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Creating the Ultimate Backyard Retreat – Part III

From spas to eco-friendly features

By Barry Justus


A spa experience

A growing number of homeowners also want to bring an element of resort-style relaxation to their ultimate backyard. From intimate plunge spas to giant party spas to aerated jets within the pool itself, you are truly only limited by your imagination.

Custom spas

Custom concrete spas can be a welcome addition to the ultimate backyard. They can be located in or beside the pool, or as an entirely separate entity. In all cases, they can be plumbed and heated for year round use. It is highly recommended that hot water spas be fully tiled. Granite, glass, porcelain and certain natural stones are all perfect for the often aggressive water chemistry needed to keep hot water clean and safe. You can also custom configure the spa’s jets to meet your specific needs. The ultimate spa layout includes a vertical stand up well for two, with jets configured in a vertical position to give you a total body massage.

Pool massage jets

Spa jets, including bench and vertical massage varieties, can also be located in the main pool. Given the cooler water, bathers can safely enjoy these massage jets for an extended period of time.
Adding aerated spa jets to swim outs, benches, shallow lounging areas and custom loungers adds an entire new dimension in pool relaxation, especially when targeted to massage specific parts of the body (e.g. lower back, calves or shoulders). Vertical massages can be further customized by using interchangeable jet bodies, variable-flow pumps and automated air blowers.

Swim jets

Larger jet systems can be used to provide swim currents or as a method to power a meandering lazy river. The ultimate systems use high-volume pumps combined with large-diameter (e.g. 304-mm [12-in.]) plumbing to provide a ‘river’ of water to swim against. Less complex systems use narrower plumbing and provide a similar feel on a smaller scale.
Swim jets can be incorporated on pools of virtually any size. When incorporated into a perimeter overflow design, the swimming experience is greatly enhanced, as the bather is always located in smooth water. The lack of an edge on a perimeter overflow pool prevents waves from building up from the jetted current. As yards become smaller, these types of multi-use pools will become more favourable and practical.

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