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From Water Slides To Caves — A Short Guide To Spicing Up Your Pool With A Grotto

Installing a backyard pool is a great way to take a yard from drab to fab. But, if you’re going to invest in such a prominent feature, you surely want to create a real centerpiece attraction. When a simple and basic pool just doesn’t add enough pizzazz for you, adding a grotto can be just what the doctor ordered. What is a pool grotto, and how can you design the perfect one? Here’s a quick guide to these luxurious add-ons.

The Structure

A pool grotto is basically a poolside structure made from faux rocks to look like a cave. They’re reinforced by a steel frame and designed/colored to blend in with your yard’s natural elements, like boulders, and landscape features. Grottos often incorporate other aspects too, like waterfalls or slides. With the right lighting, a well-structured grotto can turn your pool into a work of art after dark, creating a beautiful and tranquil setting when the pool isn’t in use.

The Options

The size, shape, and function of your grotto depends almost entirely on your personal style and budget. If you want to stay on the more basic end, you can opt for something like a simple addition that consists of 2 or 3 fake boulders that hide a pipe system to create a waterfall over a ledge or a bubbling overflow down the front of the rocks. On the other hand, if you want a truly luxurious experience, you can go all out and create a hidden cave with swim-in rooms and entertainment spaces. Such caves can be quite elaborate, sometimes housing bars or media rooms and boasting a walk-in entrance as well as a submerged “cave” entrance. If you’re thinking of adding a spa to your pool area, this can also be the perfect place to do so.

The Decision

With nearly limitless choices in the design and size of your grotto, how can you decide what works best for your needs? Most homeowners start with their budget. It’s better to create a smaller — but still fun — narrow cave with a waterfall and a ledge for seating that looks great than it is to skimp on the quality of a larger design. If your budget isn’t very limited, consider what you want to get from your pool add-on. Who are the main users of the pool? How do you use it? If the swimmers are usually adults enjoying a luxurious dip after dinner, for example, you may want to add a swim-in bar or a lounge space behind the waterfall. This will allow you to opt for some options with comfortable seating for cocktails. If you have kids, though, a swim-in grotto may take up valuable swimming space for water games with their friends. It may even be a safety hazard if it encourages little ones to climb or get into the cave areas unsupervised. In this case, it may be best to focus on installing a family-friendly feature with an open cave where children can easily be viewed from all angles. You can still install slides, a diving board, or a beach entrance as well.

The Execution

Building a grotto generally isn’t a DIY project, unless it’s a very basic design. Because you are building a fairly sophisticated outdoor structure that people will be spending time in and under, you’ll want to ensure quality construction that meets or exceeds safety standards. It’s best to work with an experienced pool construction company that has created complex designs for others and are known to comply with safety needs. They can help you understand any limitations of your yard, terrain, or existing pool, as well as provide you with permit and zoning requirements for larger designs. They can also help create a realistic looking exterior that’s both fun and functional. Whether your grotto is simple or hides an entirely new backyard retreat, you’ll be sure to create a swimming pool that becomes the life of any party you throw.

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