A few years ago I decided my family needed a pool. Working from home, summers were becoming increasingly difficult as my kids got older and I needed an activity where they could just walk outside and have fun without leaving; building a pool was the answer. If you have ever put in a pool then you know what a stressful, exhausting and costly endeavor it can be, you can read all about our adventure in pool building here. I would still do it again in a flash, our pool is one of my favorite family gathering places where we have shared everything from lazy summer days to 70th Birthday celebrations.
In designing pools for my clients over the years the same questions arise as we begin the process. Today I wanted to share the top questions my clients ask when I am helping them design their pools. Figuring out the answers is a great place to start your research if you are deciding to put a pool in someday.
What should my pool be made of? There are three options; concrete, Fiberglass or a liner pool. Concrete is the most expensive but it is also the most durable and offers the most options for customization. Fiberglass pools are the most convenient with the fastest turn-around time and vinyl liners are the lowest price option but the liners typically need replacing every ten years. Changing the liner requires draining the pool and replacing the coping (the edging) and these costs can add up.
What is better, a saltwater or chlorine pool? I am a huge fan of salt because of the health benefits. My kids can be in the pool for hours and hours on a hot summer day and I didn’t want them floating around in chemicals and swallowing them (lets face it, they are going to swallow some of the pool water). The maintenance is also a breeze, dumping a few bags of salt into the pool a season. The cons are that the water chemistry is slightly more sensitive but we have not had a problem with it, you can read more about the differences here .
Do I need a heater? This depends on where you live. I am located in New Jersey and found that having a heater extends our season where the kids can swim from May to October verses Mid June to August. I also find that we don’t need to use the heater in July which is a nice savings. There are also solar blankets you can purchase to trap heat that can potentially lower the operating costs.
Where should I put my pool? The logical place is not always the best place so keep an open mind. Consider where the sun rises and sets, our pool is in full sun during the day which we love but you may want your pool in shade. The amount of trees and debris that will fall from them into your pool should be considered and also the visibility from your home and patio areas to the pool.I have a direct view from my home office to the pool which is a must for me.
What is the best shape for my pool? Once the location is determined then consider the shape that would work best in that area. A tight location may fit a rectangle only where a larger area might look better with a free-form shape. When I designed our pool I knew right away that I wanted something organic and free-form but I have designed several pools for clients that are classic rectangles and they are just as spectacular.
What type of decking material and coping do you recommend? Decide first the design aesthetic you are looking to create; sleek and modern, classic or natural. I wanted my pool to feel organic and connect to its natural surroundings using Tennessee Crab for the coping material (edge around the pool) because its rustic beauty worked well with the look I wanted to achieve and pavers for the decking material. Other options include various types of natural stone, tinted concrete with natural stone borders for a design detail and wood or composite.
What will the pool cost? The average cost in the U.S. for a 600-square-foot concrete pool for example starts at $30,000 and can easily reach six figures depending on the level of aesthetic details like spas, waterfalls, slides, lighting and landscaping.