Swim to Gold in your own backyard pool

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As the Olympic Summer Games 2016 continue, we’ve seen some exciting finishes and more gold medals for aquatic phenom Michael Phelps and the rest of the amazing US swimming team. We’ve also seen a strange, but natural occurrence: an Olympic diving pool turned green! The green color was caused by a proliferation of tiny but harmless algae. But that green hue got us thinking: What else is there besides your basic blue for a pool?

Swimming has a long history. It was part of the ancient Olympic Games in Athens, as the Greeks were masters of all things sea-related. Swimming was mentioned in the Odyssey when Odysseus needed to swim to shore after being tossed from his ship. A 10,000-year-old cave painting near the Libyan/Egyptian border is thought to depict people swimming. Rivers, oceans, lakes and even soaking baths played a big part in ancient Greek life.

And no doubt, having a pool in your backyard is one of life's great luxuries. Pool owners report benefits to their families' health and wellness. But how did we get from dark river beds, natural ponds and deep-hued lakes to very bright, blue pools in our backyards?

The basic blue became popular in the last several decades, after fiberglass pool liners afforded homeowners with a less expensive option of concrete or tile pools. Sales director Craig Schaal of Artistic Pools Corporation in Cinnaminson, NJ, tells us that when fiberglass pools were invented, the fiberglass for pools was all white, not blue. “The blue color came from the water reflecting the sky,” Craig said. “Now we have all different colors. We even have black and darker colors because people sometimes want a pond look.”

Why do some customers still opt for blue fiberglass? “People want to build a backyard oasis. They want a color that reminds them of their ‘warm and happy’ place,” Craig said. Greek coastlines do have some beautiful blue waters, don’t they? We asked Craig if anyone ever orders green fiberglass for their pools. “No,” he said. “They don’t even make it.” Maybe those Olympic divers wouldn’t want to be reminded, anyway.

What if your happy place is more of a woodland getaway or a lakeside retreat? Or, what if you want that Greek oasis but want to up the game a bit? As Craig said, darker fiberglass exists and it is a much less expensive way to install a pool compared to the latest concrete installation technique (sometimes called “shotcrete” or “gunite”). But concrete pools can offer stunning visuals in various colors as well as durability. Plus, along with changing the pool color, changing the pool deck can make a big difference in the feel of the entire space. For example, EP Henry’s Bullnose coping - those rounded pavers that put a nice edge on your deck at the pool’s edge - can improve the look and function of the pool area.

Lighting is another great way to change up the color of your new or already existing pool. The effect is most clearly seen at night, but it can be really beautiful. Here are some ideas on some different colors you can achieve through lighting and varying pool liner colors. Notice how pool decks can contrast or complement your pool coloring. If you’re planning to build your own little oasis, remember sky blue isn’t the limit! You can design a deck and pool that reflects your own tastes.