Do You Need a Pool Deep End?

Depth is one of the big picture factors you’ll consider during the pool design process. Recently, trends have shifted so many new pool owners choose to forego a deep end or reduce its depth. Whether or not a deep end will be a good feature for your pool will depend on your personal preferences and how you plan to use your pool.

In this article, we use “deep end” to mean a depth of greater than 5 feet. Keep in mind that you can still have varying depths without having a traditional deep end. Many pools slope from 3.5 feet to 5 feet, giving some variation without creating an overly deep area.

A Deep End May Be For You If…

1. You Want to Have a Diving Board

Ask yourself how important a diving board is to you and if it’s a must-have, you’ll need a deep enough pool to accommodate it. In order for a diving board to be safe, you need a minimum depth of 8 feet. There are also regulations that affect how long the diving board can be at this depth.

A diving board can be fun for adults and older children, as long as you use it safely. Although they have fallen in popularity in the past 10-20 years, many families still enjoy having them.

2. You Want a Slide

A slide will work best if you put it over a deeper area. Although slides don’t have the exact same depth requirements as a diving board, you will still need a deep end.

You May Prefer to Skip The Deep End If…

1. You Have Young Children

Pool safety is essential, and a pool’s deep end can be dangerous for children. It may also be more difficult for them to use this area of the pool depending on their age, even with proper supervision and safety.

2. You Have A Smaller Yard

In order to accommodate a deep end, your pool will need to have a slope. The deeper you want it to be, the more length you will need for the slope. If you have a small yard, you may not have enough space to fit the length you need while still including a shallow area.

3. You Want to Play Pool Games

Most water games only make sense in the shallow end. You can’t effectively play volleyball in your pool if one team can’t stand with their heads above the water. A deep end decreases the amount of space you can use to play games.

We Can Create Your Dream Pool

If you work with us for your pool, we will start by discussing your preferences with you. We get an idea of the swimming skills of your family members and ask about how you will be using the pool. If you aren’t sure whether you want a deep end or not, we can give you advice based on what you’ve shared and our experience with past pools. No matter what your preferences are, we have the expertise to turn your dream pool into a reality.

To start the pool building process, contact us today.

Key Pool Safety Tips

Swimming is a great way to cool off during hot Tucson summers. However, it’s important to ensure any kids enjoying your pool stay safe. Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children aged 1-4. By following some simple tips for pool safety, you can help protect the kids in your care.

1. Know CPR

Knowing how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on adults and children ensures you are prepared for the worst-case scenario. You will hopefully never need to use your CPR skills, but it is best to make sure you are ready if you need to.

2. Make Sure Your Children Learn to Swim

It’s important for children to learn basic swimming skills for their safety. Taking swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning for children 1-4 by 88%.

3. Always Supervise Children In or Near The Pool

Never allow children to use the pool unattended. Designate one adult to watch kids while they swim. This adult should not be doing anything else and should be fully focused on watching the children in the pool. Alternating this responsibility between multiple adults can make it easier to ensure the designated “watcher” stays focused at all times.

4. Install a Pool Fence or Cover

In order to keep children out of your pool when you are not supervising them, install a fence, cover, or another method to prevent access. An alarm can alert you if there is any attempt to get into the pool area without supervision.

If you only have children at your home some of the time, such as grandkids, there are removable fences and covers on the market. That way, you can put the barrier away when you don’t need it.

5. Ensure Your Pool Has Compliant Drain Covers

Suction from pool or spa drains can trap children underwater. To prevent this, make sure your pool and spa have compliant covers and teach children to stay away from any drains.

Why It’s Important To Stay Alert

Many people believe drowning is loud and obvious as it is happening, but this is not the case. Often, an individual who is drowning will not make any noise and they won’t make a big splash or be able to give other visual cues to catch someone’s attention. Additionally, drowning can happen quickly, in as little as 20 – 60 seconds.

This is why it’s important to always be alert when there are children swimming. Your pool can be a great place for your whole family to cool down and spend time together, so long as you remember to exercise caution. The steps above are simple but can be lifesaving.

We Build Pools With Your Family in Mind

At Pools By Design, we will discuss the swimming skills and ages of all members of your family and will keep this in mind when designing and building your pool.

To discuss your new pool, contact us today.

Spa Ideas From Our Portfolio

Building an in-ground spa will take your backyard to the next level. Your new hot tub will be a great place to relax with your family or to entertain guests. At Pools by Design, we help our clients create custom spas that match their individual aesthetics and use state-of-the-art technology.

If you are looking for spa ideas, we’ve put together a few examples from our portfolio to get you started. You can use elements of these designs for inspiration and if you work with us, we’ll help you turn your dream spa into reality. 

Spillover Spa With Stone Tiles

Full View

A spillover spa idea with stone tiles and a travertine deck

Spillover spas are a popular choice because they create a clear visual connection between your pool and your spa. They also allow you to place both elements in the same area, making it easy to move between them. 

For this particular spillover spa, we used a beautiful stone tile design. This natural aesthetic complements the spa’s surroundings. Earth tones look particularly gorgeous in Arizona with our desert landscape. 

This spa and the surrounding pool deck use travertine. This not only matches well with the natural look and feel of the design but also is cool to the touch and slip-resistant. 


A close-up of water flowing out of a spillover spa in Tucson, AZ

One benefit of a spillover spa is that as the water falls into the pool below, it provides calming background noise. Watching the water flow over the edge is incredibly soothing. 

In this design, you can see that the stone tile shape changes between the back of the spa and the front. This creates a pleasing visual contrast while still maintaining a consistent style. 

Spillover Spa With Blue Tiles and Stonework

Front View

Blue pool tiles on the front of a spillover hot tub

For this spa, we used blue tiles for the portion facing the pool and stonework for the back. The blue tiles reflect beautifully in the pool water below and help the spa stand out against the desert backdrop. 

Back View

The back of an in-ground spa with stonework

This shot shows off the stone tiles on the back of this spa design. This pool also uses travertine. In general, this is a great option to place around spas, both for safety reasons (slip resistance) and for its aesthetic appeal. 

Contemporary Pool and Spillover Spa

Full View

A contemporary pool design with a spillover spa

This pool and spa combination has a more contemporary look. The angular pool shape, gray tiles, and travertine coping all contribute to the modern aesthetic. 

The spa spills over into the pool, but it does so in a unique way compared to post other spillover spa designs. Instead of a single stream of water, there are several tiled steps that the water flows over into the pool.  


A close-up of the steps of a hot tub that spills into the pool, a unique spa idea

In this photo, you can see the steps clearly. Imagine the soothing sound of this spa. Along with the other water features this pool includes, this design creates a resort-like oasis.

Minimalist Spa Within an Infinity Pool

Full View

An infinity pool with a minimalist spa design on the same level

The previous spas in this article have been spillovers, but this is by no means your only option. You could opt for a spa that is on the same level as your pool instead. In this design, the spa is directly inside the pool. 

The spa border uses the same color tiles as the rest of the pool, creating a subtle barrier and keeping the pool and spa fully integrated. There is a seamless transition from the spa to the pool and from the infinity edge to the surrounding landscape. 


A close-up of the edge of a spa in a pool

In this shot, you can see that the spa is slightly elevated compared to the pool water. This slight variation makes it easy for swimmers to know where the spa, but is more subtle when viewed from above. 

The bright pool of the tiles contrasts with the poolside fire features, making this pool and spa feel inviting and refreshing.

Start The Spa Design Process

If the above designs have inspired you, turn your spa ideas into a reality with Pools by Design. We can create a custom pool and spa and also design outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and other backyard elements to complement your pool. 

To discuss spa ideas and get an estimate for your design, contact us today. 

Pool Trends Over the Years

Public swimming pools have been around since Ancient Greece, but it wasn’t until the 1900s that backyard pools started to become more popular. In the decades since the first at-home pools, the design and features available have evolved significantly.

Here’s a look at some of the popular pool trends over the years:


After World War II, many families saw a boost in income due to both men and women working outside of the home. Additionally, soldiers had been trained to swim while serving, and swimming became a more popular pastime upon their return.

Backyard pools were typically rectangular, although there were some kidney-shaped pools as well. Diving boards were also very popular.

In 1956, contemporary architect John Lautner completed the Los Angeles home known as Silvertop, which included a vanishing-edge pool. Many experts consider this the first infinity pool in the United States. However, this design did not gain wide popularity until decades later because technology at the time made it very difficult to build and maintain.


Pool shapes shifted in the 1960s and 1970s and freeform designs became more popular. Kidney pools were among the most popular designs during these decades. Other families preferred lap pools and the popularity of Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz contributed to this trend.

Additionally, more and more homes added hot tubs and the first inground spas started to be built.

Artificial rock installations rose to popularity in the 70s and are still a prominent feature around many backyard pools. These designs allow a pool to blend into its environment and create a more natural look.

The 60s and 70s also brought advancements in pool building technology. Skimmers were introduced and improvements were made to gunite pools.


Natural-looking pools were all the rage in the 1980s. Pebble finishes and exposed aggregate were common, and many pool owners opted for a darker finish. Lagoon-style pools, which are still in-style today, were a new trend. At this point, technology had advanced enough for infinity-edge pools to be attainable for more homes.


In the 1990s, the focus shifted from purely aesthetics to pool functionality and safety. Many families installed safety covers, fences, and alarms to protect their kids from accessing the pool without supervision.

Additionally, pool depth preferences began to change. In the past, diving boards and pools with 8 foot deep ends were the norm. Starting in the 90s and continuing until today, the shallow end has gotten more attention. This is where most members of the family can swim comfortably, so depths over 6 feet are usually only added if the pool owner wants a diving board.

2000s – Today

When building a pool today, you have far more options than would have been available in the early years of backyard pool building. You can add water features, an automated cleaning system, and include elements around the pool for outdoor living. Your custom pool can be as unique as you are and in addition to looking great, you can ensure it is as easy as possible to maintain.

Build Your Dream Pool in Tucson

Pools by Design is the only member of the Master Pools Guild in Southern Arizona. We can help you create the pool of your dreams.

To learn more about building a custom pool, contact us today.

Building A Tropical Pool in Arizona

When dreaming of the tropics, you likely envision lush greenery, warm weather, sparkling blue water, and plenty of sun. A tropical-themed custom pool is perfect for bringing the feeling of an exotic getaway to your backyard. Tropical swimming pools add a luxurious, resort feel that is sure to amaze you for years to come.

Here are some common elements of a tropical pool:

1. Pool Shape

Pools with a tropical theme are often freeform pools, meaning instead of the traditional sharp corners and angles of rectangle shape, the pool is designed with the dramatic curves and lines of a natural body of water. They don’t conform to a standard shape or size, so choosing one is an excellent way to maximize your swimming space. The naturalistic designs flow easily and have a tropical aesthetic.

Add a beach entry and your tropical lagoon is on its way.

The vanishing edges of an infinity edge pool work well with areas that have a beautiful view to the horizon. These pools feature a water’s edge that spills over into a catch basin below, giving the edge an appearance of disappearing into the horizon. This approach to a tropical pool will maximize the local view and create a spectacular effect.

2. Pool Features

Nothing says tropical paradise like a grotto, cave, or a waterfall.  A grotto or cave in your tropical design can bring in a feeling of seclusion and privacy and you can even add a rock waterfall and/or fire elements to really bring home an exotic feel. Waterfalls also add a feeling of luxury, beauty, serenity, and the delightful acoustics of moving water to a poolscape. The flowing sound of the falls is soothing and relaxing. Some pool owners like to combine their waterfall with a slide element for added fun.

Choosing the right interior finish for your pool is important when creating a tropical look. The right finish can change the color of the pool water from a bright turquoise to deep ocean blue, enhancing the beachy vibe. Add colorful coping or mosaics to your pool for that extra tropical flare.

3. Landscaping

Creating the perfect tropical paradise extends beyond just your pool.  Adding the right landscape design will ensure you get the tropical look and feel that you are going for. Consider surrounding the pool areas with lush tropical bushes, trees, stones, rocks, and boulders. Adding a fire pit, hot tub, or outdoor grill along with poolside seating can create an outdoor gathering place for your friends and family.

There are many tropical plants that can be successful in the Tucson climate. Palm trees like the piru queen palm, pigmy palms, and sago palms are drought resistant and they can provide shade for your pool and for smaller, more fragile tropical plants and shrubs. Add bold and bright trees, bushes, flowers, and ornamental plants like hibiscus, tropical birds of paradise, and fountain grass to enhance the tropical feeling.

Complete the area’s look with ground cover plants. Every time you step out of your back door you will feel like you have entered your own secluded tropical oasis.

Build Your Dream Pool

Building a tropical pool in Arizona can provide you with the look and feel of a vacation getaway, and Pools by Design is here to help. We are the only Master Pools Guild member in Southern Arizona. Make us your top choice for your tropical pool construction.

Contact us today to learn about our tropical pool designs.  

Integrating Your Outdoor Grill Island With Your Pool

An outdoor kitchen can make a wonderful addition to your backyard oasis. You can grill food, entertain guests, and relax with your family. For your outdoor grill island to look its best, it should flow well with the aesthetic of your pool and your backyard. Our skilled designers can ensure that your grill, dining area, deck, and pool all look stunning and fit together perfectly.

Here are some things we consider when integrating your outdoor kitchen with your pool and yard:

1. Placement

Since your pool is likely going to be one of the largest elements in your yard, how it is placed will have a large impact on how other features can be laid out. Ideally, your pool should be reasonably close to your house. The outdoor kitchen can be placed on either end of the pool, behind it, or in front of it. Our 3D pool building software can help you visualize the final layout and adjust as needed.

2. Pool Shape

How your custom pool is shaped will also affect the flow of your backyard and will influence the layout of your outdoor kitchen. For example, a freeform pool will have curves that create more or less space in certain areas. Having the outdoor grill island near a concave space in the outline may be beneficial in these cases.

3. Integrating with Pool Features

Your pool’s features can interact with your outdoor kitchen and can affect options for placement. The most prominent example of this is if you have a swim-up bar. This feature should be placed so it’s easy to serve food and drinks from your grill island. Varying the levels so the kitchen area is sunken and the pool is more elevated makes it even easier.

If you have larger landscaping features (e.g. waterfalls or grottos) that might block your view, place the food prep area alongside them instead of behind.

4. Leave Room for the Deck

When building a custom pool, leave enough room for a deck to accommodate the number of people who will typically use your pool. If you frequently host parties, you should plan for most of the guests to be out of the pool at any given time, so the deck will need to be fairly large.

Make space for an outdoor dining area if you plan to serve large meals, although deck chairs are an acceptable alternative if you grill most of the time.

Aesthetic Connections Between the Kitchen and Pool

In addition to thinking about layout, it is important to ensure that your kitchen and your pool match aesthetically. You can achieve this by using similar colors in both areas. It’s also possible to use complementary tile designs to visually connect your pool with your BBQ grill island.

Build Your Dream Backyard

If you want to turn your yard into your own personal oasis, Pools by Design can help. We can create a stunning custom pool and can also build a full outdoor living area, including a kitchen.

To learn more about building an outdoor grill island, contact us today.

Swimming Pool Placement Tips

One of the big-picture decisions you will make when building a custom pool is where in your backyard it will be. Swimming pool placement has a large impact on the overall “flow” of your exterior design and also affects how easy it is to access different parts of your yard. To decide where to place your new pool, there are several factors you should consider.

Yard & Pool Size

The size of your yard and of your pool have a major influence on your options for placement since they determine how much space is available. The smaller your yard, the more limitations there will be for where your pool can go. The same is true as you increase pool size, as you will need to find an area that can accommodate the pool. Keep in mind that when thinking about the size your pool, you should also factor in the deck and other surrounding features.

Zoning Requirements and Other Practical Concerns

There are local zoning requirements that may affect your swimming pool placement. For example, you may need to maintain a certain distance from the property line. Our team is knowledgeable about these regulations and will obtain the necessary permits and approval for your pool construction. In addition to zoning, there may be other practical limits to where you can build. Two examples of this are if you have buried utility lines or if there is a sloped area.

Near Your House or Further Away?

Assuming you have enough space to be flexible in your placement, one of the things to consider is whether you want your pool close to your house or if you want to put some distance between them. In most cases, keeping the pool near your house is going to be a better option. This is especially important if there are young children who will frequently use the pool, in which case it’s recommended to keep the pool where it is visible from the inside. Your pool doesn’t necessarily have to be right next to your patio door, but it should be relatively accessible. However, if you want to create a separate oasis, a little bit of space can be beneficial for visual separation.


Making sure your pool gets some sun is helpful in extending the swimming season and will keep the pool water warm longer. That being said, Arizona already has high temperatures and chlorine breaks down in the sunlight, so too much direct sun can affect your water chemistry. If you have some flexibility in where your pool can go, you may want to pick a spot with partial sun. Having some areas with sun and some with shade gives you the ability to enjoy your pool in various types of weather.

How We Help You Visualize Pool Placement

It’s tough to make a decision about where to place your pool without being able to see how the final build will look. At Pools by Design, we use state-of-the-art 3D design software that shows you how the pool will look in your backyard. In addition to this, one of the steps in our construction process is to actually spray paint the outline of the pool in your yard. At this point, you will be able to make any final adjustments before we start building.

Build Your Dream Pool

If you are ready to get started on your new pool, contact us today.

Features for Energy-Efficient Pools

Creating the pool of your dreams involves more than planning how it will look. A luxurious design will also include features that make maintenance easier and that make your pool more eco-friendly. Energy-efficient pools are better for the environment and save you money on operating costs.

Some features you can add to make your pool more efficient include:

LED Lights

Light-emitting diode (LED) pool lights are brighter than incandescent bulbs while also using less energy. This can translate into significant cost savings over time. While incandescent bulbs cost up to $1 each day, LED lights cost only pennies to run for the same length of time. In addition to a lower operating cost, LED bulbs last up to three times as long as incandescent light. They also look great and can be programmed to change colors, allowing you to create your own personal light show.

In-Floor Cleaning System

An A&A in-floor cleaning and circulation system uses Venturi technology to cycle water effectively while also hydraulically sweeping your pool’s floor.  There are many benefits to installing this system beyond the convenience of automatic cleaning. It circulates water throughout the pool, rather than only moving water at the top like a traditional system. This keeps the temperature consistent while also ensuring pool chemicals don’t become concentrated in one area. The A&A system also produces energy through the Venturi. Overall, this feature can provide up to 50% energy savings.

Variable Speed Pump

The pump acts as the heart of your pool’s circulation system and has a large impact on the energy efficiency of your pool overall. A variable speed pump adapts to the current circulation requirements of your pool. For example, it might use more power when a water feature is running. A single-speed pump, by comparison, always runs at the same speed even if this is more powerful than is necessary. Because of this, these are no longer permitted to be installed with new pool constructions in Arizona. Even a two-speed pump will be less efficient than the variable speed option and the latter will often pay for itself in energy savings within less than two years.

The Role of Maintenance

In addition to features that increase energy efficiency, you can also keep your pool running smoothly by keeping up with all necessary maintenance. If your pool is not clean, your circulation system needs to work harder. Dirty parts can also begin to work less effectively over time. Luckily, features like pool automation and a poolside chlorine feeder make it easy to keep everything running smoothly.

Build A Beautiful and Efficient Pool

At Pools by Design, we consider both form and function throughout the process of designing and building your custom pool. We use the best technology available for energy efficiency and can help you determine which features work best for your needs and desires. We are the only member of the Master Pools Guild in Tucson and have the expertise to make your dream pool a reality.

If you want to build an energy-efficient pool, contact us today.

Should You Let Your Dogs In The Pool?

A dip in the pool can be the perfect way to cool off during hot Tucson summers. If you have furry friends at home, you may be wondering whether it’s safe to let them join you for a swim. The basic answer is yes, a properly maintained pool is safe for your dog. Allowing your dog in the pool may affect water chemistry and there are some cleaning concerns to keep in mind, but it is definitely possible to make the necessary adjustments so your pet can enjoy your pool along with you.

Pet Swimming Safety

First and foremost, you should make sure to teach your dog to swim safely and supervise them while they use the pool. Depending on your dog’s swimming skills, they may benefit from a life jacket for extra assurance.

One of the main questions dog owners have about letting their pets in the pool is whether it is safe for the dog to drink the water. Your dog is going to ingest a small amount of pool water which is not likely to be harmful. This is true whether your pool uses chlorine or salt water. However, drinking too much of the water can cause an upset stomach. To avoid this, make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water while they are swimming. If you notice them lapping at the pool water excessively, you should stop them from doing so.

Pool water can also affect your dog’s coat. This applies to both chlorine and saltwater pools, but may be more prominent for chlorine pools. It is a good idea to rinse your dog off after they have been in the swimming pool. If your dog has sensitive skin, consult your veterinarian before letting them swim with you. You should also visit your vet if you notice any new or worsening skin conditions after allowing your dog in the pool.

How Your Dogs Affect Your Pool

Once you know your dog can swim safely, your next question is likely how does this affects how well your pool functions and how clean the water is. Experts estimate that a dog has the same effect on pool water as three human swimmers. Their fur can bring in debris and if they shed, they are going to leave hairs in the water as well.

To minimize the impact your dog has on your pool’s cleanliness, it can be helpful to bathe them before they go for a swim. Brushing out their coat can help minimize shedding as well. You should also keep their nails trimmed so to minimize potential scratching of pool walls, although most materials are strong enough to withstand this force.

As for pool maintenance, you will generally take the same steps you would for human swimmers. You should check the levels of pool chemicals and keep these within the recommended range. Shocking your pool after your dog swims can also be beneficial.

A Beautiful New Pool For Your Whole Family

At Pools by Design, we can create a luxurious custom pool that your whole family, dogs included, can enjoy.

To get started on the pool building process, contact us today.

Elements of Modern Pools

Many people are embracing contemporary pool design. Modern pools look unique and are visually stunning. Although no two pools have exactly the same features, there are several elements that fall under the umbrella of modern design. If you want to build a pool of this style, you may want to consider adding these elements.

Angular or Geometric Shape

A modern pool with a contemporary, angular shape

A pool’s shape is one of its most defining features. Some shapes, such as freeform, are more associated with traditional designs. Modern pools, on the other hand, are often geometric and have sharp, defined angles.

Minimalist Design

A minimalist pool design with a simple landscape

Minimalism is prominent in contemporary design and there are several ways this may be apparent in a modern pool. One example is that these designs often have a few strategically chosen water features rather than having a large number of extras. In addition, modern pools often have a minimalist landscape with a few or no plants. This allows the pool to stand out.

Infinity Edge

A pool with an infinity edge at sunset

Infinity pools are a popular high-end design and create the appearance the pool extends into the horizon. If you have a beautiful view from your background, an infinity edge could be a great choice. These pools have unique structural requirements, so it’s important that you choose an experienced builder for the job.

Stone Deck

The stone tile deck of one our modern pools

There are a variety of materials you can use to create your pool deck. For a modern design, natural stone tiles or travertine pavers are common. This is because they create an elegant look, feel great to walk on, and can be customized to match your pool’s aesthetic.

Fire Features

A close-up of a modern pool fire feature

Fire and water make a gorgeous and exotic combination and fire features can add a resort-like feel to your modern pool. A wall with a fire pit, a fire bowl with a fountain, and other designs can give your pool a bit of flair.

Hot Tub Within the Pool

A pool-level modern hot tub design

While a spillover spa can definitely look great with a contemporary pool design, having a hot tub on the same level as the pool is a common trend. This is especially true when a more minimalist aesthetic is the goal. Placing your pool and spa together in this way creates a uniform and elegantly simple appearance.


An automatic pool cleaning system

Beyond aesthetics, modern pools also have features that improve usability and make maintenance easier. Advanced automation systems can monitor the level of pool chemicals, create custom light displays, heat your spa to your ideal temperature, and more. Any water features your pool includes are also connected to these systems so you can easily turn them on or off and even sync them up with lights.

Build the Modern Pool of Your Dreams

If you are interested in building a contemporary pool, we can help. We have extensive experience and our portfolio includes a combination of traditional and modern pools, as well as infinity pools and other high-end features.

To get started on your modern pool, contact us today.