Safety and cost

A pool can be as safe or as dangerous as the family car, but it isn't as essential. You can postpone building a pool until the children are old enough to ease the worry (though at no age should you allow them to swim or play in the pool unsupervised). Begin planning and saving now, and you'll enjoy your pool all the more later on.

The cost of the pool itself represents only from 50 to 60 percent of the total outlay; the fencing, decking, and surrounding plantings that will transform the pool from the visual appearance of a raw wound to that of a luxurious landscape constitute the remaining expenses.

This cost comes into better perspective, though, if you realize that, when you sell your home, you can largely recover the money spent on a professionally built pool if the pool does not exceed 10 percent of property value.

Besides cost, consider, too, the maintenance demands a pool will put on you (see pages 210211). Time spent maintaining water quality and equipment will seem minimal as long as you and your family enjoy the pool. If your leisure interests turn elsewhere, however, maintenance can become a major pain.

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