If you’re looking for more oomph than standard steps and ladders can offer, you have a lot of options. Steps can be built into a corner, or can span a much larger area, creating a multi-tiered oasis for sitting and splashing. Another choice to consider is the beach entry — a gentle, sloping walk-in entry that feels like walking into the ocean. Beach entries can take up a lot of space, so, depending on the size of your pool, a combination of the two may be ideal.
In-Water Bench and Table
Built-in underwater benches and chairs offer a cool, relaxing spot to sit a while, and can be outfitted with hydrotherapy jets for added enjoyment. Pair with an in-water table, and you’ve got and ideal place for reading, snacking and playing games — just be sure to build a table that is umbrella-compatible so you can keep this area shady and comfortable.
Tanning ledges are typically about 6 inches deep and built into the perimeter of your pool. Also called a “Baja Bench”, they provide a large, shallow area where toddlers can play, and where everyone else can relax or tan.
A grotto is an imitation cave built onto the side of your pool. They can be built out of natural boulders, but are usually created from artificial rock — and are at their best when tucked away behind a waterfall. When combined with an underwater bench, a grotto makes a magical water fort for kids — or a romantic hiding place for adults.
Swim-up bars are typically built with underwater seating, and are a popular addition with those who do a lot of entertaining. How you incorporate one depends a lot on your overall poolscape. You can build a swim-up bar that’s surrounded by water and strictly for swimmers. Or, you can build it along the pool edge to be used by people both in and out of the pool — these are usually built adjacent to, or in conjunction with, a sunken patio bar.