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What Swimming Pool Water Features Can I Add to My Pool?

When dreaming about adding a swimming pool to your backyard, you may think of gazing at sparkling blue water, swimming morning laps or floating in the cool water under the hot summer sun. Did you know there are features you can add to increase the fun and excitement of your pool? While having a shimmering body of water in your backyard is cool enough, you can make the experience even better by adding swimming pool water features.

Of all the features available for your pool, from spillover spas and fountains to deck jets and grottos, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. However, before diving into all the different options it’s important to review one of the most-asked questions regarding these awesome additions: can you add a water feature to an existing pool?

Can I Add Water Features to My Existing Pool?

The answer is yes, but it comes with some caveats. For instance, if you want to add a pool waterfall, you should work with a pool professional who can analyze your pool’s mechanics along with the drainage, filtration and pump system. For waterslides, the pool professional will need to calculate the depth of water needed to support it.

Best practice is to incorporate your water feature into your design before building, but work with your pool pro to retroactively create the exciting feature-filled pool of your dreams.

free form pool with waterslide, bubblers, spillover spa, infinity edge

How many water features can you identify in this backyard pool?

What Are the Different Types of Water Features?

When it comes to the types of water features you can install in a new or existing pool, get creative and have fun picking out features that dazzle and delight. Whether your goal is to add sound and movement to your pool or to create an unforgettable focal point, water features help you to create the luxurious backyard oasis that rivals any resort. Here is some information about each of the different types of water features you can add to your pool:

Waterfall

When thinking about what features to add to your pool, cascade waterfall features are often the first on everyone’s list. Why? Because they are spectacular and give a natural feel to the design. One of the most beautiful types of waterfalls is a grotto often found in Mermaid style pools. Pool grottos typically feature cascading waterfalls that dramatically slide off real (or sometimes fake) rocks and into the pool and often have secret entrances, making it the perfect place to hide buried treasure.

natural stone rock waterfall with plants cascades into deep blue green pool

This rock waterfall features water plants for an extra natural touch.

Waterslide

Adding a waterslide pool feature to your backyard ramps up the fun in the hot, summer months. You’ll find standard waterslides as well as creative waterslides for certain aesthetics. For example, kid-friendly slides from S.R. Smith or customized slides made using all NPT pool tile. Want to see some awesome examples of waterslides? Check out our Sand Castle style pool board.

beige waterslide with rock waterfall and tropical landscaping

This gorgeous grotto – waterslide combination is enhanced with tropical landscaping.

Scuppers

If you’re aiming for an old-world feel for your swimming pool, scuppers are an excellent design choice. Think of them as sconces for the pool. These pool features come in all shapes, sizes and finishes and can be mounted along a wall or you can use a large scupper with the cascading water as a focal point.

Cascades

A cascade, also known as a sheer descent waterfall, is another feature that will utterly transform your pool. These differ from scuppers in that they look like horizontal strips of cascading water rather than the cylindrical stream that comes from a scupper spout. If you love a contemporary design, a sheer descent water feature coming from a stone wall will help you achieve that look. Its thin stream of water is almost translucent, and the quiet fall of water creates a relaxing and soothing environment.

rustic ledger stone bond beam wall with cascade

A cascade descends from a bond beam wall covered in warm ledger stone.

Rain Curtain

If you’re looking for pool drama, a pool rain curtain may be the right pool feature for you. Designed to look like a falling wall of water, a rain curtain water feature is typically installed on a wall or pergola roof and water cascades theatrically into the pool. Rain curtains are often attributed to Glam style pools for the high-end, luxurious look they create.

Outdoor Shower

When it comes to outdoor shower ideas, the sky is the limit when it comes to design. Options include freestanding outdoor showers or enclosed designs. You have your choice of materials, too. We have seen incredible examples of outdoor showers made of pipe, wood, stone, concrete, tile and any other material you can imagine. For some spectacular outdoor shower ideas, check out our outdoor shower Pinterest board.

Bubblers

If you’re looking for small pool features — or you have a shallow end in a large pool, bubblers, also called gushers, are a great way to add fun and interest to your swimming pool. Pool bubbler lights are installed in shallow water and contain small jets that force the water upwards into the pool. You can even adjust the height of the water streams depending on your desired look!

Fountains

Pool water fountains are water features that shoot up into the air from your swimming pool. If adding a touch of artistry to your pool is your idea of the perfect backyard retreat, then you should look at swimming pool water fountain features. You’ll find floating fountains, in-ground pool fountain features, and even a pool fountain with lights.

Deck Jets

Another way to add drama and a hint of fun to your pool is with pool deck jets. Swimming pool deck jets are sometimes referred to as laminar deck jets. Some of the top brands are Pentair deck jets, Jandy deck jets, and Hayward deck jets. The deck jets can be installed into pool decking, gunite pool walls, or even in sidewalls of above ground or vinyl-liner pools. The deck jets are installed so that they are mostly out of sight. They can also be hidden in your landscape to add a touch of surprise. The graceful water arc shoots from the jets into the pool, creating a sophisticated pool feature design.

bond beam deck jets backyard swimming pool

Deck jets burst from the bond beam wall into the deep blue pool water.

Spillover Spa

A pool with a spillover spa is truly a sight to behold. Imagine a raised spa with a spillover edge that cascades into the deep end of your pool, creating beautiful sound and movement. The best part about spillover spas is that you can customize them using your favorite tile. This is where you can really play with decorative and other kinds of intriguing tile for an incredible effect.

Statuary

A pool statuary is a stationary water feature that is a sculpture with water integrated into the design. These statuary pool fountains are typically in the image of an animal such as a dragon, lion, fish or even a person. Contemporary statuaries may be made of metal like steel or copper with abstract shapes. Water bubbles up or shoots out of the sculpture in a stream to add flair to your pool.

modern metal statuary with cascading water

This metal statuary gives this backyard an artistic, modern look.

Fire and Water Bowls

Swimming pool fire and water bowls combine fire and water for a stunning effect. Flames dance atop what looks like a pool of water. Fire water bowls for pools can be installed at the edge for a dramatic effect, or on top of pillars for a Romanesque vibe. You will find pool water bowls with lights, concrete water bowls for pools, and a variety of other styles.

pool with fire bowls and deck jets

This pool features fire and water bowls and deck jets for added movement and fluidity.

Swimming Pool Water Feature Considerations

Before deciding on pool water features, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Make sure your pool pump can handle the water features

When installing a pool feature that includes water, it’s important to understand whether your pool pump can handle the added volume. For instance, waterfalls require a lot of power to operate it. It may be necessary to have a dedicated booster pump for some high-power features.

Be sure to speak with a pool professional before deciding on any water pool feature so they can determine whether you’ll need an additional pump. Also speak to your pool professional about if variable speed pool pumps are a good match for your pool.

2. Water features can sometimes cause evaporation

As beautiful as pool water features are, they can cause evaporation. However, most pool feature evaporations only amount to about an inch of water per week.

3. Fountains improve filtration

Adding a water fountain not only makes your pool more impressive, but also helps filter the water, balance the chemicals in your pool, and lowers the water temperature on the hottest days of summer.

4. Don’t forget lighting!

Water features look incredible during the day, but what about at night? Showcase your incredible design with pool lighting. Don’t let your beautiful water feature fade into the darkness by not illuminating it with pool lighting. For lighting ideas, click here!

5. Play it safe.

Keep in mind safety measures when designing your water features. For example, pools that have diving boards must be 7.5 to 9 feet deep at one end. If you have kids, make sure rock waterfalls are anti-slip and make sure guests do not climb on them. Finally, clean your water features regularly as algae and other debris can easily get stuck in the equipment. These tips will help keep your pool running in top shape!

Bring the “Wow” with Water Features

Ready to add some water features to your backyard pool? Find a builder here! If you’d like some more ideas, check out our Pinterest for all kinds of amazing and impressive swimming pool designs with water features.


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