Outdoor Oasis - Enjoy a relaxing summer in your own backyard




Polynesian Pools located in Virginia beach

Enjoy your summer relaxing in your own backyard.

When it’s cold outside, many of us dream of endless summer days relaxing by the water, maybe swimming laps in a pool. If you start planning now, you can create your own backyard oasis—complete with a pool and spa—and begin enjoying yourself by spring.

Hampton Roads doesn’t get cold enough to put a halt on pool construction, says Gary Sharpe, general manager of Polynesian Pools in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. “We keep building through the whole cold season,” Sharpe says. “The cold weather might slow us down a little bit but we don’t have to take a break. You might get a better price too. Companies don’t have a backlog so they can start your project sooner.”

From start to swimming, installing an in-ground pool and deck takes six to eight weeks, Sharpe says. “The pool gets built very quickly,” he says. “The one thing we do wait for is for the earth to settle before we pour a concrete deck. That way the deck is less susceptible to cracking. If you start now, by the time spring and summer are here and you’re ready to use your pool, the project will be finished.

Simply installing a pool and/ or spa doesn’t make an outdoor oasis. The key differences come down to good planning. “It all comes down to how  everything ties in together at the end of the project,” Sharpe says. “The ultimate goals should be focused on comfort and relaxation.” First are the shape and size of the pool.

You can still choose an old style shape from the 1980s or early 1990s—a basic rectangle or emerald. But there are many more shapes to choose from now. You can get a Grecian pool, a rectangle with the corners clipped off, a lagoon shape, a mountain lake and more. “Designers offer curbed pools that almost look like an oasis,” Sharpe says. As for size, the size of your yard is a key determining factor. “A lot of people buy into the concept that bigger is better. Their pool may be too big for their backyard and doesn’t look right,” Sharpe says. “You want to complement the yard and the house—not overtake everything. And just because you have a big yard doesn’t mean you need to have the biggest pool in the neighborhood.”

Keep in mind too that you have to deal with easements, setback requirements on how close you can build to your neighbor’s property, and Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act rules, he says.

Next on deck, your pool deck. Your deck is important because you’ll be relaxing there in between laps. Beyond the standard gray concrete pool deck, you can consider brushed concrete, brick pavers, natural stone, and stamped concrete with patterns, Sharpe says. With stamped concrete, you can incorporate colors from your home for a seamless look. You can bring your pool deck to your back door or tie it in with an existing patio or deck.

A natural oasis includes plants and so should the one you create at your home. Eastern Virginia is warm enough to include palm trees around your pool, Sharpe says. Any native plants also will work well, he says. Boulders, custom made water slides with rocks, waterfalls, and jets of water shooting into the pool complete the look. Don’t forget lounge chairs and tables to kick back and entertain. “The last thing is outdoor patio furniture,” Sharpe says. “Now that you have this beautiful oasis, you can be comfortable, entertain and really enjoy your pool and spa.”

If you want to enjoy your pool during spring and fall, consider adding a heat pump. Compared to gas heaters, heat pumps are a more affordable way to warm your pool during the shoulder season, Sharpe says. “With a heat pump, you could get in as early as late March as long as temperatures are above 55,” Sharpe says. “It will take you through the endof October and later if we have a warm fall.”

Costs of heating with a heat pump average about $2 a day, he says.

Speaking of heat, a spa/hot tub is a great way to enjoy the water all year long. “Even if you close the pool down, you’re still able to get in your hot tub,” Sharpe says. “You can get in the hot tub and relax even if you don’t want to go swimming.”