Pool depth opinions

jenn.in.dfwJune 25, 2010

Hi everyone, I've been lurking for a few weeks now and need to speak up!

My husband and I are considering putting in an inground pool sometime either next winter or spring. Of course we've already started doing research/planning and the only point of contention we've come across is opinions on pool depth.

I am 5'5" and he is 5'10". I prefer not to have to stand on my tip toes or dog paddle across deep pools because its just way too much work with a drink in my hand. :) HE however wants to be able to dive or jump in (he knows you can't dive head first unless really deep), and he likes the feeling of being completely submersed in water. My argument is that we'll be using our pool more for entertaining and water sports (volleyball, basketball) rather than actual swimming to and fro.

Can you please let me know your pool depths? Would you go deeper? Shallower? Any opinions or recommendations either for his argument or mine are appreciated!

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I'd also add that we're planning on something around the size of 17x31 geometric shaped pool, and would want both ends to be equally shallow with the deep spot in the middle (3.5/5.5/3.5) - I just HATE playing volleyball when one team has to be on the deep end, its so unfair!


    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 6:18PM
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We built a 17'x32' "sport pool" which is the depth you stated and we love it. We are in FTW if you want to look at one. The depth and size is perfect for us and we love the modern look.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 6:30PM
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Choosing your depth is a very important decision.

I am 6'4" and the wife is 5'9". We just assumed we should go deeper since we are taller.

Big mistake. We went with a 5'6" foot depth volleyball style, which ended up being 5'9" deep in the middle.

We were under the impression that only the middle section would be 5.5 feet deep and the majority would be 5 feet or less.

Unfortunately the majority of the pool was 5 feet or deeper. This resulted in 3/4 the pool being too deep for average height people to stand in comfortably. We also had a severe slope from the stairs to the middle.

Ended up paying to have gunite crew come back and fill in the pool to make it more useable. Raised the floor so the deepest point was 5 feet. Glad we did this.

I suggest being onsite when the shoot the gunite and taking measurements to ensure the depth is as you expect. If it is too deep it is cheap to have them raise the floor when the truck is already there.

In my opinion you either have a pool where most people can stand in and hang out, or you have it deep enough to dive. Ours ended up being right in the middle where it was almost un-useable.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 11:54PM
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If space and budget permit, a dog leg or L shaped pool can offer both.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 8:43AM
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We wanted a pool that wasn't too deep either. We decided on 6 ft at it s deepest point and 3ft in the shallow end. If I were tyo do it over again I would have done the deepend at least 7 1/2 - 8 ft as many of our 2 daughters (13/15 yrs old) friends all like to dive into the pool. But at 6 feet being the deepest, we worry about someone hitting bottom on a dive and try to discourage the diving part of things. but kids will be kids and it can become very dangerous in a hurry.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 12:38PM
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Thanks for the feedback so far, I know its a very personal opinion, just unfortunately its personal for two persons who have different opinions!

We don't have kids right now - probably not for 2 more years, but in reading a lot of the posts on here (so far I've gone back to mid 2009!) I'm seeing a common theme that kids absolutely LOVE diving and jumping and cannon balls. We plan on living here indefinitely so hopefully this will be the pool our future kids and their friends will play in.

We have a HUGE backyard but neither of us really likes the idea of an L-shape pool because we want there to be plenty of grassy area left; I think something around 17x34 rectangle is probably the maximum.

Is it possible to do a 4-6-4 in a pool that's only 34 ft long without having ridiculous slopes?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 6:13PM
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I have a 1970s era 15'x30' free-form sort-of-kidney shaped pool that was 3' deep at the shallow end to 8' in the deep end. Because of its length, that deep end wasn't really deep enough to dive in safely as the rise to the shallow started only about 10' from the pool wall at the deep end. So we took out the diving board several years ago. That made the deep end totally useless. We are now in the midst of remodeling the pool to make it totally user friendly. That deep end is no more! A 6'x12' reef deck will be there instead, about 16" deep with an umbrella sleeve in the center, and the deepest part of the pool will only be 5' deep in the middle. Even still, kids could jump in cannon-ball style in the middle, just can't dive. But when you have small pool, diving's not such a good idea anyway -- better they save that for the pool at their school!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 9:59PM
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4-6-4 in a 34 ft long pool would have a pretty gradual slope. The 6ft middle would be a horrible depth IMO as it is too deep for volleyball and too shallow for anything else.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 8:16AM
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We have a lagoon-style pool, that goes from 3.5 to 8 ft. and we love it. We also have a baja shelf, and all areas of the pool are utilized. We have 3 boys, and tons of neighborhood friends, and there is always diving/cannonballs in the deep end, basketball in the shallow end, and loungers on the shelf (usually girls - boys never lounge!). For us, having the 8ft. deep end was a must - kids and adults naturally want to dive into a pool.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 8:51AM
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jenn that is a very hard decision. I am 5' 5" and the wife is 5' 2". We wanted an adult social pool, one where we can walk the whole pool with a beverage in hand. Our max depth is 4' 10" - 5" or so depending on the level of the water. The wife has a metal knee (bionic woman) and she prefers to walk in the pool as opposed to swimming. We do more floating and lounging. We love it and even our friends who are much taller than we are also love it and they wished their pools were shallower. We find ours to be perfect even for swimming and for the grand baby. We however do not care for diving and volleyball which takes up too valuable drinking time, if you know what I mean. We do not allow any aggressive play when we have kids over. Look at out pool build at http://www.thathomesite.com/forums/load/pools/msg0718532217198.html?21

Hope this helps

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 8:58AM
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Thank you so much! I agree that 6' is pretty much a waste of space since its to deep yet not deep enough. Husband just thought it was a "good compromise" because its taller than him. I think he's more adamant that the pool be good for recreational use rather than the occasional cannonball, so I hope I can convince him to go with a shallower play pool.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 10:18AM
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We built in late summer '08. We have 3 kids (2 now teens) and a diving pool was a must. Plus, we wanted a "play" area be it volleyball, basketball or just squirt guns. Our shallow end is 27 feet across and is 3.5 feet on the ends and 4 in the middle. Sounds shallow until you get a tape measure and and see just how far 3.5/4' ft comes up on a 6' tall person. It has been perfect and I do not regret the depth one bit. My eldest teen is 6' at (15yrs) and my youngest is 5'. I'm 5'5" and DH 5'10".

Without going to look for the plans, the length is 36'.
The deep end is 9'.
The torpedo lane (not sure the right term) is 2' longer than regulation, and the slope between shallow and deep is very steep. We have rope hooks (and rope) to mark it off when needed.

You could definitely make yours a strait edge L or T. Ours is a curvy stocking or boot.

The only thing I regret is the sun shelf. When the pb said 4x6, I thought it would be 4'x6'. It's not. It's 4' to the furtherest part of the curve and 6' from end to end. We call it the glorified step. Our bird dog thinks it is for his lounging.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 10:43AM
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"Paradigmdawg", what kind of decking is that around your pool?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 8:57PM
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It is stamped concrete in an Ashlar slate pattern that is a bone color. We love it but wish we had of went just a little darker in color.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 7:05AM
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Ours is very similar to Zookeepers except that ours is more geometric. With kids, I knew a diving pool was a necessity. As it turns out, very few adults swim in our pool. Nobody plays volleyball even though we have the capability.

I am actually surprised how much my husband and I use the diving board. Your husband will not be able to dive with a sport pool. Jump, yes, but not dive.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 2:13PM
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I agree with Jeff. My new pool which will be plastered hopefully by the end of the week, is about 15 x 15. We went 3.5' to 5' and I regret it. If I had it to do over I would have gone 3.5' to 4', maybe 4.5'. The way it is now my wife won't be able to walk the entire pool, and it's not really big enough to swim or dive. And it slopes rapidly. If I were you guys I'd lean toward the shallower depths if it's not a diving pool. I think you'll enjoy it more.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 3:00PM
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Like houseful, though the capacity, we have never played volleyball or basketball. When not doing flips, dives and the like, the kids are all over the big shallow end. I am very glad we have both.
We built our pool with kids in mind, as they will be bigger longer than they are smaller. We want the kids and their friends to want to hang out here. With a play pool, I don't think they would be as inclined.
They are in the pool right now, with friends, in the rain, (no thunder). Actually I have two pools. I'll go take a pic.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 8:13PM
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we really do love playing water volleyball, my husband more so than me actually. last vacation we went on he spent about 90% of the time in the pool playing volleyball. We're both in our late 20s and have quite a few friends who relax in the pool with floats and drinks more so than diving. Here's the proposal I came up with:

do a 3-5-4, if he or our future kids want to dive, we have very close family friends nearby who have a diving pool (go figure, we NEVER dive when we're over there, why would we dive in ours?) That way between the two families there is one pool better for games and 1 pool better for diving.

Thanks everyone for your help, this board has been amazing! Now I just need to contain myself from getting overly excited while we save up $$.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 12:16PM
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jenn - I was in your shoes about a year and a half ago (when I started my planning and saving), so I feel your excitement. I used to go on this site (and others) every single day. As a matter of fact, I still do. We're under construction right now, and expect to be completely finished in about 7-10 days. We went with a 18x37 rectangular pool with a roman end step. We had the same issues you're talking about, and ended up with 20 feet of shallow end (for games, etc.) and the rest is 6 feet deep with a gradual slope. Based on how our pool looks at this point, I believe this is the perfect option for us. Good luck saving, and have fun planning!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 2:55PM
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I just happened to check here and I appreciate all your views and opinions. My pool is currently going in. I was mis informed and the pool is not as deep as I thought it was. It is a double roman ended pool 16x38 with the stairs, 10 feet 3.5' on each end and 5.6 in the middle. I didn't want a diving board . I think I am going to be o.k. based on the comments I have read. Thanks

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 7:11PM
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My parents pool is a 15'x30' oval, 3' deep in shallow end and 5' deep in the deep end. 5' is too deep, in my opinion. My ideal pool would be a rectangle that is 3' on each end, and 4' in the middle. It was never an issue to us that we couldnt dive, my sister and I had friends over all the time, and it really just didnt matter, nobody ever wanted to dive. Playing water volleyball, or water baseball, or water anything though was a pain because of the 5' end.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 2:53PM
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I have a lap pool that is 8' wide and 50' long. I am 5'11" and the depth is 4' - 5' - 4'. I do laps and actually skinned my knee while swimming in a pool with 3' ends.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 2:33AM
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Of course, the depth is completely based on use and opinion. We have 4'-8' and wouldn't go any shallower. Yes, the kids (we have 3) can't touch the bottom (although it is shallower by the shallow end walls). We jump/dive all the time and having 8" is nice. We made a big enough (24' wide) shallow end that we didn't lose too much shallow end to get our deep end.

Any relaxing is done on tubes/floats. Otherwise, people are swimming (my wife and I like to do laps, which is why we needed the center line to be at least 4'), jumping, diving, etc.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 9:17AM
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Paradigmdawg I like your Stamped Concrete. I know you said it was Ashlar slate. But do you know if it was Large Ashlar Slate stamp or Royal Ashlar slate etc... I'm looking to do an Ashlar stamp in my yard and there are so many to choose from.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:52PM
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@ paradigmdawg - love, love, LOVE your pool! Can you tell me who built it? We just moved into a new house and are restricted to a play pool - which bummed me out until I saw yours!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:28AM
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