Many Northern Colorado families have ended up in hot water in the past year and there is a simple explanation.
“Homeowners looked at their backyards a lot and decided they needed to have a spa,” says Cindy Strick, finance and human resources manager for Aqua Spas.
Some homebound folks needed the stress relief of a hot tub and its multiple massaging jets, but many other customers ordered above-ground swim spas as a new way to exercise at home for themselves and their children who are high school and college athletes.
With 25 years of experience in hot tub sales and service, Fort Collins-based Aqua Spas is the exclusive Master Spa Dealer for the state for over 25 years as well as Nebraska and Wyoming. Aqua Spas also features the line of spas and swim spas from Olympic gold medal legend Michael Phelps.
For homeowners considering the purchase of a hot tub or swim spa, Aqua Spa’s Cindy Strick suggests considering a few questions first:
How much space do you have available on your deck and in your backyard?
How many people will regularly make use of the spa?
Will they use it for relaxation, therapy, exercise or maybe all of the above?
What is your total budget, including a budget for ongoing maintenance?
“We have four different levels of hot tubs depending on your budget needs and the features you want,” Cindy Strick says. For instance, the top-of-the-line Michael Phelps Legend Series spa is a spacious 108- by 94- by 38-inches with four powerful pumps supplying an array of 72 jets. This spa seats eight adults comfortably.
“Swim spas have been especially popular. We have customers who are training for the Ironman. Parents have gotten them for their kids who are swimmers in high school and college,” Cindy Strick says, noting that swim spas are much less expensive to install than a full-size swimming pool because they don’t involve excavation and require less maintenance.
Strick notes that swim spas are not just for swimming. For instance, the Michael Phelps Swim Spas include a Therapy Seat with jets in a therapeutic “X” pattern on the hot tub end of the spa.
Security and safety are a paramount concern for spa owners, especially those with young children. Aqua Spas offers covers secured with multiple locks and Auto Covers that open and close themselves with the flick of a switch. The new generation of smart spas can be programmed and controlled using an app on a smartphone or tablet.
Regular maintenance of filtration systems and surfaces is ongoing as any owner of a home hot tub or swim spa knows. Aqua Spa provides detailed training for new owners and all of the spa owners’ manuals are available at the Aqua Spa web site. “We can also provide regular scheduled maintenance services for any spa,” Strick says. The company’s website provides a catalog of essential spa chemicals, supplies and accessories.
A longtime Colorado company, Aqua Spa products are proudly made in the U.S. and no-money-down financing is available.
> Aqua Spas, 4731 W. 10th St., Greeley, 970.352.7140, aquaspasinc.com (Additional locations in Fort Collins, Longmont and Castle Rock).
By Emily Kemme Photos courtesy: Glen Degenhardt Deck & Cover, Don King Landscaping
Enhancing your home’s outdoor spaces makes sense for Coloradoans. Our state’s temperate climate sees 300 days of sunshine, ideal for nearly year-round outdoor living. Glen Degenhardt has built decks along the Front Range for 40-plus years and finds that newcomers appreciate what Colorado natives already know. He calls it, “‘The Colorado mystique’ – winter is a whole lot nicer than they’d expected.”
Sprucing up your patio and yard is an annual ritual. Degenhardt and other landscape professionals can help you discover the hottest trends to make your surroundings the coolest in your neighborhood.
Start with the platform: Decks, Patios and Pergolas
Outdoor living means taking the indoors outside, offering a room with a view and space to cook and entertain. That translates to outdoor kitchens, comfy seating areas, dining rooms and space to play. “All that is great, but you have to have a deck to put it on,” Degenhardt points out. His most requested decking is composite, a primarily plastic product of recycled materials and wood. Higher end products offer enhanced color and natural streaking. “There is relatively less maintenance compared to natural cedar or redwood, but drawbacks are the plastic gets hot in Rocky Mountain sunshine. Composite decking isn’t a green product, either,” he noted.
If what you’re looking for is the real thing, Degenhardt builds about 40 percent of his decking projects with wood, even though natural woods are less readily available because of market forces.
Creating outdoor spaces with stone, brick or concrete – both smooth or stamped, is another option. Don King, of Don King Landscaping uses CAD designed layouts to conceptualize ideas for his customers. Hardscapes are design elements that don’t change over the years as backyard space develops. They can include decorative rocks, pathways, retaining walls and patios. All are elements of a low-maintenance landscaping plan.
Top it off with a pergola, one that’s completely open or provides partial shade. “In the past, people opted for covered porches, either a roof extension or attached to the house giving solid cover rain or shine,” Degenhardt said. “Solid covers decrease the light in your house. Since we don’t get much rain here, they aren’t needed.”
Fire Pits to Keep Toes Toasty
Fire pits are a versatile method of generating warmth on chilly nights, and it’s a natural conversation spot. One standard King Landscaping feature is a sitting wall – a structure made of stone or concrete where people can gather around a fire pit or fireplace. Built-in benches, fire pit surrounds and porch swings can also be constructed to match your deck.
Light it Up
A good design plan includes lighting and the diverse electronics, gadgets and systems available to consumers. From retro-vintage Edison bulbs outlining a pergola to built-in low voltage and LED lighting, Degenhardt said smaller lights are best for creating a glowing nighttime ambiance. “The industry is aware of people’s interest in living outside, but also not lighting up the neighborhood while entertaining,” he said. Lighting should highlight interesting architectural aspects, plants and design accessories.
Soothing and calm, after you’ve finished digging in the dirt or working all day, King believes a water feature is a nice accent element. “It gives a backyard character; it’s a romantic, tranquil part of your garden.”
Victory Gardens and Exploring the World of Plants
Whether it’s a kitchen garden, plant pantry, container, or raised beds, people are increasingly growing their own vegetables. A trend beginning when people worked from home during the pandemic, it’s expected to continue as people learn that gardening is Mother Nature’s recommendation for stress relief.
King said when it comes to plants, sometimes more is better. “The garden will have a unique appearance while choking out weeds. Lack of sunlight on soil thanks to plants’ natural spread enhanced with pruning will stop most weeds.”
Multi-purpose mulch can also be used for water retention and suppressing weed growth.
By exploring the plant world, you can enhance your garden’s sustainability. Using a broad variety of native plants for perennial ground covers, vines, ornamental grasses, shrubs and trees can reduce your water bill while creating a lush, all-weather oasis that will thrive over the years.
Spring cleaning is a seasonal tradition, and the perfect time to make some outdoor upgrades, as well. Damaged siding, clogged or bent gutters and broken downspouts can contribute to moisture getting into walls and basements. That can lead to mold, rot and structural damage.
C&S Rain Gutters, a family-owned business, has served the Northern Colorado community for over 18 years. They offer valuable insights into what sort of exterior upgrades may work best for you.
New siding can increase a home’s value, but it works best when it’s installed all at once. That way, the siding’s appearance is even and uniform.
Siding materials vary in cost, effectiveness and how long they take to install. Vinyl siding, for instance, can be inexpensive, comes in a wide range of colors and lasts ten to 15 years. But vinyl can warp, crack and fade over time.
Composite board also comes in various colors but can cost a little more and may need repainting every four or five years. On the plus side, it’s more resistant to insect damage and rot.
These come in different colors, and a thoughtful installation can create striking lines around your home’s roof. C&S Rain Gutters offers several sizes and styles, including European-style 6-inch half-around gutters.
While 5-inch is a standard option for residential gutters, 6-inch over-sized gutters are becoming popular. Even though it’s only a difference of an inch, they can handle 40 percent more water. Over-sized downspouts allow for more debris, so they’re less likely to clog.
> C&S Rain Gutters, 2970 W. 29th, St., #15, Greeley, 970.353.3190, candsraingutters.com. Serving the Northern Colorado area, including Greeley, Fort Collins, Loveland, Wellington and Windsor.