pool alternative

Is the backyard pool trend cooling off?

Backyard pools have long been synonymous with summer fun and relaxation, and they can add those coveted vacation vibes in the convenience and privacy of your backyard.

While a pool can be a great way for families and friends to relax and play, fewer homeowners are building in-ground swimming pools. Not only is their interest waning in the idea of owning and maintaining a pool declining, the cost of building a pool is increasing. According to PoolCost.com, pool prices have jumped about 40 percent.

Those factors, among others, are sending  According to industry data, new pool builds are dropping as much as 30 percent in the United States.

But while demand for pools seems to be on the decline, homeowners are seeking out an alternative that allows them to maximize their investment and still enjoy the benefits of an at-home pool.

Swim spas, including H2X Fitness Swim Spas by Master Spas combine the benefits of a pool with the therapy of a hot tub. Designed to be used year-round, they are a versatile option for people who enjoy swimming, water exercise, recreation, and hot tub therapy.

backyard pool trend

The pool landscape

There might not have ever been a pool boom like the one the industry saw in 2020 and 2021. As people grappled with how to navigate pandemic living, the demand for outdoor amenities skyrocketed. Among these, backyard pools saw a surge in popularity. 

Homeowners across the globe rushed to install swimming pools, viewing them as a way to create a vacation-like atmosphere right at home. 

But as restrictions lifted and people returned to working in the office, people became less focused on what was just out their backdoor. Or, they wanted to focus on other home improvement projects

It’s not just the subsiding pandemic that has led to a noticeable decline in the pool industry. Myriad factors, from maintenance to home value, are influencing homeowners and their decision to build a pool.

Maintenance and operating costs

Owning a pool comes with ongoing maintenance and operational expenses, including water treatment, heating, and regular cleaning. On average, the cost to maintain a pool is between $1,560 and $2,700 [source]. However, the annual cost can vary depending on whether you need to resurface your pool, fix the vinyl, or replace a pump. A leak, for example, can cost $5,000 to fix.

Many homeowners are realizing that the costs associated with pool ownership can be substantial. Instead of building a pool, they might choose an alternative that requires less maintenance and service costs, like opening and closing the pool.

Seasonal use

In many regions, especially those with harsh winters, the pool season is limited to a few months. You might open your pool on Memorial Day weekend and close it just after the Labor Day festivities. In some areas, pool weather might not even begin until late June or early July.

For homeowners who want to maximize their investment, they might quesiton the year-round value of a backyard pool.

backyard pool trend

Backyard constraints

Not every homeowner has a large enough backyard to accommodate a pool while leaving sufficient space for other outdoor activities. The  most common pool size is 16 feet by 32 feet, and a homeowner will need additional real estate for a pool deck, fence, and to abide by local guidelines for setbacks.

The best guideline for determining the size of a backyard pool is that the pool should take up about a third of the space. So, for a 16 foot by 32-foot pool, your yard should be 1,500 square feet or larger.

Resale value

While a well-maintained and appropriately designed pool can add resale value to your home, it’s not a guarantee. Families with young children may have safety concerns, while others may not want the added maintenance responsibility.

The impact of a pool on resale value can also depend on the price of your home. In a higher-end neighborhood, a pool might be considered to be a standard feature and help you be competitive in the real estate market. However, in a mid-range neighborhood, a pool might not provide as much added value.

Changing priorities

As the world adjusts to a post-pandemic lifestyle, homeowners are reconsidering their priorities. Many are shifting their focus from short-term trends to more sustainable, long-term investments in their homes. Rather than opting for a backyard pool, they might invest in other outdoor features like sustainable landscaping, outdoor kitchens, or fire pits.

Additionally, the emphasis on wellness and health has led some to explore alternative forms of exercise and relaxation, such as swim spas, home gyms or meditation spaces, over traditional swimming pools.

pool alternative

The rise of swim spas in backyard design

Serving as a  focal point in the backyard, an in-ground pool creates a fun yet tranquil environment. The sight and sound of water can be soothing and add to the overall ambiance of a home. In addition, the water feature can be invite to put your to-do list aside. Take some time to enjoy the outdoors, whether it’s swimming or lounging on a float. 

But you don’t need to install a pool to enjoy the benefits that it offers. As more homeowners rethinka pool, people are choosing ot integrate a swim spa into their  backyard’s landscaping and design. A swim spa not only enhances the look of your backyard but gives you a space for water exercise and hot tub therapy.

hydrotherapy swim spa

Year-round use

Unlike traditional swimming pools that are often limited to seasonal use, swim spas are designed for year-round enjoyment. You can use them in all weather conditions, making them suitable for colder climates.

H2X swim spas have full foam insulation and a built-in heater, which help maintain a comfortable water temperature — even in the winter

Stationary swimming

For those who want a lap swimming experience, H2X swim spas offer a spacious swim area with an adjustable water current. This allows you to swim at home without the need for a large lap pool or to go to the community center. In addition, you can set the water to your preferred temperature, whether you like a brisk swim at 82 degrees or want to skip the chill at 87 degrees.

dual zone swim spa

Aquatic therapy

Aquatic therapy can be a great way to build strength after surgery or recover from an injury. The buoyancy of water reduces the impact on joints and improves mobility, providing a gentle yet effective environment for exercise. Water’s natural resistance can help strengthen muscles, too. Swim spas are ideal for at-home aquatic therapy. The water temperature can be set between 90 degrees and 94 degrees, which can help increase blood flow and relax muscles. 

Entertainment and family fun 

Swim spas offer a space for family and friends to gather and have fun. You can play water games, enjoy quality time with loved ones, or simply relax together in the soothing water.

Relaxation and hydrotherapy 

H2X swim spas are not just a place for swimming, exercise, and recreation. The pool alternatives feature massage jets for additional hydrotherapy. Select models feature the Xtreme Therapy Cove, which has a unique pattern of jets that target the lower body. Or, you can opt to relax in one of the hot tub seats that mimic the experience of a hot tub. It’s like having a spa tub and a swimming pool in one.

pool alternative

How to buy a swim spa

Do you want to be able to swim, exercise, and relax at home? Having an H2X Fitness Swim Spa by Master Spas allows you to swim on your schedule while adding a fun factor to your backyard. You can click here to find out more about the benefits of hydrotherapy and relaxing in a swim spa. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about swim spa ownership. Wondering how much a swim spa costs? You can request a quote here.