Backyard Paradise

Custom Pools Throw Water on Oklahoma’s Sizzling Summer Heat

by Catherine Poslusny

With the rise of the “staycation,” homeowners are looking for more ways to turn their backyards into their own slice of paradise.

Outdoor kitchens, lounge areas, bars and even media centers are more popular than ever. The sky is the limit when it comes to backyard renovations, but nothing says “personal resort” like a private swimming pool.

Robin Allen, co-owner of Signature Custom Pools in Norman, sees backyards of every shape and size, with completely unique swimming pools to match.

“I think people have come to want the downtime that the backyard allows – the ‘backyard oasis’. People can go outside and enjoy the backyard even when it’s 100 degrees outside, and that’s a big deal in Oklahoma.”

If you’re thinking about getting a pool, the first thing to do is address the site plan, because easements and utility placement might impact the pool design or building process. Signature Custom Pools goes through this process with their customers, and their long-established relationships with the cities of Norman and Moore are certainly helpful in overcoming any potential problems.

Another important part of the process is research. When every part of a new pool is customizable, the choices can quickly get overwhelming.

Allen recommends looking on sites like Houzz and Pinterest to get an idea of the popular features and pool shapes. With options, such as tanning edges with bubblers, built-in slides, grottos, waterfalls and tables with benches, the possibilities are virtually limitless.

“If you can show us a picture, we can build it,” she said.

Signature Custom Pools has been building entirely custom pools all over Oklahoma for 10 years and they proudly say that no two pools are alike.

When meeting with the builders, they’ll draw up a design and provide an estimate. After everything is agreed on, a construction date is set.

The construction process usually takes eight and 12 weeks, depending on the weather and the intricacy of the design. During this time, the builders will dig the hole, haul away the dirt, put in the steel and plumbing and get the whole thing inspected. Then, they’ll spray it down with a cement mixture called gunite, put in plaster, tile, add any selected features, install the equipment and start filling the pool.

Once the pool is full, the main priority – besides keeping cool in those long summer months – is proper upkeep. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it might sound.

Mike Thompson, co-owner of Thompson’s Patio and Pool in Norman, says that pool maintenance is extremely manageable, as long as owners keep up with it.

“What I’ve found out over the last 40 years is that prevention is key,” he said.

All it takes is five minutes a day, and then about 30 minutes once a week to brush down the pool walls and floor. Through this continuing process, it is easier to tell if something isn’t quite right with the pool, and the problem can be addressed before it becomes serious.

After that, it comes down to proper chemical upkeep. Thompson recommends a three-step program.

First, sanitize the water. This is a matter of maintaining the levels of chlorine in the pool.

Second, administer shock treatments to oxidize built-up waste, such as sunblock, perspiration and dirt, so it can be removed from the water. The frequency of shock treatments varies with the size and conditions of the pool.

Third, algae prevention. This is usually as simple as using a little algaecide about once a week but keeping up with this is the key to a pool that is sparkling blue and clear.

Thompson’s Pool and Patio offers everything necessary to maintain chlorine and saltwater pools, and they’re ready with advice and recommendations to help ensure pool ownership is an enjoyable experience.

Any pool problem, great or small, they’ll either be able to help find a solution or recommend an expert who can address it properly.

Thompson’s also offers a wide range of backyard furniture, décor and anything else needed to turn a backyard into a personal oasis.

The decision to get a private pool isn’t just about swimming, it’s about transforming the atmosphere of an outdoor living space.

Sparkling water, the soothing sounds of fountains or bubblers, custom landscaping, all available just steps away from the back door. It’s not hard to see why so many homeowners are jumping on this trend and creating a personal paradise in their own backyard. – BSM