What’s better than a standard backyard pool?
A luxurious, pimped-out, make-your-friends-and-neighbours-jealous backyard pool!
If you’ve ever stayed at a high-end resort, you’ve probably taken a dip in this type of pool.
Most resort pools incorporate various pool water features in their pool design to provide guests with a memorable swimming experience.
The good news is you can replicate this in your own backyard.
But First… How Do You Choose the Right Features?
As there are quite a few options, your main problem will be narrowing down what features you want to add to your pool.
The first thing you’ll have to factor in is cost. Not just the cost of the feature itself, but also the cost of installing the feature. Some can start around $1000 dollars, while more intricate ones can inflate the price to 5 figures.
Next up is maintenance. How easy is it to maintain the feature? Is upkeep going to be a pain or will it be relatively simple?
You’ll also want to take into account the amount of noise the feature makes. Things like spouts and waterfalls can get loud, so if you’re sensitive to noise these might not be the option for you.
Lighting is an option that keeps your pool illuminated after the sun has set. Lights are an excellent way to add atmospheric elements in and around your pool.
As pools come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, you’ll also want to be mindful of overdoing it with features.
The best pools do add multiple features, but are discerning and tastefully designed so the pool isn’t bombarded and messy-looking.
Types of Pool Water Features
Now that you have a better understanding of what these accents entail, let’s look at some of the most common ones available.
The main pool water features are:
- Spillover Spa
- Deck Jets / Laminar Jets
- Water Wall
- Spouts / Scuppers / Sconces
- Rain Curtain / Sheer Descent
- Water Slide
Everyone loves a nice waterfall, so it’s no surprise this is one of the most popular features to add to your pool.
Waterfalls are usually built up in a shallow area of the pool, so people can swim or relax underneath them. They consist of real or faux stacked rocks / boulders, with the water cascading over them and into the pool.
The water flow can be customized, but most opt for a waterfall that resembles a natural swimming hole.
While the pool pump that powers it can be noisy, the gentle trickle of the waterfall keeps noise to minimum.
2. Spillover Spa
The spillover spa attaches a spa to your pool. The spa is slightly elevated, allowing for water to spillover into the pool.
The spillover can be designed a few different ways, with some utilizing multiple drop-off levels for an infinity style, while others make the spillover come out like a sheet of water.
The aesthetic advantage of a spillover spa is obvious, and it also provides an extended pool area for socializing.
Drawbacks to this option are mainly cost-related, with 15% to 25% extra for construction, and considerable operational costs if running only the spa during the winter months.
3. Deck Jets / Laminar Jets
Deck jets are an accent that can add a sense of fun to your pool.
These jets are installed in your pool deck, and shoot an arched stream of water into the pool (picture McDonald’s golden arches).
What’s cool about these jets is they have interchangeable nozzles, which allow you to customize the stream pattern. Height and distance are also adjustable, and colorful LED lights are integrated into the jet to allow for illumination at night.
Depending on your settings, these can make a considerable amount of noise. The upside is that this noise can actually drown out the outside world, insulating you while in the pool so you can relax.
Probably the most upscale pool feature, the grotto’s reputation precedes itself (Playboy Mansion anyone?).
A grotto is essentially a waterfall entrance to an additional space. Where grottos differ is in their size and function of that additional space.
Some grottos are modest, designed as a small loveseat behind a waterfall. Others open up to large caves, swim up bars, and even secret spa rooms.
The costs of grottos range from reasonable (a few thousand dollars) to astronomical. It all depends on how fancy and pimped-out you want to go with your pool design.
Also referred to as gushers, bubblers resemble the look of a natural hot spring bubbling to the surface.
These are installed on a shallow section at the entrance of the pool – usually a tanning ledge or beach entry. Some pool owners might even place it in the center of the pool for dramatic effect.
While you can’t really adjust the pressure that’s emitted, you can add lights for illumination. Bubblers also move water from the shallow end to the deep end for a tranquil effect.
In addition, they’re great for keeping kids busy (they’ll love playing with the pressure), and they also add some safety, keeping kids in the shallow end of the pool.
If you are looking for pool water features that add increased functionality mixed with visual effect, a misting system is just the ticket.
It takes water from your return jets and disperses it over your pool in an ultra-fine cool mist. Misters are usually installed at the water line, although some people fashion DIY versions using PVC pipe.
They keep the water temperature cool while simultaneously protecting chlorine from being destroyed by the sun. With sufficient levels of chlorine, your pool will stay sanitized longer, and your wallet will also thank you.
A cooler pool temperature is also essential in keeping a person’s body temperature cool so heat can escape, avoiding things like muscle spasms, as well as heart and lung problems while swimming.
7. Water Wall
The water wall feature is a stunning look for any pool.
The traditional design of it uses a tile or stone wall with a thin layer of water cascading down and into the pool.
Having said that, some designs will make the water come out like a single sheet (for more of an arched look), and others will have multiple outputs on the wall.
The cost for this type of add-on is usually a few thousand dollars, but it can be a key feature in making your pool a conversation piece.
8. Spouts / Scuppers / Sconces
These features are a great way to include added visual interest to your pool.
They’re usually integrated into a wall and shoot water into the pool. The water flow style will depend on the design.
Scuppers will allow for chute, trough, and sheet water flow, while spouts and sconces will emit a more narrow stream.
Spouts and scones can also come in various forms – things like animal heads, architectural pieces, and decorative shapes.
Adding statuary will class up even the most basic pool, turning it from boring to artistic in no time.
What’s really appealing about statuary is the options are endless when it comes to the type that can be added.
Most statues will try to cater to the water element, so you’ll see things like fish, mermaids, dolphins, water dragons, frogs, and seahorses. For those that prefer larger statues, life-size Greek sculptures can be used.
Pool statuary is fairly inexpensive, is usually placed around the edges of the pool, or used as a centerpiece. Also, most statues will allow you to run a water line through them so a stream can shoot out and into the pool.
10. Rain Curtain / Sheer Descent
Remember those beaded doorway curtains from the 1970’s?
Well, a rain curtain looks pretty much the same, except a lot more classy, with water droplets falling straight down.
Not exactly easy on the wallet though, they’re positioned at the pool’s entrance and built into the top of a pergola or similar structure.
Some rain curtains will have a slight arch to them, and can even emit more of a sheet look rather than a stream of droplets.
11. Water Slide
For those who are young at heart, you can never go wrong with installing a water slide for your pool.
Of course, there are free-standing options, but as this article is about pimping your pool, a rock water slide is the way to go.
Large, pre-built rock facades come complete with steps, waterfall, grotto, and slide water. All you have to do is run water to it, position it at the deep end of the pool, and you’re ready to go!
Ready to Pimp Your Pool?
As you can tell, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to pool water features.
From lighting, to spouts, to statues and slides, you can customize your pool any way you see fit.
The backyard oasis of your dreams is limited only by your imagination (ok, maybe your bank account too).