Pool & Spa Outdoor Blog

Types of Filters & Pumps

Swimming Pool Filters and Pumps

Your filter system is an integral part in keeping your pool and spa clean. The three types of swimming pool filters are sand, D.E. (diatomaceous earth), and cartridge. Both sand and D.E. filters require backwashing; this means that whenever the pressure gauge reads 10 psi higher than the starting pressure, you’ll have to run the water in reverse so it passes through the filter and is flushed out of the pool. This process wastes a great deal of water.

Filter cartridges require less maintenance and are more eco-friendly because they don’t have to be backwashed. All they need is a periodic spray with the hose to stay clean. Experts recommend rotating between two cartridges; you can insert a clean one while rinsing the other one and leaving it to dry. Cartridge systems are used in most hot tubs and in many swim spas and pools. 

The type of pump you choose will determine the effectiveness of your filtration and how much energy will be used. While older pools may still be using single-speed pumps, variable-speed pumps are highly recommended because they allow the pump to run at a slower speed for a longer period of time. This means the water is filtered most consistently and effectively; it also saves a tremendous amount of energy, helping to lower your operating costs.

For a list of recommended filter cartridge companies, visit our Water Technology Buyers' Guide.

Photo courtesy of Pleatco, LLC

Safety Tips for Buying a Waterslide

By Patti Plummer

waterslide swimming pool slide Platinum Poolcare AquatechGetting a sliding board for your swimming pool is an ideal way to keep kids and their friends entertained during a hot summer day, but remember, security is the first and most important consideration. It goes without saying that children must always be supervised by a responsible adult when the pool is in use, and this holds especially true when children are using the waterslide. It is important to never compromise safety over price. Be sure to consider ways to maintain safety in and around a pool waterslide before you purchase and install it.

Remember these important safety tips when choosing a waterslide option for your pool:

First, choose a pool waterslide that can support a maximum amount of weight, preferably around 300 pounds.

Second, pick a waterslide that is manufactured with high-grade materials that can handle rain, snow, ice, sunlight, temperature changes, pool chemicals, and other environmental issues.

Third, and most importantly, always check that the pool slide complies with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Safety Standards for Swimming Pool Slides before purchasing. Visit www.cpsc.gov for more information.

For a list of recommended waterslide manufacturers, visit our Waterslides & Water Features Buyers' Guide.

Photo courtesy of Platinum Poolcare, Ltd.; Photography by Linda Oyama Bryan

Summer Fun for Kids

By Nate Armstrong

Fun Outdoor Activities

1. Sprinklers

A swimming pool, of course, is a great way to keep cool in the summer while keeping the kids occupied. But if you don’t have a pool, another way to keep cool and active is to connect a three-arm sprinkler toy to your garden hose or sprinkler system. Your kids will love the chance to run around the yard and play in the water.

2. Water Balloon Tosses

A water balloon toss is another fun and inexpensive outdoor activity and can be played a couple different ways, depending on how many people you have:

If there are an odd number of children, the kids can stand in a circle:

    1. 1. Have the kids stand in a circle, with two feet between each person.
    2. 2. Begin play by having one kid toss the water balloon to the person on their right.
    3. 3. The children continue tossing the water balloon to one another in a clockwise direction.
    4. 4. When a player drops or pops the water balloon, he/she is eliminated and the rest of the players must spread out another foot to compensate for the missing person. This is done each time a player is eliminated.
    5. 5. Continue to play and eliminate players until only one person is left. He/she is the winner and gets to toss the balloon first in the next round.

If there are an even number of children, the kids can play in pairs:

    1. 1. Divide all players into groups of two and give each pair a water balloon.
    2. 2. Line the players up in two lines, with partners facing each other, and have each person take a big step backwards.
    3. 3. Each player holding the water balloon gently tosses it to his/her partner. If their partner catches it, they each take another big step backwards. If the balloon breaks, the pair is eliminated.
    4. 4. Continue to play and until one pair is left.

3. Scavenger Hunts

You can map out a backyard scavenger hunt that can be played individually or in teams. Make a list of items for them to find and give each person or team a copy of the list, and let the scavenging begin. Include items that can easily be found in your backyard, such as a leaf, pine cone, flower, rock, and twig, as well as outdoor items that you can place around the yard, such as a water gun, a Frisbee, a pair of goggles, and a splash ball. Whoever returns with all the items first is the scavenger hunt champion.

4. “Drawn-Like-Me” Posters

A creative activity that can be done indoors or outdoors is to create “drawn-like-me” posters. You’ll need a large flat surface like your patio or driveway. You’ll also need a large roll of poster-size paper that you can purchase at craft stores or teacher supply stores. Have each child lay down on a piece of the poster paper, and then trace their outline with a pencil. Then let the kids take over and decorate their outlines with markers, crayons, sequins, and yarn for hair. They can make their drawings look like them or pirates, princesses, astronauts, or whatever they come up with.

5. Evening Activity: S’mores and a Story

After a long day of sun, fun, and games, settle down for the evening around an outdoor fireplace or firepit. (Make sure children are under adult supervision at all times.) Set up a s’mores station with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars. You can even get creative with the ingredients, such as using chocolate chip cookies instead of graham crackers, and fruit slices or chocolate peanut butter cups instead of the chocolate bars. As they sit around the fire, let the kids create a collaborative story: Have them go around in a circle, letting each person contribute a sentence at a time. It allows each child to participate and can lead to some very entertaining stories! If they’d rather watch a movie, they may not need to head indoors after all: They can watch their favorite movie on an outdoor TV or inflatable screen

About the Author: This guest post was written by Nate Armstrong of Sprinkler Juice.


You May Also Like…
Fun Pool Games for Kids >>
Top 10 Pool Games >>
Pool Party Ideas: Party Themes, Decor, and Games >>

Pool Cleaner Considerations

Once you determine the type of pool cleaner, vacuum or sweeper you want to buy, it’s important to select the proper model for your pool. Keep the following details about your pool in mind when making your purchase.

Pool Surface
– Models designed to scrub rough pool surfaces like plaster should not be used on vinyl liners. If your pool has a pebble or plaster finish, you should get a pool cleaner that has suction cups on its tires; this prevents the tires from getting worn out.

Pool Size
– The length of the pool cleaner’s cord or hose should be long enough to reach the farthest corners of your pool.

Pool Slope
– Some pool cleaner models are made for swimming pools with a flat bottom and relatively even depth. If your pool has a deep end with a steep slope, you may require a more advanced robotic pool cleaner to climb the slope from the pool's deep end to the shallow end.

For a list of pool cleaner manufacturers, visit our Pool Cleaners Buyers’ Guide.

Ideas for Father's Day

Gift Ideas for Dads

Having a hard time finding a gift for dad this Father’s Day? No need to panic. We’ve put together these 7 great gift ideas for dads who enjoy spending time outdoors.

1. Hammock

Backyard Hammock
Photo courtesy of Hatteras Hammocks/The Hammock Source

From raking leaves to mowing the lawn to cleaning the pool, dads put in a lot of hard work around the yard. That’s why a hammock makes a great gift idea for Father’s Day: What better way is there for him to enjoy the fruits of his labor than kicking back in a nice relaxing hammock?

2. Grill

Stainless Stell Grill

Photo courtesy of RH Peterson Co.; Photograph by Steve Pollock Studios

Turn dad into the barbecue king this summer with a new stainless steel grill. Stainless steel grills are extremely durable, will last for years, and offer countless al fresco meals during summer cookouts.

Got dad a grill last year? Consider putting together a “Grilling Gift Basket” filled with all the cooking tools and accessories he needs for a successful barbecue, including tongs, basting brushes, a digital meat thermometer, spatulas, and a marinating guide.

3. Outdoor TV

Outdoor TV

Photo courtesy of SunBriteTV

Give dad the gift of entertainment with a weatherproof outdoor television. He’ll enjoy being able to watch the big game while he’s firing up some burgers and steaks on the grill.

Outdoor TVs are available in screen sizes of 23 to 55 inches and can be connected to your cable box, computer, DVD/Blu-ray player, or gaming system.

4. Outdoor Speaker System

If your dad is a guy who likes to lounge around the pool or entertain outdoors during the summer, then consider giving him the gift of music for Father’s Day.  An indoor/outdoor waterproof wireless speaker will let him rock out to his favorite bands while relaxing poolside or catching up with his buddies.

Though not weatherproof, this portable system includes a splash-proof plastic covering to protect your dad’s iPod or MP3 player when placed outdoors.
Eton Soulra Outdoor Sound System

Photo courtesy of Etón Corporation

5. Pool Lounger

How about letting dad enjoy a lazy day in the pool this Father’s Day? With a large pillow headrest, cup holder, and infinite adjustability, this is the ultimate pool lounger for dad. The fully adjustable back rest lets him recline to the angle of his choice for total comfort. He may never get out of the pool!

Adjustable Reclining Pool Lounger


You can also support dad’s love of all things sports-related with a giant pool mattress plastered with the name and logo of his favorite NBA® team. Each officially licensed NBA® Giant Mattress measures 6’9” tall, holds up to 300 lbs and features a comfortable raised pillow and cup holder.

Giant NBA Pool Mattress - Miami Heat

Photos courtesy of In the Swim

6. Firepit

A firepit is a great gift idea for any dad—and a great addition to the backyard. Imagine spending summer nights with dad around the firepit, listening to his stories while roasting marshmallows and watching the flames.

Portable firepits are made of copper or cast iron and come in a variety of styles to match any outdoor décor. You can choose from wood or gas burning models.

Portable Cast Iron Fire Pit
Photo courtesy of In the Swim

7. Floating Pool Games

Floating Golf Game for Pool
Photo courtesy of In the Swim

Does your dad love to golf? Instead of the typical golf balls and clubs, give him this fun floating golf game so he can enjoy his favorite pastime right at home. The floating green makes a challenging target for even the best golfers.

For card lovers, a swim-up blackjack table is a great gift idea. Your dad will enjoy having his buddies over for a round of blackjack in the pool. Waterproof non-stick playing cards and 320 chips are included. 

Floating Swim-up Blackjack Table

Photo courtesy of In the Swim

What are you giving your dad for Father's Day? Tell us in the comments below.

You may also like...

6 Types of Barbecue Grills >>
Marinating Guide: Tips & Tricks >>
Grilling Recipes: Backyard Gourmet >>
Waterproof Music Players, Speakers, and Phone Cases >>

Outdoor Furniture that Rocks!

Outdoor Rocking Chairs, Gliders, and Patio Swings

New River Casual Furniture wooden swing outdoor backyardOutdoor rocking chairs, gliders, and patio swings are a delightful addition to any backyard. Many people find their rhythmic back-and-forth motion to have a soothing and relaxing effect. In fact, several medical studies have found the use of rocking chairs to be beneficial in lowering blood pressure and breathing rates, as well as reducing back pain. 

Traditional outdoor rocking chairs
rock back-and-forth on curved feet at the base of each leg. More modern designs feature a circular base with pivoting arms that allow the seat to move or swivel forward and backward, as well as side-to-side. Because they have a sturdy base, swivel rocking chairs are sometimes used in outdoor dining sets. Both designs are available in a variety of materials. 

Outdoor gliders
look similar to garden benches and have a mechanical base that allows the seat to glide back and forth several inches. They can be made of wood, aluminum, wrought-iron, synthetic wicker, or recycled plastic and are available with or without cushions. There are several sizes to choose from, ranging from single and loveseat gliders to larger versions that can accommodate up to six people. Deluxe models consist of two bench gliders that face each other and typically have a table in the center and/or canopy. 

Patio swings
come in various sizes and materials, including wood, wicker, and metal. Traditional outdoor swings consist of a seat suspended from the overhang of a porch or sturdy patio structure such as a pergola. There are also freestanding models that are mounted on an A-frame that has an attached canopy. Freestanding patio swings can be placed in any location that has a flat surface, such as a deck, patio, gazebo, or an open area of the yard.

For a list of outdoor furniture companies and resources, visit our Outdoor Furniture Buyers’ Guide.

Photo courtesy of New River Casual Furniture; Photography by Wayne Donelsen, Deanne & Wayne Co.

Swimming Pool Safety Tips

While swimming pool safety products offer a source of protection, it’s important that all parents and pool owners follow some basic precautions.

Safety pool fence Loop Loc kids protect
Set the rules. Talk to your children about basic swimming pool rules, including no running and never entering the pool without an adult. Place a “Pool Rules” sign on the fence as a visual reminder. 

Create non-slip surfaces. Apply a non-slip safety coating to the pool ladder and steps (and diving board, if your pool has one). Make sure walkways and decks are slip-resistant.

Keep chemicals locked up. Make sure all swimming pool chemicals are sealed tightly and stored in a locked area that children cannot access.

Learn CPR. The American Red Cross encourages at least one member of every family to learn first aid and CPR. It is a good idea for babysitters, relatives, and others who care for your children to know these skills as well. Local Red Cross chapters offer courses that can have you trained and certified in CPR in just a few hours. 

Sign kids up for swimming lessons. Along with constant adult supervision, teaching kids to swim helps to prevent childhood drowning. Swim classes are available through local community pools, private swim instructors, and the YMCA. 

Have an emergency plan. Whenever anyone is in or around the pool, keep a phone nearby. Post emergency numbers and information by the pool, including your address and directions to your home, so that anyone calling 911 can easily read it off to an emergency dispatcher.

In addition to these tips, be sure to add layers of protection around your pool including swimming pool safety covers, fences, and alarms. Note that there is no substitute for constant adult supervision. Children should always be under the close supervision of a responsible adult when they are in or around a swimming pool.

Photo courtesy of LOOP-LOC, Ltd.

Planning & Installing a Pond

By Debra Maurer

Backyard pond rock waterfall AquartA pond allows you to add a truly organic element to your backyard. By attaching the pump’s hose to a fountain or waterfall, it keeps the water circulated while also providing an attractive water feature. However, ponds require ongoing maintenance. Keep the following in mind when planning your pond:

Pond Plants. About 60 percent of the pond's surface should be covered with plants to reduce algae and balance the water chemistry. Keep in mind that some water plants, such as water hyacinths and water lettuce, will multiply in a matter of weeks. If you plan to include water lilies, note that these potted plants must be lowered 12 - 18 inches so you'll want to create a few ledges in your pond design.

Pond Fish. You may also want to add fish to your pond. Japanese koi are brightly colored, friendly, and eat algae. However, they are prey for blue heron and raccoons so you should dig a few places in the pond where koi can hide. You can protect koi from predators by keeping a mesh net over the pond, installing a motion-activated water sprayer, or purchasing a heron statue. (Note: The statue must be moved around every few days to maintain its "scarecrow" effect.)

Pond Size. Make sure you're satisfied with the size of your pond before installing the pond liner. Many pond owners often wish they built bigger ponds so they could have more plants and fish. If you simply want a water garden containing plants only, the water can be a minimum of 2 feet deep, but if you plan to have koi, the depth must be at least 3 feet.

Pond Location. You also want to choose the location of your pond carefully. While fish ponds require some shade, you don't want to put your pond under a tree with much leaf drop (though the use of a net will catch falling leaves or debris).

Photo courtesy of Aquart; Photography by Rocio Escobar

Recent comments

  1. Re: Outdoor Halloween Party - Ideas for Decor, Food, and Games

    thank for the information, succesfull and healthy always http://goo.gl/nZidnO

    --Penyebab Alergi Dingin

  2. Re: 10 Chocolate Dessert Recipes for Valentine’s Day

    9Apps Download Voot Tubemate


  3. Re: 10 Chocolate Dessert Recipes for Valentine’s Day

    9Apps Download Voot Tubemate


  4. Re: 7 Pool & Spa Designs for 2014

    here Here here1 Here2 Alraqqi Alraqi AlRAQI Alraqqi1 Alraqqi2 AlRAQQI Alraqqi Company AlRAQQI Compan


  5. Re: 5 Haute Patio Heaters

    نقدم اليكم ارقي خدمات التخزين فيعد التخزين اهم مرحلة في تلك الايام لسفر الكثيرون الي الخارج سنوات طو

    --شركة تخزين اثاث

  6. Re: 8 Fire Pit Safety Tips

    Happy New Year 2017 Wallpapers Raksha Bandhan Wishes friendship day cards greetings greeting cards f

    --Happy Friendship Day Messages 2016

  7. Re: 10 Chocolate Dessert Recipes for Valentine’s Day

    Lecture Lib evidence be holy to gain varieds of streamer thorn customers who're merry beside the ram

    -- hcg injection

  8. Re: Michael Phelps and Master Spas Create New Line of Signature Swim Spas

    Great Post Thanks for Sharing

    --LED Downlights Manufacturers in india

  9. Re: Beautiful Pool Photos from the 2014 Master Pools Guild Awards

    Wherever the users are and whatever problem they are facing with their Outlook account users can no


  10. Re: Outdoor Furniture that Rocks!

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comme

    --capsa susun online


Search blog



RSS Feed

air max 90 pas cher air max pas cher doudoune moncler doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler doudoune moncler doudoune moncler doudoune pjs pas cher barbour paris pas cher peuterey outlet peuterey sito ufficiale peuterey sito ufficiale moncler outlet moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online woolrich outlet woolrich outlet online woolrich outlet online woolrich outlet online woolrich sito ufficiale salomon chaussures pas cher salomon running pas cher soldes chaussures salomon hogan outlet hogan outlet online scarpe hogan outlet scarpe hogan outlet tiffany outlet parajumpers pas cher doudoune parajumpers pas cher barbour paris air jordan pas cher