We’re in Dallas for the 2021 International Pool Spa Patio Expo. It’s still a few days until the show actually starts, but there is so much to do in the city that you might just want to come a day or two early so that you can get the full experience. A stroll through the downtown area is a must if you’ll be in town for the Expo this week. After all, this is a city steeped in rich architecture. As frequent visitors, it would be remiss of us to visit without highlighting one of the best water features in the city – Thanks-giving Square.
In Town for the PSP Deck Expo? Visit The Incredible Water Feature at Thanks-Giving Square
The scenic and soothing water features are the centerpiece of the park and are definitely one of those iconic tourist attractions you really need to see for yourself. Located less than a mile from the actual Convention Center at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, it’s a definite must-see for anyone visiting the city. A serene and tranquil oasis in the center of the hustle and bustle of the Dallas downtown area, Thanks-giving Square is a place for meditation and reflection.
The soothing sounds of moving water permeate the square, drowning out the noise of daily life in the 9th largest city in the United States. First planned in 1964 after the Kennedy assassination and completed in 1976, this beautiful spiritual center has brought together people of different faiths, cultures, and traditions for over 45 years.
The Great Fountain’s flowing waters provide a tranquil ambiance ideal for reflection and contemplation. Visitors from all over the world, remark on the exceptionally planned public space.
The bell tower, which is supplemented by a nearby mosaic of Norman Rockwell’s iconic “Golden Rule” picture, punctuates the space to the west.
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the park is the chapel which features a curving white edifice symbolizing the spiral of life and the human spirit. Visitors remark at the exceptional beauty of The “Glory Window,” a beautiful stained glass masterwork, located on the upper level.
Garden: Open every day 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Chapel of Thanks-Giving: Open every day: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hall of Thanks-Giving: Open for special events or by appointment only
Address: 1627 Pacific Ave, Dallas, TX 75201
Don’t Just Build a Pool, Create an Experience
Your backyard is more than just a yard. Especially over the last year and-a-half, as people looked for ways to enhance their homes as they quarantined, the backyard is now an important extension of the home. The outdoor environment you create should be a reflection of your personality, your preferences, and your priorities.
But how do you ensure you get the environment you want? If you’re adding a pool to your yard, your first step should be to find a credentialed pool designer.
“The homeowner should do their homework before they hire a designer,” advises Feras Irikat, Director of Design & Marketing for Lunada Bay Tile and GENESIS® faculty member. “I’m a fan of clients interviewing several people prior to picking the one. This is going to be a kind of relationship, so you have to have that connection. Take your time to meet them and feel like they are really understanding what you want.”
Kate Wiseman, MLA, Principal Landscape Designer for Sage Outdoor Designs and GENESIS® faculty member, agrees. “I’m in the camp of designers who believe that there is no such thing as good design, there’s only good design for a specific person.” Wiseman teaches a GENESIS® course called “Mind Reading Your Clients” that teaches pool designers how to get the information they need from their clients in order to create a pool the clients will love.
“As the designer, I need to understand how they are going to use the space, how many people do we need to get into this space, is it being used by small children or not, do they care more about looks or functionality. It’s on and on and on,” she explains.
Irikat also likes to ask big-picture questions when meeting clients for the first time. “What is this going to contribute to your life? What is it going to add? What kind of value do you want to get out of this environment or this space?”
And he does mean the entire outdoor space—not just what you want from your pool, but from everything else you’ll be doing around the pool, whether that’s hosting friends and family or cooking or relaxing.
Once the functionality part is determined, it’s time to discuss aesthetics. Wiseman and Irikat both ask clients to find pictures of things they think are beautiful, or that they have an emotional connection to. “You can give me a picture of a kitchen if you love that kitchen,” Wiseman jokes. “An initial client mistake is that they show the designer scope-of-work elements, like a waterfall. No, no, you can just tell me you want a waterfall. I need to see five things you think are gorgeous.”
“I always ask them to pull pictures of something they connect with visually,” Irikat says. “A lot of times, they connect with something and they start describing the feeling that they have: this makes me happy, this makes me relaxed, this makes me feel like I’m in a sanctuary. All these emotions are an important part of the design process.”
This may seem like a big-time commitment before any groundbreaking even takes place, but Wiseman assures you that it will be well worth it. “The time investment on the part of the client early pays back in tenfold during the project,” she explains. “Just give me those couple of hours to really get to know you and what you need and then I can roll with it. You’ll end up with something that is surprisingly personalized and you’ll love it.”
“Good design has to deliver on the experience as a whole,” says Irikat. “You’re not in the pool 24/7, but you can be outside that pool looking at that pool. If you create the proper space to really take in that visual of the pool, you appreciate it so much more and you’re going to love it a lot more.”
“Especially for the luxury buyers, I’m always startled at how much someone is willing to pay for the construction of the pool and how hesitant they are to pay for the design,” Wiseman says. “It is such a small percentage of the overall budget to have a designer involved. And the payoff is huge. Having a designer involved does not automatically mean it’s going to be more money or more than you wanted to spend. It just means that they’re going to take all of your ideas and make them better.”
To find a credentialed pool designer, Wiseman and Irikat recommend visiting the GENESIS® website, genesis.phta.org, and looking at the list of Certified Expert Pool Builders and Certified Master Pool Builders.
These are professionals who have earned third-party certifications after completing coursework in construction, design, and engineering, including Irikat’s “Color Theory and Its Application” course.
Certified individuals have a strong foundation and understanding of design principles that can take clients’ pools from satisfactory to a masterpiece.
“You can get a pool without a designer,” says Wiseman, “but you can’t get an exceptional pool without a designer.”
Irikat emphasizes, “You can’t get an experience without a designer.”
Halloween Pool Party Decorations & Ideas
Throwing a Halloween Pool Party? Here are 5 great ideas you can use.
If you’re one of the fortunate homeowners to live in an area of the country where you can enjoy your pool year-round, why not throw a Halloween Pool Party? Since you’ve got your swimming pool open, incorporating it into your Halloween theme is a fun way to bring the backyard into your decoration plans.
Some homeowners choose to go all out with their backyard decor when it comes to Halloween. Consequently, when choosing decorations for your backyard, there are plenty of fun and safe ways to bring your swimming pool in on the act.
Hanging up decorations, spooky lighting, and incorporating fun-themed games into your pool party are all great ways to set the tone for your Halloween Pool Party. Since family and friends will be coming by to enjoy the holiday, why not go the extra mile and put up some scray accents around the pool area? Adding a few well placed decorations will definitely liven up the backyard and break it into the theme of the season. Here are a few of the scary decorations we’ve seen that should inspire you for your own scary pool party ideas.
If you’re planning on throwing a pool party for Halloween, here are some great last-minute ideas you can use.
5 Halloween Pool Party Ideas
Set Up Halloween Themed Floating Pool Lights
These popular battery powered waterproof pool floats set the tone for a fun and spooky evening in the backyard. The perfect Halloween themed floating pool decorations for your swimming pool.
These fun remote-controlled pool floats come in a set of two. There are 16 different colored lighting variations to choose from. Hang them from a tree, place them on the lawn or in the swimming pool. These Halloween Pool Lights are a fantastic addition to your backyard decor.
Play a Game of Spider Ring Toss In The Pool
If you’re having a Halloween-themed pool party you definitely want some fun games around to speak to the occasion. This fun spider ring toss game incorporates a fun halloween theme into the equation.
Swimmers can challenge each other by tossing rings into the spider’s legs. The challenge gets crazier when competitors try and splash the spider or the ring thrower!
Make Dual Use of This Zombie Drink Cooler
No halloween party would be complete without a spooktacular place to store your favorite party beverages. This inflatable Zombie-themed party cooler is absolutely perfect for any Halloween party.
Whether you use it to keep the beverages cool or make double use of it as a place to hold a bobbing-for-apples competition, this Halloween-themed decor is sure to please.
Set Up Ghosts For Your Halloween Themed Pool Party
One great way to create your ultimate Halloween-themed pool party is by setting up accent decorations throughout the backyard. These great ghost decorations work fantastic when coordinating a Halloween-themed pool party. They hang easily and can be placed around the backyard for spooky decor.
The eyes light up on all of the ghosts and they come in a convenient three-pack of blue, green, and red-lit-eyed ghosts.
Install Halloween Themed Outdoor Lighting
Light up the night around your pool and patio area with these fantastic Halloween Themed solar lights. The flickering fire effect the lights throw off provides the spooky ambiance you’re looking for to create your ultimate Halloween pool party theme.
Easy to install, this 4 pack of solar-powered simulated flickering flame lights for your pool and patio area, are the ideal Halloween decoration for your pool party theme. Couple with some glow-in-the-dark decorations to really set the mood in the backyard.
We hope we’ve given you some inspiring ideas on ways you can spice up your pool and patio area for the season. This Halloween, try some of these spooky decoration ideas. From all of us here at Pool Magazine, have a happy, safe, and fun Halloween.
Featured Photo Credit: Polkadot Magpie / Caters News
Spools – Small Backyards Call For Small Pool Solutions
Small pools, also known as “Spools”, are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners that want to swim in their backyard but may not have the space to build a regular-sized pool. Small backyards used to be ideal candidates for hot tubs, not swimming pools; due to the limited space to build. Things are starting to look a little different as the demand for pools continues to rise. Builders have begun to come up with clever alternatives to help folks achieve their dream of owning a pool in smaller-sized backyards.
Homeowners that would have normally not chosen to build a pool are increasingly opting for smaller pools. Pool builders are able to integrate smaller-sized vessels effortlessly into outdoor areas without taking up the entire yard. Rather than the typical inground pools that dominate homes on larger lot sizes; these builders think outside the box in terms of materials and the type of pool they need to build.
It’s true that some are constrained by limited space in their backyard. However, others simply want a small and inexpensive option that adds value and fun to their outdoor living environment without the hassle and expense of installing and maintaining a full-sized pool.
“Spools” Are Ideal for Smaller Sized Backyards
When we discuss small pools, what we’re really talking about are “Spools,” or cocktail pools. These small swimming pools are also known as plunge pools and swim spas. Ultimately, the words and terms used to characterize smaller pools can vary as much as the actual products themselves. They are often up to fifteen feet or more in length or diameter and share one other thing in common. These types of pools are characterized by their ability to fit in a very small space.
What Spool Options are Available?
Spools can be made of concrete or fiberglass and can be found inground or above ground. Heck, there are even shipping container pools as an additional alternative. These pools are popular because they are cheaper to heat and chemically maintain. The idea of an abbreviated pool build with speedier installation time is also enticing to many homeowners.
Building a spool, however, doesn’t necessarily mean your pool will be cheaper says Tom Parrish of Parrish Pools. “Typically a small inground pool costs almost as much to build as a normal perimeter-sized pool,” explained Parrish, “The price break may be anywhere from 15-20% cheaper building a small inground pool versus a larger one.”
Building a Pool in a Small Backyard
Small pools and spas, according to Baton Rouge pool builder, Brandt Gibert of Windgate Custom Pools, have become as popular as their larger counterparts as a way to “deliver a premium pool experience in a smaller space.”
“There have been a ton of new innovations when it comes to building smaller-sized pools. I tell homeowners with small backyards about a spool and their eyes light up,” Gibert says.
“Let’s face it, people are not traveling yet and the options for having fun outdoors with your family are still kind of limited. The pool industry has exploded the last two years because homeowners are reinvesting those dollars in the backyard,” said Gibert, “When you look at the fun and value a pool adds to the backyard, it’s really a no-brainer for folks right now.”
Builders who have seen unprecedented demand for pools over the last two years are catering to the growing number of homeowners that want a pool but are concerned that their backyard might not be big enough to accommodate one.
Spools Allow You To Get Creative With Limited Space
“Backyards are getting smaller and smaller in most parts of the country,” explained Kelly Peel, of Lakeside Custom Pools a residential pool builder in Austin. “People have been moving to places like Texas because they want to build their dream home and backyard on a nice sized piece of property.”
Peel explained that part of the lifestyle in Austin means being outdoors. He feels a pool should blend in with, rather than dominate, the backyard. “Outdoor living is such an essential part of the culture in Austin,” said Peel, “even homeowners with small backyards want a pool. Quite often the only usable space to build one is on the side of the house. We’ve had to get pretty creative sometimes.”
Swim Spas – A Popular Small Pool Alternative
Ryan Baird of Beyond Blue Pools in Houston said that he’s built plenty of spools over the last two years. “Smart homeowners on smaller lots are building spools, plunge pools, and swim spas. They use them all year round because keeping it small means that they can afford to heat it. Spools heat up way faster than a normal pool.”
Exercising In a Small Pool
Many homeowners opt for a swim spa to enjoy the benefits of hydrotherapy. One usual complaint that small pools get is that they do not provide enough space to exercise. “The technology has come pretty far the last decade,” said Baird, “The swim spas these days act almost like a treadmill in the water to keep you swimming in place through the entire duration of your workout. We’ve seen an increase this year in homeowners that want one installed, in some cases inside their home instead of in their backyard.”
According to contractor Carlos Rincon of Phoenix Construction & Design, building “up” is also an option when going “small” with your swimming pool. His company, based in Houston, TX, has built numerous elevated decks to accommodate small pools. “These elevated pools are becoming more and more popular with folks who buy an above-ground pool and want the feel of an inground pool. We’ve done them in some pretty tight places where you wouldn’t expect to see a pool,” said Rincon.
Limited Inventory Means Scaling Down For Some
Michelle Lightle, an agent with Showcase Real Estate in Sacramento, says home buyers might have a pool on their wish list, as far as amenities go “It’s hot in Sacramento, and having a pool definitely makes a home more sellable,” said Lightle, “there is a limited inventory of homes on the market though.” she explained.
Consequently, finding a home with a big enough lot to build a large swimming pool is becoming increasingly difficult in some markets. For homeowners who are looking to build a swimming pool and don’t believe they have enough space to build one, “Spools” remain the best option available.
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