Installing a pool and setting up your backyard
Last modified: 2019/03/19 | Approximate reading time 9 mins
From the windows of an airplane, the series of little blue dots lining the asphalted suburban streets remind the passengers that they’re flying over beautiful residential neighbourhoods. Even if our hot season only lasts a fraction of the year, many people do not hesitate to cede a big part of their land to the installation of a swimming pool. After you have made this decision, all you have to do is divide your yard accordingly.
What does having a swimming pool in your backyard mean?
“When there’s a heatwave, people rush to the store, but it’s not a good idea. It’s better to buy it before, so you can enjoy it when it’s hot.” According to Alain Gravel, director of marketing at Trévi Pools. Ideally, you should buy your pool anywhere from August to the end of the fall season. “There is a funnel effect at the end of April and in May since everyone who ordered a pool in the late fall, during the winter months and springtime must wait for their turn. In August, people buying above ground pools enjoy a better price and can have it installed in under 78 hours. Those who have inground pools installed still have time to do their landscaping,” continues Mr. Gravel.
You have the choice between two types of swimming pools: above ground or inground. Some manufacturers offer an inground pool that looks as though its overflowing and has offset edges that give the impression of a mirror-like surface instead of a basin, this is called an infinity pool. Similar to a lake whose water flows, not into a river, but into a return basin. With regard to costs, it is necessary to add 10 to 100% of its price for the fitting, the detail and aesthetics of your arrangement.
Also, you will need to buy the accessories for your pool: a pump, water heater, water treatments, solar and winter shades, a fence, as well as a buoy and a pole for safety. Additionally, you are required to secure access to the swimming pool so that it’s not dangerous for children.
The safety measures are as follows:
- The fence surrounding the pool must be a least 1.2 meters tall.
- Barriers or doors should be provided with latches and spring hinges.
- The ladder and objects around it should be removed after each swim.
- The filtration system must be more than one meter away from the pool.
If you're thinking about installing a pool in your yard, you should plan the time of purchase and installation, choose the model and install safety measures to avoid accidents. With these three steps taken into account, it is time to design the layout of your yard.
What are the different models of pools?
Above-ground pools cost roughly $3000 and semi-inground pools start at $10 000. If you opt for the above-ground pool, several materials, shapes and height choices are available to you:
- The steel pool is popular, cheaper, and more resistant than aluminum, however, steel can rust easily. The aluminum pool does not rust but it oxidizes over time and will eventually weaken. A pool made from treated yellow pine offers a more natural appearance but its lifespan is shorter than the other two materials.
- A round shape between 12 and 27 feet in diameter is the cheapest and most popular form but takes up more space. An oval shape from 12 by 24 feet to 18 by 33 feet allows for greater lengths but costs roughly $1500 more.
- At 48 inches in height, the pool is more aesthetic and easier to fit but some manufacturers no longer offer this option. At 52 inches high, the pool is safer and harder for children to access but you should expect to pay between $100 and $200 for these extra four inches.
An inground pool should cost between $29 850 and $38 250 and its annual maintenance cost varies between $806 and $876. If you opt for the inground pool option, several materials are available on the market:
- Concrete allows you to build the model of your choice; whether beach or spa-inspired, with integrated waterfall, this material should be cleaned annually and repainted every three years.
- A resin casing is used for the concrete, which is ideal for sloping grounds, as is solid concrete and helps reduce maintenance.
- Fibreglass as a precast moulded shell is durable, easy to repair and quick to install but leaks can cause the shell to swell.
- Polymer doesn’t oxidize but its structure cannot be exposed to the sun. So, the pool must be installed quickly otherwise the sides can become deformed.
- Galvanized steel covered with canvas is a popular material with a good value for your money but the number of shapes available is limited to materials such as resin, fibreglass, and polymer.
Heating your pool for the lowest cost
Having a swimming pool is a luxury since, as an investment, it adds close to nothing in regard to your property’s value. This is why tips for saving are important to your budget.
The sun is a free source of energy, so it’s up to you to set the pool up in the most exposed part of your yard. You can also turn to solar power through panels installed on the roof. The traditional canvas unrolled over the pool remains the most efficient way to heat the pool.
If you want to heat your water, using a heat pump will save you half of what it would cost to use an electric or gas heater.
Overcoming deck related obstacles
The semi-inground pool is an option that shouldn’t be overlooked. Instead of installing an above-ground pool on the ground or having an expensive inground, the semi-inground pool is an above-ground pool just 45 cm over ground level. This option offers you a multitude of possibilities in terms of decks or patios while preserving the privacy of your yard.
Just when you’re about to lie in the sun, have you ever been disturbed by youngsters standing on their deck, sticking out from the fence, having fun and jumping in the pool? If your cedar hedge has not yet reached the desired height to hide your neighbours' house, it is best to install the wooden deck over a slab patio. The space between the level of the deck and that of the patio can be filled by a long walkway large enough to constitute a bench for swimmers drying in the sun. A semi-inground pool will be a wonderful place to spend those sunny days!
Photo: Tamera Clark
A sloping terrain poses certain development problems that a deck can help solve. The gradient of the ground is on two levels, the lower one being arranged on the patio on which your above-ground swimming pool is located. This results in a loss of space between the stone wall retaining the higher level, and the swimming pool. A deck that spans both levels to border the pool makes up for the loss of space with a platform.
In the case of an inground pool lined with a strip of coloured plants and shrubs, surrounded by a slab which is lined with a wooden platform, this can create the space for a raised deck. Here, the wooden deck takes the form of a mound where you can place a table and chairs. This perch will also allow you to monitor the pool while seated at the table.
Playing Tetris with the elements: how to organize your backyard
“Who’s going to swim laps? The pool is really for made for relaxing.” says Taktik Design general manager Nicola Tardiff Bourdages. This is the watchword for the new trend of small swimming pools with a surface of 3 meters by 5 meters. In addition to obtaining a municipality permit, you must comply with the safety standards listed above, hide the mechanics so as not to disturb the neighbours in the vicinity and above all: use your space logically.
The outdoor kitchen with a barbeque or terrace must be adjacent to the back door and windows while freeing access to the high traffic areas. Do not install a table for eight people that occupies the entire space. You only have to adjust the area by taking out a table and chairs when you have guests over. A flowerbed can take the place of a one-meter wide concrete walkway along the pool. Note that a small pool requires less water and warms up faster.
Photo: Mandy Jansen
A simple renovation on your home can give you new strategies to organize the outdoor areas without compromising ergonomics and comfort while integrating an area to house the recycling bin, garbage and pool mechanics. Consider the sun's path that will indicate where to install the pool, on the opposite side of the relaxing corner which should be set in the shade. In cities where high-rise buildings create large shaded areas, the amount of sunlight in a yard can change from house to house.
If you have a place to hang it, a hammock allows you to relax without taking up too much space. Why not add Aztec statuettes and paint your garden furniture with bright colours to remind you of your last trip to Mexico? When your children try to break open the piñata you will see how effective your layout has been!
What are the current trends?
Whether you currently own a pool or are looking to own one, one thing is certain that in the summer of 2011 you couldn’t have predicted the summer trends of 2016. Let’s take a closer look at what has changed in terms of outdoor landscaping with swimming pools in the last five years.
Back in the day, you abandoned your 1970s-style kidney shaped inground swimming pool for the clean lines of a rectangular pool. In the 1980s the average size of the pools was roughly 4.9 meters by 9.8 meters (16 feet by 32 feet), by 2012 the formats were modest at 3 meters by 7.3 meters. While in the city mini-basins have made their way into more and more courtyards.
The innovations of 2011 like the gentle slope of entry to give your pool a beach feel, parasols anchored in the swimming pool and infinity pools with a surface that seems to blend into the horizon recall the extent we will go to perfect our yards. In 2016, the pool and spa interlock in a wooden deck or a built-in setup so that their edge is at level with the patio slab. Also, the safety fence is increasingly designed to be nearly invisible by using transparent materials.
The trend of installing a basin next to the main pool like a spa or a waterfall continues to develop. On the other hand, the natural style with stone waterfalls has given way to more contemporary architectural styles.
What are the European trends?
Looking across the Atlantic could give you a few ideas on how to stand out from the crowd, even if the European climate is warmer and the materials can differ from one continent to another.
As mentioned above, a heat wave is the best incentive to trigger a homeowner to visit a pool merchant. Why not accentuate this effect by morphing your pool and yard into an oasis? The dry garden can be where the sand is laid down; use gravel or pebbles for plants and shrubs with colourful flowers. A few large fruit trees can evoke a sense of exoticism reminiscent of a tropical golf course. Adding big volcanic stones can help break up the uniformity of the garden and instead of a traditional path, try aligning very flat stocks as stepping stones.
Whether your inground pool is straight or in the shape of an “L” or has a more organic shape, creating the effect of a floor in your courtyard will give it the look of a villa. This floor can be made of natural stone, porcelain, stoneware, coloured concrete or slate. The uniform rectangular area will accentuate the pools organic form as the focal point of your yard.
Whether you have a small lot in the heart of the city or more open space on the outskirts of town, a swimming lane is a great option for sports enthusiasts and those looking to exercise alike. Imagine a pond with a cedar hedge, a long pergola or a series of shrubs planted at regular intervals, all these visual elements will give your pool area a more linear look similar to a resort.
It is up to you to deal with the following outdoor fittings: planters, potted trees, pergola, modular garden furniture, resting area with an outdoor carpet, candles, lanterns etc.
You can always use this space for hosting outdoor parties. Projectors with LED lights in multiple colours, floating candles, ephemeral dyes to colour the pool water and underwater speakers will create a yard that will remind people of a Caribbean resort!
For more information on the construction and installation of pools consult our article: Steps to Building An Inground Pool
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