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What's Up Magazine

Swim in Style

Apr 12, 2013 06:09PM ● By Anonymous

“It’s really an interesting and fun time to be a part of the pool industry,” says Dan Bridges, owner of an Easton-based pool company. “You name it; we can do it. If someone puts their hand down on a piece of paper, traces it, and says, ‘I want a pool that looks like that,’ we can give it to them.”

Aesthetics seem to be playing a larger role in pool design than ever before, with intricate lighting, stonework, and fountains becoming as commonplace in residential pools today as diving boards were in the ’70s and ’80s. “The trend seems to be more natural-looking swimming pools, which tend to involve more rockwork, waterfalls, maybe some benches inside the pool,” says Kip Seyfferth, president of a Severna Park-based pool company. This inclination has turned many residential clients away from the more thrill-driven extras, such as diving boards, which have long been one of the premier safety concerns in the industry. “Diving boards are much less popular now than they were 30 years ago,” Seyfferth says. “Back then, about 70 percent of pools had them. Now, I’d say only about 25 percent do.”

This noticeable decline stands as a symbol of the safety strides being made throughout the industry, many of which were designed keeping beauty in mind. Take poolside surfaces, for example. Non-slip finishes for decking and patios are now standard in the industry, allowing for safer surfaces without sacrificing aesthetic value. Meanwhile, advances such as the development of a manmade stone that doesn’t retain heat are using that same ideology to address another surface-related concern—deck and patio temperatures.

“Pennsylvania bluestone decking is one of the most beautiful you’ll see, but the negative is there are eight to 10 days when the heat is so intense, you can’t stand on it,” says Bridges, who offers clients looking for an alternative to heat-retaining natural stone the option of manmade stone. Simpler enhancements—such as wrought-iron fences that blend in more with the landscape to provide today’s coveted natural look, and a row of delineation tiles that serve as a guide for swimmers inside the pool—also embrace the concept that beauty and safety can go hand in hand. So whether you’re looking to break ground on a new pool or retrofit an existing one, take the plunge knowing that with today’s options, you can have the best of both worlds: a picture-perfect pool with safety features, too.