Open Air Updates

Experts Share Tips for Transforming Your Outdoor Space


From fire tables to furniture finds, certain updates can make your backyard both relaxing and inviting. These local experts offer up the perfect tips for transforming your outdoor space into a personal oasis.


Ron Coker Jr., Master Pools by Artistic Pools, Inc.

One of the most popular architectural features in our pools today are what we call sun shelves or tanning ledges. These are areas in the pool that are anywhere from 6 inches to 12 inches deep. They vary in size and shape but are generally large enough to allow for one or two lounge chairs to fit on them comfortably. They make specially designed chairs for this called ledge loungers where, when seated, your body is partially in and out of the water. By combining this with a built-in umbrella sleeve, you can keep cool but not get your hair wet. Another wonderful feature of a sun shelf is the ability to add fountain features like plume jets that bubble upward from the shelf, giving off a soothing sound and becoming an aquatic playground for the little ones. It’s like having your own private resort!

Ron Coker Jr., Master Pools by Artistic Pools, Inc.


Carter Fowler, Fowler Brothers Co.

The No. 1 trend we’ve seen for outdoor areas is fire. In the past, families would gather outdoors around a campfire to spend time together and roast marshmallows. But now, fire tables give you the ambiance of a campfire without the work. A fire table can be used in every season, and it’s multifunctional. Plus, this is a product that the whole family will use, and it promotes a sense of tranquility and togetherness. I think there’s also been a pull toward zero-maintenance materials, and that’s where Adirondack furniture comes into play. It’s always been popular, but more than ever, it’s sought after for its durability without the maintenance – you don’t have to paint it, stain it, you barely have to clean it! Our customers lead busy lives, and the less they have to do, the more appealing a product is.

Carter Fowler, Fowler Brothers Co.


Patrick Wells, Majestic Stone

Taking the inside out has been a major trend. We continue to see homeowners and commercial developers spend a higher percentage of their overall budget on their outdoor living spaces. Outdoor kitchens and fire pits are becoming more common in new builds as there is a growing expectation for this to become a standard amenity with most homes and hotels. From a natural stone aspect, we’re seeing a trend toward marble being used in outdoor spaces along with the local sandstone and mountain stone that have been used more traditionally.

Patrick Wells, Majestic Stone


Mike Finley, Aquarium Pools of Chattanooga

Recently we’ve seen a trend toward in-pool seating to allow for more gathering around the pool. This can be done by installing ledge lounges, which can be enhanced with cushions, pillows, etc. These are great for comfort while hosting family and guests and allow for several people to comfortably gather around the pool. We’ve also seen a trend toward travertine, which is a type of limestone. It’s very versatile, making it a great fit for all types of outdoor areas. It’s a beautiful stone that comes in a variety of colors and is a great fit for anyone! It’s very durable, easy on the eyes, and easy on the feet!

Mike Finley, Aquarium Pools of Chattanooga


This year, decorative concrete is becoming very trendy for patios, pool decks, and driveways. You first need to repair the damaged surface and then have a custom colored acrylic system applied, which is ideal to give it color and protect the surface. Average wear will require a touchup about every five to seven years, but some cases have seen nine years with no appreciable wear. Clients can use a layered color process to achieve a decorative finish in their choice of color, and a polymer-concrete overlay can be stamped or troweled on to give it texture. For new concrete, stamp patterns, in-lays, or dye-packs can also be used to add color or texture, and the possibilities are endless with new concrete construction.

Sharon Gordon, Concrete Repair Specialist, LLC

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