The future of backyard pools in Las Vegas

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Homeowners in the Las Vegas Valley who can afford it probably have a pool. That’s according to Tom Blanchard, managing partner of Orange Realty Group and the president-elect of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

“This is the desert, and pools are a great luxury item to have,” Blanchard said. “I have not heard anyone tell me, ‘You know, Tom, I would love a pool in my backyard, but I’d rather not put one in and just sweat out there with a hose and the sprinklers on.’ ”

Ranny McKee, owner of a local high-end homebuilding company called Elegant Homes, agrees that desire for the backyard pool is likely here to stay. What people look for in a pool, however, has changed.

“People used to want a lot of rock work with fire coming out of the rocks and water,” McKee said. “I think around 2005 or so that started to change. People tend to want more of a contemporary look and feel now. The trend started to change before the economy went south, and it has definitely stayed that way.”

One big trend, McKee said, is a pool with a feature called a vanishing edge, where water flows over an edge—possibly on all sides—to give the appearance of a body of water with no boundary. It’s also called a negative edge pool.

While it offers a unique backdrop and allows for great Instagram opportunities, a vanishing edge also can cause issues.

“The big problem is the evaporation rate because water is spilling over the side,” McKee said. “Covers certainly help with that. I’m seeing more pool covers for that reason and for safety as well.”

McKee said the topic of climate change and its effects on the Las Vegas Valley isn’t something that his customers bring up when discussing what type of pool they might want. And even though trends appear, consumer desires can be as unique and different as the individuals themselves.

“Twenty years ago, you’d see that heavy-rock work and caves,” McKee said. “Now, people are starting to want water that goes all the way up to the level of the concrete [edge]. That option can be costly because we have to put a tank in the ground because the water has to go down about 3 inches before you can go swimming.”

While there’s more talk of the scarcity of water and the importance of not wasting it, Blanchard doesn’t see the backyard pool going extinct.

“Backyard pools are not going anywhere,” Blanchard said. “When boating or water recreation on the lake is banned, then we may start talking about whether the backyard pool should be banned as well. The home is the last bastion, and the right to enjoy that home, with or without a pool, is sacred.”

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Bryan came to the Las Vegas Sun from Wichita, Kan., where he worked as a reporter for the Wichita Eagle ...

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