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Spruce Up Your Patio Space with an Outdoor Fireplace

As we approach the springtime, we are all very outdoor minded. You may be asking yourself now how you can spruce up your yard and your property this season to make time spent outside with family and friends more enjoyable. You might be considering cleaning up or even expanding your patio or adding new features to your yard. If so – and you want a more central outdoor gathering point – nothing beats a fireplace under the stars.

Outdoor FireplaceAn outdoor fireplace is something of a throwback to our ancestors telling stories by the fire beneath the night sky. The only difference is that you can do this now right in your backyard – a place of comfort and relaxation. Whether you have a classic fire pit or Mexican-inspired clay fireplace – a chiminea – an outdoor fireplace is an extremely wise investment. It serves as a natural gathering point for you and your guests and, weather permitting, it can be used year-round. Installing a fireplace is more affordable than you might think, and best of all they have very limited upkeep requirements.

Thinking of something larger or that caters more to your passion for grilling? Some people opt to have a full outdoor kitchen installed. An outdoor barbecue pit or grill and kitchen will allow you to not just host your guests, but also feed them a delicious meal as well. Whether you opt for a fireplace or full kitchen, you’ll make your yard the place to be this summer and every season.

Crites Custom Pools offers outdoor fireplace, firepit and kitchen design and installation services. We work with every customer to understand their vision of the ideal outdoor space and work to create a custom solution that meets and exceeds their needs. We’ll work with the confines of your property and stay within you budget while designing and building an extra-special new space for you to enjoy outside.

If you are looking to add that central gathering spot at your home in time for spring and summer, call Crites Custom Pools at 512-759-2630 and get started today.

Preplanning for Your Pool: What to Do Before You Design

If you’re thinking about adding a pool to your property this year, you may think you’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s, but more often than you might think, there are still some considerations that haven’t been made. Even the most meticulous planners are prone to forgetting a few things during the pre-design and installation process. Not to worry: the expert custom pool designers here at Crites Custom Pools have put together a pre-design checklist for you so that you can make sure that you’ve considered every aspect of adding a new pool to your property.

Learn the Lingo

The first step in the pool-design process is to figure out what you want, and that means you’ll need to add a few words to your vocabulary. Porch suggests that you learn about features like a Baja shelf (a flat, shallow area), beach entrance (a pool with no stairs, just a gradual decline from shallow to deep) bubblers (aka fountains), coping (stone masonry used at the edge of the pool) and more.

Once you know the lingo, you’ll be able to easily and effectively communicate what you want your pool to look like to your builders and designers. That way you won’t have any confusion during your discussions with the design team and can be assured that your design and installation results in the exact pool you envisioned.

Check with the County

Once you decide on a direction you want to go in with the pool design, make sure you’re allowed to install it how you want it. Popular Mechanics says to check with your local building department or zoning board to learn what you’re allowed to do and any regulations you may need to follow. There will often be specific limits and restrictions that vary from county to county and even town to town. For example, sometimes there is a minimum distance for how close a pool can be located in proximity to a property line or how deep your pool can be – even whether or not you can install a diving board.

Don’t spend time and money planning a pool that can’t be built. Know the rules in your area and how they will play a role in your design.


This item on the checklist is simple, but important. Come up with a number that you can comfortably spend, and then stick to it. If your budget is tight, you may need to skip the in-pool cocktail area, but that won’t stop you from enjoying cocktails on the pool deck with your friends. Know what you can afford, and plan a pool that meets your needs and your budget.


Talk to your homeowners’ insurance company to make sure your policy is updated to include coverage for a pool. You may find that your premium will increase, so make sure to contact them before you start building so that you know what to expect once your pool is complete.

Design and Build

Once you’ve considered all these factors, the last step is to design and build. If you’re looking to add a pool to your property this year, let the team at Crites Custom Pools guide you through the process. Our pool experts can give you information on styles, pricing and more so that you can start building your dream pool as soon as possible. Get started on your new custom pool design by calling us today at 512-759-2630.

Making a Splash: Trendy Pool Options for 2017

We have jumped into 2017, and it is time to start planning what style of pool you would like to jump into at your home this year. While it may not be pool season now, the cooler months are the perfect time to start planning ahead for the pool you want at your home this summer.

Like fashion, cars and pop-culture, pools go through different trends. Let’s discuss 2017’s hot new trends for cooling down!

Vanishing Edge Pools

The vanishing edge pool has been on the rise for quite some time and is definitely still climbing in popularity. 2017 will most likely see a summer of vanishing edge pools. This style is clean and sleek, with water gently falling over the edge into a catch basin that gives the pool the illusion of merging with the horizon. Vanishing edge pools are commonly associated with resorts, but are an excellent addition for a home with a beautiful view, making every swim a surreal, dreamlike experience.

Eco-Clean Pools

Pools that place more of an emphasis on all-natural cleaning are another common trend. These eco-friendly pools don’t use chlorine or other caustic chemicals. Instead, sand filters and plants are used to eliminate bacteria and keep the pool clean. These spaces are more like a natural lake or river, but if you’d prefer a more natural approach that still offers the pool experience, ozone and UV technologies can also be utilized to keep your pools clean and less dependent on chemicals.

Beach-Style Pools

A very new and popular trend is the beach-like pool. These pools feature a sloped floor, providing an entry that’s more like walking in from the shore at a beach. Not only is this gradual entrance safer for young children, it also creates the sensation of entering a tranquil ocean or lake. These pools can even be upgraded to include actual sand, creating the ultimate beach experience in your very own backyard.

Pool styles are always changing and it is always wise to keep up with the most up-to-date trends, and 2017 is sure to bring some of the coolest and most elegant pools to date. If you need a pool custom-built to fit your needs and space, Crites Custom Pools can work with you to create the pool of your dreams. Get started on planning your new pool today by giving us a call at 512-759-2630.

Smart Pools: The Internet of Things and Your Pool

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “Internet of Things” and how it might relate to your pool, think of it this way: the Internet as we know it is a collection of connected devices and technologies that share information and knowledge to people all around the world. By contrast, the Internet of Things is the network that’s created when devices (the “things”) at your home (including devices that you can use in your pool) are connected to one another and the internet at large, opening a whole new world of capabilities.

Are you ready to make your backyard pool a smart pool? Pools are no longer just bodies of water where we throw birthday parties and relax for the day. These days, according to Forbes, there are myriad companies offering pool services via internet-connected devices.

Instead of checking filters and the balance of chemicals in your pool once a month, pHin will outfit your pool with sensors that can monitor the water temperature, hardness, alkalinity and acidity for you. Connect the system to your home’s wireless network, and pHin can monitor your pool’s chemical content for you, sending a report to your phone, tablet or computer to review. It also is integrated with a chemical supply company, meaning your pool could even order chemicals for you to restore the balance of your pool with ease. pHin’s service currently starts at $269 per year, which is a fraction of what the typical pool owner pays for chemicals and regular pool maintenance annually.

cFloat is another company offering connected pool services. Their device also floats in the pool, and sends real time data about the pool’s water chemistry straight to your smartphone. The cFloat even triggers an alarm when it detects motion in the pool water when no one’s supposed to be swimming. It can also measure the size of cannonballs and score dives, so it can even make your pool experience more fun.

The Internet of Things tech trend is not going away anytime soon, and there are a range of other connected devices available that can further enhance your overall pool experience, including smart lighting controls and music playing capabilities. You can have a smart and integrated home, and now that’s extended out to your pool, as well.

Whether you’re thinking about adding a pool to your property or are interested in renovating the one that’s already there, Crites Custom Pools is here to help. Read about our custom pool design capabilities online or call us today at 512-759-2630 to schedule a consultation to learn more.

Making a Splash: Water Feature Options for Your Home

Are you interested in trying to make your backyard stand out from all the rest? One of the most stunning ways to do it is by incorporating a water feature into the mix, and these days, there are many different options for you to choose from. Whether you want to devote a large portion of your property to a large or elaborate new water feature or you just want to add something small that will make a big splash, there are a number of different types of water features that will add value to your property and change the look of the exterior of your home.

Waterfalls and Water FeaturesWater gardens have become very popular among homeowners who want to add ponds to their backyards. These small ponds are designed with just a few fish in them to provide a soothing water feature that is more intimate – perfect for homes where space is at a premium. Another popular option is to create more intricately designed ponds that feature a number of rocks, waterfalls and plant life in and around them, creating a more immersive and unique garden area where you can relax to the sound of flowing water amid the peaceful greenery.

Speaking of waterfalls, did you know that you can actually build a waterfall in your backyard without building a big pond to go along with it? HGTV reports on remote waterfalls as a popular option for urban spaces where the water falls into a bed of gravel and is then drained and recirculated to the top of the water feature. Bubbling fountains and rock column fountains are also good options that can be added on different scales, incorporating a central attention-grabbing feature that can really liven up the appearance of your backyard.

Waterfalls, fountains and other features can also be included as part of an immersive pool design. Create a custom pool with a central fountain or a tiered pool area that splashes a waterfall down into the swimming area. There are many different options to consider, and at Crites Custom Pools, we can build just about anything that you can come up with when it comes to water features.

When you work with us, we’ll put our expertise to work for you, helping to design a completely unique pool or water feature that meets your vision and works within your available space – and budget. Check out some examples of our work online or call us at 512-759-2630 to schedule an appointment to sit down and discuss your ideas with our design team today.

Negative, Wet and Vanishing Edges: Different Pool Designs

Negative and Wet Edge PoolsHave you been dreaming of adding an elegantly designed pool to your property, but having a hard time deciding between a traditional style and a pool with a negative edge, wet edge or vanishing edge design? Not sure what the differences are? Let’s take a look at the different pool styles, edges and designs to help you pick the look that would work best for you.

A pool in your backyard transforms your outdoor space into an area of endless possibilities. You can host pool parties for the kids, hang out and relax with your friends, and even work on your fitness. But a regular pool is only so impressive. That’s why we offer negative and wet edge pools. But what does that mean exactly?

Negative and wet edge pools offer a more stunning and creative pool design. Some people call these types of pools vanishing edge pools.

Negative edge, wet edge and vanishing edge pools all refer to the same type of high-end design.

In a negative or wet edge pool, one or more sides of the pool are slightly lower than water level, which creates a spill over. The spill over creates a waterfall on one end, and provides the illusion of an endless pool edge while you’re swimming or from looking at the pool from opposite the vanishing edge.

This upscale look will give your pool a spa-like vibe, and can be especially great for featuring the view in your backyard, though it’s also important to consider that there are some additional space considerations. For example, the water traveling over the edge doesn’t magically return to the pool. Instead, you need a catch pool which serves as a reservoir that recycles the water into the main pool. This requires additional space and needs to be considered when selecting a design for your home.

Whether you’re installing a pool just for you and your family and friends to enjoy or you want something simple and practical, adding a pool can really increase the value and enjoyment of your home. At Crites Custom Pools, we can help you transform your outdoor space with a unique pool design. We can work with you to provide a free estimate and discuss the considerations at your property to help you decide on the best look for your home. To learn more or to get started on planning your new custom pool, call us today at 512-759-2630.

Enjoy the Outdoors More – And Add Significant Property Value!

Standards of suburban living have gone up over the past decades, and you deserve to be right on par with everyone else. Many homes today include an outside add-on of some sort. For example, many homeowners will have their patio redone or have an outdoor kitchen installed. This allows for more space in the outdoor areas of the home and more opportunities to entertain guests.

Outdoor KitchenOutdoor additions are a great way to improve your home and your quality of life. Not sure what to do? Adding an outdoor kitchen or barbecue area is an appealing spot to develop. Not only will this make your home a more luxurious place for you and your family, it will also add significant property value.

There is no better home investment than having an attractive and useful patio installed. This will give your home a much higher value than the price you purchased it for. The cost of the addition will pay for itself when you are able to sell your house for a high profit. Potential homebuyers look for certain things when they are weighing their options. A custom build stone fire pit could not only be the selling point, but it could give you a significant return on investment (ROI).

Fire pits average a 150 percent ROI, while outdoor kitchens can add a 100 to 200 percent ROI, according to Inman. Not only will adding a functional outdoor kitchen or built-in barbecue increase the value of your home, it will give you something to enjoy while you’re living there.

Crites Custom Pools specializes in outdoor kitchens, patios and fire pits. If you are looking to enjoy your time outside even more while increasing the value of your home, tell us what you would like and we would be happy to give you an estimate. Give Crites Custom Pools a call today at 512-759-2630 to learn more or to schedule an initial consultation.

Closing Your Pool: Tips to Safely Winterize

Winter is around the corner, and the coming cooler season brings a list of errands that must be completed to protect your pool during the off-season. Most importantly, you need to close or winterize your pool so that you don’t have any issues while it’s not in use. Whether you’re shutting down your pool as you head to a second home for the winter or just want to close up during the colder weather, these tips should make the pool-closing process much simpler.

Water Testing KitBalance the Water Chemistry

When closing your pool, it is important that you modify the water chemistry and “shock” the pool. There are general levels that your water chemistry should meet. For example, you’ll want to keep your alkalinity at 80-120 ppm, the calcium hardness at around 180-220 ppm and your pH between 7.2 and 7.6.

Shocking the pool involves adding an oxidizing compound to destroy any undesirable compounds, including any chloramines, notes Swim University. Generally you’ll need one pound of shock per 10,000 gallons. This will also increase the chlorine levels in your pool temporarily, so before adding winter algaecide, wait until levels to return to 1.0-3.0 ppm. Contact the professionals at Crites Custom Pools for help you if you need help with this process.

Clean the Pool

Cleaning the pool should be a priority when closing or winterizing because it limits the possibility of damage. You will want to vacuum, skim and brush the pool to make sure that it’s as clean as possible to prevent the growth of any bacteria or algae while closed. Take time to ensure that you are brushing as efficiently as possible to avoid covering the pool for the full winter season and creating a breeding ground for problems.

You should also take this opportunity to take out any removable items from the pool, including ladders, skimmer baskets and other accessories that do not need to be there. Also be cautious while coiling up your hoses that you don’t wrap them too tightly, leaving to kinks in the line or fractures in the hose.

Cover the Pool

Next to properly cleaning the pool, the most important step to safely leaving your pool for the winter season is to ensure that you are adequately covering it. A high-quality mesh cover without holes is a great option. This protects the pool from debris while offering a bit of permeability during rainy weather. If you have an above-ground pool, you may need to use cables to secure the cover in place. In addition, if you live in an area with high winds, using cover seals or wall bags can help prevent the cover from moving during the off season.

At Crites Custom Pools, we understand the importance of properly closing and winterizing your pool, and we are here to assist at every turn. Whether you need help with preparing your pool for winter or want to learn more about installing a custom pool or water feature at your home, we can help. To learn more or for answers to your pool-closing questions, give us a call at 512-759-2630 and speak with one of our experts today.

Beyond the confines….

Have a small backyard? Feel like you can’t squeeze a swimming pool in due to setbacks, easements, or other factors? Take a look at how these homeowners were able to build an amazing backyard retreat!

Beyond The Confines

Looking to spice up your pool?

Looking for something to add to your existing pool to add to the excitement? Or are you looking building new pool but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on crazy features? Check out some of these products you can add to spice up your backyard.  Luxe for less





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