Serving Central Texas
07 Nov 2018

3 Reasons to Add a Sunken Kitchen to Your Backyard

Outdoor kitchens are a must-have addition to outdoor living spaces. Not only do they give you more options for outdoor meals during the week, they make outdoor celebrations easier on the host. But one of the favorite fads throughout 2018 is adding a sunken kitchen instead of one attached to your house, and this fad will continue well into 2019. Here are three reasons why:

3 Reasons to Add a Sunken Kitchen to Your Backyard

1. Entertaining gets a lot easier.

Even though you’re cooking and hosting, you still want to interact with your guests. When you’re in the kitchen, that means they have to come to you. But sometimes the pull of swimming leaves you a bit neglected. So move your outdoor kitchen right up against the pool. You can chat with people and keep a watchful eye on both the stove and the younger swimmers.

2. Stay hydrated and keep your phone handy.

Pools need counter space. Everyone needs a secure, water-free spot to put their cell phone, even if it’s in a waterproof case. If you’re having a party in the summer, it’s also important to have lots of drinks nearby so no one gets dehydrated. Sunken outdoor kitchens have a countertop that extends just over the water. Your guests can swim over to take a drink or check on their device for any missed messages.

3. Dimensionality improves your backyard design.

Don’t keep your swimming pool, your patio, and your outdoor kitchen all on the same level. Adding dimensions gives you more space to live and play in. It also means you can incorporate more design features like steps, fire pits, and in-pool seating.

A sunken kitchen is just one of the outdoor kitchen designs that would be a perfect fit for your backyard. Go to Varsity Pools to get started on your custom pool, patio, or outdoor kitchen.

23 Oct 2018

5 Awesome Design Tips for Small Backyards

Do you have a lovely backyard but have been putting off putting it to use because you don’t think there’s enough space to do anything useful with it? Regardless of how small your backyard is, there are many ways to design it so that it is a beautiful place to hang out. Here are some tips for putting a small backyard to use with awesome design in mind.

5 Awesome Design Tips for Small Backyards

Choose a Goal

First of all, you need to have a clear purpose in mind. Since you only have a limited amount of space to work with, you want to use it wisely. Do you want to create a little green oasis to meditate in? A little hangout where your family and friends can enjoy a warm summer Sunday? A small but fun swimming pool? Whatever it is, have your goals clear in your mind first.

Choose the Right Furniture

Maximizing your backyard experience is possible by using furniture that maximizes your space. For example, rounded tables can help you fit more people than squared tables. Rounded chairs or benches can also give you more space.

Less Is More

Don’t over clutter your limited space. Keep things efficient but simple. Avoid overdoing it when decorating your backyard.

Open Vs Closed

Decide whether you want an open or closed backyard. Closing off your backyard when your space is limited may sound claustrophobic initially, but you may find that it adds a flavor of privacy and coziness to the place.

Decorate Vertically

You may not have a lot of horizontal space, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t decorate your backyard. You can use your vertical space (your walls) to your advantage. Hang flower pots on them or plant ivy-like plants. Hang paintings, mirrors, lights, and other decorations on your walls. Be creative!

For help with designing a perfect backyard retreat, contact us today.

16 Oct 2018

5 Pool Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Swimming Pool Clean

Want to keep your pool clean so that you can jump in and relax at any time? With a little maintenance, you can keep your swimming pool clear and clean at all times. Here are five simple yet effective pool cleaning maintenance tips.

5 Pool Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Swimming Pool Clean

Clean the Filters

Filters that get clogged will decrease the proper flow of circulation in the pool. There are different kinds of filters, and each needs to be cleaned and replaced at its proper time. For example, cartridge filters should be replaced every few weeks, while sand filters can go a few years without being replaced. Check your manufacturer’s manual for more information about cleaning and replacing your filter.

Skim

Whether you use a robotic skimmer to automatically skim your pool or you do it manually is up to you, but it’s important that it gets done. Skimming your pool involves using a filter to clean your pool from debris such as leaves, dirt and small twigs.

Clean the Walls

Algae can stick to your walls and leave stains. That’s why it is important to scrub them regularly. Use a brush (its softness will depend on the material that your pool walls are made out of) to clean your walls from leftover algae.

Shock Your Pool

From time to time, you may want to consider shocking your pool. This involves using a higher than usual amount of chlorine to kill any bacteria in your pool and is useful if a lot of people have been using your pool over a short amount of time. However, make sure not to swim in the pool again until the chlorine and pH levels are back to normal to avoid safety risks.

Check pH and Water Levels

Make sure that your water level is at an appropriate level to ensure proper water circulation and flow. You should also check your pool’s pH levels to make sure that the chlorine will be able to work effectively.

For more maintenance tips to keep your pool clean, contact us today.

28 Sep 2018

A Concrete Reason to Revive Your Swimming Pool

The concrete surrounding your swimming pool might be the most noticeable feature about your swimming pool other than the color of the water. Yet, despite the importance of the concrete, it is taken for granted and not placed high on the priority list. Adding decorative concrete, however, will make those long, lazy summer days spent reclining poolside in a chaise lounge more enjoyable. Who wants to look at stained concrete that looks more like the concrete of a public pool on Labor Day? Your backyard, your sanctuary, and your downtime deserve better than that.

A Concrete Reason to Revive Your Swimming Pool

Here are some reasons why Varsity Pools and Patios wants you to consider putting some pizzazz into your concrete.

1. Improve Your Property Value: If you are thinking about putting your house on the market, the first thing many families will ask is to see the pool. The last thing you want them to see is grimy, uneven cracked concrete with more sunken areas than the Moon. For many families, the swimming pool is the crown jewel of the house, but if you haven’t taken good care of the concrete, what else are you hiding?

2. Impress Your Guests: Anybody can make the water in the pool turn sparking blue, but what will really blow your guest’s minds will be the aesthetic details of your swimming pool.

3. Safety: How many times do you have to shout to your kids: “No running by the pool!” If your concrete is old, cracked, scaling, and hasn’t had a hose taken to it since your Fourth of July barbecue five years ago, let alone an afternoon of pressure washing, chances are you children and guests run the risk of slipping and harming themselves. Since you need new concrete anyway, why not choose stamped or broomed concrete that comes in a design and color that makes you happy, rather than the design or color that came with the house when you bought it.

4. Price: A concrete remodel should only cost you between $4-$9 per square foot, not much to give your swimming pool the cosmetic enhancement it needs and you deserve. Then the fun begins: you get to choose the style (inlaid tile, stone, mosaics, to name a few) and the patterns.

If you’re looking to restore your pool back to its original beauty, or you want to turn that ugly ducking into a beautiful swan, please contact us today. Let’s make your swimming pool the envy of Central Texas.

06 Sep 2018

Enjoy Your Backyard Kitchen Every Season of the Year

Enjoy Your Backyard Kitchen Every Season of the Year

Once school is back in session, summer feels like it’s at an abrupt end. The season of swimming pool parties, family reunions, and late evenings outdoors might also feel like it’s over. But every season is the right season to entertain in your backyard. Just because fall is around the corner doesn’t mean it’s time to stay trapped inside. Here’s how to get your outdoor kitchen ready for the fall:

Plan ahead.

Sometimes it’s not the cold weather that puts an end to the summer fun. If it will be a while before family or far-away friends can make it back out to your part of the consideration, then it might be time to start putting away parts of your outdoor kitchen until next year. However, you’re also going to have a lot of holiday parties and sports events just around the corner. If you have children in school, keeping your outdoor kitchen open might also be the best way to keep your house clean.

Add a fire pit or fireplace to chase away the chill.

Even in Texas, the nights can start to get chilly. Add a fireplace or a fire pit to your backyard to keep it comfortable. A fire is always cozy, and it’s a great way to have people gather for conversations or to sit in enjoyable silence.

Find interactive recipes.

Once autumn and winter start getting closer, it will be time to put the cover over the swimming pool until spring. Unfortunately, that cuts out swimming as easy backyard entertainment. Without that to fall back on, look for fun, interactive recipes. Have your guests assemble pizzas that can be cooked outside and keep the ingredients for smores on hand.

The backyard parties don’t have to end just because summer is almost over. Go to Varsity Pools for an outdoor kitchen that you will love all year long.

24 Aug 2018

Three Reasons to Add a Water Feature to Your Custom Pool

A swimming pool is more than a feature for entertaining your guests or investing in your home. A swimming pool should also be an experience. That’s why many custom-built pools include more than just the swimming pools themselves. Hot tubs add layers and let you relax at the end of the day while your children play in the main pool. Landscaping that is built to surround and accent your pool makes your backyard feel like an oasis. Water features like waterfalls and fountains also make your swimming pool a perfect backyard getaway. Here are three reasons why they matter so much:

Three Reasons to Add a Water Feature to Your Custom Pool

1. Water features keep the water circulating.

Swimming pools have great filtration systems that keep the water clean and clear. But if you don’t have time to get into your pool during the workweek, it might not get the circulation it needs to prevent hard buildup and algae. A water feature keeps the water in motion so the water is fresh and ready as soon as the weekend rolls around.

2. You can enjoy your pool even when you’re sitting on the patio.

Water features sound luxurious. If you’re relaxing on your patio with a book or you’re getting a bit of work done outside, you can listen to the sound of the water feature in the background. Pleasant white noise makes your backyard seem more isolated, even if you’re in a busy neighborhood. Water features also cool down the surrounding air so the breeze isn’t as parched.

3. Water features make your pool feel larger.

If your backyard is too small for the pool design you have your eye on, a water feature can help. Waterfalls and fountains make your backyard oasis feel bigger because they introduce more layers of water and complexity without taking up much space. Water features can also turn your pools far corners into eye-catching accents so you love your pool even more.

Find the water features that match your ideal swimming pool at Varsity Pools.

15 Aug 2018

3 Reasons to Accent Your Pool Deck with Decorative Concrete

Concrete is some of the best available material for your backyard pathways. It’s durable, customizable, and safe for bare feet. But it can also be a bit plain and slippery in the wrong circumstances. Without the right reinforcement, large slabs can even start to crumble and form hairline cracks. So instead of filling your backyard with a plain concrete patio and pool deck, refinish it with decorative concrete. Here’s why you should do it:

3 Reasons to Accent Your Pool Deck with Decorative Concrete

1. A decorative topcoat helps keep out stains and prevent damage.

Plain concrete is porous. Think about an old garage floor with plenty of oil stains, chemical spills, and rubber marks from cars and lawn tools. Untreated concrete surfaces absorb and hold onto these stains. They also grab onto dirt and organic material. But decorative concrete is finished with a seal that keeps damage out. Many seals also prevent hairline cracks from temperature changes and can even mitigate some of the force of physical damage.

2. Get a textured finish to prevent slippery surfaces.

If you’ve shouted for people not to run near the pool, you’ve probably shouted it hundreds of times. The warning never seems to stick when people are having fun. But slick concrete that is covered in chlorinated water can be dangerous. Find a textured decorative finish that you like the look of. Many finishes focus on adding both friction and a gritty surface so there are plenty of points of contact for wet feet.

3. Your backyard oasis should accent your house.

Plain concrete is just that: plain. A decorative finish lets you transform the look of your backyard to better match your home’s style. Whether you want a tiled look, the appearance of natural stone, or printed designs, don’t stick to bare concrete when you don’t have to.

Go to Varsity Pools to explore our gallery and schedule an appointment.

25 Jul 2018

What Shape Should Your Swimming Pool Be?

Dry summer heat is miserable. If you want to relax in your backyard but there’s no way to cool down, it’s time to start thinking about building a pool. Not only do swimming pools increase the sell ability and curb appeal of your property, they’re a great way to have fun and beat the heat. But before you hire a company to start building, think about what shape you would like your pool to be.

What Shape Should Your Swimming Pool Be?

What do you want to use the pool for?

Every pool has a different purpose. Maybe you want to entertain more than you want to swim laps. Or a convenient way to incorporate exercise into your mornings is what you’re looking for. Still other people want a pool for sunbathing and relaxation.

Depending on the primary activity you have in mind, square footage matters. Rectangular pools can give you clear swimming paths and a lot of area. Kidney pools also give a lot of swimming room whereas a figure-8 pool has a lower area to perimeter ratio, which makes construction more expensive.

If you’re primarily looking for a pool where everyone can have fun, a rounded pool like kidneys and figure-8s are a great way to incorporate features like steps, hot tubs, and water features. Having the same features near a rectangular pool is tricky and will usually use up more of your total backyard.

What does your property look like?

Some shapes blend in with different house constructions than others. A classic kidney swimming pool, for example, works best with a mid-century house or a backyard that has been landscaped for a family with children.

More contemporary houses, on the other hand, can have more experimental or starkly designed swimming pool shapes, such as rectangles. Contemporary houses are also more likely to have figure-8 pools than kidney pools.

The shape of your swimming pool will have a big influence on how you use it. Make sure you keep both your future plans and a potential house sale in mind, and go to Varsity Pools here for more expert advice.

12 Jul 2018

Entertain Family and Friends By Investing in a Custom Pool

Anyone who is interested in having a pool will likely take this into consideration when they go house hunting. A home buyer may end up with a pool in their backyard, but it may not have much additional functionality. This can lead to a decline in interest for the pool after a while. If you own a home and want to add a pool that is great for entertaining your family, you need a custom pool.

Entertain Family and Friends By Investing in a Custom PoolAppearance

An important detail to consider with a pool’s design is the appearance. Although you could go for something basic, you will make a greater impression on everyone with an intricate design. If you want to enjoy a balance of beauty and affordability, you should go with decorative concrete.

This feature will allow you to customize the pool deck and the surrounding area. For instance, if you know that you will incorporate an outdoor kitchen, you can expand the concrete to this area.

Relaxation

A standard pool may have ladders to help you get in and out, but you may want extra features to promote relaxation for your family and friends. For instance, you can have a nice balance of shallow water to relax in and deep water for activities such as swimming and diving. The shallow water is also helpful because it allows your kids to go into the water without taking a major risk.

Also, when you do not feel like treading water while you are in the pool, you can just go to the shallow end and sit down in the lounge area that you add with a custom design.

Kitchen

If you are willing to get extra creative with the custom pool’s design, you should consider adding a pool bar. This way, you can serve drinks and enjoy drinking while you are in the pool.

Contact us if you have any questions about custom pools.

26 Jun 2018

Design a Pool for Your Private Resort

Concrete or Gunite in ground swimming pools can be configured in any style or shape to fit the space available in your yard and add to the value of your home. Large and small free-form pools with attached spa tubs are popular throughout Texas and the Southwest. The possibilities are unlimited with the custom design service from Varsity Pools and Patios and can bring your dream private resort into a reality.

Design a Pool for Your Private Resort

Modern trends 

The edgeless infinity pool continues to be popular. Ledges that allow for lounging in the water and even swim up bars are also part of residential pools. This concept that began at hotel resorts will turn your yard into a private retreat.

Waterfalls that circulate the pool water are also popular cascading from rocks or from an elevated hot tub. Many people prefer a pool that is only one depth and designed for lap swimming.

New pools often have colorful mosaic tilework. This can include a special design or emblem on the bottom of the pool or a complete mosaic mural on the sides. New glass and porcelain tiles are available in different sizes to create unique designs. This is more than just the ring of square tiles at the waterline.

Landscape designs complete the pool with rock and stone borders and deck. The pool area may also include a patio with a fireplace or outdoor kitchen.

The design process

Landscape and pool designers will work with you to create a beautiful pool area that includes the deck and other features. This includes special lighting to highlight the yard and pool. The initial design is created in two dimensions using our software program to give you an idea of the finished product.

The final step is a 3D animated program that gives you a 360-degree view of your pool and yard after final installation and landscaping. This includes any hardscape such as fences, patios, lights, and planter box borders.

Contact Varsity Pools and Patios to learn more about installing a swimming pool that will provide your family with years of fun.