A Guide to Customizing Your Hot Tub

A custom hot tub is a great asset for any home. It gives you a place to relax and unwind after a long work day, and it is a truly amazing experience to lounge in your very own spa on cold desert nights. Building a spa in your backyard also raises the value of your property. Overall, it is a great investment for you to make. At Pools by Design, we specialize in custom pools and hot tubs. We love helping you design something that you can enjoy for years to come.

If you are building a custom hot tub, here is a guide to starting the process:

Big Picture Spa Design

The first step is building a custom spa is to consider the big picture. Your pool and hot tub need to fit in with the overall layout of your backyard and should match the architecture of your home. For example, if your house has a modern architectural style, a contemporary pool and spa may be a good fit. In other cases, you may want a traditional style.

You should also consider how the pool and the hot tub will interact. Some people prefer to have a standalone spa close by their pool, whereas others prefer a hot tub that is within the pool or spills over into it. At Pools by Design, we will work with you to come up with an overall design that will exceed your expectations.

Building Materials for Your Hot Tub

You should always make sure that your spa is made of the highest quality building materials. At Pools by Design, we always ensure that our materials are built to last. This way all you have to focus on is the look and feel you want for your new hot tub. You can choose the pool finish for the walls and floors, the material that will surround you jacuzzi, and much more. Our team will help guide you through the process of choosing the best materials to fit your dream spa.

Jacuzzi Water Features

Water features can help take your hot tub to the next level. Pools by Design offers a variety of options for you to include in your new custom spa. You can include massaging jets, a spillover into your main pool, or even a fountain. Water features let you tailor your new hot tub to your specific desires. If your main goal is relaxation, then jets can help you feel like you are in a resort far away from all your concerns. Or, if you want to entertain and show off a luxurious pool, you can add fountains or spillovers for visual effect. We listen to your ideas and help you turn your vision into reality.

Fine Details for Your Custom Spa

The final step in customizing your hot tub is choosing all the small details. These elements help create the overall ambiance of your new spa. One choice you can make is the lighting. You can put in one simple LED light to illuminate your spa, or you can add multi-colored, remote-controlled lights for a truly outstanding experience. At Pools by Design, we also help you refine the landscaping and patio design around your hot tub so that every detail of your experience is perfect.

Ready to customize your very own jacuzzi?

Create a custom hot tub with Pools by Design.

If you want to create a new spa that will make you the envy of your friends and family, call Pools by Design!

Our customer service is top-notch, and we go above and beyond to make a custom pool and spa that you will enjoy for years to come.

Landscaping Ideas For a Clean and Green Backyard

In Tucson, Arizona, most backyards focus on landscaping rocks and minimalist design. This can be absolutely gorgeous when done well, but some homeowners want more unique landscaping ideas. In Arizona, one landscape design you won’t see very often is a green backyard. Since grass does not grow well in the Arizona desert, many people opt for a simpler outdoor space. However, if you are longing for a more lush style reminiscent of the east coast, Pools by Design can help you create a clean and green backyard.

Here are some landscaping ideas to create an eye-catching green backyard in Arizona:

Artificial Grass

Grass is the focal point of this style of yard landscaping. Although it is possible to grow and maintain grass in Tucson, you may find that it is more trouble than it is worth to keep your lawn looking lush in the long run. This is why artificial grass is so popular. It creates the same visual interest as real grass, but without the time-consuming maintenance.

The benefit of artificial grass is that it always looks perfectly mowed and maintained without you needing to put in the effort. Even in the summer heat, your artificial grass will look vibrant and green. You can also add unique features to your outdoor living space with artificial turf, such as a putting green for practicing golf.

Floral Accents

Adding a few flowering plants to your backyard’s design helps break up the green grass and create a more dynamic look. When it comes to landscaping ideas, flowers are underused in Arizona because many people assume they will not grow well in the heat. However, you have many options for low-maintenance flower beds.

These include:

  • Desert Sage. This lovely purple/blue flower grows very easily in droughts and desert areas. It creates a nice pop of color against your grass lawn.
  • Dune Evening Primrose. If you want classic white flowers, then dune evening primrose is a great landscaping idea.
  • California Poppy. You likely see these wildflowers all over the desert landscape. Their bright orange color contrasts nicely with the green of artificial grass.

Hedges

Hedges are another unique landscaping idea that you do not see often in Tucson. These add a sophisticated feel to your yard with gorgeous pops of green. A hedge can be any closely placed shrub or tree formation that forms a barrier, so you can customize these features to your liking. A classic option is a boxwood hedge, which is what you would typically see in landscape design.

You can place hedges strategically to accent your custom pool or other areas of your backyard. When you hire Pools by Design, we consider every aspect of your pool design. This includes reviewing your landscaping ideas and determining what will work best with your home.

Pools by Design can turn your desert landscape into a clean and green vacation destination.

Landscaping Ideas

When you work with us, we turn your dreams into a reality. You are not limited to the basic landscaping ideas that dominate Tucson homes.

We take into account your vision and help you create a backyard and a custom pool that you will love.

How Pool Designs Benefit From Rain Curtains

Pool designs often use water features to improve the overall look and feel of a custom pool. If you are creating an inground pool, you have a lot of decisions to make. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to consider all of your options for pool features. Luckily, when you work with Pools by Design we will help you go over all of your options in detail so you can make an informed decision. Every home is unique, and so is every pool!

One option that works with just about any type of pool is the inclusion of rain curtains. Rain curtains are sheets of water that fall into your pool or hot tub, generally from a slit in a wall. These can be broad sheets of water or can include multiple streams of water to mimic rain falling. Pools including rain curtains often look more elegant and high-end.

Here are just a few of the ways rain curtains can help improve pool designs:

Connection Between Hot Tub and Pool

If you build a custom pool and spa, you want to make sure these two elements connect. Otherwise, your backyard can look disjointed and awkward. Pool designs should take this into account and include water features or design elements to connect your hot tub and your pool.

A rain curtain can spill from your spa into your pool, similar to a spillover spa or infinity pool design. You can also have your spa elevated above your pool and include a rain curtain that falls from a wall on the edge of your spa. Either of these options helps create a connection between your jacuzzi and your pool.  

Design Accents

Rain curtains also help you accent various areas of your pool design. People’s eyes are more likely to be drawn to wherever you place this water feature. As a result, you can include rain curtains strategically to draw attention to the entrance of your pool, to your spa, or to any element of your swimming pool design.

You can also make a rain curtain a focal point by including a tiled wall for it to fall from. This wall can include mosaic tiles, natural tile design, or anything else you desire. This makes the rain curtain the center of your pool and makes it a topic of conversation when your friends and family visit.

Fun and Relaxation

Aside from their aesthetic appeal, rain curtains are fun elements to include in your pool area. Kids can swim underneath them, which can be a lot of fun when they have friends over for pool parties. Most pools do not have rain curtains, so they are a unique element of your pool design that people are sure to enjoy.

These design elements are also incredibly relaxing. Watching the water flow into your pool can be therapeutic, and not many people get to enjoy that experience in their own backyard. It can also feel very relaxing to swim or float underneath this water feature.

Pools by Design offers rain curtains and other water features.

Pool Designs

We can create pool designs of all varieties, from classic to contemporary. Call us today and let us know how you picture your dream pool.

We will work with you to include all the water features, including rain curtains, that will turn this dream into a reality.

3 Ways You Can Use an Outdoor Grill

Adding an outdoor grill to your backyard is a great investment. Not only does a project like this improve your home’s value, you can also enjoy your outdoor kitchen with your family for years to come. Imagine the memories that you can make grilling poolside, whether you host pool parties for friends or grill for your family. Outdoor cooking is a luxury not many people can experience and once you install an outdoor kitchen, you are going to want to use it as often as possible.

Here are 3 ways you can use your outdoor grill:

1. Hosting Parties

When you host for your family and friends, you want to make the experience as unique as possible. When you have an outdoor grill, you can offer an experience that not many homes can. You can grill food poolside on your BBQ grill while your guests enjoy swimming. During cooler months, you can host in an outdoor seating area to enjoy the gorgeous Arizona weather while you eat.

There are many holidays and events where grilling fits in perfectly. From Fourth of July barbeques to Superbowl cookouts, you can use an outdoor grill year-round. Your guests will notice the difference when you prepare authentic grilled food compared to trying to replicate the smoky flavor in an oven. This will help your parties stand out as truly special events.

2. Family Dinner

You don’t need a special occasion to use your outdoor grill. It may be that your family is getting tired of eating the same food every week. Owning a grill makes it possible to add new foods to your dinner rotation. You can grill chicken for a change from standard oven-baked options, or you can grill burgers for your family to enjoy.

An outdoor grill also gives you the option to add healthier options without settling for boring food. Grilled vegetables often taste better than other ways of cooking them. You can experiment with different ingredients and see what you and your family prefer. Once you find something you love, you know that you always have the option to go outside and make it.

3. Innovative Cooking

If you are a grilling enthusiast or an innovate cook, owning your own outdoor grill gives you the luxury to experiment with your cooking. Whatever you want to attempt, you have the freedom to give it a try. You can switch up the wood pellets you use for different meats, for example, and see how your results taste.

You can experiment with using your grill to smoke meats over wood chips, or you can use a charcoal grill to perfect your burgers. With a wide selection of outdoor grills to choose from, you can pick something that fits the type of cooking you like most. If grilling isn’t your thing, Pools by Design also offers pizza ovens and fire pits for our outdoor kitchens.

Pools by Design

We can install your new outdoor grill.

Does this sound like something you’d like to have in your very own backyard? Pools by Design can help you create a custom outdoor kitchen, including a BBQ grill and anything else that you desire.

Call us today for a free estimate, and let us start creating your perfect outdoor entertaining space.

How Much Do Salt Water Pools Cost?

If you are building a custom pool, you may be wondering about the pros and cons of salt water pools. You may have heard about how salt water systems are generally more gentle on your skin and eyes, or you may be interested in the money you’ll save by not purchasing chlorine. However, you may also know that a salt water pool costs more to build and install than a traditional chlorine pool.

In order to make the best decision, you should know all the factors that impact the cost of a salt water pool.

Pool Building

One thing to keep in mind is that the construction of a pool with a salt water system is actually going to be the exact same to start as the construction of any other pool. You don’t need to build the pool in differently in order to accommodate the salt water system. This is good news for two main reasons. For one, you can still build any sort of pool you want, from contemporary to classic to infinity edge. In addition, you don’t pay more for the construction costs.

Salt Chlorine Generator vs. Standard Chlorine

If the pool isn’t constructed differently, then why do you pay more for salt water pools? The main difference is in the cost of pool equipment and technology. A salt water pool requires a salt chlorine generator to create chlorine, which is the main difference between upfront costs.

Traditional Chlorine Pool

For a traditional pool, you may need a standard chlorinator to mix the water and chemicals. You may also use pumps for this purpose. In general, though, there’s no special equipment to mix chlorine in traditional pools. You may only need a chlorine float and chlorine tablets to get started.

While these methods are cheaper upfront, keep in mind that you will need to continue to buy chlorine tablets or liquid to keep the chlorine level where it needs to be. This means that while the original equipment costs are not as high, you can end up paying more each month by adding chlorine to the pool.

Salt

The main cost associated with salt water pools is the addition of a salt chlorine generator. This machine takes the salt in your pool and runs through a generator where it undergoes electrolysis. This is a chemical reaction that produces the chlorine that sanitizes your pool.

These machines can vary in cost, but generally, the installation and equipment will cost between $1,500 and $2,000. You will also need to replace the generator regularly, about every 5-7 years. This means that in the end, you pay one or two thousand dollars more upfront for a salt water pool compared to a standard chlorinated pool. This does not take into account the savings from not purchasing chemicals, however.

Is a Salt Water Pool Worth It?

In the end, it’s up to you whether the extra cost up front is worth it to construct a pool with a salt water system. Many pool owners report that salt water feels better on their skin and that they prefer not smelling like chlorine after swimming. However, plenty of pool owners are happy with their chlorinated systems.

Salt Water Pools

Whatever type of pool you want, Pools by Design can build it! We work with you to determine exactly what swimming pool fits your needs and desires.

Call us today and let us know how we can turn your dream swimming pool into reality.

Why Your Spa Should Include Pebble Tec

When you are designing a custom pool or spa, you have the luxury of choosing every aspect of your design. This includes the pool finish that you choose for your hot tub’s floors and walls. When you work with Pools by Design to create your custom jacuzzi, we will always help you make a decision that fits your budget, your design goals, and your plans for how you will use your pool and spa. Although a basic plaster finish is always an option, using pebble tec is a wonderful choice.

Choosing pebble tec for your spa’s walls and floor has many benefits.

What is Pebble Tec?

Pebble tec refers to using pebbles mixed with cement to cover the walls and floors of a pool or spa. It can be a generic term for this technique, or it can specifically refer to products from the company Pebble Tec ®️. Usually, the best pebble tec products come directly from this company.

Pebble tec often gives pools and spas a more natural look, as from a distance it can look like a river bed. Its textured appearance also makes it harder to see any chemical build-up, such as salt or chlorine residue. As a result, your pool will look better for any friends and family you bring to visit. You can customize the colors you choose for pebble tec and can pick anything from a mix of natural colors to bolder shades.

This finishing method is an alternative to the more classic option of plaster. A plaster-finished hot tub has a more simple look, although it is a cheaper method for a pool finish. The main issue with plaster, however, is that it can react with chlorine and other chemicals in your jacuzzi. The heat of your spa can also damage the plaster finish over time.

Choosing the Best Pool Finish

When you choose a finish for your spa, there are many factors to consider. Of course, the cost can be a big consideration. Pools and spas are big investments, and they can come with a large cost upfront. Although you may be tempted to try to lower your initial cost, you also need to consider long-term maintenance.

When it comes to these continuing costs, pebble tec is your best option. A plaster finish may need to be replaced sooner than pebble tec. Even if you save money upfront by going with plaster for your jacuzzi, you will spend more money tearing up your hot tub to replace the floor and wall finish every 5-10 years.

You also want to consider the overall experience you will have in your jacuzzi. Pebble tec’s natural texture is slip-resistant. This makes it safer to step into your new hot tub. The pebble tec’s texture also feels great against your feet. It becomes just one more feature in your luxurious spa experience.

Building a pool or spa with pebble finish?

Pebble Tec

No matter what sort of pool finish you want, Pools by Design can build the spa of your dreams. You deserve the luxury of having your very own hot tub, and we can make this happen for you.

Contact us today for a free cost estimate. We look forward to creating your pool or spa with pebble tec or any other desired finish. 

Transforming a Desert Landscape Into a Lush Oasis

Your pool is not the only thing that guests will notice about your backyard. Your landscape design is a huge factor is how your backyard looks. When it comes to landscaping, you have many options. What you choose will likely depend on how your pool and home are designed. For traditional pools and classic desert homes, a natural desert landscape is a great option. However, if you want a yard that looks less like the desert and more like a vacation destination, then you may be interested in a lush oasis design.

There are many steps in transforming a desert landscape into a tropic oasis.

Native Plants vs. Tropical Plants

Most desert landscape designs make use of desert plants that grow easily in Arizona. If you prefer a more tropical feel to your backyard, you will need to branch out from the standard native plants of the Sonoran desert. Although it can be difficult to create the proper conditions for these gorgeous non-native plants, it can be well worth it to have a backyard unlike anyone else’s.

Here are a few ideas for unique plants you can grow in Arizona:

  • Palm trees. Palm trees are actually relatively easy to grow in Arizona, but you can plant them strategically to make it feel like you are on an island in your own yard.
  • Orchids. Orchids have beautiful multi-colored flowers, and you do not often see them growing in Tucson backyards. However, with the proper maintenance, growing an orchid tree is definitely possible.
  • Plumerias. These flowers are typical of Hawaii and have a very sweet smell. These flowers will not do well in direct sun, but if you place them under partial shade they can grow by your Arizona pool.
  • Tropical Birds of Paradise. This is another flower that many people associate with Hawaiian resorts. Although it may seem daunting, these plants are actually very tolerant of Arizona’s heat.

Designing Around Your Custom Pool

When you create a landscape design, you should consider how it interacts with your custom pool. Creating a strip of lush tropical plants around your pool’s border is a great way to help it stand out from the desert landscape around it. However, you may not want such a large contrast between your pool and the rest of your yard. As with any other design decisions, your best bet is to find a balance that works for you.

You may not be comfortable maintaining an entire backyard of non-native plants, but may find that contrasting sections of desert gardens and tropical flowers will work best for you. You may also decide that you want to highlight your pool and only put lush landscaping directly around the border. Whatever you desire, Pools by Design can help you create it.

Maintaining Your Landscape Design

Aside from aesthetic choices, you want to make sure that you feel comfortable with the long-term maintenance of your landscaping. While flowers and tropical trees look beautiful, you will likely have to perform more maintenance on your pool when leaves fall into it. You also need to make sure to maintain the soil around your unique landscape design so that the plants grow probably.

Transform your desert landscape into a lush oasis with Pools by Design.

As you make these decisions, Pools by Design will help you decide what works best for your home and your backyard.

Whether you choose a traditional desert landscape or a lush oasis, we will turn your vision into a reality. Call us today for a free price estimate.

What Are Spillover Spas?

Custom pools and spas can turn your backyard into an oasis that is reminiscent of a high-end resort. When you hire Pools by Design as your pool and spa builders, we work with you to make sure that every detail of your backyard oasis is exactly how you want it. One of your many choices, when you are building a hot tub, is the inclusion of water features. These are small touches that can make your jacuzzi stand out. Of our water feature options for hot tubs, a spillover of water into the pool is one of the most common options.

Spillover spas can add a sense of elegance and relaxation to your backyard.

Spillover Spa Basics

You may be wondering what exactly this water feature includes. Spillover spas are hot tubs that connect directly to your pool through a small curtain or fountain of water. This water moves directly from the jacuzzi into the swimming pool, spilling over a ledge or a series of ledges.

There are different ways to accomplish this. Some homeowners choose to include an infinity spa, which is similar to an infinity pool in that the water goes over a series of drop-offs to give the illusion that the hot tub goes on infinitely. There are also spillover spas that include one curtain of water that falls from the edge.

You can get creative with how you design spillover spas. For example, you can choose to use a stone pattern for the ledge that water flows over. This stone accent can be a focal point for your pool and hot tub. If you want something more intricate, you can also customize this water feature to include more drop-offs or even fountains that shoot water from the jacuzzi into the pool.

Benefits of This Water Feature

Why should you include a spillover spa in your custom pool design? For one thing, this design element is very relaxing. You can swim in your pool or lounge poolside while watching the water from your hot tub flowing into your pool. This is very therapeutic and helps you feel like you are in a resort while in your own backyard.

This feature also helps connect your hot tub and your pool. Designs that don’t include some sort of connection between these two elements can look awkward and unbalanced. Spillover spas are an elegant way to achieve a connection between your spa and your pool.

A spillover feature is also a relatively simple and classic design element. It will not be too overwhelming or complicated. This means that you can include a spillover spa without making it the center of your pool design. Not everyone wants an incredibly complicated pool and hot tub. This is an option that adds elegance to your pool design without being too flashy.

Pools by Design, Your Source for Custom Pools and Hot Tubs

Spas

Whether you picture your backyard with a spillover spa or with any other type of pool and hot tub design, Pools by Design can turn your vision into a reality.

We will work with you to create a pool and spa that fit your exact requirements and desires. Contact us today for a free estimate.

How an Outdoor Kitchen Makes Your Life Easier

Creating your dream backyard involves more than just a pool. You also want to make sure that every part of your yard surrounding your swimming pool is built exactly the way you want it. One element to consider including is an outdoor kitchen. You can customize your space to include whatever you want, from BBQ grills to refrigerators to space for entertaining. At Pools by Design, we create custom solutions for outdoor living, and this includes kitchen islands.

Here are just a few of the ways a new outdoor kitchen can make your life easier:

More Storage Space

With so many appliances, ingredients, and equipment, it’s easy to run out of space in your kitchen. Adding an outdoor kitchen gives you another area where you can store these items. You can opt to store items you use outside (such as grilling tools) in your new outdoor kitchen drawers so they do not take up space in your kitchen. Outdoor refrigerators also give you the option to store food outside when you run out of indoor space.

A Variety of Food Options

There are certain foods that simply taste better when you can make them outdoors. Grilling is one great example. There is nothing quite like authentic grilled steak, hot dogs, or burgers made with your outdoor kitchen’s built-in grill. Outdoor pizza ovens also help you make delicious pizza much better than you could in a conventional oven. If you install a fire pit, you can even make s’mores with your kids poolside.

The Convenience of Outdoor Cooking

In certain situations, outdoor cooking is more convenient than cooking inside. For example, if you are hosting a pool party, it can be exhausting to run side dishes out from the kitchen to the pool. With an outdoor kitchen, you can prepare and serve these items all in one place. You can even opt to include a warming drawer so you can prepare ahead of time and keep your food warm for guests.

Unique Outdoor Entertaining

Having an outdoor kitchen gives you many new options for outdoor entertaining. For example, you can take your pool parties to the next level with poolside barbeque. If you have kids, you can host sleepovers featuring homemade s’mores roasted over your fire pit. Even classic dinner parties can be made more upscale when you take them outdoors in your very own custom outdoor kitchen.

Built to Your Specifications

Outdoor Kitchen

When you work with Pools by Design to customize your outdoor kitchen, you know that you are getting the highest quality. We make sure that we build everything exactly the way you want it. If you are not a big fan of grilling, we can opt for a pizza oven or outdoor stovetop over a BBQ grill. We can customize your outdoor kitchen for large parties or for intimate gatherings with just a few friends.

Our customer service and our craftsmanship make us our top choice for outdoor living solutions.

Contact us today and let us know how we can create a kitchen to fit your backyard.

How Does a Salt Water Pool Work?

In recent years, salt water pool systems have risen in popularity compared to traditional chlorine pools. There are many reasons for this shift. For one, salt water systems are often less harsh on your eyes and skin. Many owners note that the water feels softer and smoother in a salt water pool compared to a pool with chlorine. One of the biggest benefits of these swimming pools is the reduced cost of pool supplies since they do not require you to purchase chlorine. However, even as these pools become more popular, there are still many misconceptions about how they function.

Here are the basics of how these pool systems work:

Salt Water Pools are Not Chlorine-Free

The biggest misconception about salt water systems is that it means the pool does not have any chlorine in it. The fact is that chlorine is the best chemical compound for keeping pool water clean and clear. The big difference between salt water pool systems and traditional chlorine pools is not the presence of chlorine, but how it is added to the pool.

Salt Chlorine Generator

In a traditional pool, you add chlorine manually in order to keep the chlorine level in your pool up to par for sanitation. However, this requires added concentrated chemicals directly into your pool water. It also means that there may be more chlorine than you need in your swimming pool.

When you choose a salt water system, you add a salt chlorine generator. This takes the pool salt that you add to the water and runs it through salt cells. The salt goes through electrolysis and reacts with water. This forms the hypochlorous acid that keeps your pool clean. This system costs more to install at first, but it saves you money in supply costs and can last for up to seven years without replacement.

Why Salt Water Systems Feel Different

You may be wondering why swimming in a salt water pool feels so different than swimming in a traditional chlorine pool if they both rely on the same chemical for cleaning. Most people who own a salt water pool say that the water is smoother, less harsh on the body, and even smells better than a chlorine pool. How is this the case if both pools have chlorine?

The main difference in the chlorine level. When you add concentrated chlorine to your pool, there is more of the chemical in the water. It’s also hard to control the amount in the water at any time. A salt chlorine generator gradually turns salt into chlorine, and so the salt level is usually higher than the chlorine level at any given time. This is why salt water pools feel so different; they may have chlorine, but there is much less of it present.

Building Your Perfect Backyard Pool

Salt Water Pool

If you want to create a custom pool using a salt water system, call Pools by Design today! We work with you to create a unique and gorgeous design for your pool, whether you want something more contemporary or more traditional.

Designing pools is our passion, and we are excited to see what we can create with you.