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Does Your Luxury Home Need a Backyard Plunge Pool?

October 16th, 2023 | 5 min. read

By Phil Parsons

You’ve got a beautiful home, but your backyard leaves something to be desired. How do you make your backyard match the luxury look of your home? 

At KP Contracting, we’ve built backyard spaces of all sizes. We’re as comfortable with a 10x20 backyard as we are with a full back forty. But you’re wondering what sort of features are best for you. Is a plunge pool the right addition for your luxury backyard?

In this post, we’ll cover the reasons you’d want (or might not want) a plunge pool in your luxury backyard. We’ll review the benefits a plunge pool offers to a luxury lifestyle. To give you the most information possible, we’ll also cover ways in which a plunge pool might not be for you. 

Plunge Pool Pros for Luxury Backyards

A plunge pool leaves you more room for other options

Since plunge pools start at 12x7 feet, they leave room for other options. Even small backyards can handle a plunge pool. That’s a plus for Old Line Staters, given that Maryland has the smallest yards in the nation

Plunge pools offer big impact in a small space

Whether you’re a feng shui fan or not, you probably agree with the feng shui idea that every space needs a water element to feel complete. Adding a water feature to, say, stone pavers and a patch of grass lawn, creates the impression of a well-rounded world in your backyard. 

Plunge pools’ installation costs and time are lower

Full-size pools can take several months to install. Plunge pools can be done in as little as two weeks. Especially with a prefab plunge pool, the installation is just a matter of digging a hole, hooking up connections, then dropping the pool in the hole. Compare that to a full-size inground pool, which can take up to twelve weeks to complete.

Plunge pools help resale value

In the right circumstances, a pool can increase your home’s resale value by 7%. What are those right circumstances? They’re things like…

> You live in a hot, humid climate

> Other homes in the area have pools

> The pool is easy to maintain

> The pool is part of an attractive overall landscaping design

Fortunately, plunge pools naturally fulfill three of those requirements if you live in Maryland. Anyone who’s weathered a Maryland summer knows about the heat. Moreover, maintaining a plunge pool is easier than a full-size pool, and it’s easy to factor a plunge pool into a backyard design.

Plunge pools have a smaller eco footprint

Plunge pools require fewer chemicals, so they’re a great option for green-minded consumers. 

A 20x10 foot plunge pool with a depth of 4.5 feet, comes to 6,750 gallons of water. Compared to a 30x15 foot full-size pool with an average depth of seven feet, and that figure jumps to 23,625 gallons. 

The rule of thumb is one three-inch chlorine tablet per 5,000 gallons of water. Thus, the difference between even a large plunge pool and full-size pool is in multiples of three or four. In other words, you’ll be using three to four times as much chlorine in a full-size pool, and paying for those extra tabs. 

Plunge pools require less water

If you want to save water, plunge pools are a great option. Until next Summer (June 30, 2024, as of this writing), the water rates for Charles County, Maryland are:

  • 1-18,000 gallons, $5.59 per thousand gallons
  • 18,001-24,000 gallons, $11.18 per thousand gallons
  • $24,000 and up, $16.77 per thousand gallons

Let’s use the above hypothetical pools again (a 20x10x4.5 plunge pool with a volume of 6,750, and a 30x15x7 full-size pool, 23,625 gallon volume). Filling a full-size pool in Charles County, Maryland, is almost enough to put you in a higher utility tax bracket. Since you’ll likely use water for more than your pool, you can count on filling a pool in May to add an extra tax burden. 

Contrarily, filling your plunge pool still leaves you with plenty of $5.59 gallons to spare. 

Plunge pools are easily heated and cooled

You build a lifestyle around a full-size pool; plunge pools are built around your lifestyle. Plunge pools are easy to heat in the winter, enabling brief trips to heated water in cold weather. They’re also easier to cool, so if you want the effect of a cold plunge pool, that’s also an option. 

Full-size pools, on the other hand, require several days to heat or cool. An impromptu dip for winter guests isn’t an option for a traditional pool, but is a possibility for plunge owners. 

Plunge pools contribute to a sleek, modern look

The clean lines and right angles of most plunge pools contribute to a modern look that complements a small backyard. If space is at a premium, kidney-shaped pools misuse what little room you have. Their curves appear awkward, and clash with the mix of form and function that characterizes modern design. 

Small backyards should follow the pioneering Swiss modernist Le Corbusier: a home is a machine for living. In the same way each part of a machine is designed for a purpose, each feature of a small backyard needs a purpose. A plunge pool’s angles allow your backyard to have multiple purposes beyond aquatic recreation. 

Plunge pools make a small backyard feel visually complete

Depending on your backyard’s shape, plunge pools can take advantage of a classical design scheme: the golden ratio. What’s the golden ratio? Applied numerically, it’s 1: 1.618. Applied visually, the golden ratio looks like this:

If you ground your design in the golden ratio, it will make a small backyard feel complete. 

The golden ratio is a perfect design template for homes with long, narrow lots. A rectangular plunge pool can fit the far right side, or even the lower right quadrant, depending on the size of your lawn. Even a circular plunge pool, like Plungie’s Arena model, can become part of the curve when placed in the corner of the yard. 

Plunge pools offer therapeutic benefits

You’ve invested in microgreens, you know the local cryogenic spot, and you’ve finally got a decent crow pose in yoga class. The “life” in your lifestyle is designed to be long. Your backyard should help you with that goal.

Water exercise offers tremendous therapeutic and life-improving benefits. The hydrostatic pressure of water aids circulation, enhances blood flow, and reduces inflammation. Water exercise also strengthens the joints, while putting less pressure on them. Water aerobics and swimming also work more muscle groups than walking, running, or weight lifting. 

Plunge Pool Cons for Luxury Backyards

Plunge pools are too small for lap swimming

Even a 20-foot pool can’t match the full lap lane length if you’re a dedicated swimmer. 

Lap-swimming can help increase lung capacity, which in turn helps prevent strokes and heart attacks. If you’re a swimmer, or just someone obsessed with increasing their lung capacity, a plunge pool may not deliver the sustained lung workout you get from lap swimming.

Plunge pools aren’t little kid-friendly

Put a six-year-old next to a pool, and they’ll probably try a cannonball within the first thirty seconds. If you make it to a minute, you’ve got a monumentally disciplined kindergartner. 

If your outdoor plans include young kids burning off energy, a plunge pool isn’t a great idea. Very few sixth-graders will warm to the idea of doing low-impact water aerobics, and pool volleyball is out of the question. 

Plunge pools lack the wow factor

If making a statement is a key purpose behind your outdoor living plans, a plunge pool probably isn't for you. Big pools with elaborate landscaping are great if you want the wow factor. No matter how nice your plunge pool is, chances are it wouldn’t be part of a big reveal on Ultimate Pools like this one would:

Is a plunge pool an upside or downside for your luxury backyard?

 A plunge pool can be a plus or a minus for a luxury backyard, but is it a plus or minus for your backyard? It all depends. How you want to use your backyard space? Why do you want a pool? Do other homes in your neighborhood have pools?  

Now that you’ve got a better idea of those factors, it’s time for you to dig deeper into whether a plunge pool would be right for you. This post provides more detail on the pros and cons of plunge pools. If you want even further detailed information, reach out to us here, or give us a call at 240-266-5900.

Phil Parsons

Phil Parsons is an owner at KP Contracting with 20-years’ experience in custom remodeling and the development of outdoor living spaces that bring friends and family together. He is a degreed engineer, and his work has been featured on HGTV.