STEP 2: Understanding Features and Designs
Figure out what your needs are.
Everyone loves their pool, but most people love it in different ways. To some, their pool is a private get away that is very personal. To others it is a venue for weekend parties and a place for all the kids and friends to hang out. Question– Are you building a pool with a patio living space OR a patio living space with a pool? The answer to this question will begin to help you understand what your needs and objectives are. See our project planner guide.
1: Auto Cover
The first thing to ask yourself is whether or not an automatic cover is going to be incorporated into your project. If so, you need to look at the different options available to you in an auto cover. Top track, deck on deck, under track, or flush top track. The type of cover you want, and orientation, will play a significant roll in determining what pool shape is right for you. Learn about cover options.
2: Pool Use
How are you going to use your pool? Is the pool strictly for exercise, or will a lot of seating be needed. How will you access your pool? Primarily from the house side or will access points be needed on all sides. The Moroccan to the right has three access points which makes it extremely versatile and highly adaptable to just about any design.
Next is placement. What living space, if any, do you have to work with now and how are we going to connect, or segue, from existing to new. Perhaps we can even connect them (preferably) to give the appearance that it was all done at the same time.
Separate but together...The project to the left is probably the most difficult to pull off and look good. We call it a ‘remote locate’ as the pool is not directly connected to the home and existing living space. Because of a screen porch, elevation inversion, and a wet area right off the back of the house, joining the pool to the house was dismissed by the owner. A dry creek bed and pathway was constructed to tie the remote area back to the Florida room.
This project is a perfect ‘tie together’ project. When we first met this owner, he had his heart set on placing the pool on the top of the hill because of grade concerns. He even built a pool house (see photos) for the proposed location. Once we laid out some ideas he quickly saw the value in moving the pool TO the house and creating a ‘negative’ retaining wall. The final product is nothing short of amazing.
This project is another great example of a ‘tie together.’ The deck was existing and served well as the primary entertaining area. A wrap around double access connects the pool apron to deck and an auxiliary table was situated to the left of the pool. The spaces work well together and we didn't recreate the wheel by installing a large amount of unneeded concrete.
4: The Barrier
This is a the part that many people don't think about because they don't know they need to. In the state of Ohio MOST municipalities require a barrier around the pool. You'll notice I didn't say fence. A fence is a barrier but so is an auto cover (horizontal barrier), as is a series of buildings (like house and garage connected with fence), as is dense vegetation like shrubs. The key is that the barrier protects the pool from unwanted entry.
Each municipality is different in what they will accept for a barrier. Even though the State of Ohio recognizes horizontal barriers (auto covers) that doesn't mean that the ‘local yokels’ in your area will. They are supposed to, but we are finding that many are thumbing their nose at the state code, or just are to small and uninformed to adapt to new code.
Be sure to also check your home owners association (if you have one) for their barrier requirements. Most HOAs will have some sort of requirement for a fence. Typically it is in sync with the zoning regulations but not always. If you have an HOA that doesn't allow fences there is almost always a ‘pool exclusion’ which will allow you to have the fence. If the HOA is adamant about not having the fence, this may be an opportunity to work your zoning department over a bit and lobby for the horizontal barrier...hint hint, nudge nudge...cover vs. fence may play a roll in the pool you pick out as well as the overall design.
5: System Features
There are a lot of toys and systems you can add on to a pool. But the old saying ‘Complexity is the enemy of reliability’ holds true when it comes to a pool. We have put together what we believe is the most reliable and easiest compilation of equipment. Equipment diagram