You've spent a fortune and lived thorough the entire process of design and construction of your custom inground swimming pool.  The decks are done, you've been trained on the equipment, and you've even taken delivery of your pool furniture.  Now that it's time for you and your family to enjoy the fun, recreation, and memories that are going to be created for years around this amazing amenity, you discover that your kids are looking for more activities to undertake in the pool.  Marco Polo only takes them so far until they are wanting more.  This post from has just what you need, intrepid swimming pool owner.  This post gives you a great guide to outfitting your pool with the essential toys and games for kids, and even has a section for the adults for when the kids aren't around!

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Pool Design Trends for 2013

by Phillip Veno,

Much like the latest trends in fashion, car design and the flavor of the month at the coffee shop, pool design trends are constantly changing. But it's a little funny how it works: Trends often develop out of a need to stray from a common theme. However, when someone comes up with an innovative idea, it's only a matter of time until everyone jumps onboard. And once again, the cycle continues as we look for what's new and different in the world.

With this in mind, we can take a look at what was up and coming in 2012 to see where the industry is headed in 2013. Based on my experience working with clients, this is what I think will make a splash in 2013's pool design.


Fire has been a source of wonder and amazement for the human spirit for thousands and thousands of years. We naturally gravitate towards its warmth and love the mood that its subtle glow offers in the evening. Over the last few years, companies like Grand Effects and Bobe have developed fire bowls that make fire features affordable and easy to operate with a simple push of a button. Burners can now be set among rock groupings or on pedestals around the pool — away from foot traffic, of course.

When juxtaposed with water, a fire feature provides a beautiful contrast, not to mention a beautiful reflection after dark. And until only recently, fire features haven't been widely used as a common design element; they were seen as unaffordable to the average consumer; a hassle to operate with frequent blowouts in windy conditions and costly, as those blowouts led to hundreds of dollars in wasted gas. Thanks to the new technology found on most manufactured units these days, you get automatic relights after a detected blowout, making worries of wasted gas and possible accidental detonation a thing of the past.

Visually, fire offers the consumer a feature you won't find on the average pool and can be attractively utilized on a freeform or a geometric pool. Expect to see a lot of it next year.

Questioning the "Three-Bid Rule"

by James Robyn, blog

This is what clients have been told to do for years by consumer advocacy groups as the best way to get what they want for the lowest price.

I recently read an article by a custom homebuilder who posited the old Three-Bid Rule should no longer apply in the home building industry. His article was so well written that it struck a chord with me; it's been one of my pet peeves for many years. In the pool business we are frequently requested to "turn in a bid" on a project, and it is always an exercise in futility. The clients who are simply looking for three bids are working on the least amount of information and the most amount of misinformation — to their peril — and the stories of problems, surprises, dissatisfaction and disappointment are ubiquitous.

The point is probably illustrated more easily in the custom home building industry because most people are more familiar with the details and possible cost differences in home construction. For example, in requesting a quote on a new custom home, no thinking person would ask a custom builder, "Give me a bid on a 3-bedroom home with 2-1/2 baths and a 2-car garage with an automatic door opener."

Yet I cannot tell you how many times I've had people ask me to give them a bid on "a 20-by-40-foot pool with a heater, a Polaris and an automatic pool cover."

At least in the custom home building industry an architect will produce a set of plans that will define the project in a meaningful way. Dimensions, materials and many other requirements are called for, but it is what is not illustrated or specified on the plans that can constitute significant cost drivers.

The idea behind the Three-Bid Rule is that it assumes everything other than the cost of the competing builders is equal. However, not every builder assesses and calculates the scope of work, drawings, specifications and callouts in the same exact way.