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Choice Pool & Spa's Guide to Outdoor Kitchen Design

3 months ago 164 Views

For busy families, passionate cooks, and frequent hosts, the outdoor kitchen is the center of life when the weather is great. And with North Carolina's temperate climate, local homeowners stand to get the most out of a custom outdoor kitchen.

We've created this handy mini-guide that includes all the basics on what you need to know about designing a custom outdoor kitchen. It was created with homeowners like you in mind, who want to make their backyard space the best it can be. Use it whether you're planning a new back yard, renovating your current outdoor kitchen, or just looking for some inspiration for a future project.

Step One: Consider How You Will Use It

For some homeowners, the outdoor kitchen is all about entertaining. Make sure you'll have everything at your fingertips when it comes time to fire up the grill. As outdoor kitchens become increasingly elaborate, it's important to know you won't be crisscrossing the space with guests and other cooks.

It's also good to consider that, as host, you'll probably be cooking and socializing simultaneously. Is your range or barbeque situated so you're looking at guests or will your back be turned while you tend to those grilled wings?

Also, you'll need to consider safety when you design the layout. If there are going to be children running around, think about where the main pathways of traffic will be. Make sure kitchen elements that pose safety hazards are placed well away from those routes. That would include the barbeque and/or firepit, of course!

Step Two: Fit the Design to Match Your Space

Having a huge yard means you're starting out with a big blank slate, which can be overwhelming. Try and define nooks and areas of your yard, all of which you may not want to be taken up by your outdoor kitchen.

On the flipside, those with just a small patio space to work with shouldn't give up on the notion of having an outdoor kitchen. Just as it is with interior spaces, there's always a way to make things work!

No matter what size yard you have, you'll need to pay careful attention to lighting. Lighting is key once the sun goes down because it sets the mood and keeps you from having to run around with flashlights. This is truly a case where design and functionality are equally important. You don't want any harsh, default overhead lighting to wreck the ambiance you've worked so hard to achieve with your design goals.

Step Three: Set Your Appliance Goals

This is really about setting a budget but it's also about styling your new custom outdoor kitchen. Planning the appliances from the get-go allows you to control your budget and it also allows you to visualize your project early on.

Step Four: Consider the Landscape

The most impressive custom jobs are those that were designed with the existing landscape in mind. Do you have steps? Is there a retaining wall? What's the focal point of your space? How well will the architectural elements of your new outdoor kitchen mesh with the look of your home? Will there be a water feature? Will the eating area look out over a pleasing view or will you be going for a more intimate setting that's enclosed with hardscaping or landscaping? Lots to consider here.

We realize an outdoor kitchen project comes with a lot of decisions to make. If Choice Pools & Spas can help guide in any way, we're here to help. We want you to love your new custom outdoor kitchen as much as we love designing them!


The Benefits of Winter Hot-Tubbing

4 months ago 260 Views

If the term Après-Ski means anything to you, then you’re a prime candidate for a hot tub addition to your home. Taken straight out of the pages of the world’s top ski resorts, it’s the ultimate cold-weather luxury.

But you don’t have to live in the Andermatt ski village of Switzerland to experience the unique feeling of a good hot soak under the winter sky. You can have it all, without paying for airfare, with your own hot tub installation.

There are plenty of other reasons why winter hot-tubbing is a great idea. Here are some of the benefits of a hot soak under winter skies when the temperatures dip down for the long cold months ahead.

#1 – It’s a Year-Round Spa Experience

Your own hot tub that’s enjoyed in the brisk winter months is a spa-like treat you can enjoy year-round. The forested settings of Europe’s famous resorts, built in the classical style of a more opulent era of travel, offer inspiration for some of the most beautiful residential installations.

Like their European resort-based counterparts, today’s residential installments offer access to a relaxing soak any time of year. That’s important when you live in colder regions of the country!

#2 – Gets You Outdoors More Often

As you’re painfully aware, there are fewer opportunities for enjoy the great outdoors for a good portion of the year around here. A winter hot tub extends your chances of getting out and breathing some good fresh air or even getting some sunshine on your skin for at least a few moments.

Indoor air quality in wintertime can become quickly degraded when the windows don’t get opened for six months on end. Think of all those cleaning products, pet hair, cooking odors, and more, all sealed up inside the house with you! Stepping out into the fresh air is good for your lungs and good for your soul.

#3 – Gives You a New Way to Entertain

The guy with the biggest and best grill in the neighborhood wins in the summertime as the best back yard to hang out in. But now that it’s wintertime, the cards have changed. Your hot tub is a totally new and fun way to have a party any time of the year.

Not Sure About The Cold? Then Try This

After all this, if you’re still not sure you can picture yourself stepping out into sub-zero weather, braving the harsh elements to step into your hot tub, there’s an alternative. Consider a hot tub enclosure for the winter months. You can still enjoy the frost-covered treetops and picturesque winter coating of snow on the ground but in the comfort of a sheltered enclosure.

There are several ways to design your winter hot tub experience:

  1. A standalone hot tub enclosure that’s just steps from your home
  2. A roof on your existing deck that shelters your tub from wind and other elements of nature
  3. A hot tub enclosure that’s attached to an exterior wall of your home

Need more ideas for your outdoor hot tub experience? We can help you “spa it up” with a consultation followed by a custom design that suits not only your unique property but your spa goals as well!

3 Easy Steps To Maintaining Your Hot Tub

7 months ago 472 Views

Maintaining your hot tub can seem like an overwhelming task. However, when dividing all of the things that need attention into daily, weekly and periodic tasks, the regular maintenance does not seem as daunting. To ensure optimum performance and longevity of your spa, regular maintenance is essential and must not be overlooked. This list will help keep you on track when maintaining your hot tub.

The most important step when maintaining your hot tub is to make sure the water quality stays at the correct levels. If you are monitoring the water quality on a daily basis, then there isn’t much work involved other than checking these levels with a color-coded test strip. The two things that you will be checking are the PH and sanitizer levels. If you dip the testing strip into the water and notice that the levels are not where they should be, you will then need to pour in the correct chemicals to get the water quality back to the proper level. Keeping the water quality at the correct levels will help prevent mineral buildup and corrosion of your hot tub, as well as help to avoid skin irritation.

“Shocking” your hot tub with sanitizer on a weekly basis is good practice for proper hot tub maintenance. This task is especially important when there have been a lot of bathers using the spa. Doing this will ensure the water in your hot tub stays clean and clear. Another weekly maintenance task is to clean your hot tub. Wiping down the spa cover and taking it off for a few hours per week to allow it to air out will help to extend the life of the cover. When removing the spa cover it is also a good idea to check for any debris in the hot tub and the water level. If the water level gets below the skimmer it could damage the pump.

These final steps are ones in which you should plan on doing at least a couple times per year. It is a good idea to treat your spa with a descaling agent a few times throughout the year to prevent mineral buildup. If you know that you live in an area high calcium or mineral content, this periodic task is especially important. Another area of the hot tub to check throughout the year is the main filter. Plan on removing and cleaning your hot tub’s filter at least a couple of times per year. Lastly, it is good to get in the habit of draining your hot tub once or twice per year. This will ensure good water quality, as well as give you the opportunity to inspect all of the components of your hot tub.

Maintaining your hot tub is easy when looking at the maintenance steps as daily, weekly or periodic. It really is not very time consuming. The important thing is to give your hot tub the proper attention so that your family and friends can enjoy it for years to come.

Interested in owning a hot tub? Call us and schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY at (919) 562- 6611 OR visit us at 10016 Capital Blvd. Wake Forest, NC 27587.



Choice Customer Review

7 months ago 432 Views

My husband has always loved cooking and grilling out. I will be the first to admit that he has always been the one who handles all of the cooking for our family. A few years ago, we moved into a new home here in Raleigh. After moving I realized that we didn’t have much of a budget to spend towards upgrading our backyard. A fully functioning outdoor kitchen had always been a dream of his, however, it would have to wait. I could tell he was a little bummed by the fact that we had a brand-new house but he would still have to cook on our old grill my parents bought us as a wedding gift. I told him that we would eventually look at installing an outdoor kitchen, but needed to wait until we had more money saved up. He agreed.

Another year of grilling on the old grill went by until the day finally came. After attempting to start the grill for dinner, I could hear him clicking the starter over and over again, my husband came inside to inform me that we weren’t going to be grilling for dinner that night. As we finished preparing the meal in the kitchen, he mentioned that he wanted to start looking at getting a new grill. He didn’t know that I was thinking more than just a grill, it was time to get a new outdoor kitchen!

Some friends of ours had recently purchased a spa from Choice Pool and Spa and told us about the pleasant experience they had. They mentioned how the entire team was very helpful and how they also installed outdoor kitchens. I immediately made a note in my phone so I wouldn’t forget – Choice Pool and Spa.

As my husband started searching for a new grill, I began meeting with the professionals at Choice to start designing a new outdoor kitchen. His 40th birthday was coming up and I wanted to make sure it would be one he wouldn’t forget. After weeks of stalling and telling him that I didn’t like any of the grills he had picked out, I finally had everything ready for the big surprise.

On the night of is his birthday, after he had finished opening all of his gifts, I handed him a manila folder with a bow on top. He began to chuckle realizing why I had been so picky about all of the grills he kept showing me. What he didn’t realize was that in the folder wasn’t a picture of a new grill but a rendering of our backyard with a new outdoor kitchen. As he opened the folder I could tell he was shocked. He immediately asked how in the world did I design an outdoor kitchen. I told him how I had met with Choice Pool and Spa and that we had an upcoming appointment to finalize the design. The installation process began the following week and we were on our way to having a backyard worth showing off!

A few months have passed and we are so pleased with how our new outdoor kitchen turned out. My husband still talks about how surprised he was when opened that folder to see the design for our outdoor kitchen from Choice Pool and Spa. We have been grilling out nonstop and loving it! To step out into our backyard and sit around the bar with family and friends while my husband grills dinner makes me feel like I’m the one who got the gift.

We love helping our customers create the perfect backyard. Call us and schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY at (919) 562-6611 OR visit us at 10016 Capital Blvd. Wake Forest, NC 27587

What is a Swim Spa?

8 months ago 432 Views


What is a Swim Spa?

As swim spas continue to grow in popularity, this question is asked more and more - what is a swim spa? The technical answer is a rectangular spa that allows you to swim against a continuous current of water. However, a better way to answer this question is by looking more in depth at the benefits of a swim spa.

Fitness

Building muscular strength, endurance and keeping your heart rate up while avoiding high impact stress on your body, makes swimming one of the healthiest ways to exercise. According to the American Heart Association, just 30-60 minutes of physical activity 3-4 days per week can help reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. As a regular physical activity, swimming can also help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Swim spas are regularly used by top level athletes to stay in shape, so you know it is going to be a great workout.

Convenience

Imagine being able to swim laps without having to leave your home to go to a local neighborhood pool or fitness club. Swim spas allow you to never worry about sharing a lane or avoid kids crossing in front of you while swimming. The continuous flow of water also gives the swimmer the ability to concentrate on the workout instead of having to turn around at the walls. Swim Spas provide a great work out while using the least amount of space, all within the comfort of your home or backyard. Using your swim spa all year long instead of a few short months provides the benefits of a pool and spa in one.

Relaxation

Swim Spas facilitate the perfect environment for relaxation. Of course, you can hop into the swim spa as you would a traditional hot tub with family and friends. However, having the ability to exercise and then sit into a seat of superior current massage jets after a workout is what makes owning a swim spa so unique.

Call us and schedule your complimentary consultation TODAY at (919) 562- 6611 OR visit us at 10016 Capital Blvd. Wake Forest, NC 27587.

Summer Pool Party Ideas

9 months ago 577 Views

The days are getting hotter and the nights are getting longer! That means it is time to start planning some pool parties! We love it when we see pictures or hear about parties happening around pools we have built. As summer approaches, we want to share some fun pool party ideas to add a little more fun by the pool!

Hawaiian Luau

A Hawaiian Luau is a very popular pool party theme, since it is fairly easy and affordable. Invite your friends to an evening getaway to the Island State! Ask guests to wear their most colorful Hawaiian print shirts. As guests arrive, welcome them with the traditional ‘Aloha’ greeting while placing leis around their necks. You can either make the leis yourself, a little more expensive, or purchase ready-made leis. Decorate the pool area with bright, tropical colors, bamboo accents and Hawaiian-themed accessories from your local party supply or craft store. Tiki torches and tropical flowers scattered across tables and the surface of the pool provide the finishing touches for a magical evening. Treat your friends and family to grilled pineapple chicken or ham for a delicious meal. To complement the feast, serve rice and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables reminiscent of a garden paradise.

Formal Evening

There are two ways you could go with this one. One is to ask guests to come in a dress or suit to sip wine or champagne beside the pool while the setting sun sparkles across the water. The other is to dress up in these fancy outfits only to jump into the pool fully clothed! It may sound crazy, but friends and family are sure to capture the fun with photos and videos to share for many years. Another idea is to ask all of your guests to come completely dressed in white and deck out the entire pool area with white accessories. Set up candles all over your patio, and if you really want to go all out, place white beach balls in the pool to bring the white theme together. The wedding aisle of your local craft store for white accessories like serving pieces and tableware.

Neon Party

If you don’t want to go formal but like the white idea, a neon party may be the party for you! Put up freestanding black lights around the pool, then ask your guests to wear white clothing to get the full effect. You’ll have a blast playing with white beach balls once the sun goes down! To add even more fun to the party, cover your decorations with glow-in-the-dark paint and be sure to stock up on glow sticks!

Vegas Game Night

Want to throw a party where guests can relax by the pool instead of getting in? Try a Vegas Game Night themed pool party. Instead of grilling out, try mixing up your menu with items like sushi or a nacho bar. Put out tables beside the pool for blackjack or poker games. If you want your guests to really get competitive, invest in a handful of prizes they could win!

Girls Night

Maybe Vegas Game Night is for the guys but what about the ladies? For Girls Night, hire a masseuse or beautician for the evening to give your friends manicures, pedicures, massages or facials. If that’s a bit outside your budget, set up your own spa! Provide nail files, toe separators, nail polish and other pampering essentials for your friends. As for food, chips and dip or mini sandwiches make for great snacks, right before you indulge in cupcakes or fondue for dessert.

Beach Party

If you want a fun and simple pool party, try creating a beach barbecue around the backyard pool. Attire is easy! Relax in flip-flops and swimsuits. Let the kids build sand castles in small plastic pools. If you want to really get creative, have the adults get in on it too with a sand castle competition! Decorate tables with seashells and fishnets. Cover chairs with beach towels and use plastic pails and shovels to serve hors-d'oeuvres and drinks. Float toy sailboats in the pool. Grill hamburgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob and serve classic boardwalk food, like popcorn, snow cones and French fries for you family and friends.

We hope you enjoy trying out some of these fun pool party ideas! Tag us with your pictures on Facebook so we can share the fun! If you are interested in building a new pool for your backyard, call us to schedule an appointment OR visit us at 10016 Capital Blvd. Wake Forest, NC 27587 to begin designing your new pool today!

3D Pool Design

10 months ago 1040 Views

It can be difficult to imagine what your finished pool will look like in your backyard. At Choice Pool and Spa, we are committed to ensuring that our customers in Wake Forest, Raleigh and Durham are 100% satisfied with their backyard pool design. Our design services allow you to see a 3D representation of your finished design before it is even built. We wanted to share the benefits to designing your pool with our design services.

Most customers have an idea of what they want their pool to look like. However, when it comes to 2D visual interpretations, such as plans and blueprints, most people are left confused. 3D pool design software allows you to experiment with options, while helping you to truly understand exactly what your pool will look like. You’ll be able to express your creativity, find inspiration and make smarter pool design choices by the click of a button. Innovative 3D design software provides the ability to see and understand a design, fast and easy.

All aspects of the design, such as colors, shapes and materials can all be viewed in a realistic 3D rendering. This helps to ensure the design is accurate and provides peace of mind for the customer when making final selections and decisions. Knowing that you have made all of the right choices for such a life changing project is priceless.

We start the process by recreating your existing backyard so that the plan reflects the actual dimensions of your yard. Incorporating these dimensions gives a clear indication of the size of the pool in relation to the rest of the backyard, as well as helping visualize what other elements you want to include such as hardscapes, landscaping, an outdoor kitchen or fire pit. You can even see how your design will appear from the inside your home or what it will look like at night!

During the design process, you have the ability to share your 3D design with friends and family to help in the decision-making process and to build excitement about your new dream pool!

Our backyard 3D pool and spa design services are at no additional cost to our customers. Call us today to schedule an appointment OR visit us at 10016 Capital Blvd. Wake Forest, NC 27587 to begin designing your new pool today!

Fiberglass Pools vs. Vinyl Pools

11 months ago 673 Views

You’ve decided to install a brand new in-ground swimming pool!The days of relaxation with family and friends poolside are near.However, there is a pretty big decision that you need to make before letting your mind float away into the deep end.Fiberglass or vinyl. The type of pool you decided to install will determine quite a few aspects of your pool, such as size, shape and materials.You can start by asking yourself how much you’re going to use your pool, how much time you want to spend on preventative maintenance and how much money you want to invest.To make the best decision for your pool, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of both fiberglass and vinyl pools.

Fiberglass Pools

Advantages

One of the first things to consider when installing a pool is maintenance.Pool owners typically want a pool that requires little maintenance, with few long-term repairs.Fiberglass pools meet this need better than any other pool type.The gel layer of a fiberglass pool does not alter the chemical balance of the water and resists the growth of algae, reducing the amount of time required to clean your pool.You will never scrape your skin or pick your bathing suit if you rub up to the fiberglass pool walls.Unlike a vinyl pool, the lifetime maintenance expenses of a fiberglass pool are usually much less.You will never worry about having to replace the lining of your pool, which is a significant expense when owning a vinyl pool.

Fiberglass pools are available in a variety of sizes, depths and beautiful shapes. But with new mold innovations, colored finishes, and cantilevered concrete; fiberglass pools have come to rival the aesthetics of concrete pools.Most fiberglass pools come with seats and steps molded into the shell avoiding any additional costs for design elements of your pool.Fiberglass pool shells are built in a factory from an existing mold which allows for greater quality control.Once ordered, they are delivered to your home and can be installed much quicker than vinyl pools.

Because of their low lifetime maintenance costs and incredible longevity, fiberglass pools will often appeal to home buyers when or if the time comes to sell your home.If you have the money to spend upfront, they make a great option.

Disadvantages

For some customers, the initial price of a fiberglass pool can be a drawback.When comparing a fiberglass pool to a vinyl pool, there is going to be more of an initial investment.As mentioned earlier, fiberglass pools provide many design options but there are limitations to the size and depth.Fiberglass pools typically cannot be deeper than 8′ and no wider than 18′ due to the pool having to be built at a factory then shipped to your home on a truck.Overall, these disadvantages could be dismissed when looking at all of the advantages of a fiberglass pool.

Vinyl Pools

Advantages

Vinyl pools typically have the lowest initial price compared to other types of in-ground swimming pools.This is an advantage that cannot be ignored.Unlike a fiberglass pool, vinyl liners can be customized into any shape or depth.Vinyl liners are placed over a steel or polymer frame offering a more customizable design.Just like fiberglass, vinyl is a non-porous surface, which inhibits algae growth and is smooth to the touch.The weekly maintenance is usually a little bit more than a fiberglass pool but still fairly low.

Disadvantages

Having to eventually replace the liner is by far the biggest disadvantage of owning a vinyl pool.Although the structure of a vinyl pool will typically last over 35 years, the liner itself will have to be replaced on average every 8-12 years due to normal wear.Because of this shortened life-expectancy, you may not see a return on your investment if you decide to sell your home.You also have to exercise some caution when using your vinyl pool, especially for dog owners.While vinyl liners are 20 to 30 millimeters thick, vinyl is not as durable as fiberglass.If you don't treat your liner with care and respect, you could be looking at a big repair for avoidable tears.

Even though vinyl pools are more customizable than fiberglass pools, steps and benches are not included and may not match the liner as seamlessly.These may be additional costs to the project that you may have not considered when first initially looking at the price of a vinyl pool.Overall, the lifetime cost of maintaining a vinyl pool may end up being the same or more than owning a fiberglass pool.

While both have their advantages and disadvantages, the addition of a pool will provide a wonderful place for relaxation and entertainment.If you are having trouble deciding what type of pool to install, call us for your consultation TODAY at (919) 562- 6611 OR visit us at 10016 Capital Blvd. Wake Forest, NC 27587.