Pool Water Features Making Waves

By Claudia Alarcón

Editorial originally featured in Austin – San Antonio Home Design & Decor Magazine

June/July 2018

If you are looking to build a pool this summer or enhance your existing one, there are many features to consider that go beyond the traditional pool/spa combo. Today’s hot trends in pool design include deck jets, bubblers, scuppers, water and fire elements, waterfalls, sheer descents, sun shelves and beach entries. Since most of us may be unfamiliar with these trending pool terms, we have asked the experts for guidance and advice.

Depending on the effect you wish to create, the right water feature will add sound, tranquility, excitement, elegance or a natural touch to your backyard retreat.

“Different features range in aesthetic, size, material and overall feel,” says April Powell, Marketing Manager with Keith Zars Pools.

Water features are very elegant and can make any pool look luxurious. They vary in complexity, ranging from small openings found at the edge of the pool to more elaborate design motifs that are incorporated into the poolscape.

Deck jets are a simple option that adds a high-end look. Jets shoot a narrow stream of water from the deck or edge into the pool. For a more contemporary approach, a sheer descent is a sheet of water that flows down from a thin, flattened spillway. These features create a cooling effect as well as a soothing sound.

Scuppers are another type of small water feature characterized by small openings or slots that channel water back to the pool. They are usually made up of a small ledge that allows water to fall down into the pool.
You can also expand the surrounding landscape by incorporating water bowl or fire water bowl element. Copper is popular right now.
One of the most popular swimming pool features are waterfalls, commonly used for lagoon-style or tropical-themed swimming pools.
While sheer descents or scuppers are accents to a pool’s design, waterfalls are usually statement pieces and include an auditory element. Waterfall designs vary depending on the homeowner’s taste, and can range from simple rock structures to more complex ones that include landscaping and multiple levels, constructed to look like natural rock formations. You can also opt for a weeping wall, in which the water trickles down the side of the stones to give a weeping effect.

Sheer or grotto waterfalls are appropriate if you want to achieve the waterfall effect with a more modern vibe. Compared to the rock waterfall, these have a more subdued and simple design that is perfect for contemporary and minimalist pool designs. Grotto waterfalls also allow swimmers to sit inside the waterfall, which kids just love.

If you have a spa, you can connect it to your swimming pool through a spillway.

This is highly suitable if your spa is at a raised level from your swimming pool, because you can create an effect where the water is transferred gracefully from one area to another.

Just as with waterfalls, there are many styles of spillways, from the standard cascading design to 360-degree spillways. Materials may include pebbles, tile or stone.

Pool owners whose families include small children, elderly or handicapped members should consider a sun shelf—a flat shallow area usually at one end of the pool. Sun shelves are also known as Baja shelves, tanning shelves or tanning ledges, and they are an ideal spot to lounge near the pool because they allow you to be in and out of the water at the same time.

“Basically, a sun shelf allows you to relax in the water without having to maneuver yourself on a raft or pool float,” says Powell. “It’s common for people to add features like bubblers or purchase water resistant lounge chairs to place on the shelf. Pool owners sometimes opt to use natural rock or flagstone instead of the plaster for the shelf.”

A bubbler, by the way, is a fountain-like feature that shoots water up out of the pool floor and falls back on itself, “like a mini geyser,” says Powell.

Beach entries, also known as zero entry pools, are another hot trend in today’s pool designs. They are visually striking and great for those with disabilities or elderly people who can’t do steps.

“We have the capabilities to design beach entries,” says Powell, adding that sometimes they may include a step or two. “People can also include bubblers on these. Something to think about: our plaster must remain underwater at all times, so with beach entries we can use rock on the decking for part of the slope into the pool, then transition into plaster at the drop off.”

Whether you seek a tropical hideaway with a natural look, a sleek modern retreat or a lavish sanctuary with a Tuscan feel, the experts at Keith Zars Pools have everything you need to cool you off in style this summer—and for many to come.

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If you have questions about a commercial or residential project or would like to schedule a no-obligation, one-on-one consultation with one of our designers, please call us at 210-494-0800. If you prefer, you can e-mail us at info@keithzarspools.com, or fill out the form right here on this page.

  • Coping/Decking: 
    • Keith Zars Pools delivers a wide range of coping and decking edges and finishes, and our stone masons will construct your coping and decking to flawlessly fit your pool. 
    • For a more contemporary look, consider clean, square-cut edges paired with a stunning array of elegant cut stone, travertine and porcelain finishes. 
    • For a more traditional look, consider bullnose-edge coping and freeform deck shapes coupled with the soothing textures and colors of flagstone, salt and cool coat finishes.

Water & Fire Feature Additions

The addition of water and fire features can enhance your entire outdoor experience in a variety of ways. The soothing sights and sounds of a new waterfall or water feature, or the warmth and light created by a fire bowl or fire pit, can create striking visuals, new focal points, and add a heightened level of symmetry, originality, functionality and luxury to your overall pool design.

  • Water Features: 
    • Adding water features, such as delightful bubblers on an existing sun shelf, lively deck jets around your pool’s coping, and stunning sheer descents or scuppers that allow water to gently cascade down a raised pool wall, provides gorgeous highlights and accents to your pool that you can marvel at.  
    • Waterfalls create a cozy, perennial and soothing look and feel to any pool. The beautifully colored stones and gently flowing water can bring balance and harmony to your outdoor space and transform your entire outdoor experience.
  • Fire Features: 
    • Fire bowls, fire pits and custom fire accent features give way to a spectacular display of color, vibrancy and light that allow you and your family to enjoy your pool day and night. Discover how the elements of water and fire combined create a magnetic and harmonious balance and produce a gorgeous chemistry that’s both subtle and bold.

Decking & Spa Additions

  • Added Deck Space
    • Expanding the amount of decking in your back yard can allow for more space to entertain and relax poolside. Imagine a new patio addition around your pool to place a set of comfortable lounging chairs, a stylish outdoor dining spot, a stunning outdoor kitchen area or a striking fire pit and seating area. 
  • Add a Spa
    • Adding a spa to your existing pool is a great way to bring a new level of functionality and enjoyment to your personal outdoor retreat. Spas offer a therapeutic experience and, with vast array of styles and custom features from which to choose, your new spa will not only relax and invigorate you, it can become the focal point of your pool and serve as an energetic and complementary addition to its entire design. 

New Pool Amenities

  • Are you looking to find new ways to spend time in your pool? Adding a swim-up bar, a sun shelf, and umbrella anchors can boost your experience and bring a new level of luxury to your outdoor space. 
  • For added recreational fun, consider incorporating a water slide, a diving board, a basketball goal or a volleyball anchor. 
  • You can even add or relocate steps and seat benches in your pool, or have new LED lights installed to broaden your pools functionality and visual appeal.

Alone you can dream of your ultimate backyard sanctuary. Together we can achieve it. Contact Keith Zars Pools today to schedule an appointment with one of our renovations experts and begin your pool remodeling project.

Call Us at 210-494-0800 Or  Fill Out the Form  and We’ll Be in Touch!

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