Could you be a Clark Griswold? Have you been working hard all year so that when the annual bonus comes you could purchase a swimming pool for the whole family to enjoy? Do you envision the perfect warm summer day as being with your wife and children in the backyard, swimming in the crystal clear water of your brand new in-ground pool? Even if your name isn't Griswold and you did receive your annual bonus, don't put yourself in a position where you could experience the same bad luck Clark did. In this two part series of articles we will look at some common mistakes people make when purchasing and owning a pool.
Acquiring a swimming pool is not a small endeavor. It's a big purchase that requires some research, thought and discussion. Ask yourself and your family why they want a pool, what will it be used for and - here is the big one - who will maintain it? It the pool is for family recreation, then the size, shape and features will be different than a pool meant for physical therapy. For recreation you may want a deep end, for therapy you will want a long shallow end for swimming or exercises. One mistake first time pool owners make is wanting a large pool with a large deep end and a diving board. Most games played in a pool require the players to be able to stand in the water, so the deep end and diving board are only used for a short while. They then become unused and even a hazard. A large pool may not be necessary either. If you have a large family or you plan to entertain a great deal, then a large pool will be the right choice. However, if you have a small to average size family and do not plan to entertain very much, then consider a smaller size. Allow enough room for your planned activities, but don't jump to getting the largest pool that will fit in your yard. For those non-pool days you may still want some room in the yard to toss a ball or knock a puck around.
Now that you and the family have settled on a size and purpose for the pool, think about the design. Ask questions like what sort of access do you want? If you have small children, physically handicapped or elderly persons using the pool consider their needs. Perhaps a beach entry would be appropriate. What size of patio area do you envision? If you want to have a large patio area with lounge chairs then think about where the best place is and how much extra yard space it will take up. Remember to include room for safety fencing. Are there any add-ons you would like to consider? Some add-ons such as a slide, fountain or spa, take up deck space. Consider how it will all fit together. Where will the shed for pool equipment be? You will need space for equipment and chemicals (or salt) - where will it be stored? Will your pool be in the shade or sun and what are the implications of both? Having the pool in the sun will help keep the water warm, whereas positioning it in the shade will mean a lot of extra cleaning and maintenance. Are there any covenants in your neighborhood that restrict or prohibit pools? This is a common thing to forget about, and costly when restrictions are discovered after construction has already begun.
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