Types of Pools
Pools can be either indoors or outdoors. They can be of any size and shape, and inground or above ground. Most pools are permanent fixtures, while others are temporary, collapsible structures.
Private pools are usually smaller than public pools, on average 3.7 m × 7.3 m (12 ft × 24 ft) to 6.1 m × 12.2 m (20 ft × 40 ft) whereas public pools usually start at 24 m (80 ft). Home pools can be permanently built-in, or be assembled above ground and disassembled after summer. Privately owned outdoor pools in backyards or gardens started to proliferate in the 1950s in regions with warm summer climates, particularly in the United States.
Private pools are increasingly a feature of homes in greater latitudes. For example, in London many larger homes are now refurbished with indoor pools, usually in the basement or in a conservatory.
Many countries now have strict pool fencing requirements for private swimming pools, which require pool areas to be isolated so that unauthorized children younger than six years cannot enter. Many countries require a similar level of protection for the children residing in or visiting the house, although many pool owners prefer the visual aspect of the pool in close proximity to their living areas, and will not provide this level of protection. There is no consensus between states or countries on the requirements to fence private swimming pools, and in many places they are not required at all, particularly in rural settings.
Inexpensive temporary Polyvinyl chloride pools can be bought in supermarkets and taken down after summer. They are used mostly outdoors in yards, are typically shallow, and often their sides are inflated with air to stay rigid. When finished, the water and air can be let out and this type of pool can be folded up for convenient storage. They are regarded in the swimming pool industry as “splasher” pools intended for cooling off and amusing toddlers and children, not for swimming, hence the alternate name of “kiddie” pools.
Toys are available for children and other people to play with in pool water. They are often blown up with air so they are soft but still reasonably rugged, and can float in water.
Public pools are often part of a larger leisure centre or recreational complex. These centres often have more than one pool, such as an indoor heated pool, an outdoor (chlorinated, saltwater or ozonated) pool which may be heated or unheated, a shallower children’s pool, and a paddling pool for toddlers and infants. There may also be a sauna and one or more hot tubs or spa pools (“jacuzzis“).
Many upscale hotels and holiday resorts have a swimming pool for use by their guests. If a pool is in a separate building, the building may be called a natatorium. The building may sometimes also have facilities for related activities, such as a diving tank. Larger pools sometimes have a diving board affixed at one edge above the water.
Many public swimming pools are rectangles 25 m or 50 m long, but they can be any size and shape. There are also elaborate pools with artificial waterfalls, fountains, splash pads, wave machines, varying depths of water, bridges, and island bars.
Some swimming facilities have lockers for clothing and other belongings. The lockers can require a coin to be inserted in a slot, either as deposit or payment. There are usually showers – sometimes mandatory – before and/or after swimming. There are often also lifeguards to ensure the safety of users.
Wading or paddling pools are shallow bodies of water intended for use by small children, usually in parks. Concrete wading pools come in many shapes, traditionally rectangle, square or circle. Some are filled and drained daily due to lack of a filter system. Staff chlorinate the water to ensure health and safety standards.
An infinity edge pool (also named negative edge or vanishing edge pool) is a swimming pool which produces a visual effect of water extending to the horizon, vanishing, or extending to “infinity”. Often, the water appears to fall into an ocean, lake, bay, or other similar body of water. The illusion is most effective whenever there is a significant change in elevation, though having a natural body of water on the horizon is not a limiting factor.
Natural pools and ponds
Natural pools were developed in central and western Europe in the early and mid-1980s by designers and landscape architects with environmental concerns. They have recently been growing in popularity as an alternative to traditional swimming pools. Natural pools are constructed bodies of water in which no chemicals or devices that disinfect or sterilize water are used, and all the cleaning of the pool is achieved purely with the motion of the water through biological filters and plants rooted hydroponically in the system. In essence, natural pools seek to recreate swimming holes and swimmable lakes, the environment where people feel safe swimming in a non-polluted, healthy, and ecologically balanced body of water.
Water in natural pools has many desirable characteristics. For example, red eyes, dried-out skin and hair, and bleached bathing suits associated with overly chlorinated water are naturally absent in natural pools. Natural pools, by requiring a water garden to be a part of the system, offer different aesthetic options and can support amphibious wildlife such as snails, frogs, and salamanders, and even small fish if desired.