Home buyers continue to crave upgraded outdoor spaces, with homebuilders reporting continued growth in demand for a range of exterior amenities, from porches and decks to patios and pools, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ What Buyers Really Want survey.
So, what are the hot trends for outdoor spaces and pools? Styled, Staged & Sold caught up with Tom Casey, vice president of sales at Anthony & Sylvan Pools, a nationwide residential swimming pool and spa builder, to get his take.
What are some of the hottest trends you are noticing in outdoor spaces?
CASEY: Modern, geometric pools and smaller plunge pools continue to be popular. All customers want a pool that complements their home and style, whether they already have a pool or they’re building a new one. Geometric designs with clean lines and sharp angles are among the most requested. Vanishing edges, darker interiors and water features like fountains and deck jets are popular.
For our customers who are renovating older pools, adding LED lighting creates a dramatic update. Converting an unused spa into a sun shelf and adding water features, such as cascades or fountains, are a great way to enhance a pool’s design. Many of our customers also opt to update tile and the swimming pool surface to create a more modern look.
The landscaping surrounding a pool is just as important, and we've found features such as sleek hedges, modern outdoor seating, fireplaces and stonework to be wonderful accents. Adding a pavilion or a pool house can certainly bring a more traditional backyard into the 2020s.
We saw a surge in interest in pools during the pandemic. Is that interest continuing?
CASEY: There was a large surge in 2020 and 2021, as demand for private backyard pools was higher with so many people at home. While demand may return to pre-pandemic levels, we are continuing to see homeowners wanting to create that backyard escape. We are also seeing increased interest from customers who have older pools that they’d like to renovate to make more modern.
The backyard has become a focal point over the past few years, with people spending more time at home. Creating a space to entertain friends, bring family together and create a personal getaway at home has become increasingly important.
As backyards get smaller, are pools getting smaller, too? Do you need a big yard to fit a pool nowadays?
CASEY: Having a smaller backyard should not hold anyone back from getting a pool. A popular option for smaller spaces is a “plunge pool,” which is a small, deep pool built for cooling off and “plunging” in. These are great for homeowners with limited space.
Are saltwater pools and spas catching on? What are the benefits?
CASEY: Yes, saltwater pools and spas are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to chlorine pools, which also remain in-demand. Saltwater cleanses the pool, eliminating the need for storing and handling chlorine. Both types of pools are completely safe and effective in maintaining chemical balance. The choice is dependent on individual preference.
Is there demand for pools outside warm climates?
CASEY: Yes, we have customers in 18 states, many of whom reside in colder areas like the Northeast. While it is common for homeowners to close their pools for a few months every year, pool heaters enable them to extend the season and enjoy their pools through some of the cooler months. For customers looking to use their pool year-round, we recommend pool heaters if they live in a region where water temperatures will fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
What are homeowners doing to enhance the space surrounding their pool?
CASEY: The space around a pool is as important as the pool itself. Some customers opt to keep it simple with decking and outdoor seating options, while others elevate their outdoor spaces with fireplaces, grills or full outdoor kitchens. These modern additions are a great way to enjoy your pool area regardless of the time of year.