There is nothing like the calming feeling of water. Whether the water is trickling in a water feature or inviting you for an evening dip in the pool, poolside living takes relaxing outdoor living to a different level. What is a pool without a poolside structure to sit or lay on to enjoy your space? While you may initially think your poolside surround options consist of not much more than a paver pool surround, you have many more options in outdoor living by your backyard pool.
If you’re considering adding a pool to your home, you may be debating whether to add an above-ground or in-ground pool. There is a dramatic price difference between the two making an above-ground pool quite compelling. After doing research on where you are going to lay your towels, set poolside chairs and set down your beverage, you may come to the financial and practical conclusion that an in-ground pool is the best option. Poolside living is about a lot more than just swimming, floating and hanging out in the pool itself.
When deciding to add an outdoor space to your Chicagoland area home, it’s important to think about how you want to live outside. Does your ultimate backyard experience include a space to steal away with a good book tucked quietly and peacefully in a comfy chair? Does your perfect weekend day include the wafting scent of grilling and a meal or two by the pool? Do you have a big enough brood that the perfect weekend includes giving the noisy and high energy folks their own area to hang out while more refined outdoor living takes place in its own outdoor area? Don’t be fooled into thinking the loud group is the younger ones. An evening poker game or long awaited girls’ night can produce the same volume as a group of kids leaving the rest of the family looking for their own separate outdoor living space. If your family is like most and you are outdoors a lot, most of your time is spent viewing the pool rather than swimming in it. Designing the right space to enjoy your outdoor time and interact with the pool makes a significant difference in your experience.
Here are some questions to help you determine how you want to live outside. Do you want to…
Now that you’ve answered the questions above, you can start to make some considerations about designing your outdoor living space. Let’s look at each of the above because they’re all very important.
If you are looking forward to eating outside, how often and with how many people? Will your family regularly eat outside? How large of a table will you need? Will you want some optional cover? A covered patio, sometimes called an open porch, is a great option for making sure you can still eat outside in extreme sun or some inclement weather. A roofed structure does not have walls so it’s open to the rest of your yard creating seamless flow from your covered to your uncovered outdoor living area. Another benefit of eating under a covered porch is that lighting and other creature comfort such as a sound system or TV can be installed within the ceiling of your porch making outdoor living as much of an evening option as a daytime option.
How often will you entertain poolside? How many people will you regularly entertain? This may indicate the type and amount of seating space or seating areas you’ll need. Will your entertaining include eating? Watching TV? Playing cards? Enjoying beverages? Really think about how you will entertain. This will help you plan what type of space and how much space you need. If you plan on entertaining larger groups, you may want to consider both a deck and a patio. Your pool surround can be made of pavers or stone with additional space on an adjacent deck.
How many people will be frequently lounging around the pool? Will you have teenagers with their friends regularly sunning poolside with your not-so-favorite music playing? Will your entire family frequent the poolside loungers for some quiet after-dinner time? Will you enjoy lounging poolside at a table enjoying the zen of the pool while enjoying meals close by?
There’s a reason you see pictures of pergolas and pavilions at the far side of pools. While these are very attractive structures, their remote placement affords a different type of poolside living. Being on the far end of the pool from the house, the noise and distractions are minimized creating a quieter and serene getaway in your own backyard. You may want to consider extending your patio pool surround to incorporate a pergola. If you are looking for some more substantial cover from the sun and rain, you may want to consider an open roofed structure. Options include a freestanding roofed structure open on all sides. You may want some enclosed side for privacy or to provide some more protection from the elements. There’s a lot to be said for having some great outdoor living outside your back door – but on the far side of the pool.
Start with envisioning how you want to live poolside. We can help you determine the best outdoor structures and spaces to make your poolside living dream a reality.
Decks for above ground pools can be expensive, especially if you surround the pool, because they require so many footings while only creating very little useable space. The under structure of your deck construction must be strong enough to be very long lasting, built correctly to pass code, and engineered to make a safe structure. This requires more perimeter footings and deck supports than your typical square or rectangular deck.
Alternatively, building a deck on one side or around a portion of the pool is much more economical. While we all dread constantly reminding the young ones to stop running laps around the pool’s exterior, there are obvious advantages to be able to walk all the way around the outside of the pool. These include cleaning the pool and having space for entertaining.
While you’re considering your options, be sure to include the maintenance of your pool deck. Different materials require different types of maintenance and range in cost not only now, but over the lifetime of the deck. After comparing the cost between an above-ground pool with a surrounding deck and an in-ground pool with a patio surround, you may likely come to the same conclusion I did. When considering the total cost, maintenance, and integration with our own outdoor living style, the in-ground pool with a patio made the most sense for our family.