Summer’s Best Pools

StyleSummer's Best Pools

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Yes, pools cost a pretty penny, but do you want your very own swimming hole next summer? Eight tips to keep in mind.

Yes, it's officially the last weekend of summer so soak in those rays (sunscreen and dermatologist be damned!) and spend as much time as possible in the water. As you bid farewell to pool floats and barbecues, consider whether you should add a pool to your own backyard. Yes, installing a pool costs the same as a Mercedes C-Class (and there will be insurance and upkeep to consider), but is there anything more luxurious than floating in your own swimming hole? Be inspired and take the plunge.

Location, Location, Location

"Pools are a serious and expensive undertaking, so thorough planning is imperative," says Russell Groves of Groves and Co. "The most important factor to consider is the setting. If you are able, tuck the pool around the corner, away from the main living spaces of the home so the pool doesn't dominate the view. This is especially important in colder climates when the pool is covered for much of the year. If you enjoy the sun, make sure the location receives ample afternoon sunlight as the pool will cool drastically once it's shaded. And watch out for trees in the vicinity. Do not build a pool near trees that drop pollen, needles, or fruit." A few common trees to avoid: elm, oak, pine, poplar, and walnut.

Salt vs. Chlorine

Nicole Fuller, founder of Nicole Fuller Interiors, suggests you consider salt water pools, but remember, they aren't technically chemical free or chlorine free. During electrolysis (that technique you learned about way back in high school chemistry), salt water is charged with a current and creates chlorine. While the initial installation of the system can cost $5000, the ongoing costs are less and the amount of chlorine in the pool is reduced. (So your blonde hair won't turn green.)

Size of the Pool


NYT House – S.Russell Groves, Springs

Consider the size of the pool in relation to the size of the house. "Bigger always isn't better," advises Fuller. "Less is more. A chic and quiet pool is much sexier."

This probably doesn't need to be mentioned, but do you have space for a pool? "Check your town's regulations about siting and requirements for land and slope around the pool," recommends Kati Curtis.

Swimming Laps?

"Are you a serious swimmer?" asks Groves. "If you don't have the length of a true Olympic size, can you build in a resistance feature?"

Baja Shelf

Tanning ledges, also known as baja shelves, are wide ledges or steps that stretch from one side of the pool to the other. The shallow zone usually four inches deep is perfect for staying cool while getting a tan.


Eve Robinson/Oliver Cope: Quogue Residence

Infinity Pool

It's hard to go wrong with an infinity pools, especially above the water or on a coast line.

Slate and Gunite

Gunite pools are the most popular design in the US and slate flagstones are heavy and durable, easy to install and vary in lengths, widths, and colors.

"Generally, I prefer simple, rectangular gunite pools with minimal detailing," says Groves. "I love when the decking goes right up to the edge of the pool. I also love how the steps of the deck seem to flow right into the pool."

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Keep it Simple

"Avoid any kind of gimmick—other than a hot tub or infinity edge," says Groves. "No water features or tricky lighting. It's not Las Vegas!"

Nicole agrees, "Don't select busy tiles unless you have a clear vision and focus on how to execute. Every pool does not need a water feature."

Finishing Touches

Last, but not least, if you can swing it, an outdoor shower is a must.

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