Building Your Dream Swimming Pool

From Concept to Completion: Building Your Dream Swimming Pool

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Few things are as relaxing and enjoyable as spending time in your dream pool. Pool ownership can be a fun and exciting experience for everyone in your family. And it can boost your home’s resale value.

Hence, many homeowners opt to invest in building swimming pools for their homes. That's why the market of swimming pools in the US is growing, which according to Statista, stood at $1.01 billion in 2020.

Still, it's essential to have a better understanding of what you're getting into before going all in with the swimming pool construction process. Do you want an in-ground swimming pool or an infinity pool? Is it better to opt for a concrete swimming pool or a fiberglass pool? What will be the total cost of designing and building your dream pool? Will there be any additional costs for maintaining a custom pool?

It’s just a glimpse of questions that’ll come to the mind of most homeowners the moment they think about getting a pool installed. This guide will walk you through all the steps necessary to create your ideal backyard paradise, from conceptualization to the construction and installation process.

Design and Planning Your Swimming Pool

Every swimming pool is a unique and special experience. And there has been a cultural shift in America, as more and more homeowners are building residential swimming pools. Data shows that 8 percent of the homes in the US have swimming pools. According to Angi's internal data, Florida and California are the two states with over 1 million residential pools built.

You want to ensure your pool is perfect for your family, lifestyle, and budget. To ensure this, it's important to plan so that every aspect of the project can be considered as it progresses from concept through pool installation and beyond. 

Here are some tips on how to get started with the planning and design process:

  • Plan for the Future: Planning will help ensure that your investment in a new swimming pool has lasting value over time by allowing room for modifications or additions as needs change.
  • Plan for Today: Before deciding anything else about your new swimming pool, think about the size, shape, or design. Firstly, all parties involved must have clear expectations about what each person wants out of this project so there aren't any surprises later on when the work begins.

Secondly, perhaps most importantly, consider whether these factors might change over time. This way, no one gets left behind while waiting, hoping something will happen soon enough.

Choosing the Right Type of a Swimming Pool

At this stage, it is also a good idea to sit with your family and decide on the type of pool you want. Typically, you can choose from different pool types, such as a concrete pool or a vinyl-lined pool. If you're looking for a more durable option, gunite or shotcrete pools might be the right fit. Also, you’ll need to make a choice between in-ground pools and above-ground pools.

Next, think about the total money you intend to invest in the project. Your budget will determine several aspects, including the pool base material and water features. For instance, while concrete pools and fiberglass pools cost almost the same initially, the latter are more resistant to algae. 

That means fiberglass pools will require less ongoing costs for maintenance and be more economical in the long run. Don’t forget to account for additional costs, such as pool accessories, toys, and diving boards.

Obtaining Permits and Approvals for Building the Swimming Pool

Permits are important. They ensure your project is built per local building and zoning regulations, which helps maintain your home's integrity. It also ensures that when it comes time for inspection, your pool contractor will have everything he or she needs to pass inspection without any issues.

The permit process can differ from state to state or county to county. For example, Montgomery County in Maryland requires you to follow a 9-step process. This includes the steps to apply, submit plans, plan review, pay for the permit, get approval, and a series of inspections.

Likewise, Los Angeles County requires a combination swimming pool permit that covers electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work with a swimming pool permit.

To begin the permitting process, your pool contractor will need to contact your local building department and ask them what permits are required to get a pool installed in your backyard or another outdoor area of your home. The answer may surprise you. Sometimes, you may need none.

Most municipalities require only one permit, a residential building permit. However, some might need 2 or 3 other permits depending on whether landscaping is involved and if there is fencing around your swimming pool walls. Make sure you have a clear idea of the necessary building permits before getting started with construction.

Excavation and Site Preparation

Excavation and site preparation are two key aspects of building pools at any property. Excavation removes material from the area, while site preparation involves preparing a surface for construction. Both excavation and site preparation can be done by hand or with machinery, depending on what's being removed or prepared.

When planning your swimming pool installation, it's crucial to understand how these processes work so that they don't create unnecessary delays in getting started on your project. You must remove concrete from where you want to build the pool. Regular pool contractors may not be well-versed in removing concrete and other debris. 

That means you will require help from concrete removal service providers with a proven track record of completing similar projects. Considering the number of completed projects is crucial when selecting concrete removal services for your task. The more projects, the greater the experience. Five Points Excavating has completed over 1,800 projects in its 25 years of service.

The company has completed the projects at a 100% success rate. It offers a wide range of services, including concrete removal, concrete demolition, electrical services, sewage services, underground utilities, etc.

Installation and Plumbing

Now that you've decided on the size and style of your swimming pool, it's time to take things one step further. This section will teach you how to install the plumbing, water circulation system, filtration system, heater, and pump in your new pool. We will also cover installing skimmers and returns on either side of your filter system.


The plumbing for a swimming pool is similar to any other plumbing project in that it requires digging trenches for pipes before connecting them with couplings or unions. The most important thing about this stage is ensuring that none of your lines are kinked or pinched by rocks as they are laid down. This could cause leaks later on. Therefore, instead of treating this as a DIY project, it is a good idea to hire an experienced pool builder.

Filtration System Installation

A sand filter works differently than cartridge filters because instead of removing dirt particles through an activated carbon bed like cartridge filters do. They use fine grains called "sand," which, when agitated by water pressure, allow smaller particles below 1-micron size removal.

Heater Installation

Heaters come in many different sizes depending on how big/small your pool is going. Based on the size you select, the final cost can vary between $1,771 and $4,067.

Electrical and Lighting

The electrical requirements for a swimming pool differ from those of other plumbing systems. For example, a standard water heater can't be used for a swimming pool because it will not be able to handle the large amount of electricity required by an electric heater.

The same goes for pumps and filters. They must be able to withstand large pressure loads placed upon them by frequent use and large amounts of water moving through them simultaneously.

The safety aspect is worth considering carefully before embarking on any electricity project around water. This includes your home's main breaker box and outside outlets like garden lights or patio heaters. You must know how much power each appliance requires so that no one gets hurt while working around the pool’s edge. 

While you're at it, make sure you watch out for any sharp objects in the pool area, too. It is best to hire an experienced electrician instead of treating this as a DIY project.

Pool Decking and Landscaping

When building your pool, it's essential to consider all aspects of safety, aesthetics, and durability. One of the best ways to do this is by choosing decking and landscaping materials that withstand Mother Nature's unpredictability.


When building your perfect swimming pool, consider how safe it will be for everyone, especially young children and pets. Choose materials like rubber mulch or artificial grass for areas around the deck where people might fall into the water.


Another aspect worth considering when designing your outdoor living space is how attractive it will look once complete. Many homeowners enjoy installing wood decks around their pools because they're sturdy enough for entertaining guests yet still aesthetically pleasing enough not to detract from an otherwise beautiful setting in the backyard. You can also consider adding pool toys and extra features, such as fountains, spillways, or a full-fledged poolside bar.

Regular Maintenance

Building the swimming pool of your dreams isn't enough. You also need to maintain it in top shape. That involves using a chemical sanitizer to keep the pool water clean. You'll also need to clean the pool base and walls every one to three weeks. Additionally, it will need an acid wash with chemicals every few years.

Certain pool types, such as concrete pools and vinyl pools, require more intensive maintenance work. On the other hand, fiberglass pools are easier to maintain. Irrespective of the type of pool you build, it's a good idea to invest in a sturdy pool cover.

Conclusion on Building Swimming Pool

With a little planning, the pool-building process for your home can be a breezy walk in the walk. Consider your budget and needs carefully to choose between a fiberglass pool and a concrete pool. If you’re looking for a more customizable option, a vinyl pool might be the right fit. Also, decide whether you want an in-ground pool or an above-ground pool.

Follow the tips mentioned in this guide, and you will be set to start designing and installing your residential building swimming pool. Lastly, don’t forget to hire a company that has adequate experience building pools.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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