Inground Pool Vs. Above Ground Pool

When you’re getting a new pool for your home, your most significant choice is whether you’ll get an inground or above ground pool. Whichever you choose, the look of your yard, and your experience in the pool, will be significantly different. You’ll also see differences in cost, lifespan, maintenance needs, and much more. It’s a big decision, so how do you choose?

First, you need to understand the full differences between these two types of pools. An inground pool is just as it sounds, a pool that is installed in the ground, so it’s flush with your yard. It can be made from a wider range of materials than an above ground pool, but it also is more expensive and not suitable for all climates.  

An above ground pool is installed above, so it may stand four or more feet off the ground. To make up for the height of an above-ground pool, many people install tall decks around them so that they can be level with the pool. Those in colder climates and with tighter budgets tend to prefer above ground pools. However, that’s not all you need to know to choose between these two types. Here is a comparison of the features and benefits of inground pools vs above ground pools.

Cost 

Of course, the first thing you likely want to know about your new pool is how much it will end up costing. While you can get fairly inexpensive inground pools, especially if you choose basic materials and basic shapes, they do tend to cost more. The reason is simple, if you’re getting an inground pool you’ll need to have a significant portion of your yard excavated to fit it. This costs in equipment and time during the install. 

Above ground pools tend to be cheaper but be careful not to opt for an above ground pool that’s too cheap. The materials in an above ground pool still matter, and if you opt for something that won’t last for too long, you may end up spending more than you want to replacing the liner, or even the shell. Still, no above ground pool is going to be expensive as the best, most unique inground pool.

Design 

Thinking of getting a unique design for your pool? Or, is your backyard in a unique shape? Then an inground pool might be your best bet. You can get many more shapes, designs, and sizes in a custom inground pool than are typically available in above ground models. It is easier to incorporate water features, unique coping, and elegant decks with inground pools. 

That said, you may be able to find the design you’re looking for in above ground pools. If the cost savings are worth it to you, you might try looking into what designs are available before you choose a custom inground pool.

Installation 

The installation process for each type of pool is different. Inground pools take longer to install and add more disruption to your life, with more equipment. There is some preparation work that needs to be done before an above ground pool installation too, just not as much as for an inground pool.

Maintenance 

While installation is a temporary concern, maintenance is a long-term issue, so you’ll probably place more importance on this issue. Typically, inground pools and above ground pools require about the same amount of maintenance, assuming that they are the same size. Although, it’s possible that an above ground pool may scratch more easily, which might mean it requires more maintenance. 

ROI & Lifespan  

It’s also wise to consider your pool as an investment in the value of your home. If you decide to sell your home, inground pools are generally more appreciated than above ground pools (although it may depend on your market). Inground pools also have a longer lifespan, assuming you’ve invested in the right materials and kept up with maintenance. So, you can also expect to get more longevity out of an inground pool, which may be important for you if you intend to be in your home for a long time. If longevity is a big concern for you, you can get inground pools made of the best materials to get the longest lifespan from your pool.

Energy Use 

The amount of energy that your pool uses is mostly dependent on your climate. However, there are a few things to consider about your specific energy usage. Above ground pools may be easier to heat if they will be in direct sun and not covered by a deck, but only on days when the sun is out. 

Need some expert advice about whether an in ground or above ground pool works best for you? Reach out to us at State of the Art Landscape.

5 Elements of a High-End Pool

Dreaming of summer heat, cool refreshments, and relaxation around the water? For those considering upgrading or adding a pool to their property, here is five of the most popular pool design features for high-end pools.

1. Elegant Water Features

Including water features in a pool design helps to add elements of visual interest, create an ambiance of soothing background noise to drown out neighbors or nearby traffic and provide a cooling factor to the air around the pool. There are many different kinds of water features, including:

  • Fountains, water misters and waterfalls
  • Bubbler jets, canon jets, and laminar jets
  • Sprays, weirs, and sheer descents
  • Rain curtains and spillways
  • Fireplaces and pits

While waterfalls and fountains are examples of elements that create eye-catching visuals, fireplaces offer a striking contrast to complete your property design. Combining certain design elements will help extend the outdoor season into the fall and early winter, and is certain to always draw a crowd when entertaining.

2. Automation, Technology and Energy Efficiency

Technological capabilities of controlling, monitoring and maintaining a swimming pool have become much easier with the use of a smartphone or tablet. With apps on your iPhone and iPad, you can easily control and turn on spas, lights, fountains and other aspects of your pool on-demand and from anywhere.

Energy efficiency has also come to the forefront for swimming pools and equipment. With the advancements of LED pool lighting, variable speed pumps, and more efficient heaters, the power demands to run a pool are greatly reduced and can help impact that monthly electrical bill. The color capabilities of LED lighting can also allow you to tailor the color of the pool to any mood or for any party setting.

Since the swimming pool is an attraction and gathering place for friends and family, there are many additional opportunities to add some amenities that enrich the outdoor experience. In the audio/video realm, there are floating and underwater speakers to keep the music flowing, along with projection screens to let you host your own dive-in movie. For the kids, there are many other recreational elements that can be included such as volleyball nets, basketball goals, slides, swings, swim jets, and even climbing walls.

3. Infinity and Negative Edge Pools

One of the more dramatic high-end pool elements is an infinity or negative edge pool. These pools eliminate the traditional coping and bring water right to the edge. They are typically associated with a sloping property or dramatic views but can be used in many different aspects to create a spectacular detail around the pool.

Infinity edges are great for pools on an elevated area, or with a clear view. Eliminating the hard edge of a pool can make it appear larger, and will make your backyard feel like a true resort getaway.

4. Zero Entry

A zero-entry swimming pool, otherwise known as a beach entry pool, has an edge or entry that gradually slopes from the pool deck into the water, getting deeper with each step, much like a natural beach. A favorite feature of the beach entry pool is the ability to sunbathe in the shallow area with partial submersion.

The shallow end provided by the beach entry allows children to have an area to play and splash without having to worry about them being in water that is too deep. The absence of stairs also helps make the pool more accessible for those with limited mobility.

5. Integrated Hot Tubs

Rather than having a separate hot tub away from your swimming pool, consider an attachment hot tub that can be seamlessly attached to your pool. They are more practical, visually appealing and can integrate with your existing pool system.

An elevated hot tub will provide a view of the pool and backyard landscape along with multiple entries. On the other hand, sunken hot tubs with pool spillover can add visual interest to your pool design. While both of these elements are popular, the design should fit with the overall landscape of your property.

If combining your hot tub into your pool design isn’t an option or your preference, a hot tub and gazebo combination makes a bold and eye-catching addition to any backyard landscape. It draws attention to your spa and provides shelter from the sun, outdoor debris such as falling leaves, rain and other outdoor elements.

State of the Art Landscape

State of the Art Landscape is one of the largest suppliers of landscape services in Northern Virginia. We provide dependable services for residential and commercial properties. Our experienced crews are well trained and are able to provide custom services for your property needs.

Call us today to see how we can help your home or business.

What is Hardscaping?

When you see the yard of your dreams, what elements do you see? Likely, there are beautiful natural elements, such as carefully arranged flowers, vegetables and decorative plants. But there are other elements that contribute to a well-designed landscape: the hard materials.

The Low-Down on Hardscaping

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It’s highly possible that, while you have enjoyed your own and your friends’ backyards, that you haven’t realized that the blend of hardscaping and softscaping is what creates the ultimate outdoor experience.

 

Landscaping provides the ability for a customer to have a greater appreciation for being outside and being comfortable in their own living space. With hardscaping and softscaping, you can personalize your landscape, the extension of a perennial garden, a habitat of your own creation and for your enjoyment and leisurely appreciation.

 

Many individuals value their outdoor spaces as a place to entertain and experience outdoor comfort.

Hardscaping for Privacy

 

For many homeowners, buying a home means buying a set of neighbours and a piece of a neighbourhood, whether you would choose it or not. One of the best reasons to consider a carefully designed landscaping project that incorporates hardscaping features is to control the privacy and amount of noise that you can hear from your outdoor living space.

 

For example, water features are able to gently mask the more unpleasant noises of both auto and foot traffic outside of your property. Then, when it comes to privacy, your landscaper will be able to work with you to use retaining walls, gazebo and many other features to give you more privacy from your neighbours in a creative and aesthetically pleasing way.

 

To paint a picture of other ways to promote privacy in your backyard with hardscaping elements include:

 

  •     Woven Screen (using materials like wood or metal)
  •     Solid Panels (translucent or opaque)
  •     Wood Pergola
  •     Ceiling-like Panels (slotted for extra light)
  •     Lattices

 

Many homeowners prioritize the ability to enjoy their outdoor space without interruption from unwanted noise or prying eyes. But privacy isn’t the only benefit to incorporating hardscaping features alongside your natural features such as floral and edible elements.

Endless Benefits to Hardscaping

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Other benefits of hardscaping features include:

 

  •     Guarding your garden against unwanted pests
  •     Extension of your living and entertaining space
  •     Increased property value
  •     Versatility and design expression
  •     Physical boundaries
  •     An added dimension to your natural space
  •     Increased comfort
  •     Ability to enjoy summer nights comfortable seating and ample lighting
  •     Effective yet visually appealing storage for your toys and tools

 

We embrace creativity throughout the whole process. One of the leading trends in landscape design is mixing textures and materials. We embrace the ability to use a variety of different materials, such as natural stone, polished and shaped stone, and even metals and synthetic materials to create the perfect design. Many homeowners use landscaping as a way to express the design and appearances that they love and already have throughout their home.

 

A quality landscaping company will work with you to harness the interaction between hardscaping and softscaping. Since many expert landscape designers believe that hardscaping provides the foundation for the softscaping elements, many will highly recommend that you include complementary elements to your dream garden and backyard.

Common Examples of Hardscaping

 

When designing your yard, here are some common hardscaping elements that you could consider adding to your design:

Custom Northern Virginia Pools

  •     Paver Patio
  •     Stone Wall
  •     Gazebo
  •     Garden Walls
  •     Planting Beds
  •     Large Boulders
  •     Stone Edging
  •     Accent Stones
  •     Light Fixtures
  •     Pillars Or Columns
  •     Seat Walls
  •     Stepping Stones
  •     Waterfalls
  •     Swimming Pools
  •     Fountains
  •     Ponds
  •     Stream bed
  •     Fire Features Such As Fireplaces Or Fire Pits
  •     Even a pizza oven feature has become increasingly popular!

Designing Your Outdoor Living Space

 

Your landscaping wish list can (and should) be a mile long when you’re working with your landscaping design company. That way, you can rest assured that your landscape project incorporates elements that you’ve considered and value the most.

 

State of the Art Landscape embraces creativity and challenges, all with the goal to create a dream outdoor living space for you and your family. We professionally design and execute your outdoor living space, with comprehensive services that let you dream big or dream big on a budget. No project is too big or too small for us! We love working with a variety of customers, ideas and yard sizes to create the perfect space for you.

 

Let us bring our passion for quality and our years of landscaping experience to create your dream outdoor living space. Request an on-site appointment with one of our passionate landscape designers today. Let’s get started!

Landscaping North Virginia 

Why Building an Inground Pool in the Winter is the Right Choice

In moderate climates, winter may not be the prime swimming season, but it might be the best season to build your inground pool. With time, resources, and labour readily available in the winter, you might find contractors jumping at the chance to upgrade or build your new inground pool this winter season.

Advantages of Building an Inground Pool in the Winter

The ideal construction project stays on budget, while keeping schedules un-rushed, stress-free, and on time. If you’ve been considering building a pool, winter is the ideal season for contractors to build it.

Swimming Pool Companies are Available

Since swimming pools are associated with summer, all the local pool contractors are going to be busy during the warmer months. Some companies are scheduled months in advance, and won’t get to your swimming pool until fall. It is smarter to contact your pool builder of choice in the colder months since they will have more time to focus on your swimming pool project, instead of trying to fit you in around other clients.

Installation is Affordable

Due to the decreased demand for materials in winter months, swimming pool companies often lessen their building costs. The offseason of pool building is the time for deals and cheaper prices, and you will be able to build an inground pool for a cheaper price in the winter as opposed to building one in the summer.

Installation is Faster

Pool building companies are less busy in the fall and winter, which means the pool installation process for your inground pool will be quicker. Additionally, humidity and high temperatures in the summertime slow down contractors, and they may need extra breaks from the intense heat. During the fall and winter, conditions can be more favorable for outdoor laborers.

Landscaping Can Take Root

Having a pool built can take a toll on your yard and landscaping. By having your pool installed during the winter give your landscaping time to come back and be beautiful in time for swimming once the weather heats back up.

Perfect Timing

When you build a pool in the winter, you have plenty of time to get it installed and ready just in time for the warmer temperatures. Your family will be ready to use the pool when it’s complete, rather than waiting through the summer months for it to be ready.

Disadvantages to Building an Inground Pool in the Winter

Depending on the climate you live in, the major drawbacks to winter pool building are normally due to weather. But even if the snow and cold temperatures cause delays, contractors often have enough time to work around it so that your pool is ready as spring approaches.

Temperatures Too Low to Pour Concrete

If the temperature is too cold, the concrete that is poured for your inground pool will not settle properly. If the concrete does not settle, it may dry unevenly or crack as the weather warms. If you live in an area with mild winter months, this may not be a big concern for you.

Snow Piles Cause Obstruction

Freezing rain, sleet, and snow can all create a hazardous work environment for swimming pool installation. If your yard is covered in layers of snow and ice, it may take too long to clear the area for pool construction. Some homeowners choose to wait until the early spring for their pool installation, where the demand is still low but the winter frost has started to melt away.

Temperatures Too Cold to Fill the Pool

If the outside temperature is well below freezing, filling the pool could cause the pipes to burst, either during the fill or afterward when the water settles. If the temperatures in your area are above freezing for the winter, you should have no issues filling the pool.

Frustrating Family Members

It can be frustrating to have a pool installed that you can’t use for a few months. While this is a small sacrifice to make for the money you can save in winter swimming pool installations, children may have a difficult time having a pool in the backyard that they can’t do anything with.

State of the Art Landscaping

In order to determine when you should install your swimming pool, the best thing to do is to contact a team of trusted pool installers to find out what time of year will work for you. At State of the Art Landscape, our experienced crews are well trained and are prepared to help you with your outdoor needs during any season.

Call us today to see how we can help your home or business.

Benefits of a Pool in Your Own Backyard

There’s just something about the summer that seems to make people happy. Maybe it’s the kids being off school, maybe it’s the memories we have stored away from our own childhoods and that sense of freedom that comes along with it.

Summer is even better when it’s spent poolside surrounded by friends and family. But when you don’t have your own pool and have to watch your neighbors enjoy theirs through the fence it can put a damper on your mood.

Here are the benefits of having a pool in your backyard and why it’s an essential item to have when the hot weather is upon you. A cold popsicle just doesn’t do the job anymore.

Cool Off Anytime Anywhere

We all love the beach but it’s such a hassle do get there. You have to drive out of your way to get to those sandy shores, pay for parking, and pack everything you need for the day but somehow still manage to forget stuff. Don’t even try the public pool – that place is always way too crowded.

Cool off anytime at your convenience with a pool in your backyard! You won’t have to deal with crowds, parking, or any other of the small things that can make any trip to a body of water a hassle. Simply walk out your door and jump in when the heat gets too much – it’s that easy.

It’s Great For Entertaining

Most people love the summer cookouts. Just the thought of grilling some steaks, kabobs, burgers, and vegetables gets our mouths watering and your hands busy texting our friends planning the next one. But if you’re hosting, a pool makes your job a lot easier.

A backyard pool at the cookout gives your guests something to do and hang around until the food’s ready. It keeps the party fun and lively while providing hours of excellent entertainment for kids. Since you’re supplying the pool, hopefully, someone else is supplying the pasta salad.

It Makes Your Green Space Look Gorgeous

Adding any kind of water element is a great way to break up the grass and greenery out back with a focal piece that’s stylish and soothing. But adding a pool makes the element functional for you and your life as well.

Gone are the days when pools had to be your standard rectangle and blue plastic combination. Now, pools can be built into custom shapes that complement your backyard and look as stylish as they are fun to splash in. It’s a win, win!

Pools Are Ideal For Exercise

Don’t bother buying a gym membership when you have a pool in your backyard because swimming is one of the best exercises for you. It’s a full-body workout that also conditions your heart and lungs.

Swimming is great for you because it’s low impact movement that won’t disturb those suffering from joint pain or mobility issues, water resistance is higher than air resistance so you’ll get your heart rate up while you’re swimming, and it’s an aerobic exercise so you’ll be burning lots of calories while you do it.

The best part about having a backyard pool is that it’s a private way to get your exercise in without nosy people looking at you at the gym. We’ve all felt exposed and self-conscious when we lock eyes with that one random person who’s watching you on the treadmill. Avoid that whole situation and workout somewhere that’s private.

Your Kids Will Love It

Any kid with a pool basically lives in it all summer. They’re out there from 9am to 9pm playing with their friends, tanning, listening to music, and swimming laps happily. The pool is basically the summer camp that’s way easier to get to and they can choose when snack time is.

Your kids won’t be able to thank you enough for installing a pool – everyone will want to hang out and party with them at the pool and have a great summer. Plus, you’ll always know that your kids are safe and not getting into trouble since they’ll be at home and you can check on them when you please.

Have yourself a wonderful summer by signing up to install a backyard pool today. The benefits of having a pool are just way too good to ignore. Plus, when you’re drenched in sweat in the middle of a heatwave and desperately trying to cool down with one measly icepack in your basement, a pool is all you’re going to be dreaming about.

Pool & Backyard Activity Hacks For Your Family

If you have a backyard you love, carefully landscaped to create a pleasing environment, and you have a pool to go with it, you’re in an incredibly fortunate position. You have many entertainment options right at home for yourself, your friends, and your family.

But what do you do with these features? If you have a pool and a grill located somewhere, that means swimming, and barbecue meals to make memories with, but there’s more to your pool and yard than that. And these family hacks can help your family to get more out of the yard and pool besides swimming and eating.  

Recycle Your Pool Noodles

The “pool noodle” is a piece of long, cylindrical, polyethylene foam that is buoyant, and so often used as “training wheels” for children to assist in learning how to swim. However, once that stage is complete, and your kids enjoy the freedom of swimming in the water, what then?

Rather than throwing your pool noodles into the trash, you can be creative. Take those pool noodles and recycle them into different uses. They can be used as a “beverage boat” to hold drinks and send them along the pool to other locations. They can be turned into watercraft for toys your children may have so that they can continue their adventures in the water. There are many different possibilities for pool noodles rather than consigning them to the trash.

Run Summer Camp At Home

Maybe you and your kids have had the experience of summer camp during vacation. Maybe you haven’t. One way or the other, you can have exactly the kind of summer camp experience you want if you conduct it at home instead.

Whether you want to follow a traditional summer camp curriculum of roasting marshmallows at night before retiring to a tent, or you want to make your own agenda of things you always felt summer camp should do have fun with it! Coming up with summer camp activities, especially in a yard with a pool in it, is a great family experience.

Have A Movie Night

Today, most people think of movie night as marching to the home theater or “man cave” room, with some popcorn and drinks, and watching a family movie in high definition, with surround sound. However, with a little ingenuity, the use of a projector, and a willingness to go back to the great outdoors, you can turn your backyard into an outdoor “drive-in movie” style venue.

Loosen up with movie night watch it as a family outside. If you have a pool, you can even add a bit of novelty and lounge in the water, or on top of it, for a unique experience. This is a lot easier if your home theater system already uses a rear-projection system, but if you don’t have this, there are other alternatives, so you don’t have to move your 4K flatscreen TV and/or speakers outside.

Start A Water Fight

While it’s mostly the 1990s that the “super soaker” water gun is associated with, the old fashioned water fight is a timeless activity. You can have a lot of fun in a yard or pool with a water fight, and you can even mix things up by bringing color into it.

One variation on a traditional water fight is to load up water guns with non-toxic dyes and let people fight in white t-shirts. You get some crazy colored designs out of such a fight, and the dyes themselves can safely wash away as long as they’re still wet, so clean up is easy for the parts of the yard you don’t want permanently colored.

Play Watermelon Ball

In the old days, they used an actual watermelon for this pool game. Today, you can buy a synthetic product that will last you your lifetime, so you’re probably better off with that purchase. Watermelons were originally used as a type of ball for a rugby/soccer/football variation in swimming pools.

The reason the watermelon was chosen was that it was “neutrally buoyant,” meaning that it didn’t rise to the surface of the water, nor did it sink like a stone. This made it quite manageable as a sports ball for swimming pools. If you want to play a game in your pool where you can get away with dribbling and kicking underwater, then study up on the rules for watermelon ball, and get the family involved. It’s a great activity for everyone.

Dreaming About a Pool? Things to Consider

A pool will truly transform your property and elevate your outdoor living. There are so many ways to design, build, and embellish a modern pool. So, read on for some ideas! 

Does the warming weather have you daydreaming about a backyard pool? Before you jump in and make your dream a reality, let us share some of the basics, both practical and aesthetic. To help you make some important decisions about the place where your family will cool off and entertain, we go through a straight forward process to extract the details we need from you in order to make that dream become reality.   Read more