Lyon Financial

The Best Pool Designs: Which Is Right for You?

Feel like you’ve been trapped in a snow globe all winter? Spent too much time shoveling snow under gray skies? You may be thinking next pool season is the time when you finally build that pool! If not, then you’re just going to have to keep mowing that big plot of grass this summer. Why not dig a hole and fill it with sparkling water instead?

If you’re thinking about adding a recreational showpiece to your yard, you’ll first need to find out what building restrictions will be imposed by your city or town. You’ll want to start with your county clerk’s office to get the details about what you can and cannot do. Your local chamber of commerce is an excellent source as well. Consult your property survey too as that will outline where potential easements are located.

Easements and Zoning

An easement is the right of a third party to use a part of your property for a specific purpose. These are commonly granted to utility companies so they may, for example, run or have access to repair electrical lines that feed a segment of your neighborhood. You cannot build anything on an easement.

Bottom line, before you make any concrete (no pun intended!) plans, understand the space you have to work with and any applicable zoning laws. Your pool contractor will pull the necessary permits, but this is the first step in your pool installation education.

Swimming Ponds and Above Ground Pools

These two pool sub-categories are not alike; they actually lie at opposite ends of the spectrum. But they’re worth a look if you’re in the market for something sustainable or temporary.

Swimming ponds are an interesting choice as you can literally immerse yourself in nature. Using plant biology and physics to filter the pond water, this is a low maintenance and affordable option. If you prefer a more pristine environment, this is not the choice for you as swimming ponds are designed to attract elements in nature like birds and insects. According to one natural swimming pond contractor they:

  • Are 50% planted and 50% swimming area
  • Will serve as an important habitat for an array of wildlife
  • Are cheaper than pools over time due to the vastly lower maintenance costs
  • Require very low maintenance as they don’t need any chemical dosing or filtration systems
  • Use less water as they don’t need constant emptying and filling
  • Don’t require covering and will hover around 19-25 degrees* during the summer (*66-77 degrees Fahrenheit)

Above Ground Pools can be an attractive answer as well. They are much easier, faster, and cheaper to install than inground pools. Additionally, if you want to move it, you can! You will likely leave behind a circle of dead grass, so perhaps keeping it in the best possible spot is ideal. (Pools for Dummies offers their reviews of the best above ground pools.)

While you won’t get to enjoy the sleek aesthetic of a permanent option nor the return on investment you will realize with an inground pool solution, an above ground pool may well support your summer plans!

Do note that although cities and towns are different, you may now need a permit for an above ground pool. Check with your local planning and zoning department to make certain you do not commit an infraction of your local ordinances.

And finally, there are also safety laws with which you must comply. Barriers around the stairs as well as a perimeter fence may be two of several safety regulations. To avoid a summons, or worse, an accident, use common sense and follow the local laws for a happy pool season.

Inground Pools

They may be permanent structures, but your al fresco entertainment center never had it so good! These glittering jewels come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re embracing the flexible tiny pools trend or want cascades of water lit by fire bowls to flow into a lagoon-blue tiled masterpiece, there are no limits when it comes to inground pool design.

Concrete Pools with Plaster or Aggregate Finishes

These are the most common materials used because steel-reinforced concrete is durable. It is also porous. Using the concrete as the shell or the foundation, the plaster or gunite is used to coat this shell to hold the water. This combo also makes future repairs by a replastering expert easy. Because the sides and the hole itself are framed with steel rods (also known as rebar) any imaginable design may be fashioned.

Alternative Finishes

Once you have that steel-reinforced concrete, you can lay just about any type of finish on top. Consider tile mosaics or a glistening stone surface. Pebble aggregate is an earthy, textured finish that lasts up to 12 years. Glass tile is a stunning choice; even if you just use it as an accent above the waterline. Pair that with a custom tile design on the pool floor to give your backyard the “wow” factor.


This pool type makes for a quicker and easier installation. Typically, these manufacturers will offer you a selection of models and sizes from which to choose. You may not have the flexibility of a custom pool design, but you might be surprised by the assortment of spas, benches, and other amenities these stock solutions provide. As your contractor oversees its placement, a crane will lower your pool into the excavation. The fiberglass option can however be costly. After about 15 years of exposure to chemicals and the sun it does tend to deteriorate.


Vinyl is an alternate liner that can be laid over a framework of metal or plastic. Prefabricated walls and/or panels fashioned of plastic, steel, or aluminum are connected to the frame. A heavy gauge vinyl is laid in to form the pool shell with the top held in place by the coping that provides the finished edge. Also inclined to deteriorate over time with exposure to pool chemicals and outdoor elements, vinyl liners can last up to 18 years with proper maintenance and especially if UV and fungus inhibitors are part of the liner material’s composition.

Whenever you are making any improvement to your home, we recommend you take the time to understand every step of the process. If nothing else, you’ll find the intrusion of pool contractors less frustrating when you comprehend the details that comprise the big picture.

Providing pool and home improvement financing solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves backyard pools… and the infinite design variety. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about exploring a backyard pool for your next summer!