When Randy Beard builds a pool, the last thing he thinks about is its color. First, he considers the style and colors of the home, what the deck will look like and the rest of the surrounding hardscape.

“We base [the color of the pool] on the architecture of the house,” says Beard, president of Pure Water Pools in Costa Mesa, Calif. “The array of colors blending together is critical. That’s how we use pigments.”

Pigments are helping keep the backyard room trend alive, providing aquascapes with attention-grabbing colors and tones. Here’s a quick list of how pigments are being used in and out of the pool today:

Aggregate finishes

Pool and spa professionals now mix pebble and quartz aggregates with colored plasters to create cutting-edge effects. “The revolution is in durable pigmented finishes, and combining them with pebbles and quartz,” says Alan Smith, owner of Alan Smith Pool Plastering in Orange, Calif. “These will last a huge amount of time.

“I’m working with using the same color quartz as the [plaster] pigment for a monochromatic look,” he adds.


“There’s an awakening on the contractor’s part that there are new and different things you can do with pigments,” says Greg Garrett, owner of Applied Materials Technology in Chandler, Ariz. “In the world of deck coatings — from stamped concrete patterns to overlay materials — you can create some gorgeous things.”

Pigments also are showing up in poured concrete, along with paver stones, grouts and cool-deck coatings.

Artificial rock

Rockwork is becoming more common in the backyard aquascape — and pigments are playing a big role. “We make a lot [of pigments] for artificial rock sculptures,” says Nick Paris, vice president of marketing at Rockwood Pigments in Los Angeles.

This includes applications in waterfeatures, fountains, ponds and traditional waterfalls, he adds.

Counter tops

“We are seeing pre-colored counter tops for barbecues and the stones that are used on counter tops as well,” Paris says.

All of this has meant increased business for pigment manufacturers. “The sale of color is increasing at a high rate,” says Michael Yon, president of Pyramid Cement Products in Charlotte, N.C. “Pool and spa-related products have outpaced our other products by quite a bit. The pool industry is starting to believe it can do other colors besides grays and blacks, and that’s led to more creativity.”


  • In Living Color

The increasing use of pigments in pool surfaces and hardscapes is leading the industry into a more colorful 21st century.


  • The fade phenomenon

If there's one problem with pigments it's the fade factor.

  • Pros and cons

The benefits and negatives of the various types of plaster pigments.