One of my goals for a pool is to spend as little time as is humanly possible on maintenance. 1) Because I don't like it and more importantly 2) Because I'll forget. Just like I sometimes forget to fee my cats and clean out their litter boxes (and the cats are IN MY FACE, unlike a pool).
I had designed a pool with a builder her in Austin last year and it had an in-floor cleaning system and other gizmos that they claim would keep the water cleaner (that people on this board don't recommend -- like ozone and UV. They apparently don't like to use SWG here in Austin). I ultimately did not go forward because 1) it got too expensive, and 2) I was still worried that I was going to have to spend a lot of time maintaining the pool. This winter, I was certainly glad that I didn't have to go out there and empty skimmer baskets and gorp.
Anyhow, we're reconsidering a pool now. Make it less complicated (like rectangular instead of open-end geometric) and inherently less expensive (remove the spa).
The only thing remaining is the maintenance issue. The pool would be sited along a bunch of live oak trees (biggest pollen-generators of the universe!) and, at the shallow end, almost under a Texas red oak (deciduous).
There's two issues: 1) get the stuff out (or keep it out) with as little intervention from me and 2) maintain water quality so that we can use the pool when we want (again, with as little intervention from me).
What do you recommend? Don't have a pool because of the trees? Stop being a pansy and just clean the pool like a big girl? (I'd rather that not happen.) Pay a pool service? (~2k/yr?)
What about an autocover? Am I trading a pool maintenance issue for a cover maintenance issue? How often do you have to dump the stuff that's on the cover into the pool so that the polaris will get it?
If it makes you not have to get a pool service, it takes 5.5 years to pay for that cover. Do covers last longer than that? Are they expected to be trouble free for that long, or are you expected to have problems in that time?
For water quality, just tell them to put in the SWG and shut up? (They'll do that, but give you some song and dance about not giving you a coping warranty) Aren't there auto-chem devices that can go with SWGs that can monitor water quality and adjust what the SWG is doing based on what the water is like in real-time? (intellichem? It took a while to pull THAT out of my brain)
What I want to do is spend our money on precisely the things that will help us enjoy the pool most (who doesn't want that?) Like I said, #1 is: think about maintenance as little as possible. #2 is: deep enough for my son to dive in (but that's easily solved, isn't it?)
I'm sorry for all the Qs. I'm just at odds about what to do. I want to make sure that I've prepared myself before I have a giant hole in my back yard.