Nowadays, there are dozens of beautiful "water features" that can be added to any pool or spa, making a dramatic difference in the beauty and enjoyment of the pool and the yard. From fountains to slides to grottoes to waterfalls, the sky is the limit. And here's a helpful tip -- When you think about adding special water features to your pool, take a look from inside of your home. Look at your backyard through the all the windows and doorways in your house (including the front door). What do you want to see from this vantage point? A grotto or rain curtain? Do you want to see the whole pool from the kitchen? This will help you decide where each of these special features will look best in your home.
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Aerators provide a spray of water into the pool, similar to a fountain, but usually pointed at an angle rather than straight up. In hot climates, aerators will help to cool the water a little. Children love to play in and around aerators.
A beach entry is a gentle sloping transition from your deck into the water, just like a real beach. Perfect for toddlers and/or for beach chairs. Also makes a great tanning ledge.
Fountains & Bubble Jets
Fountains are a very simple and pleasing concept that can be placed almost anywhere, including in the pool, in the spa, on steps, ledges or a beach entry, or in a pond or catch basin next to the pool. A "bubble jet" fountain provides a little softer and more "bubbly" look compared to a traditional fountain. Children have lots of fun playing with fountains.
A grotto is essentially a cave (or something similar to a cave) connected to the pool, typically with a sitting area. It is common to build waterfalls or weeping walls on the outside of the grotto, and/or a rain wall at the entrance. Putting your spa inside a grotto can offer extra privacy and a romantic mood. Grottos can be beautiful, and they can be quite ugly if done by an amateur. A trained professional will design and build the grotto to fit in with the style of the rest of the pool and the yard.
In-water Tables, Benches and Chairs
In-water tables, chairs, stools and benches provide a wonderful resting spot for reading, snacking, even playing "land" games. The wise homeowner will have an umbrella built in to their table, to offer some shade without having to leave the pool.
Safer than a diving board, a natural-looking rock in the right location can offer many hours of entertainment for kids.
Lighting - LED & Fiber Optics
With LED lighting and fiber optics, your pool can become an entertaining array of with endlessly changing colors at night. For an added dimension of excitement, your lights can be connected to your sound system for a professional sound-activated light show. Fiber optics can also be applied to fountains and water arches, creating the illusion of colored water.
Love seats add a special dimension of intimacy and relaxation. Put the love seat near the deep end of the pool, and it provides a great place for kids or adults to take a moment's rest.
Mosaics can offer a true signature design to your pool, spa or decking. From artistic designs to playful creatures to company logos to names or clever sayings - The possibilities are endless.
A rain curtain provides a wall of rain drops (as opposed to the full sheet of water that you would see with a scupper or "sheer descent" water curtain.) Makes a great visual separation between pools and arbors, cabanas or grottos.
Scuppers are similar to water curtains, but with a lot more flexibility in design and character. For example, you might have a 4 inch wide scupper pouring out of a fiery wok, or you might have a very long scupper, many feet in length along one side of your pool. Scuppers can be straight or curved, and of almost any height. Grouping several scuppers together can create a very appealing effect.
Swim-Up Bars & Tables
A swim up bar is quite treat for people both in and out of the pool. It can connect to a real bar on the outside, or it can be a bar-type table that allows wet and dry people (in the water and out of the water) sit together at the same table.
Tanning Ledges / Baja Benches
A Tanning ledge, also known as a "Baja Bench" or "Shamu Shelf," provides a relatively large but shallow area for toddlers to play and/or adults to relax and tan. Typically only about 6 inches deep, it's very similar to a beach entry except that it is not sloped, and it has a defined edge that is built into the perimeter of the pool.
Also known as "Negative edge" or "Zero Edge," a Vanishing Edge offers the illusion that the pool (or spa) water is pouring over the edge of the pool into another body of water, or perhaps down a hillside. Vanishing edge requires exact design and workmanship standards at all stages of construction, and should not be entrusted to anyone but experienced professionals.
Water Arches are smooth flowing fountains that shoot clean streams of water out over the pool surface. Very attractive to look at and listen to, and a delight for children to play in.
Waterfalls / Weeping Walls
With waterfalls, the sky's the limit. They can be small or large, fancy or natural, gentle trickles or "Niagara Falls." They can also be quite gaudy, unattractive and leaky if not done properly by a trained professional.
Water Wall / Water Curtain
A water curtain is a flat sheet of water, usually of several or many feet in length. Similar to a "water scupper" but typically straighter and with a bit less character and action.
A Weeping Wall is similar to a waterfall but with a few small differences. (1) It tends to be a lower profile - rarely more than two feet high. (2) The water will appear to "seep out" from within the rocks, as opposed to billowing over the top. (3) It typically uses much less water than a waterfall.
When all sides of a pool or spa are "vanishing edge," you have what is known as a "wet deck." In this case, there are no visible edges to the pool or spa. Water flows over the edges on all sides, into a hidden catch basin. The decking can right up to the edge of the water, with the water and deck at the exact same height. A stunning visual effect, this is the most difficult of all vanishing edge designs, and should not be entrusted to anyone but experienced professionals who specialize in vanishing edge design.