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.


Beautiful Pool with Bluestone Patios and Stone Fireplace Project

January 21, 2011

In November we finished a great pool project in Fredericksburg, VA.  Our great landscape designer, Ian Miller, brought this tough backyard from sloping hills of green grass to spectacular pool views!  We added a pool and hot tub, bluestone patios, a stone fireplace, steps and a retaining wall to keep everything in place on this sloping lot.  The results are spectacular!  Take a look at some of the before and after pictures below.

This is the backyard before transformation, sloping hills with nothing but grass.

When we were finished it was a beautiful two tiered pool with bluestone patios and fireplace.

We added this great stone fireplace and seating area.

A cloes up of the pool and bluestone surround. 

We added a flight of stairs, complete with lighting, so that the homeowners could get down to the pool from the upper decks. 

We added a big retaining wall to level the backyard for the pool and fireplace.  It was a great project, with great homeowners.  Let us know if we can help you transform your backyard!

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.

Swimming Pools – Time to get yours for Summer!

April 2, 2010

What a beautiful summer, I mean spring day!  I am enjoying the warm 80 degree weather out on my patio on this late Friday afternoon.  Now all I need is the cool water of a pool to enjoy.  And if that isn’t the subject on every one of my customer’s minds… Pools! 

Pool with paver patio

Half of the appointments I have had this last week have been with customers that want to put in pools.  One summer-like day and everyone needs a pool.  So… I thought I would write a quick blog on pools and the new thing everyone is talking about, salt water chlorine generators. 

Everyone wants a pool and nobody wants to clean and maintain it.  I am with you on that one.  Pool maintenance can be a bit of a pain, but with the new salt water system, the maintenance is cut down substantially. 

Pool overlooking the Bay

I would go into all the differences in pool types and chlorine vs. salt, but we often partner with River Pools and Spas on many projects and they have a GREAT blog for everything pool!  I am just going to point you to a few blogs they have posted on the differences in pools, honest costs and maintenance, and then show you a few pictures to get you motivated.  Happy swimming!

Salt Water pools – how it works, benefits, drawbacks  

How much will the pool really cost – honest information regarding the costs of a fiberglass pool

Fiberglass pool vs. concrete pool vs. liner pool – a great link showing the honest differences between the three. 

Quick and easy ways to create a new look for your pool.

June 11, 2009
Blue Stone Mortered on top of Existing Concrete

Blue Stone with Mortar on top of Existing Concrete

One of the new trends in pool decking this year is to take an old, cracked concrete pool deck and make it look new again by overlaying new decking materials.  We are currently working on our fifth pool deck conversion of the summer, and counting.  Many homeowners are opting to replace existing pool decks with more natural products – brick pavers, blue stone, architectural slabs and travertine – that blend in with their overall landscaping and add a little bit of color to their pool deck. 

The conversion process is fairly easy and you DON’T have to rip up the existing concrete deck.  We actually lay the new materials directly over the existing concrete.  Depending upon which type material you choose to use, we can either dry lay the

travertine pool deck overlay

New pool deck with travertine

material with sand or use mortar to hold the product in place.  Any type pool – liner, fiberglass or concrete pools – are candidates for this conversion.  In many cases we can still use the existing pool coping.  Plus it is a quick process; it only takes a week to 10 days to overlay a deck (depending on size).

So if you are looking for a way spruce up your pool this summer, try overlaying the existing pool deck to create a whole new look for you backyard.  Take a look at some of the pools and patios we have completed for a little inspiration!

Tips for Selecting a Landscape Contractor

June 1, 2009

When you are starting a landscape project, large or small, you are thinking of one thing, how great it will be when it is done.  All the new, exciting elements you will have at your home – a new patio, gourmet outdoor kitchen, pool for relaxing or beautiful plantings.  You are not always thinking about the most important element of your project – hiring the right landscape contractor.  

Here are some tips for items to think about when you choose the right landscape professionals to work at your home. 

Experience – When selecting a contractor, verify the landscape contractors experience before hiring them.  If you are hiring someone to design your landscape, make sure they have a degree in landscape design and the experience your project requires.  When comparing contractors, determine how long the company has been in business, check references, ask to see photos of completed work and even ask for a site visit to an actual project similar to yours.  Make sure you hire someone with the experience required for your project; you don’t want to be a learning project for your contractor.

Communication – One of the most important factors in selecting the right landscape contractor is communication.  Make sure that your contractor communicates well with you and provides the service you expect.  Look for professionals that return your phone calls promptly, keep appointments (and are on time) and most importantly make sure you both have the same understanding of your project.  In some cases you may be working with this person for a few months, make sure you can be a good team.  

Price – For many homeowners the lowest price is the key element, but it should not always be the deciding factor when choosing a contractor.  Make sure that you get quotes in writing and if you make changes have the contractor re-quote the project.  Once you do decide to work with a contractor, sign a contract with that company and specifically state the scope of the project, timeframe for completion and payment details.  Contracts can only help protect you.  Remember, the lowest price doesn’t always mean the best quality or service; I hate to say you get what you pay for, but sometimes…

Licensed and Insured – Always make sure that any contractor that works at your home is licensed in your state and carries the proper insurances.  Without proper insurances, if someone is hurt on the job or a piece of machinery bumps your house, your homeowners insurance would have to cover the damages.  You can check for proper contractor licensing at your states licensing office (in Virginia that is

Remember choosing the right landscape contractor can mean the difference between an exciting, hassle-free experience and a difficult, bitter disappointment. With a little homework you can have a safe and happy working relationship with your landscape contractor.  Happy landscaping!

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