Less is more when it comes to pools, at least when you're referring to depth. Industry experts say a trend in pool construction is leaning to smaller and shallower pools.
"People are looking more for a family-friendly pool, a sports pool -- where they go from three and a half feet to five and a half feet deep," says Josh Lawson, General Manager of San Diego Pools.
This trend is also helping to keep temperatures stable throughout the entire pool. "With a deeper pool that bottom couple of feet is always a lot cooler than the upper feet depending on circulation," says Lawson.
Pool design is very personal and often influenced by the area and regulations -- for instance, in Hawthorne, Australia, a 70-thousand-dollar award-winning pool abuts the ground-level floor of a residential home so that people can sit inside and see others swimming in the pool. The construction of that pool was completed after a major legal battle in Supreme Court ended because of imposed water restrictions in the country. Due to area restrictions on where a pool can be placed on a property, that concept may not be as popular in other parts of the world.
However, one popular trend is to turn the backyard into more livable and usable space -- a necessity for many homeowners as space is such a precious commodity.
Homeowners are emphasizing the pools and turning their backyards into a sanctuary that combines water features and recreational water space.
"You can now have lots of different lights and you can have your laminars that actually shoot water from the deck into the swimming pools with color streams and color wheels and things like that.
So the ancillary add-on products, I have seen, have probably come into play as much as or more than any other type of really big changes in the last years in the swimming pools themselves," says Penny Johnson, Chairwoman of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals and co-owner of Johnson Pools and Spas.
She adds, "It creates a fabulous lighting effect in the evening to go along with your outdoor entertainment."
Creating something pretty to look at is a large part of pool design.
"Now it seems as though people are really looking for fountains in conjunction with swimming pools because they can use it if the water [in the pool] is too cold but the weather is nice; they can sit outside and enjoy [the fountain]," explains Johnson.
Another very popular request for backyard pools are fire features including traditional fire pits or basins or planters filled with a mini-inferno. Many of these ideas come from tourist areas such as Hawaii and Las Vegas.
The shape of pools is also changing, "From a design standpoint, whether you are angular, free-form and all that, that really goes with the style of house, people's personality, their needs and what they're looking for," says Lawson.
He says in San Diego, California consumers were very impressed by the Tuscan style. But he says now his consumers are asking for a combination of the Tuscan look with a resort-style pool.
"That would be definitely free-form, more water features, relaxed laid-back atmosphere, more open, larger beach entries, places to relax and kick back, a little shallower water on the entryway -- whether they do a beach entry or a Baja bench," says Lawson.
Beach entries start off shallow at the entryway and gradually slope into deeper depths. This creates a perfect area for sunbathers to set up lounge chairs and enjoy the shallow water which warms up quickly.
While homeowners are seeking to make pools have a greater presence in their yards, the vanishing edge or infinity edge concept continues to be popular.
"Especially in the Huntsville area because we're at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, there is a lot of mountainous terrain and people do like to have the vanishing edge pools," says Johnson.
The infinity edge is perfect to show off scenic surroundings. It gives the illusion that the pool is a big mirror lying on the ground. The pool water flows over the edge and into a catch basin and then is re-circulated back into the pool.
Yet another type of pool could pique the interest of those who are especially environmentally conscious.
"It's where they actually use plant life inside a swimming pool to do the sanitation of it," says Johnson.
Imagine the beauty and benefits of a natural, chemical-free self-cleaning pool -- that's enough to make many want to start saving for the pool of their dreams.