September 12, 2011

Reasons You Shouldn't Put in a Swimming Pool

So you're thinking about putting in a pool, huh? Why? Did the Jones's down the street get one and now your trampoline isn't the talk of the neighborhood anymore? You poor thing. I bet all the kids are just thinking about how Dick and Jane Jones are so much cooler than you because they have a pool and a water slide. Jumping on your old trampoline with a garden hose is for sissies. Am I right?
Well, maybe you are a little lame. The pressure to keep up with the Jones's can get to ya, but don't give in. You don't need (or even REALLY want) an outdoor pool. It's just not worth it.
Here's Why:

Yard Work Builds Character

I grew up in a small house at the bottom of a little col-de-sac. When we moved into the house there was bermuda grass in the front and back yard. My dad was a California boy and considered bermuda to be nothing more than a weed. So, he shut off the Orbit Sprinkler Systems and let the grass brown to a crisp until there was nothing left. I'm sure at the beginning his plan was to lay some nice sod. But, it seemed my father's income dwindled with the bermuda grass. We didn't have money to landscape our yard. So we had dirt. And we hated it.
My dad woke me and my 3 brothers up every Saturday morning to pick weeds (by hand!) and rake the dirt smooth.
You heard right. Because we were the only house on the street that didn't have a fancy green lawn with some kind of rock arrangement and/or water fountain, my dad thought it looked much better if the dirt was raked in straight lines.
To me, not having a lawn was a thousand times worse than having a lawn. My friends didn't have to pick weeds or rake dirt. All they had to do was push a lawn mower once a week for half an hour. We'd spend our entire Saturday picking weeds. I wanted a lawn so bad. There was an older man next door that was nit picky about his lawn but was getting too old to be able to work on it alone. I would go over and he would put me to work laying mulch, mowing and edging his lawn, trimming bushes, burning weeds, and even building a fence. I loved it. There's a satisfying feeling that comes when you clean up a nice looking lawn.
At my house, no matter how hard we worked, at the end of the day our yard was just dirt. It was impossible to make it look pretty. But when you're done trimming the hedge, mowing the lawn, and cleaning out the flowerbed, it looks amazing. You become proud of yourself and your work.

Pools are dangerous

Don't even get me started on all the sad stories I've heard where kids and pets have gone into the pool unattended. If you've got a pool in your backyard, you had better be prepared to take some serious safety precautions. We're talking about padlocked gates, 24/7 supervision, and animal control.
And you're talking about having the neighbor kids over to swim? Man trust me, you do not want that kind of responsibility. Unless you are planning on hiring a full-time lifeguard, how are you going to keep those kids from running, slipping, banging their head, and having chicken fights? You can just forget about it.

Pools are Seasonal and Expensive

This point is obvious. You want to spend thousands of dollars to put in a pool that you and the kids are going to enjoy for 2 months out of the year, if that? You might as well get a guinea pig.
Oh but you're also planning on putting in a hot tub, is that it? Do you know how much it costs to heat those things? Not only that, but do some research on how much bacteria accumulates over a small amount of time in hot tubs? You thought the process of making hot dogs was nasty.

Lawns Bring Families Together

With a backyard you can put together a family game of football, kickball, or Red Rover. You can play fetch with Fido and teach your son how to throw a baseball. You can have a barbecue, a picnic, and an Easter Egg hunt. You can build a snowman when it snows, and have a water balloon fight.
If you give your kids a swimming pool, they'll take it for granted. Going to the city swimming pool can be an exciting thing for your kids. Don't spoil them with a giant pool all to themselves. They should be learning how to work by taking care of the lawn and growing a garden.
Save yourself the money, and keep your trampoline. Maybe you can use half of that Swimming Pool money and do some landscaping. If you have the extra space for a pool, consider a basketball court or a sandbox. ;)


Phil Goold is a retired landscaper of 30 years. He loves being outside more than anything else, except maybe pie. He enjoys connecting with other landscapers and gardeners because everyone brings something new and fun to the table. Connect with Phil on Twitter and Google+.

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