When Amy Holland bought a home in Austin, Texas in 2020, she and her husband wanted a pool in their backyard, but it wasn’t the only one.
“We don’t have kids, so we didn’t want giant water slides and all the features,” said Holland, 46, who works in technology sales. “We really wanted just a ‘cocktail pool’ where we could soak, have a drink, and invite friends over. I didn’t want a big pool. ”
The solution was the plunge pool.
Traditional backyard pools are typically 15 feet wide and 30 feet long, while plunge pools tend not to exceed 10 x 20 feet. It also has a flat, shallow bottom, usually about 5 feet deep.
In addition, maintenance costs are low and construction is easy. Holland and her husband chose a design that allowed the pool to fit snugly in the sloping backyard and not interfere with the long root system of the 100-year-old living oak on the property.
Other homeowners prefer the minimalism of plunge pools, says Allison Messner, chief executive of landscape design firm Yardzen in Sausalito, California.
“I think people who are attracted to plunge pools are looking for pools with a smaller footprint because they have more functional areas in the garden and also have a more modern look,” Messner said. doesn’t allow for many other things in a typical backyard, she added. ‘ said.
Plunge pools are certainly nothing new. In nature, they take the form of deep basins at the base of waterfalls, with natural swimming holes created by erosion. The ancient Romans installed small circular pools, usually five feet deep, as part of their baths. Small pools inspired by Roman examples dotted 18th-century English gardens.Photo of a plunge pool in the age of social media tropical resort Also greek villa Often widely shared.
Backyard pools, once reserved for the U.S.’s wealthy, boomed when gunite pools, a type of concrete pool, became more affordable for many homeowners. For a while, kidney-shaped pools (often eight feet deep at the deepest point and requiring a diving board) became suburban status symbols. Especially in Southern California, neighborhoods filled with splashes and the sounds of Marco and his polo game. .
Lucas Farmin, a pool builder in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, says most pools he builds these days are about five feet deep.
Co-founder Chapman Block suitable plunge pool in Austin, Even before plunge pools became popular again, people said they used traditional pools differently.
“Sometimes when I go to a pool party, I see people standing together in shallow water. There is a large unused area in the pool,” he said. “Having a body of water to chill and relax is what most people are really looking for.”
The standard backyard pool isn’t going away, but in recent years a number of companies have sprung up to give more and more people easy access to prefabricated plunge pools. It helps bridge the gap created by labor and supply shortages faced by traditional builders, reducing costs and timing.
Karen Larson, co-founder of Soake Pools in Pembroke, New Hampshire, said: For small pool ideas. ”
Larson said Soake, which was founded in 2014, has seen an increase in demand for its so-called “precast plunge pools” in recent years. After the homeowner selects the size and finish (such as tile and bench options), Soake builds the pool offsite while a local landscaping contractor prepares the space for the garden. Once the body of the pool is complete, it will be transported to your home and installed on site by crane. Larson said the process will take “days to weeks.”
Other prefabricated plunge pool companies include Plunge Plus of Easton, Massachusetts and Modpools of British Columbia. Modpools uses recycled shipping containers for their pools and is available for shipping within the United States.
Last year, designer Block launched Proper Plunge Pool in Austin with Ken Dineen, a construction industry veteran. Block said he came up with the idea of a company specializing in small pools after trying to convince a pool builder to install a pool in a small backyard a few years ago. At that time, he designed and built his own concrete plunge pool.
Proper Plunge Pool offers three different sized pools for those in the Austin area. Block said the company installed 20 pools last year.
“Plunge pools can make more use of backyard real estate in these smaller plots of land in many large cities,” Block said.
Plunge pools are less expensive than full-size pools. According to his nationwide survey of 1,100 realtors conducted by homelight, a mid-tier or luxury pool will cost about $70,000 to $100,000 in the third quarter of 2020. I was.
“What we see in Austin is that a lot of pool companies won’t even start talking to you unless they’re willing to spend $70,000 to $80,000. “It’s a lot of money. In the end, I think you can get something that’s just as high quality and aesthetically as good as a custom built pool.”
Once plunge pools are built, the cost of maintaining them is also reduced. Less chemicals and water are required, and less energy is consumed by heating. Philip Michael, owner of Cool Water Pool Works in Southampton, New York, said:
Smaller pools can be easily cooled or heated, making them attractive to those who close their pools during the colder months.
Lee Profitt, 42, installed a soak plunge pool in the backyard of a farm in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and turned it into an Airbnb.
“It’s very relaxing,” she said. “You can make it as warm as you like, including the temperature of the hot tub. So just being in this calm water, just jumping in it feels really therapeutic.”