Exterior Patio

Sink or Swim?

When we design a custom home for a client, the consideration to outdoor details are as important as the interior designs. While we help clients design their dream kitchens, bathrooms and more, we find ourselves putting more and more time into options for their outdoor living spaces. Perhaps it’s the fact that more folks are choosing to work from home, and the “Staycation” is rivaling expensive get-aways as a way to get away from everything.

Many of our recent custom homes have included firepits, outdoor kitchens with full sinks and refrigeration built in, heaters for cooler weather, and all of the necessary components for an entertainment system.

What if your idea of a dream home includes a luxurious water feature, like a pool or spa?

Your first consideration should be your intended use. Do you want something to help you relax at the end of a long day? A swimming pool might limit your usage to the warmer months, while many are able to enjoy a hot tub year-round. Do you want something suitable for some early-morning laps or a pool with plenty of natural features that help it become an attractive addition to your outdoor living space?

An option that’s growing in popularity is a combination of both – a hot tub and a plunge pool. A plunge pool is too small for idly floating or swimming laps, but is generally deeper than your standard pool, allowing you to relax in your hot tub and then instantly cool off with a “plunge” into the pool.

If you’re going the swimming pool route, you’re going to be faced with a wide range of options. There are a number of attractive above-ground pool designs, and an infinite number of in-ground choices. Your pool could use a vinyl liner, poured concrete, or attractive tile. Another growing trend is the use of saltwater pools. While they aren’t as salty as ocean water, they’re a more eco-friendly option to the many chemicals that are used to treat traditional pools. The salt in the pool breaks down into natural chlorine, and as long as you maintain an appropriate salt balance, the pool will stay clear.

Cost is likely the biggest factor in deciding on a pool. The jumping-in point for a pool is around $40,000, and the sky’s the limit for how much you can invest into design and construction. And then there are annual maintenance costs. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you’ll spend a good bit of money in annual upkeep, things like pumps and covers, and your regular chemical supplies. Hiring a pool service to do the dirty work will easily run $300 or more per month.

And there are other cost factors. Some see a pool as an investment into the value of their home, but most experts say that it will only boost it by around 5-7%. The addition to your resale value depends entirely on the prospective buyer. Your ability to recoup the cost of the pool depends on how long you stay and use it. While some insurance policies will allow you to add a pool onto your coverage, many will consider it a luxury add-on and not covered in case of disaster.

It’s certainly nice to have an attractive outdoor area for relaxing and entertaining, but is a pool a necessary feature for that? These are some questions to ask before diving in.