by Rob Cox, January 08, 2011
Trends in Swimming Pool Building
1. Technology Features: As we have moved as a society to our current techonological reliance, pools have followed right along. In energy consumption for one. Motors have been redesigned to make use of variable speeds or pool lights now come with LED options and fiber optic options, which consume much less energy than standard bulbs. Controllers, long thought as a luxury item, and certainly an expensive product, have come down in price recently, and more options are now available than ever before. Want to call in to your controller and check on the spa temperature? Turn up the outdoor speakers, and annoy the neighbors - all from your smartphone.
2. Water Features: Care to recreate the "grotto" at the famous Playboy mansion? Many are doing just that these days, with large rock caverns attached to their pool, complete with waterfall, lighting, bench seating and perhaps a slide over the top. Deck mounted jets, to spray into the pool and many of the wall jets which affix to a raised wall above the pool, have become easier for many builders to add these days. Aboveground pool owners can easily install deck mounted jets on their wooden surround deck. The most popular water feature is still the waterfall, which can be built right into a raised wall for a sheet like "sheer descent" water feature.
Cascades are now more popular, these pump from a wall mounted port, to a basin up above the pool. As the basin fills, the water cascades over the lip and tumbles over well placed rocks, on top of well placed waterproof membranes. Cascades are more involved than Waterfalls, but both are being installed in greater numbers now. Lew Akins, the pioneer of the Infinity Edge or Negative Edge pools, where the pool has the illusion of extending into the horizon, has seen his idea really blossom since 2000.
3. Safety Features: More pools are being built with safety in mind. Shallower pools, without diving boards are more common now. Beach entrances and shallow platforms for small children. Turfscaping around the pool, with combinations of hillsides, shrubbery and decorative fencing is how many new pools are adding layers of protection. For new products, how about an underwater "eye", a camera that records and displays for commercial pool operators, images beneath the water. Also can detect motion or lack of motion, in a swimmer. SVRS, or a Suction Vacuum Release System, now required for many commercial pools, will shut off the pool pump if a vacuum or negative pressure is sensed. Pools are also being built to be seen from the house - more visible, and magna-latch gate latches are now de riguer.
4. Green Features: Solar heaters are now being considered standard equipment on most pools. The orientation of the solar panels in relation to the pool is now being given forethought and smart builders are able to arrange the pool equipment, pool and the house together in an effective triangle. Solar heaters don't generate as many service calls as gas heaters, so these are still being offered, but today's builders are looking for more eco friendly options for their clients. Other ways builders are now being green is offering variable speed pumps and motors, led pool lighting and salt chlorine generators. Manufacturers are bringing new products to market at breakneck speed - all to satisfy a public demand.
Gone are the days perhaps, when you could get any pool you wanted, as long as it was a 20x40 rectangle, white plaster and coping stones, blue 6x6 tile. Nowadays the sky is the limit. Pool building has become a very specialized trade, if you want to be successful with today's educated and demanding pool owners. Add your favorite pool feature in the comments below!