Page 1

Volume 1, Issue 1



All Things Considered Important Considerations Before Making Your Backyard Purchase

• Swimming Pool • Grill Selection • Outdoor Furniture • Fencing

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Family Updates

Extend the indoors...out Outdoor living spaces are becoming increasingly popular for many reasons. People are choosing to create backyard retreats where they can relax, entertain, and spend time with their family and friends. Most backyard escape havens include a swimming pool with a grill, fire pit, and lavish gardens, but now there are more items than ever to choose from to create the backyard of your dreams. Whether you’re looking for a shaded area, an exotic gazebo, exquisite decking, or an outdoor television, the Extended Living Spaces group can be a one-stop backyard source for all of your outdoor living needs. The companies and products found within the Extended Living Spaces program are independent of one another and have their own dealer/distribution networks. The products are also available through the Viking Pools, Composite Pools, and Crystal Palace Pools network of dealers.

Extended Living Spaces • Extend the indoors...out •

Volume 1, Issue 1


All Things Considered Important facts to keep in mind before you start your backyard transformation


Making a Splash

Donated pool is a refreshing change for campers

Go Beyond the Grill with Pantel




Up & Out

Homebuyers focus on outdoor living when moving up

T.G. Sheppard Sings the Praises of His New Pool



Why Exercise in the Pool? 1

2010 • Volume 1, Issue 1


The Right Choice How to make the best pool purchase

Getting Off to the Right Start with Pool Water Chemistry


Maintaining Your Investment

Fence, Getting Started



Tips for Designing the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

Decorative Water Features & Ponds




Extended Living Spaces • Extend the indoors...out

Extended Living Spaces • Extend the indoors...out

Outdoor Dining: Tips for a Successful Event


Light Up Your Night

For the Health of It

Reality TV star Matt Roloff raves about the fitness benefits of pool ownership




Home Sweet Home

How the gift of a pool continues to change the lives of three worthy families

Beach Home

How one family created a seaside resort in their own backyard



C’mon Baby Light My Fire



Viking Pools LLC PO Box 550 Jane Lew, WV 26378


Stacy Nelson


Travis Casto Brandon Nelson Frazier Miller, Jr.


Alan E. Sanderfoot Annie Chaskalson Alan Schuster Gil Erlich Stacy Nelson Joe West Ron Laurent Dale Seiden Julie Crone

Ad Sales

Pat Tomlinson

Contact Information

Extended Living Spaces Managed by Viking Pools LLC PO Box 550 Jane Lew, WV 26378 CopyrightŠ 2010 by Viking Pools LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. All advertising is subject to approval by the publisher. Extended Living Spaces will assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts and graphic materials. Please address all correspondence to Extended Living Spaces, Attn: Stacy Nelson, PO Box 550, Jane Lew WV 26378, Phone: (304) 884-6954, Fax: (304) 8843002, email: 4

All Things Considered By: Stacy Nelson Important facts to keep in mind before you start your backyard transformation They say hind-sight is 20/20, and nothing could be truer about designing your outdoor living space. Being prepared and armed with information before you break ground on your backyard could mean the difference between a livable space and a regrettable space. Whether you’re just adding a flower bed or installing a pool, pergola, and outdoor kitchen, considering the obstacles and challenges along with the value and benefit is the key to achieving your backyard dreams. The first thing you need to do is decide what you want to accomplish from your backyard transformation. Will you use the area for your kids and their friends to play so you know where they are? Will you invite your family and friends over for outdoor barbecues? Will you entertain business guests on a regular basis? Will you use the space to relax and get away from the daily woes of life? Next, you need to determine which items you want to incorporate into your backyard. Will your swimming pool attract the neighborhood kids to your backyard? Will you use your fire pit to roast marshmallows and keep warm on cool evenings? Will your gazebo or pergola be the centerpiece for your lavish garden? Will your outdoor kitchen be the gathering space in your backyard for friendly conversations? With the proper planning and consideration, foresight can just as easily be 20/20. Since the possibilities are endless, it helps to have a clear understanding of how you will use the space and the added benefits you are looking for the space to provide. A successful backyard project will transform not just the space but your life. 5

Making a By Alan E. Sanderfoot


hen 2-year-old Caleb Glover and his family checked into an RV resort in Silverhill, Ala., in 2007, they were told that Caleb wouldn’t be allowed to swim in the pool. It wasn’t because he was too young, it was because he was HIV positive and the camp’s officials thought he might pose a health risk to the other campers.

Donated pool is a refreshing change for campers 6

In January 2010, a settlement in Caleb’s favor was reached in an Americans With Disabilities Act discrimination lawsuit. However, Caleb’s story remains a potent reminder of the prejudice and isolation many youths with HIV face on a day-to-day basis. In fact, the ostracism that Caleb confronted is a main reason many people with HIV/AIDS never disclose their illness. Fortunately for these children and their families, there’s One Heartland, which operates Camp Heartland in Willow River, Minn. Founded in 1993, Camp Heartland not only offers a fun-filled camp experience for kids affected by HIV/AIDS, it gives them a place where they can be unconditionally accepted. The camp has always provided a range of camp activities, but going for a swim wasn’t

one of them — even though the campground has a gorgeous lake. “A refreshing, fun-filled swim on a hot summer day is something a lot of youngsters take for granted,” says Neil Willenson, founder and CEO of One Heartland. “Children living with HIV, however, aren’t so lucky. Because of their comprised immune systems, many of these kids must avoid swimming in oceans, lakes, rivers and ponds, which can lead to bacterial infections.” Impressed by the work being done at One Heartland, Viking Pools, a manufacturer of one-piece fiberglass pools, donated a pool to the camp in 2007. The smooth shell is easy to clean, and an automatic sanitization and reverse osmosis filtration system ensures that the water remains healthy for campers.

(FROM LEFT) Sylvia Glover, Tom Straub, Robbie Amell, Caleb Glover, Jonathan Bennett, Stacy Nelson, and Neil Willenson

(L-R) Caleb Glover and Jonathan Bennett


“When we heard about the good work that Camp Heartland was doing and about Caleb’s story, we knew that we had to get involved,” says Todd Stahl, president of Viking Pools. “We reached out to our dealers all across the country to help out with the installation process. I was pleased that so many offered their service crews and equipment without a second thought.” “When you think of summer camp, you think of swimming,” Willenson adds. “Thanks to the generosity of Viking Pools, our entire facility is transformed on a hot day because campers can go in the pool instead of spraying each other with the hose.” A range of aquatic activities — from participating in formal swim lessons to cascading down a slippery waterslide — are now available to the thousands of visitors to Camp Heartland each year. “For a lot of children, especially those from urban areas, this is really something to see,” Willenson says. “It fits perfectly with the utopian atmosphere we try to create.” And no one could agree more than Caleb Glover, whom Willenson invited to Camp Heartland in the summer of 2008 to take the first swim in the brand new pool. “It’s 2010, and people have to realize you can’t get HIV from going swimming with someone,” Willenson says. “As long as there’s ignorance, One Heartland will be here for these kids.” Alan E. Sanderfoot is a freelance writer and author of several pool and spa books, including What Color Is Your Swimming Pool? A Homeowner’s Guide to Trouble-Free Pool, Spa, and Hot Tub Maintenance.


“Thanks to the generosity of Viking Pools, our entire facility is transformed on a hot day because campers can go in the pool instead of spraying each other with the hose.”

- Neil Willenson,

founder and CEO of One Heartland



Go Beyond the Grill

Pantel with

Has your patio become an essential home living space? I’ll bet it evolved from a small charcoal barbeque, a few folding chairs and an umbrella to a fully developed outdoor entertainment area. Engineered for dependable outdoor commercial or residential applications, the Pantel weatherproof TV offers outdoor video entertainment in virtually any weather condition.


oe Pantel saw the future of outdoor entertainment and wanted to add TV viewing as an essential part of the outdoor experience. A normal LCD or plasma TV cannot withstand the challenges of being outdoors. Temperature extremes will easily damage the components of a normal TV, which is also susceptible to moisture, smoke, insects, dust and salt air. Even under a covered patio, an ordinary TV will have a dramatically shorter lifespan due to fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels. Joe developed the Pantel weatherproof TV with an internal cooling system and optional heating system to provide the next level of outdoor

entertainment – the remote control even floats! Once hotels, theme parks, ballparks and other commercial applications discovered a dependable high quality outdoor video display it has been used for a variety of applications such as a restaurant menu display, interactive video movie poster or a queue prequel to an upcoming ride theme, and other centralized advertising opportunities. The outdoors does require additional protection from harsh elements. Due to an internal filtration plus a heating and cooling system, Pantel TV’s can be easily watched next to a pool. The ultra high nit panels with anti11

reflective and anti-UV tempered glass makes for easy daytime viewing in the glare of the midday sun. Because of additional component insulation, the TV can withstand temperatures from freezing cold to providing a perfect picture without any blackouts in the intense midsummer, desert heat. If a consumer is continually turning a normal TV to maximum brightness it decreases the product’s overall lifespan. “I love the outdoors to enjoy and entertain in and began creating easy to care for landscaping products such as artificial turf, but I also like to watch football and video games,” commented Joe Pantel. “To get the best of both worlds, I designed what I personally wanted most, a durable outdoor, weatherproof TV, he added”


TV’s can be incorporated into any patio or outdoor design from a freestanding unit to a fully integrated screen that’s durable in virtually any scenario. Pantel also offers marine grade outdoor speakers to provide enhanced sound. Consumers and commercial applications can also choose from a number of powder coated mounting solutions for any design requirement.

Now anyone can watch the game outdoors

So if you are ready to make the decision to truly experience the ultimate in outdoor entertainment speak with Pantel, they would be happy to work with you. Placed in the shade or in the glare of the midday sun, the bright and clear TV sets are virtually impervious to ocean spray, insects or smoke, and open up a wide range of new outdoor entertainment opportunities.


Up & Out

Homebuyers focus on outdoor living when moving up By Alan Sanderfoot

When you’re a young homeowner, it’s fun to fantasize about leaving behind your starter house and moving into an abode that more closely resembles your dream home. More bedrooms, larger closets, additional bathrooms and a designer kitchen are just a few of the things that people look for when upgrading their living spaces. Increasingly, however, moving up also means moving out, as in outside — which is why outdoor “rooms” with swimming pools are becoming the ultimate amenity for people looking to improve their home life. Such was the case for two couples who recently participated in TLC’s popular television series, Moving Up, which follows a chain of new homeowners who move into one another’s houses and begin the design and renovation process, and then bring the old owners back for their reactions. 13

In one episode, Andrew Lui and Olivia Tang moved into their new Spotswood. N.J., home to find a concrete pool desperately needing repair. Cracked plaster and dislodged tiles presented not only an eyesore, but also created leaks that eroded soil, causing the surrounding concrete deck to crumble.

The 30,000-gallon, kidney-shaped pool they chose was smaller than the original pool, so it fit comfortably inside the existing hole without further excavation. Installation happened at the end of the 2009 swim season, leaving little time to enjoy the pool

“In this economy, the pool gives us a good reason to invite people over instead of spending a lot of money going out.” The couple had to decide whether to pay for major repairs or to replace the pool entirely. Concerned about the long-term maintenance of a concrete pool, they opted to replace it with a one-piece fiberglass pool from Composite Pools and surround it with a more expansive concrete deck for entertaining and poolside lounging. 14

before the weather turned cold. Now Andrew and Olivia eagerly await their first full summer in their new backyard, which includes a heater to help them maximize their time in the water. “We’re looking forward to being able to use it most of the summer,” Andrew says. “In this

economy, the pool gives us a good reason to invite people over instead of spending a lot of money going out.” When the couple began looking for a new home, a pool was not on their list of “must haves,” but they are thrilled with the outcome. “We’re active people, so this gives us another reason to get outside. It’s definitely a plus,” Andrew says. Another couple on the show also opted to install a fiberglass pool from Composite Pools, but their decision was based on previous experience. Heather and Rick Krotz were leaving a home with a Liberty Composite fiberglass pool, and they knew they wanted a larger one in their new home in Yardley, Pa. “I like that a fiberglass pool can be installed in a few days, and I like that it tends to be less maintenance than a concrete or vinyl-lined pool,” Heather says. To further simplify maintenance, their new pool includes an infloor cleaning system that eliminates the need for vacuuming.

“Why go to a resort when you have this in your backyard?”

On the Moving Up episode featuring the Krotzes, Rick is shown operating the heavy equipment used to dig the hole and lower the pool into the ground. “If I dream it, he builds it,” Heather says adoringly. Installed three summers ago in a vast, barren yard, the fenced-in pool features a rock waterfall and extensive landscaping. In addition to the pool, the backyard overhaul includes a covered veranda with an outdoor fireplace and television, an outdoor cooking and dining area, and a hot tub on the side of the house. With so much to enjoy, it is no wonder the pool area has become the focal point of the family’s outdoor activities. 15

The Krotzes like to entertain, and their friends rarely decline invitations to pool parties or backyard barbecues. “We call it Club Krotz because it’s like Club Med,” Heather quips. “Our friends joke about buying a season pass to our yard. It’s been awesome.“ Ironically, the Krotzes live adjacent to a well-equipped public swimming pool, but they still wanted their own pool for the convenience and privacy. The family includes two children: a daughter age 15 and a son age 3. Heather likes that she doesn’t have to pack up a beach bag full of towels, toys, snacks and supplies for an outing to the public pool. “We just walk out to the backyard and we’re there,” she says. Though the entire family enjoys the pool, the backyard living space has really become a dream-cometrue for Rick. A police officer and part-time paramedic, Rick recently opened his own cigar store. “The man works really hard,” Heather says. “So it’s nice for him to have such a relaxing place to come home to.” Owning a pool also has changed the way the family plans vacations. “We don’t go on vacation in the summer because we like to enjoy the pool,” Heather explains. “Why go to a resort when you have this in your backyard?”


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T.G. Sheppard Sings the Praises of His New Pool By Alan E. Sanderfoot



ou can take T.G. Sheppard out of the country, but there’s no taking the country out of T.G. Sheppard. When discussing his renovated backyard, which includes a gorgeous fiberglass pool and spa, the famed country music singer says, “It’s just a hillbilly pond to me.” His voice is like molasses — smooth, deep and sweet — so you want to believe him. But that’s just T.G. being humble. Truth is, the sophisticated pool would look as natural in Beverly Hills as it does in the Smoky Mountains.

Though a lot of homeowners wouldn’t undertake such a project without the support of a landscape architect, T.G. and his wife, singer/songwriter Kelly Lang, designed the entire poolscape themselves and served as general contractors. The result is an elegant landscape that respects the surrounding woods while offering a contemporary and inviting outdoor living space. In addition to the pool and spa, the yard includes an outdoor fireplace, covered veranda and plenty of room for dining and entertainment. T.G. and Kelly, who married in August 2007 after a six-year courtship, moved into their Hendersonville, Tenn., home in May 2009, and they wasted no time renovating the house and yard, which had been neglected for some time. “I felt like I was living in the Amazon,” T.G. says, recalling all of the trees, vines and unidentified foliage that had overtaken the backyard. At the far side was a small pond with a trickling waterfall. A colony of frogs had set up residence, and the noise was louder than “the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” T.G. recalls. Though he has nothing against amphibians, he does value his peace and quiet when he’s not touring, which takes him away from home much of the year.


Cantilevered coping stones and travertine deck pavers give the pool an upscale look. T.G especially likes the “dimension and depth” provided by the natural stone pavers, provided by Gothic Stone. In addition, a stacked-stone retaining wall embraces the outdoor space, creating a natural transition between the pool area and elevated landscape. Not coincidentally, the retaining wall was built by the son of the mason credited for the rockwork at Johnny Cash’s estate. “As soon T.G. had owned several pools previously, and that experience was invaluable during the planning stage, which started in June. His research led him to Viking Pools, a manufacturer of one-piece fiberglass pools. T.G. was wooed by the shapes, sizes, colors and durability Viking offers. “People don’t realize that a fiberglass pool is 10 times stronger than concrete,” he says. Kelly was impressed by the smoothness of the fiberglass shell. “It’s like butter,” she coos. Despite a busy concert schedule, T.G. did manage to be home for his birthday on July 20 when the pool was delivered. Arriving on a flatbed truck, the enormous vessel had to be lifted over the house and into the backyard with a crane. “Although it seemed like it hovered over our home for hours, the large crane actually had the pool gently laid into the perfectly dug hole within 15 minutes,” Kelly recalls. 20

as I heard his father did Johnny’s house, I wanted him to do mine,” T.G. says. From the start, T.G. and Kelly wanted a pool that was as picturesque to look at as it was pleasurable to swim in. “A swimming pool is something to beautify your home,” T.G. says, adding that he was drawn to Viking’s water features and lighting packages. The pool includes several jets on the sides that send arcs of water into the pool, and fiber-optic lighting illuminates the perimeter at night in a variety of colors. The installation also features an electric pool heater, a gas spa heater, a salt-water sanitization system, and an indoor remote control that operates all of the spa and pool functions. 22

“I always prided myself in having the Cadillac of pools, but I can honestly say I’ve got the Rolls Royce.” Whereas a landscape architect would create a master plan to make sure the pool works with the surrounding elements, T.G. and Kelly started with the pool they wanted and then built their yard around that. “We tried to create not just a great pool, but an environment around the pool that would make it pleasing and serene to sit out there,” T.G. explains. To that end, the couple designed a stone fireplace nook that offers a cozy retreat on cool evenings and an expansive area for al fresco dining.

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is not creating enough deck and patio space to relax poolside, T.G. says. “They put a 4- or 5-foot swath of concrete around the pool, but that doesn’t give them a lot of space to entertain.”

sit out there about 80 percent of the time,” Kelly says.

T.G. and Kelly incorporated about 2,500 square feet of living space around their pool, which comes in handy when friends — such as William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys, actor William Shatner or Olympic ice skater Scott Hamilton — stop by. The outdoor space also comes in handy when the couple hosts charity events in their home.

Because the pool and landscaping wasn’t finished until August, the couple is looking forward to their first full summer with their aquatic paradise. “We can’t wait to enjoy the labors of all the efforts last year,” T.G. says. “I always prided myself in having the Cadillac of pools, but I can honestly say I’ve got the Rolls Royce.”

“We really enjoy sitting outside by the pool,” T.G. adds. “You feel like you’re in the woods even though you’re in the backyard.”

Because the kitchen and the master bedroom open up to the pool area, the couple find themselves poolside often. “We



Exercise in the

Pool? J

By Annie Chaskalson Aqquatix USA B.S. Wellness and Exercise Physiology

ust being in the water causes you to exercise. Every move you make in the pool has to be deliberate to resist the continual pressure of the water on your body. And, when I am asked by a client, “why should I exercise in my pool?� four good answers come to my mind, and they include the properties of water. First is the water resistance. Because the water is a thicker medium than air, the resistance from the water can range from 4 to 44 times that of movement out of the water. Using the resistance in the water is like exercising with weights or machines on land, and much safer!


Second, is water buoyancy. In chest deep water, approximately 80% of your body weight is buoyant, allowing you to only bear 20% of your weight when you exercise. Third is the cooling effect of water. Because of your constant movement in the water, water is continually moving around you, washing away your sweat and cooling you while you exercise. You never feel over-heated and sweaty. And last is the massaging effect of water on your body. The hydrostatic pressure of the water on your body, joints, muscles and internal organs massages and comforts all parts of your body while exercising. You never feel fatigued. Everyone can benefit by exercising in the pool, but it is especially good for those with limitations of movement, or those rehabilitating from an injury. The overweight person can accomplish things not possible on land, and the very fit person can maintain muscle strength and tone. Those with arthritis have a freer range of movement. Cardiovascular benefits include the strengthening of the heart muscle, a lover heart rate, and improvement of oxygen delivery to your muscles. As a regular activity, aquatic exercise can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. When you work out in the pool you get a total body workout and a fast way to improve general strength, stamina, and cardiovascular fitness. And with the addition of Aqquatix USA’s new state of the art underwater fitness bikes and treadmills, one can virtually change their pool to a “liquid gym!” 25

The Right Choice How to make the best pool purchase By Alan E. Sanderfoot



nce you decide to buy a pool, your enthusiasm will be as hard to contain as an over-inflated beach ball under water. Nevertheless, take a deep breath and relax. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy your pool, but only one chance to make sure it’s built right. The most important part of building a pool is the planning phase. This is when you’ll decide the overall look of your poolscape and hire a pool contractor. Though some pool builders are also skilled landscape designers, it’s common to bring in a landscape architect to create a master plan that details the pool, landscape and any other amenities, such as a pool house, outdoor kitchen, fire pit, entertainment space, lighting, etc. If you plan on soliciting bids from several pool builders, a master plan is key to ensuring that each builder is bidding on the same project. A landscape architect or pool builder can walk you through the design process, but it helps if you have a general idea of what you’re looking for. To organize your thoughts, consider these questions:

Is your yard suitable for pool construction? You may need to conduct a soil test to make sure the site is suitable for pool construction. Sandy, expansive and rocky soil present unique building concerns. In addition, a high water table can drastically increase construction costs because a drainage system needs to be installed to keep the site dry during construction. Knowing this ahead of time can save you a lot of aggravation and unexpected expenses.

Is your yard accessible? Sometimes a proposed site will not work because it is not accessible by the heavy 29

machinery needed to dig the hole for your pool. Ideally, the pathway should be at least 8 feet wide. If your yard is not easily accessible, excavation could be done by hand, but the construction time and cost will increase significantly.

Where will your pool be located? Check the zoning and building regulations for your property. Zoning laws dictate how close to your property lines construction can take place. To control water runoff, there may be restriction on how much of your yard can be covered with decking and in which direction it must slope. In addition, many municipalities require that pools be fenced in, which might influence where you want your pool located. Also consider how people will enter and exit the pool, where people will congregate, and how to maximize sun exposure while minimizing wind exposure, which contributes to heat loss and evaporation. Gas, electrical, telephone, cable and water lines may also influence where you position your pool if you don’t want to incur extra fees for relocating them. Because homeowners typically spend more time looking at their pool than swimming in it, consider how the pool will be viewed from the rest of the yard and from within the home. If your budget allows, include landscape lighting and water features so that the pool offers visual interest at all times. 30

What size and shape will your pool be? Inground swimming pools have evolved tremendously since they began dotting America’s backyards more than 50 years ago. The ubiquitous kidney-shaped pool has been replaced by myriad sizes and shapes to suit any landscape and match any architectural style. When choosing a size and shape, consider how you intend to use your pool. If you’re primarily interested in fitness, a lap pool might be the best option. However, if you have visions of entertaining lots of friends, you might want a larger pool with changing depths and an expansive deck.

What type of construction will you choose? In-ground pools are classified as concrete, vinyl-lined and fiberglass. Each type offers enough options to satisfy most pool buyers. Concrete Pools: Because concrete pools are completely built onsite, they offer the greatest design flexibility. With a concrete pool, the excavated hole is lined with a framework of crisscrossing rebar. Then concrete is sprayed over the steel latticework. After the concrete cures, a finishing surface — usually plaster, stone aggregate or tile — is applied. Plaster can be prone to pitting, especially if the water balance is off. Tile is the most durable, but also the most expensive. Fiberglass Pools: A fiberglass pool consists of a sturdy, one-piece molded shell. A key advantage of a fiberglass pool is its smooth surface, which makes it difficult for algae and other pool contaminants to grab hold. Color selection is limited, but installing ceramic tile along the waterline can customize the

Vinyl-Lined Pools: A vinyllined pool usually consists of steel or polymer walls lined with a 20- to 30-millimeter-thick vinyl liner on a bed of sand or concrete. The smooth liner surface helps keep algae at bay, but exposure to harsh pool chemicals and the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause vinyl liners to deteriorate over time. Vinyl liners typically need to be replaced every 10–15 years.

look. In fact, many fiberglass pools include factory-installed ceramic tile, making the final installation that much easier. The deck surrounding a fiberglass pool can be cantilevered so that the lip of the vessel does not show, giving the look of a high-end concrete pool.


What special features will there be? To maximize enjoyment of your pool even when you’re not swimming, incorporate water features and lighting. Based on how you plan to use your pool, you may also want to consider tanning ledges, underwater benches, shallow beach-style entries, underwater speakers, a swim-up bar, areas to play water volleyball or basketball and an automatic pool safety cover that’s easy to close whenever the pool is unsupervised. If aquatic exercise interests you, consider installing underwater handrails and a variable speed swim jet, which creates a current of water that enables you to swim in place.

What other backyard amenities do you want? When drawing up your master plan, include everything you’d like to include in your poolscape, even if your budget doesn’t permit you to build it now. Some things to consider include a pool house, outdoor kitchen, fire pit, outdoor shower, swim-up bar, gazebo, and even children’s play equipment. It’s a lot cheaper to accommodate future plans in your original design than it is to modify your poolscape later on. For example, if you know you’ll be adding a fire pit or an outdoor kitchen at a later date, it’s best to run the gas lines to those areas in the beginning so that the deck and surrounding landscape doesn’t have to be torn up later. 32

How will you ensure that your pool is easy to maintain? No pool is maintenance-free, but you can greatly reduce maintenance by making sure your pool is engineered to be energy efficient with sound hydraulics and substantial filtration. This means using variable speed pumps, larger pipes, adequate skimmers and above-standard turnover rates (the time it takes for all of the pool water to be filtered at least once). Some state codes require that pool water turn over every 10 to 12 hours. Meanwhile, automatic sanitizers, such as saltwater chlorinators, ensure that the proper amount of sanitizing chemicals are in the water at all times, making it hard for algae to bloom.

Who will build your pool? The best way to find skilled, customer-serviceoriented pool builders is to ask for referrals from other pool owners you know. Building inspectors and landscape architects are other sources of referrals. If you aren’t set on a particular builder, get multiple bids — but make sure each builder fully understands the project so the bids are comparable. Ask for references and visit some of the pools the contractor has built. A swimming pool is one of life’s major purchases, so you should give it as much thought as you would a new car or boat. By taking the time to consider all of the things that go into creating the perfect poolscape, you’ll know that you got the best pool for your budget. And that’s something you can breathe easy about. Alan E. Sanderfoot is a freelance writer and author of several pool and spa books, including What Color Is Your Swimming Pool? A Homeowner’s Guide to Trouble-Free Pool, Spa, and Hot Tub Maintenance.


Getting Off to the Right Start with Pool Water Chemistry

Before the pool is filled, have a local pool professional run a water analysis, on the source water, testing for pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, iron, copper and manganese. In some areas, phosphates and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) tests are helpful. The test results will highlight any areas of particular concern.

Lots of thought goes into the selection of a pool, its size, color, shape, location and equipment. A pool does not really become a pool, until it is filled with water. This seemingly simple task may be fraught with problems, depending upon the quality of the water that will be used to fill the pool. 34

by Alan Schuster

Decide how you would like to sanitize the pool. Chlorine is the most popular and includes choices ranging from simple manual chlorine additions - to inline feeders - to automated salt chlorine generators. Other sanitizer choices include: bromine, biguanide, ionizers, ionizationoxidation, mineral sanitizers, ozonators and ultraviolet sanitizers. Some must be used in combination with chlorine or other oxidizers and many are used in combination, as a means of reducing chemical usage. The goal of a chlorine free pool is possible, but a pool with a reduced chlorine presence, without the negative aspects is much more attainable and much more consistent. Budget will play a role, in choosing a sanitizing method.

If your pool contains heavy metals, such as iron, copper or manganese, it is best to treat the water, as it is being added to the pool and before any chemicals are added. This will help you avoid staining and/or water discoloration. Metals can be treated with either a Metal Trapping Filter cartridge or the addition of a chelating agent (complexes the metals). Use as directed. Chlorine levels are ideal when the free chlorine (active germicidal form) level is 1-3 PPM and the total chlorine is less than 0.3 PPM higher. The difference between the readings is combined chlorine: an odorous, ineffective and irritating form of chlorine. High combined chlorine levels require the application of a shock treatment ( a single large dose of chlorine), in order to decompose the combined chlorine. For each 1 PPM of combined chlorine present, 10 PPM of free chlorine must be added.

pH is ideal within the 7-2-7.6 range, with chlorine usage, and 7.2-7.8, with bromine usage. Low pH levels can be irritating to bathers and corrosion to masonry and metal parts. The pH can be raised by the addition of sodium carbonate. High pH levels can be irritating, can reduce the effectiveness of chlorine, can decrease the solubility of calcium and can increase the likelihood of scale formation and cloudy water. The pH can be lowered by adding sodium bisulfate granules or liquid muriatic acid. Total Alkalinity helps to stabilize the pH. The ideal range is 80-120 PPM. If the TA is low, it can be raised, by adding sodium bicarbonate. Nature does not always allow for both the pH and TA to be in range. pH is always more important!!! If the TA is too high, lowering the pH will lower the TA, as well. So long as the pH is in range and there are no signs of scaling or cloudy water, there may be no compelling reason to have to lower the TA. The same chemicals, used to lower the pH, are used to lower the TA.


Cyanuric acid helps protect chlorine from destruction, by the Sun’s UV rays. It is only required in outdoor chlorine pools. Ideal starting levels are 20-30 PPM. If, stabilized chlorine is used, the level will slowly rise over time. At 150 PPM, it is suggested that some of the water be replaced, in order to get the level closer to 50 PPM. High levels tend to make chlorine less effective and force pool owners to maintain higher levels of free chlorine. Calcium Hardness is important to reduce the corrosiveness of softer water. For vinyl or fiberglass pools, the suggest levels are 80-120 PPM. For gunite pools, the suggested level is 150-200 PPM. Levels up to 400 PPM are manageable, so long as the pH and TA are in range. Levels over 400 PPM are apt to cause scale formation or cloudy water and may force a lowering of the TA and maintenance of a pH closer to 7.2. Scale treatments are available for pools with high calcium hardness. Iron and manganese at almost any measureable level are a potential staining and discoloration issue. Well water is usually a

source of these metals. Treatment options are available. Copper is used as an algaecide and is a component in many ionizers and mineral sanitizers. Levels are usually kept under 0.3 PPM. Higher pH and calcium levels are more apt to make staining likely. Treatment options are available, for pools with too much copper. Water testing helps keep the chemistry balanced and goes a long way towards providing healthy conditions. Chlorine and pH should be tested several times a week or even daily, depending upon the mode of chlorine addition. TA can be tested monthly. Calcium hardness and cyanuric acid should be tested at the start of the season and occasionally, thereafter. The range of testers includes simple comparators, test strips and affordably-priced, digital water testers. Use each chemical according to its directions. Do not mix different chemicals together. Always add chemicals with the pump running and allow each to dissolve in turn.

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Maintaining Your Investment


by Gil L. Erlich • VP, Sales & Marketing • Aqua Products, Inc.

ongratulations on your decision to invest in your family, friends and yourself by getting a swimming pool. With gas prices and the economy being so unfavorably volatile, it is nice to have solace and serenity at home. Your backyard is the new destination to be and you are about to live the dream with family and friends. Or are you? Getting a pool is the first step. Maintaining it are all the steps thereafter. Some things to consider are what to buy and how much to spend to protect your investment. There are a variety of ways to maintain your pool, including doing it yourself – manually – with a hose and pole,

which as virtually all pool owners will agree ‘gets old fast’. You could hire a pool service company to do it for you. This is a good option so long as you have the money to spend and can secure a safe and reliable company that will show up when promised and truly take care of your pool as agreed to. There are a lot of reliable companies out there, but then again, there are a lot that are not so reliable. The most common way to maintaining a pool is to have an automatic cleaner, which like a service company will do the work for you, but when you want it to. Like most things and life, here too you have choices. There are 4 types of automatic cleaners; in-floor, suction-side, pressure-side and robotic.


In-Floor In-Floor systems typically need to be negotiated at the time the pool is ordered as the pool will need to be cut to accommodate the piping and pump system at the manufacturing facility. This separate pump forces water through the piping, which is released in sequences through a number of pop-up head points in the pool that push surface dirt towards to the pool’s main drain.

Suction-Side cleaners are those familiar floppy rubber mat disks that attach to long hoses that connect to the pool’s skimmer or dedicated suction point at the pool’s side, hence their name. These are the most common cleaners sold primarily due to their relatively low price points and act as an extension of the pool’s pump and filtration system. They move about the pool sucking up dirt at the pool’s surface and deposit the dirt in the pool’s filtration system – that is if your pool’s filter element is capable of removing the fine particulates, such as algae,


Suction -Side silt, pollen, etc., which may otherwise pass right through the filter and back into your pool. Since the pool’s filter system now has to siphon the water and dirt through these lengthy, flow restricting hoses there is an added amount of stress and flow reduction imposed on the pool’s pump. This requires that the pool’s pump and filtration system be operated slightly longer to compensate and therefore increases energy costs, thus creating a “Catch 22” scenario with the initial low-cost purchase price as you pay it on the back end every month.

Maintaining Your Investment


Pressure-Side cleaners are typically ordered at the time the pool is ordered as it too requires cutting, dedicated lines and even a separate pump (“booster pump”) to operate it. There are two types of PressureSide cleaners. One type operates off of the pool’s return line, which would normally be used to circulate water throughout the pool, but is instead used to power this cleaner type. This type is far less common as the volume flow of the return point connection is typically quite low and as a result typically so is their power and performance. The more common Pressure-Side cleaner is the type that operates off of its booster pump that forces water through its dedicated pipe line and long hose

to power a turbine in the cleaner that moves gears and belts to rotate the cleaners’ wheels for movement, its ‘whip’ hose for lifting dirt and its venturi water jets for vacuum flow to trap debris in their onboard filter bag. The whip hose, as it commonly called, aimlessly whips about spraying water in the pool with a scrubbing pad at its end that scrubs and lifts dirt whenever the hose hits the pool’s surface. Although fairly common, the Pressure-Side cleaners have become far less common over the past few years, perhaps due to their costly energy operation and numerous wear and tear components that add up to the cleaners’ already sizeable upfront purchase price.

Robotic cleaners are currently the fastest selling cleaner type. Equipped with internal motor(s) for driving and vacuum capabilities, power washing or rotating brushes (some feature both) for scrubbing, and internal reusable filtration, and their leading energy efficiency and cleaning capabilities have enabled robotic cleaners to lead the way. For example the savings experienced 39

with a robotic cleaner can pay for your entire yearly pool operating expenses, including energy, water and chemicals. Working without hoses they independently scrub, vacuum and filter. There are several manufacturers all offering their robotic cleaner brands. Many are made overseas in places like China or the Middle East, while others are made and supported locally here in the U.S. There are a variety of technologies, some operating on wheels built specifically for fiberglass and other hard-surfaced pools, while others have rotating brushes and drive tracks that are built primarily for 90° angle climbing like those found in full tile or vinyl pools.


You’ve made a wonderful investment. It’s critical that you make the knowledgeable decision on how you are going to protect and maintain it. All things considered you have choices, many of them, and it’s up to you to do the research on what you want and more importantly need to fit your budget, with great consideration to daily operating expenses, and pool type.


by Ron Laurent from Gilpin Fence

Getting Started Y

ou’ve grown tired of the neighborhood dogs racing through the garden? You finally relented and bought that puppy the kids have been requesting? You no longer appreciate the foot traffic or even the occasional bicycle ride through the backyard? You installed a pool recently and now have learned that the local building codes require a fence. You’re ready to enjoy the improvements to your outdoor living space but something still seems to be missing. Whatever your reason, YOU NEED A FENCE!! 41

Now that the decision has been made, there are many factors that will need to be considered. Determine which fence type best fits your needs. Should it be solid to afford privacy? Should it be ornamental to enhance living space? Should it be aluminum or steel, wood or vinyl? Determine how the work will be done and how it will comply with building codes. Will I make it a do-it-

yourself project or have it installed by a professional? Will my choices meet codes and requirements? Will I know where buried utilities or water lines are located? Determine the design or layout of the fence. What area should be included inside the fence? What fence height or grade should be used? What landscaping or objects should be removed from the yard? Four common fencing materials to be considered are aluminum, steel, wood and vinyl. Aluminum will allow for low maintenance and an attractive appearance long after the installation. Steel will require


routine maintenance but offers decades-long durability if maintained properly. Wood also requires routine maintenance and offers warmth as its earth tone color blends into your surroundings. Vinyl also allows low maintenance but is usually only available in white color. Aluminum and steel materials are used primarily for ornamental fencing. Ornamental aluminum fencing will enhance your living space around patio or deck and will allow an exterior view of your beautiful landscaping. Also, it is quite often installed around swimming pools as most pool codes require a fence. Ornamental steel fence will also accent your landscaping by creating borders with its distinct character of rugged strength and durability. Vinyl and wood materials are used in a variety of ways. Two prominent styles from which

building department. These codes can be local or regional and will have to be considered in the planning stage. A friend recently installed his pool by the direction of county codes which required a cover but not a fence. However, municipal codes did require a fence and the project would not pass inspection until a fence was added, thus costing several thousand dollars past budget. The professional

to choose are privacy and picket. Privacy fence will keep onlookers from seeing your activities but will also obstruct your view to the outside. Picket fence will create a border and define your property with traditional home-style elegance. Most fence manufacturers have designed their product to be user friendly. This allows easy installation for the do-it-yourselfer. Installing the fence yourself will save on labor costs but also will absorb a lot more personal time. The professional installs fences on a regular basis and will most likely save a lot of time in completion of the project. You will need to decide which you prefer to spend, time or money? The do-ityourselfer will need to learn of local building codes by researching on-line or in person at the local government

will likely know the codes of the area and can help in determining which ones apply to your situation. Also, neighborhood associations may have fencing requirements that should be addressed. Buried utilities are also a concern when planning for a fence installation. Electric, gas, water, cable and other utility lines cross most areas. To avoid damaging these lines, call your local utility two or three days before digging. Most states offer a one-call toll free number.


Fence layout will need to be determined in conjunction with property lines and removable and non-removable objects. For instance, a bush can be removed to keep the fence line straight but a storage building, perhaps, cannot. The property line will be marked in the four corners and fence installation is usually a bit inside the line. Maybe a tree has grown close to your property line and would force the fence line onto the neighboring property. Simply angle the fence line in front of the tree and continue. A shed may be a reason to end the run with a post and continue a new run on the other side. Trees and bushes may need to be trimmed to

allow work space for post hole digging and fence panel installation. Remember to consider the placement of gates. If a gate is to be installed at a rock walkway for instance, make sure the rocks are recessed deep enough for swing clearance. A slight hill or grade change also may obstruct gate operation. Fence height will need to be considered. It is a matter of personal preference and should be determined in regards to the type you have chosen. A three foot tall privacy fence wouldn’t make much sense! A three foot tall ornamental fence would however, accent your surroundings beautifully.

After measuring for layout mark the location of posts. This will help determine the number of fence panels, posts, fittings and gates that will be needed. Now, it’s time to go shopping!




Designing the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

When designing commercial kitchens, the layout is broken into “zones,” and the location of each zone is strategically placed in order to create harmony in the operation. This is “functionality, flow, comfort, and convenience.” Regardless of the zone’s purpose, we want to make sure that the zone is ergonomically intuitive, having all the

essential operations confined to the zone, and keeping everything in arms reach to minimize steps. Alfresco has designed all of the pieces necessary to create a fully-functioning outdoor kitchen – one in which any professional chef would feel right at home.


Important Points to Consider: Plan First

Decide what you want to be able to do, how many guests you need to entertain, and how much space you can allocate before you start choosing pieces of equipment and materials.

Think it Through

Enclosures can be nearly impossible to modify once built, so consider all of the pieces you need to create the kitchen you desire. Storage and refrigeration can save you countless trips back and forth to the indoor kitchen.

Remember the Utilities

A modern outdoor kitchen may need 40+ amps of electrical service and over 100,000 BTUs of gas capacity, not to mention water, drains, etc. Hire a professional.

Top 10 Outdoor Kitchen Products: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

A Well-built and Durable Grill Access Doors Storage Center Trash Centers Refrigeration Prep & Hand Wash Sink Paper Towel Holder Side Burner or SearZone Platting Center Warming Drawer

Profile of Dale Seiden As owner of LYNX grills since 1995, Dale Seiden had a vision. Before the now popular term “outdoor kitchen” even existed, Seiden knew he wanted to create a new brand that would be marketed purely as an outdoor kitchen line. In 1999, Seiden helped 46

launch Alfresco Open Air Culinary Systems. As one of the pioneer’s in the early days of the outdoor kitchen concept, Seiden developed a new and totally unique marketing approach to outdoor kitchens that created a huge distinction for Alfresco in the marketplace.

Safety Tip: If your outdoor kitchen enclosure is to be built of combustible materials, then an insulated jacket is required for safe installation of your grill.

Courtesy of Dale Seiden Co-Founder of Alfresco

Decorative Water Features Adding a decorative water feature to your outdoor living space will change the way you enjoy that space forever. Once you have heard the soothing sound of water cascading down an urn or bubbling out of stone columns or the

amazing look of a water fall emerging out of the woods you will be amazed and immediately relaxed. Then comes the night time lighting effects and you are amazed again.


There are many types of decorative water features and many options to consider when you are adding one to your space. Let’s take a look at some of the opportunities available. • Decorative Pottery has so many shapes, sizes and colors that you can add a splash of color and water to any part of you outdoor space. • Carved Stone is a look that is timeless. You have everything from spiraling columns, bowl fountains, mushrooms and stone sculptures to add elegance to your space. • Natural bored out Stone is a very cool look. You can get natural basalt columns, and bubbling

granite boulders to enhance your space. • A lighted Colorfalls of water from a hardscape wall is very popular and goes great with any patio. Make sure you can view it every evening from your indoor spaces. • The Pond Free Waterfall allows for a lot of creativity, lighting, landscaping on a large scale. It takes you to a place no other decorative water feature can.

Now that we have touched base on some of the different types of decorative features, let’s take a look at what to consider when choosing one of these. Your Colorfalls, pottery, and stones will all need a self contained area of water. • You have a few choices with half round, round, square and rectangular type basins. • You can also make a free flowing basin with 45ml liner, Water Matrix’s and a pump vault. This gives you a place to hold water and return water to the piece. It also gives you a place for a pump and plumbing assemblies. • A couple of key things to look for in a pre fabricated basin are: Heavy duty construction to hold the extra weight of stone material. A level surface to put your decorative piece on. Easy plumbing hook ups. Easy access to the pump area. Easy way to adjust the water flow. 48

The Pond Free Waterfall is very unique. • You get all the beauty of water, sound, landscaping, and the wild life that lives for a water retreat. • Imagine you’re sitting on your flagstone patio near your fire pit and the sweet sounds of water are only a foot away. • Location of your waterfall is very important; bring it into the space you enjoy. • Budgets are important and know that it can be half the cost of a pond. • Time, utilities, treatments and commitment is less than a pond, as they do not have to run 24/7 or have the same type of filtration. Take in the sights and sounds of your new decorative water feature and watch how it changes you and your outdoor living space forever.

All About Ponds Adding a pond to your outdoor living space will bring happiness to you, your guests and a host of Mother Nature’s friends. You will be amazed at the beauty you can create with different plants and of course your pond pets, koi, goldfish, turtles and frogs.


Consider your budget when adding a pond. Complete pond kits are available or choose a custom project • Hire a contractor or do it yourself? If you do it yourself it can save money, but it will add time and many redo’s to get it right. • You may be able to find a contractor that will consult and help you with the project cutting your overall costs and time. Rocks and Gravel • How much do you need and what are the costs in your area. Each project is different and you can get help from most stone yards or pond retailers that are experts in pond construction. Fish and Plants • To complete your pond habitat you will need to budget for these also. • Water plants grow fast so spend less and buy smaller plants so you can get more for your money. Plant them in the rocks, plant pockets or aquatic pots and watch them grow, they really help your ponds natural eco system. • Fish play a big role in the budget. You can start with the Sarasa Comets, Shubunkins or Fantail Gold Fish. These fish are very colorful and are easy on the budget. Koi fish can dent the budget a little with names like Kohaku, Showa, Kujaku, and Sanke, but they sure do look great in your pond. Make sure to protect your investment from predators with the many types of pond protectors.

Location, Location, Location • Make sure to bring the pond into your living space so you and the family can interact and enjoy the beauty of nature night and day. • Make your pond look as close to natural as possible. A well planted pond and natural landscaping will look like Mother Nature put it there just for you. Time and Commitment

• The beauty lies in a complete outdoor living space.

• With any garden whether it be a vegetable garden or a perennial flower garden a Water Garden needs just as much care and love. You will need to weed, prune, treat and fertilize your water garden so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor all year.

• Perennial plants, tall grasses, ornamental trees and ground cover add to the beauty and give you that finished look.

Take in the sights and sounds of your new pond and watch it grow and mature each year. Just like a fine wine it gets better with age.

Landscaping around your pond


If you cannot complete your project on the budget you have set and want to complete it in stages, I would recommend completing your pond with plants and mulch around the pond area. Finish your project as your budget allows with landscaping and adding fish when you can.

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Outdoor Dining: Tips for a Successful Event Outdoor dining can be a welcome change to indoor entertaining. Atmosphere and ambiance combined with your own personal style can make a lasting impression on even the most pretentious guests.

1. Theme it Out – Whether it be Caribbean, Asian, contemporary, modern or festive, choose a theme for your event and carry it throughout your backyard for your event. Don’t forget about the linens, decorations, table setting, music and menu. Tying everything together helps to create a fun and memorable event.

2. Keep it Simple – Less is more when it comes to outdoor entertaining. Forget about the fancy and elaborate seven-course meal and endless array of silverware, plates and glasses. A simple menu that complements your theme coupled with easy non-breakable dining sets and some simple decorations will make your event hassle-free.

3. Space for Everyone – Make sure you create conversation spaces for all of your guests. If you plan on having a cocktail hour you might want to include a table for your guests to put their drinks on and comfortable seating areas where they can gather in groups. If children will be attending your event it might be a good idea for them to have their own space for playing and eating. The key is to create a space that everyone can enjoy and feel comfortable and relaxed.

4. After the Sun Sets – If you plan to entertain at night make sure you have adequate lighting. Stringing some festive lights, candles, tiki torches, and fire pits are an easy way to carry your event from day to night and create additional ambiance. 52



Light UP Your Night

our Backyard is like a second home that usually gets neglected of your time. Why not take some time and money and make it the Stay-Cation Resort that you want it to be. One of the advantages to having a back yard is being able to enjoy it. While daylight creates a natural ability to see and do, nighttime makes an area look completely different with shadows and concealed areas. Adding lighting in the back yard and to the water features creates a whole different atmosphere. Using different types of lighting creates different effects, depending on what the homeowner wants to feature. Dealing with homeowners that have to have a rock waterfall for example whether it be a faux or the real deal always have the same complaint after they spent quite

by Joe West from Fiberstars


a bit of money on the installation. We can see and hear it in the daytime, but at night we can only hear it. Is there a lighting kit we can add? It is much easier to offer and install lighting during the construction of any water feature. Usually there are conduits that need to be run into the areas that need to be lit. For children that love the outdoors and like to play after dark, be sure to add fun water features like Lit Laminars and Lit Bubblers in the beach areas of the pool. Also, be sure to add standard floodlights in the areas near the house so they can see where they are going so they do not get hurt.


Fiber Optic and LED lighting is the most common way to light water features and the pool itself in the back yard. Some of the water features available for installation on a pool deck are Laminars, Lighted Rainfalls, and Star Floor lighting systems in the deck or in the bottom of the pool (Gunite Only). Perimeter lighting around a pools coping is another great feature that is an easy install and has a mesmerizing effect once completed. Technology has enhanced the experience of swimming at night by providing colorful and practical approaches, which light the way. Swimming pools may now feature a wide assortment of lighting types and styles, mixing old favorites with green solutions. From party scenes to solo tranquility and everything in between, lighting today has many moods and features, which not only extend your swimming, but also challenge your creative side to think about evening activities as well as daytime events.



Outdoor decorative lighting on decks and patios is another option. It can be used by itself or together with other types of outdoor lights for parties or dinners at dusk and after dark. Turn the bright lights off for special occasions. Use solar operated lights or candles to provide ambience without the safety problems and fire hazards of real candles. String tiny plain white Christmas lights on the perimeter of the pool or deck area for decoration for any time of the year.


Not only are you adding great looking water features you are adding security. Safety in one’s own backyard is of the utmost importance. Bright lighting is a deterrent to prowlers, partiers and peepers. Security lights come in a variety of sizes and styles. The most popular and effective method for backyard security lights is the halogen light bulb. Different styles come with a variance in brightness and set-up, but they are long lasting and burn brighter and whiter than the average light bulb. This is what makes them preferable for security lights. Backyard security lighting reduces the risk of having people enter the yard. Those that do not want to be seen will avoid well-lit areas that announce their presence. 57

For the Health of It By Alan E. Sanderfoot

out b a s e v a r f f ip o l h s o r e R n t w t o l a M poo r f a o t s s t V fi T e y n t s be Reali the fitnes Anyone who thinks Matt Roloff is a small man is overly obsessed with his height. Though he measures just 4 feet tall, Matt is known for his big ideas and bigger-than-life personality. Indeed, his unabashed approach to living large in an average-sized world is what makes his story so compelling.

(L-R) Ric Reineke, The Pool Guyz; Matt Roloff, Little People Big World; Aaron Stahl, Viking Pools

For the past five years, Matt and his family have been the subject of the highly acclaimed TLC reality TV series Little People, Big World, which chronicles the day-to-day challenges he and his family face. His wife, Amy, and one of their four children also live with dwarfism. 59

Denied a normal childhood, Matt wanted to make sure his kids had the ultimate playground while they were growing up. So, the couple purchased a 34-acre parcel outside Portland, Ore., in 1990, and created a childhood fantasyland. Though Roloff Farms is no Neverland Ranch, it’s definitely a magical place — from the pirate ship and western town to the castle and mine shaft that leads to a pile of treasure. In 2007, the family added a swimming pool and hot tub to their backyard — a process that played out on the TV show, with the added drama of trying to finish the pool before his daughter

Molly’s birthday party. Typically, Matt’s elaborate home improvement projects are primarily for the kids’ enjoyment, but the pool was a bit different. Matt has diabetes, among other health problems, and his doctor ordered exercise as part of his treatment. Because Matt walks with the aid of crutches, his options for physical activity and exercise are limited. Swimming, however, offers lowimpact aerobic exercise and resistance training for people with a wide range of motor skills and physical abilities.

It's been a real blessing in terms of exercise. I used to barely be able to swim a length of the pool; now I easily swim several lengths.

-Matt Roloff


After doing some research, Matt discovered Viking Pools, which manufacturers one-piece fiberglass pools in various sizes, shapes and colors. Best of all, Viking was able to modify the 16-by-40-foot model Matt chose to make it easier for him to step in. As the reality show illustrates, Matt doesn’t let his short stature get in the way of accomplishing his dreams. Even when a task would be difficult for a skilled average-size person, Matt doesn’t hesitate to tackle the job, even if he has no prior experience. In the case of the pool, he insisted on operating the backhoe and digging the hole

himself. The result was a rough pit that needed to be reshaped by the pros, The Pool Guyz from Virginia Beach, Va. The crew worked in 15-hour stretches alongside the Roloffs’ local electrician and masons, as well as TLC’s non-stop television film crew. “When they arrived, it was like having a SWAT team,” he says. Everyone knew exactly what to do and the kids were swimming in just four days — just in time for the birthday party.


The pool features a heater, automatic pool cleaner, automatic cover, water features, accent boulders, and plenty of deck space for poolside lounging and entertainment. “The fiber-optic lights really put you in a party mood,” Matt says of the poolscape. Though the kids and their friends are constantly in the pool, the biggest beneficiary has been Matt. “For the first two months, I was swimming every day,” he recalls. “It’s been a real blessing in terms of exercise. I used to barely be able to swim a length of the pool; now I easily swim several lengths.” Matt’s form of dwarfism causes his cartilage to degenerate, so high-impact exercise can actually have a negative effect on his wellbeing. “Since I was about 14, doctors have always told me I should be swimming regularly,” he recalls. “It keeps the weight off your joints so it doesn’t beat up your cartilage.”

Matt recalls his doctor measuring his lung capacity before he got his pool. There was a device for him to blow into, which hooked up to a computer. The screen showed a tree with leaves on it, and Matt’s job was to blow has hard as he could into the device and try to blow the leaves off of the tree. “No matter how hard I blew, I couldn’t get those leaves to come off,” he says. “Now there’s a measurable improvement of my breathing because of the pool, with no detriment to my joints.” 62

Without leaving the comforts of home

Our pools are ICC Certified.

With over 70 designs and countless options and features, the design possibilities are virtually limitless with a Viking pool.

Eco-Friendly Ceramic Composite Pools & Spas With a Lifetime Warranty


(800) VKG-POOL (854-7665)

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e m o H weet S ome H By Alan E.Sanderfoot

How the gift of a pool continues to change the lives of three worthy families

Sun. 8/7c on ABC 66

Viking Pools has partnered with ABC’s Emmy winning Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on several episodes. The reality show helps families in need by renovating their home and backyard. Viking Pools has donated 15 pools to families across the country.

Few things compare to winning the lottery, but being chosen for an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is one of them. Hosted by carpenter and interior designer Ty Pennington, the ABC series selects one deserving family for each show and builds them a new home — in a week.

promote our pools,” says Todd Stahl, President of Viking Pools. “What we didn’t realize at the time was the effect our participation would have on so many people. From our employees to our dealers to our existing Viking Pools owners, everyone seems to feel compassion for the families we’ve helped.”

For families that could benefit from having a swimming pool, Viking Pools has been there to lend a hand. As a manufacturer of onepiece fiberglass pools and spas, Viking offers a wide range pool styles — all of which can be installed in a few days, instead of the few weeks needed to build a concrete pool. To date, the company has donated 15 pools and numerous spas to the show.

Now in syndication on TV Land and CMT, the show is reaching an even larger audience. “When I’m channel surfing, I frequently see old episodes with a Viking Pool installed in the backyard,” Stahl says. “I’m proud that we’ve been able to transform so many lives with the help of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

“When the producers contacted us to donate the first pool in 2004, we thought it would be a great way to help a family in need and

We caught up with a few of the families featured on the show to see how pool ownership has affected their lives. Their stories are as touching today as when they first aired. 67

The Hughes Family Louisville, Kentucky Episode aired Feb. 17, 2008

Patrick Henry Hughes is a 22-year-old student at the University of Louisville. An accomplished pianist and vocalist, he’s also a member of the school’s marching and pep band. What makes him unique from his academic peers, however, is that he’s blind and relies on a wheelchair to get around. Born without eyes, Patrick Henry also lacks the ability to fully straighten his arms and legs, leaving him unable to walk. Despite these challenges, Patrick Henry has embraced life to its fullest with help from his parents, Patricia and Patrick John, and his brothers: Jesse, age 19, and Cameron, 14. In an inspirational display of affection and support, Patrick Henry’s father maneuvers his wheelchair through the marching band formations while he plays the trumpet. 68

Off the field, Patrick Henry had difficulty navigating the Hughes’s humble home in his wheelchair, and the walls showed the impact of many bumps and scrapes. Because Patrick John gave up his career to stay home and tend to his son’s needs, money for home-improvement projects was scarce.

Fortunately, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition arrived on the scene in November 2007 to build the family a new, wheelchair-accessible home that includes a separate apartment for Patrick Henry. The home also features a swimming pool with a chairlift that makes it easier for Patrick Henry to get the aquatic therapy he needs. The family is entering it’s third summer with the pool, which includes a hot tub and waterfall, and they couldn’t be enjoying it more.

“Now, with his power chairlift and ramp, he can access the pool from his apartment and get in and out of the pool on his own. We don’t have to swim with him,” says Patrick John. “It’s not just a blessing for him, but the whole family has enjoyed it,” he adds. “It allows us to vacation at home.” The youngest boys frequently have friends over, but they also like swimming with their older brother. And the pool has made it easier for the Hugheses to connect with extended family members. “We’ve become the annual hosts of what my family calls a cousins’ reunion,” Patrick John says, describing the four generations of extended family at the gathering. “The pool has helped bond our family.”

“One of the things Patrick loves to do is to go swimming. He’s a real fish,” says his father, Patrick John. “If we were ever on a flight that had to make an emergency landing in the water, he could float the longest. He’s an excellent swimmer. In fact, swimming is the only exercise he enjoys.” Though confined to a wheelchair, Patrick Henry can still use his legs to work the pedals on a piano and to swim. “The pool is the best way for Patrick to exercise his legs to keep them from atrophying,” his father adds. Before Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to their aid, the family had an aboveground pool that was difficult to use. Patrick John had to lift Patrick Henry up onto the pool ledge and essentially throw him into the water. That was the easy part. To get him out, family members had to get into the water and struggle to lift Patrick Henry’s wet body over the side. 69

The Chapin Family Kirkland, Washington Episode aired Dec. 16, 2007

Before her home makeover, Connie Chapin, an avid swimmer and a single mother of four, was eking out a living the best way she knew how. Raising her family in the house she grew up in, Connie taught swimming lessons in the same backyard pool where she learned how to swim. But Connie’s homegrown business, Angelfish Swimming, does more than generate much-needed income. It teaches more than 250 children a week the important swimming and aquatic skills they need to enjoy life near Washington State’s Puget Sound. As her business was taking off, however, city inspectors told Connie that her facility was not up to code and would need to be closed down if certain repairs weren’t made. Despite working hard for two years to make the improvements, 70

the problems became too great for her to handle on her own. During this time, Connie received another blow. Her home, which had been poorly constructed more than a hundred years ago, was at risk of collapsing. Unless she received some serious help, she was going to lose her house and her business.

A bathroom/changing area was built into the detached garage, and an outdoor shower was installed so swimmers can rinse off before and after lessons. To make the pool truly work for year-round classes, a tent covers the pool and is heated during the cooler months.

In September 2007, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition saved the day by giving Connie’s family the home and livelihood they desperately needed. A dramatic waterfall serves as the focal point of the new poolscape. The fiberglass pool itself measures 16 by 40 feet and includes a shallow Convenience Ledge around much of the perimeter, which Connie says comes in handy when teaching lessons. Best of all, her Angelfish Swimming logo — a colorful fish donning a halo — was painted on the pool’s bottom.

Yet, the pool isn’t all work and no play for Connie and her family. Her children — Molly (18), Anna (16), Rachel (13) and Daniel (11) — take turns hosting pool parties, which typically include pizza and a movie in the home theater room. The pool is also the impetus for a new family tradition. Connie and her four siblings have 11 children altogether. Last summer the entire brood gathered at the Chapins’ house for a family reunion. “Everyone had a great time in the swimming pool, so now we’re going to make it a annual event,” Connie says.

Connie also appreciates the smoothness of the fiberglass pool’s surface. “There’s no scraping up feet and knees,” she says, which can happen in concrete pools when the plaster surface becomes rough like sandpaper.

Grateful for the community’s support of her family, Connie is looking for additional ways to give back to the people who brightened her own future. Currently, she is in the process of creating a nonprofit that would fund swimming lessons for children whose families can’t afford them. 71

The Broadbent Family Las Vegas, Nevada Episode aired Dec. 12, 2004

Her unconditional love for these innocent children led Pat to become an advocate for AIDS awareness and acceptance. She continued to take in newborns exposed to HIV through their mothers and administer the prescribed drug regimen that might prevent them from contracting AIDS. She gave these children the love and affection they needed until permanent foster care arrangements were made. A former social worker, Pat Broadbent has been a longtime advocate for children — especially those who others find difficult to love. Though she has given birth to one child, she has adopted six others over the years. Three of the children had contracted AIDS from their birth mothers. 72

One of her children with AIDS, Hydeia, has also worked to bring understanding and assistance to those affected by HIV/AIDS. Today she is an internationally recognized AIDS activist. Together, Pat and Hydeia have written You Get Past The Tears: A Memoir of Love and Survival, which chronicles their experience.

have moved away from home. But the pool still gets a lot of use. Pat enjoys family cookouts poolside and watching her grandkids learn to swim in the pool.

Unfortunately, Pat was diagnosed with lung cancer just as her own children were getting their AIDS under control. Though chemotherapy was yielding positive results, Pat was concerned that her children wouldn’t have a suitable home to live in should she die. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, touched by Pat’s selflessness and advocacy work, decided to give her a home that she’d be proud to pass on to her children. In November 2004, her 1,450-square-foot cinderblock house was replaced by a sprawling 3,300-square-foot home, complete with a gorgeous backyard pool and spa. The hot tub is situated inside an artificial stone grotto with a waterfall that spills over the top and into the pool. At the time, the three daughters with AIDS were her only children still living at home, and the pool was an integral part of their lives. Because of their compromised immune systems, the girls would risk contracting a bacterial or viral infection if they went swimming in a lake or even a public pool. However, their personal fiberglass pool was easy to maintain and provided the safe swimming environment the girls needed. The girls couldn’t wait to take their first swim in the pool, even though it was November and Pat refused to turn on the heater. So they jumped into the frigid water anyway and took frequent breaks to warm up in the hot tub. Today, all of her children are grown up and

Pat, who has been clear of lung cancer for three years, also swims in the pool regularly. A side effect of the chemotherapy has been fluid in her lungs, which makes it difficult to breath. Pat uses a device that extracts oxygen from the air and feeds it to her via a tube strapped to her nose. When she goes swimming, she hooks up a 50-foot extension tube to the device so she can swim laps.

“It gives me an opportunity to get exercise without killing myself,” Pat says, adding that even walking can be too exhausting with her condition. “Swimming is much more relaxing.” A day doesn’t pass without Pat being grateful for her new house and pool and the generous support of her community. “I am very appreciative of it,” she says. “I can’t get past the fact that it was a gift. They say this is a reality TV show, but it’s not. No one comes and does something like this in the real world. This show is a miracle.” 73

Beach Home

How one family created a seaside resort in their own backyard By Alan Sanderfoot


ome do-it-yourself projects can be done by anyone who knows which end of a hammer to hold, but installing an in-ground pool isn’t one of them. So, you can imagine Matt and Danielle Meade’s relief when the folks at Indoors Out, the home improvement show on the DIY Network, offered to lend a hand.

Nantucket model pool, which was the largest size that wouldn’t interfere with the septic system beneath the barren yard. Tumbled stone pavers and lush plants frame the pool. To mimic the beach, a sandy retreat was created near the pool, complete with palm trees and accent boulders.

The Meades live in Newport, N.C., where they live busy lives. In addition to raising four children — ages 9 to 22 — Matt and Danielle have stressful careers as a commercial pilot and therapist, respectively. As a result, they like to make the most of their limited downtime together.

When the family isn’t swimming or lounging on the “beach,” they are hanging out in the covered pavilion, which boasts two kitchen islands with granite countertops, an all-weather television and an outdoor fireplace.

The family enjoys a beach home they share with relatives, but they wanted to bring a bit of the seashore to their own home and maximize use of their outdoor living space. Thanks to Dean Marsico and Derek Stearns, the hosts of Indoors Out, the Meades got their wish and much more — including a one-piece fiberglass pool from Composite Pools, stone patio, sandy beach, and open-air pavilion with colorful walls and graceful archways. The Meades chose a 12,000-gallon free from 74

“We created a kind of open-air cabana feel,” Danielle says. One side of the outdoor kitchen includes a grilling area, and other side features a built-in cooler and condiment station. “This is so convenient for entertaining, because the bar seats are located away from the grill but near the cooler for serving drinks,” Danielle explains. Matt’s favorite feature is the outdoor TV because he can watch sports and crank the volume without being asked to turn it down or to stop yelling at the officials. “This creates such harmony for all of us,” Danielle says with a smile.

When there isn’t a game to watch, Matt often hangs out in the pavilion and listens to blues artist Johnny “Guitar” Watson on the outdoor stereo system. For Danielle, the biggest advantage of the backyard makeover has been knowing where her kids are. The pool has been a great incentive for them to stay close to home and invite their friends over, making it easier to supervise their activities. “The dirty towels add up, but it is worth the extra laundry,” Danielle says. Though the Meades expected the poolscape to change how they spend their leisure time, they never predicted how transformative it would be. “Although we always found time to get to the neighborhood pool, it is crazy how easy it to just relax when you have a pool in your own backyard. You really can’t imagine the luxury of it until you experience it for yourself.” The Meades like to entertain, too, and their aquatic retreat is the perfect setting for endless pool parties and al fresco dining.

“We love to have friends over, and we grill, dance, and the kids make s’mores by the fire,” Danielle says. “We have definitely become the party house for large get-togethers — which is OK since the house stays clean with the yard being where everyone wants to be anyway!” In fact, the Meades have come home from work to find friends and neighbors hanging out in their yard. Since the backyard makeover, the family has hosted everything from birthday celebrations to Super Bowl parties, and the pool is always a hit — especially at night when the adults tend to visit in the pavilion while the kids hang out in the pool. “They just love the lights and the water cannons,” Danielle says, referring to the colored fiber-optic lighting that surrounds the pool and the water jets that send arcs of water cascading into the pool from the deck. “We just love seeing the pool back there for the beauty it adds to our whole yard,” Danielle says. “Sometimes, we just sit by the water and enjoy the quiet time.”


C’mon Baby Light My Fire by Julie Crone 76


ne of the natural elements is being brought back into the outdoor experience: fire. Fire creates warmth, community, and the “wow� factor. Because fire is nearly the opposite of water, we love to see the two together. Fire features can range from a basic manual key valve to a gigantic bowl, flowing water over the sides and erupting a flame out the middle. Which is right for you? Here are some of the fire feature options. We’ll let you decide. When designing a fire feature, the first thing to consider is where the feature will go. Will it be the focal point of the backyard, or will it occupy a small alcove in a secluded area? If the fire feature will be the main focus, big and dramatic is a good point to begin your conceptualization. The feature will entertain your guests, and therefore should reflect something that demands attention. Large, over-sized fire pots manufactured out of either copper or stainless steel will create this look easily. When incorporated into a backyard pool, try placing them on the far end of the pool, framing the space with fire. Fire/Water Pots are another way to evoke a sense of spectacle in your backyard. Dancing simultaneously, fire/water pots combine both fire and water in one application, providing a rare opportunity to view two polarizing elements interacting so closely. For best results, look for a fire/water pot that features water that completely surrounds the flame, allowing the fire to appear as if it is floating on the waters surface. If subtlety is more your style, choose a fire feature that highlights your backyard without demanding your 77

undivided attention. There are three ways to achieve this look. A low profile fire pot is one option. Approximately 7� tall, this pot can sit atop a column providing a sleek and refined application for fire. Tiki torches and fire torches are another option. Tiki torches provide a subtle flame while remaining movable, providing the ultimate in flexibility, while fire torches are a more permanent fixture that can be used in lieu of traditional outdoor lighting. A linear fire line is a final option. Rather than have multiple fire features to frame an area, condense the focus to one long fire feature with a linear fire line. Available in virtually any length, the fire line is housed in a copper or stainless steel rectangular fire pot or prefabricated aluminum fire pit. If something intimate, small, and cozy is more the focus, look for a

pre-fabricated fire pit to address your needs. Produced in either round or square shapes, a fire pit can either rise from the ground or sit atop a small column. One of the most appealing aspects of a prefabricated fire pit is the ease of installation. A turn key process, installers simply bolt the application into the ground, providing a much quicker fire solution than those designed and built out of masonry block. 78

All fire features have one thing in common - the method of ignition. There are three ways to create the flame, starting with the most basic, the manual key valve. The benefits of a manual key valve are its ease of use, reliability and low cost of implementation. This method does require the flame to be struck manually as well, sometimes a drag with windy or wet weather. The next option is a manual spark

ignition. This ignition option improves on the key valve by providing an push-button start with it’s own spark, eliminating the need to light a match and turn on the gas manually. It also has an auto shut-off, a safety feature that uses a heat sensor to detect if a flame has been blown out and automatically shutting off the gas. The final option is a fully automated remote

controlled ignition, the premier application for those seeking a luxurious and incredibly easy option. This ignition is usually controlled by the PDA (pool’s digital assistant), however it can also be controlled via a wall mounted switch. This option is exceptionally good for fire features in hard to reach places, or large fire/water pots where it may be difficult to reach the gas valves.

Now that you have the tools and knowledge to create the ultimate fire feature, it’s time to set the night on fire! 79

5006: 5/10

Extended Living Spaces 2010  

Extend the indoors........OUT

Extended Living Spaces 2010  

Extend the indoors........OUT