"You can create a fantastic sense of intimacy and atmosphere with a small pool," Berry said. "It's easier to make an outdoor living area feel like an extension of a house when it's a small versus a large pool. Plus, care and maintenance are a lot less with a small pool."
Berry was working with Don and Lucie Black on replacing their deck when he suggested a small in-ground pool instead of an above-ground hot tub. Initially, they weren't convinced. In fact, the Blacks avoided looking at houses with pools when they were moving.
"I couldn't imagine taking care of a lap pool every day," Lucie Black said.
But Berry envisioned, with brothers Kirk and Dennis Strobel of Land and Water LLC, an 8-by-12-foot hybrid hot tub and pool, or a "spool."
The Blacks' spool looks more like a natural water feature than a swimming pool. The backdrop is a water fountain that flows down a rock ledge into a basin. A U-shaped bench inside the pool surrounds spa jets. The front end is for swimming. A typical pool raft takes up the width of the pool.
"I wouldn't want it any bigger or any smaller," Don Black said. "The pool, combined with a pergola, has given us a whole new place to entertain. We sit out here on evenings and have the family over. Our granddaughter plays here."
And because the spool takes up much less backyard space, the Blacks can preserve their favored garden space.
Jim Dott, designer at Blue Haven Pools and Spas in Shawnee, Kan, added that the rise of water parks and their many features lets homeowners feel free to have something smaller in their yard.
"They feel like they can get the slides and those kinds of features at the parks," Dott said. "So they're trying to make their backyards more like a beautiful resort. They can do that with a smaller pool."
And with smaller pools there's much less landscaping, Dott pointed out. That means much less spending.
Because of their size and minimal maintenance, people can use small pools for many months of the year. For example, a spool's temperature can increase by 30 degrees in about two hours. Based on 1,000 Btu of gas per hour, this would allow someone to maintain a temperature of about 50 degrees in cold months and within two hours be swimming in 80-degree water. Or enjoy the temperatures of a hot tub in about three hours.
The Blacks use their spool year-round.
"The only downside is filtering out the June bugs," Don Black said. "But at least we don't have as many of them as we would with a bigger pool."
Water "treadmills": Badu SwimJet Systems can be installed in any type of pool, new or existing, vinyl liner or concrete, large or small. Capable of creating a current of 5,000 gallons per minute, the jets can be adjusted to provide resistance for a walk, jog or swim. They cost between $4,000 and $6,000.
Source : http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-08-12/classified/sc-home-0815-small-pools-20110812_1_blue-haven-pools-small-pools-smaller-pool