Renovating a Pool? Get Started Here
from the APSP
Need a make-over? With an APSP member professional at your side, you can enhance your home's value and reveal new opportunities for enjoyment with a refreshing upgrade or new treatment. Here are seven ways to renovate or restore your pool:
1. Resurface. Resurfacing an in-ground concrete pool restores beauty and comfort to cracked or roughened surfaces and extends the pool's functional life. For pools with a vinyl interior, a replacement liner in a new pattern can transform your pool overnight. Fiberglass pool owners can also consult with an APSP member professional for the product that will make your pool look like new.
2. Add a water feature. Install a waterfall or fountain to bring the sound and beauty of moving water to your outdoor environment. Water features like a dramatic spillover create a strong focal point and provide a dynamic addition to an otherwise ordinary pool.
3. Add a hot tub. Experience the relaxation of a soothing soak or the health benefits from warm water therapy. There's a hot tub for every need, every setting, and every budget.
4. Install new tile. Just as a new backsplash transforms a kitchen, new tile can set the tone for your beautiful new look. By selecting from the vast tile options available, you'll make the most dramatic improvement in appearance for the greatest value.
5. Enhance your surroundings. Consider a new or updated pool deck. You can extend the look of interior flooring to experience an outdoor family room with man-made or natural materials. Stain existing concrete. Or brush up dated, cracked or stressed concrete patios with a thick overlay and new finish. Add a sound or media system, or even an outdoor kitchen or fireplace for greater enjoyment.
6. Consider new lighting. Lighting not only enhances safety, it also adds a touch of beauty and pizzazz. Halogen and fiber optic lighting can add striking color to a nighttime poolscape. And long-lasting color-filled LED replacements can create an entirely new mood with little or no modification to an existing pool.
7. Think technology. New automatic cleaning systems have units that "walk" along your pool floor. These newer systems require practically no supervision. And you can still swim while the system cleans your pool. Digital controls make operating pool equipment easier than ever, letting you control lighting, heating, and cleaning with the touch of the button or with your tablet or smartphone. And upgrades like a salt chlorinator system or a solar cover and heater can improve both functionality and efficiency.
Keep in mind, you don't have to do everything at once. Pool renovations can be done over several seasons, allowing you to make the improvements and fund your investment at a pace that works for you. Of course, to ensure you get the most for your money, you'll want to hire an experienced pool contractor. An APSP Certified Professional will help ensure that your vision is transformed into reality — safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively. Find an APSP Certified Building or Service Professional here.
The Only Man In The World Who Can Swim With A Polar Bear: Grizzly Man
from barcroft media
Grizzly man Mark Dumas, 60, is the only man in the world who can touch a polar bear and the only man in the world that can swim with a polar bear. And as these incredible pictures show Grizzly Man, the fearless polar bear handler from Abbotsford, British Columbia, even goes for dip in his swimming pool where he and 16-year-old polar bear Agee enjoy a watery cuddle together. Grizzly Man Mark and wife Dawn, 60, train the 60-stone (800lb) friendly polar bear - the world's largest land predator - to star in high-budget TV adverts. Agee the polar bear has even performed in movies like 'Alaska' in 1995 when she was just a few weeks old. With his incredibly intimate bond Grizzly Man Mark Dumas wrestles on the grass with polar bear Agee, kisses her, puts his head in the polar bear's huge jaws, and even bear hugs her as she rears up on her hind legs to over seven feet. Mark and Dawn have owned Agee since she was six weeks old and the colossal polar bear even lived in their home as a cub where she played with the family dogs and was bottle fed.
For more amazing footage of the amazing side of life, visit the Barcroft Media website: http://bit.ly/19OYwp
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Pool Toy Gift Ideas
from poolcare plus
Spring is just around the corner and it's time to think about reopening your swimming pool. Many pool owners love to watch their children or grandchildren play in the pool and provide pool toys to keep them entertained. Age-appropriate toys for the pool help children practice swimming and learn to love the water.* But what types of pool toys are best for which age groups? Here's help:
Infants and Toddlers: Children age nine-24 months love floating activity centers, which allow them to stay busy with attached toys like squirters, rattles, and stacking rings while enjoying the pool. Baby rings and puddle jumper baby seats are also popular pool toys for children up to 25 pounds.
Age Three to Six: Children five and younger like "driving" a float in the shape of a plane, car or boat; pocket seats help them feel more secure as an adult pushes them back and forth in the pool. Depending on their comfort level in the water, children age three to six can be introduced to water wings and kickboards to help them improve their swimming ability.
Age Six and Up: Children who can float and swim well enough to enjoy playing in the water will love Dive Dudes, spinning characters that kids dive for when these pool toys float to the bottom of the pool. They'll also have fun with battery-operated characters that swim around the pool in random patterns. You and the children can stay active with an energetic pool paddle ball game. And of course, both kids and adults love classic pool toys like water guns and splash balls.
Selecting a variety of pool toys ensures that children who use your pool will never get bored. And you'll have a wonderful time too – whether you just watch or jump in and join in the fun!
*Pool toys are not safety devices. Alert adult supervision is required whenever any child is in or near your swimming pool.
Why Choose LED Pool Lighting?
Posted by John Keene, Pool FYI
High-Definition Lighting That Lasts
The growing popularity of color-changing LED lighting for pools and spas is primarily due to the brilliant-lighting effects of newer systems. The difference between old technology (incandescent) pool lighting and LED pool lighting is like comparing a standard definition television to a high-definition television—the colors and visual quality are simply stronger, brighter and more appealing.
Many pool owners also choose LED pool lighting because it is a more eco-friendly option. Not only do LEDs use far less electricity, an LED light can last six times longer than an incandescent light of equal brightness.
The Most Energy-Efficient Lighting Available
An LED (or light emitting diode) is a small semi conductor device that converts electrical energy directly into light. Since there is no filament, an LED does not heat up the way an incandescent bulb does, which wastes up to 80% of the electricity routed to it to produce heat rather than light. An LED light like the Pentair IntelliBrite® 5g White LED provides a noticeably brighter light while using 86% less energy than an incandescent bulb—resulting in significant energy savings.
Brilliant Colors for Unmatched Visual Appeal
The main attraction of LED lighting is the stunning visual appeal and ability to change up the lighting to suit any mood or event. Today's best color-changing LED pool lights feature numerous light options—from static colors like blue, green, magenta, red and white to dynamic pre-programmed light shows that enhance nighttime poolscapes with rich and vibrant colors. Plus, most allow you to also choose the speed at which the colors change, further allowing you to achieve a particular ambiance.
Choosing the particular color or light show for your pool is usually a simple process of stepping through the selections until you find your desired setting. Other systems allow you to include a dedicated controller to make choosing and programming your lights even easier and synchronize LED lights in your pool, spa and landscape.
LED Lighting Outlasts the Competition
The typical life span of an incandescent light is 5,000 hours, whereas LED lights have been proven to last 30,000 to 50,000 hours. The reason for their extended life is the durable, solid state technology, which has no internal filament to wear out.
In the past, LED pool lighting has received negative feedback because if one LED burned out all of the LEDs would stop working, similar to old holiday lights. However, new LED pool lighting systems like the IntelliBrite 5g Color LED will continue to work even when one of its LEDs burn out.
Learn More About LED Lighting
If you would like to discuss or learn more about LED lighting and other pool lighting options, visit the resources listed below or talk to your local pool professional.
10 Steps to Maintaining a Clean Pool
from Guardian Pool Fence
If you're lucky enough to have a swimming pool and also lucky enough to have the sun to use it then keeping it clean is all important. You want a pool to be fresh and inviting for everyday use and so you can get the most from this refreshing pastime.
By taking a constant but thorough routine with pool maintenance you can cut down on the work in the long term and also save on a lot of money. It also means there's no need for last ditch attempts to sort something out when something goes wrong. So, here are ten tips to keep your pool sparkling clean and healthy.
- Maintain the pool by keeping an eye on the pool chemistry a few times a week in summer and around once a week in winter.
- Keep a close eye on the skimmer basket and clean it out weekly or even more-so if it needs such care.
- Keep an eye on the hair and lint filter. This will need to be emptied every few weeks and you should ensure that a build-up doesn't occur.
- Water levels are also something that need inspection and should be adjusted if needed. Ideally they should be at the center of the tile.
- The in-line chlorinator needs a weekly check-up and if it needs adjustment then you should do so. Check the chlorine readings and ensure they are in the unit to ensure adequate levels of chlorine.
- Clean the filters. These should be cleaned after a storm or every couple of months. The best way to remember this is to base it around something you do a couple of times a year. If you've extra elements this can be a lot easier to do, if not you will need to use chemicals to clean the filters. Make sure to use eye and glove protection when doing so and make sure the filters are rinsed well.
- The tile area on the outside of the pool should be cleaned on a weekly basis when the pool is in use or less so when it's not. This can be done by using pressure washing services and will help keep your pool spic and span from build-up.
- Always keep the chemicals you use stored in the dark and away from direct sunlight as this can cause issues with them.
- If you do not have an ozone system your pool won't need to be shocked. However, if you do need to shock it does it at night. People swimming soon afterwards should use a non-chlorine shock to clean the pool. Alternatively, it's possible to do so by running your pump for a full day and night with your ozone system. Just ensure you're on 24 hour circulation.
- Cracks can turn into bigger problems. These should be dealt with through silicone and as we all know prevention is better than cure.
- Keep vegetation and animals, as well as fertilizers away from the area as they will feed algae in the pool.
These tips should help you keep your pool clean and perfectly usable.
Jacob Ryan is a lover of swimming and the great outdoors and also enjoys fishing.
The Hot Tub – A Bubbling Bath of Positive Health Benefits
november 14, 2012 by shelly from Filbur Manufacturing
What's not to love about a hot tub? With its health, social, and home-improvement benefits it's a veritable hot pot of positives. Add to that the strides that hot tub manufacturers have made in energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, and one's hard-pressed to find a reason not to invest in what used to be considered solely a luxury item.
Health benefits are many, including relief for the 1 in every 3 Americans that suffer from arthritis. The heat, buoyancy, and massage elements exercise and relax the muscle joints, relieving pain and making daily tasks and movement in general more comfortable.
Relief for insomnia, which affects almost 60 million Americans, is another huge hot-tubbing benefit. The obvious stress relief it provides is a great sleep aid in and of itself, but there's more to it. According to a recent study in the scientific journal Sleep, a drop in body temperature can help to ease your body into a deeper, more relaxing sleep. Therefore, it is suggested that you soak in hot water (103° F) about 90 minutes before bedtime. This causes the body's internal thermostat to pull your temperature down, enabling sleep to set in with more ease.
Probably the most surprising benefit, though, is the effects in reducing blood sugar in Diabetes Type 2 patients. A study at McKee Medical Center reports that patients who spent 30 minutes per day in a hot tub recorded a 13% decrease in blood sugar levels, better quality sleep, and a great overall sense of well-being.
Even if you don't suffer from one of these ailments, a hot tub is a natural aid in stress relief, blood pressure, headaches, and the acceleration of the healing process. As with any type of therapy, it is important to consult a physician before soaking in a hot tub if you have health concerns.
OK, so there's got to be a negative, right? Well, the closest we could find is the maintenance of this bubbling tub of bliss...and that's even a stretch as far as negatives go. This does not have to be overwhelming or difficult. My friend in the industry, Matt Giovanisci, has created a great visual guide for easy hot tub maintenance and was good enough to share it with us. And, tomorrow I'll share it with all of you!
Is Your Pool Covered?
Posted by Leah Clark, Pool FYI
Swimming pool covers offer a variety of benefits to pool owners, but with several styles to choose from it's important to have the right cover to meet your needs. If you're thinking about adding a cover to your pool make sure you consider factors like climate, pool size and what you want the cover to accomplish. Below are the three most common types of pool covers.
Solar covers or solar blankets as they are sometimes called are great for your pool, your wallet and the environment. They transfer heat from the sun into your pool water and prevent heat from escaping, which gradually raises the water temperature by up to 15 degrees. At the same time, solar covers reduce chemical and water loss from evaporation. All of these results save you money by lowering chemical, water and heating costs. Plus, they are easy to cut and shape to fit kidney, oval or irregularly sized pools.
A winter cover is primarily used to safeguard your pool from winter weather, debris and other undesirable items that could possibly enter the water. With two main styles—solid and mesh—pool owners have a choice to make when it comes to winter covers. A solid cover blocks out the sun and prevents algae growth throughout the winter, but needs to be maintained to prevent build-up on top of the cover. A mesh cover doesn't block out as much sun light which means a little more water maintenance come spring, but it does allow rain and snow to pass through the cover for easier winter care.
Protect your swimming pool, pets and family with a safety cover. These tough, long-lasting pool covers are strong enough to support people and pets, yet light enough to easily install and remove from your pool. They are typically held in place by deck anchors that, when the cover is not in use, recede flush into the pool deck for improved safety and appearance. Besides preventing access to your pool, safety covers have excellent winter protection making them a dual purpose cover. They can be found in solid and mesh to meet any pool owner's preference, but are usually the most expensive of the three.
For additional help or recommendations when it comes to swimming pool covers try our dealer locator to find a local pool professional.
CONSIDER THESE RESOURCES WHEN ADDING A POOL COVER TO YOUR POOL
Articles & Blogs:
Swimming Pool Covers Help You Save Money, Energy and Water
The Blue Goes Green: 5 Earth Friendly Solutions For Your Pool
May Is National Water Safety Month
Pool Priorities—Safety First! 6 Critical Layers of Protection
Have information to share about Pool Covers? Add it Now!
Do Liquid Solar Covers Really Work?
Automatic Pool Cover
Swimming Pool Cover Chicago
Have a video to share on Pool Covers? Add it Now!
Top Trends in Outdoor Decorative Concrete
Decorative trends that help create an outdoor retreat
by Anne Balogh, ConcreteNetwork.com Columnist
Do you want to be on the cutting edge when it comes to using decorative concrete outdoors, and dare to go beyond a simple ho-hum driveway or patio slab? Creative contractors are always experimenting with new looks and applications for outdoor concrete, often in response to the desires and changing lifestyles of their customers. Here are some of the hottest trends we've been noticing at The Concrete Network, based on recent outdoor projects concrete contractors have shared with us. Hopefully, they will spark your imagination and embolden you to take on projects that rise above the ordinary and break new ground.
Creating Backyard Adventures
More people are taking "staycations" in their own backyards and using concrete to create mini theme parks, complete with faux-rock water features, concrete garden bridges, firepits, a sculpted concrete pool with water slides, and even a ship-wrecked concrete boat.
Going Back to Nature
With the growing concerns about our environment and preserving our natural resources, more homeowners are using concrete because it's a sustainable, eco-friendly building material. Plus, it also has an organic look and feel that can enhance and even mimic the surrounding environment. See these projects for ideas.
Concrete Mimics Natural Stone
Natural Pool Designs Brought to Life
Concrete Lava Rock Driveway
Custom Concrete Furniture
With its year-round weather resistance and ability to be molded into any shape, concrete is being used to create permanent backyard furniture, from patio tables and benches to outdoor concrete pool tables. This custom concrete furniture offers lasts a lifetime and never needs to be painted or refinished. See more examples.
Outdoor fireplaces continue to grow in popularity, with the trend in outdoor rooms fueling the fire. According to Scott Cohen of The Green Scene, homeowners are catching on to the fact that concrete fireplaces and other outdoor enhancements are a great way to add value to a home. And the cost of this outdoor ambiance is often more affordable than most people think. Learn more.
Videos: Outdoor Fireplaces and Fire Pits
In this series of 7 videos, landscape designer Scott Cohen of The Green Scene explores all the options with outdoor concrete fireplaces and fire pits, including precast fireplaces for small spaces, custom fireplaces that coordinate with the existing landscaping, fire pit design choices, and even combining a concrete hearth with a waterfall for the ultimate backyard showpiece.
Platinum Pools installs EasyTurf Artificial Turf for Customer's Dog Run in Barrington Hills, IL
Platinum Pools, a chicago outdoor living company based in Wheeling, IL, is proud to offer EasyTurf for its swimming pool and outdoor living customers. EasyTurf is the industry leader in Artificial Grass in the United States.
Platinum Pools and EasyTurf eliminated a bad problem for this homeowner by removing her muddy mess and installing a clean, comfortable dog run for her 4 Great Danes.
Why Easy Turf is perfect for Pets
Un-mark your turf today and save thousands!
Now you can have a dog AND a beautiful lawn!
EasyTurf artificial grass for dogs, with its revolutionary drainage capabilities, along with its realistic look and feel, make it the number one choice for pet owners. Because of its unmatched artificial dog grass durability, EasyTurf has proven to stand up to the most challenging of pets and its low maintenance features make keeping a beautiful, problem-free lawn all year long easy. Plus, over time, EasyTurf artificial grass for dogs saves thousands of dollars in maintenance and watering.
Here's why dog owners love EasyTurf artificial grass for dogs:
• MaxxFlow drainage makes dog grass clean up a snap
• Discolor and stain resistant grass for dogs
• Most dogs will give up digging
• Fixes dogs killing the grass
• Muddy paws and dirty pets are a thing of the past
• Non-toxic and hypo-allergenic artificial dog grass
• Eliminate water waste and fertilizing
Dog-friendly. With the pedigree to prove it.
EasyTurf artificial grass for dogs saves you money since little or no maintenance is required. Muddy spots and dog urine stains are gone. Dog waste and dog urine won't discolor or stain it; dogs can't dig through it and don't chew it. You spend less time cleaning your dogs since EasyTurf artificial grass for dogs prevents muddy paws and dirty pets, and helps you maintain a pleasant, safe environment for your pets. Your artificial grass is always available, no down-time for maintenance, watering or fertilizing. Relax, knowing this artificial grass for dogs has a 15-20 year life expectancy.
The difference is in the dog urine drainage!
Every inch of the MaxxFlow™ artificial grass backing drains freely with absolutely zero absorption. That means dog urine odor won't be a problem, and it even stands up to ALL pets, pet waste and dog urine. The backing also incorporates an integrated weed barrier which eliminates the need to purchase and install a separate one, saving you time and money. Remember...not only will EasyTurf artificial dog grass provide you with beautiful and useful artificial grass landscaping; it will also give the peace of mind that you have a clean, safe lawn for your pet.
• Drains clean: It requires no chemicals for dog urine odor found in another artificial grass or natural grass
• 100% permeable backing makes dog urine clean up a snap
• Most Realistic artificial grass for dogs
• Unique multi-color blades match the look of real grass
• Best Draining artificial dog grass – Drains better and cleaner than real grass
• Inherently antimicrobial and hypoallergenic dog grass surface
• Safe and non-toxic dog grass infill
• Artificial dog grass helps keep pets clean
• Artificial dog grass that is fertilizer and pesticide free
• Artificial dog grass dramatically improves water conservation
A comfortable dog is a happy dog! This Great Dane loves his new EasyTurf which Platinum Pools installed for him in Barrington Hills, IL.
Other uses for EasyTurf
Artificial grass applications have expanded greatly since 2010. An artificial grass turf product that was once only used for sports fields and small front yards, has expanded into all facets of outdoor landscape and surfacing.
EasyTurf artificial grass lends itself to many surface applications because of the extraordinary advantages it offers over other landscape and outdoor surfacing options. EasyTurf has also expanded indoors now offering indoor golf, play and training surfacing, while bringing all the benefits of field-training indoors without the mess; all while standing up to the strict fire-safety standards.
- Swimming Pool Landscaping!
Durable, Safe, Chlorine and Salt Water friendly pool-side landscaping
- Synthetic Grass For Commercial Landscaping
Commercial-grade synthetic grass applications
- Artificial Grass Color & Design
Outdoor living goes to the next level with colored artificial grass landscape designs
- Lawn Monograms – Artificial Grass Logos & Family Crests
NCAA logos, family crests and more offer new ways to personalize your outdoor living space
- Artificial Turf for Tennis Court Surface
Ultra-realistic simulated organic grass and clay court surfaces
- Artificial Turf Landscape Applications
Realistic, beautiful water-conscious landscape
- Artificial Grass Green Roofs
Low weight, water conscious compliment to green roof living and design
- Commercial & Home Golf Putting Greens
"True-Roll" custom backyard home putting greens
- EasyTurf Grass Play Surface is Far Superior to a Rubber Playground Surface
IPEMA Certified, Beautiful, safe, clean playground surfacing
About Easy Turf
EasyTurf is a professional synthetic turf company. We pride ourselves on offering the finest product and customer service in the industry. There are a variety of sources for synthetic turf landscaping, ranging from small turf companies to even your landscaper. Only EasyTurf offers the experience, quality and proven successful history to get the job done correctly the first time. Typically, other turf companies promote low cost turf that doesn't look as good, last as long or drain as well as FieldTurf.
EasyTurf, Inc. has been Southern California's exclusive FieldTurf® dealer for the residential and commercial landscaping market since 2000, offering the highest quality synthetic grass landscaping and golf green products and installations available. With over 7,000 installations in their region, EasyTurf is by far the largest synthetic grass distribution company in the country.
Besides offering the finest products available, the company's commitment to excellence and superior customer service has been the main driving factor towards their success and rapid growth.
EasyTurf has been an innovator of synthetic grass landscaping and has taken a leading role in educating consumers thereof. The acceptance of quality synthetic grass landscaping as a popular alternative to natural grass, and as a viable solution for problem lawns has also assisted EasyTurf's corporate growth and dominate market share.
Recognizing their market leading position, in May of 2010, FieldTurf, Inc. the industry dominant manufacturer and installer of sports fields worldwide, acquired EasyTurf to take charge of the development of the residential and commercial synthetic grass markets for the North American region. This development will allow FieldTurf to quickly become the major player in these rapidly growing and high demand arenas.
"Forming a partnership with EasyTurf will allow us to rapidly expand our already successful existing dealer network, accelerating our growth on a national level," said FieldTurf President Eric Daliere. "EasyTurf has been recognized for many years as the leader of the artificial grass landscaping industry which makes this joint venture a very exciting and historic announcement."
"Entering into this agreement with FieldTurf allows us to build off of the company's unparalleled reputation for product innovation, safety, and leadership in environmental responsibility," stated EasyTurf president David Hartman.
The Most Realistic Look and Feel
EasyTurf's monofilament fiber and color blends give it a natural look, unlike any other competitor's turf. Our newest Supra and Lush series artificial grass looks exactly like the real thing. Your friends, family and neighbors won't be able to tell the difference between your new EasyTurf lawn and an expensive, professionally-manicured natural lawn. It's so realistic, you'd have to see it to believe it!
Benefits of Replacing Natural Sod
Maintaining a natural sod or grass lawn can be a daunting task. From watering to fertilization, maintaining natural grass and sod lawns can be nearly impossible in Southern California. Recently, for these very reasons, synthetic sod grass lawns have become very popular. An EasyTurf artificial sod grass lawn requires little maintenance, no mowing or watering, stays green year round and lasts from 15 to 20 years, making it the ideal solution for problem plagued natural grass and sod lawns.
Being an Educated Consumer
No matter who you choose to install your artificial turf, you will be making a considerable investment. Make certain that you have done your research and that you make the choice that will serve you for years and years to come. EasyTurf invites you to do your homework. Contact the BBB and The California Landscape Association for references, and check out existing installations of the company's turf. Also, research the manufacturer of the artificial turf products you are considering. Please visit our Consumer Awareness page for more information about making the right synthetic turf choice for your project.
Be sure to check out the enclosed video from the San Diego Humane Society about EasyTurf
To learn more about EasyTurf, click here
Opening Your Pool
from Pool FYI
Spring is here! And with it, the fun and excitement of swim season. Now just one thing stands between you and a watery good time: the chore of opening your pool. Of course, you can delegate the job to your pool professional, which ensures a quality job and saves you work. But if you're a little handy and have the time, here's a step-by-step guide on what needs to be done.
Get it ready.
First, get out what you'll need. Pull last fall's pool chemicals out of storage. They don't last forever, so replace the ones whose label says they've expired (and during the season, use up your old ones before the new ones). Also round up any hardware you removed for the winter, and get replacements now for any missing pieces.
Okay, you're back from the store. Clean the winter cover and the poolside decking. If the cover has standing water on it, use a submersible pump made to remove it. Then take off the cover, clean it off, and let it air-dry to prevent mildew before you fold and store it.
Get it together.
Assemble what needs assembling. Reinstall the pump, railings, diving board or whatever else you removed last fall. Take out the plugs from the filtration system and replace the return outlet fittings. (Life lesson: Save them all in one place.)
Get it full.
Most pools need the water level brought up to normal at the start of the season. This can be done with your garden hose. Or, for larger pools, you may be able to save money by paying a service to truck in the water.
Get it up and running.
Find the winterizing plugs and other parts removed for winterization (often stored in the skimmer basket or pump basket). After the filter system is put back together, fill the pump basket area with water and fasten down the pump lid. Clean the filter cartridge, or backwash the filter and add sand or DE (diatomaceous earth) as needed. Light the pilot on the pool heater according to the instructions.
Get it crud-free.
The grossest stuff first: If your pool has solids in the water, fish 'em out—literally. Don't depend on your pool system, pool cleaner or vacuum to remove them, or you could find yourself with clogged underground pipes or a choked pump. Use a big leaf net instead.
If your water is somewhat dirty or cloudy at this point, no big problem. (If it's black throughout or slimy green, that definitely is a problem—one that can be fixed, but requires its own set of steps for which you'll want to consult a pool professional.)
Assuming your water does not resemble the La Brea Tar Pits, now is the time to start up the pump. Check for leaks and proper operation. There should be no major leaks (a few drops on Day One are no cause for panic), skimmers should work smoothly, the pump shouldn't make any screeching noises, and you shouldn't see bubbles entering the pool from the returns.
Get it in balance.
You want the pump running when you take the next step: shocking or "super-oxidizing" the water with chlorine (also true when you're adding any other chemicals, for that matter). For those with liner pools, be kind to your liner—do not toss chlorine granules directly into the water. This can discolor the liner or even destroy it. Better to mix the granular shock chlorine in a bucket, then add that mixture into the skimmer while the system is running.
Use your water test kit to adjust the water chemistry to recommended levels. For the first 72 hours or so, keep checking it often and running your circulation system around the clock. If the pool was especially dirty, you may have to keep re-cleaning your filter, too.
When the chlorine level has dropped back to normal and your water is crystal clear, you're all set to jump back in. Enjoy the swim season!