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Talking Luxury Pools With Design Ecology

Chatting with one of the leading luxury pool builders

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Luxury Pools - Design Ecology - Design Aquatics

Today we’re discussing luxury pools with Scott Cummings and Benjamin Lasseter of Design Ecology in Austin, TX. This dynamic duo known throughout the pool industry has produced some incredible jaw dropping backyards over the years. We had the chance to catch up with them and got to talk shop, discussing luxury pools and the business aspect of being an elite design / build firm.

Cummings and Lasseter hit it off right away as it turns out. The partners both met back in 2006. Cummings had just relocated from Memphis and began working in Austin for the same company where Lasseter was a construction supervisor.

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After collaborating on some incredibly creative and unique projects, they noticed early on how well they worked together. Lasseter developed a tremendous respect for Cummings’ design abilties. Conversely, Cummings realized that Lasseter was a seasoned and knowledgeable Construction Supervisor capable of executing sophisticated design concepts.

One of the early projects that they worked on together would include a French style estate pool and a modern lap pool hanging over Lake Austin with acryllic walls. In 2008 when the great recession hit, Cummings found himself laid off and back on the market. Lasseter remained with the company a short time before moving on as well. Lasseter would shortly work as a project manager for a landscape firm before eventually moving on to start his own landscape construction company.

Cummings and Lasseter collaborated on projects like this 79' long lap pool cantilevered directly over Lake Austin.
Cummings and Lasseter collaborated on projects like this 79′ long lap pool cantilevered directly over Lake Austin.

Cummings had begun working for a firm that specialized entirely in pools. The firm he was working for had been contracted to build two swimming pools for a luxury hotel being built in downtown Austin. Cummings convinced his boss to bring in Lasseter as a Construction Supervisor on a challenging project for W Austin.

The pools were being built 80 feet above street level and both would be incredibly technically challenging. Cummings knew the enormous workload of successfully completing both and sought out his old friend Lasseter to assist with the two projects.

Cummings convinced his boss that Lasseter had the expertise and project management skills to flawlessly execute both projects. Ultimately, this successful collaboration with Cummings and Lasseter would plant the seeds for starting their own firm together.

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A New Company is Born

It was shortly after the W Austin project that Cummings and Lasseter decided to start their own Design / Build firm – Design Ecology / Design Aquatics. The venture between the two business partners officially began in 2011.

Design Ecology functions as the landscaping architecture / master planning division. Design Aquatics is the other half of the company focusing on pool construction and design. Scott Cummings is the designer / landscape architect helping bring the clients vision to life. Ben Lasseter handles the day-to-day business operations and oversees construction.

Design Ecology has become one of the leading design firms in Austin with over the top pool concepts like this one.
Design Ecology has become one of the leading design firms in Austin with over the top pool concepts like this one. – Photograph by Jimi Smith Photography

The creative energy between the two of them has led Design Ecology to become one of the leading outdoor living design and build firms in Austin, TX. When trying to define the seamless and friendly working dynamic between the two, one only has to look at the synergy on the court between Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, for comparison. These two manage to consistently wow and amaze both their clientele and the discerning eye of critics in the pool industry.

Designing Luxury Pools & Understanding the Clients Vision

Cummings, a licensed landscape architect oversees all of the design for the firm. We asked him what it is like working on luxury pools and backyards with some of the most affluent homeowners in Austin.

“It’s very easy to walk onto a job site and design something that is going to be great for me and make something that I think is perfect and going to look great.” said Cummings, “The challenge with design, especially with high end clients is they have a specific vision. You have to understand that vision and bring that to life.” continued Cummings.

“I always feel it’s important to get to know them as people and get to know their taste and their family and lifestyle.” said Cummings, who frequently shepherds the firms high end clients throughout the entire design process.

Coming up with the budget for Design Ecology’s multi-million dollar projects, is Ben Lasseter’s domain. He explained how the entire budgeting process on high end luxury builds is vastly different than your typical residential pool build.

Get Used To Throwing Out Large Numbers

“With a lot of clients, their budget is irrational to a normal person. They see something and the average person is like ‘Oh, that’s $100,000 for that statue’… the clients aren’t making buying decisions based off budget, but what they want,” said Lasseter. “they want what they saw in the picture. Obviously budget is still a concern, but they want the design and implementation of what they want executed. You have to get used to throwing out really large numbers.” continued Lasseter.

Design Ecology builds million dollar backyards. Incredible luxury pools like this one are a staple the firm is known for.
Design Ecology builds million dollar backyards. Incredible luxury pools like this one are a staple the firm is known for.

The average luxury high end build Design Ecology performs for elite homeowners can range into the millions. “We’ve worked on projects where just the tile alone in the pool costs more than a half a million dollars and that doesn’t include the pool structure.” said Lasseter.

Lasseter’s role is no less important as he focuses on budgeting, buildability studies, and the actual construction process of bringing the homeowners vision and the firms designs to life. This ying and yang of one partner focusing on sales and design and the other focusing on the business end and construction works well for the two. Their business dynamic has created the foundation for a long lasting partnership. Lasseter’s ability to implement Cummings’ incredible designs is the perfect compliment to the firms cutting edge modern design capabilities.

The flawless execution of a sophisticated modern luxury pool design requires planning and coordination.
The flawless execution of a sophisticated modern luxury pool design requires planning and coordination.

Planning & Preparing for a Custom Luxury Pool

“The modern design appears simple. There’s a bunch of straight and perpendicular lines and it appears simple but it’s actually quite complex.” said Lasseter, “It requires a lot of coordination between contractors and subcontractors.”

Lasseter works closely with builders, engineers and construction crews on all of the firms projects. This is no small task considering the size and scope of projects Design Ecology undertakes. Lasseter explained that during one particular project he was coordinating with the builders and homeowners 4 years prior to an actual pool being built on the site.

The nature of the project required a seamless transition of tile from the interior of the home into the pool area so Lasseter began coordinating with the general contractor years before ever beginning the project. It is this type of high end planning and design work that has helped differentiate Design Ecology from many other local firms in Austin, TX.

The amount of preparation and planning that goes into building the luxury pools Design Ecology is known for is considerable. “We do a lot of work on hill sides and cliff sides. You don’t just go and dig a hole back there. You’re working with soils engineers and structural engineers.” said Lasseter.

“It’s not like your typical pool where you have your excavator come in one day and then your forms and your rebar and your plumbing going in, we may have have six months of structurals going in before we can even get to a water holding vessel.” continued Lasseter. “If you forget one pipe, you can’t just fix it because you’re dangling off the side of a cliff or your access is no longer there because you took the scaffolding down.”

Certain luxury outdoor living projects require an inordinate amount of planning and coordination with high end contractors.
Certain luxury outdoor living projects require an inordinate amount of planning and coordination with high end contractors.

The Demand Has Never Been Higher for Custom Luxury Pools

The enormous complexity and forethought that goes into these projects can take years. The average lead time for luxury pool projects can vary dramatically depending on many factors explained Cummings. “The amount of design time can vary wildly. We’ve had some projects go from design to construction document prep in a matter of days while others can take years to plan.” said Cummings. “Right now demand is so high that we just can’t keep up so our backlog is unfortunately longer than we’d like but there’s worse problems to have than that I suppose.”

Cummings said that the Covid-19 pandemic produced an unexpected surge in demand for high end custom luxury pools.

“Covid has been an interesting phenomenon for us. There was so much uncertainty at the beginning of 2020.” said Cummings, “The city of Austin shut everybody down. They actually tried to shut us down while we were working on a high dollar project in a high end residential home. We gently reminded them that if we left the area an open construction zone for the duration of the shutdown that they’d be liable for any damages.” continued Cummings.

“After that, they insisted we continue with what we were doing. Around the time that had happened, Governor Abbot had come out and declared us to be an essential service, so we were able to continue working through most of the shutdowns.” said Cummings.

During the pandemic, more homeowners than ever have begun investing in improving their outdoor living environment.
During the pandemic, more homeowners than ever have begun investing in improving their outdoor living environment.

The pandemic has seen an increase in demand over the last year and a half. Cummings echoed the sentiments of many other builders when he said “We’ve seen a huge boom in the number of people who are looking to build their own oasis and essentially create a refuge at home.”

We asked if customers have struggled coming to grips with longer than average build times considering that virtually every homeowner in America wants a pool right now. “Yes and no,” said Cummings, “there are definitely people who call in and they just don’t understand. Right now we are sold out into well into the fall but we can have them swimming by 2022. They’re like ‘Well we’re not going to wait, we’re just going to go ahead and go with somebody else’ and that’s fine, they’re not the right client for us and we’re not the right designer / contractor for them.”

Educating Homeowners on the Realities

For the most part however, Cummings said that homeowners are becoming increasingly aware of the shortages effecting the pool industry and have been sympathetic and understanding that construction time can be much longer than average. Lasseter explained some of the struggles that Texas pool contractors in particular have faced this year.

“Not only did we have the Covid-19 challenge,” said Lasseter, “we experienced a catastrophic freeze in Texas that set everybody back. It took precedent over new construction. That, combined with the city offices being shut down for two weeks, we really had significant delays.” Lasseter explained that other underlying issues like supply chain delays such as the recent blockage of the Suez canal were contributing to longer than average waiting times.

Part of being an elite builder means being up front and honest with your clients explained Lasseter, “We’re up front with our clients and we don’t keep any secrets. We let them know there are shortages and delays and we’re going to do our best to keep everything running as smoothly as possible.”

Even elite luxury pool builders like Design Ecology have had to manage client expectations during this climate.

Lasseter said that it’s important to manage expectations with homeowners from the outset. This is true in both luxury high end builds as well as typical residential pool construction. “Even though it may not be our original construction timeline, we try to contain those expectations with the homeowner so that we’re not constantly moving the ball and always giving them another story. We manage expectations from the construction end and everybody seems to be in a really good place.” said Lasseter.

We reminded Lasseter that his story is unique in the respect that many other builders are getting absolutely hammered with negative reviews. Ongoing shortages of equipment, essential materials and skilled labor have contributed to tremendous fallout in the media as homeowners continually complain of pools going unfinished in some cases for many months past their original deadlines. Lasseter sympathized when he said “We would love to be able to hire more people right now but it’s hard finding skilled labor. It’s incredibly busy and it’s a real challenge.”

Doing Great Work Means Hiring The Best

Design Ecology who is a member of Tributary Revelation frequently consults with the best of the best in the industry on their projects. The high end custom nature of their work entails bringing in contractors from other states such as one project with a particularly challenging pool interior. “We brought in Danilo from Art & Mosaics who is a phenomenal Italian Mosaic Artist and he has just done a spectacular job of transforming this pool into an absolute work of art. I’m really excited to show that one off real soon.”

As a registered landscape architect, Cummings is an expert at unique and creative pool and landscape designs like this one.

Want to be a Luxury Pool Builder? Education is Key.

Cummings who is a RLA (Registered Landscape Architect) graduate of Mississippi State University’s Landscape Architecture program, got his education in pools working for several firms. Cummings says that he and Lasseters involvement in Tributary Revelation and Watershape University has been particularly stimulating for him in terms of helping him develop his pool accumen. Lasseter who has a BS in Horticulture from Texas A&M, has also completed the Genesis 3 program to become SWD Registered.

Lasseter said that Genesis 3 was instrumental in helping him develop his higher education pursuits. He first became aware of the program when he stumbled on an ad for the program in a trade publication. Upon attending the Genesis School in Scottsdale, AZ Lasseter said that he was exposed to real experts for the first time.

Lasseter credits his interaction with people like Brian Van Bower, Skip Phillips and Dave Penton with cementing the notion that he could have a real future in the pool industry. “That one 3 day class was eye opening to me. There was so much I learned that I didn’t know. I didn’t realize how high the ceiling really was. I thought I was doing real high end work at the time, in reality there were guys there that were just mountains and miles and ahead of me.” said Lasseter.

“It was encouraging, inspirational and enlighting.” explained Lasster, “I spent 3 days with Dave Peterson learning how water moves and I came back with this new enthusiam for pools and water and how it works and what I’m doing wrong and how I could make it better.”

SWD Registered - Genesis & Watershape University Instructor - Lasseter has developed a reputation as a top builder.
SWD Registered – Genesis & Watershape University Instructor – Lasseter has developed a reputation as a top builder.

Eventually Lasseter become SWD Registered and is now a faculty member for Genesis teaching classes on how to master plan and how to tie in design & construction. Lasseter also teaches for Watershape University where he offers an Advanced Applied Theory course on Construction Defect Removal and Replacement.

Design Ecology is frequently touted as a favorite among designers and builders, with notable elites of the pool industry citing their work as both inspirational and cutting edge. Cummings whose focus is primarily on landscape design, says that aside from the obvious choices like Paolo Benededtti, Brian Van Bower and Skip Phillips he particularly appreciates the work of Lee Rusell, Kurt Kraisinger, Lawrence Halprin, and E. Fay Jones, among others.

Lasseter who is more focused on the engineering and nuts and bolts of how the pool is built says that Dave Penton has been a tremendous inspiration and mentor to him. “When I look at an equipment room that is located 3 stories below the pool and how all the plumbing is done and how the pipes are labeled and how the space is planned, Dave Penton is at the top of that mountain.” Lasseter said that others like Dave Peterson, Kraisinger, and Brownlee are also some others whose incredibly detailed plans are something he admires a great deal.

Advice for any builder interested in delving into luxury pools - 'know your numbers', says Scott Cummings of Design Ecology.
Advice for any builder interested in delving into luxury pools – ‘know your numbers’, says Scott Cummings of Design Ecology.

Advice for Builders Looking to Get Into Luxury Pools

We asked the partners if they had any advice for aspiring builders looking to delve into the arena of Luxury Pools. “Understand the product you are selling before you sell it. My biggest issue I see with people is that I see dangerous mistakes, code violations. I wish more people would take the time to read the codes and understand the reasons for them.” said Cummings.

“Understand the need for properly sized plumbing,” continued Cummings, “spacial standards, the slopes and breaks of a pool. Lengths and protections for even basic stuff like diving are often misunderstood. If you really want to step into the real high end luxury pools you need to understand what it takes to build them safely.”

The “Business” of Luxury Pools

Cummings also mentioned the need to price things accurately, a fact which Lasseter went into greater detail on when he expressed the importance of focusing on the business side as much as the construction side. He suggested that aspiring luxury pool builders take a lesson from their own companies struggle. Lasseter explained that as more money begins to come in, it’s increasingly important to focus more and more energy managing the business side.

Lasseter expressed the importance of having oversight over financials. “Know your business. We went from watching every check that went through the bank to having millions of dollars moving through our account. We grew so fast, we didn’t know what we were. We couldn’t look at our books and say ‘Oh, we showed a profit last month.’ The forensic accounting that went into getting us on track was… IS… a three year process. Now I can look a report and it’s a click away. It’s not a guess or intuition.”

Luxury pools are time consuming to design and plan. High end homeowners who appreciate good design are willing to pay for it.
Luxury pools are time consuming to design and plan. High end homeowners who appreciate good design are willing to pay for it.

“A quarter of our time now goes on working on the business, not for the business. Constantly improving out systems.” said Lasseter. “It’s easy to get sidetracked by projects and ‘let the business run itself’ but it’s not really running itself.” Scott Cummings said that in addition, pool companies should move away from doing free designs for companies.

Say No To Free Design

There has been a ground swell in the pool industry to do away with doing free design comps as part of selling a pool. A practice that Cummings and Lasseter are definitely not fans of. “Great clients do value good design and they’re going to be willing to compensate you for that service that you’re providing. Absolutely ‘SAY NO’ to free design. That’s just devaluing yourself and the industry.”

Lasseter explained that there are recurring costs associated with running the softwares necessary to render out 3D designs and plans for homeowners. “You’re giving your time away for free and the cost for operating those software. No matter how much you make on the back end of the pool, it’s a losing proposition that drags the industry down.”

Listen to the entire interview with Scott Cummings & Benjamin Lasseter on the Pool Magazine Podcast.

Featured Photo Credit: Jimi Smith Photography

5/5 - (6 votes)

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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Pools

7 Elegant Modern Pool Designs

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7 Elegant Modern Pool Designs

If you’re tired of the extremely hot summer and need to relax and cool down with calming and aesthetic surroundings, some eye catchy modern, designed pools would be perfect for you. Besides enjoying the cool water, you can also have the best comfort and a beautiful ambiance by customizing the pool surroundings with the most unique and striking ideas.

The right kind of pool will not only give you comfort and calmness but also make your place very well defined and beautiful. There is an ample number of pool designs, but We’ve enlisted the top 7 modern-day pool designs that are worth considering and investing on:

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1. Plunge Pool

Modern Pool Designs: A plunge pool or splash pool is ideal for backyards with limited available space to build a pool.
A plunge pool or splash pool is ideal for backyards with limited available space to build a pool.

Plunge pools, also known as splash pools, are very small pools found in the backyard of the house, occupying significantly less space. These pools are perfect for you if you want to cool off for a bit after a long, tiring day. They require less space and very low maintenance. They are very small and are more useful for relaxing or cooling down than swimming or diving. This is the pool worth considering and even investing in for houses built with the modern structure, which usually have small backyards.

2. Above Ground Pool

Modern Pool Designs: Above ground pools can be made of many different materials.
Above ground pools can be made of many different materials.

As the name suggests, it is a pool that is above the ground, made with aluminum and steel walls. The surroundings can be customized according to your wish. You can surround it with a deck, lighting, plants, or anything you like. The above-ground pools are easily installed, low maintenance, durable, and very affordable, however, you will need steps to walk in and out of the pool. They can be placed in your home backyard for a seasonal family fun time. 

Unlike in-ground pools, they have no part of them in the ground, and you can give it a classy, fun, or cool look. However, you like.

3. Night Light Pool

Light up the night with LED pool lighting for a safe and enjoyable swim experience in your backyard.
Light up the night with LED pool lighting for a safe and enjoyable swim experience in your backyard.

You can give your pool a new light, a new mood, a new feeling, and a new scene just by changing the lighting. These pools look beautiful and comforting after sundown and are best suited for night swimming. These provide a wonderful and cozy ambiance for you to relax and swim even at midnight by the illuminating lights. They provide comfort, serenity, beauty, and amazing visual effects. You can install the lights which match your mood. Calming, party-like, warming, whatever fits the occasion and your mood.

4. Infinity Pool

Modern Pool Designs: Zero edge pools or infinity pool are popular for beachfront properties.
Zero edge pools or infinity pool are popular for beachfront properties.

The zero-edge pool or infinity pool is a beautifully designed one. The water in it flows over the edges, making it seem like a pool with no edges. Hence, the name infinity pool. It creates a striking visual effect that makes it irresistible to enter the pool. These kinds of pools make the place look very well defined and the most beautiful. They may be costly, but worth the money. Investing in these is no doubt a smart choice.

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5. Indoor Pool

An indoor pool can be very relaxing and allow you to enjoy your swimming pool whenever you want to.
An indoor pool can be very relaxing and allow you to enjoy your swimming pool whenever you want to.

Enjoy the pool fun without even stepping out of your place. For those who love to stay indoors, this is the right kind of pool, a pool built on the rooftop of your house and can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home. You can freely relax in your home pool without the fear of sunburn or being tanned from the sun’s rays.

You can customize everything however you desire. It is one of the best pool designs and worth the try and money.

6. Floating Balcony Pool

Thinking of installing a pool on your balcony or terrace? You're not alone. Balcony pools are becoming more popular.
Thinking of installing a pool on your balcony or terrace? You’re not alone. Balcony pools are becoming more popular.

The balcony view and a calming pool can be enjoyed together with soft, cold winds and under the beautiful sky. The floating pool design can be built in an extending corner of the terrace, making the balcony look uniquely beautiful. It feels very soothing to enjoy the beautiful city view and the water.

You can give your floating balcony an even better look by decorating the surroundings with lights, plants, or anything you like. You can make your balcony the most unique and striking of all. These floating balcony pools are usually found in big apartments only. They might be a bit expensive, but surely worth the cost.

7. Black Bottom Pool

Black bottom pools provide a dramatic and mysterious aesthetic to your outdoor living area.
Black bottom pools provide a dramatic and mysterious aesthetic to your outdoor living area.

The black bottom pools are perfect for those who find their true comfort in the dark theme. These pools consist of black vinyl liner or tiles. It has a very soothing effect. The black color of the pool also helps in absorbing the sun’s rays, making the temperature of the water increase. The warm water and the black color of the pool together give a different level of comfort and are very calming. You can also customize everything according to the pool’s dark theme, making the surroundings look elegant and classy.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the pools listed above are some of the best pool designs and are worth spending your money on. But there are indeed a great number of beautifully striking designs like the typical ones (rectangle, round, or oval), the kidney, geometric-shaped ones, pools with a deck, and many more. Selecting the right pool for you is a task. It depends on the place, atmosphere, and space of that particular area you’re planning to put your pool in. Thus, going through these modern pool designs will definitely help.

FAQs

What Are the Most Famous Designs for a Pool?

The kidney-shaped pool, pool with a view, grassy surroundings, geometric pools, etc., are some of the most famous and beautiful designs nowadays. They give a fascinating effect and provide a sense of comfort to the eyes. They offer a defined look to the house and are one of the most striking. These pools are definitely worth investing in.

Which is the Better, a Chlorinated Pool or a Saltwater Pool?

For the in-ground, above-ground, or any kind of pool, the saltwater system is the better option as it is more kind or gentle to the skin, hair, or eyes. It makes the pool water skin friendly and desirable or irresistible to stay away from or enter. Even your pets are safe and free to swim in these pools.

A chlorinated pool is full of harsh chemicals that are not skin- and pet-friendly and can cause harm to them.

Can We Place an Inflatable Pool on Our Balcony?

An inflatable pool might be too heavy for a balcony. Although it looks pretty light, it can become unbearably heavy for the balcony when filled with water. Thus, it is not at all recommended to put an inflatable pool on your balcony. 

What is the Ideal Place to Install a Pool?

  1. Under the sunlight: Wherever you’re planning to install the pool, it is always best to be within the reach of sunlight entirely as it maintains the pool’s temperature, and the swimmers can stay for a long.
  2. In the backyard of the house: If you want to install the pool in your home, the backyard or garden is the best place as it is under the sunlight and will give your house a well-defined and beautiful look.
  3. With a view: If there’s a beautiful view of nature, cityscape, or the sky near your place, you should definitely place your pool there because what’s better than a pool with an eye-catching view.

Feature Photo Credit: John Fornander

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Products

Light Up The Night With PAL Lighting

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PAL Lighting

When discussing pool lighting solutions, frequently one name that pops up again and again in conversation is PAL Lighting. The Sydney Australia-based manufacturer makes a line of wirelessly controlled LED lighting and controllers that are perfect for swimming pools, spas, water features, and landscape lighting. After first entering the US market back in 2004, word spread both in the marketplace and with professionals. Consequently, today, PAL Lighting has become a serious force to be reckoned with in the world of LED lighting. Folks are suddenly paying attention, particularly in the pool industry; and for good reason.

A Vacuum in Supply for LED Pool Lights Creates Opportunity

One thing the pandemic did was create supply chain issues with manufacturers all over the globe. What it also did was create an opportunity for LED lighting manufacturers like PAL to suddenly reach more customers. While many pool professionals were aware of who PAL Lighting was, change happens slowly in the industry as does mass adoption of a new product line. Shortages and delays getting products have caused professionals to reexamine PAL’s products and value proposition. Suddenly PAL is in the spotlight, so to speak.

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LIGHT UP THE NIGHT WITH LED LIGHTING FROM PAL LIGHTING

To get a better understanding of their product line we met with Ben Forrest, U.S. representative for PAL Lighting and Ryan Hughes, one of the elite builders working today. “Many have heard of our product line but haven’t tried them just because of the comfort level of doing the same old thing,” said Forrest, “while they might have heard of us, they may not have much experience with our products.”

Industry Looks To New Sources For LED Pool Lighting

“Most pool professionals in the industry didn’t have much knowledge of PAL Lighting prior to the pandemic, we were probably best known for our strip lighting. When Covid happened product shortages impacted a lot of manufacturers. That didn’t happen with us because our products are manufactured in Australia, not in China so we didn’t have any of the trade sanctions or challenges other manufacturers faced to the same degree,” said Forrest.

PAL Lighting EvenGlow LED Light
PAL Lighting – EvenGlow LED Light

“A lot of operators were forced to try PAL Lighting as an alternative to one of the ‘Big 3’ and when they did they came back and said ‘Wow, where have you been?’, and we said, ‘Well, we’ve always been here, but nobodies been paying attention til now,'” said Forrest.

Building Awareness One Builder at a Time

“Our sales have skyrocketed, simply because we’ve had to fill the void,” explained Forrest, “for us, the growth that we’ve seen in demand for our strip lighting is really exciting. For the last four years our strip lighting has been more than 1,000% of the previous year. You do that for four years in a row and you can tell you’re really getting strip lighting out there.”

PAL Lighting - Strip Lighting - EvenGlow Flex
PAL Lighting – Strip Lighting – EvenGlow Flex

“The other growth that’s exciting for us is that once we build a relationship with a builder and go through a few projects with them, they start to get a real understanding of what they can do with our lighting,” said Forrest, “they’re accomplishing things they’ve never been able to do before and that gives them room for growth. Instead of putting 4 lights in a swimming pool, I work with builders who are regularly putting 20-30 fixtures. They’re adding lighting for outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and all sorts of things.”

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PAL Lighting - LED Bubbler
PAL Lighting – LED Bubbler

Ryan Hughes Turns To PAL Lighting

In this industry, mass adoption happens when products hit a tipping point with the right people. The fact that the elite of the industry such as Ryan Hughes have begun incorporating PAL Lighting into their luxury pool projects, suddenly puts PAL on the world stage with their products. In a recent interview with Hughes back in November at the International Pool & Spa Expo, Hughes showcased one of his latest projects using PAL Lighting products.

In Hughes’ PAL Lighting application he wanted to give homeowners the ability to fully control their lighting system. “They were the only manufacturer that could give us a four wire RGBW light that could be connected with DMX,” said Hughes, “because (the homeowner) wanted a DMX controller, he didn’t just want 10 colors, he wanted to be able to have any color show he wanted.”

Forrest, who uses the Hughes project as an example when showcasing the product, agrees that homeowners have come to expect more from their lighting system. Consequently, the number of existing pool owners that are looking to upgrade to LED lighting in their pool is growing.

“Think of all the lights that were installed prior to the late 90’s and early 2000’s. All of them use incandescent bulbs. We developed a bulb that we can use as a replacement that takes the average pool from a 500 watt incandescent bulb to a 9 watt LED and you get all the features that you would get from a true RGB light,” said Forrest, “meaning you get 16 million colors, dimming functions, true white mode; all controlled by remote. Pool professionals can make good margins but still retail these things for under $400.”

Listen to our entire conversation with Ben Forrest of PAL Lighting on the Pool Magazine podcast.

Featured Photo Credit: Ryan Hughes Design | Joe Traina Photography

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Hot Tubs

Aromatherapy For Hot Tubs & Spas

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Aromatherapy - Get Started With Hot Tub & Spa Scents

If you’re looking for a way to relax and destress, aromatherapy for your hot tub or spa might be the perfect solution for you! Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to promote healing and well-being. People have been using aromatherapy for centuries to improve their health and wellbeing. There are many ways to enjoy aromatherapy, but one of our favorite methods is by using it in our hot tubs and spas! In this article, we will discuss the benefits of aromatherapy, how to use it in your spa or hot tub, and some of our favorite essential oils scents.

Aromatherapy in Your Spa

Did you realize you can detect over a trillion different scents? Certain fragrances or scents have a physiological influence on humans. They have the ability to calm, revitalize, and create a sense of well-being. Certain scents are also known to induce a sensuous or euphoric state, particularly in individuals who are already relaxing in a hot tub.

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Aromatherapy has many benefits, but one of the most popular reasons people use it is to relax and destress. If you’re looking for a way to unwind after a long day, aromatherapy might be the perfect solution for you! There are many different ways to enjoy aromatherapy, but one of our favorite methods is by using it in our hot tubs and spas. In this article, we will discuss how to use essential oils in your spa or hot tub for relaxation and destress relief.

Essential Oils For Your Spa & Hot Tub

There are many different essential oils that can be used for relaxation and destress relief. To use essential oils in your spa or hot tub, simply add a few drops to the water. You can also add a few drops to a diffuser if you prefer. If you’re looking for a more potent aromatherapy experience, you can add a few drops of essential oil to your bathtub.

For those looking for an easy way to enjoy all of the benefits of aromatherapy, using essential oils for your hot tub, spa or sauna is a great option, according to Spa Huset Norway. “Certain smells can definitely improve your mood and overall wellbeing, using your spa in combination with aromatherapy has been proven to have great health benefits,” said General Manager, Monthy Pedersen.

Learn about the health benefits of aromatherapy for hot tubs & spas
Learn about the health benefits of aromatherapy for hot tubs & spas

Our favorite aromatherapy scents for Hot Tubs & Spas:

Lavender

Lavender has been used for thousands of years, ever since the Romans introduced it into their baths. It’s a well-known antiseptic that can be used to cure minor infections, including candida, but it’s primarily used to relax the mind. Lavender aromatherapy can aid with sleep issues, depression, and anxiety. It relieves muscle pain, cramps, migraines, and other head and body pain as a circulatory stimulant. Lavender is also beneficial to the skin. It promotes skin cell regeneration and is used to heal scars and stretch marks, as well as rashes, sunburns, and skin infections.

InSPAration Lavender Crystals-Epsom Salts

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  • Uses an aromatherapy crystal blend designed exclusively for spas, hot tubs, and jetted baths.
  • Vitamins, minerals, and natural extracts have been added to this product.
  • Softens the skin and revitalizes fatigued muscles.
  • Masks chemical odors while not staining or harming wood, fiberglass, acrylics, or plaster.
  • There are no oils in it, so it will not clog filters or change the chemistry of the water.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus leaves have long been utilized in ancient societies to relieve aches and pains and to alleviate altitude sickness. Early Incas bathed in natural hot springs loaded with eucalyptus leaves in Peru’s highlands. Eucalyptus, like peppermint, contains camphor and can be used to treat sore throats, sinus problems, illness, and fever.

Eucalyptus Fragrance – 9 oz

  • Eucalyptus spa infusion oil.
  • A beautiful aroma can enhance your spa experience.
  • Specifically formulated for use in a hot tub.
  • The water chemistry in the spa will not be affected.

Jasmine

Jasmine is a seductive and sensual floral fragrance that is rich and warm. It has a long history of being used as an aphrodisiac, and I can see why! Jasmine is a wonderfully exotic smell that is also known as ‘Mistress of the Night’ or ‘Moonlight of the Grove’ since its alluring scent is strongest at night. When you put Jasmine in a hot tub, you might be inviting your sweetheart to join you! Jasmine is sweet, delicate, and seductive.

  • Safe for all acrylics, jets, pumps, and filters.
  • Masks chemical odors; has no effect on pH; does not foam or bubble in water; There are no oils in this product, and it leaves no oily residue.
  • It has no effect on the chemistry of water.
  • Natural Aloe Vera Extract, Vitamins E and C, and RX Formula for a Therapeutic Body Experience

Mint

Mint is one of the most popular aromatic herbs, with applications ranging from food and drinks to lip balm. The British Journal of Medicine reported in 1879 that menthol fumes relieved headaches and nerve pain. It promotes alertness and concentration, and it could be ideal after a hard day to prepare for a long evening. Peppermint stimulates blood flow, alleviates itching, and relieves arthritic cramps and muscle discomfort. It’s also healthy for your skin because it stimulates natural skin oil production.

  • Aromatherapy crystals for spas, hot tubs, and jetted baths
  • Contains vitamins, minerals, and natural skin-softening ingredients.
  • Tired muscles are revitalized, and the body is relaxed.
  • Non-oily – will not clog filters or change the chemistry of water.
  • Amazing scents – no more chemical odors!
Aromatherapy is not only incredibly relaxing, but it has also been shown to provide numerous health benefits.
Aromatherapy is not only incredibly relaxing, but it has also been shown to provide numerous health benefits.

Aromatherapy can help:

  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Improve mood and energy levels
  • Promote better sleep
  • Boost immunity
  • Relieve pain and tension headaches

Getting Started With Aromatherapy & Hydrotherapy

If you’re tired, run-down, or even depressed, you’ve probably already tried a few things to lift your spirits and your overall health. Aromatherapy, with its many benefits, should not be underestimated when it comes to improving your overall well-being. Hydrotherapy (the use of warm water to treat a variety of health issues) used in conjunction with scented oils have been shown to improve health, decrease stress, increase serotonin, and improve overall well-being. Simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the water before you get in to enjoy therapeutic and relaxing aromatherapy in your hot tub or spa.

Step 1

Gather up everything you’ll need for your hydrotherapy session. Bring a bathing suit, a towel, a bottle of water, a book, a movie, or music, flip flops, and your favorite aromatherapy scents. Bring along a basket to store your personal items so that they can be easily moved to your hot tub area and then brought back inside. This eliminates the need to leave the hot tub for a drink or other activity if you become bored or thirsty.

Step 2

Allow your spa fragrances to dissolve and blend with the water for the appropriate amount of time. While you wait, put on your beach suit, get ready for your activity, and set any mobile devices to “do not disturb” if you want to unplug and disconnect from technology. If you don’t have your mobile device with you, notify at least one person that you will be in the hot tub for safety.

Step 3

Enter the hot tub, activate the jets, and unwind. Allow your body to acclimate to your new surroundings and simply let the stress slip away. Once you’ve felt rejuvenated and relaxed, use your activity to entertain yourself, or simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the sounds of nature or your predetermined music.

Step 4

Spend some time observing your surroundings. Enjoy the splendor of your magnificent backyard landscape, the sounds of nature, and the aromatherapy spa scents. Consider what the fragrance means to you and allow the scents and relaxing hydrotherapy to do its thing.

Step 5

Take your time exiting the spa when you’ve finished relaxing in the hot tub. Sit on the ledge for a few minutes as you dry off with your towel. Enjoy the last few minutes of aromatherapy as you acclimatize to the outside temperature. Close your spa cover and carry your belongings inside, eliminating the need to return outside—unless, of course, you want to relax on your patio furniture and enjoy a lovely evening outdoors.

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