The popularity of residential pools has skyrocketed during the last decade. But just as people are building larger and more opulent houses, home owners are also outfitting their pools with state of the art technology that you probably won't find at the house down the street.

Now that we are in the full swing of summer, this may be the time to consider some lasting additions to your pool.

Pools have now become additions to already present landscaping and focal points of outdoor areas. Long gone are the concrete eyesores of 20 years ago. Today's pools delight the eye as much as the body. Many are covered in such materials as fiberglass, natural stone, vinyl, tiles, and spray composites that resemble pebbles and stones.

Waterfalls can be installed in most any pool. And while these can cost nearly as much as the original pool, the aesthetics they add are worth it.

Be careful though of who you hire to install these additions. To install these properly, your contractor must be a trained professional. Waterfalls both require substantial structural support because of their considerable weight. Your pool may not be able to support his extra weight. A water feature can put your pool under nearly a thousand extra pounds of weight.

Lighting makes walkways safer and can be used under the water to create moods. Fountains can be integrated into most any pool design and can also be fitted with lights to make "colored" water. Many lights are energy efficient, use fiber optics, or are charged by the sun's rays.

The sky is the limit with the technology available.

Pools are easier than ever to clean. What used to take tons of manual labor and time, now can be as simple as a touch of a button. New automated technology allows for you to sit back while the system dispenses chemicals, cleans, and controls temperatures. For the winter months, pool heaters are now more affordable than ever. An average size pool could find a heater for less than $1,000.

If you have children that will be around your pool, make sure that they are taught how to swim. Most communities offer swimming lessons at either the public pool or the local YMCA. If they are too young to learn, though some would argue there is no age too young, many pool supply companies now offer automatic covers and pool fences, which can both serve as effective safety measures.

If you are a water lover. Now is the time to personalize your pool. Make it an extension of your house, and a "room" that you could enjoy year round.

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