Living Poolside

How To Choose A Swimming Pool Builder

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Thu, Mar 14, 2019


Tags: Master Pools Guild, Gunite swimming pools, swimming pool trends, Outdoor Living, Building A Swimming Pool

25 Reasons To Own A Swimming Pool!

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Fri, Jun 15, 2018



We believe you will find this list of 25 reasons to own a swimming pool useful.  Whether you are in the process of adding a swimming pool to your home or just beginning to consider the idea AND, we believe of few of these interesting facts may surprise you!

Family & Friends - Always Our No. 1 Consideration.

  1. Teach your children to swim!
  2. Pool toys for kids of all ages (new floats are amazing for adults relaxing!)
  3. Stop the “We are bored” for the summer.
  4. Encourages family togetherness.
  5. Making memories in & around the centerpiece of your outdoor living area.
  6. Pool parties for all ages: child, teenagers, adults!
  7. Your backyard is the hangout for #6 keeping everyone close!
  8. The best place to fire up that grill.
  9. Date night under the stars.
  10. With the use of heaters, chillers, fireplaces & today’s pool houses, the pool area is useable 12 months a year – year round resort living!
  11. Pools are an entertainer’s paradise!
  12. Today’s technology makes owning a pool practically maintenance free while controlling your total pool environment with a swipe of your thumb!


Health & Wellness Always A Close 2nd!

  1. A good investment in a more active & healthy lifestyle.
  2. Swimming is a life skill and a lifetime sport.
  3. One of the best ways to keep your children safe in & around water is to teach them to swim at an early age.
  4. Swimming is proven to increase self-esteem in children.
  5. The perfect place to relax & unwind.
  6. Swimming is easy on the joints.
  7. Swimming can help you sleep better.
  8. Beat the heat of the summer.
  9. Benefits your immune system.
  10. Benefits your brain!
  11. Great exercise for those who need activities easy on the joints.
  12. Slows the aging process.
  13. Swimming utilizes/exercises almost every muscle in the body.


Want to hear more or looking for a resource to answer your specific questions?  Check out our associate locator & find a Master Pools Guild member builder near you!

We wish you a lifetime of memories and active, outdoor living poolside!!!!

Family dinner beside swimming pool

Tags: swimming pools for fitness, Healthy Lifestyle, Family Time, Master Pools Guild, Family Fitness, Outdoor Living

How Should I Clean My Outdoor Furniture?

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Tue, Mar 01, 2016

*Always check for the manufacturer's recommended care instructions on your furniture and on cushion tags.  Those instructions should always be followed first.  Your furniture company's website may also provide resources for cleaning and care.


Spring is right around the corner and many of us find ourselves looking at our patio furniture as a project.  A refresh or at least a good cleaning may be in order.  With that said, we would like to share the following guidelines:

Cast Aluminum:

Cover the furniture pieces from top to bottom with all-purpose cleaner and rub with a soft, nylon scrub brush.  Next, wipe with a microfiber cloth removing all cleaner as well as debris.  For an added layer of protections, finish with a coat of car wax.


Combine 1 quart of warm water, 1 teaspoon of dish washing detergent and 1 tablespoon of Borax in a bucket.  Using a sponge, scrub the cushions on all sides.  Let the solution soak in for 15 minutes and rinse with a hose.  Stand each cushion on its side to dry.


Hammocks collect a great deal of debris so washing a hammock several times a season is recommended.  Place the hammock on a clean tarp and spray with a hose.  Using a soft brush scrub with warm water and liquid dish washing soap.  Rinse and repeat on the other side.  Allow to dry in the sun.


Spray down plastic furniture with a hose then scrub with a warm water and baking soda solution.  Rinse with the hose and allow to dry in the sun.


Whether your teak is natural or sealed with a protectant, the cleaning method for teak furniture is the same.  Combine a 50/50 mixture of dish or laundry detergent and warm water (boat owners swear by Wisk laundry detergent).  Apply using a soft bristle brush.  Allow the mixture to sit on the wood several minutes then rinse well with clean water using the brush to help push away detergent and dirt.  Towel dry.

*Although teak is highly durable, never use steel wool or  pressure hose on teak.  Steel wool can break off and become embedded in the wood and a power washer will strip away the wood's natural protectants.


Using a water hose rinse off the umbrella thoroughly.  Rub a wet, soft bristled brush across a bar of soap then, working from top to bottom, use the brush to scrub the umbrella going back and reapplying soap to the brush as needed.  Rinse with the hose and leave umbrella open to dry.


Use your vacuum's crevice attachment or a dry paint brush to dislodge any debris.  Next, wet a clean, microfiber cloth with a multipurpose cleaner and wipe over the entire surface.   Rinse with a clean, damp sponge.  Wipe with a dry fiber cloth to prevent any mildew.

Wrought Iron:

Mix warm water and mild dish detergent in a bucket.  Use the mixture to wipe down the entire surface.  Rinse with clean water from the hose.  Towel dry.

Here's to a bit of a refresh for us all!  We wish you and your family and friends many hours of time this spring, outdoors enjoying life poolside!  - your friends at the Master Pools Guild

Tags: Outdoor Furniture, Master Pools Guild, swimming pool opening, spring cleaning

Where Did The Practice Of New Year's Resolutions Begin?

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Mon, Dec 28, 2015

New Years

Celebrating the start of a New Year began some 4,000 years ago with the Babylonians who rang in their new year with a festival in March that spanned 11-days.  Ancient Egyptians celebrated their New Year during the annual rise of the Nile River.  By 46 B.C., Roman emperor Julius Caesar, in honor of the Roman god of beginnings – Janus – moved the start of the New Year to January 1st

The Babylonians are credited with creating the practice of making New Year’s resolutions.  Babylonians reportedly made promises to the gods hoping this would bring them good favor in the year to come. 

As Roman history unfolded, the switch from celebrating the New Year during March – which is associated with Mars, the god of war, to celebrating in January – which is associated with Janus, a god of home and hearth, seems to follow the Roman society’s progression as they gradually shifted away from a more warlike society.  In Rome, the first half of New Year’s Day would have been filled with public ceremonies, oath-taking by government officials and temple sacrifices while the second half of the day was filled with social activities.  Romans would bring each other gifts for a “sweet new year” like honey, pears or other sweets.

Today, one in three people will make a New Year’s resolution.  Below is a list of the top 10 resolutions made for 2015.

Top 10 New Years Resolutions in 2015

1-    Lose Weight

2-    Get Organized

3-    Spend Less & Save More

4-    Enjoy Life To The Fullest

5-    Stay Fit & Healthy

6-    Learn Something New

7-    Quit Smoking

8-    Help Others

9-    Fall In Love

10-Spend More Time With Family

Are you among those looking to press a reset button in one of the above areas?  If so, we toast to your success & would like to edit the above list in a light-hearted way to the following:

Top 10 New Years Resolutions Poolside

1-    Lose Weight – swimming can burn 600 calories an hour!

2-    Get Organized – everything in its place inside & outside the house.

3-    Spend Less & Save More – pool owners can make upgrades with new technology that offers big savings.

4-    Enjoy Life To The Fullest – life by the pool – enough said!

5-    Stay Fit & Healthy – an active lifestyle in & around the pool.

6-    Learn Something New – build an outdoor kitchen & master those new cooking skills!

7-    Quit Smoking – do it!

8-    Help Others – teach a child to swim or donate to an organization that does.

9-    Fall In Love – romantic dinners poolside (use those new skills from #6).

10-Spend More Time With Family – again, life by the pool with the ones you love!

So here’s to all of us who are making New Year’s resolutions this year and our sincere best wishes to all for a happy & healthy New Year from your friends at the Master Pools Guild.

Tags: Fitness & wellness, Holidays Poolside, Healthy Lifestyle, Lose Weight, Family Time, New Years Resolutions, Master Pools Guild

How To Prevent Swimming Pool Heat Loss, If Your Pool Could Talk

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Mon, Nov 02, 2015

Design by Barrington Pools, IllinoisWhat Your Pool Would Tell You about HEATING & HEAT LOSS 

While we all want more days spent in the swimming pool, balancing that desire and keeping budget and environmental impacts at a minimum can be challenging.  If your swimming pool could talk, we feel certain it would want to share this information with you about heating and heat loss:
  • Cover Me:  You can drastically reduce heat loss by using a pool cover (an added benefit it that it also will keep out debris like falling leaves!) According to the U.S. Department of Energy your savings could reach 50% - 70%.
Barrington With Cover
 If you look closely around the edges of the pool near the home, you can see the cover that extends over the pool when  not in use. This is the same pool pictured at the beginning of this article, just a different view.  Barrrington Pools, IL.  
  • Give Me Some Shelter: Fencing, hedges, landscaping, and cabanas that offer shelter to your pool against prevailing winds will further reduce any heat loss.
Design by Claffey Pools, Southlake, TX
 The poolside structures and placement of this pool help to keep the elements at bay.  Claffey Pools, Southlake, TX
  • Upgrade Me: If your pool heater is more than five years old, chances are a new high efficiency gas heater could quickly pay for itself in savings on utility bills. 
  • Pump Me Up: A pool heat pump can save up to 80% in energy usage compared to a gas heater. Check with your Master Pools Guild member builder to see if a heat pump is appropriate for your region.
Gib-San Swimming Pool Design
Not easily affected by Mother Nature but perfect for homeowners who love to swim - designed by Gib-San Pools, Toronto, Canada
  • Working For The Weekend: If you use your pool primarily on the weekends, reduce your heater or heat pump thermostats settings by eight to ten degrees during the week. 
  • Please Don’t Go: But if you must leave for vacation and are staying for more than a week, turn off the pool heater or heat pump, including the pilot light. But you must use caution in freezing conditions.
  • Time On My Side: Install a timer or a control system to automate the hours of operation.
  • Check Me Out: When reopening your pool, make sure to verify that your heater or heat pump is working properly. 
Here’s to longer swimming seasons Living Poolside with a smaller environmental footprint!

Tags: Swimming Pools, Swimming Pool Energy Savers, Master Pools Guild, Swimming Pool Heaters

Hot Trend In Outdoor Kitchens: Pizza Ovens

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Tue, Aug 18, 2015

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Outdoor pizza ovens make for easy summertime entertaining. In today’s poolside kitchens, pizza ovens are becoming more and more popular as Mediterranean-style living continues to rise in popularity.  For many, a pizza oven is a natural component of an outdoor kitchen.  It is essential if your family loves a slice of authentic-tasting pie - the delicious smoky taste of a pizza pie baked in an outdoor oven is truly hard to mimic.

Fortunately, these private pizzerias can be included in your outdoor kitchen without sacrificing a great deal of space.  Costs for an oven to make the perfect pie can run from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on various factors so working with your swimming pool designer will help you maximize space and minimize the impact to your budget.

One popular trend is to incorporate a pizza oven as part of the outdoor fireplace. These custom-made ovens sit atop a standard outdoor fireplace. The more traditional approach has pizza ovens constructed in a free-standing style by building a masonry bottom to hold the domed pizza oven.  

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Whether you opt for a new styled pizza oven or one more on the traditional side,  including a pizza oven in your poolside kitchen plans, will expand your kitchen’s flexibility and enhance one of your family’s favorite dinner choices while living poolside!

Tags: entertaining by the pool, Grilling, Outdoor kitchens, pizza oven, Time To Build A Swimming Pool, Master Pools Guild, Poolside entertaining, Family Outdoors

How To Make Homemade Frosty Dog Treats

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Sun, Aug 09, 2015

Boy And Dog Swimming

The dog days of summer find everyone doing their best to stay cool – both man and his best friend!  Store bought frozen dog treats can be expensive, but, follow our recipe for a great alternative.  While regular ice cream is not a healthy snack for your dog this recipe is nutritious and will delight the pallet of even the pickiest of pups! 

Frosty Dog Treats 

First Find Your Freezable Containers

You will need containers for molding/freezing.  Small plastic containers or paper cups work great – the best rule of thumb is to try for a hockey puck shape.  You also have the option to pour the mixture into ice cube trays and make bite-sized snacks.


1 Banana

32 Ounces of plain yogurt

2 tsp of peanut butter

2 tsp of honey

(if you are rushed for time/ingredients the peanut butter and/or honey can be omitted).


Place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender pulsing until everything is well blended.

Once blending is complete, use ice trays or your plastic containers as molds, pouring

small amounts of your mixtures into the containers (Fill containers ½ to ¾ full).

Freeze until solid – store in the freezer. 

Your canine pals will enjoy this tasty pick-me-up during the dog days of summer AND it will help them stay hydrated as well.   So, here’s to spoiling them just a little #LivingPoolside !  

Tags: Pets and Swimming Pools, frozen dog treats, poolside with pets, Master Pools Guild

Is It OK For My Dog To Swim In Our Swimming Pool?

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Fri, Jun 05, 2015

Pets In The Pool

It is that time of year again!  When we are surrounded by the sights and sounds of summer and every member of the family is enjoying Living Poolside.  Often, the “family” includes our pets.  It may sound surprising but, not all dogs are fond of the water.  If you are a pool owner with pets, a bit of proper planning will go a long way to ease your mind and keep your pet safe & happy poolside this summer.

1)  Give him a gradual introduction into the pool.  Holding him snugly, slowly walk into the water. Let him get wet a little at a time and eventually allow him to swim to the exit. Make it a positive experience with lots of encouragement and praise.  NEVER toss your pet into the pool.

2)  Teach proper swimming technique. Dogs will instinctively paddle when submerged in water.  As with any inexperienced swimmer, many dogs try to rely on their front legs and do little with their rear legs. This results in an almost vertical swim technique as well as a great deal of splashing.  It’s exhausting and your pet can easily become over-tired this way. Practice will help improve their skill.

3)  Dogs do not have good depth perception.  Use a large potted plant to mark the pool steps and make sure he associates the plant as the exit marker. No steps?  Then you may want to provide a non-slip ramp. Spend sufficient time training him to enter an exit the pool either by steps or using the ramp. 

4)  Life jackets give your dog the extra ability to stay buoyant. Muscle bound breeds like bully breeds exert more energy due to their weight and can tire more quickly.  Breeds with short legs may not swim as proficiently.  Be mindful of your breed’s body type and consider the use of a life jacket.

5)  Keep safety floatation devices nearby, just in the case. If your dog gets into trouble, a life preserver attached to a long line is the best course of action to take. Dogs panic easily in the water when trouble hits, and a panicked, flailing dog can be difficult to assist. Get the dog to grab out to the preserver first and try to pull him in closer before physically trying to help him out of the water. 

6)  Training your dog to be obedient poolside is a must. Train them to “Wait” at the pool’s edge or to always use the steps or the ramp. Also teach that the “Come” command is universal and applies to the pool as much as it does to dry land. 

7)  A dog’s nails can quickly wear down as they excitedly race around the pool’s exterior. Keep a watchful eye on the nails as well as the pads of their feet. Repeated launching from pool steps can wreak havoc on paw pads; especially if your dog spends most of their time on grass. 

8) Always keep plenty of fresh water around so your dog can drink without attempting to drink from the pool. You will want to make sure you give your dog many opportunities to relieve himself after a swim as he is likely to ingest water while he is in the pool and may need to urinate more often. 

9) Remember that a dog's skin is sensitive to the sun.  Sunscreen applied to pink or white exposed skin will help prevent sunburn.  Rinse your dog off after a swim.  This will help to remove chlorine and other pool chemicals from their coat. Also take care not to let your dog sit in a wet collar as hot spots can develop. Be mindful of areas where water can collect, like ears, groin, and armpits and work to prevent moisture-induced infections by towel drying those areas well. 

10) Unless your pool cover is solid and strong enough to support your weight, do not leave it on when your dog is unattended near the pool. If your dog needs to spend time in the yard unsupervised, a pool fence should be in place. 

From the point of view of pool maintenance, an average sized dog is equal to three humans so, pets in the pool will require you to be extra vigilant with monitoring and cleaning but should not overly impact your equipment.  Discussing this and any questions you have about wear and tear on pool finished with your swimming pool builder in advance to prevent any suprises.  

As with all family members, it is a good idea to check with your medical professional before adding new activites to your routine and swimming is no different.  Discuss plans for your dog with your vet before allowing him to spend time swimming in your pool.  Weight and age should be considered as well as your pet’s activity level and your veterinarian will be able to guide you best. 

We wish you and all your family members happy and healthy days enjoying an active lifestyle of Living Poolside!  



Tags: Pets and Swimming Pools, #SummerIsComing, Master Pools Guild

Food For Thought...And Weekends Spent Living Poolside

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Fri, May 22, 2015


Many of us are busy planning for a holiday weekend and excited at the thought of possibly having an extra day to spend poolside.  Here are a few ideas that may help you simplify your planning while still adding a splash of holiday feel to your weekend: 

Keeping It Simple

Grilling or a BBQ by the pool has become more than a summer/holiday tradition, for many of us, it is a way of life.   Hamburgers (beef, turkey or veggie) and hotdogs with the fixings are a simple, fast & easy way to feed family & friends.  Gather & prepare fixings in advance (slice tomatoes, onions, lettuce) and store in plastic containers.  Tackling this task in advance will have your fixings ready to go and keep you enjoying the fun.  Plastic cups in holiday colors are an easy and inexpensive way to add a festive splash of color. 


Ice cream Sundaes make the perfect desert, again, plan ahead and have your toppings ready to go - letting guests create their own masterpiece.  

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Have a little fun with this and include red &/or blue berries and sprinkles and of course, no sundae is complete without chocolate syrup! 

Layers of Fun  Kids of all ages can have fun making layered iced beverages.   The process is simple, just remember that the liquid with the highest sugar content goes on the bottom.  Follow the directions below and make sure to chill the beverages you will be using in advance!

Red White & Blue Beverages 


Step by Step

  1. Refrigerate the drinks before starting so the ice doesn’t melt as you pour.

  2. Fill glass with ice to the top.

  3. Pour the highest sugar content drink first (FYI, this is also the heaviest)

  4. Carefully pour the next highest sugar content drink. You can pour it into the ice or along the side of the glass to reduce splashing/mixing.

  5. Pour the lightest or lowest sugar content drink on top.

  6. Enjoy! 

Red = Cran-Apple juice = 40 grams of sugar this goes in first

White = Pina Colada SoBe  = 25 grams of sugar this goes second

Blue = Cool Blue Gatorade = 21 grams of sugar this goes in third

A little planning & you can keep your weekend festive but fun for everyone!   Here’s to a many weekends spent #LivingPoolside!







Tags: Holidays Poolside, poolside snacks, Grilling, celebrate poolside, Food & Fun, #SummerIsComing, Master Pools Guild, Poolside entertaining, Family Outdoors, Celebrating Poolside

Mother's Day Ideas From The Master Pools Guild

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Mon, May 04, 2015

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Whether you are celebrating Mother’s Day, or just want to spoil her a bit, we have the plan for making Mom feel special.  Start by collecting a few new items for her to use when enjoying her time poolside.  You could place these in a new canvas tote or a gift bag: 

Ideas For Mom’s Poolside Gift Bag: 

1)            Flip Flops

2)            Sunglasses

3)            Her favorite sunscreen

4)            Her favorite after sun lotion

5)            Luxurious new beach/pool towels

6)            Wide brimmed hat

7)            Novel or favorite magazine

8)            Refillable tumbler to use to stay hydrated 

Now that you have her poolside and enjoying several of her favorite things you can get to work on the main course for brunch or that perfect afternoon snack made just for her. 

Apricot Yogurt Scones

(Yields 8)


1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into pieces

1 large egg

¾ cup plain yogurt (regular or low-fat)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 

For the glaze (optional)

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

3 tablespoons milk



Soak the apricots in one cup of very hot water for about 10 minutes to plump them up a bit.  Drain, pat dry & set aside. 

Whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large e mixing bowl.  Add butter cutting it into the flour with your fingertips until no pieces larger than a pea remain.  Now drain the apricots and add to the mixture tossing to coat with the flour. 

In a separate blow, whisk together the egg, yogurt, mil and vanilla.  Pour over the dry mix and use a wooden spoon to gently mix together.  Mix just until there is no more dry flour visible in the dough. 

Use a ½ cup measure to scoop out the dough and drop it onto the baking sheet.  Space the scones about an inch apart.   Floured hands work best – to gently pat the mounds into rounds and clean up the edges. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes until scones are firm to the touch and golden on the top – browned on the bottom.  Once the scones have cooled completely, whisk together the glaze and drizzle a spoonful on the top of each.  Glaze hardens within fifteen minutes. 

Scones will keep in an airtight container for 3 days but are best the day they are made.  These scones are moister than most and don’t crumble as easily as traditional scones making them perfect for nibbling poolside! 

Excellent served with coffee, iced tea, Mimosas or any beverage of her choice.  She will feel like royalty as you celebrate her love of family & Living Poolside!

Tags: poolside snacks, Apricot Scones, Mothers Day, Mothers Day Ideas, Master Pools Guild