To make your house into a home that you and your family can truly enjoy, you need to make it a comfortable and safe place to be.

Although interior decorating is certainly important, you deserve to have an amazing backyard, too. Rather than tackle this daunting task on your own, hire a professional landscaping and pool company to ensure your satisfaction for years to come. Consider these benefits:

Design Experience

Professional landscape artists are able to assess your backyard and develop a plan incorporating your design ideas. Their plans will take into consideration your soil, existing plants and other aspects of your lawn. From rocky or uneven terrain to soil erosion concerns, their expertise ensures your backyard is gorgeous for years to come.

Continuity

The transition from interior to exterior should be comfortable for you and guests. Whether you want an outdoor kitchen, swimming pool or even a mini golf course, your professional landscape team will ensure the entire area is aesthetically appealing.

Home Value

In many neighborhoods, practically every home has a swimming pool. If yours doesn’t, it will be more difficult to sell. By having a landscape company develop your backyard, including a swimming pool, you can actually add value to your property. Fountains, fire pits and other amenities are all highly desired in today’s market. Experienced professionals can install these while utilizing local plants and other decor choices for an attractive and valuable home addition.

Reduced Utility Costs

You can save money on your water and electric bills with the right landscaping. Strategically placed trees and shrubs will provide shade during the warmest months of the year. Likewise, a professionally installed irrigation system uses less water to keep your lawn beautiful.

Privacy

Even if you enjoy your neighbors, you need a secluded retreat from the world, including them. Your landscape architects will know the best ways to work with the natural landscape and your desired amenities to create your personal oasis.

Mental and Physical Wellness

Most people in the modern world spend too much time indoors. Fresh air and exercise are essential to your physical and mental health. From practicing your backstroke to playing a game on your half-court basketball court, a well-designed backyard will improve your wellness.

Entertainment

If you enjoy entertaining guests, then you will certainly appreciate the benefits of having your backyard professionally landscaped. Imagine your guests smiling, whether you are throwing a barbecue, a pool party or some other type of outdoor get-together.

Your home is your place of refuge from the world and to entertain those closest to you. Consult with a professional landscape team to start transforming your backyard into the private retreat you’ve earned.

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re conducting research about installing an in-ground swimming pool. Below is a handy list of basic pool construction terms you are likely to encounter as you search for the perfect pool builder to create your dream swimming pool. We hope it makes doing your research that much easier and helps you make an informed decision.

AUTOMATIC POOL CLEANER 

A pool cleaning system that removes debris from a pool’s interior automatically.

BACKFILL

Refilling soil around a completed in-ground pool shell.

BACKWASH 

Cleaning the pool filter by reversing the flow of water through it.

BOND BEAM

The top, horizontal portion along the perimeter of an in-ground pool that is reinforced to resist horizontal forces on the pool.

CAPACITY 

The number of gallons of water a pool holds.

CENTRIFUGAL PUMP

 A water pump consisting of an impeller that creates the pressure to pump pool water with centrifugal force.

CHLORINE 

Chemical(s) used as a disinfectant in pool water to kill or control bacteria and algae.

COPING 

The top lip on a pool wall that provides a finished edge around the pool’s perimeter.

D.E. 

Diatomaceous earth. A porous substance used in some pool filters.

DECK

The area immediately around a pool typically constructed of masonry or wood.

DEEP AREA

Any area of the pool in which the water depth exceeds 5 feet.

DRAIN 

A fitting installed on the suction side of the pump in a pool and located in the deepest part of the pool. The drain directs water to the pump for filtration and circulation.

FILTER 

A device that removes particles from pool water by recirculating the water through a porous element. The three types of pool filters are: sand, cartridge, and D.E. (diatomaceous earth).

FLOTATION POOL COVER

A cover that lies of the surface of the pool as opposed to a hardtop pool cover, which rests on the coping. A floatation cover is mostly only effective at keeping debris from getting into the pool water.

GROUT

A type of concrete used to anchor rebar within pool walls, connect sections of masonry (as in a concrete deck), seal joints, and fill spaces. Grout is usually composed of a mixture of water, cement, and sand, which is applied as a thick liquid and hardens over time.  

GUNITE 

A pneumatically applied concrete mixture of cement and sand sprayed onto contoured and supported surfaces to construct pool walls. As opposed to shotcrete, gunite is mixed and pumped dry, and water is added as the gunite exits the applicator (a hose). Plaster is usually applied over the gunite.

GUTTER 

An overflow trough at the edge of a pool used to remove debris from surface water. Pools with gutters usually do not have skimmers.

HARDTOP POOL COVER 

A cover used on pools whose edges rest on the coping of the pool or deck (as opposed to a flotation cover that sits on the surface of the water). The pool cover functions as a barrier to swimmers and debris and helps control pool temperature.

HEATER 

A device used to heat the water of a pool or hot tub.

MASTIC

A rubbery sealing compound used by a pool builder to waterproof joints in pool coping. Think of it as caulking for your pool.

OVERFLOW SYSTEM

The system in a pool that removes excess surface water.

PEBBLE OR PLASTER INTERIOR 

A type of material commonly used by pool builders as an interior finish applied over the concrete walls of an in-ground pool.

PUMP 

A mechanical device, usually powered by a motor, which is used to move water to a filtration system or to be heated and circulated.

PVC 

Polyvinyl chloride, which is the plastic material used to make the PVC pipe used in pool plumbing.

REBAR 

Reinforcing bar. Steel bars used to add support to concrete or other masonry. In pool construction, a steel “cage” is built out of rebar, and the gunite or shotcrete is sprayed over and around it to form the pool shell.

SHOTCRETE 

A pneumatically applied concrete mixture of cement, sand, and water sprayed onto contoured and supported surfaces to construct pool walls. As opposed to gunite, shotcrete is mixed and pumped wet.

SKIMMER 

A pool cleaning device installed in the wall of a pool that is connected to the pump. It draws in water and debris and skims off large debris from the water on its way to the filter.

SKIMMER BASKET 

The removable basket or strainer part of the skimmer that traps floating debris.

SOLAR COVER 

A pool cover that increases pool water temperature by absorbing and transferring heat from the sun.

UNDERWATER LIGHT

A light fixture that illuminates the pool under the surface.

WALLS

The interior pool surfaces.

WEIR

A device that regulates the flow of water into a skimmer.

In the event your pool builder mentions a term not listed here, don’t be shy about asking for an explanation — a reputable company will want to make sure you understand every step of the process and will be happy to answer your questions along the way.

Your backyard should be an enjoyable retreat your entire household can appreciate.

However, homeowners with children often choose to redesign the backyard to accommodate the needs of their little ones instead of themselves. But there’s no reason to choose between both age groups. Here are five design ideas your entire family is sure to love:

1) Miniature Golf

Who doesn’t love a round of putt putt? Adding a small, but well-planned-out course will bring joy to everyone. Have your landscaping professionals create a putting green with three holes and a whimsical backdrop. You can keep the flags, balls and other equipment stored neatly in a special golf gear display box in your yard.

2) Basketball Court

If you haven’t played H-O-R-S-E lately, then you’re missing out. Since basketball can be played solo (time to work on those free throws) or as a team sport, it’s the perfect solution for anyone who whines “I’m bored.” A poured foundation and surrounding landscaping will ensure that the fun stays near your half court while the rest of your yard remains free for other uses. Whether you want to add a couple hammocks, a pool or a treehouse, your landscaping team will ensure that everyone can enjoy the new backyard.

3) Fantasy Play Area

Speaking of treehouses, kids love to pretend. You can have an area designed for them to act out their favorite stories or movies. Whether you opt for a magical playhouse, a pirate ship or some other type of building, don’t forget to include the accessories! Alternatively, you can create a secret nook with landscaping — just choose a special corner and surround it with flowers and shrubs for extra privacy. Add unique stepping stones for the path and covered seating for rainy afternoons.

4) Family Dinner and a Movie

Fire up your grill, and try to match your cuisine to the theme of the movie you’ve chosen. Comfortable seating and the large screen make outside movie-watching an ideal summer activity for the whole family.

5) Game Yard

Instead of focusing on one activity, provide your family with a range of choices. A tumble mat will give your kids a way to burn off excess energy and stay in shape, while oversized game boards can provide stimulation for mind and body. Use alternating squares of sod and pavers to create a checkers board. Switch the pieces out and you have a large game of chess. For the younger kids, provide hopscotch and a chalkboard. Adults will appreciate croquet and horseshoes. Use a playful decorative touch for the game storage building. You could even add games to the outside of the building, such as a dartboard or pin the tail on the donkey.
Whether the adults make the decision on which route to go, or you have a family vote, you’ll all have fun transforming your backyard into an inviting place for the whole family to enjoy!

Selecting the right pool company to design and build the swimming pool you’ve always wanted is a big decision and probably the most pivotal one you’ll make in the whole process. Choose the wrong pool company, and you could end up dealing with more than your fair share of wasted time and unforeseen costs.

The Search Begins

Depending on your situation, there are probably a few places you could start your search, but the most efficient is the Web. Having word-of-mouth referrals is fantastic, but you’ll want to do some amount of vetting for yourself even on those referrals. So, the Web is great not only for starting cold but also for doing research on referrals you already have.

Try a search for “Pool Companies Phoenix” or whatever city you live in. Of course, you’ll get pages and pages of search results, but it’s worth your time to look at numerous companies’ websites. You’ll be able to not only see who is out there but what is out there in terms of the types and styles of pools available.

Once you know the type of pool you want, you’ll want to narrow your search to builders who specialize in that process. Next, you’ll want to decide what style of pool you want and look for contractors who can accomplish your vision. Some builders are better than others at pulling off custom designs, so it’s best to look for a company that is clearly comfortable with custom builds and not just the standard traditional styles or package pools. They should also address the whole process from planning, budgeting, and financing to design, excavation, demolition, and construction to successful operation.

As your list of candidates gets even narrower, go back to their websites’ portfolios. How much emphasis do they place on custom designs? How extensive and varied is their portfolio? Are they giving you a lot of options, and can they provide examples of having implemented all of those options?

Read Reputable Reviews

In addition to company websites, online reviews can be a helpful tool. Online reviews should be taken with a grain of salt though. While they can offer useful insight, be aware that they are not always from unbiased sources. Some review aggregators even accept payments from businesses to show more good reviews than bad.

Check different builders’ standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) too. It would be wise to ensure the builders you look at are rated favorably by the BBB and that they have been in business for several years. You want an experienced, established pool company in good professional standing for your project.

Meet and Greet

Once you have narrowed down your list of candidates significantly, you’ll want to start meeting with them and getting estimates. Reputable pool builders will set an appointment with you to either come to your residence or for you to come to their office or design center. Once you’ve discussed with them everything you want to do, they can draw up a detailed estimate for you.

Once you have several estimates, you will want to compare them. You might be surprised at how much they vary, so be sure that the estimates you compare are for the same scope of work. You should be wary of extremely low estimates relative to the average. An extremely low estimate could indicate the the builder may not know what he is doing or that he is liable to cut corners.

In the end, trust your gut when selecting your builder. You’ve done thorough research, so a combination of that and your best judgment will likely net you a competent and honest pool builder.

Watch for these red flags with your current or potential pool contractor:

  • Pool company has no office location or showroom
  • No company website or website lacks information and photos
  • Few or no references
  • Pool company doesn’t show up on time or keep appointments early on in the process
  • Vague or very limited warranties
  • Builder asks for a large amount of money up front
  • Bid seems too good to be true
  • Explanations about work being done seem fishy or vague
  • Evasiveness or trying to cover up mistakes
  • No proof of liability insurance
  • Incomplete details on the plan or design

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