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Soak up the sun: Need-to-know info to pick your perfect pool

Option #2: Above-ground

Above-ground pools can accommodate almost any backyard and are available in a wide range of round and oval sizes.
Photo courtesy McKie Pools & Spas

Above-ground pools are a great alternative to an inground pool when you’re working with a more conservative budget. Ranging in height from 1.2 to 1.3 m (4 to 4.5 ft), these pools are made of fibreglass, durable aluminum, or coated steel walls and a vinyl liner. Unlike inground pools, above-grounds do not require excavation or labour-intensive construction work.

Above-ground pools can accommodate almost any backyard and are available in a wide range of round and oval sizes. A non-permanent structure, above-ground pools can be disassembled at the end of the swimming season or taken with you if you move. In addition to complementing the backyard landscape and your home’s exterior, sophisticated wall patterns and subtle colours can be incorporated to co-ordinate with the pool frame.

Option #3: Onground

Onground pools are your third choice and are considered a happy medium between ingrounds and above-grounds. While they share some similarities, onground pools are generally easier to maintain and more economical compared to their inground counterparts. Depending
on your backyard’s landscape, ongrounds can be installed fully out of the ground or partially in the ground, say for instance, when the backyard slopes. In addition, they are typically surrounded by a wooden or vinyl deck, rather than concrete or interlocking stone, and can offer more strength and versatility compared to above-ground pools.

Now that you have a bit more information about your options, are you ready to take the plunge?

Photo courtesy Floral Design and Landscaping Inc.

A backyard pool will help you and your family make countless memories, but what if you added a feature or two that would really give you the oasis of your dreams. If your budget allows, you may want to consider kicking things up a notch. Here are a few ideas to get you started. (Note that not all these features are available for all material types—consult your pool builder for more information.)

Vanishing edges
Also known as infinity pools, vanishing edges create the illusion of a never-ending sheet of water reaching the horizon. To achieve the effect, water extends to the pool’s edge where it is caught by
a trough or basin. This creates a clean, seamless expanse that melds with the landscape behind it.

Rock accents
Natural or artificial rocks or boulders of various sizes can turn a beautiful landscape into an outstanding one. Spread these accents throughout the space to create a cohesive landscape.

Water features
Water features not only add a visual element to the backyard landscape, but they help create a tranquil space for all to enjoy. The sound of trickling water lulls you into a well-deserved nap, easing away the stresses of a hard work week. If you like the sound and look of moving water, but don’t have the budget or room for a waterfall, consider installing nozzles in the pool or pool deck to produce impressive water displays.

Who says you can’t enjoy your pool at night? Adding strategic pool and landscape lighting can help extend the fun into the late-night hours. Choices range from fibre-optic or standard halogen lighting systems to LED fixtures, allowing you to illuminate your pool and yard, while reducing energy costs.

Beach entries
Beach entries mimic the natural sloping of a shoreline, which eliminates the need for ladders and stairs. A gradual slope at the edge of the pool’s shallow end makes entry far easier, particularly for young children or seniors.

Resin in-wall steps
In-wall steps not only help you get in and out of the pool, they can also be used as lounge areas or for resting after a few laps. Consider adding hydrotherapy massage jets to take the lounging experience to a whole other level.

Plunge pools
For backyards that cannot accommodate a full-size inground pool, a plunge pool may be an option. Also known as a lap pool or splash pool, these installations are available in concrete, vinyl, or fibreglass and average approximately 2.4 x 4 m (8 x 13 ft) in size. Enjoy the benefits of a pool without sacrificing your entire backyard.

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