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Must-Have Swimming Pool Features in 2021

Installing a swimming pool in your backyard space is exciting. But once you decide to dive in, you have to start thinking about what you want to get out of your new pool. Functionality is great, but if you’re going to pay a ton of money for an inground swimming pool, you may as well integrate some fun. We put together a list of 8 fun and unique swimming pool features for your next inground pool build.

Water Features, (Laminar Jets, Waterfalls)

We know what you’re thinking--isn’t my pool enough of a water feature all on its own? We hear you. But the truth is, taking the design of your pool to the next level could be as simple as layering another moving water feature on top. From waterfalls to laminar jets, there’s a lot you can do to elevate your space.

Laminar jets can be paired with colored LED lighting to create glassy, custom streams of water and light in your backyard pool. Add a waterfall feature along a vanishing edge, or tie your inground spa into the pool with a perimeter overflow design. Adding moving water to an otherwise stagnant feature adds layers of visual and sonic interest, and will help you get more from your space.

Sheer Descent Swimming Pool Features

If you’re tired of other water features like jets and stereotypical water features, a sheer descent feature may be just what you’re looking for. Popular in resort and luxury home pools, a sheer descent feature is essentially a twist on a traditional backyard waterfall feature. Instead of watching the water cascade against a fixed edge, it cascades over a sheer edge.

This creates a free flowing sheet of water that can be stood under, swam under, and sometimes even hidden behind. Sheer descent water features are both fun to look at, and interact with. Kids and friends alike will find themselves cooling off in the nearly-silent spray all summer long.

A feature that’s as functional as it is fun, the baja shelf is a great way to add texture and interest to a typical pool design. A baja shelf is an area of the pool floor that is raised to create a wading area or shallow end. Baja shelves usually create an area of water than is no more than 8 inches to a foot in depth.

Sun shelves vary in design from curved edges to stark drop off. Incorporate fun colored tile, or let it disappear into the hardscaping. Set up in-pool furniture for a lazy sunbathing experience, or let kids and pets romp around. No matter how you use your sunshelf, it’s a great investment for those looking to add value, safety, and style to a backyard pool.

Pool lighting has come a long way in the last decade. Where there used to be only a few options, homeowners can now choose from dozens of different lighting styles and brands. Often overlooked, there’s little else that elevates a space as much as great lighting.

Today, incandescent lighting is considered outdated. For better longevity, variety, and cost effectiveness, choose LED. LED pool lighting is durable and vibrant, and though it may cost more initially, it lasts ages. For a truly unique twist, ask your contractor about syncing your new lighting to a control panel. From there, many systems allow homeowners to control colors, set timers, and truly make the space their own.

Swim Up Bar

Cocktail hour can be every hour with an at-home swim up bar. Give your backyard pool the luxury experience with this unique feature. Swim up bars are a great way to tie together an outdoor kitchen and a backyard swimming pool. Often disjointed, swim up bars link together two focal points of your outdoor space seamlessly.

Often associated with drinking at a tropical resort pool, swim up bars aren’t just for adults. Watch the kids eat ice cream with friends, or share a soda with your spouse without ever leaving the comfort of cool water. Some swim up bars are constructed in ways that allow them to blend into the space when not in use. Talk to your contractor to see what is possible for your backyard pool.

Sick of covering your pool every time it rains? This unique feature takes the hassle out of backyard pool protection. Automatic pool covers are covers installed on hidden or raised tracks. They are integrated into the pool deck or lip of the pool and linked to a remote or control panel.

Automatic pool covers are great ways to extend the quality and life of your pool. They easily protect against the elements, regulate water temperature, and most importantly, make your life easier.

Unfortunately, not all pools are great candidates for automatic covers. Adding to existing pool installations can be tricky. Ask your contractor what can be done in your space.

Vanishing edges exploded onto the scene of backyard pool design in a big way and have only grown in popularity since. Infinity edges or perimeter overflow designs are a perfect way to give your backyard an injection of luxury without compromising on function.

Highlight a great view, add dimension, or link an inground spa to an inground pool. Just be sure you do your homework. Some infinity pools do come with additional maintenance, and could put limitations on other design areas of your space.

Pool Slides or Waterslide Swimming Pool Features

Bring the waterpark to your backyard by adding a waterslide to your backyard pool. And it’s easier than you may think! While the most attractive waterslide options will be designed in conjunction with the rest of your space, current pool owners are not out of luck. Pool slides can be added to existing inground pools. Of course, there are a few considerations.

Pool slides should be installed with safety strictly in mind. Height, water depth, and positioning must all be considered to ensure your fun new feature doesn’t become a hazard.

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