Pools and Outdoor Living

A Homeowner's Guide to Pools & Outdoor Living

As a resident of the Valley, having a pool is nearly as practical a concern as it is a recreational one. The heat of summer may limit your outdoor activity, but going for a swim is always an appealing option. Having a pool when you live in a warm climate can also increase the value of your home. Here are five things homeowners should take into account when installing a pool:

1. Hire Contractors Familiar with Permits

Obtaining permits before breaking ground on your pool is required by law. When looking for pool contractors, make sure you find one with plenty of experience and know-how concerning municipal permits.

The City of Phoenix has outlined its Residential Process Overview regarding permits for home renovations. Homeowners can also find licensed contractors through the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, which ensures the contractor is experienced and a legal business entity.

2. Consider a Landscape Architect

Landscape architects thoughtfully create living spaces that make great use of nature through environmentally sustainable design and materials. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), a home that has been worked on by a landscape architect can have as much as a 15-percent increase in value over similar houses.

Landscape architecture can also help you lower your energy bills, since the proper placement of vegetation can encourage better shading and cooling. Visit the Arizona chapter of the ASLA to find qualified landscape architects in your area.

3. Select Climate-Friendly Vegetation

Maintaining a green lawn in Arizona is challenging due to the dry, arid heat. Selecting climate-friendly vegetation will not only limit the amount of debris that ends up in your pool filter, but it will also lessen your carbon footprint, cost less money and look amazing in a desert environment.

The Arizona Municipal Water Users Association lists several types of trees, shrubs, ground covers, cacti and perennials that thrive in a dry climate. Some recommended landscape plant combinations include:

  • Beavertail Prickly Pear, California Poppy, Desert Bluebell and Desert Spoon
  • Red Yucca, Lantana, Red Bird of Paradise, Texas Ebony and Oleander
  • Mexican Evening Primrose, Brittlebush, Baja Fairy Duster and Palo Verde Tree

The Natural Resources Defense Council recommends using xeriscaping, which conserves water through creative landscaping to create eye-catching, environmentally friendly outdoor spaces. Succulents and hardscape materials like rocks are ideal additions.

4. Invest in Attractive Outdoor Lighting

Want to host an evening pool party or go for a nighttime swim? Try installing stylish outdoor lighting. Even if you're not using your pool every night, this addition can enhance home security. As you plan for ways to make outdoor lighting more awe-inspiring, consider these ideas:

  • Solar-powered lights: They're less expensive to install than electric lights and cheaper over time.
  • LED lighting: LED lights are durable in a wide variety of weather conditions. They also last up to 100,000 hours long and can be brightened or dimmed.
  • Timers: For lights powered by electricity, use timers or dimmers to control illumination. Avoid high-wattage bulbs that can create glare for visitors or neighbors, and aim to use lighting to accent your yard and pool, not overpower them with light.

Strategize lighting installation at night to see more accurate effects. Don’t know where to start? HomeAdvisor lists the top outdoor and landscape lighting companies in the Valley, with reviews and ratings for each business.

5. Design Your Deck to Complement Your Home's Exterior

When designing the pool deck where you and your guests lounge, there are many options for materials, including:

  • Stone
  • Brick
  • Tile
  • Concrete
  • Wood

Keep in mind that the material you choose is going to come in contact with chlorine and muriatic acid. It's also important to consider how your deck will hold up in the desert climate.

You can accessorize your deck with outdoor furniture that matches your home's aesthetic. Because of the many colors, shapes and sizes available, tile is your best bet for further customizing and stylizing your pool and the surrounding deck. Your landscape architect or pool contractor can help you make a decision that you'll be happy with. Need more ideas? Visit our Pinterest board for outdoor living inspiration.

Having a pool can make sunny summer days in Phoenix more enjoyable — in addition to improving the resale value of your home! For information on home renovation loans, call, click or visit a Desert Financial branch for help.