We built a pool three years ago and, if you are thinking of doing the same, here are my tips for a great inground pool:
1. Larger is better, but is deeper better?
Go long, go wide, but reconsider deep.
One of the best things we did was build a pool that is 4.5 feet deep all the way across (except for a 2 feet or so where it is 3.5 feet). If your pool will be used mainly for adults, this is the perfect depth for playing volleyball, basketball, or standing around drinking beer.
One unexpected consequence of building a long, but shallow pool: We never have to buy pool water. Every fall we drain it half way down and by summertime rain and snow have filled it up again.
Another consequence: Our pool heater can raise the temperature of the pool two degrees in three hours. That makes a HUGE difference. The deeper your pool is, the less likely it is that you can HEAT it. And when you spend a chunk of change on a pool, you want to be able to get in it.
2. Buy the winter cover.
It's pricey but it is worth it. More security, easier to clean. No netting small, dead mammals out of the pool all winter.
3. Buy the solar blanket.
Cheap heat but not ENOUGH heat for May and June.
4. Buy a heater.
Here in the middle of the warming globe, summers are getting colder and colder. Right now it is mid-June and there hasn't been a really decent swimming day yet. BUT thanks to our trusty pool heater, we swam all weekend even though it was mid-70s.
Is it expensive: Oh God Yes. Is it worth it? You Bet!
5. You usually only need a 6-foot chain link but save some money for a good privacy fence.
Psst... you are gonna want to skinny dip. And you can! It's your pool!
6. Think long and hard about the liner.
The pool liner is like a tattoo on your forehead. Everyone is gonna see it and it is going to be there forever. Choose wrong and you won't even be able to dress it up with the right landscape.
-- Go simple. That dolphin motif really inspires you today, but do you want to swim with the dolphins for 10 years?
-- Attempt to 'match' the surroundings in color and style in some way. Personally, I wish I had gone with a brown and light emerald liner. Sounds weird, but it would really match the woodsy backyard. Also, I don't like the gray in my liner. The blue is okay, but the gray looks out of place. Not horrible. Just not perfect.
-- Lighter colors look cool or even cold. Do you live in Jamaica? 'Cause if you do a really light blue pool would be perfect.
7. Consider a small waterfall. This is one we didn't do, but I think it adds to a pool so much and they are not that expensive.
8. Buy a reel for the solar cover. They can be salty but hells bells, removing the solar cover by hand takes two people.
9. Get enough patio for friends.
10. If you want to swim lengths, put the pool step at the corner of the pool so you have enough wall to push off from. This was something we didn't think about....
11. Remember that a pool is no more expensive than a late model car and it is so much more fun.