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Pool Deck, What Next? :: Outdoor Living Options

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Note from the host:  Surprisingly, one of our most trafficked articles last year was Above Ground Pools: Three Solutions for Sprucing Them Up.  In it, the author Jesse weighed some of his options with planning for an above ground pool installation.  Well, he hit me recently with a follow up to that post.  I mean — January?  January here where I am (Maryland) isn’t really the time of year to be thinking – Pool Time!  But I checked it . . . and again, surprisingly, someone somewhere is . . . and the search traffic remains strong, no lie, even now.  So, I am going with it.

Thanks out again to Jesse for contributing.  Cheers. ~jb

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Adding a pool and deck to my yard totally changed the way we use it. We’re outside more often, enjoying the sun and cooling off in the water. But all that time made me notice a few things that were missing; things that would really help us use the deck area all year long. I don’t want to blow my savings on this, but I do want to make a change that will add to the value of the home and to our personal enjoyment.

I considered a few ideas, and narrowed it down to three candidates:

1.) Separate seating area

During a party, or when people are in the pool, I’ve found there isn’t much of a “splash-free zone.” We’re quickly getting tired of our pizza getting doused, and huddling with our backs to the water isn’t the permanent solution I’m looking for. I’ve been browsing online and I’ve found that many pool decks feature a separate section where you can set up a simple outdoor table and chairs. Usually raised, or even fenced off with a decorative rail, it divides up the patio and would be relatively inexpensive; probably a simple DIY if I can match the wood and find solid plans for the steps and foundation.

Check places like PoolFurniture.com (A Hayneedle Store) for a huge variety and incredible deals on outdoor furniture.

2.) Outdoor kitchen

I’m also considering adding on a kitchen so that we can enjoy more meals on the patio. Ranging from a mini-fridge to a full stove with sink, it would prevent us from constantly having to track through the house, leaving the door open and letting in bugs and hot air. If nothing else, some weather-proof cabinets could provide much-needed storage space. It would also make the pool area a better spot for entertaining. The appliance installation might be a little work intensive—I’ll probably consult a professional—but the cabinets and counter tops would be pretty standard.

3.) Adding a hot tub

When it turned cold, we immediately imagined ourselves soaking with a glass of wine. Besides the expense, we’d need to make sure we had a good cover to prevent anyone dipping in accidentally, and it would be one more water system to treat and maintain. That said, it would add a more adult vibe to the deck, and it’s certainly something we would use often. Most models look fine sitting above deck level—if not, I’ve seen stained two-by-fours surrounding the base that would make a world of difference.

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Each of the improvements I considered has benefits and risks. They vary in price and in the level of change; the dining deck would be fairly unobtrusive, while we considered a grill (and places like The Home Depot offer free shipping online), the outdoor kitchen would completely change the space, becoming the focal point. As a more work-intensive plan, it would also put the pool and patio out of commission for a few weeks. But, ultimately, I think being able to easily eat outside will be worth it. We decided to come back to the hot tub when the kids are a little older.

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