Making a Splash with Outdoor Lighting: Past, Present, and Future
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Making a Splash with Outdoor Lighting: Past, Present, and Future

Aug 27, 2023




Once upon a time, pool lighting was… well, not so exciting. White lights, while warm and inviting, used to be the only option for curating a welcoming nighttime oasis. The pool industry has come a long way!

In the beginning…

To understand this evolution, one must look back at the history of lighting in general. Our story begins in 1879 when Thomas Edison created an incandescent bulb that was practical and reliable enough to illuminate homes. The world was forever changed by this innovation, and other big-thinking inventors were inspired by the possibilities lighting offered. As tinkering was underway, new inventions began dazzling the public: arc lamps, oscillating lights, and even Christmas light strings were soon unveiled.

The American public, while still lighting many trees with candles, were awe-struck by this innovation. Lights brought a new warmth to homes across the nation, including the White House. In the 1890s, President Grover Cleveland decorated his holiday tree with multi-colored string lights. An awe-struck public watched in amazement as the possibilities of a colorful future sat in plain sight. The Edison Illuminating Company produced the first example of this dazzling multi-colored light show, but each light string had to be wired by hand. As a result, light strings were rather pricey for the everyday consumer.

Nonetheless, this largely forgotten moment in history inched us toward a more colorful future, both inside and outside the home. In the 1920s, the Jazz Age was underway, and a flair for the extravagant became en vogue. It was at this time that Albert Sadacca and his brothers set out to make colored lights more widely available, and the public was downright dazzled by this colorful experience that could be introduced to their own homes.

Diving into well-lit pools.

While innovations in lighting were transforming the world as we knew it, the young pool industry was also taking notice. Like lights, American pools were still a fairly young innovation in the early 20th century. Though Roman pools and natural hot springs had long entertained Europeans, American pools had only started popping up on the East Coast in the 1880s. Those early pools were a hit, and the ensuing century would introduce new swimsuit fashions that made swimming even more enjoyable.

At the height of the Jazz Age, a man by the name of Wesley Bintz began introducing public pools to the Midwest. In the following decade, wet-niche pool lights were introduced, and swimmers everywhere were dazzled by well-lit oases.

Pool lights continued to evolve over the next few decades, becoming better at distributing illumination underwater, maintaining a cool temperature for lightbulbs, and embracing new innovations like fiberoptic lighting. A burgeoning industry was underway, and the concept of the American Dream grew to include a well-lit, welcoming pool. After all, the white picket fence alone wasn’t enough to create a backyard paradise!

Wading into a colorful future.

Of course, the public had already demonstrated a fascination with colored lighting, as it had long been a staple inside homes. Naturally, the next step in the evolution of colored lights was infusing them into outdoor spaces like pools.

Colored lights enabled pool owners to curate a specific mood at their pool, enhancing holiday celebrations and pool parties in a magical way.

Transforming lighting into a light show.

While colored lighting transformed the pool industry as we know it, the era of innovation wasn’t (and still isn’t) quite over. Creative minds around the world were already pushing the boundaries of innovation, but automation further changed pool lighting as we know it.

Automation allows pool owners to connect equipment like pool pumps, water features, and – you guessed it – lighting in one easy-to-manage control center. In the smartphone era, connected apps like the Pentair Home and IntelliCenter2 app make pool automation as simple as the tap of a finger. Turning on and off pool features and setting schedules is made simple with an automation system. Plus, with automation or the Color Sync™ Controller for Pentair Color LED Lights in your pool toolkit, it’s easy to create an awe-inducing light show.

What is a light show, you ask? Instead of sitting with just one color, light shows cycle through several different colors to create a visually striking scene. Imagine painting your pool in hues of sunset magenta and yellow or creating a Caribbean ambiance with blue and green! Pool owners with colored lights can attest to the majesty of a rainbow-hued backyard oasis.

Another pillar of the modern pool industry is a trend toward sustainable solutions, and pool lights haven’t been forgotten in this wave of energy efficiency. With the incorporation of LED lighting solutions, homeowners can enjoy colorful outdoor paradises that won’t break the bank. And the best part? With each new generation of lighting, technology and energy efficiency improves.

The shift from incandescent to LED lighting.

Over the last few decades, LED lighting has been replacing older, less energy-efficient incandescent lights. This recent lighting evolution wave has been, in part, due to regulatory pressures from the Department of Energy which has banned certain types of low-efficiency incandescent lights from being sold in the market.

In the pool industry, advancements from incandescent to LED lighting took place in the mid-to-late 2000s. Pentair began utilizing LED technology in backyard poolscapes with its first LED IntelliBrite large niche light in 2007. After tweaking and improving the design of that initial LED product, Pentair came out with the IntelliBrite® 5G Color and White LED Pool Light, which has been illuminating backyard paradises across the country for over a decade. Now, Pentair will be introducing a new and improved LED lighting product with upgraded optics, power supply, and more.

What makes LED lighting that much better than incandescents? To understand why and how LED lights are more energy efficient than incandescent lighting, let’s take a deeper dive into the physics behind the light. An LED (which stands for light-emitting diode) is one type of semiconductor that converts electricity directly to light at a more efficient rate than incandescent lights, which actually burns a filament (the wire or thread in a light bulb) to produce light. For every watt of electricity, an LED produces much more light than heat compared to an incandescent, which is why you can change an LED light bulb while lit up – you can’t always do that with an incandescent bulb without burning your fingers.

Many of the energy efficiency and lighting differences between LED and incandescent lights stem from the use of optics – a lens or a reflector that changes the direction of the light beam. Optics direct the light to where it’s needed most. In an incandescent light, the light is directed omnidirectionally, meaning in three axes at 360 degrees. However, in an LED light, optics maximize the use of light by directing the photons only where the light is needed, which makes LED lighting that much more efficient.

Looking toward the future…

From the humble beginnings of lighting to its transformative days in early American pools, underwater lighting has come a long way. However, a trend toward sustainability and energy efficiency clues us in on what the future holds for the pool industry. There’s more innovation underway every day, and each new product unveiling has the potential to dazzle the industry just as the very first colored lights did.

If you’re ready to illuminate the pool possibilities at your customers’ homes, dive into the details of Pentair lighting at

Planning The Ultimate Party Pool For Entertaining & Get Togethers

As an industry leader in the pool and spa space, Pentair is dedicated to elevating the pool experience to the next level with connected, efficient, and quality products so people can soak in the magical, wonder-filled moments by their pool, giving them time – and peace of mind – to create them. Pentair's pool solutions are engineered to filter, clean and sanitize water, while automation equipment makes it easy to control from anywhere. For more information, visit

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Planning the ultimate party pool for entertaining and get-togethers starts with understanding the proper balance between fun & function.




When it comes to hosting unforgettable parties and get-togethers, having the perfect pool can elevate the entire experience to a whole new level. From swimming and soaking in a spa to sunbathing and enjoying a refreshing drink at a swim-up bar, the possibilities are endless. So, let’s dive into our guide to planning the ultimate party pool and discuss the art of planning the perfect pool for hosting epic parties!

The heart of any party pool is undoubtedly the swimming area. A generously sized pool with a shallow end for socializing and a deeper end for serious swimmers should be at the core of your design. To add some flair, consider incorporating unique shapes or adding decorative elements like water features, underwater lighting, and mosaic tiles.

A spa or hot tub area adjacent to the pool is a must-have for relaxation seekers at your party. A hot tub not only provides a soothing soak after an energetic swim but also offers a cozy place to unwind and socialize. Make sure the spa area is equipped with comfortable seating and provides privacy when needed.

For those who prefer to soak up the sun, create a spacious sunbathing zone with luxurious loungers and umbrellas. Ensure there’s ample space around the pool deck to accommodate sunbathers without crowding the pool area. To add a touch of resort-style luxury, consider using high-quality materials for the deck, such as natural stone or composite wood.

To keep the party going, a designated entertaining area is essential. Incorporate a swim-up bar with stools immersed in the water, allowing guests to socialize without ever leaving the pool. A poolside cabana or gazebo can offer shade, while a well-equipped outdoor kitchen or BBQ station ensures everyone is well-fed and hydrated throughout the festivities.

Remember, designing the ultimate party pool is all about striking a balance between functionality and fun. By creating different sectors for swimming, relaxing, sunbathing, and entertaining, your pool will be the go-to destination for unforgettable gatherings and good times with friends and family. So, grab your swimsuits and start planning the pool of your dreams!

Image Credits: Jasmine Trusty




Recently a video of Tieleman Pool Technology went absolutely viral with over 13 million views on Pool Magazine’s TikTok and over 14 million views on Tieleman’s Instagram account. The video showed a residential movable floor of 8.80 x 5.65m (28.87 x 18.54ft) in an indoor pool located in the United Kingdom. “We know we are engineering and installing a unique product that we felt would amaze many people, but we never imagined it would blow up like this,” says Marijn, Project Manager of the Netherlands-based manufacturer Tieleman Pool Technology.

A post shared by Tieleman | Movable pool floors (@tielemanpooltechnology)

Just one of the many comments given to the video of the movable floor. Of course, going viral with a video like this will lead to getting countless questions. Questions such as where does the water go when you lower the floor, what system is beneath the movable floor deck and much more. Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions answered.

The movable floor is a safe and rigid floating platform controlled by means of a push button, touch screen or a mobile device. When you push the button to lower the floor, the water hydraulic cylinder pulls the movable floor underwater. When the floor is moved, the water will gently flow through the small gap between the floor and the pool wall (so the water always remains in the pool). Within about five minutes your swimming hall, patio or living space is transformed into a full-size swimming pool.

When you want to raise the floor to a higher position, the cylinder pressure is released in a controlled way and the floor will rise automatically as a result of the upward pressure caused by the integrated buoyancy.

The bearing capacity of a movable floor starts at a minimum of 100kg per m2 (220lbs per 10.76 ft2). This makes the safe floor deck in a closed position extremely suitable to serve as a patio, party venue or extension of the indoor/outdoor living space.

A hatch is made in the construction of the movable floor, the tile located above the hatch can be removed. This allows Tieleman’s service technicians (who are A-1 certified divers) to dive under the movable floor. This way they can easily vacuum the bottom of the pool and inspect and maintain the movable floor system properly.

If your question is not answered here you should definitely check Tieleman’s FAQ page to learn more about the fundamentals of a movable floor.

A movable floor, as it might suggest, is a product that belongs in the category of ultimate luxury. While the videos are becoming increasingly popular on social media, and homeowners might be wondering if they can have one of their own; this is still a pool feature reserved for the elite. This is not surprising when you consider the level of engineering and high quality materials it takes to manufacture and install this kind of product.

You might not be expecting it, but the product has actually been on the market for quite a long time. For example, Tieleman Pool Technology has been developing customized pool solutions since 1970. To this day, the movable floor has been especially common for hydrotherapy purposes in medical institutions such as rehabilitation clinics, healthcare facilities and hospitals. In order to achieve optimal results with hydrotherapy, variation in depth is the key factor for success. To meet this specific need of the medical sector, the movable floor was developed back in the days.

Over the years, the product has evolved into a state-of-the-art pool solution that is not only suitable for medical institutions, but has also made its way into the public and residential market. Technology has been highly improved and there are countless add-on options for movable floors nowadays. These include integrated stairs (corner stairs, full width stairs and more), integrated sun decks/lounge areas and swim-out benches.

There are, of course, plenty of DIY videos of movable floors and other pool solutions. But what should a proper movable floor consist of if it wants to guarantee quality, a long lifespan and low maintenance?

First of all the construction beneath the floor deck must be resistant to corrosion and chlorides. That is why the unique Tieleman movable floor system, in contrast to others, consists of a Marine grade 316L stainless steel construction. For applications with highly corrosive environments, such as swimming pools, Marine grade 316L stainless steel is far superior and will have an extended lifespan compared with 304 grade. This is because Marine grade 316L stainless steel contains high levels of nickel, chromium and molybdenum. The molybdenum is added to protect the stainless steel from the elements such as chlorine and increases corrosion resistance, making this type of steel extremely suitable for use in swimming pools.

Secondly, no oil contamination of the pool can take place. Therefore the unique Tieleman system is powered by a water hydraulic cylinder. This technology eliminates the risk of (oil) contamination to the pool. And last but not least, Tieleman offers excellent service. At Tieleman, we can proudly state that we have been the preferred service provider for decades for our client base. With over 50 years of expertise in all areas of pool technology, Tieleman is your best choice to service your movable floor, says Koen, Marketing & Communications manager at Tieleman.

All the above makes a Tieleman movable floor an extremely durable system with a lifespan of up to 25-30 years.

The most interesting part for pool builders is that a movable floor not only ensures ultimate safety, it also provides the versatility to create unique pool environments that are multi-use spaces. For example, you can use the floor deck (in a closed position) as a basketball court or even a party venue. This is perhaps the most appealing aspect for pool builders.

Since companies that manufacture, install and maintain movable floors generally do not build the pool itself, this offers excellent business opportunities for pool builders and others. For example the construction of the pool, the water treatment and the tiling of the movable floor needs to be done by a (local) contractor or pool builder. This is most definitely the right time for high-end pool builders, architects and contractors to make their move by partnering with a movable floor builder like Tieleman.

Thinking of buying a DIY above ground pool and performing your own pool installation? There are a few things you should know first.




DIY above-ground pools are an affordable way to beat the heat during the hot summer months. An above-ground pool kit can seem like a great idea for those who want to save money and take on a fun DIY project. However, there are hidden drawbacks to purchasing an above ground pool that many people overlook. From installation to maintenance, novice pool owners may find themselves in over their heads with the cost and upkeep of their pool.

Quite often, the truth is that the all-in price of an above-ground pool is quite more expensive than most consumers realize, at least if you’re going to go with a standard above-ground pool kit and try to finish it with a deck and upgraded equipment. Tack on installation and the costs can really add up quickly.

The cost of an average above-ground pool kit depends on its size, shape, and material. The cost also varies based on whether you purchase a basic or a more upscale model.

While the basic equipment that comes with the pool kit may be sufficient, you may want to consider upgrading to a better-quality pump and filter. Upgraded equipment can provide better circulation and filtration, which can help keep the water clean and clear.

Adding a pool deck can provide a more attractive and functional space for lounging and entertaining. The cost of the deck depends on its size, materials, and design.

Installing an above-ground pool requires leveling the ground, assembling the pool kit, and connecting the pool equipment. The cost of installation depends on the complexity of the project and the contractor’s fees. Ultimately, the total cost of the average above-ground pool project, including the pool kit, upgraded pool equipment, deck, and installation, would be between $9,600 and $25,500. Keep in mind that these are just rough estimates, and actual costs may vary depending on your location and a myriad of other factors.

Installation is the first hurdle to overcome with a DIY above-ground pool. While the pool may come with instructions, there are still many things that could go wrong during your installation. For example, the ground may not be level, or the pool liner may be tricky to install, leading to needing a professional installation or costly repairs if you accidentally tear it while trying to install it yourself. In addition, some homeowners may not realize they need to obtain permits before installing a pool, which can lead to legal problems down the line, that’s exactly what happened to one homeowner in New York.

“I didn’t realize I needed a permit to install an above-ground pool in my backyard, and when the city found out, I was forced to take it down. It was a costly mistake that I wish I had avoided,” said Kevin Younger of Long Island.

After purchasing a DIY above-ground pool kit online and all the necessary materials, Kevin found that the final cost of installation was much higher than he anticipated. In fact, his above-ground pool installation cost him close to $12,500 all-in.

“I never thought installing an above-ground pool in my backyard could lead to such trouble. One day, a county inspector showed up with a fine and an order to take down the pool,” said Younger, “it turns out a neighbor must have reported me, and I had no idea that I needed a permit to install it. It was a really expensive lesson to learn.”

The biggest problem with DIY pools comes after installation. Once the pool has water in it, the real work begins: maintenance. Many novice pool owners are ill-equipped to balance and clean their pool. Keeping the water clean and safe requires a lot of effort and expense. Chemicals, skimmers, vacuums, and filters are all necessary to maintain a healthy pool. If the pool is not properly maintained, it can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, algae, and other harmful organisms.

“I thought I could save money by maintaining my above-ground pool myself, but I soon learned that I’m no pool expert. I spent the better part of the summer trying just to keep it from turning green,” said Dallas, TX pool owner, Beth Pompano.

“The filtration equipment that came with my above-ground pool kit was very basic and we decided to upgrade it after the first week,” said Pompano, “it came with a small pump and a filter that didn’t do a very good job. We wound up upgrading to a Pentair pump and sand filter. That was an added cost but we noticed an immediate improvement right away.”

Underperforming pool equipment can result in poor water quality and the need for constant cleaning. In Beth’s case, upgrading the filtration equipment was costly, and she paid several thousand dollars. “The plumbing and electrical needed to be redone to accommodate the upgraded equipment, that was definitely an unexpected kick in the pants. Then we added a pool deck which was yet another cost.” said Pompano.

Vinyl liners in above-ground pools generally last 6-10 years before needing replacement, although this can vary based on factors such as the quality of the liner, the level of maintenance, and the amount of use. Signs that a liner needs to be replaced include fading, cracks, tears, or wrinkles that cannot be smoothed out.

The cost of replacing a vinyl liner in an above-ground pool varies depending on factors such as the size of the pool, the quality of the liner, and the cost of labor in the area. On average, the cost of a new liner and installation can range from $1,500 to $3,000 or more. However, a DIY installation can lower the cost if you have the necessary skills and equipment.

Finally, there are hidden costs associated with pool maintenance. Many homeowners assume that the cost of chemicals and equipment is all they will need to pay. However, weekly service is recommended to ensure the pool stays clean and balanced. This can still cost about $180 a month for basic chemical maintenance. These costs can quickly add up, making a DIY above-ground pool less of a bargain than it may seem.

Despite the hidden drawbacks of purchasing and installing an above-ground pool, homeowners continue to be eager to build their own backyard oasis. The DIY pool market typically sees a spike starting at the beginning of the pool season, and this summer is predicted to be no exception.

With the right knowledge, planning, and budget, homeowners can still successfully install and maintain their own above-ground pool. Still, it’s important to research local regulations and obtain the necessary permits before beginning installation. Make sure you’re installing on level ground and have equipment up to the task of adequately filtering your pool. Homeowners should also be prepared for the added costs of materials, equipment, and ongoing maintenance.

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Elevate Your Outdoor Entertaining With Fire Features

In the beginning…Diving into well-lit pools. Wading into a colorful future. Transforming lighting into a light show.The shift from incandescent to LED lighting.Looking toward the future…Sector 1: The Swimming ZoneSector 2: The Relaxing Spa ZoneSector 3: The Sunbathing HavenSector 4: The Entertaining HubTop 20 Must-Have Features for the Ultimate Party Pool:Colorful Pool Lighting:Outdoor Sound System:Waterproof Floating Speakers:Poolside Bar or Tiki Hut:Swim-Up Bar Stools:Sunken Seating Area:Water Features:Fire Features:Poolside Games and Floats:Outdoor Kitchen or BBQ Area:Comfortable Seating Options:Outdoor Shower:Poolside Cabana or Gazebo:Pergolas with Climbing Plants:Smart Pool Control System:Outdoor Projection Screen:Safety Measures:Outdoor Heaters:Lush Landscaping:Pool Games and Floats:Do’s and Don’ts for Planning a Party Pool:Do’s:Consider Safety First:Choose Quality Materials:Incorporate Lighting:Add Sound Systems:Include Ample Seating:Don’ts:Overcrowd the Pool Area:Neglect Landscaping:Forget About Shade:Ignore Maintenance Needs:Overlook Accessibility:residential movable floorTieleman Pool Technology“This is engineering from another planet… how does that work?”movable floorTieleman’s FAQ page Definitely not a mainstream product for the average pool ownerThe history of the movable floorhydrotherapyWhat does a proper movable floor consist of?Marine grade 316L stainless steelA great opportunity for high-end U.S. pool builders and contractors to become a certified dealerpool buildersTielemanPool Kit: $1,460 – $6,150Upgraded Pool Equipment: $1,820 – $4,350Deck: $3,120 – $8,500Installation: $3,200 – $6,500