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Swimming pools fill a need and provide a splash of income


Last updated 9/2/2021 at 1:42pm

Joseph Gray of Temecula listed his backyard oasis on Swimply, a pool sharing platform, earlier this month. Village News/Courtesy photo

Diane A. Rhodes

Special to Village News

When Joseph Gray of Temecula learned about Swimply, an online platform for pool sharing, he felt his private backyard paradise would be a popular destination for those seeking a unique swimming experience. After creating a profile on the site, the Gray family welcomed their first rental Aug. 7. To date they have had a few more which have resulted in more than $2,000 in bookings.

"Considering we've just started, we are very pleased with the excellent response we've had thus far," Gray said.

The family purchased their five-acre property about 22 years ago in the heart of Temecula Wine Country, overlooking South Coast Winery, Ponte Winery and Wiens Family Cellars. Their backyard is far from traditional as it includes many custom designs the family installed about 15 years ago.

"I thought it would make sense to allow others to enjoy the incredible pools we have built along with our 50-ft. water slide, sunken gazebo with a swim-up bar, and the amazing views from high atop our hill overlooking the beautiful wine country," Joseph Gray said. "Making a little extra money to help with the upkeep of our property was also an attractive proposition."

He said the pool structures are on the north side of the property and there are four separate sets of stairs to the pool area from different levels around the property along with a ground level landscaped pathway that leads from a half driveway to the pool structures, making wheelchair access possible. That feature is what led Kellie Davidson to rent the pool for an outing with her family and friends.

"It was beyond what we hoped for. Joe and Patty (Gray) were amazing; they made every last detail perfect for us. We have a child in a wheelchair (with a tracheostomy and ventilator) and they accommodated him like a king," Davidson said. "It is difficult to go to a public pool with a child in a wheelchair; this option allows us to have the whole pool to ourselves and really be able to relax. Joe and Patty made sure we had a fantastic day. We are so appreciative that they have taken the plunge and joined Swimply, sharing their spectacular pool with all of us."

Davidson heard about Swimply through Airbnb, which her family uses frequently. She was happy to find a nearby pool where the entire family could enjoy a fun activity while waiting for their own pool to be built. Inviting another family to join them made for a group of 15. She said the water slide and music were great but "honestly, the whole experience was the highlight of our summer!"

Gray said his family plans to make the pools available during the normal swim season on weekends and weekdays that fit with their own personal availability and schedule. "It's really a function of when we can get the pools to a pleasant temperature in the spring (using solar heating) and how long we can maintain a decent temperature into the fall. I would say May through early October for most years," he said.

A four-hour minimum rental is required, and Gray said most guests have requested four to five hour time blocks. The guest limit is 20 people. Rental days and times are flexible, and the two pools are put in color swim mode at night, which cycles through different lights. Combined with the landscape lighting and lights in the gazebo, it offers a different experience than daytime swims.

A 50-foot water slide connects upper and lower pools at Joseph Gray's "Paradise in Wine Country" available to rent on Swimply. Village News/Courtesy photo

"We often heat up our spa so that guests can enjoy that, too," Gray said. "Our two pools are connected via a waterfall and a 50-foot slide, and everything is built into a multi-tiered hill. Although we like to give our renters privacy, we're always at home during a rental and we make our guest bathroom available which adjoins the top pool area. I think it's safe to say that ours is not the typical pool setup.  It's a real experience and people just love it."

One of their most recent renters posted a review which stated in part: "Outstanding! The hosts are so friendly and went above and beyond to be sure we were well taken care of. The pool is gorgeous, photos don't do it justice. Highly recommend!"

Gray's pool, listed as "Paradise in Wine Country" is one of about 60 local pools currently registered with Swimply, all with different amenities, configurations, availability and cost. Founded in 2018, Swimply now has more than 17,000 pools listed across all 50 states and throughout Canada and Australia. The platform has grown 4,000% since last year, according to statistics provided by the company.

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