be mixed and matched to create a unique look.

Rubber flooring provides a permeable, porous, non-skid surface that doesn’t get too hot. It also drains quickly (drains are distributed in strategic areas) and is easy to maintain. Using rubber flooring for pool decking does not have to mean giving up on sophisticated design; there are numerous color options available, as well as patterns that mimic slate, stone, brick, and custom designs. The rubber can be installed over most solid  deck surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, or wood, with the option of extra cushioning added in areas of high impact. After installation, rubber flooring usually needs between 24 hours and four days to cure, based on the temperature and humidity.

One of the biggest pros of rubber flooring is it’s low maintenance. Rubber pool decking can easily be cleaned with a leaf blower or garden hose; mild soap and water may also be used. The rubber is known to be very durable, but in the case of damage, a professional installer can cut out the damaged area and pour new rubber bond.

Pool with Rubber Deck
Photos courtesy of No Fault Sport Group, LLC




Composite Pavers

Composite Paver Pool DeckComposite pavers are the up-and-coming alternative to concrete pavers for pool decking. Like concrete, composite pavers are slip-free and extremely durable. A major advantage is that they are approximately one-third of the weight of concrete, and the grid system makes them three times easier to install. They eliminate the frustration of manually setting and aligning heavy concrete pavers.

Like rubber flooring, composite pavers are eco-friendly because they are made from up to 95% recycled materials. Composite pavers are placed in the same compacted sand bases that are used for conventional concrete pavers, but the system allows for easy installation and unique custom designs. The pavers also come in various colors for endless design options, including herringbone, brick stack, pinwheel, and many other paver patterns.

While concrete and composite pavers are both slip-free and extremely durable, installation varies. When dealing with concrete, a base of processed gravel must be laid, after which the base and restraints are installed. Then a layer of bedding sand must be screened before the pavers can be laid, with careful effort put into ensuring that they are even. With composite pavers, installers use a grid system that works as a template for the pavers, which fit into the grid like puzzle pieces. Less base preparation is required, and laying even, neat lines of pavers is foolproof.

Composite pavers should be installed by professionals, but with the right installation guides they can be installed by knowledgeable DIYers. They should be installed over an even surface. The pavers require very little maintenance, aside for an occasional replenishment of joint sand.

Pool Deck_Composite Paver
Photos courtesy of Vast Enterprises, LLC





It is important to take into account the specifics of your pool and environment, and consult with pool experts in order to choose outdoor flooring that is right for you and will achieve your desired look.



View our Decks Buyers' Guide for a list manufacturers and suppliers of deck products and materials.


This guest post was written by Fay Friedman.



Hardscaping Options: Concrete, Brick or Stone?

By Patti Plummer

In addition to traditional house and pool decks, many properties are suited for the beauty that only hardscaping can provide. Pavers come in a variety of materials, such as concrete, brick, and natural stone, and in a number of colors, shapes, and patterns. Here are a few hardscape paver ideas that may be just the answer to your surfacing needs.


Envirotile Multy Home LP recycled brick deck backyard hardscape
Hardscaping concrete pavers
are crafted from cement and an aggregate and are often used for walkways, patios, and pool decks. This material is available in a variety of colors and textures and can be made to look like natural stone. These pavers can be installed with or without mortar.

Hardscaping brick pavers
impart an Old World charm. Ideal for heavy-trafficked areas like driveways, patios, and pathways, this porous material is non-slip and can withstand environmental blitzes from the sun, water, and chlorine. 

Hardscaping natural stone pavers
are cut from hard-wearing materials like sandstone, limestone, bluestone, marble, slate, and travertine. Long-lasting and weather resistant, these pavers are ideal for many types of outdoor projects. Travertine and bluestone are perfect for pool decks while granite and slate are great for building driveways and other areas that experience a lot of traffic.

For a list of hardscaping companies, visit our Hardscaping & Stonework Buyers' Guide. To find resources for deck products and materials, visit our Decks Buyers' Guide.




Photo courtesy of Multy Home LP



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