Backyard Renovations: Planning for a Pool

Think you are ready to renovate your backyard to include a pool? Be sure to consider all options before you start digging. Installing a pool can be a big and expensive task, especially without proper planning. If your backyard renovation plans include a cheap, above ground pool from a big box store, you probably do not need to give it much thought. However, if you are looking for a permanent pool that will be the centerpiece of a complete backyard redo, you may want to consider hiring a landscape architect.

A professional will have helpful ideas that can ensure the flow of the yard is compatible with the house and the overall feel you are trying to achieve with the renovation. As you’re considering your backyard renovation, keep your budget in mind. It’s easy to see the upfront costs of materials and/or installation, but remember the maintenance costs that come with having a pool, landscaping, walking paths, patios, gazebos, furniture, and more.

How will you use your pool? Will it to be a quiet and peaceful place to sun soak for a couple of people, or will it be the center of an ultimate fun zone for teenagers? Do you envision yourself hosting neighborhood barbecues and mingles, or just a few friends? How many people will you entertain at a time? What age ranges? The overall purpose of the pool will help you to develop what size and location you will need, and knowing how you want to use your pool will help in the planning and design phase of your project.

Where do you want the pool to be located? Do you want it next to the back door for a quick dip or further back in the yard to have more entertaining space? Are you planning a hot tub in conjunction with the pool, or will it be in a separate location? Will you be constructing a fence to separate the pool from the rest of the yard? Proper placement can be the difference between liking your new pool and loving it.

Which features are important to you? Newer pools are commonly designed with multipurpose use in mind. Pools can incorporate sitting ledges, tanning platforms, lap lanes, hot tubs, and more, all in one pool. Water slides, basketball hoops, volleyball nets, diving boards, and more can also be added. Waterfalls and lighting can affect the overall mood and feel of the pool.

Consider your other backyard features. Pool deck design is almost as important as the pool itself. Guests who are eating and mingling don’t want to balance on the edge of the pool, constantly worrying about falling in or getting splashed. Built-in barbecue grills and even outdoor kitchens are becoming more popular. Large patios and gazebos will keep guests protected from the sun and an unexpected rainstorm. Fire pits or even outdoor fireplaces may be more to your liking.

Plan for safety. The most important design decisions should always center around the safety of your guests and neighbors. Proper enclosures are a must to ensure the safety of children, pets, and even wildlife venturing into your yard. Fencing should always be used to make sure the pools are used only with your knowledge. Check with your insurance agent to see if your homeowner’s policy needs to be changed. Be sure that guests and children are always adequately supervised in and around the pool.

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