I love the tropical setting that you've created, particularly the tiki-type umbrella over the table. Your gorgeous pictures instantly put me in "vacation mode". Thanks for sharing.
Taking It From Blah to Aaahh
Several years ago, my wife and I were looking at our old vinyl-lined pool, trying to decide whether or not we should replace the liner again, or remodel our pool by removing the old pool and having a new, gunite pool built in its place. We decided on having a new gunite pool built, complete with 1 main waterfall and a couple of weeping walls. The pool builder that we decided on kept mentioning automation for the new pool, which fascinated me, but I couldn't understand how automation could help that much. I was thinking that the pool is either on or it's off, so I wasn't that interested in spending much money on having the pump turn itself on and off. He suggested the IntelliTouch i9 system because of its versatility and connectivity to my computer. I decided to buy the EasyTouch 8 system instead with the remote (which at that time could not be connected to my computer through the ScreenLogic interface). I thought I was saving some money. He also installed 3 of the VS3050 variable-speed pumps (1 for the pool and 1 for the main waterfall and 1 for the 2 weeping walls). I couldn't understand why 3 pumps would be needed, but he convinced me that I would want to control the water flow over the waterfalls independently and he was right! He wanted to use 4 pumps and I said no, 3 is plenty. Now, I wish I had let him use 4 pumps; it would have made it easier to control the flow on the weeping walls. The only thing that we used from the old pool was the heater. After using the EasyTouch 8 for a while and figuring out what all it could do, I started finding things that I wanted to add to my automation schedules, but the EasyTouch 8 couldn't do it. So, I sold my EasyTouch system and upgraded to the IntelliTouch i9 with an i10 add-on panel along with a wireless ScreenLogic interface, which would handle everything that I wanted to automate. I should have listened to my pool builder from the start; it would have saved me over a thousand dollars if we had done it his way.
As with any construction project, there can be problems. Ours were very minimal, and we did learn what to do and what not to do if we ever move and have another pool built. When we were looking at tile and gunite colors, we picked out what we wanted, but the tile was not ordered at that time. When it came time to order the tile, the one we wanted was on back order. So, instead of waiting a couple of weeks for tile to come in, we chose a different tile. Not a big deal, but we wish we had ordered the tile when we picked it out. A PVC elbow in one of the intake lines that feeds one of the weeping walls broke after only a year and a half, which was a major pain to dig up without doing a lot of damage to the landscaping around our pool. Once I dug it up, I called my builder and he came out and replaced the whole section of rigid PVC with flexible PVC, so we won't ever have stress breaks in that line again. I wish he had used flexible PVC everywhere that there could be a stress problem. We took a bunch of pictures when the pool was being built and that came in handy when we developed a leak in one of the weeping walls. It was leaking around some of the rock where it meets the pool deck and after looking at the pictures, we noticed that there needed to be a dam at each end of the weeping walls, but the end that was leaking didn't have one. That has been the extent of our problems, which is minor. We had a palapa on our old pool deck and we saved it to use on our new one and we love it. It adds a little tropical flair to go along with the palm trees and elephant ears that we have. Before the pool deck was completed, we added electrical outlets to the palapa and ran speaker wire to the far side of the pool and added speakers that look like rock and they blend in beautifully.