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A Pool-Lighting Primer

6-19 akins video artBy Lew Akins

In far too many cases, lighting in and around backyard swimming pools is an afterthought – and sometimes I get the impression that there’s not much thought involved at all.

As I see it, our clients deserve better than an easy, one-size-fits-all approach, and that’s the main reason I developed the brief video presentation linked below:  I wanted to give homeowners a bit of information that would help them understand both the importance of good lighting and get them ready to discuss a variety of available design solutions.

As I suggest in the video, the old-style, under-the-diving-board placement of a 500-watt incandescent bulb should never happen these days.  Even if there’s no diving board, placing the light at the end of the pool typically puts the light smack in the middle of what will be the longest swimming lane, meaning any nighttime exercise will be made less enjoyable by the glare.  True, you might be able to get away with lighting the entire pool with one fixture, but it’s really a false economy.

The alternative approach of placing multiple lights on the long wall produces much more pleasing results, and the possibilities get even better with lower-intensity, color or dimmable fixtures.  We put them on the wall nearest the house so the light sources don’t attract as much attention from inside the house and make the water glow when the sun goes down.

And I can’t stress enough is how important it is to integrate in-pool lighting approaches with what’s going on outside the pool.  The best landscape lighting can be completely washed out by over-bright pool lighting – and the opposite can be true as well, with poorly-placed, high-wattage patio arrays taking all the drama out of thoughtful, balanced pool lighting.  

Integrated backyard planning is, as always, the best pathway to success – and lighting is no exception!

To see my video on lighting decisions, click here.
 

Lew Akins operates Ocean Quest Pools By Lew Akins out of three offices in central Texas.  He started in the pool business in California in the late 1970s, opening his own design/build/retail firm in Texas in 1984.  Widely acknowledged as a pioneer of the vanishing-edge concept, he added “design consultant” to his list of services in 1998.  He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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