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How to Make Your View the Main Attraction

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Does your property have an amazing view? Perhaps you are fortunate to live right on the water where you can watch the sun go down every evening from the privacy of your backyard. Or maybe you are in a lush green spot where nature takes center stage and you want to keep it that way. But you also want to enjoy the benefits of a swimming pool.

Good news! You can still have the beautiful and enjoyable pool you've always dreamed of without sacrificing your amazing view. With thoughtful design from an experienced company like Tampa Bay Pools, you view can remain the main attraction.

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Keep it Simple

To accomplish this, we primarily advise the simple approach. Keep tile, coping, and decking simple and, for best results, monochromatic. Avoid eye catching details like raised walls or columns, planters, or water features in your pool design. These things create visual breaks, resting places for the eye to gravitate to, and keep the focus in the foreground. If you do choose to incorporate these items, keep them away from the edge of the pool that backs up to the view you wish to make the star.

Consider keeping the shape of the pool itself linear. Straight lines create a visual pathway for the eyes to follow out into the distance. This "lane-ing" tactic can be further enhanced by using vertical landscaping and other design features along the left and right sides of the pool. This creates a frame of sorts for your vista.

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Discover an Infinity Pool

Perhaps the best method of leading the eye toward a desired view is to build an infinity pool. An infinity pool is an elegant design in which at least one edge of the pool is unbounded by both coping and decking, allowing water to rise to the top of the pool wall. It creates the illusion of water stretching on into infinity, hence the name. We use this infinity edge, also known as a vanishing edge, to lead the viewer's focus to the desired perspective. This open edge has a basin that is invisible from most angles and collects spill-over water and returns it into the pool's filtration system.

(Image: http://tampabaypools.com/water-features-photos/#foobox-1/9/infinity-catch-basin.jpg)

Beloved for their vista-enhancing nature as well as for their sophisticated, minimalist aesthetic, infinity pools have continued to grow in popularity in recent years. They are frequently seen gracing the rooftops of high-end hotels as well as oceanfront, lakefront, or mountain-view resorts worldwide. The experienced professionals at Tampa Bay Pools make the grace and beauty of an infinity pool accessible to you in your own backyard! Call us today for a free design consultation.

Awesome Options for Poolside Dining

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Here in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, we are fortunate to be able to make the most of the outdoors year-round. What better way to enjoy time spent outside on an everyday basis than by taking a meal beside the pool? At Tampa Bay Pools, our experienced design team can suggest the perfect outdoor living set-up to suit your style aesthetic and your lifestyle. Following are several great options.

Traditional Dining

Perhaps the most comfortable and familiar method of outdoor dining is the traditional patio table and chairs. In a wide range of shapes, sizes, and styles, there is a set to suit every taste and every space. And with the availability of super-plush cushions in the new breed of weather-resistant outdoor fabrics, you can dine in perfect, luxurious comfort!

Take that luxury to the next level by having us install a custom, fully-roofed patio cover. Either attached to your home or free-standing, a patio cover gives your family and friends a place of shelter from the sun's rays, as well as a haven from rain showers. We can also easily add such amenities as lighting and ceiling fans for extra comfort day or night.

For those who prefer to let a little sunshine in, an open-air pergola may be the way to go. Often seen trailing flowering vines, this is a great way to tie your outdoor dining area seamlessly into the natural surroundings.

(Image: http://tampabaypools.com/outdoor-living-photos/#foobox-1/1/2-pc-mahogany.jpg)

Bar Seating

Another popular choice is bar seating. Usually built into the back side of an outdoor kitchen counter, bar seating is a more casual, come-and-go style of outdoor dining. This may be perfect for the family that enjoys grilling or smoking, and provides a perfect environment for friends and family to interact with the chef or help with preparations.

An outdoor kitchen can be built in just about any setting. From a simple built-in grill with a bit of countertop space beside to a full-service kitchen complete with sink, refrigerator, kegerator, and pizza oven, the possibilities are limited only by your space and preference.

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Swim-Up Seating

For those who simply can't bear to be pulled away from the water, swim-up dining is the way to go! The best of both worlds, this allows diners to be served in the casual comfort of cool water. Nothing says "lounging in luxury" like sipping your favorite beverage from a table built right into the pool. The Tampa Bay pool above even has an umbrella sleeve installed in the center of the table so swimmers can sip in the shade!

Whichever style of outdoor dining represents your idea of perfection, the professionals at Tampa Bay Pools have the knowledge and experience to tailor a design specifically to your liking. Give us a call today for your free design consultation, and find yourself dining in style outside in no time! 

A Family Affair: Age Appropriate Pool Cleaning Tasks for Kids

Once children reach school age, they are ready to start helping out around the pool. Summer is the perfect time to assess kids' abilities and establish a new pool maintenance routine. Just like indoor chores, this helps children develop an appreciation for their material advantages as well as responsibility and an understanding of how to take care of their things.

Start by creating the habit of having family members of all ages pick up after themselves. Scan the pool and surrounding area at the end of every swim. Remove and stow all toys and floats, and put away towels, sunscreen and other items. In addition to keeping the pool area tidy and attractive, this will greatly extend the life of your pool accessories, as well as prevent these items from causing damaging filter blockages.

Ages 5-8

Children of this age can empty skimmer baskets every other day. Be sure to schedule this task at a time of day when filters are not running to ensure that debris does not get sucked into the filter. Teach kids to carefully inspect the contents of baskets for creepy crawlies before reaching hands in. Special hooks for pulling out baskets can also be purchased to lessen the risk of unwelcome surprises.

Small kids often get a kick out of turning on automatic pool cleaners and watching them get started sucking up debris!

Ages 9-12

Bigger kids are typically able to begin handling cleaning poles and can assist with such maintenance items as skimming the water surface and even brushing steps and benches. Be sure to do an introductory training session on keeping poles safely away from power lines, windows, and any other nearby dangers.

Teens

The 13 and up crowd is able to begin testing water pH and chlorine levels. Gauge responsibility levels and go through warning labels and safe handling procedures thoroughly before entrusting teens with the addition of chlorine and other chemicals. Supervise closely for the first several weeks, and it is always a good rule of thumb that no one handles chemicals while home alone.

This age group can also be schooled in the appropriate method of setting up and cleaning out automatic pool cleaners, as well as periodically emptying filter baskets and even assisting in filter cleanings or backwashing.

Perhaps the best thing about having teens help with pool duties is they are usually capable of doing the weekly brushing of the pools' interior! Essential for disrupting the growth of algae and dislodging dirt, this is many pool owners' most hated task. Hint: You may consider offering teens monetary compensation for this one!

Swimming pools are a wonderful backyard asset enjoyed by the whole family. Appreciation for them can be increased and the work load lightened by getting everyone involved in pool maintenance. When you build a pool with Tampa Bay Pools, we walk you through a comprehensive Pool School and are happy to have the whole team sit in. But we don't just stop there! We are always available to answer questions you may have about caring for your pool, operating your equipment, or any repairs, replacements, or remodels that you desire. Give us a call anytime!

Simple Tips for Keeping a Cleaner Pool

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Most pool owners will go through a basic "Pool School" when their new pool and spa are completed. At that time, your pool builder should teach you how to operate your pool equipment, do basic clean-up, and check and adjust your pool water's chemical levels. But beyond that, there are some common sense ways to keep a cleaner pool and prevent messes from occurring in the first place.

Plan Pool-Friendly Surroundings

For starters, carefully consider the materials used to border your pool. We've all seen breathtaking photos of pools surrounded by a lush carpet of green lawn, or with beautiful tropical flora enclosing the pool like a hidden island paradise. For many pool owners though, kids, pets, or environmental factors such as gulf breezes or the terrain's run-off patterns can too easily introduce sand, mud, mulch, rock or plant material into the pool. In addition to being unsightly, these materials require extra time and effort to remove, and can also clog drains and filters and damage pool equipment.

If your family lifestyle is likely to include lots of clambering little feet or heavy traffic, consider enclosing your pool in at least three-foot deep-decking on all sides. Installing wind-breaking fencing or corralling nearby plant-life in raised or other thoughtfully designed planters can also help mitigate the intrusion of natural debris. Of course, use a mower with a bagging attachment to collect clippings or at the very least, remember to mow in the direction that blows grass clippings away from the pool!

Install an Outdoor Shower

It is easy and inexpensive to add a shower head and faucet to most pool plumbing configurations, and a simple drain can be tied into yard drainage or sewers in most residential environments. In addition to showering in nature being a very pleasant experience, an outdoor shower near the pool can help ensure that dirty feet and sweaty bodies don't carry contaminants into the pool and spa. Bonus: Saturating hair in an outdoor shower prior to swimming can help protect it from damage caused by chlorine and other pool chemicals. It also provides a super-convenient place to wash the family dog!

What particular factors may be contributing to unnecessary mess in your pool and spa area? Perhaps a common-sense approach can help resolve your problem as well. If you are just getting started designing a new pool and spa, be sure to address your lifestyle considerations and concerns to your Tampa Bay Pools design professional. We've been there and done that, and we pride ourselves on putting our extensive experience to work for you! Call today for your free consultation.

A Roundup of Basic Pool Accessories for a Season Full of Fun!

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The long, lazy days of summer are here, and what better way to spend them than in your Tampa Bay swimming pool? Get maximum enjoyment from your pool time this season with these awesome pool accessories.

Pool Noodles

First and foremost, let's give a shout out to the basic pool noodle! Easy to find just about anywhere, these may be the least expensive but most useful item in your accessory arsenal, so be sure to pick up several. Noodles may be the most versatile of floats. Ladies, try sitting on one to keep the body submerged but hair above water!

Their slim design takes up little space, making them great options to keep in the pool as emergency assists for little swimmers. Host a family jousting tournament! Give each contestant a noodle to straddle and another to use as their "joust". The first to cause their opponent to fall off their "horse" wins!

A Place for Everything

Banish slimy, sodden pool towels forever! Search Pinterest for do-it-yourself poolside towel rack ideas to keep everyone's towels corralled and dry. From simple hooks mounted on a wall or fence to an antique ladder, the possibilities are endless. You can also purchase metal towel stands with a weighted base and multi-directional arms for hanging. Some even come equipped with trays or buckets on top for holding sunscreen and other essentials!

Water Sport Equipment

Beat the heat of summer days by taking your favorite sports into the water! Purchase specially designed water footballs, basketballs with weighted poolside hoops, or even water volleyball sets that stretch across the pool from special grommets installed in the decking. For even more fun with your volleyball net, purchase an inexpensive plastic badminton set to play with in the pool. Don't forget the Sploosh balls! These soft, fabric covered balls make for wonderfully intense games of catch-at-any-cost!

Music Makes it a Party

No pool party can get really rocking without music! Today's Bluetooth technology has spawned a host of water-resistant outdoor speakers of many shapes, sizes and colors. The best part is they can wirelessly play music from smartphone docks or stereo systems safely kept indoors! So put together a playlist of your favorite party tunes or a relaxation mix for peaceful evening lounging in the spa. Everything is better set to music!

Just getting started on a new pool and spa? Plan ahead to make your backyard resort both beautiful and enjoyable for you, your family and friends. The design experts at Tampa Bay Pools can offer a wealth of ideas you may never have thought of for how you can incorporate form with function. Give us a call today!

Enjoy Spring with These Backyard Grilling Recipes

Whip up these meat and veggie dishes in your backyard oasis tonight!

Spring is in the air and soon everyone will be heading out to their outdoor living spaces to fire up the grill. We've been taste testing and we've found two great recipes for you to try this spring.

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 Cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp steak sauce (though Worcestershire Sauce will give your chicken more of a kick)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Directions:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium heat.
  2. In a bowl, combine the mustard, honey, mayonnaise and steak sauce. Set aside 2-3 tablespoons for basting, and dip the chicken into the remaining sauce until its coated
  3. Lightly oil your grill grate and grill the chicken over indirect heat for 18 to 20 minutes. Turn the chicken occasionally or until the juices run clear. During the final 10 minutes, baste the chicken from time to time with the reserved honey mustard sauce.

Recipe Credit: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Honey-Mustard-Grilled-Chicken/?prop24=hn_slide1_We-Love-It-When-This-Happens&evt19=1

Warm Balsamic Kale Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ Cup diced onion
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 1 diced yellow pepper
  • 8oz sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 4 Cups kale
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ Asiago or Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter into a large skillet. Add onion and peppers and saute until softened (several minutes). Add mushrooms and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Continue to saute until ingredients are browned.
  2. Add in the kale, garlic and balsamic vinegar, and saute until kale is a deeper green but not silted. Remove from heat. Top the salad with Asiago or Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy immediately!

Additional Tip: Chefs can even serve this salad in their backyard oasis as a meal if they choose to top it with grilled chicken, salmon, or legumes.

Recipe credit: http://pinchofyum.com/warm-balsamic-kale-salad

Fun Pool Games for the Tampa Bay Pools Family

Family fun pools are where fantastic memories are created. We have some great games that we've heard about and have played with our own families, and we hope that your friends and family enjoy them too.

 Catch the Swimmer

For this ring toss style of game, noodle owners can turn their pool noodles into a "ring" shape and then attempt to "catch" someone in the pool by tossing a ring over his or her head, arm, leg, or any other body part.

 MAKING A NOODLE RING: Take a toilet paper tube and cut it lengthwise. Roll it up and insert it into the hollow of your pool noodle. Attach the other end of the noodle to form a ring, secure it with duct tape, and you're set!

Go Fish

One player, with his or her eyes closed, stands in the pool or sits upon the edge of the pool and holds the noodle so that it's touching the water. Once the one player with the noodle pole shouts, "Gone Fishin'!" , the other players will dash, splash and swim around, attempting to avoid the one players' moving noodle. When the fisherman calls, "Got a fish!" after tapping a player with the noodle, that player then becomes the new fisherman.

The Pool Noodle Limbo

This game is for the avid divers in your group. Two people will start off by holding the pool noodle straight on the surface of the water with divers diving beneath it. With each successful group of divers the pool noodle will be gradually pushed lower, forcing the divers to dive lower and lower to swim underneath it. The person who dives the deepest wins!

Chicken Noodle

Much like the classic chicken fight pool game, the goal of this game in family fun pools is to knock your opponent off of his or her noodle. Both players can straddle or sit upon the noodle anyway they see fit and then work to knock the other player off balance. Whoever stays on the longest wins!

The Noodle Paddle

In this game, players lay on their noodles as they would a surfboard and then attempt to paddle themselves across the water of family fun pools using only their arms while still staying balanced. Whoever makes it to the other end first is the winner!

Top 10 Favorite Tampa Pool Designs

Take a look at Tampa Bay Pools' top 10 favorite pool designs of 2014!

 With 2014 now in the books, we thought it would be fun to take a look back and share ten of our favorite pool designs. Making our list for a variety of reasons, these pools showcase a range of design features we love such as fire bowls, infinity edges, awesome waterslides and inviting outdoor fireplaces. They also illustrate that almost any home on any lot can accommodate a pool. So be prepared to be inspired as you scroll through photos of the following ten pools, and please feel free to visit our photo gallery and create your own favorites list!

First up, is this entertaining paradise! Featuring a full outdoor kitchen with bar seating, multiple dining tables, and a separate covered living area complete with dual-sided fireplace and television entertainment system, this space can accommodate tons of guests and provide plenty of areas for them to congregate comfortably. Notice how the fire bowls enliven the pool by night and make an evening swim or a soak in the spa seem so inviting. And that huge open entry in the home's back wall makes inside and outside practically inseparable. We would accept invitations anytime!

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Check out the organic look of the coping on this nature lover's pool. Combined with the mystery of a dark interior finish, the effect is reminiscent of a natural stone swimming hole.

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We love how both the infinity edge of the spa and the fire bowls draw the eye beyond a graceful iron railing to the stately trees and manicured lawn of this genteel Southern estate.

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Pool number four never ceases to catch our attention with its raised spa and seating area tucked artfully between the water and lush tropical planting.

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This is bay living at its finest with an infinity edged pool that enhances rather than competes with the view of the water.

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An interesting, rounded triangle shape proves that a pool can not only fit but complement almost any lot!

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This clean, modern beauty uses matching white tile, coping, and decking to make geometric simplicity the star of the show.

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Who wouldn't want to spend every evening basking in the double warmth of this cozy spa and fireplace? And that generous Baja ledge is the perfect place to do a little sun worshipping during the day.

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We can't get enough of the way the infinity edged pool and potted trees bring this hillside lot right into the woods!

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We saved or absolute favorite for last with this amazing pool! Tampa Bay Pools' designers totally nailed this seating island in the middle of the pool accessed by a refined little wooden bridge. Loungers can converse across the water with others enjoying the raised spa or catching some rays on the Baja ledge. If that's not cool enough, the kid in all of us can't wait to zoom down that incredible, two-story corkscrew waterslide! Can we move in here? Please?

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Thanks for taking this virtual walk with us through some of our favorite recent projects. For more information about our construction process, please click here. We would love for our next favorite pool to be built in your backyard. So, to get started with the pool and spa you and your family have been dreaming of, click here or give us a call today to schedule your own in-home design consultation!