Five Common Swimming Pool Design Factors in the Lowcountry
With the summer heat in the Lowcountry, we all enjoy splashing in a nice cool swimming pool. While my family really enjoys seeing our friends at our neighborhood pool, sometimes it would be nice to be able to step off of my deck into a pool without having to walk or bike or carry goggles or noodles, etc. There are a lot of factors to consider in addition to initial cost when deciding on whether or not to install a pool to your home in the Charleston area.
1) Lot Coverage -Most local municipalities allow up to 35% impervious lot coverage. This is the square footage of the lot which can absorb rain water. Typically this includes the footprint of the home and overhangs, paved driveways and sidewalks, and in some cases decks and stairs. Once the 35% threshold is reached, you may be required to change some paved areas to gravel or some other type of pervious material.
2) Setbacks and Easements - Each lot has setbacks based on the how it is zoned. These are typically 20’ in the front with 5’ to 10’ on the sides and may be up to 25’ in the back. This does not include additional space that may be required if you are on a marsh or wetlands. In Charleston we have many lots with drainage or other types of easements which can further restrict the area available for a pool.
3) HOA Restrictions - Home Owners Associations may require an additional setback for pools and frequently limit the curb height to 24” above final grade. This provides an exception for inflatable or plastic kiddie type pools while excluding most above ground pools.
4) Trees - Tree ordinances vary between municipalities. In some cases, 6” diameter trees require city approval to be removed. Larger trees above 24” are protected and may require variance application to be removed. In our area, Pine, Sweet Gum, and Tallow trees are frequently exempted from these restrictions.
5) Hidden Costs - Cost factors may also affect the size and location of your backyard paradise. Concrete Decking beyond the 3 or 4 foot skirt is typically one of the highest cost options involved with pool construction. Don’t forget that you will need fencing and possibly additional home owner’s insurance coverage. Be sure that electrical wiring for equipment and lighting are included in your quote for and ask about the additional load. There will be landscape repair, as the heavy equipment used to excavate has to travel from the street to the pool site.