How to choose the right swimming pool for your family

Updated September 11, 2023

As the mercury in the thermometer begins to climb, it’s natural to think about ways to keep cool. Swimming is a perennial favourite. It’s a source of exercise, relaxation, and time in the sun.

If you’re tempted to install a pool for your house, there are a number of points to consider first. Take time to plan your pool project and you’ll have a treasure that provides you and your family hours of enjoyment. Get up to speed with a quick read and a bit of pool school below:

A mum and two daughters in the pool

In ground or above ground?

Before you jump on the pool installation bandwagon, you’ll want to consider which type of pool best suits your family’s needs and budget. In deciding between what you want and what you can afford, available space may be a deciding factor. In-ground pools usually require less room to install, while above-ground pools are easier to move and are generally less expensive.

Check out this innovative use of modified shipping containers designed by Canadian company Modpools in this video.

Pool materials – quick guide

If you choose an in-ground pool, you’ll want to decide on the materials to be used. You have a choice between concrete, vinyl, and fibreglass.


These pools are the most popular and most expensive, but also the strongest and most durable. Concrete can be formed in any shape or size, so you can have the custom pool of your dreams. Concrete pools typically take 1-3 months to install.


The popularity of vinyl pools is growing. Pool construction requires that a one-piece, flexible liner be inserted into a prepared hole and attached to an aluminum or steel frame. There are a limited number of sizes and shapes available, but the pool can generally be installed within one to three weeks.


Fibreglass has a reputation as one of the most affordable types of in-ground pool. A factory-moulded shell is placed in a hole dug by an excavator. If you choose this route, make sure you’ll be able to fit the heavy machinery in your yard! Fibreglass pools generally use fewer chemicals, since the gel-coat finish is non-porous and durable. Installation takes as little as three days.

Pool shape and design

Backyard in ground pool with hot tub and surrounding landscaping

Installing a pool is a big decision, so you want to do it right. You want an attractive and useful addition to your yard. Consider these factors as you ponder the layout:


Look at the size and shape of your yard. Its dimensions will dictate what is possible in terms of pool design and shape. Is there going to be room to maneuver around the pool after it’s installed?


How much are you planning to spend? Are you flexible? In-ground pools with all the trimmings can cost upwards of $50,000. It’s a good idea to research what your desired design is going to cost.


Who will be using the pool? If it is solely for swimming laps, a long and narrow shape is appropriate. If you want a shallow area for children to splash about, you’ll want to consider an L shape. You may want a diving area, or perhaps all you want to do with your pool is float serenely on the water.


Pools aren’t just for swimming. You can add nifty options such as fountains, waterfalls, and ponds to the design. You should also consider hardware like ladders and handrails, or steps if the pool will be used by people with limited mobility.


Think about how your pool will fit into the design of your yard. If your backyard is already landscaped, you want your pool design to complement it. If your pool is the first element in a new backyard, you have the flexibility of designing the landscape around your chosen pool.

Other accoutrements

As you plan, remember that the pool shouldn’t take up the entire available space. You’ll need a pool deck area, and you may want a seating area or a place for an outdoor barbecue. If this is place where you want to entertain guests, you’ll need to allocate space accordingly.

It only takes 5 minutes

ready for an online quote? Your time matters, and so does your stuff. Get a personalized home insurance quote in 5 minutes. That’s less time than it takes to wait in line for coffee.

Before you start, please review our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for information relating to your personal information and privacy settings.

Location, location, location

Father and daugther playing in a pool, splashing around

As with any type of real estate, location is all important when it comes to planning your pool.


Be sure your pool is at least three metres away from any power lines.

To and fro

You’ll be coming from the house to the pool and back, so do you want it close by in order to keep an eye on things from nearby windows? Or are you looking for an oasis of privacy?

Shade or sun?

If you want to get a bit of a tan while you swim, be sure your pool is in a sunny spot. Trees are lovely for their cool shade, but they also have a tendency to shed their leaves, requiring extra pool maintenance. Placing your pool in an open area is generally best, but it’s important to consider when and where the sun will hit it. If it gets enough midday sun, it will be warm; if that’s not your preference, adjust your plans.

A pool is a wonderful addition to any yard and provides hours of exercise and relaxation. With these tips in mind, you can maximize the enjoyment you get from your new pool.

Want to learn more? Visit our Home Improvement resource centre for tips and inspiration for your next big home improvement project. Or, get an online quote in under 5 minutes and find out how affordable personalized home insurance can be.


Get a free quote

Get a personalized online home insurance quote in just 5 minutes and see how much money you can save by switching to Square One.

Get an online quote now


Protect your family

Even when you take precautions, accidents can happen. Home insurance is one way to protect your family against financial losses from accidents. And, home insurance can start from as little as $12/month.

Learn more