An inground pool can make your home even more special
5 tips when planning an inground swimming pool
Among today’s building trends is the emergence of the in-ground swimming pool as the aesthetic and functional centerpiece of a residence’s principal yard space, making outdoor living ever more attractive whether you are in or out of the water. A variety of shapes from curving figure-eights to geometric styles, to multi-level constructions, or simply a water’s edge that follows the natural flow of the landscape — all allow people to put a bit of paradise in their backyard, making it a refreshing and enjoyable place in which to spend oodles of time.
How do you go about creating such a special place? Here are some key things to start off with:
Why do you want a pool?
First, people should think about why they want a pool. What do they want to do with it? Is it for their kids? An investment? A dramatic architectural statement? A place to exercise? A relaxing retreat? All of the above?
Think in terms of the overall aesthetic you are trying to create with the pool and its surrounding space. Rectangular pools, for example, provide a classic look and are great for playing games, handling water slides and swimming laps. Kidney shaped and free-form pools can blend in with the surrounding landscape and appear more natural. They’re also great for touches like waterfalls and grottoes. In the final analysis, it’s a question of what best suits your lifestyle and how creative you want to get with integrating elements from different kinds of pools.
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Dream and research
Next, it’s time to dream and do some research. Search the web and magazines for photos of pool designs that strike your fancy and accomplish what you want out of a pool. Start to get some concrete images of what your dream pool could look like. Do some homework on the web, read up on the latest technology, look through photo galleries, or even you own scenic photos from a vacation. Create an idea book you can show pool builders and point out to them elements from different pools and scenic landscapes that you like.
It’s also a good idea to learn something about the three main types of in-ground pools — concrete, vinyl and fiberglass — and what they each deliver in terms of function and cost. Note the many variables of a pool’s system like coping, cleaning systems, filtering systems, artistic touches, and fun variations like waterfalls, spa corners or hot tubs.
The more you learn such detail the more you will be able to speak the pool builder’s language and successfully communicate your vision. Along with your idea book, you’ll be able to effectively “show and tell” a builder exactly what you want.
Find a reputable pool builder you like
Your last and most important piece of research will be finding an experienced and credible swimming pool construction professional who is capable of making your dream a reality. Talk to friends, neighbors and acquaintances who have pools or who know people who have pools. Check out local and regional pool builders association and the Better Business Bureau. Interview several candidates and ask about their building philosophies, ask for samples of their work and for references. Think about how well the builder is able to answer your questions and about how comfortable you are in communicating with the person. You will be spending a lot of time and money with him or her!
Other key considerations:
• Climate and weather. Those in northern climates or wetter climates might consider pool enclosures to extend the amount of time the pool is available. In temperate climates where it never gets overly warm, a heater might be a good idea. Windy areas, wooded areas, and places that close down pools for the winter make pool covers important for reducing evaporation and keeping out debris.
• Long-term costs and maintenance. Will you be cleaning the pool and balancing the water’s pH or will you pay someone else to do that? Determine how much water it will take to keep the pool full. Factor in accessories like pool covers, filters, water treatments, toys (like slides). Note ways you can save money and be energy efficient by using things like enclosures, pool covers, pump and lighting timers. And don’t forget about insurance — make sure your policy covers the pool.
• Have a budget, but don’t skimp! It’s key here that you and your builder are on the same page as far as what things are going to cost and the kind of tradeoffs involved in terms of getting what you want vs. what you want to spend. Try to not skimp on what you really want, though. You’re going to have to live with whatever you get for a while. Putting in a feature you really like during initial construction rather than trying to retrofit something later is usually a better and less expensive way to go. A good builder will be able to give you an estimate on what your dream will cost and show you how adjustments can be made if necessary. Again the key here is clarity on all sides as to what costs will be for whatever is decided.
Completing the paradise
Stoett screen options, as they do with other outdoor living experiences, also find their role with pool houses, patio rooms, poolside cooking areas or outdoor living rooms as an extra degree of outdoor comfort, providing respite from the beating UV rays of the pool area as well as a place to dry off without insects being drawn to wet skin or table refreshments. They can also keep stuff from flying into the pool in windy or stormy situations. Built-in, automatic screen options provide shade and protection when you need it while enjoying the special atmosphere you’ve created on this spot of your earth. Just the right touch to complete your outdoor paradise!
Next: More about different types of pools and making them part of an entertaining scene.
[Part 2: goes into detail about concrete, vinyl and fiberglass pools and surrounding the pool with other amenities, like an outside kitchens and pool houses, which need screens, of course.]