Our backyard’s our sanctuary, our outdoor living room, and summer kitchen. It’s during these dog days of summer when we get to thinking about swimming pools. If you’ve ever stood at the kitchen sink looking out into your backyard and imagined an Olympic sized swimming pool, then this article is for you.
Since the 1950’s, when Hollywood began exporting the California lifestyle to the rest of the nation, in ground pools have come to symbolize not only wealth and privilege, but a certain sophistication. And while the whole country can’t claim California’s long summers, installing a pool, even with a shorter season, can be a plus on multiple levels.
A backyard pool is a great place for creating family memories and it’s an excellent way to get daily exercise and maintain an active lifestyle. A swimming pool can also be a great asset should you consider selling your home. Here are some things to think about if you’re considering adding a swimming pool to your backyard.
In ground or above ground?
Above ground pools have come along way over the years. Available in a variety of sizes, they come in round and oval shapes and are built on a variety of materials including pressure treated wood and metal designed to prevent rust and rot. Depending on your preference, an above ground pool can stand alone or integrate with your home deck. These pools can cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the size and type of pool you choose. This estimate doesn’t include the cost of leveling, landscaping and covering your pool. Of course, the best part of owning an above ground pool is you can always take it with you should you decide to move.
In ground pools offer the potential buyer a vast array of customizations. They can come in all shapes and sizes. This means your total cost will be determined by a whole range of factors including size and shape, site preparation, as well as materials, vinyl or fiberglass, filtrations system, pool cover, and landscaping. If you’re considering an indoor pool, you’ll most likely wanted it heated. Many outdoor pools are heated as well. Keep in mind that most residential areas require in ground pools to be fenced in for safety reasons. So be sure to check with your town office regarding zoning. You’ll also want to talkwith your insurance agent regarding coverage and liability.
A properly filtered pool will cycle through its water several times a day, removing debris and other particulates that end up in the water. Keeping your pool chemically balanced and clean requires daily maintenance. Don’t skimp on the waater filtration system. A good filtration system, which consists of drains, pumps, skimmer and filters, will ensure your pool’s water is flowing clean. While pool services are also available at a cost, daily pool maintenance is more than manageable if performed consistently.
If you live in a less than temperate climate where temperatures dip below freezing you will need to winterize your pool, draining the water and making sure that all pipes have been emptied. If temperatures remain above freezing and you choose not to drain your pool, you will need to leave it uncovered and check the PH levels on a weekly basis to avoid the build up of algae.
Of course you can’t talk about swimming pools without mentioning safety. A backyard pool can be a very dangerous place, particularly for very young children. Your pool’s fence should be no less than four feet high. Gates should be locked any time you are away from your pool. Never leave your pool partially covered. If a child were to fall in they could become trapped. Also be sure that your children don’t have easy access to the pool from your house.
Rules should be established and followed by both children and adults when playing in or near the pool. Diving should be prohibited in above ground pools which are too shallow and may result in serious injury. For this same reason, diving should also be prohibited in the shallow end of an in ground pool. If children are in the pool an adult should always be present. Ideally, children should take swimming lessons. These lessons will provide them with a lifelong skill and help establish the importance of safety and the need for vigilance whenever they are in or near a body of water.
Make your pool is the site of many happy memories by taking the extra precautions necessary to ensure everyone’s safety.
(Note: Rules for installation and safety, vary from state to state and town to town. Be sure to check the rules in your state, city or town )