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Kimberly Blackford  by Kimberly Blackford

natural swimming pool with waterfall

Photo above courtesy of Green Guys

As temperatures slowly begin to heat up, it won’t be long before we’re recalling last year’s scorching heat wave and drought. Can you possibly handle another sweltering summer? It seems every year it gets harder to spend time outdoors when you want to be there the most! If you’re looking for a way to maximize your time outdoors in those hot summer months, then a swimming pool is the perfect place to face the heat head on and still be smiling.

swimming pool with fountains

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If a swimming pool is something you’ve been thinking could really enhance your home’s outdoor living space, you’re not alone. Residential pools create the perfect spot for enjoying your outdoor surroundings in the hot summer months. Not only do they provide relief in record-breaking temperatures, they also offer an amazing focal point for designing your entire backyard entertainment area. Plus, many families are staying home more and would prefer to build an investment to enhance their home rather than commit to joining a country club taking them away from home once again.

Before delving into the most popular design features and trends, there are many different types of swimming pools that are suited for a variety of budgets and landscapes:

Wading Pools
This type of pool is usually pre-formed and is typically a small children’s pool where the water would need to be changed daily.


Splasher Pools
As large as 22 feet round, these pools use molded PVC poles to form a structure that holds a heavy vinyl liner.

Above-Ground Pools
Steel walls and a vinyl liner along with a complete filtration system comprise this style of pool. Above-ground pools do require winterization and are usually uniform in depth  - around 4 feet deep.

Exercise Pools
This type of pool can vary from a freestanding style to an in-ground up to 50 feet long. The design style is narrow, but not deep and sometimes even includes a current, which offers resistance for a more aggressive workout.

In-Ground Pools
There are a variety of in-ground style pools including concrete, shotcrete or gunite, fiberglass, and others that have prefabricated walls, or a vinyl liner. Fiberglass offers the smoothest surface, which deters algae from forming.

luxury infinity pool

High-End Pools
Very expensive infinity or negative-edge pools create the illusion of the pool’s water reaching the horizon line for an amazing, dramatic presence many luxury oceanfront homes love. Ocean pools are another high-end choice that use ocean water for a safe, natural swimming environment, which is also perfect for oceanfront property.

While, wading, splasher and many above-ground pool styles do not have a lot of design flexibility, in-ground and high-end pools offer a plethora of amazing features and amenities to make life with a swimming pool in the backyard even cooler. As with outdoor living spaces in general, homeowners who desire a pool are also drawn to basic elements in nature like fire and water. So, imagine the design impact of combining the two! Pool designs are incorporating water, fire, rock formations as well as many other natural elements creating an outdoor area that stimulates all of your senses. From torches to fire pits, to intimate grottos and waterfalls, today’s swimming pools can transform your backyard into an enchanting enclave you will never want to leave. “Pool design and construction have become a large part of our business because of our unique vision for implementing the latest trends.”

sunbelt home swimming pool
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“Things like swim-up bar seating, sun ledges, waterfalls with more natural materials including flagstone coping, boulders, and integrated spas are all becoming in demand features, but require some unique construction techniques to properly integrate with the rest of the landscaping,” says Eric Ringhofer, Lead Designer at Green Guys.

While a natural pool setting is definitely hot, there are several other design aspects being celebrated with pool design including lighting. Across the spectrum from all things natural comes the next trend; LED technology. LED lighting is allowing homeowners to create beautiful and colorful light displays within their swimming pools. Many of these offer synchronization with waterfalls and hot tubs. If you really want to make a splash when entertaining poolside, enhance your next party with matching LED lighting to your color scheme taking the party to a whole new level. Plus, LED lighting uses less energy than any other light source.

Make a grand entrance with a pool designed to include a beach entry. Swimming pools of the past always had steps, a shallow end, and a deep end. Now, beach entries allow swimmers to “wade in” eliminating ladders or steps. Infinity edge pools are also a show-stopping style perfect if you have a beautiful elevated view of the surrounding area. And, to really keep cool all summer, design a wading area or tanning shelf into your pool’s design. Also known as a Baja ledge or doggie deck, these sun shelves are a ledge typically placed at the entrance of the pool and are around 5-8 inches deep.  Sure to be a favorite with kids, adults and pets, these ledges create the ability to remain cool, while still having access to the full sun.

Color is making a comeback in pool design too. Vibrant color mosaic tile are being requested again allowing homeowners to customize the look of their pool and match their outdoor color scheme. Glass tile is also a popular choice since it can be found in a wide variety of colors. Once again taking cues from nature, saltwater pools are becoming extremely popular especially if your home is on oceanfront property. The sensation of these slightly salty pools (usually one-tenth as salty as the ocean) is a natural alternative to the usually heavily chlorinated style pool. Although the upfront cost is expensive, maintenance costs tend to be much less.

swimming pool with hot tub

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Swimming pools now more than ever aren’t just a “big hole” in the backyard. Swimming pools have become major focal points offering unique design and landscape opportunities, a place of relaxation, a place to promote fitness, and are definitely the perfect backdrop when entertaining. “A pool can be much more than just a place to swim in the summer. By incorporating outdoor kitchens, covered patios with fireplaces or fire pits, your pool can become the beautiful water feature that, even if the weather doesn’t permit swimming, can still act as a beautiful background accent to the rest of the outdoor entertainment space. Because of this, our clients are leaving their pools open much later into the season and then opening them up as early as possible providing a much more valuable return on their investment,” says Ringhofer.

Take your backyard to a new level of style, relaxation and beauty by adding a swimming pool to enhance your outdoor living space. Combined with an outdoor room, a swimming pool can be used and enjoyed all year long.

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