For a fresh take on designing your new swimming pool and patio area, consider an artificial turf lawn for the deck instead of traditional materials like pavers or concrete. A swath of green extending around your pool can give you a softer and more organic look for your outdoor living space while providing you with a great overall monetary value.   Artificial turf provides a distinct backyard setting along with practical benefits for almost any lifestyle.  Whether you have children who love additional play areas or are looking fora low maintenance clean look, artificial turf can work in conjunction with almost any design style.

There are two key approaches to using grass for your “deck” configuration.

One is to forgo all hard-deck materials and make your swimming pool “deck” entirely from turf.  Surrounded only by greenery, your pool area will have a more relaxed, natural appearance. You can opt to include a step stone or a brick path that extends from the pool steps along a route that swimmers are likely to take, such as to the home’s back door or a grill area.

The other approach is to mix grass and hardscape. Install stone or concrete in only one area around the pool, and complete the rest with the soft, lush green alternative.  Artifical Turf’s durability allows it to work as a multifunctional use.  You leave it open like traditional grass or place lounge chairs in the grass to use more like traditional decking surfaces.With this combination method, a popular technique is to place the hardscape material in the area that receives the most use. Frequently, this is the stretch between one side of the pool—typically where the entry steps are located—and the back of the house.

An additional benefit when using artificial turf instead of traditional decking materials is that it will shorten the project’s build time. Artificial turf “decking” will give you a refreshing current look while creating a significant value to the overall budget of the project than traditional hardscape deck materials.

If your family is craving a reprieve from the relentless Arizona sun, consider a shade structure over a swim-up bar

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that was certainly the case when California Pools & Landscape came up with the idea of designing sunken shade structures over swim up bars.

“Our development of these features began when a client’s Homeowner’s Association requirements placed a limit on how high a Ramada, or shade structure, could be in their backyard,” says Mike Smith, Founder of California Pools & Landscape. “Well, what do you do if you want a shade structure that covers an outdoor kitchen and TV or man cave area, but you aren’t allowed to have the structure higher than your fence? You lower the floor!”

The Sky’s (Almost) the Limit

When it comes to designing your ultimate backyard, there’s plenty of options to consider: a pool and spa, an outdoor kitchen for hosting cookouts and parties, a grassy area for games and sports, a baja shelf for shallow-water lounging, a swim-up bar for grabbing a drink and chilling out, a sitting area with a TV and fireplace, and more. After all, why travel to a crowded resort when you can have a private oasis right in your own backyard?

There is, however, one non-negotiable backyard feature every Arizonan can agree on: Shade. So California Pools started building sunken shade structures, where homeowners simply step down into their outdoor living area.

“It was natural to slide the lowered structure up next to the pool,” says Smith. “A tiled or stone-covered wall between the outdoor living area and the pool provides the perfect place for a sport or movie enthusiast to sit in the water and enjoy the entertainment while sipping a cold beverage.”

Full-Service, Licensed Builders

As you might expect, the more special features you include in your backyard design, the more complicated the project. After all, making it look seamless means a lot of specialized work behind the scenes and underground.

“We have 30 years of experience handling the engineering, special permits, unique construction processes, and designs required for these larger projects,” says Smith. “In fact, we are likely a client’s only choice if they want a fully licensed engineering firm, general contractor, pool builder, and landscape architect for their job. And we offer all of those services at no extra cost.”

Smith explains that the pool-related pieces of this project are typically very affordable, such as underwater tiled stools and a tiled bar top. “But the primary cost is in the structure, which can vary considerably,” he says. “Do you want a full kitchen? Electronics? Lights? Tile roof? Stone and tile finishes? Our designers are construction and budget experts and can guide and assist any client through this process.”

From sparkle and durability to colors and value, this interior pool surface is a dream come true

Looking for a smooth, durable and sparkly interior surface for your pool and spa? Look no further than Sea Glass, California Pools & Landscape’s proprietary blend of custom materials.

Material Mix

To create the ideal consistency, we first blend 80% PebbleTec® with our own smooth 100% iridescent Sea Glass pebbles (20%, which is among the highest ratio in the industry). Next we combine this mixture with our blended cement and color dye, which allows us to create 10 distinctive color choices. A popular addition is Abalone shell, which, when added to this mixture, will further increase the amount of sparkle to your pool.

Smooth Finish

If you’ve ever stepped into a pool that felt rough on your feet, you know first-hand how miserable a pool surface made with substandard rock feels. On the flip side, our Pebble choice and installation methods create a bumpy, but smooth feel, similar to that of an orange peel. Kick the comfort level up yet another notch by adding Sea Glass — it may sound counter-intuitive, but the glass rises to the surface, giving it a very smooth finish.

Decades of Durability

We’re proud to say that our pioneering and introduction of Pebble products in the early 1990s changed pool ownership forever. Prior to that, pool owners were burdened by a series of expensive and annoying chores: “drain and acid-wash your plaster” every few years and “chip and redo your plaster” every 10 years. And in between, pools were rough, discolored and stained. Yuck! Because we switched to Pebble, we are able to offer a lifetime material warranty on this finish — we know of 25-year-old pools that are still flawlessly flaunting their original pebble finishes.

Color Choices

Our customers enjoy bringing their own vision of their pool to life — and choosing colors is a big part of the design process. The color of the water in your pool is affected by the interior color, sky reflection, and surrounding tile and landscape elements. As such, we offer a variety of colors options — including Abalone and Sea Glass, which dramatically enhances every look. While the early days of Pebble were mostly focused on natural looks and brown rock (which translated into a slightly green water color), current trends typically feature a range of bright and deeper blue hues. Of course, we still offer choices for more natural-looking pools, if that’s what you’re seeking.

Pricing

Because of its long-standing durability, Sea Glass is one of the most economical choices you can make when building a new pool or resurfacing an existing one. “Either Pebble or Pebble with Sea Glass is likely the best dollar a client can spend,” says Jeremy Smith, President of California Pools & Landscape. “The Sea Glass upgrade is in the hundreds-of-dollars-per-pool range, not thousands! Look, feel, and durability are greatly enhanced by this small investment. I would say 90% of our customers upgrade to a Pebble product — and more than 50% of them upgrade to Sea Glass. You just can’t go wrong with this choice.”

Pool lighting can transform your outdoor environment and enhance your family’s pool experience. Customized lighting options allow pool owners to change the mood and highlight water features and architectural elements. Pool lighting helps to create a backyard ambiance that’s uniquely yours. Today’s energy-efficient LED pool lighting helps you save, extends the life of your pool into the evenings, and improves safety for night time swimming and backyard entertaining.

Benefits of Pool and Spa Lighting

Pool lighting can help to create a backyard pool experience that truly satisfies your needs and fulfills your dreams. Here are some of the many benefits of pool lighting:

  • Creates sparkling effects on night-time water surfaces
  • Adds vibrant, mood-enhancing color
  • Extends pool use into the evening
  • Adds drama and mystery to the pool environment
  • Improves night-time visibility and safety
  • Enhances water effects like bubblers, fountains, waterfalls, and spas
  • Can spill over to light up the whole yard
  • Highlights and defines walls, decks, and architectural elements
  • Set the Mood

 

You can use the magic of lighting to create a backyard paradise that extends far beyond your pool. Lighting in and around your pool adds beauty, drama and mystery to your pool environment.

Enjoy all the options in pool lighting, from white lights to amazing automated and timed color effects. Lift the mood with bright light and playful color effects designed to suit any occasion or event. Bring mystery and excitement to your backyard paradise with mood-enhancing lighting. Celebrate holidays or birthdays with festive colored lights. Whatever your mood, pool lighting lets you create the backyard ambiance that you desire.

Highlight Special Features

You can highlight beautiful features of your backyard and pool area with unique lighting solutions using Color LED lights. These small, vibrant lights are the perfect solution for illuminating features in your backyard or pool:

  • Fountains
  • Waterfalls
  • Spas
  • Jets
  • Steps
  • Bubblers
  • Baja shelves
  • Enhance Poolside Safety

 

Poolside safety is enhanced with the addition of light. Pool, spa, and backyard lights can provide illumination for night swimming or poolside safety while entertaining.

Pool lighting improves the visibility and safety of your pool. It enhances contrast and highlights transitions between the pool and decks, walkways, stairs and other hard-to-see places. Underwater lighting allows for safer, more enjoyable swimming at night. Not only is it easier for swimmers to see at night, it also provides better visibility for monitoring others, especially children and pets.

Pool lighting extends the life of your pool, allowing you to take full advantage of your pool after night falls. Night swimming is a unique and very relaxing pool experience enhanced by the ambient lighting.

Transform your Backyard Pool with Color LED Lighting

Pool lighting is available in basic halogen and incandescent styles, as well as LED products, for existing and new pools. Although halogen and incandescent lamps are cheaper to purchase, switching to the more energy-efficient LED lighting options will reduce your electric bills. With LED products, you will need far fewer replacement lamps and will spend less time maintaining the lights. LED lights also brighten your pool area and can add more vibrant colors, enhancing your outdoor experience.

You can put the power of orchestrated color shows right at your fingertips with automation systems. Use the timer or turn it on as you enter your pool area. The switch can be retrofitted to an existing lighting switch for easy installation. Using the light switch, you can control the speed, motion, and brightness of your light shows, setting the mood or theme for any occasion.

Enjoy Your Pool – Day and Night

Adding lighting to your pool can change the mood and feel of your pool, adding mystery and elegance to your backyard environment. It can extend the use of your pool so that you can take full advantage of summer nights – enjoy a swim and an active social life by the pool on beautiful evenings. The lighting you choose can increase safety by improving visibility and highlighting transitional areas, such as stairs and ramps. Enjoy a beautiful outdoor environment, even when it’s dark out, when you add LED pool lighting.

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 tree houses, 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!

It’s one thing to install a functional swimming pool to help get you through the long, hot summer. It’s another thing entirely to build a true backyard oasis — one where you can experience tranquility, refreshment and luxury to replenish your mind, body and soul. That’s why it’s important to look beyond the basics when planning the design of your new pool and inquire about the bells and whistles that can transform your space into a resort-style retreat.

Scuppers

A scupper — an opening in the pool wall through which water drains — can be made from a variety of stone or metal materials, depending on the aesthetic you want, and incorporated in many different ways. Try this versatile option in stone for a classic look and feel or copper for a modern expression that incorporates the colors of the desert environment.

Vanishing Edges

Also referred to as a disappearing edge or an infinity edge, this feature is where the edge merges into the next body of water and creates a visual effect of “vanishing.” This common element found at many luxury resorts can create a dramatic atmosphere right in your own backyard. This feature is excellent for yards that have elevation changes.

Water Spout and Column

Similar to a faucet, water spouts offer an adjustable flow depending on the amount of water you want running into your pool. Whether you would like a quiet trickle to add ambiance to an intimate evening or a roaring gush of water for the kids to play in, the choice is yours. Ask your pool builder about adding accompanying columns to provide an elegant Roman feel.

Fountains

Another way to add visual and auditory interest to your pool area is with flowing water. Just listening to or watching water trickle from a fountain provides a calming effect reminiscent of your favorite spa. Fountains are fully customizable, from stone fish or copper dolphins that send a sparkling arc of water into the pool to less whimsical options, such as tiered designs.

Natural Rock Waterfall

Natural rock waterfalls are popular water features because they can fit into almost any landscape and pool size and are a seamless way to incorporate the natural rocks of the desert landscape into your pool environment. This feature can be placed as a focal point for your swimming pool or created more modestly to simply blend into the background, and its soothing sounds will make your hectic day seem far away.

Waterfall Grotto

Looking to create a little romance and intrigue in your backyard? Consider building a grotto hidden behind a sheet of refreshing water. It’s the perfect choice for adding a shady reprieve from the sun, or a nook of privacy and solitude reminiscent of being on your own little island in the Caribbean.

Stone Spillway

Long chutes that provide a controlled release of water from a larger body of water, spillways are typically found on a levee or dam. However, placed in your pool area, a spillway makes for a stunning surprise. For instance, your spa could double as a water feature, with the stacked side of the spa forming a dazzling spillway. Be sure to ask your pool builder about creative ways to design spillways between your spa and swimming pool.

Sheer Descent

When water falls vertically or almost vertically down a straight wall, that feature is called a sheer descent. The resulting effect can be created to happen in a subtle fashion, or in an incredibly dramatic way. The walls can be made from a variety of stone or other materials, and can be designed straight or curved to fit geometric or custom pool shapes — the options are endless.

As you enter the planning and design phase of creating your dream backyard, make sure to discuss your wish list with your pool builder or ask for their suggestions. Choosing a few of these special design elements will elevate your environment and create the true backyard paradise you desire.

Let’s face it; fire is something we humans have been gathering around for ages. It’s warmth, and bright snaps of flame and loud crackles is what makes it easy for us to gather around for what seems like hours.

But, how do you create that far-off woodsy-wonderland camp, or deliver the comfort of nestling by the living room fireplace? Let’s talk tips for understanding a fire pit or fireplace build in your backyard design, and how to create a hardscape environment that keeps everyone returning.

What Is A Hardscape?

In theory, a hardscape is the best way to extend the use of your pool, creating a truly inviting gathering space for your friends and family. Whether this means by deck, patio, or pavilion is entirely up to you however, a fire pit or fireplace can be part of an overall pool structure to create a pleasing aesthetic.

Unless you’re waking from a coma, or reading this from a warmer demographic void of fire pits, then you understand how popular these backyard gathering spots have become.

Burning either wood or gas, fire pits can be created with a variety of elements including, but not limited to: decorative flagstone, pavers, or brick, and finally, glass and decorative rock as a welcomed addition of color and mystique.

It doesn’t matter the time of year (Unless it’s Summer in Arizona), anytime is a great time to enjoy company around the fire, and a fire pit is both aesthetically and sustainably welcoming when paired with an arrangement of other backyard elements.

Bring the atmosphere and intimacy of an indoor gathering by adding a fireplace to your backyard setting. Like the fire pit, a fireplace creates an outdoor living room, extending your entertaining capabilities to a seasonal operation.

Building materials vary however, stone remains an exciting element for helping a fireplace stand out from the rest of your design. Paired with a seating element, a fireplace adds romance to your pool and patio, and don’t fret: there are both wood and gas burning options.

Another popular option that pairs well with many kitchens are fireplaces, or wood-burning stoves which, we’ve covered here. (Insert Link: Backyard Designs: Outdoor Kitchens). Where is this link?

What’s Best For My Backyard Design?

Every backyard design is unique; are we working around an outdoor kitchen, or building up against a structured wall? How will the fire work around a pool or spa? How will we accommodate all of my family and friends while staying within our budget?

When it boils down to it, you have to ask yourself the setting you’re attempting to create and the functionality of said space. Beyond choosing between fire pit or fireplace, the process of placing a hardscape relies heavily on your aspirations for the space as a whole.

We welcome everyone to visit our design centers, meet our team of designers to learn about the process of adding a hardscape to your backyard setting, and explore options for making your space a fiery-success.

Summer just dropped and triple digit temps are here!

There’s never been a better time to build that perfect backyard oasis – take advantage of rebates on all Hayward and Paramount equipment, plus summer savings on paver decks and artificial turf.