Even though the daytime temperatures are still rooted firmly in winter here in New Jersey, it’s time to start thinking about that backyard pool you’ve always dreamed of. Summer isn’t far off, and in pool terms, it’s practically here.
It can take anywhere from three to six months to plan, design and build a pool, depending on the type of pool, the customizations, the challenges that your space presents, and the amount of landscaping involved.
So if you’re looking forward to entertaining, relaxing, or playing in the back yard this summer with friends and family, prepare now! Here are some things to consider as you envision your new pool.
Location, Location, Location
Once upon a time you needed a pretty flat area to build a pool. The good news is that with current pool technology you can plan a pool just about anywhere you please, even on irregular, hilly or steeply graded ground. So don’t let the lay of your land deter you from dreaming.
But there are a few things that are important to consider when choosing a location. Perhaps the single most important factor is how you envision using the pool. Will it be a summer playground for the kids? A gathering spot for evening dinner parties? A source of lounging and relaxation, or perhaps exercise? Maybe a bit of all of the above!
Depending on how you intend to use the pool, you may choose to put it close to the house for easy viewing from a kitchen window, or set back in a quieter location accompanied by cozy seating and a fire pit. If the pool is the center of your entertaining lifestyle, its proximity to an outdoor kitchen may be a factor.
Of course, the size of your yard comes into play, too, so if you have a small space then you’ll have some additional decisions to make, like how much of that space you want your pool to take up.
Small or large, flat or rolling, choose a location that works best for your lifestyle and suits how you imagine using your pool.
A couple of other things to consider regarding location: Does the spot you’re considering get enough sunlight to keep the pool comfortable? If it’s too shady, the water may not feel warm enough, or relaxing poolside may give you a chill.
Is the location prone to windy gusts? If so, your pool could lose more water to evaporation than you might think, and also lead to a chillier experience.
Are there too many surrounding trees? Your pool will require maintenance but you certainly don’t want to spend hours each day with a skimmer removing fallen leaves, flowers or berries.
What about the view? Can you enjoy it from your yard, from your window?
Your answers to these questions will help guide you through the next set of considerations.
Landscape, Hardscape And Staging
A fantastic pool is supported by its surroundings. And even the most fantastic pool can look homely and forlorn without the right landscaping and setting.
As you plan your pool, consider whether you want a patio or deck, and how extensive you wish it to be. Remember that small yard? Some people opt to dispense with grass entirely and turn their entire back yard into a deck or patio with a pool as its crowning glory.
Choose surroundings that will suit your lifestyle and the way you intend to use the pool – for instance, you probably want to be sure that the materials used are cool enough to walk on with bare feet, even under the hot summer sun. For safety, choose non-slip surfaces.
And if you think you’ll be using the pool at night, lighting is another consideration. You can surround your pool with patio or deck lights, embed lights into the patio itself or install underwater lighting to turn your pool into an evening delight.
What do you envision accompanying your pool? A spa, perhaps? Or a waterfall? There are myriad options from which to choose, from tiered, cascading pools to grottos with waterfalls.
Other amenities can include a pool house, pergola, or seating and sunning area.
If your pool is set back from the house, consider adding a walkway to connect it to other areas of your yard to create a sense of cohesion. If privacy is a concern, fences, tall grasses or shrubs, bamboo or even a landscaped berm will be important.
The landscape surrounding your pool will add to its beauty as much as to its function, so plan in tandem.
The Right Type Of Pool
When it comes to the type of pool, you’ve got options here, too.
Vinyl-lined pools are familiar to most people and fairly common. Vinyl is best suited to square or rectangular shaped pools. It has limited customization options and a shorter installation time. But be aware that toys, stones or other sharp objects can puncture the liner and require repair or replacement that can really dampen your summer fun.
Fiberglass pools are another option. These are factory molded in one piece. They are highly durable and stain resistant and can also be installed relatively quickly, but your options for size and shape will be limited.
Gunite, or concrete pools, are the strongest and most durable of these options. Gunite pools can be made in any size and shape and embellished with smooth stone or tile edging. They tend to take longer to install since they are custom built right on-site to your exact specifications.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each type – too many to discuss here! So talk through options with your contractor as you plan the right pool for your needs and lifestyle. Consider who will be using it, and how. Will the kids be playing volleyball or will the grownups be floating on rafts? Do you have pets that enjoy a quick dip? What is your tolerance for maintenance and repairs? A good contractor will guide you in the right direction.
Summer is closing in, so if you want to enjoy a pool this year, it’s time to start planning. It takes time to explore options, to come up with a pool and landscape design, build the pool and make sure your space doesn’t look like a construction site when it’s finally time to relax, entertain and enjoy!
If you’d like to discuss adding a pool, patio, deck or landscape to your space, get in touch with us for a consultation. We’ll visit your home and create a plan just for you.