Midwest Backyard Pools

Presented by: RE/MAX Results Logo

The envy of every neighborhood come summer is the house with the pool. A party in the backyard from June-August that beckons everyone for a swim or a drink by the brilliant blue water, a pool can take the place of a cabin or club membership. Even though they’re not as popular in the Midwest as they are in warmer parts of the country, plenty of homes have them. I asked the folks at Southview Design a few questions about what to consider if you’re thinking about adding a pool to your landscape.

What type of yard is best suited for swimming pools?

A flat yard is easiest.  For a sloped yard, simply adding retaining walls creates an area for a pool, patios, water features, and outdoor kitchens or grill areas.  Keep in mind having to build retaining walls will add to the cost of the swimming pool.

Can a small yard, i.e., city yard, have a pool? 

Absolutely!  Small pools can be a great feature of many outdoor spaces, but you may need to be creative with how it fits into the yard.

Are there any special considerations given our climate?

Most people in Minnesota choose liner pools, which are less expensive and more flexible in our climate.  Liner pools can be in any shape, and don’t require a rigid structure like fiberglass or concrete.

Backyard liner pool

Anything new or trending for pools?

  • Salt water is quite popular because it purifies without using chlorine.
  • Underwater ledges to sit on are a popular feature and some are wide enough for lounge chairs. 
  • Infinity or vanishing-edge swimming pools provide drama with a visual effect of seamless transition to a lake or the blue of the sky. 
  • Hot tubs continue to be popular, either as part of a concrete pool or as a stand-alone, above-ground spa.
  • Waterfalls or colorful laminar jets are a fun addition.
  • LED lighting enhances nighttime swimming. Dark colors make a pool look more natural and look great when lit at night.  
  • The addition of a fire pit, a pergola, or an outdoor kitchen to complete the space.

Are there certain landscaping requirements a pool requires?

Requirements and restrictions can vary, depending on the city/suburb.  It’s always best to check with the city regarding requirements for pool depths, decks, fencing, etc.  In Minnesota, you must have a fence at least 4 feet high around your pool.  In Wisconsin, you can either have a cover or a fence. In Minneapolis, you need to have a minimum pool deck surface 4 feet wide around the entire pool.  The pool equipment usually takes about 28-30 square feet of space, so you will want to think about where that will be located. The pool also needs to be within the setbacks, meaning that it cannot be right up to the property line and city approval is necessary prior to installation.

What should homeowners consider before deciding on a pool?

Pros: A pool turns your own yard into a resort, a haven, a place to get away.  Many people want to take full advantage of the Minnesota summer by having a swimming pool.

Cons: Unlike other warm climates, you can only use your pool for a part of the year (April to October is the maximum).  In addition, there are ongoing maintenance and heating costs to consider. You also have to make sure you’re willing to forfeit a lot of yard because even a small pool takes up a significant amount of space. 

Average cost to install? 

A liner pool will cost around $50,000, whereas a concrete pool will be $100,000 or more. Keep in mind that cost is spread out over many years of enjoyment and is much less than you’d spend on a cabin. 

RE/MAX Results Collection Home

8100 Halstead Drive

Close in, horse owner’s delight! Warm eclectic home with spacious living areas. 38 acres adjoining the Dakota Trail. Six stalls, indoor/outdoor arenas, and four pastures. Picture-book setting.

by Laurie Junker

Photos courtesy of Southview Design


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