Why Should I Fence in My Pool?

When small children will be in the yard, a fence is vital for safety reasons. Being able to lock up the entire pool area gives you peace of mind and could potentially save lives. Don’t think just because you don’t have children you can forego a safety fence. If neighborhood kids find their way into your pool area, even if you warned them to stay out, in some areas on the basis of negligence you could be held responsible for any injuries that occur.
Besides safety, the right fence design can also provide you with privacy. A full privacy fence is usually six feet or higher, with boards arranged in an overlapping, shadow box, or tongue-and-groove pattern. Board-on-board fences like the shadow box offer you the advantage of being able to show finished faces on both sides. That is, they look just as good from the inside of the garden as from the outside. Stockade and tongue-and-groove fences are also popular constructions for full privacy. Lattice or basket-weave fence are other options. These fences are made with strips of material, such as wood or wood-styled vinyl, woven together. They offer semi-privacy, allowing air and light to pass between the boards, yet blocking your pool area from full view. If the look of a bare fence is too stark for your taste, you can soften the fence’s appearance by training climbing vines over it. This will also add a little more privacy.

Let’s Have a Pool Party!

pool-party-iOK, it’s party time. The most fun you could ever have around your pool is when you have guests and are entertaining.  It is the perfect time to show off your pool  from Pools by Design your Woodlands Pool Builder . The key here is preparation.  Invitations, menus, helpers, pool, and yard will all need to be taken care of in advance.  The more you do ahead of time, the more time you will have to enjoy the party.  Start about a month before the party. Make a list of who you want to come. We can’t give any advice here.  But too many people would not only be unsafe, but we want enough room for eating, swimming, and just lying around.

So, here are a few tips for the pool party, and believe me, we’ve been to hundreds.

1)   Invites. Get something fun. Hand made invitations are cool, and personal. Another quicker, cheaper option is using evite.com to send out invitations. *** Remind everyone to bring a towel and swimming suite.

2)   Recruit. Get some help. The best parties were planned with several people. Get some helpers. Johnny does the food, Karin gets the liquor, and Steve gets the ice. And be sure to get a name or two for clean up. The end of the night is always the hardest to recruit help, so ask for clean up help before the party. You don’t need to clean the whole yard, but you will need to secure the trash, leftover food and such.

3)   Food. Decisions, decisions. You could go all out, roast a pig, smoked chicken. Or, keep it simple. Finger sandwiches, fruit bowl, or just burgers and dogs. The more “self serve food” you offer, the more time you have for fun. But, remember, the first thing people usually remember about a party, is the food. Give your guests something to talk about and remember. It’s not too hard to do!

4)   Drinks. You can’t have a good pool party without good beverages. But, an open bar can mean a disaster. If everyone is allowed to mix their own beverages, there is always someone who can ruin it for the rest of the guests. If alcohol is served, serve responsible, or serve beer and wine in moderation. Remember, Alcohol use is involved in about 35% to 50% of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation. And please don’t let guests who drink, drive. Call your local cab company in advance and set up an account for the evening.

5)  Safety. This one is easy. Call your local swimming pool management company, and hire a lifeguard or two for the event. It’s not expensive, and well worth it. If someone has had too much to drink, keep them away from the pool. Things we all take for granted like diving boards, slides and just jumping off the side of the pool, can pose a threat to those impaired, and everyone else trying to have a good time. Keep safety equipment handy, and ALWAYS keep a working phone dry, and near the pool.

6)   The Pool.  A week or so before the party, test everything pool related. (The lights, the heater, and the fountains) Make sure any electrical outlets that will be used are grounded. Trip hazards, excess patio and lawn furniture should be stored, or moved away from the pool deck, to allow easy access to the pool. Add a clarifier to the pool several days before the party. Small unfiltered particles are very easy to see at night with the pool light on, so take that extra step to get your pool as clear as possible. And make sure the pH and chlorine are adjusted. A chlorine residual of 3.0 is perfect.   The morning of the party, brush the pool and then vacuum an hour later. Remove your automatic pool cleaner and store it away for the party. Polaris parts are not cheap!

7)   The Party!  The moment we’ve all been waiting forParty time!  Got enough Tiki torch fuel? Ice? Soda? Make that last minute run to the store and you should be set. With proper preparation, all of the chores are done, and it’s time to party. So, fire up the grill, and ice down the punch. It’s your turn to relax.

Swimming Lessons: Stop the Crying!

the-swim-professorScreaming, crying, rolling on the floor—we’ve seen it all Sometimes it takes all that you have to keep it together when your child is throwing a fit about going to swimming lessons. This behavior is normal.

For some kids, the water can be a big and frightening place. It’s a completely new sensory experience. Top that off with the fact that some kids go through separation anxiety when leaving their parents, and it’s easy to see why the water can sometimes be an overwhelming and foreign world.

It’s important to remember, though, that each child develops water confidence and comfort at his or her own rate. That being said, if your child is still crying, there are some things you can do that will help the process along and finally grant you sweet, excited silence:

  • Stay in the observation room – If you’ve ever been to daycare, this part can sometimes to the hardest for parents. The parental instinct to nurture will really kick in here, but you need to teach your child to trust those whom you place him/her with and that you will return.
  • Offer continued support and encouragement – Though it can be a process, try and offer continuous encouragement to your child. Explain to him/her the benefits of the learning how to swim and that, after a while, it becomes fun.
  • Reinforce desired behaviors – Sometimes all it takes is some good ol’ reinforcement. Your child is a parent-pleaser at heart. Rewarding or encouraging enthusiasm for the pool may inch your child to water independence.
  • Practice skills at home in the bathtub or pool – Practice (not necessarily perfect at first) makes comfort! Working at home with your child will undoubtedly begin to instill trust in the water and a confidence in his/her skills.

What should you NOT do?

  • Offer bribes for attending lessons – Bribing a child to attend swimming lessons reinforces a negative association with water and the learning process…and that’s something you definitely want to avoid in the long-run.
  • Discontinue lessons altogether – Swimming lessons are, first and foremost, about safety. Discontinuing lessons is detrimental for a child’s development. Swimming is an essential skill for water safety and sometimes, survival.
  • Allow your anxiety to show through your child – We know the crying can get frustrating, but the last thing your child needs is an added dose of anxiety to compound his/her own.

Pool and Backyard Furniture

pool-furniture-300x225 When you think of furniture, you think of living rooms, dining rooms and family rooms. Very rarely do you associate furniture with swimming pools. But pool furniture is not only fashionable it’s practical, too. When you entertain guests, including family and friends, in your backyard and pool area, you want to have places for everyone to sit and relax. That’s where pool furniture comes in.

You can create a restful haven by the side of your pool and indulge in the ultimate comfort with poolside lounge chairs. Or you can create the perfect outdoor dining area on your deck with a glass table and cushioned table chairs. You can even put up a hammock to waste those lazy summer days away with a nap or two. It’s up to you! Your backyard is a blank canvas for you to fill with the kind pool furniture that is just right for you.

Choosing pool furniture is a lot like choosing furniture for any other room in your house. You want to select comfortable and eye-appealing pieces as well as pieces that reflect your style and taste. Outdoor décor is becoming more popular as the amount of pool owners continues to increase. Many notable department stores and furniture outlets are carrying patio and pool furniture lines for you to choose from.

The fact is that pool furniture has come quite a long way. The days of plastic tables and big umbrellas are over. Now you can accent your pool, deck and patio with pool furniture in teak, cedar, wrought iron, aluminum, wicker and rattan in a variety of combinations of wood and metal.

The thing to look for in quality pool furniture is durability, weather resistance and resistance to sun damage. You can purchase preassembled sets or sets that require minimum set up. Mixing and matching pieces can also be fun. You can choose from a variety of pool furniture pieces including dining chairs, hammocks, tea carts, Adirondack chairs, dining tables, folding chairs, foot stool and more.

Outdoor dining sets can come in numerous styles such as aluminum, wrought iron, wick and rattan. Many dining sets come with matching umbrellas to help shield the sun from food and drinks. Some have circular vinyl umbrellas and other are Eastern-inspired with woven fabric and wood frames. You can choose from glass tabletops or metal tabletops, and pick table chairs with mesh fabric or removable cushioned seats.

The idea behind pool furniture is to accent your pool and construct a comfortable area to sit and enjoy everything a pool offers. Plastic pool furniture is no longer considered fashionable or even practical. Your backyard and patio should look and feel as great as your indoor rooms do. Whether it’s relaxed and casual or elegant and refined, you can find the right pool furniture to fit you and your style. A backyard and pool area should be considered and outdoor oasis for you and your family. And the right kind of pool furniture can help you achieve it.

Get Rid of Mustard Algae in a Pool

images Mustard or yellow algae is a rare form of pool algae that is more common in  warmer southern areas, but that doesn’t mean your pool won’t be infected. It’s  important, that if you spot signs of mustard algae, to act quickly and get rid of it.

 What is Mustard Algae?

Mustard algae is rare and often mistaken for sand, dirt, or a stain in your  pool.It’s not slimy like regular green algae, but it likes to attach itself to  pool walls and other items.


It’s also chlorine-resistant and very stubborn. It can even live outside of your swimming pool. That means pool equipment, toys, floats, and even bathing suits. If you have mustard algae, you’ll want to disinfect these items right away.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to getting rid of the algae.

1. Machine Wash Your Suits

Wash all your bathing suits in the washing machine and dry in a dryer.This should kill the algae if it has infected these items.

2. Clean Your Toys and Floats

Disinfect all toys and floats with a chlorine based solution. Clorox cleaner(not bleach) should work just fine in this case. You don’t want to bleach your toys and floats.

3. Move Equipment to Shallow End

Place all maintenance equipment, including hoses and poles, in your pool (the shallow end, if you have one). When you treat the pool with shock, this will sanitize all your equipment. You can also throw anything you think might be infected with mustard algae in the pool.

4. Vacuum The Algae OUT

Fill up your pool with fresh water to the very top. Hook up your manual vacuum cleaner (do not use an automatic vacuum for this) and turn your filter to waste, not backwash.

Mustard algae can live in your filter, so you don’t want to vacuum the algae through your system. Since you are vacuuming the water directly out of your pool, you are going to lose some water. That’s why recommend filling your pool up to the top, before you vacuum, to compensate for water loss.

5. Get Your Water Tested

Make sure your pool water is properly balanced using test strips. Your pH levels should be between 7.4 and 7.6 and your alkalinity should be between 120 and 150 ppm (parts per million). This will allow the shock treatment to be more effective.

6. Brush Your Pool

Brush the algae off your pool walls and floor using a pool brush. Also, brush the entire pool. You want to break up the algae and get it in suspension so that the chlorine from the shock can attack and destroy it.

7. Triple Shock Your Pool

Just like a regular algae-killing treatment, you want to shock the heck out of it! Three pounds per 10,000 gallons of water. Make sure you shock at dusk or nighttime, and leave your filter and pump running 24 hours a day until the algae is gone.

8. Keep Brushing

Keep brushing your pool for the next couple of days. It’s a good idea to keep your pool properly sanitized during this time.

Keep checking your pH and alkalinity levels to make sure they stay in range. You want to keep that algae from attaching itself to anything, like the walls and floor of your pool. If the algae is in suspension, you will have an easier time killing it.

9. Make Sure It’s Safe

After a couple of days, if the algae seems to be gone, it’s safe to take any toys, floats, equipment, and bathing suits out of the pool.

I would suggest shocking your pool one more time for good measure. It doesn’t have to be a triple shock, you can just use one pound of shock per 10,000 gallons. Just make sure your filter is still running and you shock at night or dusk.

10. Check and Repeat

After you’ve done your final shock treatment, it’s time to test your water and repeat if needed.

If the water chemistry is good and the water looks clear, then you should be fine for now. If, however, the pool water isn’t chemically correct, be sure to get it back where it needs to be.

How To Prevent Yellow or Mustard Algae from Growing

Keeping your pool properly balanced and sanitized is the key to keeping all forms of algae from growing. Make sure you:

  • Keep your pH, alkalinity and sanitizer levels in the correct range at all times.
  • Run your pump and filter for 8 to 12 hours a day all season long.
  • Keep your pool clean by regularly vacuuming and brushing.
  • Shock your pool every week. One pound per 10,000 gallons.
  • Keep your additional pool equipment clean including pool toys, floats, ladders, steps, diving boards, slides, solar blankets and covers.

Happy Swimming!

New Swimming Pool Trends

2015 has come and gone. Last year was filled with amazing pool and landscaping designs with inspiration found anywhere from magazines to a friend’s backyard and social media! With this inspiration came popular ideas for pool design.

Tanning ledges

tanningWhat is a tanning ledge?  It’s an area of your pool that has less water.  Tanning ledges are perfect for relaxing in a chaise lounges or they’re great for kids and dogs who don’t want to venture out into deeper water.  Tanning ledges are available in fiberglass, vinyl and concrete in-ground pools.

Heat/Cool Heat Pumps

Never let the weather control your swimming pool temperature again!  Modern, efficient heat pumps for pools work just like a heat pump for your home.  Some models even offer heat pumps that cool as well as heat the water!

Glass Tile

tileAll concrete pools and many fiberglass pools have a six inch wide band of tile along the waterline of the pool.  This is required on concrete pools to prevent staining the surface of the pool.  Waterline tile is added to fiberglass pools for aesthetics, but it is not required because the gelcoat surface of the pool in incredibly durable. Glass tile is made of small squares or rectangles of colored translucent glass glued together on a 12”x12” sheet.  The sheet is divided in half and applied to the pool.  It is available in a myriad of colors and its stunning appearance can really make a big visual difference in your backyard in-ground pool!

Fire Bowls

fire-bowlFire bowls are a striking feature that’s guaranteed capture everyone’s attention.   At night they can take your backyard ambiance to a whole new level. Fire bowls are low maintenance and can be easily switched on and off manually or automatically.   They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Prevent Your Children From Drowning!

downloadThe purpose of today’s article is to reach as many parents as possible and potentially save the life of a child; to not only prevent drowning, but to prevent and recognize how devastating nonfatal near drowning can be. Nonfatal near drowning can occur in seconds, causing brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities, including memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning. Swim lessons can help.

Never underestimate how easy it is for a child to find himself in a life or death situation in the water. Drowning is preventable through a layered approach.

Imagine how you would feel if your child loses his life this coming summer to a drowning accident. According to the American Institute of Preventive Medicine drowning is the leading cause of accidental death among children ages 5 & under. Imagine how you would feel if you knew you could have prevented your child’s drowning by simply making the time in your little girl or little boy’s busy schedule. Think about how much more important learning to swim is to your child’s life.

Like most other worthwhile skills, learning to swim takes time. Learning to swim is a lifesaving skill, and while it cannot be your only method of protecting your child. If your child is at least three years old and can’t swim 15 feet without assistance, why aren’t you dedicating at least one day a week to teaching your child how to swim?

When summer arrives, that’s when your child is going to potentially find himself in a life or death situation in the water. Will your child be prepared to save himself if there is a lapse in supervision while swimming or around a pool, lake, river, or beach?

In the video below, You will see how scary and devastating It could have been.


Teach Your Children How to swim while they are still young

Leaving your Pool During Holidays


A very common concern we get this time of year, “I’m going on vacation, and no one will be here to take care of the pool.” As we all know, an unattended pool will not stay clear and algae free for long If you are going on vacation, or going away for a few days, there are some steps you need to take. Few things to think about before you leave the pool alone.


Water level is very important. If the level goes down, then the filter will not operate properly check and adjust your pH, then shock the pool water. Add a dose of swimming pool algaecide as well. Make sure to backwash, or clean the filter and pump and skimmer baskets before leaving.

The best thing to do while your away, is ask someone to pool-sit for you.  If you do give someone permission to use the pool while you are away, put all instructions in writing, so they have it handy, make available the phone number for your favorite pool service company. Just in case your pool sitter needs some help.

If you have a mesh safety cover, install it before you leave. Having a safety cover on the pool not only reduces filtration and sanitation demand, but it keeps the pool clean. Also, installing your mesh safety cover keeps fence-jumping neighborhood teenagers from using your pool, and more importantly, may prevent a tragedy from an unsupervised pool.

The most important thing about leaving your pool unattended is safety. Get a pool alarmmake sure all gates and fences are working and in good repair. Lock the gates. Remove anything around the property that can be used to help climb a fence. Chairs, storage boxes must be removed from the fence line.

Do not turn the filter system off before you go away. The filter system should run several hours per day. If you have an automatic timer, set it to allow the pool filter to run at least 8 hours per day.

If you are going to be away for more than a month, then consider “winterizing” the pool. Drain all of the equipment, lower the water level, and add a good dose of chlorine and algaecide. Then install your pool cover, and forget about until you get back.

The other alternative, is hire a local pool company to look after the pool while you are away. It’s usually not expensive, and many pool service companies offer “Vacation Pool Maintenance” and will keep an eye on things while you are away.

Salt Water Pools

imagesAre you on the fence about going the way of the saltwater pool-loving community? Discover more about the systems as you learn these convincing reasons why this might be the year to step up for a chlorine generator.

The procedure is fairly straightforward: a pool owner pours salt into the pool water, which goes through a unit that separates the natural chlorine component of salt. This chlorine — like “regular” chlorine — disinfects the pool environment, getting rid of algae, bacteria, and all of those organisms that occupy a large manmade body of water.


That lack of a strong chemical odor, which is usually associated with chlorine. Nobody will complain about the absence of that unmistakable smell.


Saltwater pools are equipped with generators that use electrolysis to release chlorine gas from salt in the water. Then, salt is added to the pool water to achieve a saturation of about 3,200 parts per million.

No Need to Drain the Pool

As long as the pool and water have been maintained in good shape and major repairs or acid washing does not need to take place — then the pool is ready to be set up for a saltwater unit.


It is less abrasive on the skin, eyes and even your swimsuit; chlorine and chemicals can fade and break down the fibers of the material.


Since salt is used instead of traditional chlorine and chemicals, the perception is that chlorine generators are a more environmental choice.

Low Cost

If maintained properly, it can cost as little as $10 per month to pour salt in your swimming pool. How much do you pay for chlorine and other pool chemicals per month?


Pool Maintenance Costs


Must Haves

A large capacity modular media filter

The bigger the better, install filters that need cleaning maybe once per year. These commercial grade 700 sq. ft. filters filter from the top down, another very important feature. Note: Don’t install this type of filter if you have dogs using the pool.


Use this for chlorine tablets rather than a floating sanitation dispenser

A simple ozone system

to cut down on chlorine demand; this will easily save you a couple hundred dollars a year.

A multi-speed pool pump.

Install either a 2-speed or a variable speed pump, with the latter being the best choice now. Variable speed pumps will save you hundreds of dollars annually for many years.

An automatic pool cover.

This will save water, energy and therefore, a lot of money. It will also allow you to enjoy the pool nearly all year long.

A swimming pool interior 

that can handle some abuse and be forgiving when you make a mistake, because that WILL happen. Consider an aggregate interior finish like Pebble Tec, Pebble Sheen or Pebble Fina. At the very least, consider an enhanced plaster finish such as Ultra-Poz. If not, it may only be a few years before the interior will need to be re-finished and that is not cheap.

An in-floor cleaning and circulation system

don’t have a pool built without a quality cleaning and circulation system. This is the heart of the pool and over the years an in-floor cleaning and circulation system will more than pay for itself compared to hose cleaner repair and maintenance, chemical costs and more, not to mention the hassle of taking it in and out of the pool.