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    Wading through the Options: How to Design your Dream Inground Pool

    April 16, 2012

    When it comes to purchasing and building your own inground pool, there are many different options to choose from. Some people may feel overwhelmed with all of these options for their inground swimming pool. Read below for a discussion on the different choices that are available and some of the decisions that need to be made along the way.

    What Size and Shape?

    First, you will need to determine the shape and size pool you would like in your backyard. From Bahama to Venetian, we have many different shapes and sizes of inground pool kits - to fit any backyard inground pool plans.

    Steel or Polymer Walls?

    Next, you need to decide on whether you want steel walls or polymer pool walls - we offer both. The most popular pool wall type is the steel wall pool because of its strength and durability. And it may be why they still bridges out of steel and not polymer. I wrote a recent blog post on the features and benefits of each wall type, and we let Steel & Polymer walls fight it out.

    Deluxe or Deluxe Plus Package?

    Another choice you need to make is whether you want our Deluxe or Deluxe Plus equipment package. Our pool kits contain everything you need - except the water and concrete. Our Deluxe Plus pool kit is a much more inclusive pool kit and definitely our most popular inground kit. These 2 pool packages can also be customized for your particular needs by adding or deleting any items from the kit. The list of what comes with each is way too long to list here; over 35 items; view the Pool Kit Components comparison page.

    Vinyl Liner Pattern?

    Choosing the liner pattern can be the most difficult decision for some homeowners. Our Deluxe pool kit normally comes vinyl liners - dozens to choose fromwith a 20 mil liner and the Deluxe Plus kit has a 28/20 mil liner. The liners that we commonly include with our inground pool kits are listed on our site under the Closeout Liners - they are last year's patterns; dozens to choose from. If you see another pool liner pattern on our website that you prefer, let us know. There might be a slight up charge for the latest and greatest designer patterns, but it's usually not a large price difference.

    What type of Pool Floor?

    standard hopper bottom

    When ordering the pool you also need to know what style bottom you want on the floor of the pool. We have many different alternatives; the most popular is called a hopper bottom. A standard hopper has a shallow end typically 40” long, and then the floor slopes to either 6ft or 8ft in the deep end. Any pool smaller than 16’x32 has a maximum depth of 6ft.  If the pool is 16’x32’ or larger, it can be 8ft deep. You let us know how deep of a pool you would like.

    Another option is called a sport bottom and that is when you have 40” flat shallow area on each end of the pool that gradually slopes to 5 or 6 feet in the middle of the pool.  The advantage of using this style would be you could play volleyball or other sports in the pool. Some customers prefer to have one depth, or a flat bottom across the entire pool. We can help you with your decision on the pool floor type that's best for you after talking to you on the phone.

    I built my own pool and my wife and I went back and forth on this decision because at the time my kids were very young and could not swim. We decided to go with a standard hopper; 8ft deep and we're glad we did.  My daughter is now 13 and when she and her friends swim I do not have to worry about someone diving into the pool and hitting their head in the deep end.  If I had gone with the flat bottom as my wife and I has discussed; it would not have been the best long term solution for our backyard.

    What Type of Pool Deck?

    Bull Nose

    Also at time of ordering the pool kit, we like to know what type of decking you are going to use around the pool. If you plan on using concrete or stamped concrete - we will send you our concrete receptor bull nose coping. The concrete for your pool deck is poured right up to the plastic edge around the pool.


    If you are planning on using brick pavers or blue stone or any decorative brick you want to use our cantilever coping. You can also pour concrete right up to the edge for that "California Look". Cantilever coping  gives a more finished look similar to a gunite or concrete pool.  

    What about Upgrades?

    Now that you know what shape and size pool you want, the pool bottom and coping type, and have chosen a liner pattern - you only need to decide on any additional upgrades or accessories to add your dream pool kit. pool salt chlorine system

    One of our most popular upgrades for our pool kits is a pool salt system. Using a salt water chlorine generator instead of using chlorine tablets or granular chlorine will make your water soft and silky and more enjoyable to swim in. With a salt chlorine generator, you will never have anyone complain about burning eyes or discomfort on their skin.

    Another upgrade would be a Hayward Color Logic LED pool light. These give you different colors in your pool. I have one and my kids love it - each one of my kids has a different favorite color.

    With our Deluxe pool kit we include a suction side automatic cleaner which works off the suction of your skimmer. I would recommend on upgrading to a self-contained robotic cleaner, included in the Deluxe Plus kit. Robotic pool cleaners have no hoses to hook up, no debris going through your filter and are the easiest way to clean your pool.  Because it filters as it cleans, robot pool cleaners can save money on chemicals and may reduce the time that you need to run the pool filter pump.

    Hot Enough for You?

    When it comes to heating the pool, look into the costs of gas pool heaters and electric pool heat pumps. When I built my own inground pool, I researched all of my options, and ended up with an electric heat pump for the pool. Electric heat pumps are much more expensive than gas pool heaters, but are about 3-4 times more efficient than a gas heater. 

    If you plan on swimming just on weekends a gas heater may be a better option for you because it will increase the temperature in the pool quicker than an electric heat pump. During the summer my kids are in the pool every day and if you think your family will be the same, then look closely at heat pumps.  My pool is a 16’x32’, kept at 88 degrees all summer long.  It only costs me $800 from May to September, or about $150 per month on average. My neighbors with gas pool heaters can pay twice that amount, and they only keep it the temperature about 82 degrees.

    Bells & Whistles!

    One of my favorite items customers add to their backyard paradise are waterfalls or deck jets. Some other equipment options that are available would include diving boards or slides, additional ladders or handrails.

    Automatic pool covers are a great pool safety item, and they also keep the heat in and dirt and debris out of the pool. Speaking of pool safety (the #1 concern of new pool owners), we have a variety of pool safety products that will help you prevent access or alert others to unauthorized use of your pool.

    If you are like me and love convenience, we also offer automated control systems by Pentair and Jandy. With this type of pool systems control you can program your pool pump to turn on and off when you want, turn pool or patio lights on or off, program your heater or heat pump, landscape lighting, outdoor music or any other electrical accessory in your pool and patio area.

    As you can see, we have a lot of questions for you, when designing your inground pool plan. Hopefully I was able to help you Wade through the Options that make your inground pool more enjoyable. My wife’s friend always complains about the maintenance of her pool (#2 most common concern of new pool owners) and I tell her that, "...if you have the right equipment - it would take care of itself!"

    Everyone that has a pool wants to be able to enjoy it and not worry about safety and maintenance. At SPP, we make sure that happens for you. To find out more about our inground pool kit options, visit our pool kit pages, or give a call to one of our many pool experts at 800-983-POOL.  

    Chris Low
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author
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