Fencing, presence detectors and non-slip materials help keep your pool area accident-free
With spring on its way, it’s a good time to evaluate your pool and have it ready for the bright days of summer. Every year, a large number of pool accidents are reported. Some happen on the pool’s perimeters and others inside the pool. Slippery areas are among the most problematic. Though adults are reported to suffer from a pool’s many hazards, children ages 1-4 are affected most.
Crystal Pools, original photo on Houzz
It’s impossible to know when and how an accident will happen, but taking necessary precautions and following common sense can save lives. When your children are playing in or around the pool, be extremely vigilant, don’t ever leave them alone. Remove toys from the pool; these can tempt kids to go inside when you are not looking. Also, teach them how to swim as soon as you can.
To help you keep your family safe, I made a list of ideas you can implement in your pool’s design. The goal is to attain a pool you can enjoy and at the same time feel confident about.
Contemporary Pool, original photo on Houzz
A house like this one, with a beautiful pool, is a dream of many homeowners everywhere. It’s a symbol of the good the life; a vacation in your home. Making it a safe environment for your family naturally takes priority.
Pool fences are the best way to go if you want to have control of the area. Fences don’t need to be an interruption. Glass fencing is an increasingly popular alternative to wood and metal. They keep everyone safe and still allow you to enjoy the beauty of your pool.
Crystal Pools, original photo on Houzz
It’s imperative to treat all surfaces surrounding the pool area with an anti-slip coating. Coating will last a long time and will improve safety in the area.
Make sure you can see the pool from your house, either from surveillance cameras, a window or a presence detector. Most child accidents happen when parents can’t see what’s going on in and around their pool.
Make getting to the pool a little harder. This is another example of a glass fence that interferes with kids going straight to the pool.
escale design, original photo on Houzz
The concept of having your kitchen right next to the pool sounds very appealing, but indoor rooms in proximity to a pool can be dangerous. Separate these areas with railings to keep safety first and your view second.
Leave enough space for walking around the pool. Too many furniture pieces can turn into obstacles and hurt people in case of slipping.
Crystal Pools, original photo on Houzz
Concrete or wood are not the only materials used in pool design. Another way of preventing your family from slipping around the pool is by keeping grass around it.
It’s also a good idea to have railings that deter outsiders from entering the pool area. Some people who suffer pool accidents happen to have them at a stranger’s house; don’t be that stranger.
With glass walls and a streamlined sensibility that direct focus toward the view, minimalism can be a natural fit for outdoor structures
Many of the traits that define modern architecture — large expanses of glass, minimal surface articulation, exposed structure (often steel), flat roofs — keep people from considering a residence in such a style. The glass makes many people feel exposed, minimalism is at odds with the clutter that life usually entails, and the steel structure and flat roofs are the antithesis of traditional dwellings, what many people associate with “home.”
Yet these same qualities make modernism appropriate for small pavilions, be they pool houses or other similar structures. The examples in this ideabook tend towards the former, but they all show how modern architecture can be more tolerable to a larger audience in small doses.
Pavilion 1: Steinbomer, Bramwell & Vrazel Architects, original photo on Houzz
By Steinbomer, Bramwell & Vrazel, the Tarrytown Pavilion is located on the property of a midcentury-modern house. It serves as a pool house and also as an office, a gallery and a guesthouse. From this perspective, the main features of the structure are evident: L-shape white walls, glass walls opening toward the pool and a floating flat roof perched upon an off-center core.
The corner of the glass walls opens to unite inside and outside. It’s also clear that the white walls serve as a backdrop for artwork. I like how the patio cantilevers over the lawn.
Even though the pavilion serves multiple purposes, the interior spaces are basically two: a larger space and smaller space on either side of the kitchen/bathroom core.
The sliding glass walls create a strong visual connection to the house as well as to the trees that line the property. Sunlight is cut down by the deep overhang. All of it combines to make this a pleasant place to relax.
Here is another pool pavilion, called Sister’s Retreat because it serves the families of two sisters on a 7.5-acre property near Austin, along with their houses. Designed by Mell Lawrence Architects, the retreat is made up of two bars, one enclosed, one exposed.
Pavilion 2: Mell Lawrence Architects, original photo on Houzz
The exposed bar includes the pool and a patio, both covered by a trellis, which serves as an armature for lighting and plants. The enclosed bar runs parallel and is seen in the distance.
The enclosed bar, which includes a living area, a game room, a BBQ area and a bathroom/shower for the pool, opens up to the pool area through large glass doors.
Uniting the whole retreat is a grid of square concrete columns. Cast with rough horizontal formwork, these columns — really shells for the steel columns that support the trellis and roof — define the spaces and give the project its character.
Pavilion 3: Contemporary Exterior, original photo on Houzz
Pool House, Dungan Nequette Architects
This pool house features a glass-walled center section between ends covered in wood boards. The boards are spaced apart to admit light.
Pavilion 4: Ike Kligerman Barkley, original photo on Houzz
Similar to the previous example is the aptly named Louvered Poolhouse by Ike Kligerman Barkley. While a flat roof is eschewed in favor of a gable form, in execution it is quite modern.
The louvers sit in front of glass walls and help cut down on the sunlight entering the one-room pavilion.
Pavilion 5: Ike Kligerman Barkley, original photo on Houzz
The view from inside the pool house to the pool and the Atlantic Ocean beyond is sublime.
Pavilion 6: Studio Kiss – ASAP House, original photo on Houzz
Pool House, ASAP•house
This is a pool house that is not technically distinct from the main house, but it is so different in terms of design that it might as well be. Whereas the house is brick with an angular roof, this area is all bamboo and wood.
Bamboo serves as wall and trellis to provide shade on different levels next to the pool. Along with the wood walls, it creates an inviting and enclosing space with a strong, almost tropical character.
Cor-Ten steel, rock gabion and more help these garden fences keep an edge
Move over, white picket. Create a head-turning focal point or complement the architecture of a contemporary home with a garden fence made with an of-the-moment material. From brightly colored acrylic and luminous glass fences to chunky rock gabion walls, there’s a building material to suit every landscape style and desired level of privacy.
Scot Eckley, Inc., original photo on Houzz
1. Cement board. Cement board — made from cement and reinforcement fibers — is a versatile material for covering outdoor walls or creating screens. It can be painted to complement the colors of an outdoor space. “We select [cement board] with the smoothest front and back and crispest edges,” says designer Scot Eckley. “Once cut to size, we prime and then paint them.” Here, mounted panels painted bright orange set a fiery backdrop for a gas fireplace at left, while chartreuse panels define a lounge area to the right.
2. Concrete. Raw concrete walls add a distinctly industrial feel to landscapes. Balance the cool look and feel of concrete with warm, inviting tones from wood decking, terra-cotta pots and soft-textured foliage. Conversely, change the tone of raw concrete by adding integral color at the time of wall construction.
The Garden Route Company, original photo on Houzz
3. Cor-Ten steel. Developing a natural rust patina over time, Cor-Ten steel is a great choice for a more modern, rustic look. Steel can be purchased in sheets and used as either an opaque privacy fence or a stand-alone backdrop wall.
4. Corrugated metal. Tough and inexpensive, this hardworking material can be used to make a long-lasting garden fence. The wavy pattern of corrugated metal both increases its rigidity and adds an interesting texture to gardens, while the zinc coating provides a neutral backdrop for flower beds or sculpture.
5. Glass panels. Preserve privacy but allow light to pass through with a fence made of luminous glass panels. For this entryway fence outside a home in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks neighborhood, the designer created a custom fence made of steel and frosted glass. The glass panels sit sandwiched between 1-by-1-inch steel frames, further secured by an outer 2-by-4-inch steel frame.
[email protected], original photo on Houzz
6. Metal slats. In this garden in southern Germany, a contemporary fence made of vertical metal slats forms a barrier that is as visually interesting as a modern art piece.
The fence changes from almost opaque to translucent based on the viewer’s vantage point. The curved blades of golden ornamental grasses extending through the fence enhance the optical illusion.
[email protected], original photo on Houzz
7. Rebar. This rebar fence gives the suggestion of a boundary without obstructing views. The designer created the fence using sturdy 1-inch-diameter rebar (sold as #8 rebar) spaced 8 inches apart. Hidden beneath the soil, the rebar poles are welded to a steel bar and set into a concrete base for a sturdy foundation.
repp + mclain design and construction, original photo on Houzz
8. Rock gabion wall. This front yard in rural Bedfordshire, England, relies on the rich textures of weathered wood siding and a rock gabion wall for contemporary interest. Gabion walls are made of metal cages filled with rock, concrete, wood or other materials and can be useful as privacy screens, wind blocks and retaining walls.
Platform 5 Architects, original photo on Houzz
9. Wood slats. Fences made of narrowly spaced wood strips provide light screening while offering a peek to the other side. For a contemporary look, set the slats horizontally between three-eighths of a inch to 1 inch apart (depending on desired privacy). Anchor with fence posts at the back to keep the front side of the fence clean with uninterrupted horizontal lines.
Concrete is one the best materials for crafting a pool deck—but it doesn’t have to be boring
Concrete is a versatile material that can be colored, polished, stained, even stamped with patterns. It can be seeded with colorful rocks or glass and polished to appear as terrazzo. These techniques can even be combined to create a one-of-a-kind pool deck.
Colored concrete is created either by integral color or topical colors. Integral color is mixed throughout the slab and is preferred for use as a base color on high traffic areas because if the top is ever chipped, the color still shows through. Topical coloring is done with colored hardeners, shake-on colors, acid staining, acetone dyes, and water based dyes.
Colored hardeners are powders that are spread onto freshly placed concrete and then troweled onto the top. Shake-on colors or colored form releases are often used with stamped patterns to add a subtle color variation to mimic natural stone or other materials.
Acid stains are unpredictable because they work by chemically reacting with the cured and hardened concrete. Because the reaction occurs in different concentrations, acid stained concrete tends to vary in intensity. Many people prefer this look because it is totally random, appearing more natural than one that is dyed. Acid stained surfaces must be neutralized and rinsed following the coloring process, so existing buildings, plants, and lawns must be protected during the procedure.
Acetone dyes are usually applied to highly polished floors. The flammability and volatility of acetone prevents it from being used indoors or in certain states (California, for example). Water-based dyes are also applied to polished floors. Their finish is usually translucent and gemlike. Colors can range from natural hues to bright reds and blues.
Stamped and Patterned Concrete
Concrete can be stamped with impressions so that it resembles wood, stone, bricks, or cobbles. The available patterns range from ashlar tile patterns, running bond pavers, wooden slats to a random stone texture. The patterns’ sizes also vary to fit the scope and scale of the space.
The base color can be integral or a troweled-in hardener. Various secondary colors can be shaken or sprinkled to add highlights before the stamps are applied. The coloring additives result in a dense and strong composition. This density makes staining of colored concrete difficult. Acid stains are the most effective, but only after 30 to 60 days.
Mechanically Finished Concrete
Both plain and colored concrete can be mechanically treated after the curing. Patterns can be cut and elements sandblasted, etched, ground, or polished. Highly buffed concrete can be extremely slippery when wet and should be treated with an anti-slip solution during or after installation. Sandblasted or etched concrete, however, has a gritty texture and is a safe choice around pools. Concrete develops a matte finish from sandblasting or acid etching.
Exposed aggregates are common around commercial pools. The exposed rocks have a rough texture, reducing the temptation to run on the pool deck. In a residential pool deck, however, the sharp rocks underfoot are undesirable. Much like the exposed aggregate pool finishes used under water, these surfaces can be lightly polished, which “tips” the stones, removing the sharp edges that cause discomfort—providing beauty, slip resistance, and ease of use. By mixing colored rocks or tumbled beach glass with an integrally colored concrete deck, a unique and personalized motif can be created.