Last Updated: September 20, 2021

Must Have Pool Accessories: Designs, Features, and Cool Tech

Written By: Pool Care Guide

Pool season is in full swing and it's time to get your swimming pool ready for the summer. But before you can enjoy a day by the water, there are a few essentials that make all the difference in making your experience enjoyable.

It's never too early to start thinking about what type of accessories you want to add to your backyard oasis this year - from inflatable loungers and rafts, gadgets like an underwater speaker or floating lanterns, or even just extra towels and sunscreen. Check out our list of must-have pool accessories below!

Amenities

When designing a pool, it's important to give careful attention to the pool amenities such as the deck, decorative features, shade, lighting, and showers.

Decking

Pool decking keeps the area look nice and tidy - which is perfect for hosting outdoor events. Much of the time, it is the defining feature that brings cohesion to your pool area.

In addition to being waterproof and stain-resistant, you can customize decking with textures, colors, and patterns to complement your outdoor living space. It's even available in patterns created from stone or tile pieces for an authentic appearance to add character and curb appeal.

Fire Features for Your Pool

A fire feature is a must-have for any backyard oasis. It's the perfect way to create ambiance and warmth at night and provide an area for guests to gather.

When fire features are mentioned, the first options to spring to mind are often firepits, fire bowls, and fireplaces. If you're willing to spend a bit more money and want to add some creativity to the pool area, you should consider fire walls or water features that incorporate fire into them. Mixing opposing elements almost always leaves an impression.

Pavilions & Pergolas

A gazebo is a perfect addition to any pool area. It's the best way to provide shade and protection from sun exposure, as well as give you an extra space for outdoor entertaining or relaxing on your own.

Pavilions are available in all styles and sizes - allowing you to customize them even further with features such as domes, screens, and blinds. In addition to providing additional shade from the sun, many can also be fitted with heaters, making them perfect for enjoying during the winter months.

Landscape Lighting

If you want to make your pool area the talk of everyone in town, one easy way is by adding landscape lighting. Not only will it provide a beautiful glow at night and help keep guests safe when they're swimming after dark, but it can also dramatically increase your home's value if you ever plan on selling!

Landscape lights are available in either solar-powered or hardwired options - making them perfect for permanent and temporary installations. You can choose options that complement your exterior decor and provide safety features such as timers and sensors.

Poolside Shower

Poolside showers limit contamination and reduce the number of chemicals needed for pool water because they allow you to inadvertently wash them away into the ground with a quick rinse.

Poolside showers are available in a diverse selection of styles and materials - allowing you to customize your shower based on your desired look and taste. They're available in acrylic, aluminum, fiberglass composite, galvanized steel, milestone, polymer concrete block, powder-coated metal, and travertine.

Landscape Lighting

If you want to make your pool area the talk of everyone in town, one easy way is by adding landscape lighting. Not only will it provide a beautiful glow at night and help keep guests safe when they're swimming after dark, but it can also dramatically increase your home's value if you ever plan on selling!

Landscape lights are available in either solar-powered or hardwired options - making them perfect for permanent and temporary installations. They can be designed to complement your exterior decor and provide safety features such as timers and sensors.

Outdoor Kitchens

An outdoor kitchen can turn your pool area into the ultimate entertainment spot - allowing you to host everything from barbeques and cocktail parties to spontaneous gatherings with friends.

Outdoor kitchens are available in a variety of styles, sizes, materials, and colors - making them perfect for any homeowner or family. They're even designed to provide additional counter and storage space while still maintaining an attractive look.

Spas & Hot Tubs

Spas and hot tubs are the perfect addition to any backyard oasis. Not only do they provide comfort, relaxation, and a way to relieve stress, but many of them also come with additional features such as heaters and whirlpool jets - making them even more enjoyable!

Hot tubs vary in size from single-seaters to massive models that can comfortably seat a dozen people. They're available in acrylic, concrete, fiberglass resin, and vinyl - so you can choose the material based on your desired look.

Water Features

Adding a water feature to your pool area is one of the best ways to add additional value and beauty - as well as provide relaxing background noise.

Water features vary in size from small tabletop fountains that can fit on any deck or patio all the way up to massive ponds with multiple tiers and cascading falls! They're available in a variety of materials, such as stone and natural flagstone.

Features That Improve Pool Performance

Automated Systems

Automated pool pumps and filters are the perfect addition to any aboveground or in-ground swimming pool. Not only can they keep your water clean and clear, but they also cut down on maintenance time - allowing you to relax more while enjoying your backyard oasis!

Filters

Out of the many filters on the market, there are three that have risen to the top.  They are sand filters, cartridge pool filters, and D.E. (diatomaceous earth) pool filters, each with unique benefits and disadvantages.

Sand Filters

The most common type of swimming pool filter is a sand filter. It's the inexpensive choice that is likely the most significant factor contributing to its popularity. The downside is that you need to periodically clean the sand, making it more work than other filters.

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters are also a common choice for their inexpensive price tags. They're also easy to replace and offer better filtration than sand filters.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) Filters

DE filters use an abrasive substance known as diatomaceous earth (a substance made up of fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms). These substances act like sharp blades, trapping any contaminants.

Heating & Cooling

A pool water heater or a solar cover can also help boost your swimming area’s temperature throughout those cooler months. The warmer temperatures are especially helpful if you plan on using it as an indoor pool or want to enjoy it during those chilly evenings!

Water heaters are available in gas-powered and electric models - both running off natural gas or electricity, respectively. They're mounted on the exterior wall of your pool and pump warm water into the swimming area, heating it to the desired temperature.

Pumps

Don't forget the pool pump. Your aboveground or in-ground swimming area must be adequately filtered and sanitized - which can be achieved with a high-quality, energy-efficient pool pump! Pool pumps are available in single-speed, variable speed, two-speed motors, and one for sand filters.

Single-Speed Pumps

Single-Speed pumps are reliable and cost-effective. They work by circulating the water through your pool's filter, which cleans it using a combination of air scoops and cartridge filters - removing dirt, debris, bugs, leaves, etc.

Two-Speed Pumps

Two-speed pumps are more expensive but also offer an additional setting. They're perfect for smaller pools that only need a small amount of filtration and can be used as either workhorses or energy-savers - depending on the speed you choose.

Variable-Speed Pumps

Variable-speed pumps are the most expensive option but also provide more choice. They're capable of adjusting speeds as needed, which adjusts energy use and filter power accordingly.

Robotic Cleaners

Robotic cleaners are the ultimate in hands-free pool cleaning. They're available as a push model or an automatic, self-contained robotic cleaner - both of which clean your swimming area by scrubbing and vacuuming all surface areas.

Sanitization (Automatic and Salt Water Chlorinators)

Automatic sanitizers use either chlorine or bromine and electric cell technology to clean your pool by converting these chemicals into a charged form, which is then distributed throughout the water. They're an affordable option that doesn't require any extra equipment.

Overflow Systems

An overflow system is another important safety element, especially for pools with children or pets. It's a drain that sits at the top of your swimming pool and automatically shuts off if it fills to capacity.

Pool Design

If you're looking to build a new pool or renovate your existing one, then hiring a professional pool designer and builder is often the way to go. They have the experience required to design and construct pools that are customized to match your vision. When designing that vision, you'll want to keep the following amenities in mind.

Coping

Pool coping is the flat concrete or stone border at the edge of a pool. It can be used in steel, aluminum, vinyl, or stainless steel, to offer different aesthetic options.

Finish

The pool's overall surface type is known as the finish. It can be made from gunite, fiberglass, or vinyl, each with its benefits and disadvantages.

Tile

One of the most popular pool finishes is tile, which can be used to cover nearly every surface area. Tile options include ceramic tiles (popular for their affordability), glass mosaics (offering a more modern feel), and natural stone tiles (for pools that are built into nature).

Plaster

Plaster is another popular finish in which the pool's surfaces are polished with a special mixture that can vary between matte and glossy finishes. It offers an elegant look but requires more upkeep than other options.

Aggregate

An aggregate finish is a great option for pools that are built into nature. It refers to the crushed gravel or pebbles used in place of expensive tiles, which can be applied over plaster finishes - offering an affordable and natural look.

Infinity Edge

Infinity edge pools are the perfect solution for creating a modern pool that blends into nature. The trick is in making it look like water is running over the side of your swimming area - creating an infinity effect (hence its name).

Pool Lighting

Pool lighting comes in a variety of options with individual lists of pros and cons. Popular choices include solar-powered lights (which are low maintenance) as well as color-changing LEDs or fiber optics that can change the atmosphere of your pool area instantly.

Stairs & Ladders

Pool steps and ladders are another necessary design element. When you're choosing what's right for your pool, consider the material (such as aluminum), size (how many do you need?), and depth (do they sit at the same level, or is there a higher step?).

Tanning Ledge

A tanning ledge is a great addition to all swimming pools. It's typically built into the side of your pool and provides an area where you can relax and soak up some rays (while still staying in the water).

Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen is an excellent way to make your swimming area more functional. It's also an easy way to keep your pool area tidy and free of debris, which can be messy when cooking food (and even worse if you're trying to swim in it).

Swim Up Bar

A swim-up bar can be easily added to any swimming pool (no matter the design). It's typically built into the side of your pool and provides an area where you can relax and socialize with friends (while still staying in the water).

Safety

Safety should always be a top priority when you're building your pool.  From fencing and gates to automatic shut-off systems, having a pool in your backyard is an exciting project - but only if you also ensure that everyone keeps safe.

Alarms

Alarms can be a great addition to any pool. They're typically installed in the water and sound when someone enters your swimming area - alerting you (and anyone else nearby) that they need help or are having trouble staying afloat.

Covers

Pool covers are a great way to maintain the water in your pool and prevent debris from entering (which can become expensive and time-consuming). They also provide extra safety by keeping children out of the area when it's not being used.

Fences

Fences are an essential safety feature that should be installed around your pool, especially if you have children or pets running around the backyard. They should be at least six feet tall and made of material that children can't climb.

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