Make Your New In-ground Pool a Backyard Oasis with These Features

In-ground pools are more than merely a place to go swimming; with the right features, they're a backyard oasis. If you're having an in-ground pool installed in your backyard this summer, consider having your pool contractor put in these optional features to transform your pool from a simple swimming hole into a true haven where you can relax.

Color LED Lights Underwater

Colored LED lights will make your pool come alive at night. When it's getting dark out, flip on one or more underwater LED lights -- and watch your pool's water instantly turn yellow, blue, red, green, purple, or any color you'd like.

Even if you have to pay a little extra for underwater, LED lights, you'll save on energy costs once you're using your pool. Using LED lights can reduce your pool lighting expenses by up to 80 percent. Over the life of your pool, such big savings could more than make up for the higher cost of having LED lights installed.

A Diving Board

Whether you're an advanced diver or a belly-flopper, a diving board will add fun and excitement to your pool. Take turns practicing dives in the deep end and trying to make your cannonball splash the other side of the pool. For a little competition, hold a diving contest and judge each other. Make sure there are categories for everyone to compete in: best form, funniest pose, and biggest splash are a few categories to start with.

A Tanning Ledge

A tanning ledge adds visual intrigue to your pool by creating a separate space that's only a few inches deep, and it serves some very practical purposes. Of course, you can use a tanning shelf to tan on. You can also put some chairs and an umbrella on a tanning shelf, or let young children splash around in the shallow water. Just make sure an adult is always supervising any children who are playing.

A Hot Tub

If a tanning ledge isn't quite your style, consider adding a hot tub or spa instead. A hot tub feels great when you want to relax or your muscles are sore. If it's right next to your pool, you can switch back and forth between the hot tub and pool as you please.

If you're in the Northern United States, installing a hot tub is a great way to extend your pool season. Because a hot tub is much smaller than an in-ground pool, it's more feasible to heat a hot tub during the cooler months of spring and fall. You can use the hot tub before you open your pool and after you close it up for the season.

A Grotto

A grotto sets your pool off from the rest of your home. Anyone who walks through it on the way to the pool will know they're entering a different area of your backyard, and it'll be a little reminder to leave their worries behind them.

An Outdoor Kitchen

Installing an outdoor kitchen near your pool lets you throw parties and cook dinners without leaving your backyard getaway. You won't need to leave your pool, guests, or family to go cook up a meal. You can do it right by your pool, visiting with everyone and supervising any children in the pool while simultaneously making sure everyone's meal is to order.

Pool contractors don't typically install outdoor kitchens, but you should still talk with your pool contractor about an outdoor kitchen if you want one. They might have a few suggestions on how to set up all of the features so that you can see the pool from the outdoor kitchen, or so the kitchen's stove doesn't get splashed when someone does a cannonball.