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Permits & Pool Building

When it comes to building on your property, different cities and counties have various regulations and rules. No matter what size pool you choose, in ground or above, building permits are required for all shapes and sizes of pools. However, the larger the pool, the more guidelines will apply. These guidelines and permits exist to protect you and your home, so it’s important that they are followed and adhered to.

However, portable or above ground pools that are less than 42 inches deep, and do not need to be permitted. Putting in an above ground pool with a depth of 42 inches or greater, requires a permit, which the homeowner or pool company can obtain.

For in-ground concrete pools, a state licensed Pool Contractor must be obtained. The contractor will pull the building permit and obtain the engineering expertise, as well as provide necessary paperwork to ensure Florida Building and Swimming Pool Codes are met.

It’s vital to submit a residential application, a site plan, and a pool plan detail to your local city/county before the construction project begins. For example, if your property is in a flood zone, an engineer will need to create and sign off on a new drainage plan to protect your property and the others around you.

See below some common paperwork requirements when trying to obtain a permit:

  • Proof of property ownership. This can be a recorded deed, closing statement, or property tax information.
    • Two sets pool plans. Plans must include all safety feature options, and piping systems.
    • Building Permit Application. The application must be fully completed, signed, and notarized.
    • Two copies of a certified survey or site plan.
    • Private Swimming Pool Safety Requirements form.

Also be aware that if the swimming pool will be enclosed, you must provide the setbacks from the proposed enclosure to the water’s edge of the pool. The enclosure must meet the building setbacks for the zoning district it is located in.

Accompanying Documents When Pulling a Permit

If the size of the swimming pool warrants the pulling of a permit additional documents to further explain the project and how it will meet the various state, city and trade codes, will be required.

  1. If the property owner pulls the permit, an Owner/Building Disclosure must also be completed, which explains and acknowledges the responsibilities of the property owner acting as the contractor. While online, forms and assistance is also available at the Development Services Department, including complimentary notarization for the Owner/Builder Disclosure form.
  2. Along with a permit, a site plan of the property showing the location of all existing structures (sheds, house, detached garage, etc.) must be provided, with the size and location of the proposed improvement, as well as the perimeter property lines.
  3. For in ground pools, construction plans need to be designed, signed and sealed by an architect or engineer registered in Florida, certifying compliance with the Florida Building and Swimming Pool Codes.
  4. As building permit fees are calculated on the cost of the job, a copy of the sales contract or work contract needs to be submitted with the permit package. Typically, permit fees range from $50.00 to $80.00 and help cover the cost of inspections. While permits and inspections might be thought as unnecessary, the peace of mind knowing your new pool complies with code and will provide years of safe enjoyment is worth it!

Challenger Pools is the perfect pool building company when it comes to creating your very own backyard oasis. Whether you’re looking to put in a pool, spa, outdoor living area, or all the above, Challenger Pools is there for you.

 

 

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How to Find a Pool Store You Can Trust

Do you go to your local pool store and become disappointed and frustrated every time and find yourself leaving empty handed? Or even worse you pay the huge price tag, just so you can move on with the task at hand? This is not how it needs to be. Your go-to pool store should provide Convenient location, a wide selection of products and brands, and reasonable prices. But when you’re looking for your go-to pool store, you’ll want to take a few other things into account.

Knowledgeable Staff that Doesn’t Shove Upselling Down Your Throat

As a pool owner questions will come up and you will need advice, answers or just simple product comparisons. The pool store staff is perfect to help you with any pool advise you may need. They should be your go to ‘pool handyman’. Now, of course they will try to sell you products, however the ones that won’t take no for an answer, are the ones you want to avoid. Look for a place that gives helpful advice and product recommendations, not ones that shove products down your throat. Pools are costly enough, we don’t need to add unnecessary supplies. Look for a pool store where the staff doesn’t try to sell you products that you don’t need.

Stocked Shelves and Offers a Wide Variety of Products

Look for a pool store that will have the products you need when you need them. So often we go to the pool store and they are out of the product we normally purchase. Trying something new right before the weekend or heading out of town, isn’t ideal. So, make sure they have the products you use AND they have it in stock when you need it. To help alleviate this from happening, you could create a schedule of when you start to run out of product and need to refill, getting ahead of the game. When you have an idea of when you will need to refill, you can work with the store and their staff to ensure your product is there and ready for you when you need it.

Decent Prices

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have a money tree growing in our backyards, so staying on a budget is important. Finding a pool store that offers competitive pricing and offers great deals is what will create a long-term positive relationship.

Online Business Check

The next best thing to do is to review and check out a few stores near you and their online presence. The internet provides ton of information on businesses. Check out there hours, how long they have been in business, are they a franchise location, do they have new management and more. All of these bits of information and details will help you establish and find what you need in a pool store. Also check out the reviews online. These are VERY helpful when you need to get to the nitty gritty of the business.

A local pool supply store that you can depend on and trust is a must as a pool owner. Do your research, work with the staff and become a friend instead of a customer. You’ll be on your way in no time to a great relationship.

>>> Essential Equipment for your Swimming Pool

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Technology and Your Pool

Throughout the years, as pools have progressed, so has the ease of caring and enjoying your pool. Technology makes life much more convenient, as it saves time and helps us tackle a task at the touch of a finger. Automation has grown more and more in recent years. Automated control systems are very easy to find now a days in any area of your home, if you so choose to indulge. With the latest technology advancements, you can control your pools systems from your smartphone from work, the grocery store or even on vacation. You can control the jets, fountains, spa, lighting, audio and chemistry with ease. Below, I mention some of the top newer technologies that will help make you owning a pool easier and more enjoyable!

Pool Pump
We begin with your pool’s pump. This is the most basic needs and requirements of having a swimming pool. Keeping your pool water constantly flowing is key to good water quality. However, running your pool pump 24 hours a day, 7 days a week can be very expensive. Thanks to technology advancements, new pump technology includes variable speed motors, which helps save energy. With this technology you are able to control the pump’s speed, spa jets and even water features you may have added to your pool.

Lighting
Adding the latest lighting to your pool will decrease energy and increase convenience to your life. To add an elegant, unique feel to your pool consider LED lights. They are amazing to enjoy during those night swims and/or get togethers.

One of the most unique features is from SpectraLight. This feature offer a UV system that showers your pool water with powerful ultraviolet light.  This UV light destroys the algae, viruses, bacteria and other organic matter that can contaminate your swimming pool. This system can significantly reduce chemical demands, which makes your pool much easier to maintain. It also reduces issues of dry skin, red eyes and green hair that are commonly known downfalls of swimming in a typical chlorine pool. This unique UV lighting system saves you both time and money and improves your pool’s overall health.

Chemistry
Balancing the chorine, pH levels and alkalinity of your pool water can be a headache that you must tackle often to maintain good water quality in your pool. Not to mention, a simple rain fall can throw off your chemical composition. Thanks again to the latest technology advancements, PENTAIR offers systems that automatically monitor and adjust your pool chemicals to maintain a perfect balance. Ultimately saving you money on pool chemicals.

Cleaning
Replacing your telescopic net for removing floating leaves and debris may be far-fetched, however maintaining the floor and water of your pool, isn’t. PV3 in-floor cleaning and circulation systems by Paramount are life-savers. The automatically force any debris in your water towards the drains on the floor of your pool. The fixtures will automatically pop-up when they are ready to ‘swallow’ debris. Challenger Pools offers this great option. Learn more here.

There are also great automatic cleaning systems. We’ve all seen them—they involve an automated cleaner/sweeper that travels around your pool as it cleans. There are several models available from all with different features, benefits and pricing.

Learn more about all the features and add-on’s Challenger Pools offers here.

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Pool Safety During Parties

Parties are always a great way to celebrate and gather friends and family, however when you have a pool, it adds a additional level of fun to the party. A few simple steps to prepare, will ensure the party is a success and your guests have a good time and end up going home safe.

First, if you plan on children coming to your party please be sure to take a few extra steps to make sure your party is a safe place for them. Be sure to set some pool safety rules and announce them to the children. A few good examples include no running on the deck, no grabbing onto anyone else in the pool and no jumping from the diving board until the child ahead of you has jumped in and reached the side of the pool.

One of the most important things to do to ensure the safety for your guests and their kids is to have a dedicated and qualified adult or even better a certified lifeguard sit and watch the pool and swimmers. The hostess is busy managing food and guests, while your guests should relax and enjoy a good time. Having a dedicated adult for this job will be a great addition to an awesome party! If they are to get up even for a few minutes, please be sure to have someone else take their place while taking a break. Even in a quick moment, a child can drown. So, this could be the most important thing you do to ensure safety at your party.

Another great addition to making a great party, is to buy a bunch of pool floats and noodles for the kids to play with in the pool.

Check Your Water:  Be sure the water in your pool has been tested and treated accordingly. Clean, safe water should be important to you and your guests. You certainly don’t want your guests questioning if your water is clean while they jump into a cloudy pool. So just be sure to do your do diligence and prepare your water.

Check Your Deck: Also be sure to double check your pool deck and deck furniture for any lose tiles, cracks, wobbling tables, etc. This is a good step to keeping your guests safe at your gathering. Search for anything that could easily be tripped over or a chair leg could get stuck in. These occurrences are very common at parties and can cause injuries.

Lastly, don’t forget to store your pool chemicals away from where anyone can get to them. Remove the pool cleaner from the pool, and make sure that main drain covers are secured.

 

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Essential Equipment for your Swimming Pool

Proper pool equipment is the basics to keeping your pool clean and safe. It can also help prevent future major repair. Without the proper tools and equipment, you simply can’t take good care of your pool. Basic equipment and supplies will help, however the most important is action by you or your pool professional throughout the years. You will find the list of essential equipment and supplies for your swimming pool will be sure to keep your pool in great shape you enjoy your pool for years to come.

Filter

Filters sift out the larger impurities that are in your pool water. It works with the pump that circulates the water. There are three different types of filters to choose from.

Sand: this type of pool filter is usually the least expensive and the most basic, however requires the most maintenance. This filter will need to be backwashed every 2 weeks. It filters 20-40 microns (small particles).

Cartridge: this type looks similar to a house vacuum and requires cleaning only twice every season of the year. It filters 10-15 microns.

DE or Diatomaceous Earth: this type of filter is the best as it filters as small as 2-5 microns. It needs to be cleaned as the pump suggests.

Chemicals

Bacteria, such as pathogens, can cause the water to look cloudy, can cause skin and eye irritation and also can damage the pool itself. Even if the pool filter and pump do most of the work to maintain your water, adding chemicals will help keep your pool water free of pathogens. Balancing the chemicals below can be a bit of a challenge, none-the-less the chemicals that you will need.

  • Chlorine
    • Chlorine balancing agents
    • Water test system
    • Alkaline balancing agents
    • Calcium balancing agents

Vacuum

There are many choices to choose from when shopping for a vacuum. Numerous sizes, features and prices. The more features, the more costly. Prices can range anywhere from $40 to $2,000.

Caulk

Through-out time the caulk around your pool begins to crack and split. To make sure moss, mildew and general dirt doesn’t build up in the cracks you will need a flexible silicon rubber joint compound, called caulk. There are different colors based off your needs and pool design.

Telescopic Pole

A good quality tele pole will be used for skimming, vacuuming and brushing. They provide you length so you can reach all areas of your pool. At the end they can attach a skimmer, a brush or can even connect to the vacuum. They come in a variety of lengths and quality. The safest and most durable tele poles are made from fiberglass, but many are made from aluminum.

Pumice Stone

A simple and easy method for removing common stains or deposits on concrete pools is the pumice stone. Pumice is a light porous glassy lava stone that can be rubbed over a pool stain to remove it by grinding it off the surface.

 

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History of the Swimming Pool

Swimming pools have become so common in today’s world that we rarely every think about where they began. Have you ever thought about the history of the swimming pool? Well either way, we have information below about where it all began.

The very first swimming pool or first man-made pool was believed to be located in the Pakistani city settlement of Mohenjo-daro and was commonly called the “great bath”. It existed over 5,000 years ago, roughly 3,000 BC. The size 12 meters in height and 7 meters in width, with a depth of 2.4 meters. It had wide staircases on each end (north and south) and small holes at the edges of the stairs where it was led to believe that’s where they had wood planks.

The floor of the pool was designed and built with fitted bricks with gypsum plaster (hydrous calcium sulphate) as well as the side walls. Add make the tank of pool even. More watertight they added a thick layer of natural tar twice. It was laid along the sides and also beneath the floor. Brick columns were discovered on the eastern, northern and southern edges of the tank with stepped edges that may have held window frames. Two large doors were also discovered, and a series of rooms followed. They believe one of the rooms may have held some of the water to fill the tank or pool when needed, no inlet drains were found. Most historians would agree that this tank would have been used for special religious functions where water was used to purify and renew the well-being of the bathers.

A majority of the known ‘pool history’ comes from the ancient Greeks and Romans. Their quality of life improved when their wealth increased, which brought about luxuries such as pools. Water played a very important part of society for thousands of years. Pools were built all over for enhancing the beauty of property as well as used for bathing, health, religious ceremonies, gatherings and more.

Greek and Roman militaries also used pools during this time to train for war. They would exercise in the water.

Plato, the famous Greek philosopher believed that all children needed to learn to swim. He felt, along with math, writing and other basic educational studies, that swimming should also be added. And, in fact, it became standard education to teach children to swim dating back to 400 BC.

Romans built a huge pool in AD 305, that was over 900,000 square feet. It was heated by giant fires beneath the floors of the pool in the basement. It was used mostly for bathing and adorned with marble statues from roman architecture.

People began using pools more for public and social activities and gatherings versus bathing. Many grew to have live fish in them. In fact, the first Jacuzzi style pools was designed by Gaius Maecenas, sometime around 8 BC. It has been told this pool was amazing and designed with lush gardens, waterfalls, terraces, villas and other exquisite décor.

As pools became more common, naturally they followed suit in the United States. In 1868 on Cabot Street, Boston the first in-ground pool was built in the US. Most homes back then couldn’t afford a pool and the area was heavily populated.

In the 1930’s hotels began building pools to lure in more customers. The Biltmore Hotel was one of the first. Located in Coral Gables, Florida and soon became ‘THE’ place for famous and popular people to socialize.

From here, pools became more and more popular for the upper class and were found to become a part of many people’s homes throughout the world.

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How often must your pool be cleaned and maintained?

In short, the answer is ‘Everyday!”. There is always something you can watch for and clean up and maintain, it’s best to clean things and resolve issues as soon as possible, don’t wait until the weekend, if you want to maintain your pool at the highest level. Doing smaller tasks throughout the month help so you don’t have to do a ton of tasks and maintenance in a weekend. It’s best to spread them out and do a little bit regularly throughout the month, so al the things on your to do list don’t add up. Keeping your pool clean and maintained, you prevent problems from occurring and thus you are increasing the life and usability of your pool.

The most important thing you can do on a regular basis is to vacuum your pool. This should be done at least once a week, ideally twice. However, if you don’t have a lot of debris, such as leaves, bugs, etc. or if you have a screened in pool, once a week should be sufficient. Vacuuming helps control the pH level in your pool much easier, so it’s a great regular maintenance and cleaning task you can do to keep your pool clean and safe.

Another weekly task to keep your pool in tip-top shape is to test your pH levels. Generally, the pH level of your water should be between 7.4 and 7.6. Be sure to adjust your chemicals as needed to maintain the correct numbers. Remember: vacuuming your pool regularly will help keep your pH balanced easier and more controlled.

Skim your pool for debris, such as leaves, bugs, etc. and be sure to check your skimmer and empty that regularly as well.

Ensure to check your chlorine levels are between 1.0 and 3.0 PPM, by getting a free chlorine level test at your local pool store. Simply bring them a small amount of your pool water and they will test it at the store for you. Then if you need any more chemicals, you can grab them while at the pool store.

Basic cleaning of your pool tiles where your water surfaces. Along that line, if you keep those tiles clean it helps to keep it looking clean. A tile cleaner can be bought at your local pool store or there are many options you can buy online and shop for the best price. Some options can be found here.

Also be sure to brush your pool walls with your wider brush with long handle. A simple light brush over will do.

Weekly, you should also be sure to give your pool a routine shock treatment. You will need one bag of shock for every 10,000 gallons of water. Note: this is not the same major shock treatments most professionals will do, using large amounts of chlorine).

A weekly algae preventative will also help maintain your pool and keep algae at bay. A green pool isn’t safe to swim in or make a pretty pool. Keep on top of your algae before it forms so your pool can stay crystal clear blue.

In addition to weekly tasks that we suggested above, we also recommend you do the below task bi-monthly.

Close your pool for 2-3 days every 2 months. Then use filter cleaner and degreaser to clean your filters and remove built up grease and oil. Also dose your pool with metal remover or flock. Allow these to work for 2-3 days you don’t use your pool and then vacuum it afterwards.

Note: Please do not perform these tasks on rainy and/or windy days. You must do these tasks on ideal swimming days, BUT do not go swimming.

Pool maintenance is not a job to take lightly if you want to maintain the value of your pool and care for it, so it lasts a long time. It requires a certain amount of knowledge, skills and abilities to do it correctly. So, we do recommend hiring a pool professional and letting them tackle a lot of these tasks if not most. Throughout time you will learn more and can probably lessen the professional pool company’s tasks as you take them over.

 

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6 Tips to be an Environmentally Conscious Pool Owner

‘Being Green’ has become a healthier and more responsible way to live and we make taking care of your pool no exception. Below we provide you with 6 ideas and tips to maintain your pool while being environmentally conscious.

1 – Use a robotic or solar pool cleaner

Robotic cleaners are a great solution for the environmentally conscious. They reduce the amount of chemical cleaners needed for your pool. They are also over 90% more efficient that a traditional system and cost less to run. Roughly, less than five cents an hour! They also reduce the amount of times you’ll have to change your pool filter and clean it.

All these reasons alone are exactly why this is listed as #1 on this list. Robotic pool cleaners are very inexpensive and one of the simplest and quickest ways to ‘green’ your pool. Solar pool cleaners use even less energy and work just as well.

With this simple purchase you can get started today with a simple plug, charge and go!

2 – Use a greener cleaner or none at all

Chlorine is the most common chemical used to keep your pool pristine, however it’s not the best for the environment or you. There are numerous alternatives to chlorine that you could grow accustom to. For example, bromine, natural mineral sanitizers, Ozonator systems and PHMB (polyhexamethylene biguanide).

With any of the choices above, you still need to add chlorine or algaecide with them, however you simply don’t use as much, so its effects are less harmful and therefore more environmentally friendly.

Now if your looking to go completely chemical-free, a natural swimming pool is a wonderful option. It takes more work and time to maintain but the outcome can be a wonderful solution for the environmentally conscious family. A natural, chemical-free pool uses plants to clean the water. With this type of pool, a ‘balance’ needs to be in place with the environment and then it can be a very safe swimming environment.

3 – Switch to a solar heater

Some question whether a pool heater is a ‘green’ option at all? However, a solar heater uses less energy to heat your pool, so the less energy you use the ‘greener’ you are. On the other, a heater allows you to use your pool for more months out of (or even the whole) year.

If you want to conserve your water and get the most out of what you have, there is no doubt using a solar heater is the answer. Solar-powered pool heaters use a series of tubes that absorb heat from the sun to warm the water after it passes through the filter system. This will also help you save money on your energy bills each month! Now we are getting ‘green’ (wink, wink). Your return on invest ment with a solar heater will come back ten-fold. The sun will be able to heat your pool forever.

4 – Clean your filters

Making sure your filters are clean will ensure your pool runs as efficiently as possible. A dirty filter causes your pump to work more, this using more energy. It also causes your pool chemicals to not be as effective, therefore diluting them and basically tossing money down the drain.

Cleaning your filters is generally an easy process, if you don’t have a pool professional maintaining them. Even double checking your pool cleaners work, can help if they fail to check it one day.

5 – Add a timer to your pumps

Most pumps can be a hassle to turn on and off, so by adding a timer, there is less stress on you and your pump isn’t running unnecessarily. Most pool pumps really only need to be ran for six hours a day, as long as your pump is sized properly to your pool’s volume.

Adding an automatic time clock to your pump system is the best way to make sure your water gets filtered regularly without consuming unneeded energy.

6 – Cover your pool

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to conserve water and energy with your pool is to cover it when it’s not being used. Simply put, they keep heat in and debris out as well as minimizing water evaporation.

By keeping heat in you will use even less energy to heat your pool and by keeping debris out, you will use less energy filtering your pool. Minimizing water evaporation means using less water to refill it, which also keeps your water bill down. Win, win, win!

To top it off, using a solar pool cover will seal that heat in from the sun and warm your water even more with a smaller energy bill. Overall, a pool cover with offer you less energy consumption and cost.

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How Your Pool Can Help Heal an Injury

Swimming pools are most known for entertainment and a great way to keep the kids busy. However, they can also provide a great exercise and rebuild after an injury.

Water activity increases strength and flexibility, in a low impact and safe environment. It also is good for joints, so water exercise is often recommended for rehabilitation after an injury or surgery. Physical injuries can sideline you and really interfere with your daily life. Rehabilitation allows your muscles and ligaments to strengthen and provide more support for injured areas. So, utilizing a pool to gain your strength back will help ease the process.

Whether it be swimming laps, arm exercises off the wall or using a pool noodle to help you kick in the deep end, the amount of exercises to help you repair and get back to your busy life are almost endless in a swimming pool. Water exercises don’t need to be strenuous to be beneficial. Simple calisthenics in a seated position, back floating, water walking, or kicking exercises are all very beneficial.

Why are pools so effective?

  • The buoyancy of water is a force that acts on the body to balance the weight of a swimmer supporting the body weight. The buoyancy of the water protects joints, while water’s resistance increases the efficiency of the workout. Because swimming is not weight-bearing, it is exceptionally helpful for back pain. Utilizing different swim strokes or positions helps alleviate some pressure in the back, as the water can provide support. The backstroke is helpful for back injuries because you lie in a supine position as opposed to other strokes performed in a prone position.
  • Water exercise is low impact, meaning it is easier on your body than many other exercises, with less chance of further injury from falls or stumbles. There are many injuries that respond well to water exercises and swimming.

Water therapy can be great for almost any kind of stubborn pain. Immersion and floatation offer tremendous benefits. A partial relief from gravity, helps to make movement feel easy, cushioned, and safe — and these can lead to stepping-stones in rehabilitation and pain management after an injury or surgery.

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What Size Backyard is Needed for a Pool?

You just bought a house, the kitchen is AMAZZZZING, the bathroom shower rocks and your floors are heaven, but the backyard is small and nothing to write home about. You wonder, will a swimming pool bring life to my backyard and add value to my new home?

The best place to start this process is to ask a pool professional. They will come out to your home and give an on-site evaluation and provide you with a pool building estimate. For example, if you fill out this form here, Challenger Pools will provide you with a FREE consultation. Most likely you will need to provide them with a bit of help. For example, a copy of your yards plot plan or surveyor report. This will help them get started in the right direction by knowing of any obstacles or setbacks before getting started.

Most backyards can fit a pool, so you’re in luck. The only thing is that you may be limited to size and placement based on the layout of your backyard.

What are some reasons that can limit the size of your backyard pool?

  • Property Line Setbacks
  • Septic System or Underground Utilities
  • Drainage and Utilities Easements
  • Power Lines
  • Zoning Regulations and Lot Coverage Rules
  • Access to the area
  • Retaining Walls
  • Existing Structures

Fortunately, many of these reasons can be worked around or moved. Having any ideas of what you backyard contains will be helpful to your pool builder. Once you review your surveyor report and know how much usable space you have, you can begin to envision the entire backyard including your pool patio area and landscaping. Picture and imagine the kind of area you would like with the amount of space you have. Know what kind of space you desire around your pool to accomplish your vision.

Please keep in mind a few general rules of thumb when getting a pool built in your backyard:

  • Build your pool and pool surround to occupy approximately 25% of the total available area (especially if you have kids)
  • Ensure the pool surrounds occupy an area of approximately 50% of the pool surface area
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