Homeowners are reluctant to put in their own swimming pools thinking it is beyond their ability – read on and you’ll find the opposite is true. It is true that building an in-ground swimming pool is a complex home improvement project, but if you have the time to make lots of phone calls and are at home to manage the project, you’ll save thousands of dollars that can be used to hire a landscape designer to provide you with a professional garden plan – and possibly pay for the installation of the garden of your dreams.
The following is what you’re up against and should answer many of your questions:
Start dreaming. Often the style of home and or the size of the plot to work with will guide you in the direction as to what type of pool to build.
Tropical, formal, free-form, Mediterranean, as we built on our holiday Costa Blanca property which you can see in the photo above, lap, and Grecian are all styles to look at. If you do become a do-it-yourselfer you’ll need to do all the leg-work, which means a trip down to your county building department to pay for building permits and other possible related fees.
Most countries have strict laws about pool fencing – which is another item you may need to fit into the construction budget. The biggest problem for the homeowner installing a pool is coming up with the structural drawings and specs needed to satisfy your local building department. Many landscape designers and or pool designers can provide this for you and there are online providers as well. These requirements vary depending where you live.
Timing is the key. A pool started late in the season can save you lots of funds, as pool sub-contractors are scrambling to garner any end of the season business. This means bids come in low for each phase of the pool building process which includes: layout and excavation, rebar (steel bars tied into place which forms the structural strength of the pool ), plumbing and electrical, gunite, plaster or pebble- tek, tile and finally the concrete, flagstone, or other decking you choose.
Be careful though, if you live in an area with winter rainstorms, to have all the contractors lined up and ready to go – especially through to the gunite stage. A big storm can cave an excavated side in, which is a mess to clean out once the re-bar is tied into place.
Other considerations include: Make sure the flood light shines away from the home. The last thing you want is guests thinking a train is coming at them.
Pipe plumbing size is extremely important. Often contractors will skimp to save a few bucks and you pay in the long run by having to run your filter longer. Two inch or larger return and service lines will process pool water quicker through the filter, which means you save on the electric bill. An automatic water-fill is nice as it keeps the pool’s water level constant. Also, don’t skimp on the pump and filtration system. Get the best equipment available.
Finishing touches to think about include: A large entry shelf is a platform where the water depth is 8 to 12 inches deep. This is where you can place a deck chair and relax, or carefully watch the little ones splash around. Waterfalls, or formal spillways are something to ponder if the cash flow permits. Deck sprayers are a fairly low-cost water feature you might consider. Brass plates are placed flush with the finished deck, and spray a jet of water which is aimed at a desired location into the pool.
Also, make sure you design the patio space around the pool large enough the first time around as add-ons usually turn out poorly. And finally, if all this sounds like more than you’d like to take on don’t fret: There are companies that provide something in between hiring a full service pool builder and you doing it on your own. For a fee they will provide you with a pool design and everything you’ll need to satisfy the county and a packet that has everything detailed out in terms of contacts and scheduling.