07Dec/17

Swimming.

Growing up I had a friend whose father went polar bear swimming. In fact, the entire family belonged to a club that called themselves the Polar bears and the Polar bears went swimming in the ocean mid-winter in freezing temperatures. As a kid observing this and enjoying my scarf, hat, mittens, and down coat, I thought this was a crazy idea, but it turns out it could be beneficial. Afterall swimming is good for the body any time and at any temperature. It doesn’t matter when you get started, just jump in!

If you’re a beginner swimmer or an expert competitor, everybody starts at the same place. Build up your swimming technique and stamina with each session. Each time, you should start to feel a bit stronger in the pool and be able to build up to the next level.

You should actually start out of the water– before your training sessions you should activate muscles, and afterward, you should stretch to remobilize.

To beat the boredom, mix it up with different strokes. Swimming is a such a great workout for the entire body because it targets muscles in a way that you can’t replicate in your everyday lifestyle.

Also try to use different bits of equipment. Fins are a great way to work on leg strength and paddles for your hands are great for your upper body. By trying out different equipment, you can work on specific parts of the body and then target any weaknesses. Toughen up your lower body by working on kicking exercises. You can do this at the edge of the pool and depending on your ability to float and your core strength you can do this with or without holding on to the pool’s edge.

Spike your heart rate by mixing up the speeds which in turn will help you achieve better fitness gains. Try to have between 5 and 10 seconds of rest between your repetitions. This will enhance endurance levels.

Have a plan before you begin so you don’t get bored or worse– give up. If you have access to a heart-rate monitor, use it in the session and you can work in different training zones, it will also give you an idea on how different strokes/speeds can spike your heart rate.

Here are some favorite gym exercises that strengthen your swimming and also keep you in shape when the pool is closed or the weather doesn’t permit swimming: Pull-ups, Press-ups, Leg press, and Lunge/weighted lunge.

Now that you’ve got your motivation and your plan, get going! If you can’t swim in your own pool because of the weather, try a pool club. If that isn’t possible try those land exercises. Why wait until warm weather to get your body moving and healthy…in or out of the water.

Photos: Pinterest

01Dec/17

Wish you were here.

Long before Facebook, Twitter and even Myspace and the internet itself, there were just a few ways to brag about your vacation. Sure you could whip out the old projector and hold your friends hostage while showing them your home movies (or worse–slides!) of your vacation, but the cool way was to just send them a postcard with a simple message: “Wish you were here.”

Postcards, often free at the hotels and motels were mostly photos of the establishment’s pools…and of course the happy guests surrounding them. Postcards were introduced in the mid-nineteenth century as a cheap and easy way for people to keep in touch. The Golden Age for postcards was the turn of the twentieth century and they were widely circulated and collected. They offered a glimpse of the world when the public had limited access to pictures and travel.

But, we’re not writing this to just talk about those wonderful postcards. It’s the pool in the cards that have captured our attention. For both small and large hotels and anything in between, postcards were a primary means of advertising and used as a window to postwar American culture. And the star of those advertisements was…yep– the pools. At the time more and more people felt that a pool in a hotel or in a backyard was part of the American dream.

Check out some of these beautiful postcards featuring pools. So kitschy. So very Americana. So classic. Which one is your favorite?

Photos: Pinterest

06Nov/17

Fiberglass pools in the winter…

A fiberglass pool can more than handle winter weather!

Extreme hot or cold weather is no match for fiberglass pools which is another reason they are the only kind we sell. They plow through tough as nails ever year without showing hardly any signs of age.

How? Because the material is outstanding structurally–so there’s less expansion and contractions than other pool materials proving they have amazing flexibility.

Also, the chemical makeup of fiberglass shows it is resilient and can withstand chemical cleaners and ultraviolet light. In a word– strong! Which is surprising because it is relatively lightweight–another plus.

As long as the plumbing is appropriately winterized you should have no surprises come spring when you open up your pool.

Photo: Pinterest

03Nov/17

A cozy backyard for Autumn

It feels like spring outside this fall, but soon enough the temps will drop and you’ll gravitate more toward staying indoors. If you don’t want to say goodbye just yet to your backyard here are some ideas to cozy it up and enjoy the stars.

Hot tubs/Spas:

Hot tubs can remain open all year-round and feel especially wonderful with snow on the ground and the cool brisk air on your face as you submerge yourself in the warm water. If you don’t have one it’s not too late to get one quickly installed. In fact, this is the perfect time of year to do just that. Now is the slower season to install pools, so you can not only get the job done quicker than during the warmer months, but discounts are bigger now as well.

Floor surfacing:

Stone, brick or tile make a wonderful delineation between the pool and a lounge area. You can mix colors or make contrasting borders to liven them up. If you have plain concrete or just grass then an outdoor rug could do the trick. With so many to choose from these days, you’ll definitely find one in just your style. They can be placed in front of the seating area or big enough to cover all of your outdoor chairs and sofas.

Fire:

What’s cozier than a fire especially in the cold weather? Create a beautiful fireplace or fire pit or just buy one already put together and move it around the yard wherever you desire a fire.

Entertainment:

There are so many ways to entertain outside even in the cold months. The chilly weather is a perfect time to throw a dinner party alfresco–and fewer bugs. If you don’t have an outdoor table, drape a tablecloth on a folding table, or put a thick blanket on the ground and have a picnic.

It’s also easy enough these days to watch TV outside. You can curl up on a lounger with your fav movie playing on your laptop or bring a big screen TV outside to enjoy.

If you want something more subdued then bring out a blanket and read by the moonlight.

If you just want to chill and listen to music by the fire, set up your speakers and hook into your iPhone music and press play.

Lighting:

I always liked the look of small white lights in a garden all year long. Twinkle lights are sold in every store now that we’re nearing the holidays. Wrap them around a trellis, arbor or dining table legs for a wow! factor when entertaining friends or for a quiet evening for two.

Another outdoor lighting idea is candles. Use a floor candelabra on a stand. And/or spread tea candles around each table surface or chair arm (if it’s wide enough) these seem to add just the right amount of luxury. Carving pumpkins isn’t just for Halloween–grab any winter squash and use it as a votive for candles.

Draping:

Add a little drama to your outdoor living space by draping some sheer or thick fabric or drapery over your trellis. It’ll really come in handy if it’s windy and it will also give your area a great romantic vibe.

Nature’s decor:

Let the leaves fall where they may! The beautifully varied colors of fall leaves may make you think twice before raking and removing. Leaving these on the ground and even sprinkling some atop a table will bring rich color to your new area.

 

 

All photos: Pinterest

30Oct/17

And, you think Halloween is scary? Try not closing your pool vs Mother Nature!

 

So, you think you don’t have to close the pool, do you? The weather’s been warm you say… Why go through all that trouble you say… It may be a mild winter you say…

The question isn’t “should I close my pool?” It’s why haven’t you yet? Tomorrow is Halloween, so here’s some frightening information that will hopefully scare you into closing your pool and soon. Let us walk you through the grizzly details.

Damaging pipes:

Get all the water out of your pipes and pool equipment! Boom. That could be a mic-drop right here because that’s all she wrote. Plumbing will freeze if there’s any water left in the pipes and it’ll crack the pipes, pumps, filters, heaters, skimmers, etc if they’re filled with water. But we’ll go into more details so hang on to your scary masks and broomsticks…

First of all, it can take less than an hour if the temperature is below 32 degrees. (Of course, if there’s running water through the equipment it won’t freeze.) And, if the pipes are underground the water won’t freeze for several days of freezing temperatures before it does any damage.

Pump damage

At least PVC pipes and connectors are rather inexpensive and easy to replace, but who wants to go through that hassle and cost? To winterize a pool pump (even if just for one night), remove the 2 plugs from the pump. Simple. Done.

Heater damage

Cast Iron and Polymer heater headers are usually the first to be susceptible to a sudden freeze. To winterize a pool heater just remove the front and rear header drain plugs, and disconnect the pressure switch inside the heater. Blowing air through the heater is recommended, to remove all of the water.

Filter damage

A pool filter tank can handle enormous pressure, up to 50 psi in most cases, but that’s still no match for the power of expanding ice. In some cases, the tank itself will crack, or the clamp ring on the cartridge or DE filters will crack in half, or the top mounted multiport valve flange will separate from the tank, or, well…just start leaking.

To winterize a pool filter, open the air bleeder and remove the filter drain cap or drain plug. If you have a multiport valve, turn the handle to a spot in between any two positions, and if you have a push-pull slide valve, place it mid-way between up and down positions.

Deck damage

For inground pools, you can’t always see damaged pipes that are leaking three feet under your concrete pool deck. Replacing busted up pool plumbing is one thing, having to cut through your concrete pool deck and dig down several feet to fix the plumbing is yet another. And, by the way…if your pipes are freezing then most likely your pool equipment is freezing too.

Sometimes there’s nothing scarier than Mother Nature!

 

Mother Nature photo: Pinterest

08Oct/17

Construction of an in-ground swimming pool

Calm Water Pools installation photo

Purchasing an inground pool is a big decision that cost thousands of dollars and one that can increase home value while providing fun and aesthetics to your home.

Before you buy– research, research, research. Did I say research? Doing your due diligence will help inform all of your decisions with this future purchase…and there are a lot of decisions to be made. Your choices will affect features that should only make sense for your particular needs and how you live. If you dive in (no pun intended) without doing your homework, you could overpay, be surprised come invoice time, or purchase a pool that requires more maintenance than anticipated.

Here are some things you need to know:

Should I choose fiberglass?

That’s a hard YES! We’ve discussed the benefits of fiberglass over vinyl or concrete in other articles here on the blog, (low maintenance for one), and the experts say a fiberglass pool is the best way to go. That’s the main reason we decided to install just fiberglass pools. We like to provide the best for our clients and in turn, alleviate any problems down the road with the other options.

And, the price is…?

Price is something that just about everyone needs to consider. You should not only look at the initial purchase price, but the cost over the lifetime of the pool. Choosing a cheaper liner such as vinyl, for example, could cost you much more in the long run. I’d opt for fewer accessories if you need to keep the initial cost down. They can be added later and will keep you from making the wrong decision now.

When will my pool be done?

The second question most homeowners ask after cost is how long will it take. A fiberglass pool is the fastest type of pool to install. The entire process could take 2 – 4 weeks, and weather can make that vary. We just never know what mother nature has in store and trust me this could set the time frame back, so add a few weeks to your desired deadline. The time frame could also fluctuate based on size, options, and how many contractors are working on your site.

Here’re some approximate stats: Excavation: 1 hour -1 day, pool delivery: 1-2 hours, placement of stone pool base and plumbing: 1-2 hours, settling and leveling the pool: 2 hours, backfilling then filling with water: 2-8 hours– that wraps up 2 days of working. Next is patio installation which depending on what you choose can take up to 2 weeks. Pool start up: 1-2 weeks. Because the surface of fiberglass pools is factory installed and an integral part of the pool shell, it is fully cured and swim-ready as soon as it’s made. Once the pool is full and the pump and filter system is up and running, the water should be balanced and filter cleaned accordingly. There is no need for brushing.

Permits & preparing the land: Excavating the property and determining where the pool will go is first, then the installation begins. Don’t forget landscaping. This can transform the entire project. Most people are more involved in getting the pool that they forget about the landscaping which should be considered at the same time the pool is designed. Think about patio space; color, size, shape and how you plan to use it: to grill or sunbathe, etc. Think about a concrete pad if you want to add a diving board or slide. Now also consider plants, grass, shrubs, etc to really finish the look. If you have a larger space, grass shouldn’t be placed inside your pool fencing. Also, consider outdoor lighting at this point to really set the tone of your space and hire someone who has your vision for landscaping.

A pool contractor does what exactly?

A swimming pool contractor designs, builds, installs, and repairs swimming pools. If any of the work is outsourced, such as concrete pouring, they hire the professionals to pour the concrete and oversee the entire process. So, a pool contractor makes sure your pool is exactly what you want. No landscape is included unless it’s part of your contract and is outsourced.

Happy planning.

06Oct/17

Halloween party by the pool!

Why not have a Terror-ific Halloween pool party?

Ok, it’s October and we’ve already talked about closing your pool for the winter. But, it’s been 81 degrees for the past two weeks and some people were lucky enough to put off pool closing…until who knows when! Also, our friends with pools in the southern states keep their pools open year-round, so this is for everyone who has their pool open or wants to learn about decorating their pool for summer events as well. It doesn’t have to be Halloween to use these awesome ideas and get into the spirit of things.

You can make a floating anything when it comes to being creative with your pool For Halloween a floating pumpkin patch using real pumpkins can be screamingly awesome. Or, put carved-out pumpkins with tea lights inside all around your deck or swimming pool for cool ambient lighting any time of year. You can also add them to the water as floating surface lighting.

Here’s something cool for any kind of party…dry ice. It’s especially spooky for Halloween, but can add ambiance to any soiree’. If you’re putting it in the pool you can’t swim in it, because their vision will be limited with the cloud. Also, it’s a good idea to place the dry ice in a container before floating it in the pool so you don’t stain the surface. Add it to your drinks for that special aura.

Creepy factor alert! Place glow sticks inside surgical gloves that are tied off at the bottom/wrist area. Float them in the pool or around the tables in bowls of water for a spooky effect.

Drape skeletons, mummies, or zombies from the costume shop onto loungers to add another boo-ti-fully scary vibe.

Add fun colored lights and delicious foods like devil’s food spider cake, a purple martini with dry ice, and graveyard enchiladas and see more below to have a fun themed party.

You’ll find some awesome themed recipes on http://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/halloween/g151/halloween-desserts/

Boo!

 

photos: Pinterest, Delish.com

01Oct/17

Practicing yoga in the pool

Holding a yoga pose can sometimes be challenging. Focus is required or you could tip over. Imagine if you could just float into position with the grace of a dancer. Well, you can if you do yoga in the water.

Water helps with buoyancy, not to mention it’s good for relieving joint and bone stress. It’s so healing as it releases pain and stimulates your lymph system. A lot of physical therapists use water as a method for helping patients with arthritis and recovery for operations – so why not use it to help with yoga?

Water serves as a natural prop for helping the body to balance and stay upright. Stay at chest height in the water and try out some of these yoga poses. It’ll prep you and your muscles and joints for when you’re on your mat on dry land. If you like Bikram (hot yoga), crank up the heater!

1. Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose)

Start at the side of the pool. Stand with a straight spine and one arm extended hold the wall to your left or right, bend the outer leg and bring the knee towards the chest.

Grab the big toe or outer edge of the foot, and straighten the leg as much as possible without losing the straightness of your back. Slowly take the leg to the side, keeping both hips forward, and the back straight. Feel the water support your balance. When you’re ready, let go of the noodle or wall. Stand tall and balance. Repeat on the other side.

2. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)

Using one or two foam noodles, place both hands on the noodle(s). Stand with a straight spine, rolling the shoulders away from the ears. Slowly push the noodles away, and simultaneously arch the back and roll over to the top of the toes. Use the core to stay in place while holding the noodles.

3. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Start out by holding the side of the pool. Standing with a straight spine and your left arm fully extended holding the wall so it is directly in front of you. Take the right hand and place it on your right hip.

Slowly hinge forward at the hips while raising the right leg behind you. Keep both legs straight. As the right leg rises, keep the foot flexed. When your right leg is parallel to the ground, or your face is too close to the water, open the hips towards the right and raise the right arm towards the sky. Feel how the water supports your leg and your torso. Repeat on the other side.

4. Navasana (Boat Pose)

Using 2 noodles, place each lengthwise on your left and right side. Grab each noodle with your hands and press down gently into the water. As the noodles go down, engage your core muscles, to let your legs float in front of you. Hold and don’t forget to breathe. Deep breaths in the nose and out the nose. Feel the water support your legs. By using your core it will enable you to stay.

5. Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)

Remember the handstand in gym class? Well, it’s a staple in yoga, and a lot easier in water. It’s easier in the deeper end, so you may want to try it there first provided you’re comfortable holding your breath underwater. Eventually ease back to the shallow end and try it there once you feel confident. Dive down, place your hands on the bottom and kick your feet in the air.

There are quite a few poses that are easier to do in the water. The buoyancy makes even the most difficult asanas seem effortless.

6. Floating Savasana

Every yoga class ends with Savasana, so don’t deprive yourself of what I consider the best part when practicing in a pool. You can add a noodle or floating device if you prefer. Relax, lie back and float face-up in the water for as long as you need.

Namaste.

 

Photo: White Crow Yoga

27Sep/17

Your dream pool awaits…

Photo: Calm Water Pools

Admit it. You’ve been daydreaming about your very own backyard oasis for as long as you can remember. You want to be near water, but mother nature is miles away. And, each year as the days get warmer and we edge toward spring and summer that voice in your heart returns… “get a pool!”

A great pool takes great planning, and with the winter months almost here, now is the time to make that dream a reality. Take this time to start planning. Set the stage… write down your wish list… do you want a diving board? A slide perhaps? Auto-pool cover? Colorful pavers and landscaping? A swim-up bar? A hot-tub? Go on Pinterest or look at decor magazines and get inspired! You’re in the planning stage, so have fun with it.

Whatever your version of Nirvana is jot it down. Decide on the shape. There’s classic rectangular, free-form, kidney, and even custom is available in a fiberglass pool. We have designers that can make you a computer animation of your dream backyard, so you can see it in 3d even before you purchase it.

The colors and patterns determine the tone/look of your pool, so research, research, research. You might choose stark and modern. Or, whimsical colorful. Or have it look like that vacation pool you visited in Europe. Have that special look selected, so that when you’re ready to break ground you know exactly what you want and what you’re getting.

And, don’t forget the special add-ons. Jets, bubblers, custom lighting for elegant night parties, a deck perhaps. These are features that are the cherry-on-top that can make it look unique and special.

Have fun planning. It’s almost as fun as the real thing…almost.

26Sep/17

Let’s dive in, shall we?

To get a diving board or to not get a diving board? The first thing you should think about is safety and the location of a diving board is extremely important. If you don’t have the appropriate pool size then the answer is: don’t get one. Diving boards have strict placement requirements The ANSI/NSPI standards are very specific on the water depth on the board and in front of the board. It is also pretty specific on the required width of a pool and the slope of 1:3 maximum for the floor from deep end to shallow end.If you have the appropriate dimensions then one should observe very strict technical specs when installing a diving board if none existed on the pool beforehand.

Now, if you are just replacing your diving board, and you already have a stand look for a board that matches your stand. Not in style but in size. Do not install a larger diving board than the original one. The diving stand (and jig) must also be changed for the fulcrum location to be correct.

The placement and setting for a new concrete pad must also be very specific. You can refer to the owner’s manual for each diving board stand you purchase. The stand gives you a solid base for the board as it also provides the spring. You should never install a diving board without first using the right stand.

Depending on your pool size you can choose from 6′ and 8′ diving boards and jump boards. FYI, jump boards aren’t as bouncy, they’re for smaller, shallower pools.

Now, if you haven’t closed your pool yet…get out there and have fun!

 

Photo: Pinterest