Splash for Summer: Pool Design Trends
As with clothing and car designs, swimming pools are subject to trends that arise from changes in fashion and style. As the U.S. economy continues to recover, many homeowners are thinking about installing a pool that will add maximum impact to their outdoor space. An informal survey of pool and spa websites reveals several trends that play an important role in delivering the design impact that today’s homeowners seek.
According to the online trade magazine Aqua, adding a fire feature to a pool’s landscaping is a top swimming pool trend. Thanks to new technology, it’s relatively easy to install fire bowls or hidden burners that can be operated with the touch of a button, allowing homeowners to add the dramatic contrast of fire and water to almost any pool. Besides fire features, LED lights are allowing pool owners to spend more time in their pools after sunset. Colored LED light systems can be used to create ambience and emphasize certain pool features. Since they are typically low wattage, LEDs can also increase a pool’s energy efficiency.
Fire features are linked to another big pool trend: the at-home resort. Many homeowners who want to recreate the vacation experience in their backyard are adding resort touches such as cascading waterfalls, custom waterslides, fountains, rock grottos and lagoon-style landscapes to their pools. Another trend, pools with geometric shapes, reflects a more modern aesthetic than resort-inspired lagoon pools. Pools with classic lines and shapes are a better fit for modern homes and they typically make better use of backyard space than free-form pools. The simplicity of a pool’s geometric shape is often offset by luxe materials such as shimmering glass tiles, which are now available in a variety of shapes, colors and textures, and natural decking made from travertine or flagstone.
New configurations for pool entry and exit are another trend in pool design. One of these is the beach entry pool, which features a gently sloping transition from pool deck to water that lets you enter the pool in the same way you enter the ocean or a lake from a real beach. Besides providing an interesting design feature, beach entry pools can accommodate a wide range of pool users, from toddlers who enjoy splashing in the shallow water under the watchful eyes of adults to elderly and disabled people who find pool steps difficult to maneuver.
The infinity pool continues to be an important trend in pool design, especially for homes with scenic views. Also known as vanishing edge and zero edge, this pool design features an uncapped rear wall that creates an uninterrupted sight line. The infinity pool has proven to be popular due to its strong visual impact and the way it makes swimmers feel as if they are part of the surrounding environment, so you can expect it to be one trend that sticks around.
Fitness is another important trend in pool design. Homeowners who want to swim laps can either build a pool that’s long and narrow or they can install high-intensity swim jets that provide a constant current to swim against. Resistance jets allow smaller swimming pools to deliver maximum fitness benefits.
Many backyards have both a pool and outdoor kitchen, but the latest trend is to integrate these two features by placing the kitchen next to the pool and including poolside seating or a swim-up bar. According to Pool & Spa Outdoor, another online pool magazine, integrating an outdoor kitchen and a pool creates an entertainment hub that’s perfect for both parties and family meals. Some homeowners are extending their outdoor living space even more with the addition of poolside bathrooms, showers and changing rooms.
Last but not least is the trend for automated pool maintenance. The days of carefully monitoring a pool’s chemical balance are in the past for many pool owners, thanks to automatic control systems. These systems can be used to manage everything from heating or filtration to pH balance via a smart phone, tablet or other mobile device. Control systems are also available for pool lights, water features and even the pool cover. Some homeowners are ridding themselves of chlorination issues altogether by installing salt water pools, while others are using UV systems that kill bacteria in pool water with ultraviolet light rays.
This overview of pool trends shows that the basic round pool is on the way out and is being replaced by creative, customized designs that reflect a homeowner’s individual sense of style. If you’re in the market for a pool, look for a unique design that encompasses both the pool and the surrounding outdoor space. Besides providing a backyard oasis where you can relax and enjoy many happy hours, a beautifully designed pool will add to the value of your home.
Sources: AquaMagazine.com, PoolSpaOutdoor.com and SwimmingPool.com.