Photo: Michael Patch

Enhancing Your Lakefront Paradise

The gentle lapping of waves against the shore, the soothing rustle of leaves in the breeze and the stunning vistas of a pristine lakefront property — these are the joys of owning a slice of paradise. However, for those fortunate enough to call a lake property home, there is an opportunity to elevate their outdoor living experience to new heights by adding a pool. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this trend, consider the crucial choices of salt versus chlorine, delve into design features and technology options, weigh the pros and cons of adding a hot tub and look ahead to the latest trends in pool construction. 

Photo Courtesy of National Pools

Why build a pool?
Jason Vaughan, vice president at National Pools of Roanoke, understands the allure of adding a pool to a lakefront property. “I think clients at the lake have a property there to enjoy the view and being outside. A pool can enhance their outdoor living space and provide entertainment while enjoying their lakefront view,” he explains. The idea is to create a harmonious blend of nature and luxury. 

Vaughan mentions that one striking feature often incorporated into lakefront pool designs is the vanishing edge, which visually connects the pool to the lake, creating a seamless transition between the two. This design element enhances the property’s aesthetic and offers a breathtaking experience for homeowners and guests. 

Salt or chlorine?
Choosing between salt and chlorine for pool water treatment is a common dilemma for homeowners. According to Vaughan, “Most pools we build are salt-chlorinated pools. There is really no difference in a salt versus a chlorine pool because a salt pool produces chlorine from salt, so the sanitizer is the same.” 

The key difference lies in the maintenance and convenience. Salt-chlorinated pools continuously generate chlorine, eliminating the need for manual chlorine addition. This is especially advantageous for lakefront properties that may be second homes, as it ensures that the pool remains properly sanitized between visits. 

However, it’s essential to note that all other chemical balancing requirements are the same for both options. The choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences and how hands-on you want to be with pool maintenance. 

Design features and technology
Pool design is a highly customizable aspect of any lakefront project, and the design often revolves around the architectural style of the house. Many modern lake properties favor more simplistic pool designs that complement the home’s overall architecture. The focus is on relaxation and taking advantage of the serene lake view. 

While elaborate features like diving boards or slides are common in primary residences with young families, lake properties tend to embrace more tranquil designs. One popular element is the sun shelf, a shallow space for chairs, where you can relax and soak up the sun. 

Technology integration is another significant trend. New pools continue to incorporate smart technology, allowing homeowners to control heating, water features and lighting through smartphone apps. This seamless control enhances the overall experience and convenience of pool ownership. 

The hot tub dilemma
Hot tubs are a luxurious addition to any pool project, but should they be integrated into the pool or stand alone? 

Custom concrete hot tubs, built to match the pool’s design, can be an elegant choice, although they may lack some of the comfort features found in portable hot tubs. If the hot tub’s primary function is to provide a warm soak, the decision becomes more straightforward. However, if you desire a hot tub with an array of features like jets and contoured seating, a manufactured hot tub may be more appropriate. 

Ultimately, the decision may also depend on location. If the hot tub must be in the same area as the pool, a custom hot tub makes sense. However, if there’s a secondary location where a manufactured hot tub can be placed, you can enjoy more features at a lower cost. 

An emerging trend in this regard is the demand for smaller pool/large hot tub combinations known as “plunge” or “cocktail” pools. These pools serve a dual purpose, allowing homeowners to enjoy the benefits of both a pool and a hot tub seasonally, offering greater versatility. 

What’s next?
As we are in the first quarter of 2024, pool construction is evolving with a strong focus on technology and creative design. Vaughan highlights the continued use of energy-efficient pumps and heaters, as well as the adoption of LED lighting options and intuitive remote controls. These advancements not only enhance the pool experience but also contribute to energy savings and ease of maintenance. 

However, it’s crucial to be aware of the current state of the pool construction industry. The pandemic-induced surge in interest has created a backlog in new pool construction. Vaughan advises that “most good builders are still six months and longer out to start new builds,” emphasizing the importance of early planning to ensure you can enjoy your new pool as soon as possible. 

Adding a pool to your lakefront property is a transformative experience that merges the beauty of nature with the luxuries of modern living. The choice between salt and chlorine, the design elements you incorporate and the addition of a hot tub all depend on your preferences and needs. Start planning now, and prepare to dive into your dream lakefront pool!