When we think of pools, we picture large, blue swimming holes in the backyard. But like everything in outdoor living, pools are evolving and now come in all shapes and sizes. New pool designs on the market allow homeowners to tailor their pool for specific uses. Diving, dipping, soaking, exercising or relaxing, each activity has a design that is perfect for it. Before you install a pool, go beyond the typical images and take a deep look into what kind of watering hole would work for you.
A swimming pool typically has a shallow end leading to an increasingly deeper end. Although the term “swimming” seems to lend an athletic meaning, most swimming pools are meant for family entertainment and relaxation rather than formal swim stroke exercises. Swimming pools come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be filled with fresh water or saline water. Trending features in pool design now include zero-entry or a sun deck. A zero-entry pool has a slight grade that resembles a beach, allowing a very gradual entry into the water. A sun deck is a shelf in the pool where the water is shallow and beach chairs can be used for lounging. Other water features, like fountains and waterfalls, can be added to any type of pool.
If waking up and jumping into cold water to start your day sounds appealing, an in-ground plunge pool is for you. Ancient medicine wisdom tells us a cold shock to the system in the morning is good for circulation and for decreasing inflammation. Motivational speaker Tony Robbins can be seen each morning jumping feet-first into a very deep, 56ºF-water plunge pool at his home. Therapeutic in purpose, athletes use plunge pools after workouts to help with muscle strain and joint swelling.
A small, shallow pool for wading and relaxing is known as a dipping pool. Sometimes the terms “plunge pool” and “dipping pool” are erroneously interchanged. Unlike a plunge pool, a dipping pool can have heated water and a shallow depth. It can be above-ground or in-ground. Ideal for smaller spaces, a dipping is a family entertainment pool, used for cooling off gently and peacefully.
A lap pool is a long, narrow and shallow pool designed for the homeowner to repeat laps in various strokes. Usually as wide as one Olympic pool lane lengths vary from from half as long or as long as a standard Olympic lane. Meant for serious swimmers, a lap pool’s main purpose is exercise. It can also be a dipping pool when not in use for laps. If space is at a premium, an “endless pool” is a smaller lap pool that creates a current to swim against. An endless pool current can be adjusted for each swimmer’s level by providing a range of rigorous force or slower lap resistance.
An “Infinity” pool is a swimming pool feature that presents the illusion of a disappearing pool edge. The infinity feature boasts a calming effect, and the disappearing edge is designed to bring attention to the outstanding natural scene surrounding it. Feelings of luxury and serenity come with relaxing by an infinity edge.
Of course, any pool design can be structured to include the homeowner’s desires. For example, a spa (or hot tub) can be installed alongside a matching plunge pool, a lap pool can lead into a large family pool. If the water type, temperature and maintenance will be about the same, then many pool elements can be combined or used in conjunction with each other. Take a look through some photographs to get ideas on what kind of pools are right for your lifestyle and backyard.