Things to make a decision on before you start

 

Here is some information and advice but please notice that this is only my thoughts. Before you take a decision on something get information from more than one source.

 Take a look at my website page for other sources of information.

 
   

Size

The size of the pool is depending on how you are planning to use it, the size of your yard, and the prize you are willing to pay for it.

The usage of the pool affects the size of it, a pool for exercise needs to be long, a play pool needs room for water features, and a pool for a big family needs room for everyone.

Some communities have rules on how much of your backyard can be used for a pool, and even if your community doesn’t have one, make sure you understand how much room the pool will take in your back yard. Some people like to have grass, flowers, and bushes in their yard, others don’t like the work a living and growing yard gives. Just be sure not to build the pool too big, so the yard look crammed. A good way to get an idea how big part of the yard the pool is going to take is to spray the outlines on the ground. Is there going to be room for the decking, the pool pump, and the water features? There are rules for distance between the following: the gas heater's exhaust pipe and the neighbors’ wall, the pool and the house, water features and the neighbors’ wall and for how big the pool has to be when you have a slide. The rules are specific to your town, contact your city to be sure you have the current measurement.

The prize of the pool depends how big it is. The bigger it is, the more they have to dig, the more: concrete, steel, tile, and pebbles they have to use. The bigger the pool is the longer the distance is for the plumbing and electric wire. You might need a bigger pump and more: lights, in floor heads, skimmers, and benches. A bigger pool also requires more water and chemicals.

Also have in mind, a bigger pool has more tiles to clean, and more square feet to brush after a storm.

 

Depth

How deep you should build your pool is depending on who and how you are going to use it. Younger children maybe would like a shallow area to play in, but remember they are growing but the pool aren’t. Maybe you as an adult want to be able to stand everywhere in the pool for safety reason. A diving pool is more expensive, because of the digging, more concrete, special steel reinforcement and special structural engineering drawings.

There are some guide lines to hold in mind. A diving pool should be at least 9 feet where you plan to dive in, a pool with a slide need to be at about 6 feet where the slide ends, and the slope of your pool shouldn’t be more then 7:1 ratio, which means that for every 7 feet there should be no more than 1 foot of drop. This is to reduce risk of sliding.

Shape

The pool can have any shape. An oval shaped pool is probably easiest to clean but maybe a little boring. When you draw the steps and benches try to make them a part of the pool so they don’t stand out and leave corners for the sand and dirt to stay in.

If you are going to have a infloor system the infloor heads is going to "blow" the sand on the bottom of your pool toward the main drain in the middle of your pool. The plumbers are going to figure out how many infloor heads you need so you don't need to try to figure that out for yourself but a complex shaped pool request more infloor heads.

To choose a shape, visit pool stores with pool showrooms, go online, take a closer look to your friend’s pool, draw drafts, cut out from catalogs, get crazy and make a pool of your dream.

Water features

There are a lot of different kinds of water features. They can be made out of real stone or artificial. You can have a slide, a cave and a waterfall, or just one of them, or two.

If you want a slide you probably want it to be as high as possible, most communities doesn’t allow the water feature to go above the wall and has to be built 5 feet from the wall, this can differ between cities and communities. If you have a slide the pool has to be 14 feet wide where the slide ends, for safety reason.

A cave can be wider to allow more people to sit in it or smaller for just two. The biggest caves are often shaped like a half circle, these caves are really deep and make the water feature big, make sure you have room for it and still keeping the required distance. If you are unsure if you got room for the type of water feature you want, call the water feature company you are going to use, they can send you drawing with measurement on, or you can ask them to come out and have a look on your yard before the excavation company starts digging.

Maybe you only want a waterfall. A waterfall can be small or big, wide or narrow, just remember the longer the water falls the higher is the sound the water is making. The waterfall can be built to look like rocks or the water can come out from some kind of vase.

Other things that can be built around your pool are planters and boulders.  To have plants by the pool make it look really exotic but remember, even a palm tree sometimes lose leaves in the pool, and even a small plant will eventually have a lot of roots. Many companies built boulders by the pool, to sit on or maybe jump from. The boulders are usually artificial but can be real stone.

To hide your pool equipment you can built a wall. It can look like your wall around the yard or it can be an extension to the grotto water feature. Decide which way you are going to get to the equipment and what angle the wall should have so it hides the equipment for you, but still make it easy to get behind it.

Wall that covers the equipment

Spa

We did not built a spa because we wanted a bigger pool but now when it getting colder in the water the question is, was is it a good decision? If you have a spa you can warm up in the spa when you getting to cold in your pool.

To build a spa or not: Are you going to use it? Are relatives and friends going to use it when they come over? Are you prepared to give up some swimming area for the spa? A spa cost a little bit more than just a bigger pool. A spa need a heater and is usually built a little bit higher than the regular pool which means some extra cost. But it looks really nice and you can build the spa so the warmed up water flows over into the swimming pool.

Mosaics

Mosaics are expensive but make your pool more unique. If you buy the mosaic yourself online you can press the price a lot. There are some concern about buying mosaic yourself: you can't check the the quality or how they really look, and the tile company maybe don't agree on putting up mosaic that you bought.

Make sure you know what size you want on the mosaic. A piece of mosaic can sound big to you but if you have a big pool it could still look too small. If you wonder how big a piece of mosaic is comparing to your pool, you can cut out a rough figure in construction paper and lay on the bottom of the pool/ground, where you want the mosaic to be. Does it look big enough or do you need to order a bigger one?

Mosaic can be put anywhere in your pool; on the walls, benches, steps or floor. Some interior companies don't want to put mosaic on the bottom of the pool because the interior crew may step on it, and they are wearing shoes with nails under to keep a good grip. 

Interior shoe

It requires bigger mosaic if you put the mosaic on the bottom of your pool. Some people like to have mosaics on the steps so they easier can see where they are.

What color you chose on your mosaic is also important. If the color is too close to the interior you will not be able to see the mosaic.

 Mosaic color

 

Gecko mosaic

Gecko mosaic

Doesn't it look cool with the gecko climbing up the wall? But sometimes it doesn't really turn out the way you imaging it.

 

Do you have a lot of mosaic and are afraid not to remember where you and your family decide to put them? Hold the mosaic on the spot you want it and outline it, or take picture of the pool with the mosaic lying where you want them. This works of cause only if you have bought the mosaic ahead. 

Tiles

Visit many different tile companies and pool companies before you decide. There are so many different color, patterns, and sizes. Remember that algae are likely to start grow sooner or later between the tile so maybe it is a good thing to minimize that area. When you have decided on which tile you want, check if it is going to be cheaper if you buy the tile yourself. The tile company that are going to install the tile gives you a price per line feet. That usually includes a standard tile. If you want a more expensive one it is maybe cheaper to buy it yourself and let the company only install it. Ask what their installation price is, not all companies allow you to buy the tile yourself.

Interior

First you have to decide if you want pebble or plaster. Plaster is cheaper but has to be replaster after a couple of years, pebble is probably going to last forever. There are different kind of brand on pebbles, for example Pebble Tec and Baja pebble. Usually is the interior company using just one brand, so if you have chosen company you probably have to go with their brand. There are two or three different sizes on the pebble. The smoothest looks almost like plaster. There are also different colors on the pebble. The color looks different under water so try to find a pool company that has the different colors in their pools so you can get an idea how the interior is going to look under water. The pebble also looks different in shallow and deep water.

Lights

You have to decide on how many and what kind of light. If you buy LED lights you can change the color on the lights and get other colors on your interior and also run lightshows. LED lights cost more then double as much as regular pool light but runs more then 6 time longer, you will probably never have to change a bulb.

OBS. Running the lights during the day will not change the color of you pools interior.

Have a look on my page with websites to get more information on pool lights.

Ask your pool electrician if you need more than one light in your pool and where you should put it/them. The people that will do the layout on the ground can probably also give you some advice.

You have to draw in the lights on your drawing, the excavation company need to know where you want them when they start digging, they will dig out room for the lights and the electrician need to know the distance for the wires to give an accurate price proposal.

Pumps

As with everything else there are a lot of different pumps to choose between. Cheaper and simpler pumps or more expensive and efficient. The most common brand here in Arizona is Pentair and Hayward. If you are going to have a slide or waterfall the pool company is probably going to recommend you to buy at least two pumps. If you buy a more efficient one you only need one pump and some valve, that is less pipes and less installations fees. A pump that has more than one speed is very economical. The pump use a higher speed to clean the pool during the night when the electricity is cheaper and during the day the pump use a lower speed to move around the water. You will be able to save the money you paid for the more expensive pump in no time and this kind of pump makes much less noise. More and more state gets laws that require that new pools are built with a variable speed pump, California has one already.

Look at my website page for more information on pumps.

Cleaning and Water treatment

 

Filter

 

Mist

A mist system around the pool makes it usable any time during the day, even in the hottest Arizona summer. A little advice, don’t go for a small system that you plug to your yard hose, it will not cool you off enough. You need a mist pump to get the right amount of mist to cool off the yard, 

Mist

but you don't need to have the mist pump on maximum.

More stuff to think about coming soon, please come back later.