Diving In: An Inground Pool Design Mini-Guide for Homeowners

Perhaps you have just moved into a new home, and you have spotted a piece of ground and thought, ‘What that space needs is a pool.’ Or it may be that you have spent your life longing for your own pool, and now find yourself in a position to build one. Either way, there are some big decisions to make before you are ready to realize your dream.

If you are mainly looking for a place for the kids to take an occasional dip while they are growing up, then an above ground pool will be a cost-effective solution. But if you want something that is going to be a significant enhancement of your property and your lifestyle, an inground pool makes all the difference.


For an inground pool there are three main materials to choose between.


Concrete pools are a serious investment of time and money. They are the most expensive to install, but they will last indefinitely, provided (and it is a big provided) they are resurfaced every ten years or so.

Concrete pools take a long time to build, requiring a framework, normally of wood, to hold the structure while the concrete sets—this setting stage can take a month or so depending on the weather.

A popular alternative to poured concrete is Gunite, a cement and sand mixture sprayed onto a metal framework. The advantage of Gunite is that it is much easier to mould into different shapes and features, and can be given a wide variety of different finishes with a choice of colors and effects. Gunite is similar to poured concrete in it longevity.



A fiberglass pool is manufactured off the premises and brought to you as a complete unit. The preparation of the ground can take as long as any other system, but once the pool arrives it is inserted into the space and the work can be finished in a matter of days.

The initial cost of installing a fiberglass pool is not much less than concrete, and although its lifespan is not indefinite, if properly manufactured, installed and maintained, it will last for decades. Unlike concrete, it never needs to be resurfaced.

Because a fiberglass pool is pre-formed, there are limits to its size, although up to 40×16 feet should be ample for the majority of gardens. You may be more limited as to the shape, and you will not be able to change your mind halfway through the process!

The Jesolo Lido Pool Villa by JM Architecture in Italy (20)


Vinyl is the cheapest pool material, and lasts up to fifteen years, but can be replaced at that stage without anything like the initial costs. A pool structure is made, usually with a cement floor and metal walls, and the vinyl sheet is laid against it.

Vinyl is very flexible, so it will not crack. It makes a very attractive and smooth finish, and can be molded to most shapes and any size. It also comes in a wide range of colors and patterns.



You are making a major purchase which will also have a dramatic impact on your property. You need to get the shape and design right, so that it is both practical and beautiful. You need to know what is feasible from the engineering point of view. If you are thinking about the value it is adding to your property, you might want to consider that potential buyers could be either swimmers or loungers, and cater for both.

Getting the design right is not an area for saving money, and unless you have experience in design you should try to engage the services of a specialist unique luxury pool builder in your area. A good designer will create something that is individual to your house and garden, complementing the best features of both and creating something that will have impact while also resulting in a relaxing atmosphere.

As well as finding the material and the shape, there is an almost limitless range of features that you can add. You can have rock formations and waterfalls, lighting effects and heaters, spas and jets. These are best included as part of the original plan, not added later on a whim.


A Long Term Relationship

With an inground pool you are making a big investment which is going to enhance your life for many years to come. It will undoubtedly be one of the things that visitors will remember about your home. It is worth taking the time to consider and take advice about what you really want—when you get it right you will never regret taking the plunge.


Chris Griffin has owned & operated his own business since he was 12 years old. A self-motivated entrepreneur, Chris has experienced many different things in life. A high school stand-out in academics & athletics, he entered the University of New Mexico with a full-ride athletic scholarship. While at New Mexico, he obtained his degree in Civil Engineering, as well as several athletic accomplishments (Honorable Mention All WAC Tight End 1994 & 1995, Team Captain 1995, Drafted 6th Round New England Patriots Tight End 1996, Jacksonville Jaguars Tight End/Fullback 1996 1997) After a short NFL Career, Chris continued his lawn & garden company in Albuquerque, NM, where he quickly grew his company from just 2 employees to over 50. By 2001, he expanded his business into the rapidly growing & highly-regarded Arizona market. Today, he owns one of the TOP landscape & pool companies in Arizona (AZ Business Magazine Ranked #1 Landscape Company & #3 Pool Company). While continuing to grow his business, he takes all the time he can to spend with his family of 6! While not at work, you can usually find him at football or baseball practice, where he coaches his two older boys. He’s also active as a Cub Scout Den Leader, where he loves teaching his boys what he learned as a Boy Scout. His time spent with his two younger girls are usually swimming, camping, soccer, reading or just hanging with Dad!


Tags: outdoors design, swimming pools

Author: Maja Markovski


A 35-year-old female architect with a passion for innovative, sustainable design. I blend creativity and functionality to transform spaces into beautiful, practical environments.


Recent posts in Outdoors design

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments