How to Plan for Your Ideal Pool

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When you’re finally ready to add a family pool in your yard you can work directly with the builder to come up with the perfect design. An inground pool is a good investment and is the perfect way to relax and spend lots of days cooling off in the water. The pool area is a great entertaining area during the late spring, summer and early fall. If you live in the desert southwest, Hawaii or South Florida, your pool can be enjoyed year round.

Your new pool will also increase your home’s property value by adding custom accessories and color that coordinates with the exterior of your home. Here are eight choices to consider that will make a great addition for fun, friends and family. With these options than ever before, you can create your pool to fit the needs of your family and create your perfect oasis.

1. Color Finishes

If you want something different instead of a traditional blue surface why not opt for a unique color to create a completely different effect. The interior pool shell in darker colors will absorb UV rays that radiates solar heat. It increases the water temperature so you won’t have to install a pool heater for the cooler months. Graphite gray, ebony blue or even dark green gives the landscape a romantic, deep lagoon appearance.

Trendy lighter colors, such as desert sparkling sand, Caribbean blue, aquamarine, crystal blue and silver tend to reflect the sun to keep the water cool during the hot summer months. With the lighter pool surface you won’t have to purchase a pool refrigeration system that would definitely increase your electricity bills.

2. Determine Pool Depth

While most pools are typically designed with a shallow end that gradually slopes to the deep end. More homeowners are now choosing a single depth or two shallow ends and a deep section in the middle. They’re known as sports pools that are versatile for games.

This 4 to 4.5 foot depth is perfect for a variety of fitness aerobic exercises and activities including volleyball, basketball and lap swimming. For instance, water polo should be at least 6 feet deep to avoid touching the bottom of the pool. If you enjoy diving, install the diving board on the deep end. A head first diving section must be at least 8 to 10 feet deep.

3. The Size

If the size of your yard can accommodate a 20 by 40 foot classic pool for a family of six to eight. There are a variety of other sizes that will work with almost any outdoor space. A small yard can easily fit the dimensions on your property from a 400 square foot cocktail pool, an extremely narrow lap pool or a small plunge pool that is strictly for cool lounging instead of for playing, exercising and swimming.

4. Choose a Pool Shape

When you’re deciding the shape of your pool, it should be the consummate place for family and guests to entertain, play, gather and relax. One of the biggest design decisions is selecting the ultimate pool configuration. There are several shapes that are atypical, however it is much easier for homeowners to choose from one of the most popular and traditional shapes.


This pool shape was the most popular during the post World War II years. Unfortunately the kidney shape is not quite as popular these days. Although it’s shape has a vintage aesthetic that blends well with homes from the 1950s,60s or 70s. The kidney design that has a curved indentation on one side that can be used for a landscape planting bed. If you’re on a budget and ready for a backyard pool it is one of the easiest, quickest and most inexpensive shaped. A kidney pool has a shallow section that is perfect for young children. It is also large enough for floating, swimming and games.


This standard pool has a straightforward shape with precise 90-degree angles. Rectangle pools are common for swimming laps and water aerobics. It’s great for your yard that is long and narrow. Rectangular pools will cost you more than curvy designs because its exacting geometric dimensions. During the evening, its shape features clean lines, a glassy surface and the moonlight reflection on the water that creates a beautiful landscape scene.


This letter shape is an excellent combination for lap swimmers, lounging and diving. The longer leg of the “L” is deep and typically used for diving and swimming. The shorter section is much shallower and is a designated area for a play area for young children that includes a shelf for splashing around and a lounging spot for adults.


These unconventional shapes work well for virtually any yard dimension. Designing a freeform pool is a natural shape with flowing lines and space-friendly for your property. You can draw up an organic shape to show the pool builder. Freeform pools cost more than a standard shape but you’ll get your very own custom design. If you need a cover for the winter season you’ll have to order a custom size for your freeform pool.

5. Pool Location

In-ground swimming pools were popular suburban features at the end of World War II. Most pools are located in the backyard to create privacy. However, architects, designers and pool builders are now positioning pools in other parts of the home’s landscape. Now you can find pools on balconies, roofs, side yards, in the front of the house and shapes that wind around the entire yard.

6. Lighting

Pool lighting design creates a mood, aesthetic and practical illumination. This particular beneficial underwater lighting, known as chromatherapy, offers the use of colors as a positive impact for your overall health and well being. Other types of LED systems offer a soft glow and adds visual interest and mood lighting.

Installing low-voltage landscape lighting around the perimeter of the pool is designed to illuminate the deck, steps and pathways. This will help guide your children, guests and pets around the pool to avoid accidents.

7. Water Features

Installing a water feature for your pool is visually appealing and extremely soothing. This popular water feature is an integrated spa with a circulating waterfall. A variety of entertaining water sources include cascading rocks, fountains, bubblers, a wall of water, uniform water arcs, misting systems, spillways and vessel features. Moving water is relaxing and easily masks undesirable sounds like noisy neighbors and traffic.

8. Sunning Shelves

Sun shelves, which are also known as Baja or tanning ledges are a favorite for homeowners. Your pool will look just like a resort for soaking up the sun and dipping your toes into the water. These large flat and shallow sections are the perfect spot to enjoy the pool without being fully submerged and is also a place for youngsters to play. If you’re into afternoon relaxation you can add a lounge chair and a combination table and umbrella sleeve that fits into the ledge.

© 2019 Linda Chechar

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on August 14, 2019:

Linda Crampton, it may not be practical but it can make a yard much more attractive. The pool images are certainly dreamy!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on August 14, 2019:

Larry Slawson, aswimming pools bring joy to family and friends. A pool can also bring together people within your community and creates a great summer staycation opportunity. It can also increase the value of your home.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 13, 2019:

I doubt whether I'll ever have a pool in my yard, but I loved looking at the designs in the photos and reading your descriptions. The pools look beautiful.

Larry Slawson from North Carolina on August 13, 2019:

Very informative. My wife and I are thinking about getting a pool for next summer. Didn't really think about all the different choices available until now. Thank you for sharing!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on August 13, 2019:

I do like the rectangular pool shapes also, Liz. We definitely needed a pool in Palm Springs when we were building a new house. I wanted a rectangular pool along the backyard with fountains but the contractor said it would be quite expensive so we chose a kidney-shape with a spa waterfall that was much less expensive.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 13, 2019:

As a child I wished we had a pool in our back garden. I had it all figured out in my head. Unfortunately the climate in Manchester UK was not conducive to open air swimming most of the year and my parents didn't own the house. Wherever I travel I always appreciate a good swimming pool. Yesterday I was in a hotel where the indoor pool was a many cornered triangular shape. It was fine for one, but any more in there and it became a little like navigating busy shipping channels. So I guess I am in favour of the rectangle shape. Plain and a little boring, but good for getting some serious lengths in.

This is a great guide for anyone lucky enough to live where installing an outdoor pool is an option. The illustrations are very tempting.

Watch the video: 8 Steps to Building a Gunite Pool. Pool and Spa Installation. Upstate SC, Western NC

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