Where to Begin

Start planning for a pool!

Many homeowners are unsure about where to begin when planning for a fiberglass swimming pool. Before meeting with a pool installer, you should give some thought to the following items.

Shapes & Sizes

Choosing the best shape and size of pool for your backyard will depend on a few different factors, such as:

  • Your preference – Imagine your dream backyard with a pool. Do you think of a classic rectangle or a curving free form or kidney shape?
  • Intended use – Is your pool just for family use or will you be entertaining friends and family? Do you want lots of seating and ledges for lounging? Do you want to play volleyball or other games? Do you want to jump in and do cannonballs?
  • You probably don’t need a deep end as 90% of your time will be spent in water a depth of 4.5′ or less. More and more people realize that a pool with a 5′ to 6′ deep end is a safer, more enjoyable design that allows you to actually use more of your pool. You can still do cannonballs and have a slide, but you will also have more area where you can touch the floor. Plus there is less water to heat and treat!

Spend some time browsing the shapes and sizes of pools available. Use a tape measure, garden hose, rope or stakes in your backyard to see how different sizes of pools will fit in to your existing space.  The flowing lines of a free form or kidney shaped pool and the straight edges of rectangular pools can be combined with your gardens, patios and other features to create a cohesive landscape. Browsing photos of installed pools online or in magazines will help you determine what shape of pool appeals to you and what might suit your backyard.

Placement & Options

There are many things to consider when determining placement of a pool in your backyard.

Signature - Installed

Sun/Trees: The sunniest part of your yard is the best place for your pool, it will naturally heat your water and entice you to swim even on cooler days. Place the pool away from trees to avoid the leaves, berries, seeds, sap or pollen that can increase your maintenance. Tree roots can be cut back to accommodate a pool, but this may damage the tree. Ask an arborist or contact your local greenhouse for advice on how the pool placement may affect any nearby trees. Many people choose columnar trees to improve privacy without the risk of too much shade.

Privacy: Privacy from neighbors and the street is important. Creating your own hidden oasis is something many people strive for when designing their backyard. Fences, sheds, trees and shrubs can all be part of your privacy screen. Fences and sheds are subject to local bylaw restrictions, so be sure to contact your municipal building department if you have questions about what you can and cannot construct.

Patios/Decks: You will want some space around the pool for seating  as well as access for cleaning and maintenance. Most people will plan for 2 to 4 feet of deck to surround the pool, with a larger area on one side to accommodate an area for socializing or sunbathing. Brushed concrete, stone tile, interlocking brick and pavers are all great materials to use for a non-slip, low maintenance and attractive pool deck. Stamped concrete is also used around pools extensively but can be more slippery when wet.

Pool Equipment: The pool equipment (pump, filter, heater, chlorinator) should be placed on a concrete pad within 40′ of the pool. Plan for enough space around the equipment to allow easy access for maintenance. Equipment can be placed outdoors (uncovered) or in a pool shed, or just concealed from view with decorative accents. There are regulations you need to consider when installing a gas heater. You will also want to consider the distance from electrical and gas hookups in placing your equipment – the closer the equipment is to the gas and electrical sources for your home, the less it will cost to install. Contact a qualified electrician and gas fitter to install your pool equipment and address any issues you may have with your desired placement.

Water Features: Are you thinking about adding a water feature to your pool? Deck jets, fountains, waterfalls and rock structures can be used to add both a visual and auditory element to your landscape. A single water feature should be placed where it will give the most impact – usually directly across from the main seating area of your patio. The cost to construct a stone or brick water feature can cost more than you think depending on the materials you choose to use. Natural stone waterfalls in particular can take a lot of time to get just right and will require cleaning and adjustments over time. Head to your local landscape center to see availability and prices of the materials you like.

Check the Access

Our excavation equipment requires a clear, level path at least 6 feet wide. Smaller equipment can be used but will add to the timeline and price of the project. Sometimes it is necessary to temporarily remove a section of fence, a fence post, an air conditioner, a garden or other items to create a unobstructed pathway during the excavation phase. This phase typically lasts anywhere from 2 to 5 days depending on the size of the pool being installed and the ease of access. Keep in mind that this is just for the pool excavation phase, and that your landscaper may also require access to your yard with large equipment after the pool has been installed.

Check Your Bylaws

You will need to obtain a permit to install a swimming pool. You will need a copy of your property survey showing where the pool will be placed, what type of fencing you will be using, where fences will be located, and any other details specified by your local bylaws when applying for your permit. Most municipalities have their requirements listed online, which we have included links for below. Obtaining a permit is the responsibility of the homeowner and can take several weeks.

Links to Swimming Pool Bylaws and Permits:

Kitchener
Waterloo
Cambridge
Guelph
Wellesley

Ontario Electrical Safety Code – Bulletin Re: Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Installations

The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) also requires homeowners who fall under their jurisdiction to obtain a permit prior to installing a pool, deck, large shed or fence. This permit can take 4-6 weeks to obtain. You can contact the GRCA by phone or by email as indicated below.

GRCA
Phone: 519-621-2761
Toll free: 1-866-900-4722
grca@grandriver.ca

Book an Design Appointment

Once you are aware of your shape and size preferences, available space, placement preferences, local bylaws and the restrictions of your property, you will want to book an appointment with a pool consultant to discuss what can be done.

See it in 3D! We can provide you with full design service using special 3D pool software – see what your backyard will look like with various pool models installed with landscaping!

To have a design created you will need to provide us with the following:

1. Email or drop off a copy of your property survey showing property lines and house dimensions, and preferably showing the placement of permanently installed item in your backyard (like patios, sheds, trees, etc – anything that will need to be incorporated into the design).

2. Photos of your backyard, one taken from each corner facing the middle and one or two showing the back of the house – this is so we can recreate it in our design software to look exactly like what you already have.

3. Choose a time to come work with us in our design studio. Give yourself at least an hour for the appointment (more time may be needed). You will probably have a lot of questions about the pool install, and once we start designing your backyard you will be having so much fun you will lose track of the time. If you are bringing young children with you be sure to bring lots of snacks, toys and games to help keep them busy so you can focus. Remember to bring pictures or images of things you want to incorporate into your backyard design – many people will bring a tablet or their phone with images saved to it showing backyards they really like. Any info you can give us to better identify what you want your landscape to look like is helpful.