So, you’ve decided to add a pool to your home. That’s great! A pool has so many potential benefits for you. A pool provides the opportunity for low impact, high-intensity exercise. A pool also means more quality time with the kids and allows them the opportunity to learn respect for water safety while becoming strong swimmers. If you like to entertain, a pool provides the perfect destination for getting together with family or friends. A pool also provides the opportunity to get outdoors and cool off during sweltering summer temperatures.
The list of benefits is long, but before you pull the trigger on your new pool, you need to decide on the size of your new backyard oasis. To make an informed decision, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself before you move ahead.
Who will be using the pool?
If all the users of your new pool are adults, you should choose a greater average depth to ensure you maximize the swimming area. On the other hand, if you have small children, the pool should have a small wading area where they can splash for fun. When thinking about the users, consider their size, mobility, and swimming ability.
Can they get in and out of the swimming pool via a ladder? If accessibility is a problem, it should have shallow ends with steps. You may also want to reduce the size of your pool to make deck space for a pool lift if you have users that will require one. Alternatively, some people prefer using a beach entry. Note that if there’s a slope where the pool transitions from one depth to another, your pool should be longer. As you make decisions on pool entries, you may want to look at the types of ladders and railings that will work with your design.
Other than the users of the facility, think about the numbers. Do you have a large family or many guests? If yes, you will need to construct a larger pool to accommodate the number of people who will be using the pool simultaneously. When determining the best size, remember things can change over time as you may add to new family members. Also, some of them may become less interested in swimming or move out of the home. Depending on your stage of life, and how long you intend to stay in the home, you’ll need to consider such possibilities as you may use the pool for decades.
How much space do you have?
If you have plans to build a pool, one of the first considerations is the amount of space you would want to designate for it. Of course, a limiting factor here may simply be how much space you have. Depending on your backyard’s size, you may be limited in the preferred size of your pool. If you have a smaller yard, you may need to consider how much non-pool space you need. Do you have a deck where you’ll be putting a grill and patio furniture? How much lawn space do you want for your children and pets? You may have to do some calculations to come up with an optimal amount of space that’s dedicated to the pool and the rest of your yard.
Other important factors include the terrain of the available space. Do you have adequate space where you would want to construct it? For example, some plants and existing structures may limit the amount of space you can designate for your swimming pool. You’ll also want to consider any potential accessories you’d like to add. You may need to have more deck space to accommodate a diving board, water feature, or a pool slide. You’ll also want to use these factors to determine a realistic size range.
How do you plan to use the pool?
Another tip on how to choose the right pool size is how you intend to use it. If you only need a place for relaxation for you and your family, you can go with a smaller footprint in the 14 x 25 range. On the other hand, if you will need to regularly accommodate small groups, an 18 x 36 pool can comfortably accommodate up to eight people.
If you or a family member is a competitive swimmer and needs a pool for training sessions, go for bigger structures with a minimum of 40 feet in length. If you’re not into competitive swimming but would still like to use the pool for exercising, a 30-foot-long pool should be enough.
Have you looked at local laws?
You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with zoning laws and other legal provisions in a particular jurisdiction. Before you start working on the project, ensure you have met all county, state, and federal laws. For example, in some jurisdictions, you need a permit when constructing a permanent pool exceeding 24 inches in depth.
Depending on where you intend to build your pool, you may also have to deal with local ordinances. If you are in a residential area, there may be regulations stating how close your pool or pool deck can be from a neighboring property line. Be sure to investigate this when doing your research, as it may be another limitation on your available space.
Also, health departments set their own pool requirements and restrictions that you must meet. Go through the laws in detail and understand your responsibilities as the owner of the structure. Requirements such as surrounding the pool with a barrier will affect your budget. Choose the pool size depending on whether you can afford to construct and maintain it in good condition.
What’s your budget?
Ideally, the amount of available space and purpose dictates the size of a pool. However, most people must work within some type of budget. Of course, the amount you have to spend may limit the size of your pool. It’s important to remember, however, that a pool is not a one-time cost. You need to consider the long-term costs of pool ownership, and larger pools will come with higher ongoing price tags.
Clearly, there’s a lot that goes into determining the size of a pool. We suggest that you think long and hard about the questions above to help you decide on the best size of pool for your home and your yard. Be realistic in your assessments. It can be easy to talk yourself into a larger pool that you may not need. For example, if you host a gathering, how many people do you expect to actually be in the pool versus lounging near the pool? How often will you truly be entertaining? Will your kids really appreciate the difference between a 24-foot pool versus a 40-foot pool?
Are there any criteria that we missed? If so, let us know in the comments.