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    Site Selection for Inground Swimming Pools

    April 21, 2014

    choose the location for your inground pool

    One of the first things to decide upon when building your own inground pool, before you buy an inground pool kit - is pool location, or site selection. This stage takes careful consideration of local pool ordinances or regulations, to know how large of a pool you can fit, and the exact location of the pool.

    Most permit processes require you to submit a property plat along with your permit application to show the pool location, which is drawn to scale, directly on the plat.

    columbus-ohioRESIDENTIAL SWIMMING POOLS - Submit two copies of the Site Plan, which shows the following minimum items. Electric service line, overhead and underground. Sanitary sewer location. Fence location and height, and the diameter or length and width of the pool. Depth or height of pool. Material pool is constructed from, and the distance of the pool edge to the property lines and any other structures on the property. Location of electric outlets within 20 feet of the pool. 

    And if you live in York, Pennsylvania - your inground pool permit application should be submitted with:

    Seal of the City of York, PaSWIMMING POOLS / SPA - (inground and above ground) - must have two (2) copies (full size, to scale) of the property site plan, showing the pool/spa location from all lot lines to the water's edge and distances from any other structure drawn to scale on the plan and location of overhead power lines. Submit tow (2) sets of plans showing pool/spa size (length, width, depth), pool/spa specification and equipment list, pump connections, pump horsepower, electrical connections and GFI location, plumbing connections and pool barrier detail, showing compliance with the UCC. 

    For residents of Springfield, Illinois, your department of building and zoning will require: springfield-illinois-seal

    NOTICE REGARDING SWIMMING POOL INSTALLATIONS - When applying for a building permit for the swimming pool and fence, a site plan must be submitted showing how far away the pool is from the property lines, overhead electrical wires, buildings and other structures on the lot. If a new fence is to be erected, the site plan must show the fence line, and how far from the property line adjoining the street the fence will be. If the fence is existing the site plan must show the current location.

    boundary-surveyWhere Do I Find My Property Plat?

    Your property plat is usually an 8x11" or 11x17" paper with a seal at the bottom. It shows the coordinates of your property, lot number and property lines.

    You will usually have a copy of the plat in your home closing documents. If you can't locate it there, you can contact your realtor, or the title company that you worked with when purchasing the home. If these are dead ends - try the county assessors office. As a last resort, a surveyor can be hired to survey the property boundaries and produce a plat for you.  

    5 Criteria for Locating Inground Pools

    As you can see from above - there are many considerations or restrictions as to where you can place an inground pool. To dig a bit deeper into these, we can group them into the following:

    Backyard Terrain:

    backyard-terrainDoes your backyard have a grade change, or a slope to one or more sides of the property? If it varies only by a few inches it's not a concern, but if it drops off, or rises up several feet, you have to think about the dirt that would need to be added (or removed).

    Retaining walls can be used to extend the backyard over a downward slope, or to cut into an upwards slope, both to extend the pool deck area.

    Setbacks and Easements

    setbacks-easementsSetbacks vary by zoning district or neighborhood, so it's hard to find a town by town figure, but there is usually always some distance from the property line or septic field that can't be built upon. In some cases it can be small, from 3-5 feet, and in other districts, it can be 10-20 feet. A stream or river through the property can increase the setback to 50 ft or more in cases of designated wetlands, or resource protected areas. Your plat won't likely show setback distance, contact your Building and Zoning department directly, and ask what the setbacks are for your neighborhood, or more specifically - your address.

    Easements are also areas of a property that can't be built upon. A residential property can have drainage easements, utility easements or right of way easements. Scenic easements or conservation easements can also exist. Easements are usually shown on the property plat or property survey, if they exist. If not, the permit process will normally discover them!

    Location of Utilities

    utilities for your pool equipmentGas, water, sewer, electric, cable - these all enter your home at some point. In most cases, they are placed on the side of the property, and run from the street or sidewalk to one side of the house. In some cases they come in from the rear or side of the property. Suffice it to say that you can't build an inground pool near the location of underground or overhead utilities. And if you have a septic system, there are setbacks distances required. A pool also is usually located in the side or rear of the property, although some areas will allow a front yard pool, on a large parcel.

    From a practical perspective, you also need to consider where the pool equipment will get it's power from, the location of water to fill the pool, and maybe the gas meter, if you plan to install a gas pool heater. The choice of where your pool equipment is located may be influenced by the existing location of water, power and gas in your home. Locate your pool and equipment very far from these, and it will cost more to extend the utilities where you need them.


    sunshine-poolTake an inventory of your summer sunshine in the backyard, if that is important to you. Do you prefer early sun, or late-in-the-day sun? You can position your pool to take advantage of more sun, and/or place your equipment strategically for installing a solar pool heater.

    Large trees in the backyard? I would recommend a buffer of 50 feet from large shade trees, to prevent a messy pool, and damage from tree roots. I know it's difficult to think about cutting down large trees, but you can always replant, using slow growing evergreens or smaller ornamental trees with less litter.


    inground-pool-safetyThe location of your pool fence will need to be printed on the property plat. In most cases, a 3-sided fence (with the fourth side being the rear of the house), will suffice - if rear door alarms are used, but for greater safety, a 4-sided fence is recommended.

    Depending on your property and fence layout, you may be able to section off part of the backyard, and connect a 2-sided internal fence to two sides of your property perimeter fence. Your local building and zoning will have very precise requirements for pool fencing, which they may call a barrier.

    Another important safety consideration is visibility of the pool from the house. A pool that is too far away from the house, or situated such that the entire pool cannot be observed, creates a sketchy safety situation.

    When you're ready to begin building your own inground pool, let the SPP Pool Experts guide you through the steps in the process. Our customers not only receive a top quality inground pool kit delivered to their home, but unlimited pool construction support, from start to finish.

    Call us at 1-800-983-POOL to get started!  

    Larry Weinberg
    SPP Pool Expert  

    Blog Author
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