Polaris Pressure Cleaner Retrofit Installation

The Polaris pressure cleaner revolutionized automatic pool cleaning when it was introduced in the early 70’s.

Before then, pool cleaners were really just ‘stirrer-uppers’; they didn’t actually vacuum the pool. Polaris took the booster pump design advanced by Arneson, and attached a pool cleaner with a venturi vacuum.

polaris-380-cleaner-at-intheswimThe nation’s largest pool builders began offering a choice of a vacuum cleaner line, or the newer, pressure cleaner line. Anthony Pools installed thousands of “Antho-Sweep” cleaners, a private labeled Polaris 180.

Today’s post is about installing a Polaris pressure cleaner on an inground pool – where none has existed before. In a nutshell, installing a Polaris cleaner involves 3 Steps:

  1. Install or Convert a dedicated cleaner pipe
  2. Wire up the booster pump to a Timeclock
  3. Cut the Polaris hoses to proper length


Dedicated simply means that the pipe is used only for one purpose, to connect the pool cleaner. You need a pipe (or hose) that carries water from the booster pump to the cleaner.

Converting a Suction Cleaner Line: Older pools, or pools in a suction cleaner market (Hi, Florida!), may have a dedicated suction cleaner line that brings water into the filter pump. By cutting and capping the pipe that goes into the pump, and redirecting the pipe to connect with the Polaris booster pump, you can convert the suction line into a pressure line.

Converting a Jandy Ray-Vac Line: Sylvan pools and others often installed a low-pressure pool cleaner line, after the pump but before the filter, with a 3-way valve to divert water through the Energy filter and to the Jandy Ray-Vac pool cleaner. Cut out the Energy filter and cap the pipe after the 3-way valve. Install a Tee fitting in the pool return pipe, after all other equipment, and after any spa jet line, to supply the booster pump with water.

Installing a New Dedicated Cleaner Line:  The first thing to do is to call811, and have a guy come out to mark the property for underground utilities, so you don’t hit any power or gas lines.

dig a trenchDig a Trench: After underground utilities are marked, trench from where the booster pump will be located on the equipment pad, to a point midway along the longest wall of the pool. From the edge of the deck to the pool, you can either go under the deck and thru the pool wall, or over the deck hose installation.

Thru the Wall:  For this method, you continue the trench underneath the pool deck, digging a tunnel beneath until you reach the wall. Then use a rotary hammer drill with a 7/8” bit to drill through the pool wall to the other side. Slide a ¾ inch PVC pipe through the wall with a ¾” threaded female fitting on the wall side. Chip out the wall on both sides so that you can make a thick, rounded patch around the pipe on both ends. Inject an epoxy sealant around the pipe on both sides of the wall, and then pack it  at least 1” deep and 4” wide with hydraulic cement. Finish around the pipe with pool plaster mix on the pool side.polaris-thru-the-wall

Over the Deck: For this method, stub the pipe up out of the ground next to the pool deck, and use a 90° fitting just above the height of the pool deck. Using quick connect garden hose fittings, attach a short length of 3/4″ HD garden hose, to run across the deck. On the pool side end of the hose, a garden hose adapter and Polaris G-9 adapter is used to connect the Polaris cleaner.Polaris over-the-deck


For the Polaris pressure pool cleaner to be fully automatic, one of it’s best features, you wire it to its own timeclock, which is powered by its own 15 or 20 amp breaker. If you have a 100 amp sub-panel (small grey breaker box) at the equipment pad, you probably have enough juice to add a new breaker.

intermatic-timer-for-polarisFrom the booster pump breaker, wires connect to the time clock, and from the timeclock, wires connect to the booster pump. Wires must be encased in conduit with proper connection fittings, and the booster pump must be connected to the bare copper bonding wire. An electrician should perform the work, or at least certify that your work meets local codes. See the Polaris booster pump owner’s manual for specific wiring specs.

The booster pump timeclock should be programmed or set to turn on the pump, only within the time that the filter pump is operating. In other words, the filter pump should always be running, when the cleaner booster pump is running. Most Polaris pool cleaner timers are set to run about 2 hours per day.


Polaris cleaners come with 32′ of hose, which is more than is needed for most pools. To prevent tangling and improve performance, excess hose is cut-off or trimmed.

The first step is to cut the 10′ section of hose that attaches to the pool cleaner, to the depth of your deepest part of the pool. You can measure your pool depth with a Tele-Pole, and then cut off any excess. In other words, cut the clear hose to match the depth of your pool.

With the hose connected to the wall and the cleaner, stretch out the hose to the furthest point of the pool, and mark the point on the hose. Remove equal amounts of excess hose from the second and third 10′ sections to total the amount of extra hose. Slide the hose floats down and reconnect hose swivels, with arrows in direction of water flow.polaris-hose-schematic

It’s a bit of work to install a Polaris pressure pool cleaner where none has existed before, but not impossible! If you want the best performing pool cleaner, you have to work for it, I suppose.

Or call your favorite pool service guy to install your Polaris Pool Cleaner. You’ll save hundreds buying it online, and he’ll be glad for the extra work.

Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Cool Nights in a Hot Tub

spas-and-hot-tubs-at-fair-pricesIntroducing our new line up of Hot new hot tubs by AquaRock ~ and just in time for cool fall evenings, too!

My first piece of advice I have for you is to forget about those “Plug & Play” models, those spas or hot tubs that plug into any 120V outlet. Call an electrician to wire up a 240V, 50 amp breaker, with a safety cut-off switch, and do it all up to code.

Why? Because plug-in spas are hard to keep hot in cold weather, and many models can’t run the heater while you are using the jets. Plug-in type of hot tubs just don’t have enough power (amps) to run all of the spa features, and with only enough power for a 1 kw heater element, they are slow and costly to heat. They also tend to have small filters that make it hard to keep the water clear.

Here’s 4 models that are full size and full featured: with big 4kw heaters, large filter cartridges and powerful jet pumps. In other words, real spas and hot tubs!

Hampton Bay II 28L Spa


  • Rotomolded Shell with Full Foam insulation
  • 75″x75″x32″ – holds 300 gallons
  • Voltage: 240V/50amp
  • Pump: 4 hp, 2-speed
  • Filter: 50 SF cartridge filter
  • Heater: 4 Kw element
  • Lights: LED, 8 points of light
  • Ozone Purifier included
  • Balboa Digital Controls w/ LCD display


Pacific 33L Spa


  • Rotomolded Shell with Full Foam insulation
  • 84″x84″x34″ – holds 310 gallons
  • Voltage: 240V/50amp
  • Pump: 2 hp, 2-speed
  • Filter: 30 SF cartridge filter
  • Heater: 4 Kw element
  • Lights: LED, 11 points of light
  • Ozone Purifier included
  • Balboa Digital Controls w/ LCD display


Coral Coast 28L Spa


  • Acrylic Shell with Full Foam insulation
  • 75″x75″x32″ – holds 300 gallons
  • Voltage: 240V/50amp
  • Pump: 2 hp, 2-speed
  • Filter: 50 SF cartridge filter
  • Heater: 4 Kw element
  • Lights: LED, 11 points of light
  • Ozone Purifier included
  • Balboa Digital Controls w/ LCD display


Premier 54L Spa


  • Acrylic Shell with Full Foam insulation
  • 85″x85″x36″ – holds 400 gallons
  • Voltage: 240V/50amp
  • Pump: 2 hp, 2-speed and 1 hp, 1-speed
  • Filter: 50 SF cartridge filter
  • Heater: 4 Kw element
  • Lights: Color LED, lighted waterfall
  • Ozone Purifier included
  • Balboa Digital Controls w/ LCD display
  • Dual speakers, Blue Tooth Stereo


>> Spas and Hot Tubs don’t have to cost $12K, but a real hot tub will cost more than $1500. If you want a full featured spa, with full insulation, powerful pump and heater and a filter that won’t let you down. Take a look at our AquaRock spas by Strong Spas. Real Spas for only $4000 – $7000!


Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor



Cool Swimming Pool Cabanas

In my previous post, we talked all about adding a pool bar to your backyard paradise, and today we look at pool cabanas, small pavilions for lounging by the pool.

Pool cabanas not only provide shade and comfort, but are used to break up a boring fence line, or hide pool equipment or a less than perfect view beyond. Larger cabana roofs can also be used for mounting solar pool heater panels.

Take a look at these cool pool cabana ideas, and dream up your own ~ cabana boys not included!

Contemporary Pool Cabanas

Minimalism is the calling card of the modernist designer, with clean lines and smooth textures. Add your own touches to bring color and comfort. cool-pool-cabanas-1cool-pool-cabanas-4

Classic Pool Cabanas

For a more formal look, look to the gardens of the Mediterranean, an elegant style using classic lines and arches, blended with ornamental trees and manicured plants. cool-pool-cabanas-9cool-pool-cabanas-11

Southwestern Pool Cabanas

Southwestern design blends Mexican and American styles into a motif to match the house and grounds. Earth tone stone, wood and adobe materials.cool-pool-cabanas-10cool-pool-cabanas-13

4-Post Pool Cabanas

From a simple pergola design with a flat roof and curtains, to coastal and mountain themes, the 4-post pool cabana is quick to build and easy to accessorize!cool-pool-cabanas-3cool-pool-cabanas-6

3-sided Pool Cabanas

For pools in chilly climates, a 3-sided room can offer 3-season use, blocking prevailing winds and rain, and neighbor’s prying eyes. cool-pool-cabanas-2cool-pool-cabanas-5

Pool Cabana Installations

I looked up some pool cabana prices with a friend who builds home additions and the occasional cabana or pavilion. He told me that the average outdoor pool cabana “runs around $15K, but that could swing $10K in either direction, depending on size and materials”.

Oh well, my new backyard pool cabana may have to wait another year before the dream is realized. It’s going to happen though, I have the perfect space for a 3-sided cabana! I’ll post pictures when it’s completed!

Dana Katz
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Favorite Dogs on Pool Floats


Dogs have always loved the water, and for some dogs there is nothing better than a comfortable pool float on a hot day.

Disney’s Goofy certainly enjoys the pool, but not all dogs do. If you want to see if you dog likes to float, see my tips at the end.

Here’s a fun look at some water dogs that are enjoying the dog days of summer while floating in the swimming pool.







giphy-dog-jumps-on-pool-float-4When shark dogs attack! Haha, many dogs aren’t comfortable when wet or are intimidated by the size of the pool.

For small dogs, start slow by carrying them into the pool, cradled in your arms. Larger dogs can be led into the steps. Although you can lead a dog to water, you can’t make them swim.

If they are comfortable and not resisting the water, encourage them to swim, and reward their efforts.

Practice swimming to the safety of the pool steps, until they know where all the exits are located.



It may seem obvious, but your run of the mill inflatable pool rafts and mattresses could be punctured. Dogs also need enough support to lounge like this one shown here.

Closed foam pool floats are durable, but most dogs prefer the larger pool floats filled with eps foam beads and covered in a sturdy mesh fabric, like the Aqua Cloud pool float.

Larger dogs, or more than one can stretch out on the 5’x6′ Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville NeoSoff Mattress. Neoprene covered PVC bladder is tough and comfy.


Get your dog in the pool, but remember to watch dogs closely while in the pool, to lend a hand if needed.


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Who Invented Pools? A History of Swimming Pools


There’s over 10 million pools in the United States today, but swimming pools were not always so prevalent. The last 50 years has seen an explosion of growth in backyard pools, once a luxury only available to those with names like Vanderbilt and Getty.

Pakistan 2500 B.C.

The Great Bath is credited as being the first man-made pool, built of stone and brick and coated with Bitumite tar. Discovered in 1926, it was thought to be used for spiritual bathing by the ancient Indus Valley people, who lived in the south of modern-day Pakistan. No lap swimming or water polo.


The Great Bath at Mohenjo-daro in Sindh, Pakistan

Greece 700 B.C.

Ancient Greece is well known for the love of public baths, and as the Greek Philopsopher Plato stated, “A man is not learned until he can read, write and swim“. And Hippocrates recommended a daily scented bath and oil massage. Bathing is popular, but swimming, or playing pool games? Not so much, not even Marco Polo.


Ancient Greek baths were especially popular during summer!

Rome 100 A.D.

And public baths were also a way of life in the Roman empire, and they were built in typically grand Roman style. The Caracalla baths in Rome, were fed a constant supply of fresh water from hills over 50 miles away, via a system of aquaducts. And, the first heated pool was installed by Gaius Maecenas during the first century. However, still not too much swimming, although ‘state swimmers’ trained in Roman pools for competition.

Artists Rendering of the Caracalla baths in Rome

Artists Rendering of the Caracalla baths in Rome, imgarcade

The Dark Ages 400 – 1800 A.D.

These were dark times for swimming pool builders, and I’m sure many were forced out of business after the fall of the Roman empire. Exercise eventually grew out of fashion, and bathing also unfortunately became a rare event.

England 1830

The modern era for pools was ushered in by Great Britain, who made great strides in water treatment and management, and due to alarming drowning rates, had 6 public pools built in London by 1837. Popularity in swimming as a sport grew as a result, and in 1869, the Amateur Swimming Association was formed to promote the skill, the sport and the exercise of swimming .

St. George Baths, London

St. George Baths, London

Olympics 1896

The modern Olympic games began in 1896 with competitive swimming as an Olympic event, which has undoubtedly has had a lasting effect on the popularity of the sport. At the 1896 games in Athens, Greece, 20,000 spectators viewed 4 swimming events, held in the open water ocean, because funds could not be raised to build a suitable pool.


Swimming at the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens

Texas 1915

Deep Eddy pool is the oldest swimming pool in Texas which began as a popular swimming hole in the Colorado River, became a resort in the 1920s, and is today a popular swimming pool operated by the City of Austin. Deep Eddy is not the very first swimming pool in the US, that claim belongs to others, but I’m from Texas!


Deep Eddy Pool – image from Austin Historical Center

California 1920

William Randolph Hearst built the spectacular Neptune pool, and filled it with 350,000 gallons of water from the Santa Lucia mountains. Built to grand proportions, it’s one of the first pools to use Gunite for construction. Surrounded by Greek and Roman statues, pavilions and collonades, it features the facade of an ancient Roman temple.


Hearst Castle image by Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0, WikiCommons

Hollywood 1940

As Hearst castle became the playground to Hollywood elite, the pool was featured in many early Hollywood movies. Hollywood blockbusters soon would feature pools as the toys of the rich and famous, and later in the decade, movies by Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller glamorized the ‘cool’ pool lifestyle (and synchronized swimming).

Florida shaped pool at Cypress Gardens, from the historic postcard collection of Russell Hughes.

Esther Williams at Cypress Gardens, Florida, from the collection of Russell Hughes.

Hotels 1960

Give some credit to the American hotels and motels that began installing swimming pools  to lure guests during the 1950’s. By the time I was growing up in the 70’s, nearly all hotels had to have a pool, if they wanted to compete for family and business travelers. That hasn’t changed much, pools are still a popular resort option for hotel guests.

Cabana Bay Resort, Orlando, Fla -

Cabana Bay Resort, Orlando, Fla – a New Hotel completed in 2016

Homes Today

A tip of the hat to all 8 million pool owners in the US – you are the real reason that the swimming pool has evolved from a community bath tub, to a source of backyard entertainment and exercise. Since 1949, companies like Anthony Pools and Doughboy pools have put a pool within reach of millions. Construction methods and technology has made swimming pools affordable and nearly maintenance free, with fun pool floats and shark robots!


Cool Pool Conveniences like Shark Robots!

OK, maybe not shark robots, but other cool pool conveniences that make pool ownership easier and more fun. Thanks for reading this history of swimming pools, you are part of it – if you own a pool, count yourself among the leisure elite!


Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor



Winter Pool Cover Reviews

drpool-cover-lgWelcome students of pool, take your seat and today’s lesson can begin.

Now then, winter pool covers is the subject for discussion and specifically, pool cover reviews. What does America think of InTheSwim pool covers?

I naturally think our covers are great. Having been on hand in the development of our Polar pool covers, I can vouch for their quality of construction, but how do our customers feel about our covers?

Summary of Winter Pool Cover Reviews

Being a scientist, I wanted to look at the review data, make comparisons and draw some conclusions. My hypothesis was that through analysis of hundreds of individual pool cover reviews, an overall community consensus would become apparent.

I was excited to discover which of our 5 swimming pool cover grades would be voted the most-loved pool cover! Surely it would be our best cover, the Polar Protector, or perhaps the mid-grade Polar Plus cover would emerge the winner.

After tabulation of hundreds of pool cover reviews, an average review score or rating was produced for each of our 5 cover grades.

May I have the envelope please?


economy-winter-pool-coversEconomy 3.73 Average Review Score

  • 8×6 filament scrim
  • Double stitched borders
  • Navy Blue top, Black bottom

“I did not want an expensive cover because of the size of my pool. Covers are always hard for me to clean so I just throw them away each year. I was also looking for something that is light weight and this fit perfectly.” – Veer



swimming-pool-cover-reviewsPolar3.90 Average Review Score

  • 8×8 filament scrim
  • Triple dipped coating
  • Navy Blue top, Black bottom

“Covers fits very well. Material appears very durable. The aluminum eyelets in the reinforced edge are spaced around the perimeter in pairs. The cover does appear strong so I am hoping it will last a long time.” – Solosi



polar-plus-winter-pool-cover-reviews-3-6Polar Plus3.59 Average Review Score

  • 10×10 filament scrim
  • Triple dipped coating
  • Green top, Black bottom

“I purchased a pool cover for a 15’×30′ pool and am happy that the cover comes larger. Other places don’t give you that extra material, and they slip when water collects on top of the cover. Very happy with it.” – Robbielu44



intheswim-winter-pool-cover-reviewsSuper Polar Plus 3.57 Average Review Score

  • Rip-Stop Intelligent Weave
  • Triple dipped coating
  • Heat Welded seams

“Just installed this cover and it looks good. The real test will be the Vermont snow and the load of leaves that come down. The longest we have had any cover last is about 6 years and most covers last less.” – Patty



polar-protector-winter-cover-reviewPolar Protector 3.60 Average Review Score

  • 12×12 filament scrim
  • Triple dipped coating
  • Tan color, 5 ft overlap

“Bought this 3 weeks ago. We put the pool away today and this cover is a must. It is lighter than most covers, very strong and durable, and easy to pull across the pool. It made closing the pool a lot easier.” – Happy Camper



Fun experiment, but it turns out that my hypothesis and assumptions, were incorrect. All five pool cover types have similar customer review scores, with average star ratings of between 3.6 and 3.9 stars, out of 5.0 total.

The reason we have so many pool cover types, is to match so many wallet sizes. We like to say that we have a cover for every budget, but what we really have is 5 different grades of quality pool covers.

Let us know your review of our winter pool covers!


Dr. Pool

Dr. Pool

3 of the World’s Most Famous Extreme Pools

worlds-most-famous-extreme-poolsDreaming of a tropical vacation? Ocean waters may be calling your name but before you hit the surf, consider some alternatives. The world’s most renowned pools are giving seaside resorts a run for their money. We’ve rounded up three must-see pools across the globe to inspire your next trip. Not going anywhere soon? Use these examples as inspiration to recreate a world-class feel in your backyard and tide you over until your next vacation.


Marina Bay Sands

The name of this Singapore resort may evoke images of an average waterfront escape but, as the world’s most expensive hotel, the Marina Bay Sands is far from the common retreat. Atop the resort’s immense towers – 650 feet above the ground – the boat-shaped SkyPark provides guests with a sky-high swimming experience. This striking infinity pool stretches an impressive 150 meters across Sands SkyPark and offers guests the best skyline of any 5-star hotel in Singapore.

Home Tip: Perhaps bringing the Singapore skyline to your home isn’t a reality, but you can make your pool pop by giving your backyard the look and feel of a 5-star hotel with posh outdoor furnishings.


San Alfonso del Mar

The artificial beaches at the San Alfonso del Mar have visitors fooled. The resort, located in Algarrobo, Chile, sits adjacent to the Pacific Ocean and boasts waterfront appeal. But it’s not the ocean that calls thousands of annual visitors to the famous locale; the hotel is home to the world’s largest saltwater lagoon in the world. The massive pool, with its temperate waters and tame waves, is the main attraction. Complete with soft white sands that stretch for miles along the faux coastline, its no surprise resort guests often mistake the hotel pool for the beach. This creation by Crystal Lagoons is larger than 20 Olympic-sized pools and feels like a real beach. It pumps water directly in from the sea using a computer-controlled suction and filtration system.

Home Tip: Don’t have 20 acres or access to 66 million gallons of ocean water? No problem. If you own a pool, you can recreate the feel of the ocean with the right pool supplies. For example, a salt chlorine generator removes the chlorine pool smell and leaves you with softer, smoother waters to enjoy.


The Gellert Baths

Known as the “City of Baths,” travelers from around the world head to Budapest for its Turkish baths, some dating back to 16th and 17th centuries. Budapest remains the only capital city in the world that is rich in thermal springs with healing qualities, and the city provides guests with ample options for a relaxing soak. But if you’re looking for sheer elegance, The Hotel Gellert gives guests the full experience with its famous Gellert Thermal Baths.

Home Tip: The resort’s classic art nouveau style adds to the luxury experience. To create the look in your backyard, upgrade your outdoor surroundings with equally chic old-world elements like an ornate water fountain that’s both calming and aesthetically pleasing.

The next time you’re in Chile, Hungary or Singapore, check out these ‘bucket list’ swimming pools. Until then, enjoy a smaller version of the same thing, in your own backyard.


Sheryl Sollis
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Best Safety Cover for Inground Pools

The first safety pool safety cover patent was awarded in 1960 to Fred Meyer Jr., who founded a company called Meyco products. In 1978, a co-inventor of the safety cover Bill Donaton, left Meyco and formed Loop-Loc.

Then came Anchor, Cantar (now GLI), Merlin, Hinspergers (HPI), and Rayner in the 80’s and 90’s. Lots of folks make safety pool covers, which one is best?

With so many companies offering so many cover material choices, it can be hard to decide, so here’s my favorites – 2 Solid and 2 Mesh safety covers, in Lightweight and Heavy Duty fabric.

HPI AquaMaster


AquaMaster solid safety covers by HPI are made from reinforced vinyl fabric coated to withstand weather and sun, and protect from pool chemicals. AquaMaster covers are sewn together with double seams, on the top and bottom of the cover and feature a center drain panel.
20×40′ Rectangle $959, 10 yr Warranty

GLI Hyper-Lite


HyPerLite solid safety covers by GLI use 4th generation technology to create a cover that is lighter and stronger than any other. PVC coated polyester fabric is strong enough to withstand punctures from tree branches and even strong enough to support deer without breakage.
20×40 Rectangle $1510, 15 yr Warranty

Meyco MeycoLite


The MeycoLite pool cover by Meyco products is the original mesh pool safety cover that started it all. The woven polyester fabric is much improved over the original, but the design and fabrication is still a classic. Weighs only 4 lbs per 100 sq ft, but is tough as nails.
20×40 Rectangle $850, 10 yr Warranty

GLI ProMesh


The Pro Mesh safety cover blocks 99% of sunlight, preventing algae growth that can be a problem for pools in sunny locations. Pro Mesh is also 50% stronger in tensile strength, and because the fibers are thicker, more resistant to weather, abrasion or tree branch damage.
20×40 Rectangle $1330, 15 yr Warranty

~ Looking at our list of 4 of the best safety pool covers, with example pricing for a 20×40 pool (price your size and shape safety covers here), you really only have two decisions to make:

  • Solid or Mesh Safety Cover?
  • Lightweight or Heavy Duty?

Installing a safety cover on your inground pool takes just a few hours, and then it’s easy-on, easy-off – no more struggling with slimy solid covers and water bags!

Take it from me, a safety pool cover is definitely worth the extra initial expense. I love mine and wouldn’t go back to a solid cover, even if you paid me to…


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Swimming Pool Renovations: Before and After


There’s nothing quite like a Before and After photo, to show how far something or someone has improved.

Today’s photo-blog is an idea book for swimming pool renovation and remodeling. These photos are courtesy of the proud pool builders who helped a homeowners dream come true.


Cipriano Landscape received a lot of attention for this pool and grounds re-do a few years ago. A very dramatic pool and backyard remodel.


Outdoor Living Pool & Patio added a Baja Shelf, for toddlers to play or for use as a tanning shelf (or a water polo goal). Also replaced the old school tile, coping and plaster. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-3

Humble Sparkling Pool Service renovated this pool to include a separate hot tub, planter and water feature design. And also replaced the blue tile, brick coping and paver deck. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-4

Freestyle Pools & Spas matched this vanilla pool to the tropical surroundings with stone decking, raised spa, dark plaster and tile, and lots of tropical plants. A real lagoon would not be rectangular, so the shape of the pool was modified. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-5

Another Freestyle Pools & Spas renovation. After removing the safety fence, this facelift added a spillover spa, custom molded coping, glass tile and a travertine deck. Sweet!pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-6

Freestyle again with a customer tired of the sterile look on this once modern pool and spa. Darker plaster and tile, with natural stones and tropical plants really changes the pool look.pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-7

Desert Springs Renovations changed this pool and spa combo for a family that loved the pools at Disney resorts. Large rocks, waterfalls and muted colors make it happen. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-8

Colleys Pools takes charge on a vinyl pool renovation with new liner, decking, fence and gravel surround, making this pool much more appealing. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-9

Aqua 1 Pools replaces a textured concrete deck and brick coping with a travertine stone (very popular now), and straightens out the water quality issue. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-2

J. Designs Pool & Spa brought this pool up to date with a complete deck replacement, cantilevered over the edge of the pool, capping a modern pool tile color. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-10

In this complete backyard renovation, the pool shape is perfect for a mountain lake design, with overhanging stone decking, and boulders surrounded by evergreen bushes.pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-1

Shasta Pools brought this pool deck and edge up to date by removing the ‘Flintstones’ pool edge and the Kool Deck, replacing with a travertine stone and matching tile. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-2

Another Shasta Pool project, removing accent tiles and perimeter tile and replacing white plaster with a blue bead surface.pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-3

Shasta has done over 30,000 pool renovations, below is an updated the pool/spa combo turned water feature, and replaced dated tile with a stone finish. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-4

“The 80’s called, they want their red brick and blue tile back!” Splash Pools transforms this dated raised spa in a clean and modern design. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-5

Another Splash Pools renovation adds pedestal planters and water features, replaces the cantilever deck with cast concrete and travertine, and gave the tile and plaster a facelift.pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-6

Splash Pools turned this boring inground spa into an infinity spa, overflowing on the far side (which looks out to a lake). Finished with a large rustic stone and a stamped concrete deck. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-7

The color scheme non-existent, MA Pools replaced the pool tile and coping with a dark color to match the stamped and stained pool deck. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-8

Another J. Designs Pool & Spa brought this pool up to date by with a colored, textured and scored concrete deck, and a more neutral color for perimeter pool tile.  pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-9

I hope you enjoyed looking at these 19 pool re-design ideas as much as I did! Every 25 years or so, you can plan on a pool rehab.

Why not dream big and make it into your dream pool? Remodeling and renovating a pool on the scale of these shown above is affordable and adds value to your home.


Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor


Pool Bars for Backyard Parties

backyard-pool-barWhether it’s a swim-up bar, a built-in bar on the pool deck or a standalone tiki-style bar, adding a bar to your backyard pool area is a great upgrade. Just as the kitchen is the heart of the home, the pool bar can be a place where friends and family gather when you entertain around the pool. Pool and Patio bars are also a great place to enjoy a meal. Follow these tips when planning your backyard space to bring everyone together.

Consider the Scale of the Project

swim-up-barBefore planning anything, consider how much space you have to work with and how much you can afford to spend on the project. These parameters will help you determine what’s realistic and whether this is a DIY project or one requiring the expertise of seasoned professionals. For instance, if you’re on a tight budget and have some space restrictions, purchasing a smaller poolside bar/counter will cost up to $500, whereas an in-pool swim-up bar will cost in the thousands of dollars and require professional design and installation. Instructables.com has a great DIY Poolside Tiki Bar project for just a few hundred dollars in materials.

Select a Style of Pool Bar

pool-tiki-bar-instructablesThe best poolside bars complement their surroundings instead of steal the show as the center of attention. Let the style of your home and landscaping dictate the style of your pool bar. For a yard with a tropical feel, a Tiki Bar with thatched roof is the ideal addition to the backyard. If your backyard has a more formal and ordered layout, a simple stacked stone bar can blend nicely with the hardscape. Whatever your style, the goal is for the bar to blend seamlessly, so stick to the same materials that you already have in place throughout your pool area to create a consistent, cohesive look. Accessorize your bar by adding a theme to your new pool hangout; nautical, tropical, country; whatever you’re into.

Consider the Climate

ramada-pool-bar-and-outdoor-fireplaceThere are a variety of accoutrements you can add to the bar area to keep the temperature comfortable throughout the year. Shade is essential to any great outdoor gathering area. Building the bar under a simple shade structure like a Wood Ramada is one way to accomplish this, but installing a large shade umbrella over the bar area is equally effective for those on a tight budget. If you live in a dry, desert climate like the Southwest, a mister system can be a worthwhile indulgence to bear 100°+ heat. Likewise, stay warm on cool autumn and spring evenings by adding a propane patio heater near the bar to warm up a little quicker after a late night dip.

Coordinate Your Furniture

pool-stools-underwater-stoolsBring the entire scene together by selecting bar stools and bar-top decor that coordinates with the rest of your patio furniture. If you aren’t able to find bar stools that match your furniture exactly, make sure they’re at least in the same color palette. Check out these lighted Pool Stools for poolside or swim-up bars. Then you can tie the look together with outdoor throw pillows—add them on the chaise lounges, patio chairs and bar stools for a cozy, welcoming flourish. Finally, consider adding a large hammock, wind chimes and bird feeders in matching colors.


We like to explore all topics of pool decor on this blog, for more ways to add style and substance to your pool, see our Fun Stuff category, and design your own poolside bar to serve family and friends, around the pool!


Dana Katz
InTheSwim Staff Blogger