Nothing says summer like jumping into a pool. And if that pool is in your backyard? Even better. While in-ground pools can be some of the most expensive outdoor home renovations, costing anywhere from $45,000 to $50,000 (not including maintenance), an above-ground pool is a less expensive-but equally fun-alternative.
The cost of an above-ground pool with installation can range from $3,000 to $11,000, according to Home Guide, with the national average being $2,800. The cost largely depends on the size, brand, and any added features that the pool might have. The much lower price point isn’t the only benefit of an above-ground pool; they’re also safer for kids because of the shorter height, they come in different sizes to fit most backyards, and they can more easily be moved. Annual maintenance on above-ground pools costs about $2,500 to $5,000-the same as an in-ground pool. However, since above-ground options are generally smaller, they are easier to clean.
If you have an in-ground pool, having a pool deck is still a great addition. This creates a platform that is level with the water that can be used for lounging and easier access to the pool. It also makes the pool easier to clean.
“A pool deck provides you a comfortable place to lounge with loved ones and get some sun,” says Kate Shaw, cofounder of Retreat Design, a company that renovates and designs Airbnbs and short-term rentals. “Building a gorgeous outdoor lounge space is like adding a whole new living room.”
The cost of materials for a 10×10 foot ground-level deck costs about $700-$2,200 if you have a contractor do it for you, according to Home Guide. While it is possible to build a pool deck yourself (it’s definitely the cost-effective option), this home improvement should be reserved for those who are “really into woodworking and understand it well,” according to Sean Chapman, a professional carpenter and founder of tools and machinery review blog Tools n’ Goods.
With lumber costs soaring, it’s going to take a bit more planning and coordination to add this upgrade to your outdoor space-but it’s definitely possible. Here are expert tips on how to add a budget-friendly pool deck to your backyard this summer.
Go for cost-effective materials, such as treated wood or bamboo.
The cost of lumber is likely to remain high, so consider alternate, lower-cost materials for your pool deck. Gregory Kyler, licensed general contractor and cofounder of Property People, LLC, suggests using treated wood.
“Treated lumber is the most common material and more cost-effective versus composite or cedar deck boards, which last longer,” he says. Pressure-treated wood costs about $5 to $8 per square foot. Bamboo is another budget-friendly option at $3 to $4 per square foot.
Use composite materials, which can save you money in the long run.
One thing to note about treated wood: Although it is cheaper, it might not last as long as cedar or composite materials, especially in an area that is constantly exposed to water. Annual costs to maintain and varnish your wood deck can add up (and take up time) so you might want to consider using a composite material like Trex. “This will bring down the cost of maintenance by about $60 a year if you were to routinely maintain and varnish a wooden deck,” says Chris Campbell, CEO of outdoor furniture business The Charming Bench Company. The cost of Trex is a bit more expensive, ranging from $8 to $20 per square foot, but it is waterproof, doesn’t splinter or crack, and is resistant to mold and insects.
Build the deck in sections.
Take your time (and save money) by building the pool deck in sections. There’s no need to build an entire deck all at once. You can build a section of it at a time, both for ease of cost and to access the pool easier-with room for a few lounge chairs, too.
“Build it in sections and as you save more money or material prices come down you can always add on,” says Kyler.
Consider using sand or rocks around your pool.
Since wood and cement are so expensive, you can cut costs by using as little of them as possible. “Adding a gorgeous space for lounge chairs around your pool doesn’t need to be cement,” says Shaw.
Save the wood or cement for the entrance of the pool, and go for something like smooth river rock or sand for a more tropical touch so you can save money and still have your backyard look like a relaxing oasis.