Thinking of Building a New Swimming Pool or Spa?

Swimming Pool and Spa Basics: Getting Your Feet Wet

Curious about what it takes to build a swimming pool or spa in your own backyard? Ask yourself several important questions and consider some key points before making the big commitment. Use this guide to explore in-depth the questions and issues that will arise during the pool planning process.

  • 01 of 06
    woman diving into pool
    A woman dives into a pool. Dimitri Otis/Getty Images

    This much you know: it's hot enough where you live to drive you out of your house and into your yard, where you'd really like to have the option of diving into a nice, refreshing swimming pool. Or maybe a spa.

    Questions to ask yourself:

    • A swimming pool?
    • A spa or hot tub?
    • Both?
    • A spool?
    • Where will it go?
    • How will I pay for it?

    Building or installing a new swimming pool or spa is a major addition to your property and your lifestyle. Are you up for it? Find out.

  • 02 of 06
    boy on pool slide
    Boys splash on a pool slide. Bob Ingelhart/Getty Images

    It may seem like a no-brainer—who wouldn't want a private swimming pool or spa? To get started, write down a list of the reasons you might want one or the other. Include all family members or household members in the process and consider each person's desires and opinions. Most likely, the reasons will include one or more of the following:

    • Recreation/relaxation
    • Exercise/therapy
    • Entertaining
  • 03 of 06
    hedge garden and pool
    Formal hedge garden with narrow lap pool. Fotosearch/Getty Images

     Not all pools are built alike. There's a pool design, type, shape, and style for every budget, personal taste, and lot size. Another consideration: local availability of materials, who will be building or installing the pool, and regional codes and regulations.

    Just a few types available:

    • Infinity or vanishing edge pool.
    • Indoor pool.
    • Lap pool
  • 04 of 06

    Where's it Going to Go?

    vanishing edge pool e
    Beautiful, vanishing-edge pool. Getty Images

    If the word acre(s) is included in describing your lot size, it's only a matter of choosing one of many potential places to build a swimming pool or spa. For the rest of us with smaller or oddly sized plots of outdoor living space, it might be a challenge to accommodate a pool. Important points to ponder:

    • Lot size and shape
    • Logistics and accessibililty
    • Climate, weather, and indoors or outdoors
    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06
    cleaning a pool
    Man cleaning a pool. Getty Images

    Unless you have a hired staff and pool guy, there's no way around the fact that the pool or spa is going to need to be maintained and cleaned regularly. And if that responsibility rests on your shoulders, you'll need to know what you're doing; no fumbling or faking. 

    Are you prepared to tackle it?

    Follow this guide to pool tests kits, saltwater calculators, types of filters, pool cleaners, and how to keep your pool sparkling clean and properly maintained.

  • 06 of 06
    man standing by pool
    Man staring at pool. Serge Kozak/Corbi/Getty Images

    Are you on that fence about building or installing a swimming pool or hot tub? With building costs, maintenance, and environmental reasons, it might not be such a great idea to go forward with a pool project. We help you sort through the issues. If you love swimming but realize that you can't afford one, there's probably a community pool nearby.

    6 Smart Reasons Not to Have a Pool