Poolscaping Can Add Beauty and Privacy to Your Garden
Are you considering installing a pool in your backyard, but still want a garden that will look good and offer privacy while being practical to maintain? That’s where pool landscaping — or poolscaping — comes in!
Pool landscaping is slightly different to regular garden landscaping as the materials used need to be:
- Water resistant
- Heat resistant
- Able to withstand salt and chemicals
Poolscaping isn’t just about the hard materials though, it can also incorporate planting, lighting, water features, fencing and other structures.
The good news is, there are many options for styling the deck and gardens around your in-ground pool so you can find the design that best fits your family’s needs while still ticking the practicality boxes.
What to Consider When Designing Your Poolscape
Although a good pool landscaper, like Ottawa Home and Garden, will be able to offer plenty of expert advice on what makes a good poolscape, you will also want to make sure your own style and taste is taken into account. Before meeting with your designer consider:
- What is your vision for your backyard pool landscape? Natural, modern or even tropical; an idea of the overall feel you wish to achieve will help when it comes to making decisions about the materials, plants and lighting you choose.
- What space do you need in your garden? For example, will you want a dining area, space for lounging chairs, hot tub, BBQ or play space?
- How much planting would you prefer? Do you want a garden that looks after itself or do you enjoy using your green thumbs?
- Do you need / want to create shade?
- What is your budget?
To get inspiration, check out what your neighbours have done or see these 40 pool landscaping ideas from HGTV for some beautiful examples of what can be achieved.
What Are the Best Pool Landscaping Materials for Ottawa?
The first thing to consider when installing an in-ground pool is your preferred material for your pool surround or pool deck area.
It is important to choose something that will stand up to weather extremes, is practical to maintain and complements the rest of your garden landscape.
Commonly used materials for pool landscaping include:
- Natural Stone Interlock: Individual paving stones which are placed together in a desired pattern. These may be made from a variety of natural stones such as flagstone, travertine or limestone. Interlock is able to expand and contract with extreme weather conditions making this an ideal choice for Poolscaping in Ottawa.
- Concrete: Concrete is a hardy, non-slip, material that is cheaper than natural stone and very low maintenance. Concrete slabs can be made to size and used as interlock directly around the side of a pool. Stamped, poured concrete is also an option used in many locations for pool surrounds, but not recommended for the weather conditions of Ottawa.
- Rocks: Feature rocks in the pool and garden area can add an ornamental focal point and break up straight lines.
- Wood: An aesthetically pleasing material which can give a natural look to the pool surround. Wood is not recommended as a floor option in Ottawa due to the maintenance that would be required, but it can be used in fencing or other structures.
Types of Plants to Use for Pool Landscaping
Green spaces, flora and fauna are an important part of your pool landscape if you want it to still feel like a garden. Plants and trees can create shade, focal points, colour and privacy in your poolscape.
The plants and layout you choose can make the difference between a simple, clean look or a luscious backyard paradise.
Be sure to consider the types of plants that will thrive in your climate and region. According to Natural resources Canada, Ottawa is hardiness zone 5a. Your local nurseries or your landscaper should be able to advise the most appropriate plants and trees to do well in this climate zone, and will also take into account your soil, whether your garden is exposed to wind etc.
These Poolscaping Extras Will Make Your Backyard an Oasis
To add some finishing touches and your personal style to your pool landscape, consider the following extras:
Lighting: Add strategic lighting to your pool and poolscape to create a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere. Lights can be placed in the bottom of your pool, round its edge or in trees and shrubbery. Just avoid any raised lighting that could be a tripping hazard.
Water features: Add a waterfall, fountain or wall fountain to your pool landscape for a focal point that reflects your personality. The sound of moving water is also ideal for masking external noises like traffic.
Furniture: Don’t forget to add comfortable furniture for lounging by the pool.
Fencing: The City of Ottawa rules say pools must be fenced. In most cases, your yard fence will be sufficient. Your poolscape designer should be able to guide you and offer suggestions for fencing solutions that don’t distract from the ambience of your garden.
As you can see, with a little bit of pre-planning, you can create a beautiful and functional poolscape your family will enjoy for years to come.
Ottawa Home and Garden for all Your Ottawa Area Poolscape Needs
Ottawa Home and Garden is your local expert for all your in-ground pool installation and pool landscaping needs. Serving the Ottawa region since 1998, we are a premier pool installation and landscaping company, offering pool design and poolscaping as a complete service.
We will work with you to ensure your new pool and surrounding landscape is everything you dreamed it would be as well as advising on practical matters such as permits.
Our entire service, from first consultation to completion, is carried out by our in-house team, ensuring a seamless process.
Our expertise doesn’t stop at the pool design and installation, we can also design patios, steps, walkways, stone features, lighting and anything else that your pool landscape needs.
Contact us today for more information and to get one step closer to your dream pool.
Fun Games to Play in Your Backyard Pool This Summer
Who doesn’t love playing fun swimming pool games on a hot day? We certainly do! In the heat of a scorching summer, having good old-fashioned pool fun is just the ticket to cool off and bring family and friends together. Inflatable floaties and pool toys are fun, but how do you entertain a bunch of people? Bring on the games!
Whether you’re hosting a child’s pool party or you want to get some friends together, we’ve got the swimming pool games for you.
Pool Games for Kids
These swimming pool games can be adapted to suit kids of any age. So even if your littlest tyke needs a bit of help floating around, they can get in on the fun too.
Ping Pong Ball Roundup
You Will Need:
- 4-5 dozen ping pong balls
- A black permanent marker
- A prize
How to Prepare:
- Before the game, use your permanent marker to write a random number on each ping pong ball
How to Play:
- Separate the players into two teams
- Get each group to choose a home base outside of the pool
- Throw all the ping pong balls into the pool
- The players must collect as many ping pong balls as possible before taking them back to their home base
- Add up the numbers – the team with the highest number wins the prize
You Will Need:
- A large sponge, such as a car-washing sponge
- A bucket
How to Prepare:
- Fill the bucket with water.
- Then, soak the sponge in the bucket.
How to Play:
- Choose a player to stand outside the pool and be the tagger.
- The tagger throws the wet sponge and tries to hit another player.
- The player that gets hit becomes the tagger and steps out of the pool to throw the sponge again.
Pool Noodle Boat Race
You Will Need:
- A pool noodle
- A few coloured foam craft sheets
- Some plastic straws
- A pair of scissors
- A hole-punch
- A sharp knife
- A prize
How to Prepare:
What we’re doing here is creating mini boats with a cut up pool noodle.
- With your knife, cut the pool noodle into slices at least 2 inches thick.
- Use your scissors to cut some triangles out of the craft foam sheets. They should measure about 3 inches on each side.
- Punch one hole close to the top and one at the center close to the bottom of each triangle.
- With your knife, carefully cut one small slit into the top of each pool noodle slice at one end.
- Thread a straw through each triangle to act as a sail.
- Insert the bottom of each straw into the slit in each piece.
How to Play:
- The players should stand side-by-side in the shallow end.
- Place one boat in front of each player.
- The object is to move the ships to the other end of the pool without touching them.
- The first boat to reach the other side wins the prize!
Swimming Pool Games for Teens and Adults
Teens and adults are usually more comfortable in the water, so they’re able to go under it or move around with greater agility. These swimming pool games are better suited for confident swimmers.
You Will Need:
- A bunch of items that will float
- A bunch of things that will sink
- A timer
How to Play:
- Divide players into two teams
- Throw half of the things into the pool (half of the floating things and half of the sinking things), making sure they spread out
- Set a timer for 15 minutes
- Have half the players stand at the edge of the pool
- When the timer starts, the players jump into the water
- The object of the game is for each player to catch as many items as they can, keeping whatever they find
- 4 inflatable pool floaties
- A pack of plastic ball pit balls
- 4 plastic baskets
How to Play:
- Give 4 players a basket each and have them lie face down on the pool floaties
- Once everyone is on their floatie, release the balls
- The object is for each player to grab as many balls as possible until all of them are claimed
How to Play:
- Pick 1 player to be “it”
- Position that player in the pool at one end, blindfolded, while the rest of the players spread out in the water
- The player who is “it” counts to 10 and shouts “Marco!”
- All other players then call “Polo!” and move around to avoid being tagged
- The player who is “it” tries to find and catch all the players who shout “Polo!” while blindfolded
- The “it” player can call “Marco” as often as needed
Pool Games for the Whole Family
Pool fun doesn’t have to be exclusionary. With a bit of help, everyone from the youngest child to the oldest grandparent can take part in these swimming pool games.
How to Play:
- When all the players are in the pool, get them to join hands in a chain
- The player at the snake’s “head” starts moving around the pool while the other guests try to hold on and follow
- If anyone lets go, they are out of the game
- The remaining players link up again and keep playing
- When you get down to 2 players, have them play a game of tug-of-war to determine the winner
Pass the Water
You Will Need:
- A plastic cup for every player
How to Play:
- Divide the players into 2 teams, and have the teams line up back-to-front in the pool
- The player at the front fills their cup with water, then raises it over their head and pours the water into the next player’s cup, and so on
- When the water reaches the final person, the last player swims to the front and starts all over again.
- The game ends when the person who started at the front ends up at the back.
Some of the most memorable summers are spent playing fun pool games in your backyard. With an in-ground pool, you’ve got a ready source of entertainment, not to mention exercise and stress relief. Have you been thinking about having a pool installed? Give us a call. We can help!
Pool Fountains, Waterfalls and Other Cool Water Features for your In-Ground Swimming Pool
While an in-ground swimming pool is an amazing addition to any backyard, you can turn it into a truly eye-catching focal point with the addition of one or more pool water features.
Pool water features not only add visual attraction, but also movement, sound and a feeling of tranquility to your backyard oasis.
From a simple deck jet to a custom-built rock wall with a cascading waterfall, there are a multitude of options to suit every style – from linear and contemporary to the ambience of a rustic natural spa.
The look, sound and feel of water running through a water feature can bring a whole new level of enjoyment to time spent in your backyard pool.
The Many Benefits of Pool Water Features:
Including pool water features into your in-ground pool and poolscape design can bring many benefits, such as:
- An attractive focal point: Moving water, rock walls, decorative tile and sconces will add extra visual interest to your pool and create the feeling of a resort in your own backyard.
- Sound: The gentle noise of a pool water feature creates a subtle barrier to external noise such as roads or air traffic, bringing tranquility into your garden. Natural sounds like running water have been proven to be stress-reducing too, which can aid relaxation and help the stressors of the day melt away.
- Added enjoyment: Kids and adults alike can enjoy the fun of playing with and near a pool water feature. Whether it’s a sheet waterfall to hide behind or a bubbler tickling the toes of a tiny tot, moving water can make the pool experience even more interactive and fun.
- Cleaner, cooler water: When water circulates through a pool water feature, it helps to keep chemicals well distributed, and prevent any build ups caused by stagnancy. Circulating water also helps to cool your main pool as it continually aerates.
- Added value: An in-ground pool with added water features will increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to buyers.
11 Types of Swimming Pool Water Features:
There are numerous options when it comes to choosing water features for your swimming pool. The type of water feature depends on your preferences, style, the best fit with your pool design, your budget, the materials you wish to use and the ambience you are hoping to create.
Your pool design and installation company will be able to offer suggestions as to what additions will work best in your landscape and within your budget.
Here are 11 water features that you can add to your in-ground pool.
- Pool Fountain: Ornamental fountains can be located around the pool or even in the pool. Whether traditional or modern they add a visual focal point.
- Pool Deck Jets: Thin streams of water that rise out of the pool deck and arc directly into the pool. The height and distance of the arc can be varied and LED lights can be added for a stunning modern night-time effect.
- Pool Waterfall Feature: A popular feature for those hoping to achieve a natural or spa-like finish. Real or faux rocks are used to create the base for a trickling or cascading waterfall.
- Sheer Descent: Eye-catching and modern. A thin, smooth veil of water that arcs into the pool from a long narrow opening in the pool edge or in a poolside wall.
- Wall Water Feature / Water Wall: A modern version of the waterfall, here the water runs vertically either directly on the wall surface or with a slight gap, ending in the main pool or a collector.
- Water bowls A decorative bowl, usually perched on a wall or platform at the edge of the main pool. Water builds up and spills over the edge in a natural way.
- Rain Curtain / Cascade: A thin sheet of water that falls directly from an overhang, ledge or even a roof, directly into the pool like a curtain.
- Scupper / Spout: Water is channeled into the pool from a slot or spout located within a high pool wall or pedestal. Huge variety of options available with this feature.
- Sconce / Statuary: A decorative feature or statuette attached to a wall, or freestanding on the deck, from which water flows into the pool.
- Bubblers / Gushers: Fun and visually exciting, bubblers are jets embedded directly into the pool floor, usually in a shallow area or graduated entrance. The water gushes up either to or past the surface where it creates a tumbling, bubbling cascade. Include colour changing LED lights for an amazing after-dark display.
- Spa Spillway / Spillover: A great option for pools with a built-in raised spa. Overflow water can escape directly over the side or via notched openings into the main pool below.
To see examples of some of these options, or to get some inspiration, check out these 50 spectacular pool water features.
Considerations When Choosing Water Features for your Pool
Before you go ahead and meet with your pool design and installation company, consider these points first:
- Remember to choose the water features that will complement your home and pool architecture and materials.
- Proportion and scale are important – don’t try to cram too much into a small poolscape.
- Any existing landscape features to work with or around? Sloping gardens can be utilized for gorgeous natural waterfalls for example.
- Water features do require ongoing maintenance – don’t take on more than you have time for.
Overall, you can’t go wrong if you choose to include water features in your pool design. They are a great way to add excitement, beauty and tranquility to your pool area.
Add Water Features to Your Backyard Poolscape with Ottawa Home and Garden
The best time to add water features to your pool is when it is being designed! Ottawa Home and Garden, your local Ottawa in-ground pool design and installation experts can help you with every step of the journey towards your dream backyard pool.
Based in Ottawa and serving the local region, our team will work with you to find the most suitable water features to enhance your enjoyment of your swimming pool.
Backyard Pool Shapes and Sizes
When it comes to choosing the size and shape of your in-ground backyard pool, your options can seem almost limitless. From plunge pools to lap pools, rectangular to free-form, backyard pool sizes and shapes are available to suit every backyard, every taste and every budget.The size and shape of in-ground pool that best suits your backyard will be determined by a number of factors including:
- The size of your backyard and where you want the pool to go
- If the terrain of your lot is flat or terraced
- Your budget
- What you will want to use the pool for
- The number of people that will be using the pool
Before setting your dreams on a certain shape or size of pool, make sure to speak to a local pool designer or installer such as Ottawa Home & Garden, who can give you some expert advice on what will best fit your needs
Common Sizes for Backyard Pools
Although in-ground pool sizes can range from as small as 3 meters by 3 meters, to as large as 12 meters (40 feet) long, there are some dimensions of swimming pools that are most commonly seen in backyards.
For pools based on a rectangular shape, a typical length to width ratio is 2:1 to look aesthetically pleasing. Of course, custom or freeform pools will have measurements to suit the space they are designed for.
The following sizes of in-ground pools suit most average sized lots while providing enough room for the whole family to enjoy the water:
- 3 x 6 m – Suits smaller families who are looking for a spot to cool off and splash around.
- 5 x 10 m – holds more people at one time with space for ball games or exercise.
- 6 x 12 m – good for a larger family or those who want to do some aquatic exercise such as swimming laps.
Compact pools, also known as cocktail pools and plunge pools, are smaller than regular pools, with edges no longer than 3 or 4 meters, as they are intended only for cooling off.
Lap pools can be as long as 12 meters but are usually a fairly narrow 2 or 3 meters as they are used for swimming lengths primarily.
Bear in mind that the bigger your pool gets, the more expensive it will be and the more maintenance will be required. If you want to retain some patio space, an outdoor eating area or garden, you will also need to factor that in when deciding what size your new pool will be.
Popular In-Ground Pool Shapes
Shapes for in-ground pools range from the simple and classical rectangular based to eye-catching custom shapes and everything in-between.
One good thing to consider when choosing the shape of your pool is do you want to maximize the swimming space, or would you prefer a shape that naturally creates a poolside patio?
Popular in-ground pool shapes include:
- Rectangular – A simple and practical shape that works for games and swimming. Linear pools are complementary to a more formal garden and can be dressed up with water features.
- Roman – A rectangle with an arch or curve at one or both ends. Gives a classical twist that softens up the geometric lines.
- Square – Usually reserved for plunge pools or cocktail pools, a great option for small gardens where the pool is intended to be a statement rather than practical
- Round or Oval – These shapes are usually chosen for their design appeal. Although not ideal for lap swimming, they can make a great space for socializing and playing.
- Kidney – Like an oval but with an indent on one side that creates a natural patio space. Popular as their natural shape blends well into most gardens.
- L-Shaped – This shape is great when you have multiple purposes for your pool. The long pool can be deeper for lap swimming while the foot of the L can be a shallow play space or tanning ledge.
- Lap – Long and narrow pools designed for length swimming. Lap pools are a good option for a narrow lot. Use of decorative tile, water walls or spouts can dress up this simple shape.
- Freeform – This style has lots of curves to its edges giving it an organic look. Can be adapted to fit around the garden landscape and incorporate natural or faux rocks to create a backyard oasis.
- Custom – Different to freeform, custom pools are usually in a specific shape. Think of a rock-star with a guitar shaped pool for example. Custom pools take longer to manufacture and cost more, but are completely unique.
For some inspiration on how differently shaped pools can enhance a backyard see this gallery of stunning in-ground pool designs.
How Do I Know Which Size and Shape of Pool is Right for My Backyard?
The right shape and size pool for your backyard will depend on a number of factors, such as:
- How much of your garden space can you allocate for a pool?
- Do you want to retain space for a deck, dining area or garden?
- Do you want a pool close to your house or set back in the garden? Straight edges are better close to your home walls.
- Larger pools and unusual shapes will cost more to install due to additional ground work, finishing materials and labour required.
- Concrete pools are more expensive initially, but require less maintenance and will last longer than a vinyl liner.
- Is the pool intended for lap swimming, games, relaxation or to add a luxurious centrepiece to your garden?
- Who will use the pool most? Do you need to consider accessibility issues in your chosen pool design?
A pool design company will talk through all these considerations with you to determine the best size, shape, depth, location and materials for your backyard pool.
Ottawa Homes & Garden Designs and Installs Pools of All Shapes and Sizes
If you are considering a new in-ground pool for your Ottawa-area backyard, make sure you talk to your local experts at Ottawa Home & Garden first.
Our team has been designing and installing backyard pools in the Ottawa area for over 20 years and we would be glad to advise you on the optimum size and shape for your pool.
A Guide to Essential Pool Maintenance
Having an in-ground pool in your backyard is a dream for many families, bringing opportunities for quality time, having fun or relaxing together. Your swimming pool is a big investment, however, so of course you want it to last for years to come.
Keeping your pool clean through regular maintenance is the key to having beautiful clear and safe water and keeping all the mechanical parts free from damage.
Regularly cleaning your pool will also keep it looking great and free of algae and other contaminants that could cause irritation or sickness.
Pool maintenance doesn’t have to be time-consuming or hard if you follow a regular routine and do the small but important tasks regularly.
Why is Pool Maintenance Important?
Consistent pool maintenance will keep your pool and its systems free from items that can cause blockages in the water filtration system. Having a good pool maintenance program in place will ensure the water is safe and healthy for everyone. Maintaining your pool with a regular cleaning schedule is important for many reasons including:
- Keep your poolscape safe and appealing. A few minutes cleaning up debris from your poolside and removing tripping hazards from the area will help prevent contamination of the water and keep the area safe.
- Clean water is safe water. Bacteria and organisms can grow rapidly in untreated and dirty water which can result in health issues such as irritated skin (swimmers itch), eye, ear and throat infections and even an upset stomach. Balancing the chemicals in your water regularly is key to preventing this unwanted side effect.
- Pool mechanics will last longer and perform better. Cleaning filters, pumps and other parts of the filtration system will ensure they not only perform better on a daily basis but last longer too.
- Save money on repairs. A well-maintained pool and related equipment require fewer expensive repairs and/or replacements.
Most importantly, if you have a good pool maintenance routine, you can relax and enjoy your in-ground pool even more as you will know that your water is clean and safe for your entire family.
The Three C’s of Pool Maintenance
The requirements of pool maintenance can be broken down into three main areas which are commonly referred to as the three C’s of pool maintenance:
Circulation: To keep pool water clean it must circulate through a filtration system to remove debris and germs and ensure chemicals are evenly distributed. Still, dirty or cloudy water is a sign your pump or filter is not working properly and needs attention.
Cleaning: While your filters do a great job at catching debris, they can’t do all the cleaning. Regularly cleaning the surface of the water as well as the walls and floor of the pool will remove excess dirt as well as removing algae growth before it causes damage.
Chemicals: Pool chemicals are an essential part of pool maintenance. PH, alkalinity and sanitizer (chlorine) levels should be tested and adjusted daily to help prevent mould, algae and bacterial growth.
The Basic Pool Maintenance Tasks You Should be Doing
The following daily, weekly and as needed maintenance tasks will ensure you are keeping your swimming pool clean and healthy:
- Skim leaves and debris from the surface of the water. This prevents debris from falling to the bottom of the pool and clogging the filters.
- Run your pump for at least 8-12 hours a day to keep water circulating – automatic pump timers are really helpful for this task.
- Test your water with a test strip. Add chemicals to adjust if necessary. Chlorine levels should be between 1 and 3 ppm, pH levels between 7.2 and 7.8, and alkalinity levels between 80 and 120 ppm for most pools.
- Brush sediment, mould and algae build up from pool walls, ladders, steps, slides and any decorative features submerged in the pool water.
- Use a pool vacuum to suck up as much debris from the bottom of the pool as possible. Manual and automatic pool vacuums are available.
- Clean any debris from skimmers and returns.
- Check your filter. Remove any obvious debris and backwash when the gauge reads 8-10psi higher than normal. Check out swim university’s step-by-step guide to cleaning different types of pool filters.
- Carry out a chlorine shock treatment regularly, and especially after heavy use, high temperatures, heavy rains or if swimmers complain of sore eyes. A shock treatment raises chlorine levels quickly to deal with higher contaminant levels.
If you’re worried you might forget part of this maintenance schedule, use this printable pool maintenance checklist from Gardennerdy to help you stay on track with your cleaning tasks.
More Tips for a Clean and Safe Pool
While not part of a regular maintenance routine, these tips may help to make keeping your pool clean a slightly easier task:
- Use a pool cover during winter or if the pool won’t be in use for a few days. This will prevent debris falling in and prevent too much water evaporation.
- Reduce the amount of debris falling into the pool by keeping trees and other plants near the pool trimmed back.
- If you don’t have time for pool maintenance, hire someone to do it for you.
- Keep your pool area safe. Make sure the pool is properly fenced in and that there are no tripping hazards around the pool area.
As you have seen, maintaining your swimming pool is important for keeping it clean and safe for swimming. By following this basic maintenance routine and simple tips, you can keep your pool in great condition all season long!
Ottawa Home & Garden for All Things In-Ground Pool
At Ottawa Home & Garden, we know that an in-ground pool and poolscape will likely be one of the biggest investments you make to your home, and we want you to keep enjoying it for years to come.
When we design and install your in ground pool, our experts will ensure the proud new owner understands how the pool works, where the different parts of the system are, how to clean them and can even recommend products.