Choosing the Best Swimming Pool for Your Home and Kids


With modern design and construction innovations, you have more possibilities than ever for your home’s swimming pool. At the same time, this can also make your decision a little more difficult. Before you make your final choice, it’s a good idea to learn more about your available options. This quick guide provides some essential information about the materials, sizes and shapes that go into residential pool design.

Size Really Does Matter

When pondering your options for pool designs in Dallas, you’ll first need to consider your pool’s size. Bob Villa expert Joe Provey explains that most pools fall into one of three categories:

· Swim spas, ranging between 10 and 14 feet in length

· Lap pools, which can span up to 82 feet long

· Recreational pools, which come in a wide range of sizes

Swim spas incorporate a manmade current against which you can swim in place. Lap pools, as their name implies, are for lap swimming to exercise or train for competition. Recreational pools are the average family pools that you’ll find in most residential yards. The contractor you hire to create and construct your pool will likely have expertise in recreational pool design.

Common Pool Construction Materials

Provey adds that most residential pools are built from vinyl, fiberglass or concrete. Out of these three choices, vinyl is usually the least expensive. First, a plastic, metal or wood frame is constructed inside an excavated part of the yard. Depending on your installer, it may also be set in a concrete footing. After wall panels are installed on the frame, a sand base and plumbing are added. The final steps include attaching a durable vinyl liner, filling the remaining parts of the excavation and installing masonry over the top.

Fiberglass pools start with a pre-molded construction that includes steps, swim outs and benches. Your contractor will still excavate a hole in your yard. After which plumbing and a sand base will be installed. Once the fiberglass pool components are lowered into the ground, it’s filled with water and backfilled with sand.

Depending on the mixture and application type, concrete pools will contain either wet shotcrete or Gunite. You won’t typically find poured concrete or concrete block pools these days: Contractors usually trowel a plaster finish over the concrete to make interior surfaces smoother and create a watertight seal.

Understanding Pool Shapes

Now that you’ve learned about pool size and materials, it’s time to take a look at typical pool shapes. The Spruce’s Lisa Hallett Taylor comments that form and function go hand-in-hand: Some shapes are ideal for lap swimming, others are better suited to recreational use, and a few can readily support both. Hallett Taylor discusses nine different shapes in use today:

· Rectangular

· Oval or round

· Kidney-shaped

· Figure-8

· Multi-sided or geometric

· Custom or novelty

· L-shaped

· Freeform

· Classic or Roman

The rectangle is the most common shape you’ll see in residential swimming pools. Both practical and visually attractive, rectangular pools can accommodate both lap and recreational swimming. Oval and round pools became in vogue during the golden age of Hollywood. First designed by Philip Ilsley in the 1930s, round pools are favored mostly for luxury pool constructions. You’ve probably also seen kidney-shaped pools, first conceived by landscape architects Thomas Church and Lawrence Halprin in the late 1940s. These pool shapes were very popular in mid-century modern homes. L-shaped pools remain fairly popular in residential spaces, as do freeform, Roman and custom-shaped pools.

Working With a Pool Designer

When hiring a pool designer and builder, you’re entering into a collaborative process. You have certain needs in mind: how your family will use the pool, the most aesthetically pleasing shape and keeping maintenance costs affordable. As the client, your choices for shape and size are ultimately up to you. However, your designer can provide sound advice on the type of pool that’s ideal to install on your property and will best meet your needs.