What’s the number-one most desired homeowner’s accessory when the sun comes out and the temperatures really start to climb? A pool. And what’s the most risky accessory to add to a property, in terms of cost, value and return?
Yep — a pool.
For most people, the price of an in-ground pool, along with the patio, pavers, pump, screening and whatever else goes along with it, is prohibitive. On top of that, many homeowners can never hope to recover that investment when and if they decide to move.
In the face of such concerns, folks are considering the tacky, time-honored alternative: the above-ground pool. It’s cheaper by an order of magnitude, and gives homeowners the option to dismantle it if they ever make the decision to sell their property. What’s more, clever designers both professional and amateur are now coming up with novel ways to give the traditionally ugly above-ground pool attractive makeovers, from partial in-ground installations and multi-tiered decks to innovative landscaping and more.
But screw that. Above-ground pools aren’t supposed to be artfully disguised indicators of middle-class status; they’re supposed to be bald, brash announcements that somebody’s live-in mom won the top prize on a scratch-off lottery ticket. Sitting in the backyard, an above-ground pool should evince exactly the same aesthetic as a giant beer can thoughtlessly tossed into the unmowed grass while watching NASCAR.
Of course, it still needs to be customized for optimum enjoyability. Here are the accessories every proud new owner of an above-ground pool needs, without sacrificing its, er, inimitable lifestyle associations.
1. Power. Floridians are masters of making it possible to do everything we like to do inside, outside. We’re sure your snowbird neighbor won’t mind you popping the lock on the shed and borrowing his ancient hurricane generator to help bring all the comforts of home poolside.
2. Shade. It’s important to situate your pool where the tallest, most lightning-attracting tree in your yard can throw at least a bit of shade on its azure depths. It helps keep the water cool, and you’ll be sick of the damned thing by the time it completely fills with leaves, limbs and drowned squirrels, anyway.
3. Entertainment. There are many, many non-physically-exerting sports to watch on TV this summer. We suggest dangling your television directly over the pool from the shade tree, so it can be easily viewed from any angle with the help of that metal pole that used to have a skimmer screen on one end before the kids broke it jousting.
4. Exercise. Nothing turns your above-ground pool into an open-air fitness center faster than adding a nice, tall slide to use once or twice a day. Make sure it’s taller than the neighbors’ privacy fence so they can enjoy watching your precariously waggling ass not getting any smaller.
5. Mood lighting. Whether you’re cooling off with friends after a hard night of stealing golf balls from the driving range or having loud, drunken outdoor sex with your significant other, you’ll need to occasionally light things up. Just clamp a couple of work bulbs right to the side of the pool, and you’re golden.
6. Floatation device. Nobody buys a pool so they can stand around in it, wearing out their stupid legs and possibly inviting a disability insurance fraud investigation. Also, nothing says “clever” like a sex-doll raft.
7. Convenient entry. That flimsy metal ladder’s gonna get worn out real quick, but didn’t we see a chunk of carpeted stairway lying outside the condemned duplex down the street? It’s called doing the environment a favor, is what it is.
8. Water feature. Here’s where a savvy pool owner gets the opportunity to really class things up. Don’t like the pissing cherub? That’s your prerogative. There’s always the pissing boy, the pissing fisherboy, the pissing schoolboy playing hooky, the lactating mermaid, the fish eternally throwing up, the dolphin pissing through its blowhole …
9. Sponsorship opportunities. Last but by no means least, an above-ground pool offers enterprising owners the chance to not only recoup their investments, but also create a passive revenue stream through signage partnerships. The metal sides of your pool are just begging for advertising. Keep it local or call on the big corporate guns — it’s your yard, after all.