Part 2: Physical Pool Safety Barriers
To learn about electric pool safety barriers, please read part one of this guide.
Swimming pool covers are by far the most effective safety barriers you can invest in. They go directly over the water to prevent people and pets from falling in. This isn't to say that people can't fall into a covered pool, but the chances of drowning or serious injury are greatly reduced. Automatic covers are ideal because they are built to withstand heavy weight and they work on their own. Other models will provide temporary coverage, but they are not designed to support the weight of a human being.
Also keep in mind that having a swimming pool cover will prevent leaves, twigs, dirt, and other debris from blowing into your pool. This will reduce the wear on your pool's filtration system and ultimately save you money in repairs and replacement parts. Getting an automatic pool cover may be a little pricey upfront, but it will easily pay for itself over time.
Temporary or Permanent Pool Fencing
Installing a fence around your pool deck is another way to protect people and pets from getting into the pool when they are not supposed to. You can either choose to install a temporary fence that you take down at the end of the summer, or you can get a permanent fence that protects your pool all year long. Your pool fencing can be customized to complement your home and other outdoor features, so you won't have to worry about it being an eyesore. In fact, you may be able to enhance the look of your entire deck just by adding a fence around it.
As a secondary source of protection, you may consider installing a privacy fence around your yard, if you don't already have one. Make sure to put a lock on the side gate and any doors leading to the alley. The more secure your property is, the less likely people are to get into your pool without authorization.
Hedges, Shrubs, and Other Plants
Plants aren't exactly fool-proof when it comes to pool safety barriers, but they can provide a little extra security when you need it most. For instance, a set of thorny bushes on the outermost part of the pool area may detract intruders and neighborhood kids from jumping into your pool when you are not around. These also provide a layer of privacy if you cannot put up a fence in your yard. Just keep in mind that with privacy comes obstructed views, which means you may not be able to watch your children while they play in the pool. Do not install plants around your pool if they are going to create a safety hazard, rather than preventing one.
Also note the amount of debris that your hedges and shrubs produce. Many plants do not work well around pools because they create more work for the filtration systems. Ask your pool maintenance company which privacy plants will be best for you.
Enhance your pool deck and fencing with a built-in outdoor kitchen or bar. This will allow you to utilize the space more effectively and enjoy a full range of entertainment opportunities. Much like pool fencing, outdoor kitchens can be customized to complement your home's architecture. This will add value to the property and make your home easier to sell in the future. Whatever money you invest now will easily be returned when it comes time to move to a new home.