8 Questions to Consider Before Building a Swimming Pool at Home

Sure, you and your kids have always wanted a pool, and now you have the funds to get one.

Before you decide to install a pool in your home, there are important factors that you should consider first. It’s also important to decide carefully on the overall look of your swimming pool if you don’t want to end up with unnecessary additional expenses.

To ensure that you build a pool that you ultimately want and will be enjoying for many years, keep in mind the following questions:

  1. Why build a swimming pool?

The type of pool you’re going to have will depend greatly on its use. Your swimming pool designer will ask you for the purpose so that he or she can build one that fits your needs exactly.

A home swimming pool can have a variety of functions, and it can be one or a combination of the following:

  • Family recreation and fun
  • For the children’s enjoyment and to promote an active lifestyle while they’re young
  • Adult entertainment, i.e. mainly for relaxation, sitting in the water
  • As a site for adult aquatic/water exercises
  • For swimming and diving practice (if there is an athlete in the family)
  • As an outdoor focal point or a primary water feature in the home

As with any good design, form should follow function.

Your answer to the above question will set up the grounds for your pool design.

  1. Who is going to use the pool?

A pool designed for children will look quite different. If you want your pool to accommodate swimmers of all ages and allow for their different activities, you may want to include:

  • Grab rails for the elderly
  • Shallow areas for toddlers
  • Safety fences for small children
  • Tanning ledges for adults
  1. Where do you like the pool to be located?

Before answering this question, you should first know the building and zoning laws which apply to your property.

There may be restrictions on how much decking you can use to cover your yard, and at what direction it must slope. Most cities also require pools to have a fence which can affect your pool location.

Remember to consider:

  • Where people will gather
  • How individuals will enter and exit the pool
  • How to maximize exposure to the sun while minimizing wind exposure
  • How your pool looks with the rest of your landscape and from inside your home
  1. Is your yard suitable for pool construction?

Most swimming pool contractors will conduct soil tests to confirm whether your site is appropriate for pool construction.

Having an expansive, sandy or rocky soil and other ground factors will present unique building concerns. Moreover, a high water table may significantly increase your construction costs.

  1. What shape and style do you want?

Most pool builders will suggest selecting a shape and style that will complement your existing landscape and your home architecture. If you really want a pool design that happens to not match your home, try to integrate a transition area from your home to the swimming pool.

By using plantings or walkways as well as changing materials, you can shift from one aesthetic to another without clashing styles. Landscaping is great for transition especially when there are elevation changes.

Just make sure you conduct regular landscape maintenance to keep plants looking harmonious with your pool.

  1. What materials will you use?

Most pool owners who want luxury use elaborate tile mosaics and glass tiles because of their artistic flexibility.

You may want to look at your surrounding landscape and architecture for clues about what materials to use. Rock waterfalls and natural stone pavers can help your pool blend in a natural landscape, whereas arcing jets of water and glass tiles may look lovely in a contemporary home.

  1. Do you want to add special features?

To maximize your pool even when you’re not swimming, incorporate lighting and water features.

Based on how you intend to use your pool, you may want to consider shallow beach-style entries, a swim-up bar, and underwater benches. An automatic pool cover will also provide convenient protection whenever the pool is unsupervised.

If you’re into aquatic exercises, consider installing a variable-speed current system and underwater handrails.

Special needs like cooling would be essential if, for example, you live in a hot region like the Middle East. Chiller units will be useful in this case, but they are also costly. One way to cool your pool is to incorporate water features that will keep the water moving and cool it at the same time. You can also place shade structures over the pool which will have a big cooling impact on your family watering hole.

  1. How can you ensure quality pool maintenance?

Pool maintenance isn’t free. To efficiently maintain your pool, a professional maintenance company would visit approximately twice a week or more, depending on how often your pool is used.

The chemical levels of the pool water should be tested on each visit. During the summer months, water evaporation happens at a higher rate and chlorine evaporates with it; conversely, during the colder months, chlorine will evaporate at a much slower rate. Therefore, you need to work with an experienced maintenance company that knows how to balance swimming pool chemical levels whatever the time of year. You can clean your swimming pool by using pool vacuum head

Now that you know the questions to consider when building a pool, make sure to find a professional pool designer to do the job.

Working with an experienced contractor will ensure the efficient application of a good pool design and quality construction so that you can enjoy your dream swimming pool in no time.


Rachel Hennessey manages the Pools and Landscaping Division of Hennessey LLC. She also works on Tender and Pre-Qualification and brings in new business to the company’s Construction, Interiors and Civils Division.