Having their own swimming pool is the dream of many homeowners. Now they can go swimming whenever they feel like it, day or night. They can invite who they want over to enjoy the water and don’t have to worry about sharing it with hundreds of people they don’t know. But a swimming pool costs money, both to build and to maintain, and it needs to be designed well in advance of building it. Here are six tips that will help you build the pool of your dreams:

1. Determine Why You Want the Pool

The first thing to figure out when it comes to a swimming pool is why you want it. Swimming pools, as stated, are expensive, and they don’t necessarily raise the resale value of the house. Some prospective buyers absolutely do not want the expense and upkeep of a swimming pool and won’t consider buying a property that has one. But there are other reasons to install a pool. You might want one for exercise or to entertain your guests or because it will add to the beauty of your backyard. You might want one just because your neighbor has one, which is fine.

2. Determine Where the Pool is Going to Be Installed

Just where the pool is going to be built is crucial. Despite all those pictures of bright blue swimming pools in floods of sunlight, a swimming pool shouldn’t lie in direct sunlight. It should also not be put in a windy area. Both sunlight and wind lead to evaporation. The pool should not be near underground cables or plumbing pipes. One good tip is to call 811 before the pool is built to make sure you and the contractor know where all the underground utilities are.

3. Know Who is Going to Use the Pool

Knowing who’s going to enjoy the pool will play a large role in its design. Is it for a family with young children and pets? Is it for retirees who may need grab bars? Is it for young adults who might enjoy a built-in spa or a swim-up bar?

4. Determine if Your Property Can Support a Pool

Not all properties can support an inground pool. Sometimes, the soil is too sandy or rocky. The water table may be too high, and this is important because the pool can simply be heaved up out of the ground by the force of the water. It’s also just difficult to build an inground pool over a high water table. To find out if the soil is good for building an inground pool, take a sample from the area, and send it to a lab. To find out if you have a high water table, you can use a shovel or an auger, and dig a hole in the area until it starts to fill up with water. If you have a private well, you can ask the state government for a driller’s log that will let you know the depth of the water table.

5. Choose the Shape of the Pool

After you’ve determined that the area where you want the pool is sound, you’ll need to choose the shape of the pool. Pools can come in a variety of shapes, including kidney shaped, illusion, round, oval, square, rectangular or free form. Movie stars have been known to have their pools in the shape of an Oscar, for example. Ideally, the pool and the landscaping around it should complement the style of the house.

6. About Landscaping and Special Features

Some features are best installed at the same time as the pool. These include outdoor kitchens, a spa or a gas-fed fire pit. Other features include a waterfall, a fountain, stepping stones and plants at the pool edge. Don’t worry about them being exposed to chlorinated water. Good plants to put around a pool include Egyptian papyrus, zebra grass, agave and other succulents.