The decision to install an inground swimming pool is a major one. It is a choice often based on lifestyle; nothing says ‘stay-cation’ like a backyard swimming pool. From a financial perspective, but also how your entire landscape is going to function this is a major decision as no other single item so greatly influences its surroundings as does a swimming pool. This is for good reason – they can be used for relaxing poolside, active recreation, exercise, cooling off in the summer, and a visually aesthetic statement.
There are a few inground swimming pool styles to choose from:
Traditional Swimming Pool / Lap Pool
These swimming pools have a deep end tapering up to a shallow end at the opposite end. Diving boards are no longer recommended, but the deep end does facilitate shallow diving or jumping from the pool deck. These are still a good choice for general use.
Sports Pool / Play Pool
These pools have the deeper portion in the center and taper up to shallower sections at either end. They are well suited to games like volleyball and a net can be strung across the center of the pool for this purpose. Tag and other active games go well with type of swimming pool, and they are an excellent choice for an active young family.
Plunge pools or splash pools
These pools are generally on a smaller footprint and are shallower with a depth in the centre of five or six feet (1.5-1.8m). These types of pool are perfect where space is at a premium and for cooling off in the summer. These are also excellent pools for a small family. They bridge the gap between a full sized swimming pool and swim spa.
Regardless of the style of pool there are a few other major considerations:
Size: This is a consideration based on intended use or style, how much space you have to work with, heating costs, maintenance costs, and budget. 36’ x 18’ (11m x 5.5m) is a good average although we have built swimming pools ranging from 46’ x 20’ (14m x 6.1m) down to 16’ x 10’ (4.9m x 3.0m).
Covers: In Alberta a properly rated and installed pool cover can remove the requirement for a six foot fence with self closing gates to enclose the pool cover. These covers, often motorized for convenient deployment, secure the pool when not in use. Vitally important both from a liability standpoint, but also peace of mind. These covers have the added advantages of reducing heat loss, chemical use, maintenance costs, and greater aesthetic value than the alternatives when closed. Each project is approached on an individual basis and we’ll have this discussion at length if you engage with us on a swimming pool project to determine what cover / securement method is best for your project.
Shape: Rectangular shapes are trending, and these shapes also work best with the cover systems. Win win. Free form kidney shapes are still possible and are sometimes the best fit for the application. If a motorized cover is desired, it must have the tracks exposed on the pool deck.
Stairs: These can be outside of the pool footprint but are increasingly incorporated within the rectangular perimeter of the pool. This allows the stairs to be captured by the cover system, but it also allows the stairs to become part of the usable space in the swimming pool.
Sun ledges: Popular in resort pools, these are great for lounging, sunbathing, or for small children to play. They can be incorporated into any style of pool and they can reduce the number of steps required to safely enter and exit a pool.
Construction methods: Most of the pools in our portfolio are vinyl lined pools. The structure of the pool involves steel and concrete with the visible portion of the pool being a vinyl liner. The coping system, around the perimeter, can be poured concrete or a coping unit of precast concrete or stone. On a rectangular swimming pool this edge treatment incorporates the track for the motorized pool cover system. Other construction options include a concrete (gunite) pool system or fibreglass – All have their own pro and cons. On balance vinyl lined pools work best for most applications in the Calgary area.
Custom extras: Each swimming pool project is unique, and we can incorporate special lighting features, waterfalls, water blades, slides, volleyball net systems, and much more.
Additional considerations: The type of water treatment (salt vrs chlorine), shed requirements, drainage and other site specific restrictions are all part of the conversation.
Code & permits: Swimming pools in most jurisdictions require a permit and also involve the services of licensed electricians & gas fitters. Installation must meet all bylaw and code requirements, and could be influenced by HOA requirements. We can assist in securing all necessary requirements.
PRO LANDSCAPER TIP
Give yourself lots of time for a project involving a swimming pool. From the landscape design perspective, a swimming pool project is challenging. Drainage systems and often retaining walls are part of the package as well as blending the swimming pool with the other surround elements which can pretty much run the gamut along with what styles, colors, and material choices. Also, a generous timeline for the construction is needed as there are many trades involved in the implementation process to get everything done just right!