Sure, pools are for swimming, but these days they're also a source of relaxation, luxury and entertainment. That's why many upscale pool companies are designing tranquility pools to provide users with a Zen feeling.
"Tranquility" is used to describe "a backyard environment that is calming or soothing," says Tom Casey, vice president of sales at Anthony & Sylvan Pools.
*A Relaxing Getaway at Home
Many hotels, resorts and luxury spas offer tranquility pools to their guests, a luxury amenity appreciated by travelers looking for R and R.
Still, the tranquility pool experience isn't limited to vacation destinations. Homeowners can have the same soothing experience in their own yard.
"Many very upscale swimming pool designs today are rarely used to swim recreationally," says Casey. "They have become, in some cases, works of art that are used more as a backdrop for entertaining, to decompress after a long day at the office or to blend into a scenic environment."
Calming touches that complete the tranquility pool experience include lush backdrops like relaxing water walls, wind chimes and canopy coverings. Peaceful music, soft lighting and comfortable seating help users take in the sights and sounds of serenity. These days, many tranquility pool owners can even control their sound systems and lighting via an app on their tablets and smartphones.
Ready to install a tranquility pool in your backyard?
Make sure you have enough space in your yard for the type of tranquility pool you want. Circular pools can be great for smaller yards, while rectangular pools are ideal for swimming and hosting parties.
"Today more and more of the exterior home textures are introduced into the pool design," says Casey. "In essence, we create another room to the home; it's just outside!"
Designers can work with you to create a pool that's a fit for your backyard and your budget.
"Municipal requirements dictate the buildable space, which in turn gives the designer freeboard to marry form with function," says Casey, noting designers are just as detailed on "structural portions" as they are on "aesthetic additions" that "require engineering or hydraulic specifications designed to produce water flow and sound."
No matter what amenities you add to your pool, be sure you're working with a professional designer.
"Regardless of the type of pool you're hoping to get, never choose a contractor solely based on price," says Rebecca Robledo, construction/design editor for Pool and Spa News. "Go with somebody who is licensed according to the laws in your state, county or city.
"Check your potential builder's track record with the licensing agency and other outlets, and ask for customer referrals. It sounds basic, but too many homeowners don't follow that simple rule, and they pay the price."
From cascading waterfalls and fountains to stone, brick and cement finishes, tranquility pools look and feel lavish. You can add bubbling spas, tanning walls (so you can get a tan while you're in the water) and even have a beach entry, where you walk on a slight slope into the shallow end of the pool without stairs (a great option for seniors and kids). For a modern feel, get an infinity pool with vanishing edges.
Homeowners can also invest in built-in LED lighting to set the right mood in the pool. Think calm blue or pretty pink lights to showcase your stylish fun side at your next party.
Once your tranquility pool is ready, be sure you have all the other details covered, including coordinated towels, pillows and seating. Don't forget soothing lighting in the pool area like candles, lanterns and market lights.
While your pool may be pretty and inviting, don't be surprised if you and your guests sit poolside, soaking up the Zen vibes from your backyard tropical oasis.