So you wanna build a pool? Here’s some things to think about first:

Hello, and welcome to my first blog post regarding some of our building journey! We have decided to go ahead and include our pool in our preliminary building budget for two reasons:

  1. We only want to do one lump loan with everything building-related included.
  2. Building the pool at the beginning of the build process cuts down on messes to clean up later. By building the pool in the preliminary building phase, we don’t have to worry about concrete trucks tearing up our driveway, landscaping, or any sprinkler systems we decide to put in place. I will put a disclaimer that thet pool company will not/cannot start on your pool until the exterior walls of a house are present. This was odd to me, but it has to do with city codes.

Obviously, including a pool into a new build budget isn’t in the cards for everyone, but I wanted to give a breakdown of what the process (and cost) of building a pool is in general. We are opting to put in a gunite pool, so I can only speak to numbers that we have been told based on this type of pool. I can write another blog post on why we chose gunite over vinyl lined later, but for now let’s talk budgeting.

Pool cost depends on a variety of variables, and each individual choice drives the total cost up or down.

Pool cost depends on a variety of variables, and each individual choice drives the cost up or down. Sadly, this is the answer you get to a lot of those “but how much does this cost” questions when it comes to designing or building ANYTHING, and a pool is no different. But I want to share some things to consider when designing your own pool based on the conversations we have had with professionals in order to nail down your ideal budget.

Hold on tight, we are about to talk some pretty hefty numbers. We were told that a standard, 22 foot long, retangle pool with no additional add ons prices start at $60,000. To add on a basic spa (hot tub), prices start at $15,000. This puts a small, basic pool project starting at $75,000. Pool cost is calculated based on the perimeter of the pool, so any abnormal shapes can easily make the cost increase.

Addtional factors that affect price:

  • Size of pool
  • Shape of pool
  • Depth of pool
  • Adding a spa (hot tub)
  • Masonry and Tile choices
  • Fire Features
  • Fountain systems
  • Decking
  • Interior finishing
  • Grotto additions
  • Pool Covers
  • Steps/Seating/Lounging Areas
  • Heating Systems
  • Landscaping
Photo by Pixabay on

So now that we have all that stuff out of the way, lets talk about how you can decide what kind of pool is best for you, your family, and your budget. For us, we oringinally wanted it all! Who doesn’t? Pinterest is a black hole where dreams live and reality is a facade that doesn’t exist. However, out in the real world, there is real money that (typically) has to be borrowed/paid back. And our “Pinterest Pool” was going to cost us at LEAST $150,000... hahahaha no thank you…

So how do you navigate what you really need in your pool? First, we wrote out a wants list of everything we wanted- even the crazy things. For us, we really thought we wanted a rectangle heated pool with a deep diving section, large shallow area for entertaining,tanning ledge, and spa; along with some other fun details like fire features. (Like I said, we wanted it ALL). So how to narrow it down?

We started to imagine using this pool and asked ourselves these questions:

  • What do we see ourselves doing in this space in 5 years?
  • What do we see our future (or current if that applies) children doing in this space in 5 years?
  • Do we entertain often?
    • If yes, how many people?
    • Are our guests athletic/enoy water games like volleyball or basketball?
  • What style fits our home?
    • Modern? (i think of these as geometrical, clean lined pools)
    • Traditional? (i think of these as curvy, rock pools)
  • What do we have space for?
    • Are we adding landscaping aroud the pool?
    • Do we need to leave space for additional entertaining/play areas?
Photo by Edneil Jocusol on

Once you have asked yourself these preliminary questions, stand in your space and mark out how big your “ideal” pool would be!

I’m such a visual person and measurements have 0 meaning in my mind if I can’t see it in person. Seeing what you have space for is a great way of getting a size idea down, and doesn’t leave you asking your pool designer “ughh how big is that?” during your meetings. You can always adjust the size if the price point isn’t right, but thise gives you and idea to go off of.

After we had done both these things, it was time to start whittling down our list. We seperately picked out our top 3 features we felt were important to us, and reconviened to compare. Thankfully, we weren’t too far off. What stumped us the most was the desire for a large shallow end or for a diving area, because we needed to make a choice since our budget wasn’t going to allow for both.

Ultimately, we decided on vetoing the diving end and replacing it with what our designer calls “the cannonball zone”. Basically, we have plenty of room for a shallow volleyball area before the grade of the pool will slope down to 6-7 ft (undecided yet, the deeper we go, the longer the pool and the higher the price).

We also decided to veto the deep end so that we could splurge on a automatic pool cover. This is a non-negotiable factor in our design because of the safety a cover offers (vital if we ever choose to foster/adopt in the future). These pool covers start around $15,000, so we did not have the room in our budget to have everything. I will cover more of our thought process on decisions we made in a later post, so stay tuned for those!

Ultimately, it comes down to what you will utilize the most for it’s cost. If it stretches your budget to the limit, will you really enjoy it? Choose what works for you, and your budget to get the most out of your pool!

Talk soon,

xx, Lanna

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