Ready to Take the Plunge? A Basic Guide to Pools

By Lauren Caggiano on July, 2 2020
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Lauren Caggiano

Lauren Caggiano is a Fort Wayne-based copywriter and editor with a nerdy passion for AP Style. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, thrift shopping, fitness and travel. Learn more on her website:

With summer in full swing and the kids in search of something to do, a pool can be the perfect source of hours of entertainment and a means to beat the heat, of course. From a cost-effective kiddie pool to a more costly in-ground version, you have plenty of options to bring water fun to your household. 

Here’s a look at the different types of backyard pools and the pros and cons of each:

Kiddie/Inflatable Pools

Perfect for the budget-conscious parent, kiddie pools (and inflatables in general) won’t break the bank but will get the job done. You can find smaller ones (ideal for 1-2 people) for as little as $25. For about $1000, as many as 7 people can join in on the fun!

While popular for these reasons, they do puncture easily and be a hassle to drain. Also, they can be hard to keep sanitized, which is a concern especially right now.

Above Ground

If you’re open to more of an investment and plan to stay in your home for some time, an above-ground pool may be the perfect addition to your backyard. Cost to build an in-ground or an above-ground pool varies greatly by region (and even by zip code), but on average you can expect to shell out at least $5,000. They’re relatively easy and fast to install and require less maintenance and less costly repairs than in-ground varieties. However, you’re limited in size, shape and depth, although there are more designs than you might think.

Other cons: They don’t last as long as in-ground structures and can bring down property values and resale value. (Some consider them an eyesore.)


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in-ground pools are considered more aesthetically pleasing than above-ground features. That could be part of the reason why more than 10 million homes have in-ground pools, according to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

This type also affords consumers with more options in terms of shape, size and bells and whistles.  As far as size, the square footage is limited only by the homeowner’s budget, vision, and property boundaries.

Another factor to consider is scheduling. The construction time will vary according to the material, but on average, in-ground pools require 6-10 weeks of construction. That means that if you want a pool for next summer, you better start planning now. In temperate climates, the best time to build a pool is in the winter. However, Midwest storms and sub-zero temperatures might preclude that.

There’s timing and then of course the money factor. Of course, the bigger the surface area, the greater the cost. While installation can be a DIY project to curb costs, a professional installation is recommended because of the warranty factor. Also keep in mind that it’s not common practice for a contractor to install a pool kit if it is not purchased from them.

One last consideration to keep in mind when taking on this project is red tape. Some Homeowners Associations (HOAs) do not allow pools or limit them to above-ground types. Inquire with your HOA board about the covenants and restrictions prior to making a move so you can save yourself from a headache that can be avoided.