With hot summer days in full swing, few things sound better than a refreshing backyard pool to cool down. Whether you’ve been interested in lounging poolside, relaxing with a backyard outdoor spa, or finding peace with ornate backyard water features, there are a few crucial factors to consider before diving in.
You might ask, “how do water features add value to a home?” The main purpose of water features—both large and small scale—is to enhance the entertainment value in your home. In turn, these outdoor water features add to the financial value of your home.
“Pools, spas, and water features fall into the category of investing in yourself,” says Senior Designer Todd Diesburg. In this article, Troy Shimp and Diesburg- two of Lifescape’s tenured designers- outline five factors they ask clients to consider before taking the plunge.
Know Your Zoning Laws
The first step is to make sure your property is following the zoning ordinances for a swimming pool. Largescale additions such as inground swimming pools typically have strict liability and maintenance laws unique to each neighborhood. “There’s a permitting process for pools and COVID has impacted the time it takes to obtain a permit,” says Senior Designer Troy Shimp.
As a home buyer, you need to understand how these maintenance and liability laws affect your budget. If your property is not zoned to add a pool installation, incorporating a backyard outdoor spa or scenic backyard water feature—whether naturalistic with streams, waterfalls, and ponds, or contemporary—is a great alternative.
Evaluate the Function
It’s important to ask yourself, what is the purpose of the water feature? Shimp says, “Clients need to consider how they will incorporate water based on how they will use it. For example, when people talk about pools, make sure it’s something you will use for years to come.”
A great example is a pool’s deep end. Don’t incorporate a deep end without a diving board and a diving enthusiast. Alternatively, pools designed with the same level throughout are more functional for in-pool lounging and water sports.
Think About Maintenance
When considering your backyard water features, you need to also account for your water feature or pool maintenance. The trends prove that people are considering maintenance before incorporating water features, especially compared to fifteen years ago.
Diesburg says, “There was a time years ago when people wanted naturalistic water features (pools, streams, falls), but they realized how much maintenance costs accumulate for the upkeep of these types of backyard water features. Cleaner, contemporary styles are trending because they are much easier to maintain.”
Maintenance costs and labor costs depend on the size and type of pool or water fountain you plan on installing. It also depends on whether you have to install a retaining wall or a pool fence. However, regardless of these factors, you must consider these mounting costs when making your final decision instead of only considering the cost to build your outdoor water feature.
Determine the Design
The good news is, there are countless options for yards, both large and small. Choose the option that makes you feel the best about your decision. Swimming pool costs shouldn’t be something you dread. Remember, you’re installing these water features to improve your entertainment and relaxation. You don’t want them to be a source of stress.
“Pools, spas, and water features become the crown jewel of the landscape. We start by talking about the functionality and also make suggestions based on where you live. For example, in Evergreen, we can take advantage of the grade versus Cherry Creek; we like to compliment the contemporary or transitional architecture with more modern styles,” says Diesburg.
Don’t Forget Landscaping
After determining the location of your new water feature or features (“spools”—a spa/plunge pool combo—is all the rage in the industry at the moment), it’s time to conceptualize the surrounding landscape.
According to both Shimp and Diesburg, the concepts are endless and customizable for each client. Shade trees are a great way to block the afternoon heat, or pergolas are another great option if you’re avoiding a naturalistic look. Lighting, additional water features, hardscaping, and landscaping should all be considered before the build-out. Well-thought-out landscape design further enhances the pleasure water features offer.