All About Pools, Pt. I
A pool can add charm to your backyard, and in Florida, it can even increase the desirability of your home. It expands your entertainment options and provides an endless assortment of enticing outdoor activities for kids and teenagers, and anyone who enjoys the water. A pool can be the center point for parties, and even formal occasions. It’s where we exercise. Where we relax. Where we turn after a long day.
If you’re thinking about installing an in ground pool in your backyard, you have some work ahead of you. There’s a lot to consider, from what shape you will want, to what materials you will use, and what features you will add. Fortunately, with the help of a great design team and reputable contractors, you’ll find that although it may seem overwhelming at first, it can be a manageable and rewarding project.
Where to Start
Your first step will be to determine how you want to use your pool, then you, your designer and your contractor can start to work on a design. But before you make any other decisions, you’ll need to address an important consideration: depth.
The Deep End
One of the most difficult decisions for soon-to-be pool owners to make is whether or not to include a deep end. There’s no right or wrong answer, but there are certain advantages to both options.
For one, deep ends give you the room to tumble and play without bumping into the pool floor, and if you want a diving board, it’s a necessary requirement. For those who prefer to spend their time underwater exploring the pool, a deep end is the only way to go.
On the other hand, a deep end will limit the space you have to stand and lounge without having to tread water. It also makes net games like volleyball more difficult to play. And there’s a cost advantage to skipping the deep end too: there’s less space to clean and maintain, and it takes less time to heat a shallow pool.
Before making this important decision, it’s a good idea to know whether you and your family are the type to lounge and relax, the type to explore underwater, or a mix of both. The main reason people install a pool is to make them happy- choose the option that will give you the most satisfaction.
How you plan to use your in ground pool will affect the shape of the design as well as the depth. To best plan your layout, take into account how active you will be in your pool and how many people you want it to comfortably hold, keeping in mind your own aesthetic preferences.
A Space To Move Around In
If you plan to use your pool for swimming laps and exercising in general, you’ll want a design that lets you go from one end to the other without obstacle. A simple rectangular shape is a good option- as opposed to a kidney-shaped or free-form pool.
A Space To Entertain
If you’re the type who likes to throw big backyard parties, a pool can add a variety of entertainment options. Slides and diving boards are go-tos for kids and teens, while swim-up bars and built-in tables provide a lounging area for adult guests perfect for socializing.
A Space To Relax
One of the main reasons for putting in a pool is the obvious relaxation factor. Attached hot tubs, water features like fountains and jets, and custom lighting can all help set the mood for a spa like experience at home. If relaxation is important to you, consider a natural pool that seamlessly blends into your surroundings.
Types of Outdoor Pools
Once you’ve figured out how you want to use your pool, and who will be using it, you can start to narrow in on a design. Here are some of the most popular pools being built today:
If you want to use your pool strictly for exercise, consider a lap pool, or an endless pool. It will cost less and is space efficient- perfect for small backyards.
Natural Pools & Free Form Pools
If aesthetic appeal is important, consider a natural pool or a free-form pool that can be incorporated into your existing landscape, or take any shape you’d like it to.
Geometric pools are a staple of classic design that can fit almost any taste. Plus, you can easily find pre-made fiber glass units that take less time and money to install.
Lazy L Pools
The Lazy L is the perfect pool for a mix of swimmers- it has the space for it’s own designated deep-end, plus enough room in the shallow end to lounge, relax and play games. You’ll need a lot of space, however, and a deeper budget for this style of pool.
Vanishing Edge/ Infinity Edge Pools
One of the most luxurious and sought after pool features is a vanishing edge, which can be incorporated into a variety of pool shapes. The key feature of this type of pool is an exposed wall that allows water to gently spill over into a catch basin. This type of outdoor pool may require extensive foundational and structural work, depending on your existing landscape.