The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.
The Phoenix Homeowner's Guide to Pools, Plants and Outdoor Living
As a resident of the Valley, having a swimming pool is a practical concern as well as 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 can also increase the value of your home when you live in a warm climate.
Here are five things homeowners should take into account when installing a pool or completing a pool remodel:
1. Hire Contractors Familiar with Permits
Homeowners are required by law to get a permit before breaking ground on a new pool. When looking for pool contractors or pool designers, make sure you find a reputable company 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 part of a legal business entity.
2. Consider Using 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 may 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, it will also reduce your carbon footprint, cost less money and look amazing in a desert environment.
Valley residents may want to avoid installing fountains and water-hogging greenery when remodeling their outdoor living space. While a water feature might increase your feeling of serenity, installing a huge marble fountain isn't ideal in an area plagued by drought.
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. Need more ideas? Visit our Pinterest board for outdoor living inspiration.
4. Invest in Attractive Outdoor Lighting
Want to go for a nighttime swim in your existing pool? Try installing stylish outdoor lighting. 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 and cheaper over time.
- LED lighting: LEDs are durable in a wide variety of weather conditions. They also last up to 100,000 hours 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. Even if you're not using your pool or hot tub every night, the addition of lights can enhance home security and make your outdoor space more appealing.
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 concrete, wood and specialized “cool deck” surfaces that protect your feet in the summer heat.
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.
Having a pool can make sunny summer days in Phoenix more enjoyable — in addition to improving the resale value of your home! If you’re interested in getting a home equity line of credit to finance your outdoor remodel, click below to get started.
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