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Our Blog | Advice on In Ground Swimming Pool Construction and Maintenance

Inspiration for Small Swimming Pools

Posted by Larry Rogers on Tue, Jan 19, 2016


A swimming pool can be a fantastic addition to your yard. To be able to walk outside and cool off in your pool on a hot day, or sit pool-side and read or relax is truly a luxury. Some homeowners may dream of adding a pool to their yard, but fear that their yard is too sloped, or too small, or that the soil would make construction difficult. 

We've written about how to design and build swimming pools that accommodate yard slopes, and about different soil types in Arkansas that can make construction more complicated, and how experienced pool builders can construct a pool amid less than ideal soil conditions so that no issues arise down the road. But, what about small yards? If you have a petite yard is a swimming pool out of the questions? Not necessarily. 


While it's true that a small yard cannot usually accommodate a large pool or a diving pool, that doesn't exclude you from having your own backyard escape. Before gunite (concrete) pools, you were more limited to the sizes and shapes that liner and fiberglass pools were available or commonly made in. If they didn't fit your yard you were just out of luck. Unlike pre-designed liner and fiberglass pools, gunite pools are completely customizable and offers almost unlimited options. These pools can be easily designed to fit even small yards, or a small portion of your yard so the rest can be used for other purposes. They can also have several built-in features added to them like benches, swim-up bars and bar stools, spas and waterfalls. 


You may be wondering if a pool that fits your small yard will also fit a smaller budget. A pool half the size of a larger pool will not necessarily be half the price of that pool. You will save on some of the materials because less of them will be needed, but things like the pool equipment (pump, heater, lighting, filtration system, etc.), the cost of getting the excavation and construction equipment to the site, and the labor cost will not greatly vary. 

If you think a small swimming pool might be a good option for your yard, give us a call and we'll be happy to take a look at it with you.


Tags: pool builders Little Rock, Custom Swimming Pools, swimming pool design, small pools

Don't Make The Mistake of Placing The Wrong Lights in Your Pool

Posted by Larry Rogers on Fri, Aug 28, 2015


A swimming pool with clear sparkling water on a sunny summer day can create a breathtaking focal point in any yard. Couple that with dancing water from fountains or deck jets and a custom swimming pool design that complements your home and yard, and you have a visual and auditory oasis, the perfect place to relax and check out of the stress and busyness of your day-to-day. But as the sun starts to set, will your oasis fade with it, or will it become a more dramatic and exciting night time escape?

Night time opens up a whole new array of design possibilities for your backyard. Your pool can disappear into the darkness or come alive with lights, color, and fire. Adding types of lighting is a great way to get more use out of your swimming pool. One of the most common ways to bring your pool project to life at night is with in-pool lighting. There are two main types of lighting available.

before-HIGH-RES-962796-edited-502549-editedIncandescent is the most basic type. This is a somewhat antiquated lighting option. The main drawback with this type of lighting is the color limitations. In order to change the color of an incandescent pool light you have to place a colored filter over the light inside the pool. The bulb life is relatively short compared to the other options as well. If you are just wanting a basic and affordable way to light up your pool, this may be a good option. If you are wanting something with more capabilities, you should turn your attention to LED. 

Lighting1The most popular modern lighting option on the market is LEDs, which stands for light emitting diodes. These bulbs don't emit any heat, they change colors and have several light show settings, and they have a very long life span compared to incandescent bulbs. The trade off is that the bulbs are more expensive. LED pool lights are the only option that offers vibrant lights with complete customization of color.

When deciding how to light your swimming pool you should ask your pool designer about initial cost, bulb replacement cost, and ease of maintenance. In addition to the information here, these factors can help you determine which swimming pool lighting option is best for you. 

Bringing your pool to life at night starts with pool lighting, but it doesn't have to stop there. Other ways to create a dramatic night time environment are to add outdoor lighting that highlights patios and walkways, landscaping, and structures such as your house, pool house, or swim up bar and kitchen. 

If you are wanting to add and extra dramatic touch, building fire bowls into your pool design is an excellent way to do that. Fire bowls come in a wide array of styles and materials that will match any environment. These are a great way to create a warm, exciting ambiance around your pool. 

If you're on a budget less expensive options like lanterns, strings of lights, candles, and torches can be used to enhance your outdoor environment as well. Pinterest is a great resource for do it yourself lighting ideas. 


Your pool designer should discuss with you options for lighting and the difference betweend them.  Call us today at (501) 664-6861 if you should have any questions about lighting.  Don't make the mistake of placing the wrong lights in your pool.

Tags: Custom Swimming Pools

Liner, Fiberglass, or Gunite Pool...Which Type is Right for You?

Posted by Larry Rogers on Fri, Jul 10, 2015


Planning your dream backyard can be a fun and exciting process. Before you can get down to details though, you have to decide which type of pool is going to work within your budget, best accommodate your lifestyle, and allow you achieve your ideal design. There are three main types of swimming pools: vinyl liner, fiberglass, and gunite/concrete. How do you know which one is right for you?


One of the biggest factors that determines this is usually budget. Knowing how much financing you are eligible for, or what budget you need to work within is the best place to start. Once you know that you will have a better idea about which pool types are actually viable options for your family. Vinyl lined pools are going to be the least expensive option and usually cost around $30,000-$40,000. Second to that is going to be Fiberglass pools which range from $35,000-$45,000. Finally, your Gunite/concrete pools are the highest end option and typically start at $45,000, but on average cost around $50,000 - $60,000

If the price difference is a non-issue, there are other factors that can help you determine which is best for you. Another important factor is the degree of customization, especially if your yard is small, severely sloped, or has existing structures that will need to be built around. Liner and Fiberglass pools are more limited in size and shape. A liner pool can technically be many sizes and shapes, but it is most common for them to be simple cookie cutter shapes. They rarely have any built-in features other than steps. A fiberglass pool can have some built-in features, but they are limited in size because the pool shell has to be transported to the installation site and most shapes are predetermined based on what the factory makes. Gunite pools are the only truly customizable option that offers an extensive amount of built-in features such as fountains and waterfalls, attached spas, ledges and seating, swim-up bars and tables, and infinity edges. There are almost limitless options that can be included in a gunite swimming pool design, and they can be tailored to accommodate almost any yard. Here are some examples.

So what's right for you? If keeping a costs low is your primary concern, vinyl lined pools are best for working within a lower budget. If construction time is a priority and customization is not as important to you, fiberglass pools can be installed and up and running in a shorter amount of time. If you are looking for a luxury swimming pool that is unique and has unlimited potential for built-in features and customization, gunite is going to be the ideal option for you.  

If you still are not sure what type of pool is right for you or would like to look into what kind of financing is available, call and talk with our experienced staff today (501.664.6861) and they can help guide you in the right direction.

Tags: Custom Swimming Pools

Different Types of Water Features for In-ground Swimming Pools

Posted by Larry Rogers on Mon, Jun 15, 2015

Now that the rain has finally let up, we are back working dilligently to get caught up on our schedule.  The rain and wet grounds have placed us some two months behind normal schedule.  Ugghhh.  

If you are planning a pool project this year, with the HOT weather just around the corner, you might want to consider some type of water fearture.  I have expanded on the types below to provide you with some information that may be helpful in your want list.  



Water features are a great addition to any in-ground swimming pool design. Not only do they add beauty to the pool and create sparkling moving water throughout the pool, the soothing sound of moving water can also make your outdoor environment more relaxing. There are many different types of water features to choose from. Certain types my be recommended by your pool builder to match the style of your swimming pool design. Here are some of the most common water features available.

Rock Waterfalls are often paired with natural (organic) pool designs. They are a very common choice and often constructed out of different different types of natural rocks. Rock waterfalls vary in size and can be tailored to fit any size space. The water flow is very natural and uninhibited.

Sheer Descent waterfalls create an arc of water that projects away from the pool wall. These are often coupled with modern swimming pools. They create a thin uniform glass like sheet of water coming out of a narrow opening. The opening can vary in length from about eight inches to eight feet.

Rain Curtains are also typically paired with modern pools, and much like it sounds it creates a sheet of rain. Some rain curtains are places in stand alone structures, almost like a frame. Other curtains fall from the side of a structure like a pergola or awning that overlaps the pool.

Spillover Spas are not necessarily a water feature, but they create a similar effect. There is usually a lower groove in the spa edge that allows the water to spill over in to the pool. These are seen in all types of pool. Some spill over directly into the pool and others trickle down stones or tiles more like a natural waterfall.

Bubblers are usually seen in shallow areas of the pool like tanning ledges. The are a small jet in the floor of the deck that creates a stream of water that bubbles up. The height of the stream of water can vary. These are also seen in all types of pools.

Deck Jets are strong glass like streams of water that come out of the decking surrounding the pool and land in the water. They are typically seen in modern pool designs because of their sleek uniform look, but they can be used in any type of design. These jets, often called Laiminars,  can be illuminated by LED lights at night.

Sconces are thin streams of water that come out of decorative elements on the pool wall. They are usually ornate pieces, different types of animals are also common. These are typically seen in geometric swimming pools and give them a more ornate and traditional look.


If you have any questions about water features, or are ready to start planning your pool project, give us a call at your convenience at 501.664.6861.

Tags: Custom Swimming Pools

Swimming Pool Construction Amid Yard Slopes

Posted by Larry Rogers on Fri, Apr 17, 2015


Sloped Yards are a common issue for swimming pool builders in Arkansas. In fact, if you call a pool builder and ask for a yard consult one of the first questions they ask will probably be about the slope of your yard. A slope in no way prevents you from being able to construct a pool, but it may affect your backyard design. Here are a few of the methods we use when designing / constructing a pool in a sloped yard.


1. Retaining Walls - Retaining walls are commonly used in construction to deal with slopes. A contractor may use them to level out a place between a house and the property line so they can create a level drive way. Or, they may be used to contain raised flower beds. They are not specific to pool builders or swimming pool construction, but they are something that we utilize. If a yard has a steep slope, a retaining wall can be used to separate the higher level form the lower level at one point in the yard instead of a gradual descent over a large area. 


2. Building up the Downhill Side - Another option with sloped yards is to build up the down hill or low side. This simply means adding fill to the lower side to create a level area. This can lead to problems if it isn't done right. The fill that is added has to be properly compacted or it can lead to cracking later on when it finally settles.  A compaction test to "Standard Proctor" of 95% is recommended.  


3. Constructing a Pool to fit the Yard - The third option is to create a pool layout that accommodates the slope. This can be done by building the gunite pool walls up on the high end of the slope to achieve a built-in retaining wall. Or, the pool wall on the low end of the slope can be built up so that the level of the walls is even all the way around the pool. The exposed pool walls can be tiled, or faced with stone to add to the aesthetics of the pool. The type of pool you decide to build, vinyl, fiberglass or gunite, will also affect the overall design and shape, not to metion, the flow of the pool (water) space.  Below are some examples of gunite pools that we have constructed in sloped yards.

You will want your poolscape to flow with the natural grade of your yard.  Depending on your family and environmental requirements, the pool should have a "natural" flow to the landscape and not look like it was "backed in" by your designer / builder.  This, by in large, will depend on the "type" of pool you build.  



Tags: Custom Swimming Pools

Choosing Your Swimming Pool Decking

Posted by Larry Rogers on Fri, Feb 6, 2015

When you begin to plan your backyard project, you will find there are decisions you will have to make. Some of them are small decisions, like what type of plants you may want to landscape with. Some decisions are much more important, like choosing the shape of your pool. That is a permanent decision you'll want to get right the first time. Each decision offers you the opportunity to create a unique backyard oasis that is tailored to your family's needs. One of the decisions is choosing your swimming pool decking (patio around the pool). While this may not be as exciting as selecting pool features, it can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of your backyard project. Here are some of the most common pool decking options you will have to choose from. 


DarkDeckingThe most basic decking is concrete with a “broom finish.” This is simply concrete that is finished by pulling a special broom across the troweled surface. This is the most economical of all decking options. If you want to take it a step further, you can have the concrete stained and sealed after the concrete has cured. Basic concrete can also be scored to give the impression of tiles or a diamond pattern.

Exposed aggregate is a variation of basic concrete. Little bits of crushed rock, or small river stones are pressed into the wet concrete to create a more durable, highly textured, slip resistant surface. This is much less popular today than it has been in the past, but some home owners still choose this type of decking.

Another option with concrete is to have it stamped. In this case the stain is usually added to the wet concrete instead of being applied after it cures. Rubber mats are used to stamp the texture into the concrete. After the concrete is cured, this concrete is also sealed to protect it from the elements and pool chemicals. There are many different stamp patterns to choose from and a variety of colors that are available. It can mimic brick, slate, and flagstone at a lower cost than the actual materials.

Because of the smooth texture of stamped concrete once the sealant is added, this can create a surface that is more slick than the “broom finished” concrete. An anti-skid agent can be mixed with the sealant to make it less slippery, but it will still be slicker than most other decking options. 

The biggest downside to any concrete option is it’s tendency to crack. Contractors should place control joints to control where the concrete cracks, but it is still possible for it to crack elsewhere. If you have a stained concrete it may also need to be resealed periodically.


(Decking types left to right: aggregate, broom finish, stamped and stained.)


Pavers are a completely different type of decking option. These are brick like pieces that are made of concrete. Factories use a variety of coloring agents and molds to create pavers of different size, shapes, and colors. Most of the time, they are installed over a well-compacted base material topped with a 1-inch sand setting bed. After they are laid, the joints can be filled with polymer sand. Pavers offer a pool decking that is durable and slip resistant, with the look of natural stone. They can easily be added to or removed, and offer easy access to the ground underneath if any maintenance issues ever arise.

Pavers are somewhat more costly than poured concrete because of the extra labor cost. If the ground under them isn’t properly compacted, areas can settle over time leaving slightly sunken areas in the decking.  This is the least option we do at Parrot Bay Pools.



Another option Parrot Bay offers is natural stone decking. There are many different types of stone that are used to create beautiful pool decks. Most of them are very durable, have a non-slip surface, and resist moisture and heat. Some types of stone vary greatly in size and shape while others are much more uniform. Stone is usually the most expensive decking option because the materials are much more costly, but stone can also create some of the most beautiful and organic looking pool decks.

Parrot Bay Pools concrete contractors are members of the American Society of Concrete Contractors 

(ASCC)  Improving concrete finishes through education, maintenance and repair of concrete structures.



Still have questions? Call us today at 501.664.6861 to discuss pool decking materials in detail, or to schedule a free consultation and yard evaluation. 

Tags: Custom Swimming Pools

Ozone: Should you use it in your swimming pool?

Posted by Larry Rogers on Wed, Jul 9, 2014


Recently we shared with you about chlorine generators (also known as salt water pools). We told you how they work, what people love about them and what the drawbacks are. If you missed that article you can read it here. Today we have another type of system to share with you, one that is a little less well known – Ozonators.

These systems, as you probably guessed, generate ozone. Using an ozonator in your pool can result in:

1. A lower level of chlorine needed

2. An absence of irritating chloramines

3. Less fussing with pH

4. Water that is bright and clear

As with all systems though, there are also disadvantages, but before we get into those let's talk about what ozone is and how ozonators work.

What is ozone?

Ozone molecules are three oxygen atoms stuck together (O3). Normal oxygen in the atmosphere is two oxygen atoms (O2). While there is ozone in the air around us it is fairly uncommon. Natural generation of ozone can occur during a lightning storm and gives the air that fresh, clean smell that follows the storm.

So why use ozone in your swimming pool? Ozone is a very strong oxidizer, much stronger than chlorine. An oxidizer is a compound that burns something up very slowly. For example, a leaf that has fallen in a chlorine pool will be oxidized after just a few days, and the leaf will be almost completely consumed by the chlorine. Even though ozone is not an oxidizer and sanitizer like chlorine, it is such a strong oxidizer that it basically accomplishes the same thing. When ozone comes in contact with particles in the water (algae, viruses, bacteria etc.) the 3rd loosely attached oxygen molecule breaks free and attaches to the particle, which is then destroyed.

How is ozone made?

Now that you know what it is, here's how it is made. There are two basic types of ozone generators:

UV – A system that uses ultra violet light to create the ozone

CD – Uses something called corona discharge to create ozone (this is electricity, like in a thunderstorm)

Both methods serve the same purpose, which is splitting up O2 molecules and recombining them to make O3 (ozone). The CD systems are advertised to make much more ozone than the UV systems which appear to be on their way out. After the ozone is made, it is sucked through a low pressure point in the jet where it is mixed thoroughly with the pool water.


What are the disadvantages? 

The biggest drawback to ozone also happens to be it's greatest strength: it is highly reactive and volatile. It is quick to attach to, and destroy all types of things that may be living in your pool water. Because it is so quick at what it does, it also isn't around very long. The system has to run almost constantly because there is no ozone left in the water soon after it stops. It completely dissipates. This leads us to another problem. It you have an algae colony growing on the opposite side of your pool, chances are the ozone will never make it there. The ozone is almost completely consumed shortly after it makes its way out of the jet, if not before. The solution is simple though. A small amount of chlorine, like what is introduced through a floating tablet is enough to keep the algae growth at bay.

So why use an ozone system at all?

Why not just use chlorine? To keep it simple, when chlorine is introduced into the pool it creates two types of compounds. The proportions of each is determined by the pH level. One of these two compounds forms chloramines when it is combined with sweat, makeup, sunscreen, body oils etc. The chloramine, as we've stated previously, is responsible for skin and eye irritation and the “chlorine” smell. Since ozone is such a powerful oxidizer all of the chloramines present are quickly oxidized.

In conclusion, ozone generators are not an end to your swimming pool maintenance. You'll still have to test your water on a regular basis, and do the standard cleaning. You will have less chemicals to buy though, and dramatically lower levels of chlorine. You will also have a pool that is chloramine free with brighter crisper looking water.


If your interested in talking about or converting to saltwater, ozonation or even traditional chlorine systems, give us a call at (501) 664-6861. We would be happy to provide you with the information you will need to make an informed decision. 

Tags: pool builders Little Rock, Custom Swimming Pools, swimming pool maintenance, ozonators, using ozone in your swimming pool, pool companies in little rock arkansas, pool contractors in little rock

Swimming Pool Shapes - What's right for your family?

Posted by Larry Rogers on Thu, May 8, 2014

 Pool Shapes

 Once you’ve decided to add a pool to your backyard and have gotten an idea of what type of pool financing is available to you, you’ll be ready to get started on your design. It’s important you know what financing options you have prior to the design phase so you know what your available budget is.

 A lot of thought should go into your pool shape and style. There are several factors that will play a part in determining that shape. Function is a big factor. It’s important to know what you want to be able to use the pool for and to consider all the users. Will it be a family oriented pool that will incorporate a diving board, slide, grotto or other features your kids may enjoy? Or, maybe the pools primary function is to provide an oasis from the Arkansas heat, someplace to unwind from a busy week where every feature revolves around escape and relaxation. If that’s the case you may want to be able to incorporate features like a shallow tanning reef, swim up bar, or a relaxing water feature. If you want to extend the use of your pool into the cooler months, spas, firepits, or outdoor kitchens may also need to be incorporated into the design.

 In addition to function, your available yard space also needs to be taken into consideration. You may need a strategic pool design to make the most of a small or oddly shaped yard, or perhaps you have more space than you literally know what to do with. Both are scenarios that our experienced designers and pool builders at Parrot Bay Pools knows how to deal with.

So what are the pool shapes that are available? They basically fall into two categories, Geometric and freeform.

Rectangular or Geometric Pools

Geometric Pools 2

 Rectangular pools, in addition to dating back to ancient times were also the earliest style of residential swimming pools in the homes of the rich and famous. Rectangular pools can be the perfect complement to both classic and modern homes.

 Sleek, clean edges give some geometric pools a modern look while a simple rectangular pool with a radius at each end and symmetrical curves in the corner have a more classic feel. Both pools are more formal. Infinity edge pools also tend to be more geometric. Most have a straight or bowed edge. These pools are commonly seen in yards with views that overlook water or other expansive scenery. L-Shaped and Lazy L-Shaped are two other popular pool shapes would also fall under rectangular or geometric.

Naturalistic or Freeform Pools

Freeform Pools

 In contrast with geometric pools, freeform pools are made up soft curves. These concrete (gunite) pools can be built in an infinite amount of pool shapes. Contemporary freeform pools often have natural rock or waterfall features that are designed to resemble a natural lake, lagoon or oasis. They are usually surrounded by lush landscaping and blend seamlessly with the rest of the yard.

 These pools can be built into almost any yard including those that are oddly shaped, have limited space or a sloping landscape. These gunite pools can be built with a wide range of features including:

  • Beach entry or built in steps

  • Deeper areas for diving pools

  • Built in seating

  • Built in tables or bar areas

  • Tanning reefs

  • Waterfalls, fountains and bubblers

  • Spas

  • Grottos

  • and may other custom options


 If your still not sure which pool shape and style are a perfect fit for you and your yard call our designers (501) 664-6861. After we review your yard and know what you are looking for in a pool we can show you a 3D video presentation of what the design will look like in your back yard.

While your still trying to gather ideas be sure and take a look at our Pinterest account. We recommend that you start a pool building inspiration board and keep track of all your favorite features and designs. 

Tags: Swimming Pool Shapes, Geometric Pools, Freeform Pools, Pool Builder, Gunite Pools, Concrete Pools, Custom Swimming Pools

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