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A personal swimming oasis is one of the ultimate backyard luxuries, perfect to refresh the mind and body as well as for entertaining and bringing together the whole family. Before you break ground, remember a swimming pool is a considerable investment so you’ll want to be sure to do your homework. With our vast experience in creating pool landscapes of all styles we’ve compiled a list to help you ask the right questions before you get started.
Your budget is where it begins.
That’s right. Moola. Of course, you’ll have to consider upfront costs like installation. According to our CEO David Rodier, above ground pools can vary between $5,000 – $10,000. For a fiberglass pool, including installation, calculate $20,000 – $30,000. When it comes to vinyl pools with installation, the costs run from $30,000 – $50,000, and for concrete pools, spending starts at around $50,000, though this can go higher. Keep in mind the price can vary significantly depending on pool size. Don’t forget to budget for other expenses like a terrace, a fence – which is mandatory in many areas – landscaping, a patio and lighting. When it comes to landscaping the rule of thumb is to budget the same cost as for the pool itself. ( $25K landscaping for a $25K pool.) Then there are permits, and on-going maintenance costs. As with any home renovation be ready to add an additional 10-20% for unexpected costs.
Research, research, research.
You’ll want to look into what kind of pool is best for you, of course, but don’t stop there. Other factors such as filtering and cleaning systems will ensure that your pool is in sparkling condition any time you’ll want to use it. Be sure to look into all your alternatives.
Whatever the weather there’s a pool you should consider.
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Anyone living in a colder region is going to want to consider a heated pool. There are various ways to keep the temperature comfortable from solar panels to more traditional heat pumps. An added bonus, a heated pool means you’ll be able to extend your swimming months. Depending on where you live this could be into the fall or even all year long.
If you live with harsher winters remember your pool will need to be closed for part of the year with a protective cover.
Every pool should have a purpose.
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Are you a swimmer who needs to get their laps in, a natural hostess who dreams of entertaining guest with your pool parties? Will children and their friends be using the pool, or will its function be visual, to stand as an architectural feature in your landscaping. Then again, perhaps you’re looking to create a serene relaxing space where you can retreat in style. When planning, be sure to decide on a clear sense of purpose as well as who will be using the pool.
The less sexy details to consider.
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Insurance because you never expect the unexpected.
While you’re planning out your budget contact your insurance company. With a pool on your property your premiums will likely increase, though the additional coverage will come in handy if your pool is damaged by the ground freezing and then thawing, or by snow ice or wind. Protecting your pool, your furniture and landscaping is a good investment. And don’t forget homeowners are responsible for any accidents that take place in their pool even if the person is trespassing.
Upkeep, oh yes there will be upkeep.
You’ll want to keep your pool’s water crystal clean and the pH balanced. Factor in the cost for chemicals which can vary between $50-$100 per month depending on your pool’s size, your climate and frequency of use. Both above ground and in ground pools will cost about the same if they are of similar size. If you hire a professional to open and close your pool, plus clean and store your pool cover the cost can vary from $150 to over $300.
Your largest cost when it comes to maintenance is keeping your pool’s interior finish in top shape. A concrete interior will need to be repainted every 2 years, though high end finishes such as Pebble Tec will last at least 10 years. Vinyl liners will need to be replaced every 10-15 years. One of the advantages of fiberglass pools is they don’t require any surface maintenance.
Don’t forget building permits and utilities.
Check your city’s building regulations regarding size, fencing, as well as proximity to stormwater drains, and the locations of gas, electrical, telephone cable and water utilities. If there are any overhead wires, for safety reasons, these will have to be re-routed at your own expense.
Is your landscaping up to it?
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The ideal site for a pool is level land, so if your ground slopes, construction costs will rise. You may be located on land with a high water table or very sandy, rocky or unstable soil. All of these conditions will make installation more complex.
The size and location of your property will have a direct influence on the size and shape of your pool. Urban sites can have strict regulations concerning property lines. Also consider shade from neighbouring buildings as well as trees when determining where to position your pool.
You’ll need access for building equipment to enter your yard. Here we’re talking heavy duty dump trucks, skid steers, concrete mixers, and other equipment. You may have to create access such as tearing down a fence or boundary wall and then rebuilding it afterwards. If you have no way of allowing access for larger equipment, your contractor can use smaller machinery, but the job will take longer.
The big question: in ground or above ground.
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The most important decision for most people will be whether the pool should be in the ground or above it. While removing soil is costly, in-ground pools have a more solid and long-lasting feel than most above ground types. However if you have an uneven, steep, or sloped property it may make more sense to install an above ground with a surrounding deck as installation will be cheaper and easier.
With over forty years’ experience, we’ve installed countless pools and have advised many clients on this very question. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or any accredited landscaper when it comes to assessing your property and the pool best suited to your needs.
Concrete, the top of the line rock solid pool.
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You could say concrete pools sit at the top of the pool chain. While they have the highest installation costs as well as lifetime expenses for chemicals and maintenance, they are the most flexible when it comes to design, and can be integrated into your landscape as truly breathtaking works of art.
Beauty of course, needs to be maintained and at a price. Every ten to fifteen years concrete pools need to be resurfaced and or retiled which can cost around $10,000 – 15,000. They also require more regular maintenance to remove algae by brushing the surface with a pool brush.
At the end of the day though, concrete pools exude quality and durability, plus there are also significant differences in the style and sizes resulting in a vast range of finished possibilities.
On the other end: fiberglass pools.
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A fiberglass pool has the lowest initial cost but don’t forget you’ll have to add in the expense for a lounging, sunbathing, and possibly a dining area, plus a pathway. Fiberglass is more durable than vinyl, so the surface won’t have to be replaced or redone. The downside is the shell is molded in a factory before installation, so less shapes are available, though stunning designs can still result. Molded seats can be incorporated as well as specialty coloured finishes, ceramics, stunning pool lights, water features etc. Because the form must be transported by truck there is also a limit on the width.
In between two pool worlds: vinyl pools.
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Specifically vinyl lined pools which have low initial installation costs but a significant bonus is the wide range of custom shapes and sizes, plus step configurations. After 10-15 years you’ll have to replace the liner which can run you about $4,000 – $5,000. One thing to remember the liner is a more fragile surface than other pools, about the thickness of several sheets of paper, so kids, dogs, throwing things in the pool can all cause problems. Usually the liners come with a warranty so be sure to read the fine print on this one.
Your pool is now trending.
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Or it will be if you go for some of the latest features in style right now. Technology has influenced just about every area of our lives and pools not only exude ambiance and artistry they’re also high tech. Here are some truly exciting ideas you might want to incorporate.
Now more than ever people want all aspects of their lives to be eco-friendlier. To reduce energy consumption and maintenance requirements, invest in automated cleaning and filtering systems.
For something thrilling go for water on water details.
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Seamlessly integrating landscaping details like waterfalls, fountains, and water walls takes your pool from refreshing to spectacular. Water in motion soothes the senses and has a restorative effect on the mind and body while creating a visually dramatic focal point.
Photo credit: Kim Bianchi
Fountains are available in a wide range of styles. Waterfalls are often built with rocks either real or faux, to mimic the look of nature. With a water wall, water spills out from a spout of a decorative wall or architectural feature placed near the pool.
Out of the deep end and into the shallow depth pool.
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When you think of most pools there is usually a shallow and a deep end. But if your main purpose will be exercise or playing sports, a shallow depth pool may fit your needs perfectly. Plus with less excavation and construction the installation costs are reduced which means you can invest more in design features.
Zero entry pools are everything right now.
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Zero entry pools gradually slope from the land to the pool recreating the effect of walking into the water on the beach. Sometimes steps are eliminated or placed underwater. Zero entry pools can be striking visually, plus they allow children, the elderly and anyone with disabilities to get into the pool with more ease. The entry water is also warmer because it is shallow.
Dark interior finishes light up pool trends.
Photo: Courtesy of Oberoi Resorts
A darker interior colour creates a beguiling lagoon type atmosphere that’s very on trend right now. Plus a darker colour attracts and retains heat longer reducing your heating costs. Another benefit, dirt and debris don’t show up as readily as with lighter finishes.
Come on baby light some fire.
If you’re looking for some stunning aquatic design, the time has come to mix fire with water. Combining the two gives your pool a faraway resort type feel, a mini vacation any day or night. Fireplaces, fire pits, fire bowls, fire walls and fire columns are all used to up the dramatic beauty of your custom pool design.
Saltwater is sweeter.
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Saltwater pools are much easier on the eyes and skin than traditionally chlorinated pools. Through a process called electrolysis, salt is dissolved in the pool creating the same level of disinfection as chlorinated systems and eliminates the need to buy, store, and handle chlorine.
Your personal private oasis awaits.
Photo credit: Darren Edwards
For many homeowners a personal private oasis is a way to find paradise at home. Of all the different types, shapes and sizes of pools there’s sure to be one you can integrate into your outdoor space. The result will be a pool designed for your lifestyle, one that adds a most enjoyable way to spend more time relaxing and entertaining outdoors.