By Sav Maive for Lawnstarter.com
With summers getting hotter than ever, there’s no better time to have an in-ground swimming pool in your backyard to help you cool off.
That’s not ideal — or even possible — in some parts of the U.S., though.
To find the most “pool-ready” cities in America, LawnStarter ranked 2022’s Best Cities to Own a Swimming Pool.
We compared nearly 200 of the biggest U.S. cities based on climate, yard size, access to pool installation and maintenance, as well as costs.
We also looked at the share of homes with pools in each real estate market to gauge how well the city embraces pool culture.
Dive into our ranking below, followed by some highlights, lowlights, and expert tips.
Highlights and Lowlights
Making a Splash in the Sun Belt
Sunny, sandy states — Arizona, Florida, and Texas — are thirsty for cool water. All three states dominated the top of our ranking and have experienced extreme heatwaves this summer.
Three Sunshine State cities floated to the top, with Fort Lauderdale taking home the gold. Pools aren’t a rare sight in Cape Coral (No. 3) or Hollywood (No. 9), either — these cities have the ideal climate for swimming.
A hot climate and affordable pool cleaning brought wealthy areas of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro, including Plano (No. 4), Frisco (No. 5), and McKinney (No. 6), to the top, alongside Austin (No. 7).
Scottsdale swam to second place overall and beat all 193 other cities in Pool-Readiness. Despite the Colorado River shortage and severe drought plaguing the Southwest, Scottsdale is a wealthy city that can afford pool expenses (though going to a community pool instead might help conserve water).
Northern Cities Nosedive
You’re better off finding a community pool than building your own in colder-climate cities.
We expected cities in the upper latitudes to sink in our ranking, but we didn’t predict Great Lakes-adjacent cities to hit the bottom of the pool. They include Cleveland in last place, followed by Buffalo (No. 193), Syracuse (No. 192), and Detroit (No. 191).
Lack of yard space, expensive installation and maintenance, and scarce sunshine anchored these cities to the bottom. Thankfully, they aren’t too far from thousands of miles of water to splash around in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
Costly Cali Cannonballs
Poolside escapes may seem like a Californian dream, and they are for many Oxnard (No. 189) or Oakland (No. 184) residents who don’t have large yards.
Rancho Cucamonga (No. 65), Escondido (No. 88), and even Lancaster (No. 181) are pool-ready, and many homes currently for sale in these cities come with a pool already installed. Unfortunately, expensive pool cleaning and poor climate due to drought risk dragged these cities down in the ranking.
Ask The Experts
Before getting knee-deep in your upcoming pool project, it’s important to know what pitfalls to expect and how the addition of a giant water feature in your backyard might affect the value of your home.
We reached out to a pool of experts for insights and tips to help you avoid costly mistakes. Read their thoughts below.
- What are your three best tips for new pool owners?
- What is one unexpected challenge homeowners might face while building or planning a pool?
- What is the most important way to avoid a pool leak?
- Does a swimming pool add value to a home? Why or why not, and if so, how much?
- What are the top three factors that can affect the pool’s chemical balance?
- What’s one potential pitfall homeowners should avoid while building or maintaining a pool?
- Who should and shouldn’t own a swimming pool?
Gerald J. WangAssistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Carnegie Mellon University View Answers
Salil SarkarProfessor of Finance and Real Estate University of Texas at Arlington View Answers
Behind the Ranking
For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, we first gathered publicly available data on the factors listed in the table below.
We then grouped those factors into four categories: Pool-Readiness, Installation, Maintenance, and Climate.
Next, we calculated weighted scores for each city in each category.
Finally, we averaged the scores for each city across all categories. We eliminated six cities lacking sufficient data in a single category, resulting in a total sample size of 194 cities.
The city that earned the highest average score is considered “Best” (No. 1), while the city with the lowest is “Worst” (No. 194).
|Metric||Weighting||Min. Value||Max. Value||Best|
|Average Yard Square Footage||3||776||19,855||Max. Value|
|Share of Homes with Pools on the Market||3||1.0%||62.7%||Max. Value|
|Pool Installers within 10 Miles (per Number of Single-Family Detached Homes)||4||0||0.013||Max. Value|
|Average Minimum Pool Installation Cost (as % of Average Annual Household Income)||5||19.7%||87.4%||Min. Value|
|Number of Pool Cleaners||3||0||211||Max. Value|
|Average Per-Visit Pool Cleaning Cost (as % of Average Weekly Household Income)||4||0.0%||3.1%||Min. Value|
|Historical Average Number of Extremely Hot Days||1||2||169||Max. Value|
|Historical Average Number of Extremely Cold Days||1||0||192||Min. Value|
|Historical Average Monthly Percentage of Sunshine||1||42%||85%||Max. Value|
|Drought Risk Score||3||0||3||Min. Value|
|Heatwave Risk Score||3||1||3||Max. Value|
|Natural Hazards Index||0.5||9||20||Min. Value|
|Forced Water Cuts Due to Drought (1=Yes, 0=No)||3||0||1||Max. Value|
Showing 1 to 17 of 17 entries
Sources: BuildZoom, Federal Housing Finance Agency, HomeBlue, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, PoolCost.com, Realtor.com, and Yelp
Splashing Through Summer
Heatwaves have been cooking cities across the country, leaving many citizens desperate for a dip in the pool.
Swimming is not only refreshing after a hot day, but is also entertaining and good for you. Regular aerobic activity (like swimming) can lower your risk of chronic illness and improve overall health. Swimming is a relaxing way to get your body moving in the sun, thus improving your mental health, too.
Add some personality to your backyard by landscaping around the pool. Whether you already have or want to install an in-ground, semi-inground, or above-ground pool, you can enhance your swimming experience by adding flowers, lighting, and hardscaping around your pool. Landscaping elements like fences and hedges can also increase poolside privacy.
Research plenty before installing a pool in your backyard. Maintenance and pool service costs can definitely sink your finances if you’re not careful.
Need help implementing your dream poolside landscape? LawnStarter’s local pros can help with all your landscaping and lawn care needs.
Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock
This article originally appeared at: https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/studies/best-cities-to-own-swimming-pool/