Before Taking “the Plunge” to Build a Swimming Pool, Ask Yourselves these Questions

Deciding to build a pool in our yard was a big decision and one we spent a lot of time thinking through.

I have wanted a pool in our yard for many years, it was always the plan to add a pool when we moved into our home over three years ago. We put a lot of thought into the design and deciding how best to utilize the space. We thought about placement, use, design, size, type…the list is long. Having lived in our home several years now, has given us a lot of time to think about all these aspects before “diving” in.

Before Taking “the Plunge” to Build a Swimming Pool in Our Yard, We Asked Ourselves Many Questions

  • Why do we want a pool?
  • How often will we use the pool?
  • Who will maintain it?
  • Does it make sense to build one in our yard?
  • How will we pay for it?
  • What shape will we build?
  • How big will it be?
  • Which way will the pool face?
  • Do we want a spa?
  • Where will the spa be located?
  • Do we want an infinity or vanishing edge?
  • Would a lap pool make sense?
  • Do we want an automatic pool cover for safety?
  • What options do we want inside the pool?
  • How deep will the pool be?
  • Do we want a chlorine or salt water pool?
  • What type of pool finish do we want, such as Pebble Tec for added design?
  • Do we need retaining walls around the pool?
  • Do we need special grading for the yard?
  • Do we need to hire an architect for the project?
  • What about landscaping around the yard?
  • Will the pool add or detract value from our home?
  • What kind of surround would be around the pool?
  • Do we want any other outdoor structures like a pool house?

These are a lot of questions to answer. I’m not going to lie, we have not made all these decisions yet. But we have thought through many aspects of building a pool…but the devil is in the details and I need guidance to make informed decisions regarding many of these questions.

Guidance comes in the form of online research, talking with friends who have pools, discussing the possibilities with different pool companies and deciding on what we really want in our yard and what is the best design for us.

As I discussed in Building a Swimming Pool (Week 1) – Breaking Ground, design to me is as important as function. We are lucky enough to have a large yard with many possibilities but if your space is limited, that makes many decisions easier.


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Infinity edge pools are stunning. Having an amazing view will only enhance an vanishing edge pool design.


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There is a vast variety of pool surround options from which to choose; concrete, stone, pavers or maybe nothing at all. How much space do you want around the pool? Will you want to have seating for a lot of people or just a few? Do you plan to entertain much around the pool?


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I absolutely love the look of a pool surrounded with grass. It looks so elegant and calming, a real country estate setting. This type of pool lends itself more to aesthetics, than practical usage for a family. The realistic side of me thinks of the bugs, trying to mow around the chairs, grass getting in the pool when mowed, wet feet dragging grass back into the pool etc. My practical side won the battle over my dreamy side.


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Landscape around the pool is very important and should be factored into the budget of building a pool. Adding a sunken design to the space, in the form of a courtyard or pavilion makes a grand statement.


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A spa is fabulous to have and can be used all year long. Depending on where you live and whether you will close your pool at the end of the season will dictate if you need a spa system that can controlled independently from the pool.


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Curved details on the edges of the pool are so pretty but not practical if you want to add an automatic pool cover that will be hidden.


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Adding special features to the pool like bubblers or a tanning ledge can add to the enjoyment of the pool and the aesthetics.


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The orientation of the pool in the yard is another big decision. I went back and forth on this for a long time, before finally deciding to place the pool perpendicular to our home.


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How do you tie the pool into your existing home design? Does your home lend itself to a particular pool shape? What about the size? I want our pool to be proportional to the size of our home.


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What about the water color? There are so many varying types of plaster finishes that change the color of the water. Do you want a dark and moody bottom or a light blue, or maybe a greenish hue?


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So many options out there and so many decisions to make. At this stage in the pool building process, we haven’t made all our choices just yet. But I can tell you what we have decided on.

  • Our pool will run perpendicular to our home
  • The pool will be rectangular
  • The size of the pool will be 20 feet by 50 feet
  • The pool will have a spa and the spa will have a spill over
  • The pool will have a 10 foot tanning ledge all the way across
  • There will be an automatic pool cover and
  • The pool is situated directly off our kitchen doors.

More details to come…..stay tuned my friends



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2 thoughts on “Before Taking “the Plunge” to Build a Swimming Pool, Ask Yourselves these Questions

  1. YES! So many decisions – looks like you covered most all of them in your process. These pictures are so inspiring too – makes me want a pool of my own! But our city lot is so small it would take up the whole yard! I’ll just come borrow yours! 🙂 Thanks for sharing all this great info my friend, and Happy Thursday!

    1. Building a pool is a very big project with so many considerations. I’m hoping it will look as good as it does in my head 🙂

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