When you’re building a new swimming pool, it’s only natural to concentrate on the pool itself. But what a lot of future pool owners don’t realize is that they’ll actually be spending a lot more time on the pool patio – sunbathing, barbecuing, or simply enjoying the scenery. Failure to understand the importance of a right-sized and well-designed pool patio is one of the leading causes of regret in pool owners.
As with the pool itself, the best way to plan a patio is to first sit down and decide how you want to use it. Once you start to visualize your future patio and think about things in more detail, you might be surprised at how much space you need to comfortably accommodate everything. While everyone’s ideal patio is bound to be different, here are five major features that most or all of them need:
Everyone knows you need furniture for your pool patio, but not everyone realizes how much space it takes up. At least, not until after they’ve built the patio and it becomes clear that there’s not enough room for all the loungers, tables, and chairs the family needs. It might seem like a minor detail compared to everything else involved in a pool installation, but it’s essential to have at least a rough idea of the furniture you’ll need in order to design the perfect patio.
Upgrade: You can spend as much or as little on patio furniture as you like. If you have the budget for it, you can even create an outdoor living room with a comfortable couch and chairs.
The same sunlight that makes your pool water warmer and more pleasant can turn your pool patio into a virtual hellhole. To keep your patio comfortable on the hottest days of summer, you’ll need some form of shade – whether it’s nearby trees, an umbrella, or a canopy.
Upgrade: A covered patio not only blocks the sun, but protects you from the other elements as well.
3. Safety Equipment
In case of emergency, every pool owner should have a pool safety kit that includes a flotation device and other items. In most cases, the closest (and thus safest) place to keep such a kit is the patio. In addition, the patio is often the best place to store other safety equipment such as life vests and pool covers.
Upgrade: If you have a pool alarm or other high-tech safety equipment, the patio is a good place to put the control panel(s).
4. Towel Rack/Toy Holder/Etc.
While not strictly required, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where a towel rack wouldn’t be worth a spot on your pool patio. If you have young kids, you’ll also want something to hold noodles and other water toys. Finally, if you don’t have a storage shed or some other handy place to keep pool accessories, the patio might be the best place for these items. Fortunately, there are plenty of unobtrusive outdoor storage options, such as the ever-popular bench/locker combo.
Upgrade: Though costly, an outdoor shower or small bathroom is the height of swimming convenience.
5. A Grill
Grilling out is one of the great joys of pool ownership. Unless you’re the type of (virtually unheard of) person who doesn’t enjoy a juicy hamburger by the pool, you’ll definitely want to make room on your patio for a grill. While you’re at it, you might want to find room in your budget to update that old grill with something truly worthy of your gleaming new pool and patio.
Upgrade: If grilling isn’t enough for you, consider a full outdoor kitchen with counters, oven, refrigerator, storage space – the whole nine yards.