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      A swimming pool is the ultimate backyard amenity. It's the center of family life with children spending much of their summers in the water. Other homeowners see a pool as a strong aesthetic element, the focus of the entire landscape. When pools include water features, unique lighting, specialty materials and design features, they have powerful influence on adjacent outdoor living spaces, particularly when well illuminated by night lighting.

      It's vital to remember that a pool is just one part of the larger landscape. Therefore, it's best to use a landscape architect to design the pool as well as the rest of the site at the same time. All too often a pool contractor is employed first to design the pool without an overall site plan. The result is that your pool and landscape do not compliment one another, and you lose the opportunity to integrate options that provide more value for the same price.

      Because pools are such an expensive proposition, it's important to give a lot of time to design. You'll only build it once, and therefore your choices of materials and detailing should be high quality and timeless so your pool design won't go out of style in the near future. Beware of fads. Question new materials before you invest. The rigors of weather and chemically treated water may have far reaching consequences for newer materials that have not stood the test of time and use.

      Many homes with older pools are being upgraded, and that means the pool itself must be remodeled. Do not underestimate the cost and difficulty of such a proposition. Remodeling can cost almost as much as building a whole new pool. Problems with the old pool such as corroded rebar, leaking shell, or aged electrical and piping can be costly to repair because there is so much demolition involved. Designers and contractors should be experienced with remodeling pools before you decide who will take on your project and for how much.

      Above all, stick with well known companies that have been in business a long time and will remain so into the future. With recent unpredictability in the economy, the risk of contractors going out of business is greater than ever before. Do your homework and research customer satisfaction because pools take time to build, and if you are left with an incomplete project by a shaky contractor, the cost of finishing it up with someone else is sure to exceed your budget.

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      During a hot, humid summer, nothing is as refreshing as a swimming pool. Although it might be seen as a luxury, swimming pools serve many functions and are therefore often worth the splurge. Besides being a nice place to cool off, a spa with a colorful backsplash or water feature can add much-needed visual interest to your yard. In your location, it might also be a solid investment. In places with hot summers and mild winters, backyard pools are a buyer requirement, so installing one can help your home sell faster and for a higher market value.

      As you get ready to start your in-ground swimming pool and spa remodel, map out your space and determine what size, shape and style works best for you. Next, talk with a specialist about what material is best in your particular situation. Finally, think about other small accessories, like a diving board, slide or cabana, that can add interest and entertainment to your space.

What type of swimming pool should I install?


      More than anything else, your backyard size and overall weather will dictate what kind of in-ground swimming pool you can and should install. If you live somewhere that is warm only four months out of the year, an outdoor pool might not be worth the splurge — though an indoor one might. A hot tub or spa might also be a better option, since you'll get more use out of it if cold weather is more frequent. If you don't have enough money or space for the traditional unit, try an above ground alternative instead. You can still swim away your summer months without making such a big commitment. If you have your heart set on an in-ground, consider your yard needs before taking the plunge. It takes up space, so determine a good yard-to-pool ratio that works for your family.

What material should I use for my spa?


      The quality of your materials can easily dictate the life of your outdoor pool and spa. Although vinyl is often the cheapest option, it also is the least durable, so it will need to be replaced frequently. Concrete and fiberglass are popular, sturdy options, while metal above ground units last longer than plastic ones. To liven up a blah space, consider adding a colorful mosaic tile border or an interesting stone water feature. You can even incorporate it seamlessly into your landscape design by using natural-looking materials, or opt for a contemporary infinity edge. Regardless of what you do, the short-term costs shouldn't be your only consideration; consider long-term maintenance and repair costs as well.

What swimming pool accessories do I need?


      Even though swimming pools are naturally fun, there are many ways to magnify that fun factor. Install a diving board, slide and small waterfall to make swimming more enjoyable, or add pool floats and loungers for upped relaxation. A cabana can help with entertaining during parties, while an outdoor shower and changing station come in handy once you're ready to head indoors. Be sure there are plenty of umbrellas and chaise lounges on hand too, so you can sit outside and enjoy the nice weather.

 

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26202 IH-45 The Woodlands, Texas 77380


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