5 Next-Gen Deck Ideas to Highlight Your Pool

More than 8.5 million homes in the U.S. have swimming pools, according to the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. Both in-ground and above-ground pools provide a wonderful place for families to relax, but they can be time intensive to maintain. Enhance your poolside deck with time-saving, fun-enabling innovations that cater to family and friends.

1. Electric remote control or push button fire pit

With a remote control fire pit, you can mellow out your deck party without fussing with firewood, and easily put out the fire without worrying about smoke, ash and fire dangers. A variety of lava rocks and crystals are also available to add another touch of interest to your al fresco ambiance.

Photo by Architecturist via Flickr

2. Pool cleaning robot

With an automated pool cleaning robot, you can spend more time enjoying your pool and less time skimming and scrubbing. Pool cleaning robots filter the water in your pool, remove built-up bacteria and scrub debris from the sides of your pool. Smart sensors help it to navigate the contours of your pool so you don't have to touch up after your pool robot. If you have a fiberglass pool, however, avoid using a pool cleaning robot. Fiberglass pools could lead to problems, according to PoolProducts.com.

Photo by RichardCacioppo via Flickr

3. Mosquito repellent lantern

Mosquitos often congregate around a pool because they love the small pools of water that naturally occur with kids and adults splashing around. They are also attracted to exterior lights for the heat emitted. Keep mosquitos at bay and light up your pool deck with a mosquito repellent lantern such as ThermaCELLs. This unit emits alltherin, a mosquito repellent, in a 15-by-15-foot zone to keep your party pest-free.

Photo by Keith Williamson via Flickr

4. Exterior media system

With a good media system, you can play music and stream movies outside. One to consider is the Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD. The MG-850HD works with an iPhone/iPad. Not only can you plan any music or movie you have on your phone, you can connect to streaming media apps like Songza, Pandora, Amazon Instant or Netflix to access a wider range of entertainment for poolside parties. Simply plug in the unit and project onto the side of your home or rig your own protector screen from a white sheet, a couple of clamps and a laundry line.

5. Digital wireless meat thermometer

Now you don't have to stand by the grill to get chargrilled burgers and hot dogs. A wireless meat thermometer like the iGrill automatically takes the temperature of food on the grill, then transmits a signal when food reaches the desired temperature. With many, you can also use a meat or a taste setting (i.e. chicken, medium rare steaks) to ensure restaurant-quality cooking at home. Wireless receivers pick up the transmission from up to 100 feet away. Be prepared to climb out of the pool when you hear the signal or your meat can end up well-done.

Photo by stevendepolo via Flickr