Pool with inflatable donut

How to Open Your Pool This Summer

Pool with inflatable donut

As the summer season rolls around, it’s finally time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your weekends out by the pool. As any experienced pool owner will tell you, the preparation that goes into getting your pool ready to use is no easy feat. Big R is here with tips to make the process easier so that you and your family can get out and enjoy the pool in no time.

Get Equipped!

First, you’ll want to check on the pool equipment and supplies that you have stored away since last season. Replace any rusted or broken necessities such as the Aquamate Leaf Skimmer or Aquamate Above Ground Pool Vacuum Hose to give yourself a fresh start for summer. There’s no time for a dirty pool! Restock any chemicals that are old or running low. Better to be prepared then to realize your supplies are unavailable when you need them!

Dog in pool meme


After a long winter, chances are your pool cover has collected its fair share of filthy water runoff and debris. Use a pool cover pump to relocate this water to other areas in your backyard. Once you’re able to remove your pool cover, be sure to give it a thorough cleaning using a KÄRCHER® Follow Me Electric Pressure Washer 1800 PSI. Lay your cover out to dry before storing it away for the summer to prevent any mold or mildew from developing.

Man breaking pool gif

Unplug the Winter

If you live in an area with continuous freezing temperatures, it’s likely that you used winter plugs to help avoid damage caused by ice. As warmer weather approaches, it’s important to remove those plugs and replace them with the normal plugs that allow your equipment to run smoothly and efficiently.

Man with thrown of pool noodles

Check Your Water Chemistry

It’s always a surprise to see what you uncover in your pool after those long winter months. Use a Aquamate 2 Way Pool & Spa Test Kit to check your water’s pH and chlorine balance to ensure safe levels to swim. Know that each type of pool is different in the amount of chemicals to add based on size and type. Ask your local Big R store about how to best fix the water chemistry problems you may face.

After successfully preparing your pool for summer, all that’s left to do is ENJOY! Big R can provide you with not only advice and equipment for opening up your pool, but also the necessities to fully appreciate your hard work. Check out our selection of inflatables and accessories that will provide hours of fun for all ages!

Woman with white hair gardening

Planning Your Vegetable Garden

Woman with white hair gardening

Save money and save time by producing your own vegetable garden oasis. There’s nothing like plucking a sun-ripened tomato right off the vine to create a BLT sandwich masterpiece. Fresh, quality produce right out your back door? Yes, please! Forget the bi-weekly trips to the grocery for the farm fresh produce! Bring your garden to life with these simple tips and tricks:

Choosing Vegetables for Your Garden

Before starting your garden, think about the products you purchase frequently at the market. Although cucumbers may be an easy vegetable to grow, it may not be a family favorite. Cucumber plants produce quite a bit so be sure to choose veggies that the entire family will enjoy! Look up recipes for ways you can fully utilize your fresh produce, like making tomatoes into pasta sauce or salsa.

Once you’ve decided on your vegetables, be sure to read the seed label to know exactly what you’re buying. One type of vegetable can have thousands of varieties. Ensure that the variety you choose is best for your space, soil, weather, etc. If you’re new to gardening, seed pods and Jiffy Mix are great options to get you started. Although the selection may be limited, the growth process will be hassle-free and your vegetables will be ready to harvest in no time.

Picking the Garden Space

The most important part to picking a garden space is the availability of sunlight. Most vegetables need 6-8 hours of sun to fully flourish. Monitor your backyard throughout the day to find a location that is ideal for these conditions. Be sure to consider the proximity to water as well. The last thing you want to be doing in the heat of summer is lugging around watering cans. If a hose is nearby, be sure to have a nozzle with a low-pressure water option. Too much water at once can be harmful to your new garden.

Preparing Your Garden Space

Once you have your space, clear out all excess weeds or plants. To give your garden a fresh start, add new soil that’s moist and full of nutrients. This will help provide your vegetable garden with the optimal amount of water. Next, plan out rows to plant your seeds. Know that each plant grows differently, with some needing more space than others. It’s best to label these rows so that you know exactly how to plant and care for each type of vegetable. Once your planning and preparation are done, you’ll be ready to start planting those seeds!

It’s easy to want to jump right into starting your new garden, but planning is vital. Remember that every garden and every vegetable is different, so research and preparation is key. Need some extra assistance? Ask one of our friendly garden center experts or view more tips on building a bountiful garden! If all goes according to plan, your patience and hard work will pay off with beautiful, savory produce in no time!