1. Create a wish list.
You may have been dreaming of a swimming pool for years, and already have in mind which pool design you want. But it pays to read up on the latest technology, gather ideas and create the pool design of your dreams. Once you’ve done a little homework, you’ll be ready to speak to your pool builder about what it is you want out of a swimming pool. He’ll help you establish how you want to use your swimming pool and can suggest styles, materials, designs, and blueprints that will make your dream become a reality.
2. Create a pool design lookbook.
It’s often difficult to put your ideas into words. Pool builders and designers appreciate when customers come to them with pictures from magazines, swimming pool photo galleries, or even beautiful photos from your holiday. They give your pool builder an understanding of what you’re interested in and how to incorporate your style preferences into the swimming pool design. It also ensures that you and your builder are on the same page.
3. Research the three types of inground pools.
Dig deep to find the right pool design for your home. A swimming pool is an investment, like a car or a house. You wouldn’t just buy any house on any block, would you? The same rules apply when thinking about your pool design. You can build your pool out of concrete, fibreglass, and even vinyl. And that’s just the first step. Coping, cleaning systems, filtering systems, and artistic finishing touches. The list of variations goes on and on. Getting up to speed will allow you to speak your pool builder’s language and be more confident in the decision-making process.
4. Find a credible pool builder.
Once you’ve decided to dive into owning a swimming pool, the best way to ensure a smooth building process is to choose a seasoned swimming pool construction professional. Check with friends, your local and regional pool builders association. Interview several candidates, and ask about their building philosophies. A good pool builder will offer examples of his work, provide references (be sure to check them), and be able to answer relevant questions. You’ll be working with this person for many months, so choose someone you feel comfortable with and understands your pool design dreams.
5. Decide what kind of pool design you want.
Swimming pool design is critical to both the overall aesthetic you’re trying to achieve and what you can do in the swimming pool. Rectangular designs are perfect for people wanting a classic, timeless look. They’re also great for games and swimming laps. Kidney and free-form swimming pools can blend with the surrounding vegetation and appear more natural. They also lend themselves to waterfalls and grottos.
6. Consider the weather in your area.
Depending on where you live, the weather can dictate certain pool design decisions. People in colder climates should consider enclosures to prolong the pool season. Those living in wetter climates also reap the benefits of having an indoor pool. In temperate climates—places where it never gets overly warm—pool heaters are useful. Have you considered adding a pool cover to your pool design? Windy areas, heavily treed areas, or places cold enough to close swimming pools for the season will all need a pool cover. The pool cover will also help evaporation, keep leaves and debris at bay, or protect the swimming pool when not in use. Many of these options are good ideas to think about for your pool design, and your local weather can make them necessities.
7. Know how you want to use your pool.
Stop and think about why you’re installing a swimming pool. Is it for your kids? For entertaining? Is it an investment? Do you want it to make a dramatic architectural statement? Or is a relaxing retreat for you and your spouse? Answering these questions will help tell you what kind of swimming pool you want. A swimming pool for kids might include a slide and a wading area. It probably doesn’t need high-end glass tile finishing or a vanishing edge. But if you want something that is as visually appealing as it is enjoyable to use, you might consider a built-in water feature, more expensive coping, and a negative edge. A client with a clear idea for their pool design is a builder’s best friend.
8. Establish a budget.
You probably already know what you’re willing to spend on a new swimming pool, but it’s important to speak with your pool builder to gather more information and get a sense of what your project will cost. Your pool builder will be able to listen to what you want and give you an estimate on what it will cost to make it happen. You may have to adjust your plans, or you may find you have the resources to add to your initial pool design. Either way, it’s crucial that both you and your builder know what your budget is from the start.
9. Consider long-term costs.
Owning a swimming pool can be quite affordable. Upkeep, especially if you take a few energy-saving steps (more on that below), can literally cost pennies a day. But it’s best to have an idea of what those costs are. Factor in how much water it will take to keep your swimming pool full, cleaning and water maintenance costs, and any accessories (pool covers, filters, toys, etc.) you’ll need to purchase.
10. Check your local building codes.
Your local pool builder can help you with this, but it’s also a good idea to know the rules yourself. Some areas require perimeter fences of a certain height. Some need the fences to lock. Others require a fence around only the swimming pool itself. You’ll also want to inquire about building permits, building restrictions, noise policies, and property tax concerns. Keeping on top of the local codes will mean you won’t be disappointed if you aren’t able to have the pool design of your dreams.
11. Don’t forget about insurance!
When establishing a budget, don’t forget to think long term. Contact your insurance carrier and find out if owning a swimming pool affects your homeowner’s policy—no one likes to be surprised.
12. Don’t skimp on the pool design features you want.
Yes, we told you to stick to your budget, but it is also important to have the pool design you have been dreaming of. Retrofitting a swimming pool is never as easy as the initial install. So, if you pool design dream includes the slide or the cascading waterfall over the slab of granite, then go for it. If it busts the budget, ask your pool builder where you might be able to save elsewhere. You never want the swimming pool that’s “almost perfect.”
13. Be energy efficient.
It’s easier than ever to save on the swimming pools energy costs. Enclosures, pool covers, and pump and lighting timers can all pay for themselves in energy savings in a short amount of time. In cold climates, it can sometimes pay to shut your swimming pool down for the winter, rather than heat it.
14. Be green and eco-friendly.
Some shy away from swimming pools for fear of their environmental impact, but the industry has worked hard in the last few years to make pools eco-friendly. Today’s pool heaters can be heated almost entirely using solar energy. There are even swimming pools filtered using natural methods—an attached pond does all the work—and other alternatives that can now replace many chemical water treatments. Swimming pool covers also help with water lost in evaporation, saving you time and money.
15. Don’t forget water features in your pool design.
Elegant waterfalls, spouting sconces, bubbling fountains—people love water features almost as much as the swimming pools themselves. If you’re interested in adding a few jets to your swimming pool design, it’s best to do it during the initial construction. Retrofitting can be tricky and sometimes impossible, depending on your swimming pool and what you want done. It also costs more than twice as much to install water features or to remodel the pool design.
16. Plant with purpose.
Plants are especially important when thinking about your pool design. A swimming pool without landscaping can look bare so consider what you’d like to plant and where. Avoid planting messy trees, palms, gums, sycamores or trees with far-reaching, shallow root systems near your swimming pool, for instance. Instead, go with bushy perennials that don’t grow as tall and can be moved.
17. Keep safety in mind.
Beyond any required fencing your local codes require, consider what other safety measures you’ll want to have in place when creating your pool design. Swimming pools can be equipped with alarms to alert you when someone or something enters the water. Child-proof locks on gates and security alarms on windows to the backyard are also considerations.
18. Think about finishing touches on your pool design.
Things like coping, decking, and borders can make a swimming pool stand out. The materials used for each varies—stone, concrete, ceramic and glass tile—and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Discuss with your designer which options are right for you when creating your pool design.
19. Put fun on the list.
As the swimming pool nears completion, it’s time to enjoy yourself by gathering all those extras that make pool ownership fun. Toys, games, floats, swimsuits, patio furniture, you name it. Accessorising is half the fun!
20. Plan your first pool party!
Don’t forget to throw a big bash to celebrate your new swimming pool. Get the snags on the BBQ, invite over kids’ friends and party in your swimming pool in style.