Maximum Value Big Ticket Upgrade Projects: Pool

More than a simple backyard addition, a pool is a reflection of your lifestyle. It can be tailored to custom fit your property and accent your home’s architectural style and landscaping.
Sunken Fire Pit in Yard

Paris Hilton's Old Stomping Grounds

This Hollywood regency-style home was once owned by the popular celebrity. Maybe she used the sunken fire pit to keep her toes warm while she lounged and looked up at the stars.

Photo by: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

A pool not only adds beauty and a sense of luxury to your outdoor space, but also brings family and friends together for outdoor entertaining, relaxing and even exercise--all things that can also increase the value of your home.


  • Room for entertaining. Outdoor rooms and outdoor living are in high demand, and homeowners are looking to make the most of their backyard space. Think of the pool as part of a larger design plan with surrounding decking or even a kitchen/bar area. Multi-tiered decks suitable for dining and other forms of entertaining can turn a pool into the backyard's focal point.
  • Lush landscaping. Landscaping not only adds extra privacy to your pool area, but can also turn what normally would be a boring concrete feature into a luxurious environment. Whether you keep it to a minimum with shrubs and pops of color, or plan a full-blown tropical paradise, landscaping can soften harsh lines and turn your pool into a more inviting space.


The biggest mistake a homeowner can make is putting in a pool when they are not typical to the area. You get a better return on investment in areas where hot temperatures are standard for most of the year, while areas with more moderate or cool climates would see a better ROI should the money be invested elsewhere.

According to appraisal expert, Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute, there are two kinds of value to consider when deciding whether or not to add a pool to your property. First is the value that will be added to the property because of the market, and second, what Sellers considers most important in the long run, is that value added because of increased livability to the home. If a pool allows you to spend more time entertaining and getting friends and family together, then it will be worth it on a personal level.


  • On a Budget: While technically not a home improvement project, installing an above-ground pool in your backyard is the most economical way to add a pool to your home. They are not permanent structures and can be assembled and dismantled as a do-it-yourself project. Above-ground pools offer virtually no ROI, but will satisfy a homeowner's desire for a refreshing summer retreat.
  • Mid-Range: Fiberglass pools are a great option when trying to stay on a budget without sacrificing quality. An easier project than some, fiberglass pools are one solid piece that can be fit into the designated space. While some might prefer the more expensive options for customization purposes, fiberglass pools are generally very popular because there is no need for resurfacing or liner replacement.
  • High-End: By far the most permanent and expensive type of pool is one created with Gunite, or concrete. A multi-stage project, Gunite pools are best installed by a professional, because of the detailed steps that need to be completed accurately. Although the most expensive option, Gunite pools can be decorated with tiling and other forms of detail work to make the space really pop. Custom water features and spas can also be added to the pool, giving the space a rich and luxurious feel. One important thing to remember when considering a Gunite pool is the cost of upkeep; unlike fiberglass pools, Gunite pools need regular maintenance, with resurfacing and liner replacement.

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