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Fun in the sun and water Special To The Star-news | Sat, May 14 2011 12:00 PM

For a hot time in warm weather, consider these 10 tips, time-savers, water-care ideas, and maintenance and safety suggestions for backyard living:

1. Safety first. Keep each child within arm's length at all times; designate an adult as water watcher; ensure that the pool's fence is always locked; and install both gate and pool alarms.

2. Dress up the landscape. Use shrubs for form, foliage-heavy plants for color and sturdy perennials for cheery blooms with little tending.

3. Add years to backyard furnishings. If mildew spots appear on outside chairs and tables, wash the fabric according to manufacturer directions and dry in the sun. Then mix together equal parts lemon juice and salt; spread on the stain. Dry in the sun again and rinse thoroughly.

4. Organize backyard toys and tools. Two simple storage rules for keeping backyard clutter down: Air out wet things by storing them in big mesh bags or open-weave crates. Toss all the little bits into a clear plastic shoe organizer hung on a fence or nearby wall.

5. Try a water workout. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 21 minutes a day of exercising in a pool can cut your risk of chronic disease. Strength, endurance and balance are all benefits of using water as the resistance. A typical water exercise session of 40 to 50 minutes can burn up to 600 calories.

6. Create a backyard oasis. Instead of using typical bulk salt, for your saltwater pool consider Mineral Springs from BioGuard. It contains a special blend of minerals, pool equipment protectors, water enhancers and pH adjusters that all work to make silky, relaxing water.

7. Soak in a sensational spa. Place flameless LED candles around the edge of the spa. Take tunes into the spa with a floating speaker that connects wirelessly to an MP3 player. Add a soothing scent to the water with single-use aromatherapy packs.

8. Be more environmentally friendly. Always keep your pool water balanced with the right combination of chemicals. Overworked filters and motors waste energy and hike utility bills.

9. Help pets swim safely. Before you let a dog jump in, make sure he can get out without damaging the pool or hurting himself. Also check with the vet. Swimming in a pool should be appropriate for the breed. Monitor the water. A typical dog can be the equivalent of about 50 swimmers in the pool, meaning extra vigilance is needed to maintain the chemical balance.

10. Maintain a pristine pool. A good pool-care strategy involves circulation, filtration, cleaning, testing and chemistry. A BioGuard dealer can provide computerized water testing and recommend the best care schedule for your pool.

For more information and to locate a BioGuard dealer, visit www.bioguard.com or call (800) 932-5943.

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