Trends in Pool Deck Materials

March 24, 2011
So the question I keep hearing from customers is “What materials can we use for our pool decking because we don’t want concrete!”  Finally people are looking for new, natural ways to surround their pools.  The old, cracked white concrete is out and has made way for all sorts of new natural (and some man-made) materials.  We are using everything from – bluestone to travertine to concrete pavers – it helps incorporate the pool into our customer’s existing landscapes.  If you are looking for something beyond the old, boring white concrete, here are a few different pool deck materials to consider. 
  •  Concrete Pavers – One of the most economical pool decking materials is the paver.  Pavers come in a variety of colors, sizes and can be laid in many different patterns (with matching coping).  You will want to find something that compliments the style and color palate of your home and matches the other hardscaping you already present in your landscape.  The best part about pavers is they don’t crack!
Pool with Paver Deck

Pool with Paver Deck

  • Brick – I think brick give a pool a very classy, old world look.  Similar to the paver, brick comes in several colors, but only one size.  These can be dry laid with sand in the joints or laid with mortar, whatever your preference.  One caution when using brick – make sure you choose one with a smooth finish, some brick can be rough to the touch – not good for tender feet.
Brick Pool Deck

Brick Pool Deck (photo compliments of River Pools & Spas)

  • Bluestone or Flagstone – One of my favorite natural materials to use around pools.  Bluestone gives the pool a touch of elegance.  I would use a random pattern with rectangular and square stones and use grout that will compliment the color hues of your home (tan or grey).  Bluestone is also surprisingly cool to the touch too.   I would stay away bluestones cousin, slate, it gets very hot under your feet and will be unbearable in the Virginia sun.   
Pool with bluestone deck

Pool with Bluestone Deck

  • Travetertine – Another natural stone that I am using more and more around pools.  This is a great natural material that comes in several colors and sizes (with matching coping).  You can dry lay an irregular pattern with this stone.  One word of caution – be sure to get a travertine for outdoor use, this will make it less slippery around the pool edge.  I know everyone thinks travertine can be slick, but it actually absorbs the water and makes the stone coarser so that you don’t slip.
Travertine Pool Deck

Travertine Pool Deck

  • Slab Paver – Slab pavers are similar to concrete pavers, but are much bigger and give the appearance of bluestone.  They are still dry laid with swept sand in the joints, but they look more like bluestone than a paver.  If you love the look of Bluestone, but don’t like the price tag, this may be an option.    
Slab Pool Deck

Concrete Slab Pool Deck

I also wanted to mention that if you have a concrete pool deck and are looking to jazz it up with another material, you can always overlay your existing pool deck with one of the materials listed above.  You don’t even have to pull up the concrete; it can go right over the top!  An easy fix for a dated pool.  Check out our earlier blog on how to create a new look for your pool.


Visit us at the Richmond Home Show, March 4-6

March 1, 2011

Stop by the Richmond Home Show, March 4-6 at the Richmond Raceway Complex.  Our booth will be in the first building by the door to enter the rest of the show.  You can’t miss us!  Check this link for more information on the Richmond Home and Garden Show

 Here are a few pictures from the show we did this Winter.  A travertine patio with seat walls, a stone outdoor kitchen, landscaping, a fountain and a bench and table made by one of our designers!  Our designers and installers are truly talented.  Can’t wait for this show!

A stone bench and table that Chris McClaning made from some extra material at the shop.  


 A stone outdoor kitchen with pizza oven/grill combo, a soap stone counter top and natural stone bar top.   

Join us at the Virginia Home and Garden Show this Weekend!

January 11, 2011

We have a landscape/hardscape display booth at the Virginia Home and Garden Show this weekend.  The show is January 14-16 at the Meadow Event Park (near Kings Dominion).  You can’t miss us, we are the first booth to the left when you walk in the door.  Come out to see us and start planning for SUMMER! 

For all the details check the Virginia Home and Garden Show website.

Want a Pool but have an Unlevel Lot – Use Retaining Walls

September 20, 2010

We just finished a pool project with the team over at River Pools and Spas.  The clients had an unlevel lot and we needed to build two sets of retaining walls to level the pool area.  Jason Hughes at River Pools created this video to explain how the use of retaining walls can create the level space needed to install a pool.  If you are interested in installing a pool, but just don’t think you have the yard for it, take a look at this video and see how it can be done.  This project turned out beautifully!

Let us know how we can help at Carville Landscape Co.

How to Build a Pergola in Two Days!

August 12, 2010

We just added a pergola to our outdoor showroom at the Carville Landscape Co. offices and I thought I would take a few pictures to document the building process.   Here is a photo blog of how we built our pergola; a little play-by-play for all you weekend warriors.  

First, start by digging the post holes at least two feet deep, install posts and concrete.  Cut all the posts to the same height.  Let the posts set up for a day.   We used pressure treated wood, you could use cedar, but make sure the wood is rot resistant.     

Post installed with concrete.

All four posts set and cut to size.

Once your posts are set in concrete, attach your bottom support boards to your posts.  Make sure the boards are level and bolted to the posts.  Bolts should be long enough to go through the entire support board and post.  

Level support boards and attach with screws to hold in place.

Bolt the supports into place.

Then you are ready for your cross beams.  Place the two end cross beams first, then measure the distance between the beams to determine how many center beams to add.  Attach all the cross beams with at least two screws.  We notched out the boards to fit over the support beams and added a decorative cut on the end.  Be as creative as you like with the cross beams.         

Attach two end beams first.

Add center beams. We attached a string line to make certain all beams line up.

Finally, you have a finished pergola!  Now add the television, sound system and fan or outdoor lighting to make it the perfect shady retreat.  Sit back and enjoy!  

The finished pergola!

The Anatomy of a Patio

August 2, 2010

We had a fun client a few weeks ago that chronicled his patio construction on Facebook.  He called it the “Carville Landscape Big Dig!”  I thought it would be a good opportunity to use the pictures to show future clients and do-it-yourselfers what to expect with the construction of a patio. 

The Project:  A raised patio with corner fire pit and retaining walls.

Day 1 – Let the digging begin!

Digging out the retaining wall footings.

Day 2 – Building the retaining walls.

Day 3 – Inserting drain pipes, compacting the stone base.

Day 4 – Ready for the sand and the brick!

Day 5 – With the patio down, now it is time for some finishing touches: the polymeric sand, decorative wall and wall caps. Here is the finished project!

We are ready for the marshmallows!

Outdoor Fireplaces – Hot Summer Trend

June 16, 2010

Last year everyone wanted an outdoor kitchen…this year it is the outdoor fireplace!  We are busy working on building our fourth outdoor fireplace this spring and have more scheduled for this summer.  A fireplace creates a

Stone fireplace

great entertaining area, an interesting garden focal point and helps extend the time you can use your outdoor space in the winter. 

Since there is so much interest in this topic, I wanted to direct you to a couple of prior posts that give some good information on outdoor fireplaces.  And as always if you need help, you know who to call, Carville Landscape Co.

%d bloggers like this: