Skyline Bel Air – Pool Renovation and Spa Addition!

A rectilinear pool from the 1970’s was transformed into a more usable center of this outdoor living space converting a second set of steps into a spa with customized seating. The stained cooldeck was removed and replaced with a coping of round-edged lump block caps for both safety and harmony with the adobe and rose brick that trimmed the remainder of the yard and existing patio spaces.

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Native Landscaping Ideas for Your Outdoor Renovations

ThinkstockPhotos-185426426The Sonoran Desert offers a unique natural landscape with abundant plant and animal life adapted to the hot, dry climate. With so much beauty surrounding your home, it makes sense to include native elements in your planned landscape rather than opting for plants and features that are imported from other regions. Native landscaping also minimizes your home’s environmental impact and sustains regional wildlife, so it makes sense to use the following ideas for your landscape redesign.

Incorporate native plants
Many non-native plants that homeowners are drawn to are invasive species that can steal resources from native species and create an imbalance in the local ecosystem. While most people envision a landscape of thorny cacti when thinking about native plants in Southern Arizona, there are actually many choices when it comes to trees, vines, shrubs, and wildflowers. Working with a landscape professional will allow you to see the full array of your native plant choices.

Steer clear of grass
Grass is a fixture for lawns in many regions of the country, but it simply does not make sense in the desert. Planting grass in your yard can lead to extensive maintenance and staggering water bills, so you might select a more eco-friendly option like gravel, which pairs beautifully with natural stone walkways.

Implement a water harvesting system
While native plants will reduce how much water you need to use to sustain your landscape, you will still need an irrigation system to keep your plants healthy. With rainwater harvesting, you can recycle this precious resource and lower your water bills.

For any outdoor renovations including landscaping, pool restyling, gardens, and rainwater harvesting, call Carl Ragel’s Natural Pools & Gardens at (520) 323-2627. We offer comprehensive landscaping services and maintenance throughout the Tucson area.

Alternatives to Chlorine to Keep Your Pool Water Sparkling

ThinkstockPhotos-99020435Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to swimming in a backyard pool is the irritation that chlorine may cause. Chlorine is an effective cleanser for pools, but it has many downsizes such as a pungent odor, eye and skin irritation, and the potential for allergic reactions. Many homeowners have the misconception that salt water pools will eliminate chlorine and reduce these irritating qualities, but salt water pools actually do contain chlorine; they just produce their own chlorine with a self-sustained system. There are, however, some chemical alternatives to chlorine that can be effective for sanitizing and oxidizing your pool, and these are discussed in greater detail below.


As a close cousin to chlorine, bromine can do similar work in killing harmful bacteria without the irritation of chlorine, though it is not as effective in oxidizing pool water. Therefore, bromine on its own may leave water with a green tint, so many homeowners will opt for a bromine and chlorine combination. One clear advantage of bromine is its stability at high temperatures, which makes it common for use in spas.


An ozonator is an addition to the filtration line of the pool that pumps ozone gas into the water to react with bacteria and other impurities. These devices are highly effective in the Tucson climate, since they run best on dry air. Ozonators do not completely eliminate the need for chlorine, but they can reduce use by as much as 90%.


PHMB, or polyhexamethylene biguanide, is the only true alternative to chlorine, since it is actually completely incompatible with chlorine. PHMB works by trapping particles from bacteria in a gel that will sink to the bottom of the pool where a vacuum system will suck it up. It is much gentler on skin, hair, and eyes, and offers lower maintenance than other pool chemicals. If you do make the switch to PHMB, you will need to drain your pool and rinse off all pool gear to avoid a reaction with lingering chlorine.

With the help of Carl Ragel’s Natural Pools & Gardens, you can find the ideal solutions for your residential pool in Tucson. To connect with us for a look at your pool cleaning and filtration options, call us at (520) 323-2627.