Getting a pool in your backyard can be a lot of fun and exciting. Especially if you’re considering getting a custom pool it can be fun just to think about what summers will be like, lounging next to your pool, swimming in the evenings, and just having a good time.
The trick is that you need to consider the practical side of things if you want to make a good investment and get a pool you enjoy, but can also afford.
Here’s what you need to consider before investing in a home pool.
Budget planning is one of the most important steps when you’re thinking about getting a new pool.
Remember that the cost of a new pool can vary a lot depending on what kind of pool you want to get. In general, larger pools will cost more than smaller ones, and different materials and designs can also come with additional costs.
The more additional features, like additional ladders, lights, covers, or water features, can also add to the cost of your pool.
You should have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend before you start planning additional features for your pool. It’s also a good idea to look into the cost differences between an in-ground or an over-ground pool, and the costs of different materials, filtration types, and other details.
It’s pretty common to have to make some compromises when you’re designing your home pool to stay within budget. Don’t be afraid to make some cuts or changes to your initial plan, and remember that a lot of the additional features you’re considering can be added after the initial installation.
Pool Type and Purpose
It’s also important to think about why you want a pool in the first place. Are you looking for a pool to relax? A pool for your kids to enjoy and to help them build healthy habits? Wanting a pool that’s convenient for exercise throughout the year?
Each of those pools is going to have different ideal features and shapes. A relaxation pool may not need to be as deep as an exercise pool. If you have little kids you might want a shallow and a deep area. If you’re getting a pool because you or your kids are on a swim team and need to practice for competition, you’re going to want a shape that’s reasonable for practice.
Your contractor will be able to help you finalize your design and think about the ways that your pool is going to be used, but it’s important to spend some time thinking about it before you get started.
Pool Size and Location
Knowing how big your pool can reasonably be, and where in your yard you can safely put a pool, is important for the long-term health and success of the pool.
You may want to have someone come out and mark where the utility and sewer lines are on your property before you start planning. In general, you won’t be able to build a pool over any of those lines, partly so that maintenance workers can access them if there happens to be a problem with the part of the line on your property.
You should also consider other factors though. Having your pool in a fully fenced area can offer insurance benefits in some places. Putting a pool near trees might offer shade, but it can also keep the water cooler and can mean that more tree debris gets into the pool.
Chances are there won’t be a perfect location for your pool. But you should think about the pros and cons of different areas before you commit to a specific location.
How big of a pool do you need?
One of the important considerations is how many people you want to be able to use your pool at one time. A pool designed for 1 or 2 people can be a lot smaller than a pool that needs to fit 10 people comfortably.
Remember that there are some space-saving options out there. Pools with a current can work well as an exercise pool with a smaller footprint, but they can come with higher maintenance and utility costs thanks to the extra energy needed to provide the current.
In general, getting a bigger pool than you need isn’t better, and can add a lot of expenses that you would otherwise avoid.
Design and Style
A lot of backyard pools are relatively basic, but that doesn’t mean yours has to be. Even if you don’t have the budget for additional features right now, make sure to let your contractor know if you want to be able to add additional features in the future.
A spa area, pool heater, waterfall, or even a small water slide can all be additional features to your pool. If your budget supports it you can often save money by building these features up front, but it is possible to modify and refurbish pools if you need to.
Remember that not all features will work well together and that most water features can increase the rate of evaporation and increase your maintenance requirements.
Before you get a pool it’s important to think about whether you can manage the ongoing maintenance requirements. Most pools need weekly and monthly maintenance schedules, and you need to be able to perform that maintenance on time a majority of the time.
There are pool maintenance services out there if you don’t have the time to do your own maintenance. Just remember that any maintenance service is going to come at an additional monthly cost.
Having additional safety measures around your pool is important not just to keep your family safe, but also to reduce insurance costs, keep local wildlife safe, and make your pool easier to use.
Options include things like additional lighting, pool covers, alarm systems, motion-detecting cameras, and more.
Some safety measures, like having pool lights and ladders to get in and out of the pool, are critical for preventing accidents. Others, like having a safety exit for animals, are a good idea, but less necessary for preventing human accidents. Pool covers and fences are particularly important for families with small children who may not be able to get out of the pool if they fall in accidentally.
The landscape around your pool can also make a big difference in the kinds of safety measures that are needed. For instance, if there is a large hill and your pool is at the bottom, fencing to prevent people from rolling down the hill into the pool is a good idea.
Of course, you should also consider any future amenities or features you want to add to the pool when you are planning safety features.
The kind of pool you want, and any additional features, can also make a big difference in the contractor you want to work with. A contractor who specializes in above-ground pools isn’t necessarily the right pick if you want to get an in-ground pool.
Contractors who make fantastic exercise pools might not be as familiar with what makes a great relaxation pool, or how to add a spa section to an existing pool.
The more experience your contractor has with the specific pool features you want to include, the better your project is likely to come out.
If you have a complicated pool design or want to add a lot of optional features to your pool, don’t be afraid to work with different contractors on different parts of the design. As long as they are comfortable working together, your project will benefit from the added expertise.
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