Need Help with Location of Pool and Patio!


New member
Dec 17, 2019
Hi All. I am in Mass and am looking to have a pool put installed in May. Unfortunately I have a corner lot and not a very big backyard, so the pool is going on the side of the house. This means that I have a 15 foot setback on the street side and a 10 foot setback from our backyard neighbor. I am trying to decide between 2 designs, considering the following factors: amount of time that the pool will get full sun, patio location close to the house vs the street, a patio that has both shade and sun, hanging out on a patio bordered by a retaining wall vs just grass, having yard space for my son (8) to throw or kick a ball long distance, AND having to apply for a variance which seems like a long and complicated process.
I've attached my rudimentary designs.
Plan B is the one I had been thinking of going with all along but it requires applying for a variance(this requires going before the zoning board and justifying being closer to the street). The pool should get more sun and the patio will be balanced between sun and shade. The largest patio area will also be where the retaining wall is, so I feel like that will be nice. That patio is designed as 10 ft by 41 ft, but I am now thinking of making it 9x41 so that there's another foot of yard space (width wise) on the opposite side for ball playing. This design requires a variance.
Plan A is one that I designed so that I don't have to apply for a variance but now I'm wondering if it's something I should consider outright. The pool will be 6 feet closer to the house so it will be in the shade a little longer until the sun is in the West. It will have 1-2 ft (width wise) more long ball play space. Most of the patio space will be in the sun and it will be closer to a busy-ish street (tho there will be a 6 ft fence).

I just don't know how much to weigh sun on the pool vs patio vs play space vs a variance-- or whether 5-7 feet won't really make that much difference in regards to these factors! Or maybe there are other factors that I ought to be considering? I should add that I envision lots of swimming and reading and socializing by the pool by me and my son (my husband is not a fan yet but I'm hoping he will be when it's there!)

Thanks so much for any input you have!



Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
Bedford, TX

Welcome to TFP.. a great place to learn all about building a new pool... :shark:

I am not sure which design makes the most sense, but I would not let getting a variance stand in your way... and now is the time to get one, or get it turned down, as you have plenty of time.

I had to get a variance for adding a 3rd car garage and the process was simple, but did take a couple of months as all your neighbors have to have an opportunity to state their case if they want..


Jim R.