There’s nothing better than taking advantage of lazy summer days to get much-needed rest and relaxation. What better way to do that than in your own outdoor oasis — complete with an in-ground swimming pool?
Pools are the ultimate hot-ticket item of outdoor living. A 2020 porch.com survey found that 18% of homeowners want to add a pool. But there’s more to it than digging a hole in the yard! Here are some of the things you should think about before you dive in to swimming-pool ownership.
Is It Worth the Investment?
Many factors influence the cost of your in-ground swimming pool: size, depth, added features, your location, and of course, pool type. But in broad terms, these are estimated average costs for a new in-ground swimming pool.
Average In-Ground Swimming Pool Costs
Source: Pool Pricer
In addition to the pool itself, you’ll need to choose a pool pump and filter, and probably an automatic cleaner as well, especially for gunite pools, which require more cleaning.
A variable-speed pump can run at lower speeds, saving you money on your utility bills. Plus, they are often quieter than other types of pumps.
And here are even more costs to consider:
Accessories and customization — Decking, seating, pool lights, heater, auto cover, and features like slides, diving boards, and waterfalls are in addition to the expenses listed above.
Utilities — Expect your electricity and water bills to rise.
Insurance — Your homeowners insurance company may require you to increase your liability coverage and install specific safety measures.
In terms of recouping your costs at resale, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) estimates the return on investment for a gunite swimming pool at about 43%. But getting a good return on investment isn’t just about money. Will it increase your happiness at home? Could it deter a possible move, so you can stay in one place longer? Installing a swimming pool can be rewarding in more ways than one.
Consider this: According to NAR, 92% of homeowners want to stay home more since completing their swimming pool installation, 83% feel more enjoyment when they are at home, and 79% get a sense of accomplishment when thinking about their pool.
Do I Have Room in My Yard?
Having a smaller yard doesn’t automatically mean you can’t install an in-ground swimming pool. Cocktail pools and plunge pools are intended for smaller spaces. And a creative contractor will be able to help you develop, if necessary, a custom-designed pool that works perfectly for your yard, although you may have to make some compromises with the features you request.
Another factor to consider is how else you plan to use your outdoor space. Do you have kids or pets that want to run and play? Do you want plenty of room for lounging or an outdoor dining area? Keep these activities in mind as you’re developing installation plans.
What Design Should I Choose?
The build material you choose and the size of your yard will influence your swimming pool’s shape, but so will other factors. Design elements like beach entries, sun decks, slides, and fountains will inform the shape of your pool as well.
A rectangular pool is both classic and modern with its clean, straight lines, and is optimal for swimming laps and maximizing your swim area. L-shaped pools are trending because you can easily separate a play or sports area and the swimming area, a smart option for families with children of varying ages.
Another choice is a freeform pool. With no defined shape, you can customize it to perfectly fit your space. You will be limited to a gunite or vinyl pool, but that still gives you plenty of choice and flexibility. A curvy kidney-shaped pool looks good in a small yard.
Whatever design you choose, your pool should feel fully integrated with your property. Be sure to look at lots of photos of swimming pools to help you narrow down what you do and don’t like.
What About Safety?*
State, county, and city laws; insurance companies; and homeowners associations can all have their own safety requirements. Be sure you’re hiring a reputable swimming pool construction company that understands your local rules and can guarantee compliance with those specifications.
The most basic safety equipment for your pool are a fence; a self-closing, self-latching gate; and a pool cover. When choosing and installing your fence, think about preventing a child from getting over, under, or through it. Consider adding alarms to the pool gate and any exits from your house leading out to the pool. A cover for your pool’s main drain, which is part of the water circulation system, is also highly recommended.
An automatic pool safety cover can prevent debris, pets, and people from falling into the pool. Plus, it will help stop evaporation of your pool chemicals, and keep your pool warm! An automatic pool cover will cost north of $10,000, but it pays for itself in a few years due to the reduced cost of upkeep.
Can I Maintain It?
The cost to maintain your in-ground swimming pool can run $500 to $1,000 per year or more — if you maintain it yourself.3 Hiring a professional pool company to clean the pool, empty filters, and adjust your chemicals weekly will cost quite a bit more: generally, $75 to $100 per hour.
Installing an in-ground swimming pool is not a project to undertake lightly. There’s a lot of thought and research that needs to be done beforehand. But if putting in a pool increases your happiness and satisfaction with your abode, then the effort may be well worth it.
*These are not inclusive, and laws and regulations may differ based on location. No safety recommendations here are meant to replace adult supervision and common-sense use of your residential swimming pool.
Sources: Pool Pricer | HGTV | Latham Pools | Signs.com | River Pools and Spas