By Kathryn Varden
Today’s pool accessories give builders new design opportunities in the backyard—whether for installations or on renovation projects. In fact, the latter continues to provide key profit-making projects for builders and, in response, manufacturers are providing more accessory products to decorate in and around the pool.
More consumers are investing in accessories because they want to recreate the atmosphere and benefits of an aquatic resort in their backyard. Many pool accessories currently available were created to help pool professionals imitate the features consumers have either experienced at a hotel resort, or saw on a backyard living television program. As a result, it has become imperative for builders to not only be aware of all the potential accessories available, but also have knowledge on how to integrate these products into every pool installation or renovation.
To accessorize a pool correctly, it is important to understand how the client intends on using their backyard. For instance, will the pool be used mostly by children? Will it be the focal point of sophisticated soirees? Do parents want to be in the pool with children or sitting in a spa within arm’s reach? Perhaps the client wants to simply tan within the pool itself. Will the pool be used more often in the evenings where accessory lighting will become an important part of the landscape design? Taking all of this into account, it is necessary to have several options for the client to consider.
Slides and water features
One mainstay accessory found at most resort and hotel pools is a slide or impressive water feature. Not every homeowner is interested in having a slide on their pool; however, rather than standing alone, these products can be incorporated into water features and/or grottos to give the pool a resort-style finish. That said, there is a wide variety of slide types and sizes that can be integrated into a rock water feature or custom-built into the backyard landscape to create a calming water feature—even if the slide is not used all of the time.
A custom slide or water feature is an excellent place to begin a pool renovation. Slides and water features become the visual focal point of the pool, so size and location must be determined carefully. Not only does a slide require a certain pool water depth, but it should also be located centrally on the pool to offer the greatest visual impact. Further, the orientation of the house, as well as that of neighbouring homes, should be considered. These accessories can also serve the purpose of creating a visual barrier between backyards. When a homeowner is looking for privacy, a slide—accented with plantings—is a great way to accomplish this, while at the same time, upgrading the overall look of the pool.
In terms of installation, today’s slides have become easier to install, giving builders more time to make additional profits within a short renovation season. Whether the homeowner has minimal space around the pool or wants the slide to extend from an elevated deck area and travel 6 m (20 ft) down to the pool, there are options to fit any size, space, and budget.
Finally, once the slide position and length have been determined, pool builders should also explain the various options that are available around the slide and/or water feature. For example, modular staircase kits can be visually complementing.
Stand-alone slides are popular among pool renovators and can be an even faster profit centre, as these accessories make the pool more fun and appealing to children. A typical resort-style slide takes less than five hours to install. At a retail price of approximately $3500, a pool builder/renovator can profit roughly $1400 on a typical installation.
Many do not think of a spa/hot tub as an accessory; however, drop-in spas/hot tubs with spill-over water features can be considered a great upgrade item. Just like a slide, a new poolside spa/hot tub creates a new focal point, in addition to generating the soothing sounds of cascading water.
This accessory should always be considered as it makes the pool more functional for the client, giving them the option of soaking in the spa/hot tub while simultaneously watching their children play in the pool close by. Removable tables can also be added to house books or drinks.