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Outdoor fire features: Remodel Your Backyard Space



Outdoor fire features: Remodel Your Backyard Space

The global pandemic brought about increased demand for pool construction and pool remodeling services. Most pool companies are doing the most to gain a competitive edge in the industry. As a result, there are limitless pool design options. Going the extra mile to satisfy your customers entails trying out new products and water features. At present, one of the features that pool designers are hesitant to embrace is the outdoor fire features. Although they incorporate a complex installation process, designing pools with fire features helps pool companies attract a larger customer base. Fire features can transform your backyard into a radiant oasis.

Outdoor fire features: Remodel Your Backyard Space

Home experts say that they are the most popular outdoor features as of now. Besides, manufacturers are now making these features that are simple to install and operate. Most homeowners often complement the features with high-end outdoor furniture.

Outdoor fire features not only provide warmth on a cold night but also helps you bond with your family. If you incorporate these stunning features, you can chat with your family all night long. Also, they features make it possible for you to create a mini-staycation for your loved ones, even in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions. Subsequently, you can bond and create lifetime memories with your family.

How do Outdoor fire features work?

Typically, outdoor fire features work using natural gas or propane. Therefore, homeowners can operate them either manually or automatically. It all depends on the type of fire feature they have. Operating these features manually entails using lighters. On the other hand, you can control automatic fire features using a simple remote.

The aesthetics that come with fire features make all pool designers desire to incorporate them into their pool projects. Luckily, there is a wide range of these features, from fire pits to fire tables. Therefore, almost every customer can find what they are looking for. Even so, the final decision is often determined by the homeowners. Some homeowners may not want to incorporate these outdoor fire features into their property simply because they don’t meet their taste, preference, or budget. But all in all, they are worth the purchase. They add a whole new charm to your backyard as well as upgrade the value of your property.

Types of outdoor fire features

As mentioned earlier, there is a broad spectrum of fire features. Some of them include:

Fire tables:

Fire tables are increasingly becoming popular due to their aesthetics and functionality. They come in different designs and sizes. But experts advise going fire tables with a coffee table height. They are more functional compared to other sizes. Moreover, fire tables incorporate various shape; rectangular, square, and round. Therefore, you can always find the perfect match for your outdoor space.

Fire pots:

Another fire feature is the fire pot. These outdoor fire features come in various shapes and designs. Therefore, they can get used in any type of backyard space, whether small or large. If you have a pool, your contractor will probably recommend installing this feature along the edges of the pool.

Fire pits:

Most people often confuse fire pits and firepots. Fire pits are like small fire bowls with deep pits. However, there are different designs, shapes, and sizes of fire pits. Also, you can always customize a fire pit to match your requirements. There are also portable fire pits that give you the unique privilege of placing them anywhere you want.

Water and fire bowls:

Can you picture a combination of fire and water in your outdoor living space? Well, water and fire bowls are specially designed to integrate fire and water. The aesthetics offered by these features are out of this world. Water and fire bowls are popularly known to offer a classy, sophisticated, and elegant view in your backyard. Like other water features, water and fire bowls come in different designs and sizes, each varying in price. Although these fire features are more costly, they are worth the investment.

Outdoor Pizza Ovens

One fire feature that definitely turns heads are outdoor pizza ovens. Aside from being an eye catching focal piece in the backyard, brick oven pizza is something that both family and friends would definitely enjoy. The homemade pizza you prepare will also create lasting memories of time spent in the backyard. Plus, this style of oven cooks pizza to perfection; no indoor oven can match the authentic woodfired cooking experience.

Are Outdoor fire features safe and worth the purchase?

Most outdoor fire features are uniquely manufactured with industry veterans who have over three decades of experience like Bobé Water & Fire. Thus, most of the features are safe to use. You need not worry about experiencing a fire accident in your home caused by these features. Furthermore, well-trained and skilled manufacturers specialize in coming up with twenty-first-century fire features. They use the latest technology to design water features.

Fire features are now turning many pool dreams into reality. These features modify the backyard into a glowing and serene haven. Besides aesthetics, outdoor fire features also offer excellent functionality. In fact, almost all world-class pools incorporate these features.

It can be challenging for pool companies to compete due to the constant trends in the industry. Therefore, pool builders and designers should find a way of installing new water features strategically. In turn, they attract a large clientele, which helps them increase their sales, revenues, and profits.

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Pool News coverage brought to you by Pool Magazine's own Marcus Packer. Marcus Packer is a 20 year pool industry veteran pool builder and pool service technician. In addition to being a swimming pool professional, Marcus has been a writer and long time contributor for Newsweek Magazine's home improvement section and more recently for Florida Travel + Life. Have a story idea or tip you'd like to share with Pool Magazine? Email your story idea.

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In Dallas For The PSP Deck Expo? Visit Thanks-Giving Square



In town for the PSP Deck Expo? Visit Thanks-Giving Square Park

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 Pool & Spa Expo? Visit Thanks-giving Square – Photo Credit:

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.

An enormous chatterfall water feature helps drown out the noise and commotion of daily city life.

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 provides a place to reflect and meditate in the center of the city.

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.

Mosaic tile artwork by Norman Rockwell symbolizes unity and our spiritual connection as people.

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.

The beautiful chapel features 73 panels of hand-crafted stained glass. Photo Credit – Marianne Trusty


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

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Pool Builder

One on One With Pool Remodeling Expert Chris Bowen



Pool Remodeling Expert Chris Bowen Weighs In One Whether Demand for Pools Has Begun To Taper

A rising star in the industry and definitely one to watch is pool remodeling expert Chris Bowen, the President of Bowen Pools in Flower Mound, TX. While already gaining the respect of his peers within the pool industry, Bowen has also been rapidly becoming a favorite with homeowners in the local Dallas / Fort Worth area.

One of the Top Pool Remodeling Firms in DFW – Bowen Pools

Recently voted Best Pool Builder (Best of Denton County 2021) – and one of the Pool Pro Mag 30 under 40, the 31-year-old has come very far and has had an almost meteoric rise to become one of the top pool remodeling firms in the Dallas area. Developing an impressive portfolio of pool construction and high-end pool remodeling projects; Bowen Pools is fast on its way towards achieving the type of notoriety that usually comes with having been in the industry for decades.

We had the opportunity to catch up with Chris Bowen and wanted to hear about how he got his start and how he’s positioning for new growth. We also wanted to get a pulse on what he sees going on in his local market and his opinion on the status of the industry down in Dallas, Texas. As one of the top pool remodeling firms in town, Bowen has unique insight as to what is going on in the industry right now in his neck of the woods.

Pool Remodeling expert Chris Bowen is a respected builder and young thought leader in the pool industry.

How Chris Bowen Got His Start in The Pool Industry

With a young family and limited resources, Bowen started his pool service company back in 2017. He began with a single service account working out of the back of his family’s Honda CRV. With just a $500 seed investment he sunk into equipment, Bowen set out to conquer the DFW market.

From Nothing to Something in 5 Years – An American Success Story

Inside of as many years, Bowen had built the service side of the business up to over 250 accounts. That’s a respectable feat giving the fact that he’d been working for someone else’s pool company only five years ago. In essence, Chris started Bowen Pools virtually from nothing and has come very far in a short amount of time. It’s the type of success story that resembles many others we’ve heard. Bowen came up through service and successfully made the leap to construction.

Focusing on Pool Remodeling & New Pool Construction

This year however has been a challenging one for many. Bowen Pools clearly is no exception to the rule in terms of those impacted by rising prices. This summer, Bowen elected to make a major change in his business. He stated he intends to focus more on pool remodeling and new pool construction. “We sold the service side of our business in August of this year,” said Bowen. He told us he had been struggling with rising chemical costs all year. This summer he decided to sell that division of his company.

Dealing With Rising Costs & Unpredictable Delays

“We were definitely getting killed on the pricing side of it,” said Bowen in response to why he was motivated to sell his service company. “We’ve had shortages and price increases on everything,” said Bowen, “Hopefully when that plant down in Louisiana comes back online prices will level out.”

However, the grass doesn’t seem to be much greener on the construction side of the pool industry. In terms of rising costs, materials are at an all-time high. We asked whether he had begun to push back on previous estimates he had given, to which he replied “That’s been the hardest part. We lost quite a bit of money earlier in the year.”

Bowen Pools has restructured, selling their service division to focus on pool remodeling and new pool construction projects.

Setting Expectations With Customers

Being a family man himself, Bowen says that having to tell his customers that their swimming pool or their pool remodeling project is going to cost more is something that he dreads. “We’ve had to go back to clients to renegotiate, but at the end of the day I need to put food on my family’s plate too,” said Bowen.

Pool Builder, Chris Bowen offers a ground-level perspective of what is going on in the DFW pool market.
Pool Builder, Chris Bowen offers a ground-level perspective of what is going on in the DFW pool market.

Pool Remodeling Expert Chris Bowen Weighs in on What’s Going on in the Industry and in DFW

In his off-hours, Bowen networks online and is peers with many different builders in the industry. He often communicates about what is going on through a private group chat they’ve established. Bowen says that one constant topic of conversation this season has been the unpredictable price increases. He says both service and construction trades have seen huge price hikes from manufacturers and distributors.

“I don’t know how if you’re in the pool business you’re not affected by all of these price increases,” said Bowen, “We’ve seen prices for materials go up 60-80%.”

What Caused Such Dramatic Price Increases

“I don’t think the Texas freeze helped matters,” said Bowen, “I believe these price increases would have occurred either way.” Referencing a storm Texas experienced in February which caused pool equipment that would have typically gone towards new construction projects to be immediately requisitioned for repair work.

Experts agree that the rush for equipment in one of America’s biggest pool markets may have contributed to hoarding. This in itself would indirectly cause pricing to go up and availability to go down throughout the summer.

Texas Pool Freeze Could Have Been Way Worse Says Bowen

“We got lucky that it wasn’t cold enough to freeze anything underground or we really would have had some back luck,” said Bowen, “but a lot of people lost their equipment this year. There are ice storms like this every other year, but never something quite like this.”

Bowen weighed in on whether winterizing pools in his part of the state would be the new norm. “There’s really not a great way to prepare. You can’t really prepare for them doing rolling blackouts when it’s freezing out. If it starts to happen you can winterize your equipment,” said Bowen, “As far as prepping everything ahead of time, unless you have everything on a generator there’s really not a lot you can do.”

Typically winter storms in that region of the country may disable power for a day or two, however, homeowners were without power for an extended period of time. This prevented people from running their pool equipment in order to keep water circulating during the freeze.

“I lost power at my house for 3 days,” said Bowen, who claims that he stayed with relatives while utilities were down. “We came back home to a busted pipe and some flooding,” said Bowen who indicated that thankfully events like last year’s aren’t a frequent occurrence.

Should Homeowners in Dallas Winterize Their Pools?

Bowen told us he doesn’t foresee a trend in the Dallas / Fort Worth area of folks winterizing their pools.

“Everybody uses their pool so much, “said Bowen, “Those pools get down to 60 degrees. A lot of people still heat them, especially early in the winter through November. People use their spas year-round down here. I don’t think it’ll be a trend to do that (winterize). Only in case of emergencies would it be necessary.”

Demand For Swimmings Pools Will Taper

While Bowen predicts that demand for swimming pools will go down over the next few years, he does not predict prices will stabilize right away. “With everything going on in the ports right now, they’re not going to have the figured out anytime soon.”

As far as pool remodeling projects go, Bowen has never been busier. “We get more calls than ever before for pool renovations, it was big last year but it’s definitely been bigger this year,” said Bowen, who indicated that he expecting the demand for pools may have crested as many predict.

“If everyone rushed out to get their backyard renovated, at some point that has to wind down. We’ll see if that happens next year or the following year, but it’s definitely going to taper off,” said Bowen.

What does a cooling housing market mean for the pool & spa industry in 2022 and 2023? We asked Chris Bowen his take.
What does a cooling housing market mean for the pool & spa industry in 2022 and 2023? We asked Chris Bowen his take.

Correlation Between New Home Construction And Pool Construction

We asked whether local real estate market conditions looked favorable in the Dallas / Fort Worth area and if Bowen noticed new homes still being built. Traditionally, there is an intrinsic correlation between new home construction and new pool construction.

“New homes are going up like crazy, it’s just that the prices are being driven very high. I don’t know how high those prices can go before people start getting priced out of them,” said Bowen. He suggested that while this may be common in other places of the country, Texans were unused to the prices homes are now selling for.

What A Cooling Housing Market Means For The Pool Industry

With a booming population, the housing market in Texas is becoming increasingly competitive. According to a Texas A&M University – housing report published September 23, 2021; despite decreasing mortgage rates and lumber prices plummeting 93.6 percent in July, instances of double-digit home-price appreciation chipped away at home affordability.

This information itself gives credence to what Bowen is forecasting about new homeowners being ‘priced out’. A recent Forbes report definitely indicates that housing market is slowing down and has begun to cool. While experts certainly don’t predict a housing market crash, first-time homebuyers could be the worst impacted by a market correction. Experts fear new home buyers could essentially see much of their equity wiped out. What this means for the pool industry is we could see demand go back down to pre-Covid levels quickly as the market recorrects. A lack of available inventory and many of the mortgage relief programs ending may contribute to this happening much faster than expected.

Bowen has eyes on the ground in the DFW market, which just so incidentally happens to be one of the strongest pool markets in the entire country. We’re definitely fortunate to have been able to spend some time chatting with him and get a pulse on what is going on in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

Listen to our entire interview with Chris Bowen

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A Challenging Season For Pool Builder – Lee Russell



Russell Pools - Ryan McKnight - Baton Rouge Luxury Pools

Baton Rouge pool builder Lee Russell and his family have been building pools for three generations. As such, they’ve garnered a lot of respect in the industry as well as within their own community. In Baton Rouge, they have established themselves as one of the top pool construction firms in town.

That reputation assures that Russell is frequently one of, if not the first, pool builders that homeowners will contact for a swimming pool estimate. His family has managed to build a business that has been able to stand the test of time. In down economies, hurricanes, you name it – Russell and his family have remained a single constant in Baton Rouge for over 56 years.

Pool Builder Has Dominated The Baton Rouge Market For Generations

Russell who has picked up the family mantle for pool construction, first worked side by side with his father and grandfather for years. The company was originally founded by Roy and Betty Russell back in 1965. Today, Russell Pool Company is owned and operated by Keith and Lee Russell who are continuing to run the business by the same high standards set by the original founders.

The Russell Pool Company started a tradition of excellence in Baton Rouge back in ’65 that is still their same hallmark today.

Lee says that he first got his start in the pool industry by coincidence. After getting injured on the playground as a child, his father picked him up early from school. Instead of taking him to the doctor, however, he took him to work with him, and from that moment on he was hooked. After spending time working as an assistant and general gopher for his grandfather, Russell explored interests outside of the pool world. He gained a Bachelors’s and Masters’s Degree and was even pursuing his Ph.D. at one point.

Although the lure to try new things has been strong, Russell says that he’s always gravitated back to building pools. “I get to do something I enjoy every day, I get to create. I’m very fortunate, not everyone gets to do something that they love,” said Russell.

Pool Builder – Lee Russell’s ability to conceptualize modern and traditional outdoor living spaces sets him apart.

Exploring the creative side of his nature is something that Lee Russell is very good at. In fact, he’s developed a following, both among homeowners that are looking for traditional Louisiana style and flair in their backyard, as well as with folks looking for a touch of the more contemporary aesthetic in their backyard to complement their modern home.

“I’ve always loved to work with my hands. When I was a teenager I would take computers apart and rebuild them. I took my car apart and rebuilt it. I always enjoyed the mechanical side of things and being able to see how they work.” said Russell, “I love creating and trying new things.” he said, explaining what motivates him to distinguish this generation of the Russell Pool Company from prior ones. “I could always do things like my grandfather did for fifty-plus years, but I want to try new things.”

Understanding What The High-End Luxury Outdoor Living Market Wants

“Being a pool builder in Louisiana, you have to understand our architecture is different than a lot of other areas of the country. We have these huge Live Oak trees and a lot of brick and stonework. Traditional just fits in a lot of these backyards that we come across” said Russell. “Every so often there is someone who is from somewhere else in the country that comes in and wants modern and we will absolutely jump on that. I love doing modern designs and modern pools, I wish I could do that all the time but that’s just not my market,” explained Russell.

The traditional Creole French-Colonial aesthetic is predominant throughout the Baton Rouge area.

Baton Rouge is definitely a market that is better well known for its charming French-colonial homes. As a high-end pool builder, Russell is often looking to push the envelope on his designs. The luxury custom homes in his local area necessitate a different style of pool that leans to more traditional aesthetics. The topography of Baton Rouge is very flat and creating the dramatic elevation changes that are the hallmarks of most award-winning pools simply doesn’t exist in his area of Louisiana.

Short of manufacturing those elevation changes, many designs are tasteful, elegant, and flat. That certainly hasn’t stopped Russell from exploring more contemporary designs. Russell’s collaborations with Baton Rouge, Landscape Architect – Ryan McKnight, have allowed him to incorporate more modern design aesthetics that complement traditional homes.

Citing landscape architects like A. Hays Town, whose work in traditional influences of Spanish, French, and Creole-style architecture that can still be seen today; Russell stated that many of the high-end custom homes lean towards that more quintessential Louisiana style architecture.

Russell Pools isn’t a production, volume builder and doesn’t profess to be one. Truth be told, they may build 70 pools a year at most. However, the pools they do build are exquisite though. Being one of the top pool companies in Louisiana, Russell has his fingers on the pulse of what the outdoor living trends are in his neck of the woods. We asked him, what’s hot right now with homeowners and what kind of features they are looking for in an inground pool.

Russell has seen a surge in the influx of homeowners looking to create their ideal outdoor living environment.

Although Russell’s expertise in pool construction is in higher demand than ever before, the last two years certainly haven’t been without its challenges. Simply finishing the pools while waiting for essential materials has been a series of hurdles for the Baton Rouge builder who explained to us that just about every single material that he orders is taking weeks longer than it normally would to arrive.

Pool Builders in High Demand But Manufacturing Delays Continue To Hamper Growth

Last year’s Texas Pool Freeze caused damage and pool repairs for thousands of homeowners. Consequently, this did much to complicate things for builders all over the country by taking many vital components and materials out of circulation early in the pool season. It would appear that Russell Pool Company is one of a long list of pool builders still feeling the effects of those related shortages.

“As far as materials go, I think it’s worse today than it was a year ago,” said Russell, “I’ve got Poolcorp lagging behind getting their orders in from manufacturers for equipment. Materials are tough too. I’ve got a container of white quartzite that is sitting at the port in China that cannot be put into a container because there is no one to get it done. I have had that order in since February and I’m just waiting.”

“I’ve got one pool where I’ve got the coping on but the deck is not finished, but they’re swimming,” said Russell. “We get a lot of pressure from our clients. Something that used to take me 6-8 weeks to finish now I’m looking at 10-12 and that makes it tough. You don’t want to lie to your clients.”

Russell explained that setting expectations at the outset and explaining to customers the ongoing logistical issues that builders are facing with materials is paramount. He indicated that he’s been doing his best to front-load those expectations. His process has been to let clients know that their pool is going to take longer to complete, that some materials may be unavailable and that what items are available may cost more. Undoubtedly, this has produced some hard conversations, not just for Russell but for thousands of builders placed in a similar predicament.

Listen to Lee Russell’s thoughts from his time spent hanging out on the Pool Chasers podcast show.

We asked Russell about one issue he brought up while on the Pool Chasers podcast. He discussed the ongoing labor shortages many pool companies had faced last year. We wanted to know if this was still an issue for his company this year.

“When you can stay at home and not have to work and still pull a check, man there’s a lot of folks that don’t want to work. I’m not sure I want those people working for me. Skilled labor is tough.” said Russsell, sighing. “You used to be able to find guys that were willing to work. Now you’re lucky to get a crew of 3 or 4 guys together that are doing all the work. I don’t know if that’s going to get better.”

Shortages for materials needed to complete high-end pools have caused projects to take longer than average to complete.

Russell indicated that one of the most frequently requested pool features that homeowners request is glass tile. While he loves the look, achieving it with a limited skilled labor force is tough; especially when most of the contractors in his local area are reluctant to learn the trade.

While Russell is a registered member of the Society of Watershape Designers, disseminating education on the job site has been a challenge for him and others. This has been especially true for pool builders with a limited workforce at their disposal. “I think the guys that are running the company, the top guys, and management are getting better. There are a lot of guys that are doing Genesis classes and Watershape University and they’re learning and getting better,” said Russell.

Having a shortage of skilled labor to complete more projects is another factor stalling growth for companies this year.

“The problem is none of that education trickles down to the sub-contractors and laborers that are actually doing the work. I know how to build a perfect pool to all the codes and specs. The reality is when you come down to it, I don’t have my hands on everything. ” said Russell, who indicated that without skilled laborers to help fill in those gaps, often has him running from one job site to the next in order to ensure things are up to his standards.

Russell was actually late for our interview. The pool builder had been inspecting a job site where glass tile was being installed. “I had to swing by there to make sure there weren’t any issues with what they were doing. When I do it, I want to make sure that they have the substrate right, and the waterproofing right, and that they’re putting their thin sets down properly. It’s just so much oversight that it’s a little hard to do on these high-end jobs right now.” explained Russell.

The weather has also been a monumental challenge for the builder this season. With already unpredictable yearly weather conditions, Louisiana was recently hit by Hurricane Ida causing catastrophic damage to many of the pools under construction for hundreds of builders throughout the region.

Pool Builder - Lee Russell is not afraid to get down in the hole and get dirty when it comes to building a pool.
Pool Builder – Lee Russell is not afraid to get down in the hole and get dirty when it comes to building a pool.

We asked Russell how he’s able to prevail in such daunting conditions where builders typically may spend half of the day mucking a pool out before they can even get their day started.

“It’s tough but we manage to do it. We’ve been doing this so long in Baton Rouge that I know how to combat some of those issues before they even happen,” said Russell who indicated that this year has been especially challenging because of the weather. “For us, schedules are everything. That’s what throws us in a tizzy. If I can’t get materials or I’ve got 5 straight days of rain and I can’t shoot a pool – things like that drive my stress levels through the roof because I can’t stay on schedule.”

They’re Building Beautiful Things In The Mud Down in Baton Rouge

It would appear that if you plan on building pools in Louisana, that you’d better be prepared to put your game on expert mode. Russell gave us the ultimate soundbite of all time when he described the conditions for being a pool builder in Louisiana.

Want a beautiful example of a luxury pool? They're building them in Baton Rouge, LA. - Russell Pool Company
Want a beautiful example of a luxury pool? Pool Builder – Lee Russell is designing high-end luxury pools in Baton Rouge.

“If you want to build something in the mud, you’ve got to get creative sometimes.”

Pool Builder, Lee Russell – Russell Pool Company

Predicting labor and material shortages has been hard enough. Trying to be a prognosticator of the weather is near impossible for even the best pool companies.

“I’ve got one eye on my crews and the other eye on the weather channel. If I were to pull a job crew every time the weatherman said 60% chance of rain; that’s half the days in the calendar and I’d never get anything done,” said Russell.

“I had one this year that wasn’t shot yet where it rained overnight. I had water all the way up to my forms,” said Russell, “We had to pump it out and get in there with the shovels. Then we had to get in there and wash it off and get all the mud off of it. Man, it’s tough. I’ve got to give my guys a lot of credit. A lot of days it’s been just shovel work and hot days. That’s what’s uncomfortable and what makes it tough.” he explained.

Russell says he finds immense fulfillment in looking at his completed projects and with pools like this you can see why.

Taking Time to Reflect on What’s Important

With all of the challenges aside, Russell says that building pools still is an incredibly rewarding experience for him. Helping homeowners bring their backyard vision to life is something he enjoys and finds fulfilling. “We get to see some phenomenal houses and projects that are just amazing. We’ve built lazy rivers and waterparks. We’ve built a pool with an island in it.” said Russell, reflecting on some of his past projects.

Russell tries to make sure that his job crews have a full appreciation for the work that they are doing for homeowners. He indicated that quite often it’s difficult for laborers to appreciate the end results of all their hard work. Russell exemplifies just how to do that with one story he shared with us.

One of the Best Pool Builder Stories You’ll Hear All Year

“We did a pool a little over a year ago that was 2,000 square feet and 13 feet deep. The homeowner wanted it so that he would have a balcony over his kitchen bar area and would be able to jump off that 10-foot balcony into the pool. He decided he wanted to put a waterslide running off that same balcony. We finished up that pool about two weeks before Christmas. Of course, every one of my guys had to take turns going down that slide and jumping off the balcony.”

It was Russell’s way of rewarding his crew for their work on a project they had worked on together for months. Creating the opportunity for them to share that moment and appreciate the end results of their labor is something he still holds near and dear to his heart. A poignant moment that perhaps sheds some light on the culture of the firm and why this company continues to prevail despite all the obstacles thrown at them this season.

Listen to our complete interview with Lee Russell

Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of Russell Pool Company, McKnight Landscape Architects

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