Serving Central Texas
13 Mar 2019

Design the Outdoor Kitchen of Your Dreams with Recent Trends

Spring is approaching and now is the time to plan renovations for your yard. One way to greatly improve your outdoor space and make it more useful for your family is to install an outdoor kitchen. This outdoor living trend keeps growing each year, thanks to new innovations in materials, better technology and clever new features. Here are three trends to consider when designing your new space.

Design the Outdoor Kitchen of Your Dreams with Recent Trends

Bringing the Indoors Outside

Over the past few years manufacturers of outdoor furniture and accessories have made great improvements in both design and weather proofing. You can now install an outdoor sofa or soft chairs in your outdoor kitchen without fear of them getting moldy or sun bleached. Because of this, the latest trend is to match your outdoor kitchen or patio to the decor inside your home. Even the flooring can be customized to match if you choose to install decorative concrete. Or, use granite or stone to follow the shabby chic design trend for outdoor spaces.

Practical and Ambient Lighting

Gone are the days when outdoor lighting means harsh spotlights that you turn on and off with a switch. Today’s LED lights are far more versatile. Many are solar or motion sensitive, making them both convenient and economical. Use a bright light over a counter in your outdoor kitchen or soft spotlights to gently illuminate a seating area. Small lights along a path from the house to the outdoor kitchen prevent accidents.

Weatherproof Appliances and Fire Features

With an outdoor kitchen, you can have all of the comforts of an indoor kitchen, plus fun things you don’t have room for indoors. Many brands of stainless steel counters, refrigerators and trash drawers are now both durable and weatherproof. Fire features, such as fire pits and fireplaces, continue to be a big outdoor living trend because they allow homeowners to use their outdoor kitchens more comfortably in cool weather. If you love to cook, a smoker or wood burning oven allows you to explore techniques that you can’t try inside your home.

These are just a few of the features you can incorporate into your new outdoor kitchen. Contact us for more information on how to transform your outdoor living space.

12 Mar 2019

The Best Pool Trends According to Professional Pool Builders

Trends in pool construction come and go. Sometimes, though, there are trends that are worth your time and attention! Here are three pool trends that pool builders are recommending to their clients. Are these trends worth adding to your pool design plans?

The Best Pool Trends According to Professional Pool Builders

 

Lots of Smart-Pool Automation

Smart-home automation is becoming more and more mainstream every year. Your pool will be no exception! Pools are becoming easier to own as smart systems make the process of cleaning and managing your pool a breeze. Lighting, temperature, and even cleaning schedules can all run from a smartphone. While it won’t eliminate the need for professional pool cleaning, it will help ensure your pool is ready-to-use between visits. Look for even more innovations in this area in the coming year.

Smaller, More Luxurious Pools

It used to be that you needed a large plot of land if you wanted to consider adding a pool to your property. That’s changing. Home buyers are looking for smaller properties that don’t require so much of their time and maintenance. This trend is extending to their pools. Many people adding pools to their properties want pools designed for entertainment and luxury as opposed to something they can do laps in. Smaller sizes often mean they can spend more on quality materials and custom add-ons, too.

Hydrotherapy Spas for Relaxation

In the coming year, the focus for pool owners is relaxation. That’s why you’ll be seeing more hydrotherapy spas than ever added into custom pool designs. These spas offer warm water relaxation with jets that can target sore muscles and release tension. While pools are getting smaller, these spas are getting bigger as pool owners place heavier importance on creating comfortable, relaxing spaces for themselves and their families.

Want to incorporate any of these trends into your pool construction plans? The Varsity Pools team can help! Get in touch with our experienced pool builders today to learn more about our pool and patio design services.

26 Feb 2019

Improve your Outdoor Style with Decorative Concrete

If you are looking for great ideas to incorporate into an outdoor remodeling project for your home, you’ll want to take a look at all the recent advancements in decorative concrete. No longer are homeowners limited to drab, gray stretches of utilitarian concrete. Now homeowners can select from a wide variety of decorative treatments for outdoor areas such as steps, patios, walking paths, pool lounge areas, and more. Read on to learn more about how decorative concrete can add great style to your outdoor remodeling project.

Improve your Outdoor Style with Decorative Concrete

Add Some Style with Texture

If you’ve always loved the look of brick, tile, slate, flagstone or even wood, but didn’t want the extra expense and upkeep that comes along with special materials, you now have more options. All of these textures are easily replicated through the use of a process known as concrete imprinting, or stamping. You’ll still get all the easy care features of concrete as well as its affordability, along with the textured look you’ve always dreamed of. Whether you are pouring new cement as part of a remodeling project, or have some that simply needs updating, adding texture to concrete is a great way to add beautiful visual interest outdoors.

Add Some Style with Color

Another great way to incorporate a unique design into any remodeling project is to add color to decorative cement. Today’s concrete projects can include the application of stains or dyes that will provide just the right shade of accent color to outdoor cement surfaces. It’s also possible to use multiple colors that will allow one to create unique decorative cement patterns. Whether you want to add subtle earth-toned color accents that harmonize with the outdoors, or add a punch of bright purple, yellow or orange for that “wow” factor, the choice is yours.

If you would like to know more about decorative cement can add style, texture and color to your backyard project, contact us!

13 Feb 2019

Lose these Excuses for not Keeping Leaves Out

As a pool owner, one of your most essential tasks is to keep leaves out. Don’t fall prey to any of the following common excuses folks use for not scooping out their pool.

Lose these Excuses for not Keeping Leaves Out

#1. My pool cover will keep leaves out

While it’s true that a pool cover will protect your investment, it cannot possibly keep out all leaves and debris. Very thin particles can still slip through the space between your cover and the pool. So don’t be surprised to peel back your cover and learn that your pool is not as clean as you would like it.

#2. Scooping my pool isn’t necessary during the off season

The trees surrounding your pool may no longer have leaves, but that doesn’t mean that other debris won’t wind up in your pool. Pine needles, pine cones, acorns, and other matter could end up there as well. Unless you scoop your pool on a regular basis, you may not have any idea what’s inside it until you are ready to open it up again in spring.

#3. A few leaves won’t really hurt anything. I’ll wait until I have lots of them to remove.

The truth is that even a few leaves can drastically change the pH balance of your water. This can result in the need for additional chemicals, which ironically will only be soaked up by the leaves. You’re actually just throwing money away if you don’t keep your swimming pool free of debris at all times.

To keep your pool in peak condition, you should ideally scoop it every day during swimming season and at least twice a week when not in use. Maybe you would like to spend more time swimming and fewer hours cleaning your pool, in which case we invite you to contact us instead.

29 Jan 2019

Where Should You Put Your Fire Pit?

There’s room in every backyard for a beautiful fire pit. All that’s left is to fill in the details: do you want a circular table or a long winding shape? Do you want gas-powered or wood burning? Fire rocks or fire glass? Then, once you know what style and materials you like best, it’s time to find the perfect spot for it. Depending on your backyard’s configuration, there is any number of places it can fit in. Keep these tips in mind when you’re deciding on where you should put your fire pit:

Where Should You Put Your Fire Pit?

Is it purely decorative?

A decorative fire pit or fire table is beautiful. One way to incorporate it is as a feature between one wall of your swimming pool and the surrounding deck. Segmenting your backyard can keep things organized, and it’s a beautiful design element.

But if you want the fire to provide heat, you need to make it accessible. Either put it in a large empty space where seats can be arranged around it, or put it near your tables and counters where people already make themselves comfortable. If you want your fire pit to add lighting after sunset, that’s another factor to keep in mind.

Are you in a windy area?

Fire pits and tables are designed to be safe in all backyards. But some backyards are windier and closer to nature than others. If you live near a green area or you have a wrought iron fence, the wind can pick up flames and potentially start a fire. Look for models that you can remotely control and shut off. Many fire pits are also built with glass sides so you can enjoy the fire without caring about the breeze.

Do you want a permanent fixture?

If you want your fire pit to flow seamlessly into your backyard design, go to Varsity Pools. Whether you’re constructing your outdoor living space from scratch or you’re adding new features, our designers can make your fire features fit in perfectly.

15 Jan 2019

Pool Construction Ideas for Adding Fun to Your Backyard

When the weather outside is beautiful, as it usually is in central Texas, there really is no reason for you to miss out on a place outside of the home that you can enjoy. Backyards are the best place to create a space that is an extension of your life inside the house. You can turn it into anything you want it to be and Varsity Pools can help you with it. There has never been a better time, or a better opportunity to have a professional construct a pool area that is suitable for all your needs.

Pool Construction Ideas for Adding Fun to Your Backyard

A Relaxing Pool Area

Pools are ideal places to relax. Many people sit for hours on a floating lounge to read or cool off on hot summer days. You can take it to the next level of relaxation by adding new features to an already existing pool or by custom building a pool that meets your needs. Pool lighting is a great way to get ambiance around the pool during the night, but during the daytime they are less noticeable. Why not have stone pillars with umbrellas put into the pool’s shallow end or on the deck so that you can hang a hammock without relying on trees? A custom pool designer may be able to put chaise lounges inside of the pool on the shallow end using concrete. For landscaping around the pool, you can add privacy fences, shrubs, and more to block out noise from nearby neighbors or roads.

Party at the Pool

Swimming pool areas are ideal for creating a great party space. If you have a covered area on your patio, hanging lights can make things more fun. Outdoor speakers will allow you have music playing throughout your entire party. An open bar, perhaps built-in near the pool’s edge can give you a place to store beverages and snacks. You can also have the complete outdoor kitchen setup, complete with a nearby fire pit. Imagine being able to sit around the fire pit while eating your tasty feast. To make it kid friendly, you simply need to add in a slide or a diving board. You can also put up a swing nearby if you have the space for it.

Cozy Retreats

You may not think of a pool area as a retreat, but with a little effort it can exceed all your expectations. Even if you have a small yard, you can still create the illusion of a hidden paradise. If you are building a pool area from scratch, you may opt to go with a less traditional pool. You can then use landscaping tricks to enhance it. For instance, a small round pool construction that has a rock wall, perhaps with a water feature on one side. You can plant tropical flowers and trees around the wall or perhaps turn it into a unique spice garden.

You get to choose what type of pool area you want to create. No matter what type of pool environment you want to design, we are here to help you make your dreams come true. All you have to do is let us know you have a dream to enjoy your backyard to the fullest!

03 Jan 2019

3 Ways We Incorporate Height in Your Pool Design

Don’t think of your swimming pool as a single flat dimension or lost space in your yard’s overall square footage. There are a lot of vertical walls, steps, and extra spaces you can incorporate into your backyard. Here are 3 ways we incorporate height in your pool design:

3 Ways We Incorporate Height in Your Pool Design

1. Connect your standing hot tub to the pool.

Separate water features mean that more people can relax in your backyard. But if you have limited space, then you can’t fit wide margins between the pool, the hot tub, and the patio. Make that work for your design by connecting the hot tub to the pool. By raising the tub, you don’t have to worry about an unclear dividing line. You can also incorporate a waterfall feature to bring it all together.

2. Add an extra lip around the pool.

Not everyone who wants to go to the pool wants to be in the pool. But sitting on the edge of the pool can be uncomfortable and make. So choose a pool design that has an extra lip just under the surface of the water for sitting. Not only can more people enjoy the water, that extra step makes it easier for some of your guests to get in and out.

3. Have a seat at the hot tub.

When you have a raised hot tub, you have a lot of real estate that can be incorporated into the overall flow of your backyard. Raise and widen the edge so you can add seats around the edge and have a comfortable tabletop surface. When you have more guests than table space, this extra touch makes everyone fit.

At Varsity Pools & Patios, we can build the pool you’re looking for that’s a perfect fit for your backyard. Browse our gallery or schedule an appointment by contacting us here.

18 Dec 2018

11 Reasons Why You Need a Swimming Pool

Swimming is one of the best types of exercise for men, women, and children, offering benefits for both mental and physical health. Swimming is a low impact, highly aerobic form of exercise, and burns lots of calories. It also increases your heart rate, tones your muscles, and helps you manage your weight. Below we have listed 11 reasons why you need a swimming pool.

11 Reasons Why You Need a Swimming Pool

  1.    Swimming is a whole-body workout. While you swim, you are working every major muscle group in your body, including your arms, torso, legs, and stomach.
  2.    Swimming increases your heart rate. Your heart rate will increase to healthy levels without added stress to your body while in the pool.
  3.    Swimming makes you stronger. Spending time in the pool enhances your overall fitness, while improving your body strength.
  4.    Swimming helps manage your weight. You’ll burn lots of calories in the pool, which will help keep your weight under control or assist in weight loss. Swimming will burn between 413 and 931 calories per hour, depending on your current weight, and your workout intensity. These calorie counts are comparable to more intense and impactful exercises like running or cycling.
  5.    Swimming is safer than other forms of exercise. A serious advantage for swimmers is that they suffer an injury during exercise at a lot lower rate than runners or cyclists. One easy way to prove this is with a study that compared injuries incurred during the running, cycling, and swimming parts of a triathlon. Injuries during running were 50 percent, 43 percent during cycling, and just 7 percent as a result of swimming.
  6.     Swimming tones your muscles. Especially when it comes to your upper body and your legs, not much beats swimming for a lean and toned look.
  7.    Swimming is great exercise at any age. From young children to senior citizens, swimming is a great way to stay in shape regardless of your age and beginning fitness level. You can swim at a pace that is comfortable for you until your fitness level allows you to advance.
  8.    Swimming builds cardiovascular strength. Cardiovascular, or cardio, exercise, involves your heart, lungs, and circulatory system and is key to overall health. In fact, research shows that regular swimmer’s mortality rate is half that of people who are inactive. Plus, a 2016 study indicated lower blood pressure and blood sugar were the results of regular swimming.
  9.    Swimming can be a lifesaving skill. Aside from the mental and physical benefits of swimming, it can also be a truly life-saving ability to have when needed.
  10.    Swimming is a great rehab activity for people with injuries. For those people with knee or other joint issues, like arthritis, swimming can be great as a rehabilitation exercise. Water supports your muscles gently while allowing you to work them harder than if on land.
  11.    It’s just fun! Swimming is more social and more fun than jogging, biking, or weight lifting, but gives you just as good a workout. Plus, pool parties are the best parties in Texas!

If you are looking for a high-quality custom swimming pool that is durable and adds value to your property, choose Varsity Swimming Pools. Varsity will create the backyard oasis that suits your home and your lifestyle. Call us today at 210-559-9553 so we can show you why Varsity Pools is the premier pool company of San Antonio and South Texas.

04 Dec 2018

4 Textures You Need in Your Pool Design

Textures and materials play a large part in the final appearance of your backyard features. They also help keep the area safe or peaceful. Make sure you consider adding these four textures to your swimming pool and patio:

4 Textures You Need in Your Pool Design

1. Anti-slip coating

One of the most important design elements your pool can have is safety. When people are running in and out of the pool, water is going to get into the surfaces of your pool deck and patio. Chlorinated water is especially slippery. So look for a deck coating that has plenty of pockets and crevices to reduce standing water.

2. Flagstone

Flagstone is in style, and you don’t have to completely rip up your patio to get it. If you have a solid concrete patio, you can order a custom overlay that gives you the contemporary look you want. Flagstones match with most Texas properties, and they also offset stains for years of parties and backyard barbecues.

3. Pavers

Your outdoor living space is going to have a lot of distinct features. These can include a patio, your swimming pool and hot tubs, and an outdoor kitchen. Make sure these features are connected by concrete or paver pathways.

That integrates all of the features together to make your backyard design look more intentional, even if you’re adding new features over time. It also means no one has to step on the grass. Texas is home to lots of vicious fire ants, and pavers keep them away from your guests’ bare feet.

4. Stones

Bring decorative elements into your backyard, not just functional ones. Natural stones and river rocks can add a peaceful thematic finish to your new backyard. Incorporate waterfalls, rock gardens, and plant arrangements so your yard looks and feels like an oasis.

Contact us here to get started on your custom pool.

23 Nov 2018

Backyard Remodel? Add Some Luxury to the Pool Area

Deciding to invest in a backyard remodel to expand your living space is always an exciting event.  Of course, having a pool and an outdoor seating area are often essential components of these types of remodeling projects.  However, it’s the finishing touches that can help transform a utilitarian backyard space into a truly luxurious retreat.  In this post, we will outline 3 ways to put the finishing touches on your backyard remodeling project.

Backyard Remodel?  Add Some Luxury to the Pool Area

Expand Seating Options

The typical patio area certainly includes a table and chairs, but if families really want to relax outdoors, additional seating options can help.  Consider adding pool lounges that are half submerged in water for that truly posh resort feeling.  In addition, look for areas around your pool where you can create a comfortable gathering space for those who want to relax after swimming.  Invest in some good-quality outdoor cushions and lounge pillows that can heighten the posh factor of all your seating arrangements as well.

Add an Outdoor Shower

A backyard remodel is the ideal time for homeowners to add an outdoor shower.  Extending the pool experience to the outdoor shower area not only serves a practical purpose by allowing guests to wash off after a dip in the pool, it also extends that luxurious, tropical feeling that everyone is always looking for.  An outdoor shower experience, surrounded by natural stone and wood accents, helps extend the feeling that one is truly relaxing in a natural environment.

Add Lighting Accents

The pool area is great during the daytime but it can really exude relaxation in the evening as well.  What is more relaxing after a stressful day than walking outdoors and unwinding under the soft flickering of lanterns, tree lights and wall sconces in your own backyard oasis?

If you would like more tips on how to turn your backyard into the relaxing getaway you’ve always dreamed of, please contact us!