Swimming Pools 101

Considering an in-ground swimming pool? Here's everything you need to know about style, type, maintenance, safety and cost.

An inground swimming pool is the ultimate recreation amenity.  Once only the purview of luxury hotels and exotic resorts, the swimming pool is becoming the central feature in America's growing and accelerating outdoor living trend.  While a swimming pool and waterscape will add years and years of precious family memories, the thought of starting to plan a project of this magnitude can be a bit overwhelming.  Enter this post from Bob Vila.  The king of DIY gives you everything that you need to know about planning and building a custom inground swimming pool, right down to the different construction methods and cost.  

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An in-ground pool is the ultimate in backyard upgrades. If you've always wanted one, now may be the time. Prices have fallen during the recession by up to 30 percent. Nevertheless, it remains a big investment, so it's important to make smart choices with regard to size, shape, site selection, and type.

Size and shape depend upon your needs, budget, available area, and design wishes. Swim spas are small pools (some only 10 to 14 feet long) that produce a manmade current against which you can swim in place. Lap pools are typically narrow but require a sizeable yard. Some are as long as an Olympic pool (25 meters) and are meant for training or exercise. Recreational pools are usually shallow at one end and deep enough for diving (9 to 11 ft.) at the other. Typically rectangular, they come in many sizes. Freeform shapes are also available and are often preferred because they blend well into the backyard landscape.

Many pool owners prefer to install their pool close to the kitchen or family room. That provides ready access to the house and makes it easier to bring food and drinks out and to clean up afterwards. It's also easier to keep an eye on the pool from the house. That said, a somewhat secluded pool has the feel of a vacation getaway—without ever pulling out of the driveway. As long as the pool is connected to the house with a smooth, well-lit path and has a sizeable pool deck around it for outdoor furniture and a grill, no one will complain. A pool cabana, of course, allows for nearby dressing and showering.

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Gerard Butler, Katy Perry, Chelsea Handler, Miley Cyrus, Julianne Moore, Steven Tyler, Heidi Klum, and other A-listers reveal their dream pools

It's easy to watch the Oscars or the Golden Globe awards and see if the biggest celebrities in the world have the same taste in luxury clothing as you do.  It might even be easy to do the same by watching the tabloid televition shows or picking up the tabloid newspapers to see if your favorite celebrity has the same taste in expensive automobilies as you.  This post from Architectural Digest will give you a unique opportunity to see if your favorite celebrity has the same wish list on their very own dream inground swimming pool.  

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Onlookers swooned as Scottish actor Gerard Butler, wearing a crisp tux at the Hollywood Domino and Bovet Pre-Oscar Gala at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, described his dream body of water. "It would be as organic as possible and surrounded by all kinds of tropical plants, so it wouldn't really feel like a pool. It would feel like you'd just come across a lagoon in Jamaica."

Pop princess Katy Perry was perusing an exhibition of Italian fashion designer Miuccia Prada's costumes for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby when she declared, "Oh, it would be heart-shaped. For sure." At the Beverly Hills Hotel for Essence magazine's Black Women in Hollywood lunch, LaLa Anthony, wife of New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony, also insisted on heart-shaped. "Just for love and fun," she said. "I've never seen one, and that's why I want to do it."

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24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

From Buzzfeed

We all know the feeling of being on vacation and relaxing in the swimming pool.  Many resorts have upped the ante over the decades and brought amazing water amenities into their hotels.  The trend for residential swimming pool owners is to bring that vacation waterpark or hotel swimming pool experience to their own outdoor living space to recreate the experience.  Not only do homeowners want the slides, grottos, and other amazing water amenities in their own backyards, but also they want the tropical setting.  Proper principles of design can help re-create this experience, regardless of climate.  In this post from Buzzfeed, the reader is given some extremely exotic locations with amazingly luxurious swimming pool settings to help them envision their very own shangri-la right in their own backyard.

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Top 8 Swimming Pool Shapes


From Luxury Pools

This isn't your grandfather's swimming pool!  Long gone are the days of the small, rectangular cookie cutter pool.  In years past, the kidney-shaped pool was considered an innovation!  Modern watershapers have taken the art of inground swimming pool design to amazing heights utilizing proper design techniques, time-tested landscape, architectural and design principles, and complicated hydraulics.  Throw in the wider variety of natural and synthetic materials available to inground swimming pool and landscape designers, and you arrive at an amazing era for outdoor living design.  In this post from Luxury Pools, some different pool shapes are examined to begin the homeowner thinking about what they like, what might suit their needs and tastes, and what might scale correctly into their outdoor living space.  This doesn't replace the professional trained eye of a skilled designer, but it is a good start to the design process from the homeowner's perspective.

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 While being spontaneous can be a good thing, building your long-desired swimming pool should not be left to chance. Today's designers have a variety of pool shapes and styles in their portfolios, from freeform pools and infinity edges to Grecian styles and classic rectangles. What is best for your property will come from a number of inspirations. But before you get to this step, consider what material will be best to construct the pool design you have in mind.

Choosing the Building Material

There are three basic types of inground pools: concrete, vinyl, and fiberglass. Each type of building material has its own set of pros and cons when it comes to forming a shape and creating a style. Make sure the design you imagine for your pool can be fabricated in the material you want to use. Don't hesitate to do your homework: research options, ask other pool owners, and interview prospective builders of all three types.

Concrete is the most accommodating material for crafting a pool shape and style: your imagination and your budget are its only limits. Ideal for any kind of custom design, you can further enhance your concrete pool with a finishing material like glass tile, colored plaster, or stone aggregate.

Vinyl, like concrete, is great for all types of swimming pool designs. The material and styles for vinyl-lined pools have advanced over the years; the number of patterns and colors are almost infinite, giving homeowners a large assortment to choose from for the look of the pool's interior.

Built from pre-manufactured molds, fiberglass pools come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and styles, including popular designs like infinity pools. Fiberglass pool companies can further customize your project by adding ceramic tile, custom jets, mosaics, and other water features.

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10 Pool Maintenance Tips

From How Stuff Works

Most people realize that owning an inground swimming pool presents some unique challenges.   Even if you have a professional swimming pool service company taking care of your pool, you need to do a few things to keep things running efficiently and smoothly.  Plus, keeping up with some minor maintenance will save you money in the long run, elongate the life span of your equipment, and keep your pool crystal clear and clean for your family.

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Keeping your pool sparkling clean doesn't have to be as cumbersome as you might think. All pools are different, and so are their maintenance needs. However, they all share one commonality: The secret to pristine pool health is regular, routine care. If you choose to handle common problems like murky water or broken pumps on your own, make sure to always consult manufacturers' manuals before fixing or using equipment. No matter if you rely on a service company to take care of your pool, you still need to do a few things on your own to ensure your pool stays in good condition for years.

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What Are the Benefits of Sitting in a Hot Tub?

originally posted by Livestrong

Maybe you are on the fence as to whether your new outdoor living space that includes an inground swimming pool should include a hot tub.  Hot tubs can be situated in a variety of ways:  Raised, connected, separate, oblong, square, included with swim resistance jets, varied benches and seats, varied heights and variety of massage nozzles, etc. etc. This article which was originally posted by Livestrong, however, focuses on the health and relaxation benefits of having a hot tub in which to soak.  

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A Jacuzzi is more than a luxurious accessory for your home. According to the medical website SteadyHealth.com, sitting in a Jacuzzi for a period of time has a number of benefits, both physical and mental. In fact, Jacuzzis can be used to help people with osteoporosis, as the buoyancy obtained in a Jacuzzi, along with light exercise performed underwater, can increase mobility and strength. Make certain to follow all cautions, as high water temperatures can pose health risks for certain individuals.

Reduce Stress

A Jacuzzi can be a good place in which to relax with family and friends. You can spend time together sipping a drink or simply having a chat. The bubbling of the Jacuzzi is particularly soothing and will help you relax not only mentally but also physically. You can use your time in a Jacuzzi to get a reflexology massage by placing your feet directly in front of the water jets. Your feet contain thousands of nerve endings, and their stimulation can improve your overall well-being and mood.

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From The Girl's Life Blog

What's a completely necessary and useful inground swimming pool accessory that almost nobody thinks of when they are building their swimming pool?  Think: Wet towels laying all over the deck...A Towel Rack, of course!  Towel racks can tidy up your swimming pool or storage area, and this post from The Girl's Life Blog gives you an easy, step-by-step guide to building your own using readily available PVC pipe and fittings.  Trust us; this is something that can make every inground swimming pool owner's life easier and more organized, and is almost always overlooked.

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There are so many great things you can do with PVC pipe, from kids car washes to shoe organizers. Just search PVC on pinterest and you will find a boatload of ideas if you're interested. :) During the Summer we are usually outside in the pool every single day so washing towels or swimsuits daily just wasn't going to work. We spent all of last year draping everything over our outdoor furniture but when I spotted this on pinterest it was the perfect fix. Of course you can go purchase this one on Etsy if you would like but we didn't really need one that big nor did I want to spend $200+.

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7 Solar-Powered Wearables Guaranteed to Give You a Charge

From Ecouterre

If there is one thing that Summer has in abundance, it is glorious sunshine.  Hanging around in the sun in a chaise lounge by your inground swimming pool is the best way to relax and enjoy family memories.  With the proliferation of electronic devices in our society, like phones, music players, and computers, being connected or entertained is a constant if not necessary accoutrement of outdoor living.  This article from Ecouterre gives you a way to enjoy the aforementioned joys of summer, without draining your batteries.  

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Published in General Interest

3 Easy Tips for Maintaining an Energy-Efficient Swimming Pool

From Pulliam Pools

While you can outfit your inground swimming pool with the latest and greatest energy-efficient equipment, there are things that you can do on your own to save money and make things more efficient.  Even if you rely on a swimming pool service company to clean and maintain your inground swimming pool, they can only be on site for so long in any given week.  The fact is, you will be in charge of your swimming pool maintenance for the majority of the time that you own it, and you might as well help yourself save energy and money.  In this post from Pulliam Pools, some easy tips to save energy and money are presented.

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Though your pool builder can build you a beautiful, refreshing, energy-efficient pool, it is up to you to maintain it. Luckily, eco-friendly pools do not take much work to maintain! This guide shows you how you can keep your swimming pool looking great:
Be Cautious of Temperature
Controlling the temperature of your pool is one of the easiest ways to save energy. When you are not using it, you should turn down the water heater. If you primarily use the pool for active swimming, keep it between 78° and 80°. If you prefer to use it for recreational purposes, the temperature should be around 83°. Keep a thermometer in the water so you can regulate the temperature and save energy.
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From Luxury Pools

For those that live in climates that experience extreme seasons, the indoor pool can be just the anitode for the winter blues.  Indoor pools never close because of rain, snow, cold; they are like the postal carrier.  Indoor pools provide the recreation and fitness minded the ability to stay in shape via the best full-body exercize avaialable, and can keep the kids splashing and frolicking on a rainy day or snow day.  This post from Luxury Pools shows the pinnace of the art in Indoor Swimming Pool design from around the globe, including a design from Platinum Pools.

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An indoor swimming pool offers the luxury of year-round enjoyment as well as privacy. It also presents an exciting opportunity to create a unique interior space for play, exercise, entertainment—or all three. Take a look at the exquisite indoor pool designs in the pictures below.

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