To many, relaxing by the pool is almost as enjoyable as diving in on a summer day—particularly when screened from the sun’s hot rays. Increasingly, homeowners planning a pool project choose to incorporate a shelter into their overall plan. Options range from simple pergolas and pavilions to elaborate pool houses decked out with kitchens and bars, audio-video systems, baths and changing rooms.
Pros advise clients to consider everything from functionality and size to positioning and style when designing a poolside shelter. “More and more people are looking for shade as opposed to full-on sun around swimming pools,” says Charles Owen of Fine Landscapes. He recommends siting structures on the western side of the pool for maximum shade as the sun sets.
While pergolas with comfortable seating can serve as ideal social and dining areas for pools sited close to the house, says Mike Prokopchak of Walnut Hill Landscape Company, a pool house “provides amenities for a ‘destination’ pool located farther away.”
However, Owen cautions homeowners against trying to fit too many features into a pool structure. “Don’t bite off more than you need,” he advises. “Assess what the absolute need is beyond creating shelter from sun and rain. Having a little fridge is not a bad thing, but whether you need running water or a bathroom—those are secondary considerations.”