It is wintertime and I have a beautiful home in South Florida that I am sharing with my family and friends. In addition, my wife and I are planning a holiday party. In our preparations, besides the usual food, drinks and décor, I always focus on my outdoor living space. This space encapsulates the first impression and delivers a unique interactive experience for my guests.
As the president of Reef Tropical Pool and Landscape, here is what I have done to prepare.
On the landscape side, I met with my account manager and came up with a plan that is cost effective and impactful; a deep clean of my beds and thinning out of older landscape material. Once complete, I plugged in about $1,800 worth of plants. This consists of replacing plants that died or no longer hold their aesthetic value along with new annual flowers and perennials - I like New Guineas, Pentas and Vincas. In addition, I added 60 bags of fresh cypress mulch. I concentrated these efforts in key, high visibility areas such as walkways, the front door, backyard views and anything that is lit up at night. Furthermore, I worked with my account manager to ensure that the new plantings were getting properly irrigated by adjusting the system and settings accordingly (Best time for irrigation systems to run is in the early morning, running the full course before sunrise).
I had my landscape lighting professional work with an electrician to ensure my existing system was working and recommend any additional lighting. Path lights are best in path areas (not driveways or cart paths) and flower beds. Up lighting is best on specimen palms and trees that have unique character to their trunks and canopies.
On the pool and spa side, I thought about the proper functionality of the mechanical devises including heaters, pumps, filters and lighting. I had a pool mechanic come out the week prior to check all devices and automation. I recommend variable speed pumps, super quite electric heat pumps for your pool and a gas heater for your spa. Knowing that my guests will want to enjoy the spa and the pool throughout their stay and possibly during the holiday party, I set the pool temperature to 86 degrees and the spa to 102. I turn on the pool heater the day before and the spa a few hours before use.
After covering the basics in equipment functionality, lighting and heating, I moved to aesthetics and automation, which is more fun. I do not personally have many fancy features but some of the things I have considered are color changing LED lights, water features such as spill over spas, fountains and rock waterfalls. Fire pits can be a hit for your guests and of course, you need an application interface for your phone or tablet to automate and control all aspects of your system (cool stuff to show off).
As far as scheduling maintenance service for both landscape and pool, I got my service provider involved in the conversation. I am having my landscape serviced the day before guests arrive - the day-of leaves too much to chance with weather and scheduling. Being extra cautious, I coordinated with my fertilization and pest / fungal providers about treating weeks before my guests arrived.
As far as pool maintenance, I scheduled a service the day before my party. This will help with cleanliness and water clarity. If you have a pool exposed to the elements without a screen enclosure, see if you can schedule the cleaning the day of the party yet be prepared to touch it up yourself.
These preparations help my family and guests enjoy their time at my home. Yet, most importantly, my wife and children get to enjoy the externality of the preparations for weeks after the guests are gone.
Advice from Claude III on Holiday Party Pool and Landscape - written by his wonderful son Claude IV
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