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Outdoor fire features: Remodel Your Backyard Space

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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.

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 mpacker@poolmagazine.com your story idea.

Pools

A Look Back at Ocean Dome

Now only a footnote in the history of pools, once the largest indoor waterpark in the world.

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Ocean Dome held the title for largest indoor waterpark at one time.

One of the most incredible pools that I have ever seen is sadly a thing of the past, but there’s no reason why we can’t take a look back at the engineering marvel that was Seagaia Ocean Dome. This amazing indoor pool and artificial beach was located in Miyazaki, Japan.

Unfortunately the park was closed back in 2007 and ultimately demolished in 2017. Your opportunity to visit this one of a kind experience is long gone, but it’s lasting effect as one of the most phenomenal wave riding waterparks in the world has not yet faded from memory.

When closed the Ocean Dome resembled a clear blue sky.

This mammoth structure was the artificial wave equivalent of Pipeline, which was capable of producing powerful waves. And, based on video clips from the time, it would be on par with modern-day BSR Surf Resort in Waco, TX in terms of the fun it delivered to wave riding enthusiasts.

This incredible indoor water park was a favorite with wave riding enthusiasts around the world.

The Polynesia-themed Ocean Dome, which was part of the Sheraton Seagaia Resort opened in 1993 and had the world’s largest retractable roof, which opened and closed according to weather conditions.

The artificial beach featured 12,000 square meters of simulated sandy beach, crushed from 600 tons of stones; and an “ocean” six times the size of an Olympic pool, filled with 13,500 tons of unsalted, chlorinated water kept hot at 82 degrees.

Seagai Ocean Dome - Miyazaki Japan
Seagai Ocean Dome – Miyazaki Japan

At one time Ocean Dome was considered a destination for world travelers receiving an annual 1.25 million visitors a year. There was even an “active” volcano that erupted every 15 minutes and spewed fire once an hour. The structure was once listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the largest indoor pool in the world.

Ocean Dome was closed in 2007 for renovations to the resort and was later purchased by Ripplewood, an American private-equity fund. Sadly the park was never to be reopened and wound up being demolished in 2017.

Largest Indoor Waterpark In The World: Tropical Islands Resort

Tropical Islands Resort located just outside Berlin is the 4th largest building in the world by usable volume.

While a thing of the past, the project is reminiscent of Tropical Islands Resort an indoor pool boasting Europe’s largest tropical holiday and current title holder for the world record Ocean Dome used to hold.

Tropical Islands Resort in Krausnick, Germany sets the current world record for largest indoor waterpark.

Can’t get to Germany? That’s okay, you can still check out Kalahari the largest indoor waterpark in the United States located in the Poconos in Pennsylvania featuring a wave pool, lazy river, wave coaster, and funnel ride.

Kalahari is the largest indoor waterpark in the United States.

Know of some incredible indoor waterparks we should check out? Tell us your favorite ones in the comments below.

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Pool Builder

One on One With Rick Chafey of Ask The Masters

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Rick Chafey is one of the top pool designers in the country and the co-owner of two design / build firms – Red Rock Pools & Spas & Red Rock Contractors, out of Chandler, AZ. He’s also an instructor at Watershape University as well as the co-host of Ask The Masters, a popular podcast that focuses on education and the more technical aspects of what folks who build and design pools for a living, really want to learn about.

When it comes to swimming pools, Chafey is a fountain of knowledge. We had the opportunity to sit and talk shop with one of the top designers in the industry. Chafey first got his start around 25 years ago as a general contractor and around 5 years in, got into the realm of pool design and construction. “Early on we weren’t a design firm much at all,” said Chafey, “We pretended to be designers like a lot of pool builders do early on, without any real knowledge or education about what we were doing. We made pretty pictures and hoped and got our subcontractors to help us stumble through being a builder.”

Rick’s days of stumbling are long gone and over the top luxury pool builds like this one are just part of an average day.

The Path Towards Becoming a Leading Design / Build Firm

As Chafey progressed in his career, he began acquiring an education and expanding his acumen eventually gaining an in-depth understanding of the way pools are designed and built. Chafey began building a team that would eventually comprise 40 employees that handle design / build construction projects throughout Arizona as well as the rest of the country and overseas. His design team consisting of 2 licensed architects, a civil engineer, and 3 drafters comprise the consulting arm of Red Rock Pools & Spas. This forward-thinking expansion has allowed him to provide services throughout the industry for other builders both locally and abroad and has helped propel him as one of the leading design consultants in the swimming pool industry.

As one of the top design / build firms in the country, his firm is frequently brought in to consult on some of the most over the top and elaborate pool construction projects in the world. A frequent collaborator with some of the elite names in the pool industry, Chafey has developed a wide network of experts whom he can call on to help assist with various aspects of a given project.

Chafey and his firm are frequently brought in to consult on high end luxury custom pool projects from coast to coast.

An $8 Million Dollar Resort Style Pool Is Par For The Course

Currently, Chafey and company are working on an $8 million dollar backyard resort style luxury pool complete with its very own shark tank. “Structurally and cosmetically, we can figure that part out,” said Chafey, “but then we need to get involved in safety, and life support for the fish, and access and all those parts.”

“It’s got a flowrider surf machine, full size commercial 1,000 hp surfing machine. This one’s, unique because it’s the second one they built that’s designed on the same platform as an inflatable paddle board or a rigid inflatable boat.” said Chafey.

This backyard comes complete with it’s own surfing pool just in case guests feel like catching a few waves.

In describing the unique complexity of the project, Chafey explained how the system will work. “We can actually deflate the system and then we’ve got a transversing hydraulic deck system that closes it off from view and UV rays. When it’s not in use – it won’t look like a giant inflatable jump toy in the backyard.” Twinscape USA will provide the expertise for that application, said Chafey

“It’s also got a lazy river tied to it,” Chafey explained, “The main pool section has big grottos and underground water features. To top it off, its got a go-cart track tunnel that goes all the way underneath part of that river for a few hundred feet, then comes back out and back to grade. Soup to nuts, that project adds up to 50 different small design projects and we’ve got 6 different consultants to try and put all that together.”

A lazy river runs throughout a backyard complete with it’s own Go-Kart track that actually runs underneath part of the pool.

Did Someone Say Shark Tank?

This over the top resort style luxury pool has an incredible amount of moving parts and degree of difficulty rarely found in most residential pools. Swimmers can splash around in the swimming pool while viewing through a shared acrylic wall at a 30,000 gallon shark tank on the other side. To add to the complexity, the shark tank has to be load bearing and support several portions of the home. The remarkably intricate project has been years in the making and has included the collaboration of a different teams of individual consultants. Chafey was brought in by the general contractor early in the game before there was even a budget allocated to the project.

This incredible shark tank is integrated into the overall pool design and supports 10 major loads of the main house

Putting The Best Team Out On The Field

Ultimately, Chafey explained that it’s his ability to organize teams and orchestrate the various moving parts of a given project that help differentiate his firm as an elite design / build firm in the pool world. Chafey’s project portfolio has grown substantially over the last two decades, helping him achieve recognition with both some of the most discerning homeowners as well as his peers within the industry.

Chafey had some advice for aspiring pool builders looking to get into the realm of high end custom luxury pools, “Part of it is you have to start building a body of work to where you start making those connections and getting the requests,” said Chafey, “That’s just something you have to build up over time. As long as your concepts and creativity are getting peoples admiration and you’re able to pull them off, you can slowly build that body of work to where those projects are getting bigger.”

Trying to advance to higher end pool projects before going through the learning process is a recipe for disaster insisted Chafey who said, “It takes time, no matter how much you try to accelerate your capacity, it takes time and opportunity and then you have to be able to pull them all off throughout that process.” Rick’s own path took him a while to begin to receive the notoriety and recognition as an elite design / build firm. “For us, over the last 25 years, we’ve built a lot of relationships with design teams and general contractors.” said Chafey.

Becoming a high end builder doesn’t happen overnight and took Chafey years to establish his reputation.

When it comes to being one of the elite pool design firms in the country, Chafey said that lately he finds himself in a small field of competition when it comes to the firms that are able to tackle projects of the size, scope and complexity his firm takes on. His ability to scale Red Rock’s consulting services to other builders has dramatically increased the number of projects they find themselves involved in.

Key Players
Co-Owner  — Brett Blauvelt
Lead Designer – Jake Lupe
Field Superintendents – Jordan Walker and Ken Kauffmann
Project GC Regal American Homes

Consultants
Aquatic Glazing International
Brannon Corp
Aquatic Exhibits International
Current Systems
Rans Simulation

Known for his meticulous designs, Chafey’s work is closely studied by high end builders and designers.

This certainly isn’t the first large scale project that Chafey has been involved with. Widely regarded in the pool industry for his expertise, he’s a full time functioning contractor not just an educator. Given his role on Ask The Masters, it’s only natural that his own work is often critiqued and analyzed. Having that kind of visibility comes with a price which means that all of his projects are under the microscope and scrutiny of the rest of the industry. As a leading consultant Chafey is often closely studied by his peers and as an educator even more so by folks looking to benefit from his wealth of knowledge.

Rick Chafey on his move to Watershape University

Early on, Chafey placed a premium on education, becoming a staff member at Genesis where he was an instructor and Chaired the Advisory Board for several years before eventually joining Watershape University. Chafey is now an instructor and is helping to shape the curriculum for the new education program with Dave Penton, Dave Peterson, Michael Nance, and Bill Drakeley along with other well-known previous Genesis faculty.

“When it comes to education, the main thing is to get involved, regardless if it’s Genesis, Watershape University, PHTA or whatever program you choose.” said Chafey, who said that he feels that Watershape University gives him to opportunity to adapt the new program towards more high end pools rather than production pools.

Chafey explained that the new program will provide a complete textbook level class that features distance learning options as an alternative to the costly in-person events that attendees typically spend thousands of dollars to attend in addition to the courses they are taking.

Watershape University had a particularly rough start as many of its planned events coincided with last years closures due to Covid-19. Many pool tradeshows shut down or switched to online events which created some hurdles to overcome.

“Everyone learns better face to face. However that’s also what has been holding us back as a group because we were only teaching at certain locations at certain times a year, it made it very difficult and much more expensive for people to travel.” said Chafey, “If you’re on the east coast and have to travel to Las Vegas and spend 4 or 5 nights in a hotel and spend money on airfare and meals and pay for education… it’s not always practical. What Watershape University is currently doing is putting as much online as possible, hour by hour – each segment can be done online on your own time.”

“The intensity and requirement of doing our hydraulics class is pretty thorough. Dave Petersons class on hydraulics is the best class any pool builder in the entire country can ever take. If you’re a guy like me that wants to do higher level work, once you start taking a class like that you will get sucked in and realize how much you didn’t know and how much you have to learn.” said Chafey as he was describing what Watershape University brings to the table in terms of it’s offering.

After a long hiatus due to Covid-19, the program plans to have a big presence at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in Dallas in November. Chafey who co-hosts the Ask The Masters Podcast with Dave Penton, says he plans close integration between the two online platforms.

Get to know Rick & Dave on the Ask The Masters Podcast. We feature their content in the Pool Magazine app and you can also find them on Facebook where they host one of the most active groups in the pool industry consisting of thousands of members.

Listen to our entire interview with Rick Chafey on the Pool Magazine podcast.

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Pools

Deepest Pool In The World – Deep Dive Dubai

Visitors can free dive and explore an entire sunken city at Deeb Dive Dubai, the world’s deepest swimming pool.

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The world’s tallest building and the world’s largest mall are already located in Dubai. The world famous city now has the distinction of having the world’s deepest swimming pool.

Deep Dive Dubai debuted on July 7, barely ten days after Guinness World Records designated it the world’s deepest dive pool.

The new indoor pool has a depth of about 200 feet and a capacity of nearly 3.7 million gallons of water. It also has a large underwater attraction that looks like a “sunken city” that divers can explore on their own or with a guide.

Visitors can free dive and explore an entire sunken city in Deeb Dive Dubai, the world’s deepest swimming pool.

Explore a Sunken City in Deep Dive Dubai

Dubai’s new vertical diving pool contains the vestiges of a forgotten sunken city, with graffiti, collapsing structures, and a big photo of Marilyn Monroe hanging on the wall. There’s an arcade featuring a classic Pac-Man game, foosball, and a pool table, as well as an apartment complex and library.

Guinness World Records has certified the pool as the world’s deepest swimming pool for diving. It holds the equivalent of six Olympic swimming pools. According to Deep Dive Dubai, it is 15 meters deeper than any other dive site.

According to the firm, the facility, which is shaped like an oyster in honor of the UAE’s pearl diving legacy, is also the region’s largest underwater film studio.

Beginners can dive to a depth of 40 feet, while certified divers can explore the entire pool with or without a guide. Certified divers can also “free dive” while attached to a fixed ascent line, which means diving without a tank and relying solely on their own air. There are also courses offered to educate a variety of new talents.

Bookings are only accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Will Smith, an actor and rapper, documented his visit in an Instagram post that has received over 3 million likes in just four days.

Deep Dive Dubai’s pool is 196 feet deep and contains 3.7 million gallons of freshwater, roughly the same equivalent of six Olympic-sized swimming pools. Scuba diving and freediving are two ways for swimmers to explore the pool. The pool also boasts 56 underwater cameras monitoring the sunken city.

The pool breaks the world record of 147 feet set by Poland’s Deepspot pool. According to the website, due to the scale of the underwater city, numerous dives are required to thoroughly explore it.

The new Deep Dive Dubai pool is regulated at a pleasant 86 degrees Fahrenheit, which should make exploring the depths of the pool a comfortable experience for divers. The sheer magnitude of this new attraction, has captured the world’s imagination and is creating a long waiting list of visitors eager to try out the new pool.

Featured Photo Credit: Antonie Robertson/ The National

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