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Go Real or Go Faux

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Whether to use real rock or faux rock is a good question, some of the things you need to consider before deciding… Do you have the great rock carvers available to you? Artificial rock carving is a real art, not anyone can do this including you the owner. You will need to seek our these craftsman, interview them, see their work personally not photos, they could be showing you someones else’s work, speak to the owners of the rock work and ask how it is holding up, are there problems with leaking, settling or cracking, look at the paint job, this is also an art, an awesome rock carver is not always a great painter, an unskilled painter can make the most amazing rock carve job look like elephant dung, do your home work.

Now the next question to ask your self…Should I use real rock, another good question, do you have rock, boulders available in your area? do you have crane or fork extension lift access to the waterfall location? You will have to seek out the right craftsman for the job, someone who can stack rock to look natural not just a pile of rocks, someone who knows how to make the water flow naturally. Try to stay with the hard rock choices like granite, sanstone and other soft rock materials will come apart rather quickly and the hard water will absorb into the rock leaving behind an unsightly look.

Both rock features can have a dramatic effect on your project, do your homework and make the best choice for your pool and it will look awesome!

Building in the Summer or Winter

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flooded pool

When should I start building my swimming pool? Will I save money by not starting until winter when sub contractors are looking for work? Will the work go faster in the winter rather than summer when everyone is busy? These are all very good questions, however it will depend on where you live, if you are located in Florida where they get lots of rain fall throughout the year, it may be best to build in the summer keeping in mind with the amount of rail fall Florida gets you will still have many rain day delays, now if you live in Las Vegas, Arizona or Texas where temperatures reach into triple digits for most of the summer it may be best to build in the winter when you wont need to worry about rain, the rainy months in Las Vegas and Arizona are July and August, (monsoon season). California mostly has mild weather throughout the year and on the east coast you need to think about snow, rain and adverse weather conditions.

Think carefully about the weather conditions in your home town, there is nothing worse than digging the pool installing the plumbing having the re-bar installed and just as you are ready to call in your first inspection here comes the rain and it dumps three days on water on your beautiful work of art, there goes the excitement, now you’ll need to have the crews come back and dig the steel out from under the mud, this situation can add hundreds of dollars to your project.

The pool in the photo above is one of the lucky ones, they got it to the concrete shell, all they will need to do is pump out the water and they are back on track.
Be wise, watch the weather and when things are looking good go for it!

How Deep Should I GO?

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deepest pool in the world

Swimming pool depth is a personal choice.  Things to think of when deciding on pool depth are… Does my family like to tread water? Will there be any divers using the pool? Will we use the pool for volleyball, basketball or playing pool games? Lapp swimming or water walking, deep end diving or pool side jumping. The questions can go on and on, when you and your family are planning the swimming pool toss out some ideas around the kitchen table like, “what does everybody like to do in the pool”, little Johnny will say “I wanta Dive” but Susie will say ” I just want to get a tan” and Mom will agree, with all that said here are some typical swimming pool depths, 3′ at the shallow end and 6′ in the deep end also known as 3′ to 6′, this depth is a fun depth for your pool and safe for jumping into, 3′ to 5′ is also a fun depth,  play pool depths are typically 3′ to 5′ to 4′ or 3′ to 5′ to 3′.  Should you add a diving board a minimum of 8′ deep is required in most states check with your local building department for diving board depth recommendations.

Whatever swimming pool depth you decide it will be enjoyable for the entire family, Have fun with your new pool and play safe!

Salt or No Salt?

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pool salt

Pros to Saltwater Pools

Saltwater pools are becoming popular as an alternative to traditional chlorinated pools and is also a green option, there a number of advantages to salt water pools. Purchasing chlorine is not necessary as long as the water temperature is above 50 degrees, during the summer months storage of chemicals isn’t needed, less routine maintenance. The cost is a bit more upfront to purchase the salt generator however it will pay for itself over time. Considering  installing a salt water system in a new or existing pool is a good option.

Salty Feeling

The best part of a salt water pool is the comfort you experience. A salt water pool is nicer on your skin than chlorine, like soft water, no red eyes, itchy skin, or hair discoloration. The saline content in the pool can be compared to the saline in our eyes, you should never get that salty feeling even though the water will have a salty taste, not like the ocean. a much better health option for you and your family. These are some of the best benefits to a salt water pool.

Routine Maintenance

Monthly maintenance is required on the salt cell, simply remove the cell and wash it with a high power hose nozzle and replace the cell once cleaned. during the summer months you would still need to check the chemicals just the same as you would with a non salt pool, I would recommend weekly chemical monitoring. During the winter months your salt generator will not produce chlorine when the water temperature drops below 50 degrees, when this happens remove the cell and replace it with a “pass through cell”  (you can order one at www.mypoolplans.com) this way there will have no ware & tear on the cell during the cold months adding longer life to the cell.

What is the costs

You will save dollars with a saltwater pool, higher up front cost, a good salt system is cost-effective in the end, the payback is about two years. Chlorine is expensive compared to the amount of salt you’ll use during a swim season. The average installed cost is about $1,500.00 USD It would be equally beneficial to convert an existing swimming pool to salt.

Health Benefits

Salt water is softer on skin, hair and eyes then liquid chlorine or chlorine tablets. Chlorine in a chemical form can cause skin and eye  irritation.  There are many health benefits of a saltwater pool versus a chlorine pool, including as mentioned  No red or irritated eyes, no itchy skin, no skin irritation, easier on your hair and for some far more suitable for asthma and allergy sufferers.

Con’s to a Salt Water Pool

Monthly cell cleaning, switching to the chemical chlorine during the off season. There is not much to add, In my opinion Salt water pools are the future!

Enjoy your pool!



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leaking pool

What to do when your swimming pool develops a leak, here are 2 simple steps you can take to find the leak before calling in a Leak Detection company .

1. The Bucket Test, fill a bucket with pool water at the same level of your pool, set it on the top step, turn off the pump and automatic water leveler wait 24 hours,  check the water level on the outside of the bucket to see how much water you are loosing, if you find that your loosing more than a half inch (summer time) of water then you can check, the skimmer mouth, any fittings on the pool wall, the light in the pool or spa, spa jets, and check your water level make sure its in the middle of the waterline tile, if your water level is too high you can loose water from the top of the bond beam, to check these areas you will need  phenol red dye, make sure the pool water is still, shut down the pumps and the power, squirt the dye in front of the skimmer, fittings around the light housing, (you may have to remove the light fixture) or where the cable goes into the conduit behind the light fixture, if you see the dye moving into the test area like its being sucked in, then that’s where you will find the leak, in most cases some water proof silicone will fix the problem, if the leak is in the tile then perhaps its grout that you will need.                                                                           phenol-red_small

2. The Pump Test.

If you have no water loss, and still think you have a leak then try the Pump Test, all this is is the same test as the bucket test except the pump will now be running, the only thing different you will need to do is check the ground around the pool equipment and the ground around the pool, you will be looking for dampness, soggy wet areas that could be coming from the pool plumbing.

Now if you found nothing and still have a leaky pool, then its time to call in the professionals, it will cost any where from $300 to $500 bucks just to get them out to the house to find the leak and does not include the repair so do your best to find it on your own and save some dollars.


Good Luck




Pool Cleaners

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There are many types of pool cleaners on the market today, suction side cleaners, return side cleaners, infloor cleaners, robots and many others, I like to keep it simple. At mypoolplans.com we will look at it this way, there are three ways to clean the pool, 1. with a manual vacuum head, hose and pole, 2. pool sweep either a suction or return side cleaner and 3. infloor cleaning, each will come with a different price tag, the manual cleaning system will be the most cost effective however you will have to do all the work, the pool sweep will clean the pool floor leaving the steps, benches and spa for you to clean and the infloor cleaner will clean the pool floor, steps, benches and spa, all you will need to do is brush down the side walls. When mypoolplans.com designs the pool depending on your choice we will spec out the proper cleaner for the pool based on your budget. Here are my choices for reliable pool cleaners.

Pentair “Shark”
Pentair “Kreepy Kruley”
Pentair “Rebel” new product
Hayward “Pool Vac”

Infloor Cleaners

Paramount “PV3 Infloor Cleaner”
Zodiak “Caretaker”
A & A “Quickclean”

See you in the Pool!

Building your Swimming is not Rocket Science

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Once you decide to take on the task of building your pool, there are some very simple steps you must follow, the first one is the most difficult, deciding on the pools design, Mypoolplans.com will make it easy for you, we are here to help as we have for so many others just like you, send us your chicken scratch drawing with all of your notes outlining your wants and needs, remember this is your pool so make it yours, add in the sunken bar, outdoor kitchen, under water sound system, the list goes on and on, in my next post I’ll share with you some great options that can be build into your swimming pool, some are expensive and some very affordable however these features can make you pool stand out from the rest.
So, to recap when planning out your swimming pool think, design, design, design, here at Mypoolplans.com we have over 30 years of design and building experience designing swimming pools all over the world. we are professionals at designing swimming pool so let us help you design your backyard “Staycation”