Top Three Things to Consider when Planning Your Backyard Pool

A lovely pool in a Vinings home for sale listed by Tina Hunsicker .

An appealing pool located at a Vinings home for sale that was listed by Tina Hunsicker.

While the summer is quickly coming to a close, the temperatures are still high in metro Atlanta.  There are still many days left in the pool season!

Swimming pools are a fun amenity to have in a home and I have lots of clients each year looking for a house with a pool or considering to put one in their current home.

As with any amenity, location and type of pool, and considerations on how to reduce ongoing maintenance are key factors.  I do believe a pool adds value, however that value is diminished if the location of the pool or features of the pool don’t fit the house, neighborhood or lot.

I may have a few appraiser friends that can add a statement here as to their impressions, but I’ve seen appraisals come in with as much as a $50k bump for the pool.

That being said, good sized pools with the right equipment, decking and landscaping can easily cost $100,000.

Many people enjoy their neighborhood pools and country clubs, but there’s still nothing like the convenience and beauty of one in your own backyard!  In my own home, we thoroughly enjoy our pool as well!

Below are some comments I’ve taken from the advice of a friend combined with my own thoughts, experience and recommendations when considering having your own pool.

1 – Planning Your Pool

My suggestion would be to try and gauge how comparable the proposed pool would be to the pools located at homes that have recently traded in the target price point of your home.

For example, some of the things I mention below may not apply if you have a $300,000 home, but would be a must at the $1M price point.  I’ll add a caveat here that many people get frustrated with their pool contractor, so check as many references as you can that are close in location to you.

2 – Kinds of Pools

A heated salt-water pool with an interior finish that is either pebble-sheen or pebble-Tec, along with some amount of useable and attractive stone flat deck space for lounge chairs, etc., as well as space for any safety fencing that may be required.


This automatic pool cover protects a lovely rectangular-shaped infinity-edge pool with a fantastic view.

I also believe that having a rectangular pool with an automated cover will help in resale if the buyer has small children or really wants to minimize maintenance.  The cover reduces evaporation, reduces chemical usage and really keeps the pool clean of debris.

In terms of the interior pool finish, Pebble-sheen is the smoother variant of pebble tech but has similar optical properties in terms of interesting water color. Conventional white plaster shows every kind of dirt, so it’s tougher to maintain.

3 – Maintenance of pools

Mechanicals are important, and in terms of the heater, a +/-400,000 natural gas BTU heater at a minimum for pools 10,000 gallons or more is desirable, especially if there’s a hot tub.

Exploring feasibility of solar options for pool heating would be an excellent idea, especially given energy costs these days. A solar feature would certainly further distinguish the property.

I like the idea of having a hot tub separately as it takes a special design and eats up pool space to have one under the automated cover. Separate hot tubs are less expensive, more comfortable and easier to maintain.

Polaris Robotic Pool Cleaner

Polaris Robotic Pool Cleaner

In terms of maintenance, I love the Polaris automated cleaning robot. If they are configured correctly and maintained, they work very well.

Another popular but more costly option is the self-cleaning jets in the pool floor. I have heard nightmares about their repair and replacement and the cost may not justify the means. There could be some other self-cleaning technologies out there too that your pool contractor can discuss with you.

Maintenance costs of pools are so much less than they use to be.  Having a saline/salt water pool requires next to no chemicals.  Additionally, pool services aren’t really required if you have the cover and salt systems.

If you don’t have the desire to maintain your own pool there are many services that are under $50/visit and you can have them every other week. Chemical balance can be maintained very well through a salt-water pool’s automated chlorination catalyst.

Old pools can be remodeled to have the newer features such as: auto-fill feature, salt-water conversion, fountains, Polaris, automated covers etc.

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