All About Pool Depth

When you are building a custom swimming pool, you will need to consider many factors. One of the big-picture decisions you will need to make is the depth of the pool. Determining the ideal depth is similar to determining the ideal size overall. You will need to consider who is using your pool, how they are using it, and if this is likely to change in the future.

Standard Pool Depth

Although pools are by no means one-size-fits-all, it can be helpful to consider the most common pool depth as a starting point for your design. The most common depth for residential pools is a shallow end that is three feet deep. This transitions through a gentle slope into a deep end which is five or six feet deep. This structure works well for a variety of different swimmers. It’s possible for children to play in the shallow end while adults can swim in the deep end. This basic structure can be adapted to match your needs.

Depth Transition

Using a slope is the most common way to transition from the pool’s minimum depth to its maximum depth. Keep in mind that if you increase depth for the deep end while keeping the shallow area the same, you may need to increase the length of your pool to accommodate the slope.

The major exception to the practice of using a slope to change depths is a sun shelf. This is a very shallow shelf at the entrance of your pool that immediately drops into a deeper area below. This can be a great addition for lounging or to allow young children and pets to play in a safer shallow area.

It is also possible to maintain a consistent swimming pool depth, although this is less common. The main reason to consider a multiple-depth pool is that it can accommodate more types of swimmers. However, a single-depth pool can be appropriate if you only plan to use your pool for one purpose. For example, a dedicated lap pool can be approximately four feet deep throughout and still provide an optimal experience.

Decreasing Minimum Depth

If you have young toddlers, you may be considering having a more shallow minimum depth to give them a safe area to play. In many cases, a sun shelf is a more effective way to accomplish this than using a smaller minimum depth in a sloping design. This is because anything less than two and a half or three feet can be difficult for adults to use and you will need to increase the length of the pool to accommodate the transition.

Increasing Maximum Depth

While the standard five/six feet deep end is enough for swimming or jumping in feet-first, this is not a safe depth for diving. A diving pool should be eight feet deep at a minimum and the slope must angle appropriately to reduce the risk of injury. Local ordinances can also impact whether or not you can install a diving board. Your pool company can incorporate a deeper area into your pool design and can help you determine how deep this needs to be.

Depths greater than eight feet are not common in residential pools due to increased construction and maintenance expenses. However, building a very deep pool is not impossible and you can discuss this option with your pool builder to get more details.

Build a Custom Pool

At Pools by Design, we can help you determine the best water depth for your pool and we will work with you to bring your dreams to life. We will discuss all of the details that could impact how you use your pool and we will use our expertise to create pool designs that are gorgeous and functional.

To discuss the best pool depth for you, contact us today.

Large vs Small Pools: Choosing the Right Pool Size

One of the many decisions you will make when designing your own custom pool is how large you want your pool to be. Small pools give you more patio space and may allow you to add more features, whereas large pools are best for entertaining or if you have a large family. As with any other choice, it can be very helpful to discuss your options with a professional. However, you may want to have a basic idea of your preferences before you begin planning.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help determine the best pool size for you:

How Big is Your Backyard?

The size of your backyard can be a limiting factor in determining how big your new swimming pool can be. Keep in mind that you will need space not only for the pool itself but also for the deck and any outdoor living areas you wish to incorporate. Your pool company can help you determine what size is reasonable. You should be aware that a very small backyard can be more difficult to build in, so this can affect the feasibility of your project and the final estimate. If you have any questions or concerns about your backyard size, it’s a good idea to discuss this early on with your contractor.

How Many People Will Typically Use Your Pool?

One of the major factors that will help you determine the best size for your in-ground pool is how many people will typically use it. To start, consider how many people live in your household. Then, think about anyone who would visit frequently, such as grandkids. Finally, consider whether or not you often host parties and how many guests you usually invite. It’s important to remember that not everyone will be swimming at one time at large gatherings, so you should save enough space for your guests to lounge poolside.

A well-built pool should last for many years to come. As a result, you should take some time to consider not only who will use your pool now, but also who will use your pool in the future. For example, do you plan to grow your family, or do you have young children that will soon be swimming and inviting their friends over? If your children are no longer staying with you, are grandkids a possibility in the future?

How Do You Want to Use Your Pool?

Imagine the perfect day with your dream pool. What do you picture? This mental image can help you get a good idea of how large your pool should be. If you imagine sitting in a lounge chair and dipping your toes in the water, a small pool with a luxurious outdoor living area might be best. If you see yourself swimming laps or playing in the pool with your family, a larger swimming area could be better for you.

The Value of a Pool

It’s important to keep in mind that your pool is an investment that you should be able to enjoy for a long time. Working with a professional designer and taking the time to consider exactly what you want can help ensure you love the final results.

Choosing the Best Pool Builder

At Pools by Design, we have the expertise to turn your dream pool into a reality. We consider every aspect of the design, including large-scale decisions such as pool size and down to the smallest details.

To discuss whether a large or small pool is best for you, contact us today.

How to Choose a Pool Company

If you are ready to build a custom pool, the first step is choosing a pool builder. It’s important to make this decision carefully. A pool is a big investment, so you want to make sure the contractor you pick has the expertise to exceed your expectations. Additionally, your pool company will be spending a lot of time at your house, so you should be sure you can trust them. Doing your research before making a decision can help ensure that you are happy with the final results.

Here are some things to look for when choosing a pool contractor:

Licensed and Bonded

You should make sure that the pool company you are considering has a valid license. You can verify this by visiting the website for the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) and can search by name or by license number. On this site, you can confirm that the license is current and can get more information on the owner of the company. You should also see if there are any complaints against the contractor. The ROC site also allows you to see if the company is bonded, which is important to make sure you are protected financially if there are any issues with the project.

You can view license information for Pools by Design here for residential pools and here for commercial pools.

First Impression

When you meet with your potential pool builder, you should pay attention to your first impression. Are they organized and on time? You should also consider whether or not the designer and any other staff you interact with are friendly and polite. If you visit a worksite, consider whether or not it is clean, if the workers are parked respectfully, and what your overall impression is.


Referrals are essential for determining whether a pool company is the best fit for you. They should be able to provide you with contact information for past/current clients as well as subcontractors and suppliers. You should reach out to these individuals and ask them about what it was like to work with the contractor. For clients, ask why they chose this pool company and if they would do so again. For subcontractors and suppliers, ask who they would want to work on their own pool. If they name the contractor you are thinking of working with, ask why. If they do not, ask them if they know anything about your potential contractor.

What About Price?

It can be tempting to choose the swimming pool builder who gives you the lowest bid. However, it is important to keep in mind that you should be able to enjoy your new pool for many years to come. It is often worth it to pay more upfront to avoid problems in the long run. Your contractor should be able to explain what is included in your estimate. If the price seems too high or too low based on what you’ve seen from other companies, ask questions to figure out why that is the case.

High-End Pool Building in Tucson

Pools by Design is a luxury pool builder in Tucson. We have extensive experience designing and building beautiful custom pools for our clients and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the process of creating your dream pool.

To learn more about our pool company, contact us today.

What is Pool Coping?

There are many elements involved when building a custom pool. One example is pool coping, which forms the edge of your inground pool. It directs any water that splashes out into the deck drains and can visually distinguish your pool from its surroundings. You should consider what type of coping you want to use and how it should look when you are designing your new pool.

More information about pool coping:

The Purpose of Pool Coping

During the pool building process, the upper surface (bond beam) of the pool wall will usually have exposed metal. The coping covers this while creating a protective cap at the edge of your pool. It also provides swimmers with a sturdy surface for exiting the water. Pool coping often slants slightly outward to help direct water into drains. It is also designed to prevent water from getting behind the pool shell. In addition to the functional purposes of coping, it can create a pleasing visual contrast.

Coping Options

There are multiple different options for coping. Consulting with your pool designer can help you determine which will work best for your aesthetic and functional desires.


Coping should work with the other elements of your pool to create a beautiful design. It should also match with the overall style of your pool. Many people choose coping that stands out as a strong visual border. This can be accomplished by using a different color, material, or shape than the rest of the pool deck. However, some pool owners prefer coping that blends with the rest of the deck. You can either match the pool coping with the deck or extend the deck to serve the same purpose as coping, depending on your specific design.


Coping needs to be able to withstand exposure to water and pool chemicals. It also expands and contracts frequently as it gets wet and then dries out again. As a result, you should choose a material that is durable.

Some choices include:

  • Travertine: Travertine is an excellent material for around your pool because it is slip-resistant, durable, and cool to the touch. You can also customize the shape, color, and size of these natural stone tiles to match exactly how you want your pool coping to look.
  • Brick: This is one of the most common choices for coping because it is durable, affordable, customizable, and easily available. Another benefit is that it’s easier to replace individual bricks if there is any damage.
  • Concrete: Concrete coping is sturdy and water-resistant. You can choose concrete pavers or can use custom-poured concrete. Although poured concrete has a higher cost than pre-cast, it creates a more seamless blend with the pool deck.

Build a Beautiful Custom Pool

At Pools by Design, we create gorgeous custom pools and we pay attention to every detail, including coping. We will work with you throughout the design process to help create a pool that is beautiful, functional, and unique to you.

Contact us today to schedule a free pool design consultation.

High-End Pool Ideas

When building a custom pool, you want a swimming pool design that is truly your own and that you will be proud to show off. At Pools by Design, we create gorgeous high-end pools and can help bring your dream to life. Are you looking for pool ideas that will take your outdoor space to the next level? If so, this blog can provide you with some inspiration.

Here are some of the most luxurious pool features:

Infinity-Edge Pool

Infinity pools have water that flows over the edge and allows the surface of the pool to blend with the horizon. You will often see this design in luxury resorts and having one in your backyard can make summer days at home feel like a vacation. Since these designs require more work to get right, you should be sure to hire an expert builder. Pools by Design has experience creating beautiful infinity-edge pools for our clients and can discuss whether this option is a good fit for your yard.

Fire Features

Incorporating fire can add an exotic feel to your pool environment. There are many different forms that this can take. For example, you can add a fire pit and seating area poolside where you can lounge with family and friends. It’s also possible to add fire bowls with streams of water flowing below them, walls with enclosed fire pits, and other options that reflect your style. You can see some examples in our gallery.


A pool grotto is a cave or cavern underneath a rock waterfall. This can be a small area that provides just enough space to swim around or can include a seating area and lighting. Grottos are fun for kids and adults alike and create a cool, shaded location for lounging. We can adapt the style of your grotto to the overall aesthetic of your pool to create an integrated and beautiful design.

Swim-Up Bar

Swim-up bars are a truly high-end feature that can set your pool apart and impress your guests. This is a perfect choice if you often host parties. A swim-up bar includes bar stools within the water, a serving area, and a “dry side” with a bar. If you would like, you can even include a full outdoor kitchen so you can serve a wide range of drinks and food that can be enjoyed from the cool water of your custom pool.

Pool Automation

Luxury is about more than just how your pool looks. In addition to considering pool and landscape design features that create a high-end aesthetic, you may also want to add options that make it easier to maintain your pool. An in-floor cleaning system keeps your pool beautiful with minimal effort. You can even add full pool automation to control water features, spa temperature, pool chemicals, and more.

Build a High-End Pool

If you are building a luxury pool, you need a team that has the expertise necessary to exceed your expectations. Pools by Design is the only member of the Master Pools Guild in Tucson and we have extensive experience with high-end pools.

Contact us today to discuss how we can turn your pool ideas into reality.

Maintaining Your Salt Water Pool System

Maintaining your pool is essential to keeping it beautiful and functional. This is true whether you have a traditional chlorine swimming pool or a salt water pool. Although a salt water pool system requires slightly different steps for upkeep, it is relatively easy to maintain.

What you need to know about the maintenance for a salt water pool system:

Similarities to Chlorine Pools

Many of the steps that you need to take to keep your salt water pool clean are actually the same as what you should do with a chlorine pool.

These include:

Checking for Debris

Each day, you should check your pool’s water for debris and remove any with a skimmer as necessary. This helps prevent your filter from working too hard and keeps your water cleaner. You should also clear out the skimmer basket daily.

Maintaining the Water Level

Keeping your pool’s water level at the midpoint of the skimmer helps prevent damage to the pump. Both salt water and chlorine systems are prone to low water during Arizona summers, so you should either check daily or install an automatic fill system.

Testing Pool Chemicals

Chlorine and salt water pools actually contain the same chemicals. The difference is that you add chlorine directly to a traditional pool, whereas a salt water system generates it using a salt cell. The other chemicals present in your pool are added in the same way for both types of systems. For proper maintenance, you should test pH every few days, alkalinity weekly, and calcium hardness and cyanuric acid (CYA) monthly. Keep in mind that the required levels of these chemicals may differ between traditional pools and salt water systems.

Shocking Your Pool

Although you may not associate pool shock with salt water pools, it’s actually just as important to shock this type of system. You should follow the same process that you would for a traditional pool and shock after storms, parties, and every one to two weeks during the swimming season.

Steps Unique to Salt Water Pool Systems

Although many steps are the same for both traditional chlorine and salt water pools, there are some important differences to be aware of.

These include:

Chlorine Levels

Salt water pools are not actually chlorine-free, so you will need to test the chlorine level regularly to maintain your pool’s cleanliness. However, you do not add chlorine directly like you would for a traditional swimming pool. Instead, you should adjust the salt cell’s output. This is the part of the system that transforms salt into free chlorine.

Salt Levels

Once a month, you should test the salt level of your pool. This should be between 3,000 and 3,500 parts per million (ppm). If it is lower, you will need to add pool salt.

Cleaning Your Salt Cell

Once every three months, you should remove your system’s salt cell and inspect it for any scale build-up or debris. If you notice any issues, you will need to wash the cell. You can do this by soaking the cell in diluted muriatic acid following manufacturer instructions.

Build a Beautiful Salt Water Pool

Salt water pools have many benefits. The water is gentler on your skin and eyes and you won’t need to add chemicals as often. At Pools by Design, we can build a gorgeous salt water pool that includes features that will make your maintenance easier.

To learn more about salt water pool systems, contact us today.

Tips for Arizona Pool Owners

Having a pool in your backyard is a luxury, especially in Arizona’s summer heat. By taking the proper steps to maintain your pool, you can keep it looking beautiful and clean. The procedure is similar no matter where you live, but Arizona pool owners do need to take the high temperatures and sun exposure into account.

Here are some tips for pool maintenance in Arizona:

Maintain Your Pool’s Water Level

Your pool’s water level should be at the midpoint of your skimmer. If it drops below this, your pool pump may start to suck in air. This can seriously damage the system and lead to costly repairs.  Evaporation is one of the major reasons the water level decreases. In the Arizona sun, this can happen more quickly than it does in other regions. As a result, it is recommended that you check the water level in your swimming pool daily and add more when necessary.

An easier alternative to managing the water level manually is having an automatic fill system installed. This state-of-the-art feature senses when the water in your pool is too low or too high and adds/removes water to correct any issues. With this system, you don’t need to check the water every day, although it’s beneficial to take a look if you’re outside just to make sure everything is working properly.

Understand Pool Chemistry

Pool chemistry is one of the most essential factors for keeping your pool functioning at its best. Many of the chemicals you add to your pool are affected by exposure to sunlight and heat. For example, chlorine may dissipate more quickly at higher temperatures. This means that relying on a set schedule for when to add chemicals may not be completely effective. Testing your water is usually a better option if you want to be sure that you are adding the right amount of pool chemicals. Pools by Design also offers a pool automation system that can monitor and maintain sanitizer and pH levels.

Be Prepared for Monsoon Season

Summer isn’t just a time for enjoying your pool. It’s also Arizona’s monsoon season, which the National Weather Service designates as lasting from June 15 through September 30. Monsoons bring heavy rainfall and strong winds, both of which can have an impact on your pool.

Clean Your Pool

After any monsoon, you should add pool shock to sanitize the water. This is because the winds can blow debris into your pool and the rainwater can impact the balance of chemicals. Before shocking, you should skim the surface to remove any large objects that have fallen in. It’s also a good idea to clear out your pool skimmer basket.

If Your Pool Overflows

If there is enough rain, a monsoon can easily cause your pool to overflow. This can be annoying, but the good news is that it rarely causes any lasting damage. In most cases, the water will be absorbed by the surrounding deck or landscaping in your yard. If there is a lot of excess water, you can sweep it toward any dirt or rocks to speed up this process. To remove water from your pool, you can use a hose attached to your pool pump. However, it’s important not to operate your pool’s equipment while it is still raining or if there is water around any electrical components. If this is the case, it is best to call a professional for pool service.

Build a Beautiful and Durable Custom Pool

At Pools by Design, we build gorgeous pools using high-quality materials. We can also include features to make maintenance easier and improve energy efficiency.

To learn more about building a custom pool, contact our Arizona pool builders today.

Questions to Ask Before Building a Backyard Pool

A backyard pool is a perfect place to relax, exercise, and entertain guests. If you want to enjoy this luxury, you should consider building a custom swimming pool. To have the best experience possible and ensure you absolutely love your new pool, it is helpful to ask yourself some questions before beginning the process. This helps you understand what to expect and allows you to make clear and informed decisions.

Here are some guiding questions for building a backyard pool:

What is your budget?

At the beginning of the design process, you should consider what your budget is and what your main priorities are. Although determining a budget is not as much fun as other parts of the pool building process, it is an essential step. Be sure to consider not only the amount you will spend upfront, but also the cost of ongoing maintenance. There are many features that cost slightly more at first, but lower your long-term expenses. This is also why you shouldn’t compromise on quality. A well-built pool not only looks great, but will last for years with fewer repairs or issues. It’s worth the investment to get a trouble-free pool that you know you will absolutely love.

You should also consider which features you want right away and if there are any you prefer to add later. For example, you can usually install travertine decking or an outdoor living area after your pool is built, but you would need to decide on a pool finish during the initial construction. This will help you decide how to allocate your budget.

What size do you want your pool to be?

In order to determine the best size for your pool, you should consider the layout of your yard and how much space you want the pool to take up. Make sure to account for anything you want to place around your pool such as the deck, patio furniture, an outdoor kitchen, et cetera.

You should also consider the depth of your pool. This depends on how you plan to use it. A standard backyard pool has a depth of 3-4 feet in the shallow end, which transitions to 5-6 feet at the deep end. If you want a deeper area, the maximum is usually 8 feet, although this depends on your specific area’s regulations.

Which style and shape do you prefer?

There are a few different general styles that you can choose for your new pool. These include traditional, contemporary, and infinity-edge. Your pool’s design should complement the architecture of your home, so you should keep this in mind when making a decision. After you choose a style, you will need to decide what shape you would prefer. Working with a designer at this point is helpful to ensure every element integrates well with one another.

What features do you want to include?

There are many different features you can add to your pool such as a spillover spa, fountains, lights, and more. Once you’ve figured out the basics of your design, you can start considering these additional elements that will make your pool truly your own.

Which pool company should you work with?

Building a pool requires expertise and attention to detail. You want to make sure you pick the best contractor for the job. Pools by Design is the only member of the Master Pools Guild in Tucson and we strive to build pools that are outstanding in both form and function. You can browse our work in our gallery to get a better idea of our style or contact us directly with any questions you may have.

The Experience is By Design

If you are ready to start the backyard pool building process, contact us today.

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

Do you want to transform your yard into the perfect space for entertaining and relaxing with your family and friends? Pools by Design can help. In addition to designing and building custom swimming pools, we can create an outdoor living space that you will love. A backyard kitchen is a great option because it is both functional and beautiful. There are many different outdoor kitchen ideas that we can help you bring to life.

Some options for your outdoor kitchen design:

Outdoor Cooking

Depending on what you want to cook, you can choose different heat sources and appliances for your outdoor kitchen. One of the most popular options is a barbecue grill. This allows you to cook in a way that you can’t indoors and lets you experiment with the food you create. Barbecuing for your friends and family poolside is a luxury that you can enjoy with your new outdoor kitchen and it’s perfect for parties.

In addition to or instead of a grill, you can include a pizza oven. Making your own homemade pizza is a fun activity and the results are delicious. While you can do this with your indoor oven, many people feel that wood-fired pizza tastes better and it definitely adds a gourmet touch to this popular meal.

If there is another type of appliance you want to use in your outdoor kitchen, we can help you explore your options. Many homeowners wish to add variety to how they prepare meals. However, while stovetops and traditional ovens can be affected by the elements, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible to add these options to your design. We can work with you to determine what you wish to include and will most contribute to the function of your outdoor kitchen.

Prep and Storage

To make cooking in your backyard kitchen as easy as possible, you should add prep areas like countertops. How much space you need for these depends on how often you plan to use the area and how many people you typically cook for. Adding a sink is also a good idea. With this feature, you won’t need to run back and forth into your home to get water or to rinse things off. Other convenient additions include a miniature or full-size refrigerator, cabinets for storage, a built-in cutting board, and more.

Outdoor Dining Area

Adding a dining area to your backyard is the perfect way to get the full outdoor kitchen experience. You can keep this casual with comfortable patio furniture and some small tables. Adding a fire pit to this area creates an outdoorsy, relaxing aesthetic. This can also help keep you warm on cooler nights. If you want something more elegant, you can add a full dining table to accommodate larger groups. Our design team will help ensure that your outdoor furniture and other accents for your kitchen perfectly match the overall look and feel of your backyard, including your pool.

Benefits of an Outdoor Kitchen

No matter what you choose to include, adding an outdoor kitchen has many benefits. You can increase your storage space, prepare meals easily for large groups, serve food poolside, and expand the types of cooking you can do.

Design Your Dream Backyard

At Pools by Design, we pay close attention to every detail when we help you create your dream backyard. This includes not only your pool, but also outdoor living elements such as a barbecue island, outdoor kitchen, fire pit, and more.

If you want to turn your outdoor kitchen ideas into reality, contact us today.

What is a Sun Shelf?

If you are building a new custom pool, you may want to consider adding a sun shelf. Popularized by high-end hotels, sun shelves have become increasingly popular with pool owners in Tucson. Sometimes called a tanning ledge, baja shelf, or tanning shelf, a sun shelf is a flat, shallow area at the entrance of your pool. This feature acts as an entry point and can span your pool’s full or partial width.

Generally, the shelf design will be 4 to 8 feet wide and typically 3 to 18 inches deep. This allows space for lounge chairs. It is possible for the ledge to be larger so it can accommodate furniture like umbrellas and small tables, which creates an ideal location for entertaining.

Why Should You Add a Sun Shelf?

Adding a sun shelf can make your pool more aesthetically pleasing by bolstering its appearance and making the pool more luxurious and upscale. Beyond adding beauty, the functionality is unrivaled. It allows you to lay directly in the water without fully immersing your body which makes it the ideal place to cool off when you do not want to get fully wet.

Many people use their sun shelves to keep cool in the hot Tucson sun or for reading, relaxing, and socializing. With a traditional pool, you spend your time either in the water or next to it. With a sun shelf, you get the best of both worlds as it allows you to be both in and out of the water at the same time.

A sun shelf can also be used as the perfect supervised play area for young children or pets. Everyone in your household will be able to enjoy your pool with the addition of a sun shelf. At Pools by Design, we tailor our designs to meet our customers’ needs. We can customize your shelf’s width and depth so it is perfect for you and your family.

Advantages of a Tanning Ledge

A tanning ledge is a perfect addition if you are thinking of redesigning an existing pool or for a new pool installation. It is easily incorporated into different types of pool designs as it comes in a variety of shape and size options. It takes up less space than a beach entry and can easily fit into tight spaces.

A ledge also increases the time you can spend in and around your pool. It warms up more quickly than the deeper areas so you can relax early in the morning or during a cooler day. This can extend your swimming season and allow you to get more use out of your pool.

There are endless possibilities with a sun shelf in your pool that will allow you to enjoy it in a variety of ways. Common features that can be included are a built-in umbrella sleeve, massage jets, lights, fountains, and built-in loungers and tables.

Add Fun and Functionality to Your Pool

Let us add ease, comfort, and functionality to your pool. During a free consultation, we can go over all the designs and features that are available and we will make sure that your pool looks and functions great. We are a premier pool builder in Tucson and are the only member of the Master Pools Guild in Southern Arizona.

Contact Pools by Design today with any questions about a sun shelf for your swimming pool.