Questions to Ask Before Adding a Pool
February 03, 2017 at 12:32 PM
Thinking of adding a swimming pool to your backyard? We bet you have a lot of questions. A swimming pool can be a beautiful complement to your home and add value to your property. But, as with any big investment, there are a lot of considerations to make before you commit.
First and most important, why do you want a pool? The answer will dictate the direction of the pool design. If you’re looking to use a pool for exercise, you’ll want a pool that is long enough for lap swimming. If you want the pool for recreation and kids, you’ll want to consider including child-friendly features such as slides. If you’re looking to enhance your backyard, you’ll likely be focused on aesthetic design.
Is there space for it? As you consider your new pool, you’ll want to think about how much space you have for the surrounding pool deck and patio. You’ll also need to account for fencing and barriers that may be necessary for compliance with safety and local regulations. (Be sure to contact your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)). If you decide to have a hot tub, slide, or other features, you’ll need to add enough space for those as well. Additionally, you’ll need room for the equipment pad and a place to store items such as pool chemicals, pool toys, floats, cushions, umbrellas, and other items.
Where will the pool go? A pool is best situated where there’s a lot of sunlight and in an area clear of trees. Locating your pool in an area where there is partial shade may be your preference because it provides some relief on very hot days, but building a pool in a completed shaded location does not make for popular pool days. In addition, nearby trees can create a lot of pool debris from falling leaves, so you’ll want to keep that in mind.
Because people spend more time out of the pool than in it, and it’s a central aesthetic fixture in your yard, you’ll want to see where the best vantage point is to see it from the home. Which windows in the home are best for viewing? You also don’t want the pool to be too far from the house – it should be easy for people to come in and out of the house to use the restroom or the kitchen.
Who is going to use the pool? Who uses the pool will determine the look of the pool. That means, you may need to install shallow areas for smaller children, sun benches for those who want to tan, or a lap lane for those interested in fitness. Do you want a hot tub or waterslide? Will elderly people be using it and will you need hand rails and special equipment? In many cases, a builder and designer can help you create a pool that’s multipurpose, if you anticipate a wide range of uses.
How much are you willing to spend? It’s important to calculate beyond the up-front costs of building and installing the pool and its features. You will need to be sure and consider weekly maintenance and chemical upkeep as well as long-term aging and functionality.
Who is going to maintain it? The more bells and whistles on a pool, the more maintenance and cleaning required. If you plan on do-it-yourself maintenance, you’ll want to keep the pool as simple as possible. If you’re planning to hire a maintenance company, you’ll have a little more room to add features that require regular upkeep.
What amenities do you want in the pool? Features such as jets, fountains, waterfalls, lighting, fire features, and rockwork can greatly enhance a pool’s aesthetics. Others might include a waterslide, diving well, hot tub, or swim-up bar. In addition, safety features are critical: fences, self-latching gates, pool alarms, automatic pool covers, and other such items help protect people, especially children, from possible harm.
What will the landscaping look like? With the new pool comes a whole backyard makeover. You’ll want to consider how the rest of the yard will work with the pool – what types of plants and lawn you’ll want, and how you’ll light the yard as well. Will you want an outdoor kitchen and a covered dining area? Or a sand volleyball court? These should all be incorporated into the swimming pool decisions for a seamless backyard design.
Once you’ve figured out these basics, talk to a number of builders and designers to understand what the possibilities are and who best meets your style and expectations within your budget.