Growing up in Northern Virginia, summers were pretty gross. The standard 90° heat was rough, but the constant humidity was worse. It was muggy and miserable from mid-June through Labor Day most years, with only the occasional thunderstorm to provide relief. I must admit, I miss those big summer storms. The humidity? I’m more than happy to live without it. The mosquitoes are also on my ‘sure glad I moved to California and got away from THAT’ list.
Because of these conditions, I always wondered why more people didn’t have swimming pools. There were community and club pools that many families belonged to, including mine, to which our parents would haul us most afternoons. My mom didn’t allow my fair skinned brothers and me in the sun between 10 and 2, so we usually rolled in at 3 or 4pm. We were always surprised when school started to find out that a bunch of our classmates belonged to the same pool, because we never saw them. Because we basically swam in the dark. We may not have had any friends at the pool, but at least we didn’t get burned! Thanks Mom!
Anyway, year after year mom would schlep us out to the pool with giant tote bags full of towels, sunblock, books, snacks, earplugs, goggles, and flip flops, pretty much every day. We had a pretty big back yard. Why in the world wouldn’t mom and dad just spring for a pool??? We’d be the coolest kids in the neighborhood! We’d actually see our friends in the daylight! In all the movies and pre-teen literature I was reading in the late 80’s, the kids in California had pools. They would spend whole summers getting tans, perfecting dives, showing off for their older brother’s cute friends . . . that was the life. For a few years, I bugged my parents regularly about putting in a pool. But dad wasn’t interested. For one thing, I don’t think he wanted all our friends coming over and eating all our food (a consequence of being a popular kid . . . you parents out there know how that goes) but his biggest gripe was maintenance. Besides the significant investment of installing a pool, there were the chemicals, the cleaning, and the liability which goes up exponentially when you have a son who is like a cross between Evel Knievel and Curious George . . . basically much more than he wanted to deal with.
When they decided to update our backyard landscape, my parents considered installing an Endless Pool. Endless Pools were a relatively new product at that point (1990), and it was pretty cool to see the demonstration film (on VHS!) about how it would be installed. It wouldn’t have a diving board, and Marco Polo was basically unplayable in a 7’ x 14’ space, but the idea of having a quasi-swimming hole for summer heat relief was good enough for me!!! In the end, it was not to be. Dad opted for a hot tub, which we all used regularly for a few years in the fall and winter. It then sat dormant for about a decade until my parents had it removed. I still say they should have gone with the Endless Pool.
Now, living in California, and working for a contractor, I understand my parents’ reservations regarding pools. Even in the hotter parts of the Bay Area, the large project of pool installation is intimidating. Pools may be great for avid swimmers who want to exercise, or families with kids that can spend hours and hours entertaining themselves in the water, but they come along with daunting costs and maintenance. There is also permitting required, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Furthermore, many residential lots in the Bay Area have significant slopes to deal with, or just don’t have the space to fit a conventional swimming pool on their property. But these obstacles can be overcome with an Endless Pool.
The Endless Pool continues to solve problems for residents who love to swim and want the convenience of a pool at home- without breaking the bank. They have been improved and streamlined since the company was started in 1988, and have a lot more options available today. The basic premise is the same though- a 7’ x 14’ (minimum) swim area with a motorized current. It is terrific for general exercise, physical therapy, or a dip on a hot day. We’ve installed many Endless Pools over the years, and each installation has been unique. This is one of the things I like best about them- Endless Pools can be worked into a landscape aesthetic that doesn’t interrupt or compromise design. In fact, sloping yards can work to your advantage with an Endless Pool, where the unit can be built into your hillside without having to excavate yards and yards of soil. In some locations, retaining walls can be avoided entirely.
Endless Pools can be fully above or fully below ground; or in between, so that the pool surround can be utilized as a seat wall. The surrounding area could be basically any material you wish. Concrete or stone patios are popular, as are wood or composite decks. I’m currently working on a project with an Endless Pool that will be partially sunken, with stucco walls and a stone cap around the pool, alongside artificial turf. So the area around the pool will be casual and soft to walk or play on, but artificial lawn means no dirt or grass clippings in the pool.
Compared to conventional built-in swimming pools, Endless Pool installation is a simple undertaking. There is still permitting involved in order to supply electricity to the pool equipment, but Endless Pools are technically portable like prefabricated spas, so they don’t necessarily require other permits. And most likely, you can take them with you if you relocate. The smaller swim area means reduced chemicals and maintenance, less energy, and significantly less cost.
If you’re thinking about an Endless Pool and you’re not sure it can work on your property, contact us to set up a site visit and consultation. You can live that California dream I always wanted as a kid, in your own backyard.