large fiberglass with custom water features in Maryland backyard

large fiberglass with custom water features in Maryland backyard

Vinyl Liner & Fiberglass Pools for Maryland Backyards

March 13th, 2024 by

If you live in Maryland and are thinking about taking the plunge into pool ownership, you’ve got a lot of options to consider. There’s a pool for every lifestyle, ready to help you live your best backyard life. So, what does that look like to you? Do you want your pool to be the center of the action – ready to entertain guests with hot-off-the-grill crabcakes and poolside cocktails? Or would you prefer it to be a tranquil place to float away the cares of a long day?

Regardless of your preference, remember that your pool is only one part of your backyard. Maryland has hot-yet-comfortable summers, but also experiences all four seasons with moderate snow during the winter and lush fall foliage. For Maryland pool owners, accessories like an automatic pool cover and a winter cover can help keep falling leaves and springtime pollen out of your pool, and also protect your investment during winter months. Given Maryland’s higher cost of living, an autocover can also help pay for itself over time, minimizing maintenance and saving money on energy, chemical, and resources costs.

To help you better hone in on the right pool for you, we’ll walk you through the benefits of both fiberglass and vinyl liner pools, maintenance tips, and some of the most common state and local laws around owning a pool in Maryland.

large fiberglass with custom water features in Maryland backyard
Cancun Deluxe Shape | Photo courtesy of Admiral Pools LLC

Fiberglass Pools in Maryland

What does your dream pool look like? Does it have the clean lines of a rectangular fiberglass pool? Or do you think of a more intricately-shaped freeform pool that feels like a sliver of the Chesapeake Bay transported to your backyard? Pools come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. But your pool’s aesthetics are just one part of the bigger picture.

When planning your pool, think about how you plan to use it, as well as who will use it: 

  • Do you love to entertain? Are you planning on grilling poolside and making your pool the place to be for friends and family?
  • Do you plan to use your pool for exercise? If you’re a fitness fanatic, do you also want to incorporate a spillover spa to ease sore muscles?
  • Do you enjoy quiet times in your backyard? If so, what features can make your pool a more relaxing retreat away from the hustle and bustle of daily life?
  • Who’s going to use your pool? Do you have young children or teens? Will they bring friends over to use the pool?
  • Do you have older family members or mobility-compromised adults who will use your pool?
  • Do you plan to devote a large portion of your yard to your pool? Or do you also want to reserve space for flower beds and vegetable gardens?

You’ll also want to consider how your property layout supports the design of your pool. What sort of landscaping and decking do you want to offset your pool? Think about practical elements like fencing that may be required by your state, local or HOA laws. Working with a licensed, professional pool builder can help you create a pool and backyard that works with property constraints and your lifestyle.

Take a look at some beautiful pools Latham has created for many happy homeowners throughout The Free State in the sections below. To see even more gorgeous pools and what’s possible, check with a local builder who can share even more photos and videos of pools currently not available in their online portfolio just yet.

Small Pool Ideas

There are a number of reasons why people gravitate towards smaller pools. Maryland has one of the highest costs of living out of all 50 states – approximately 22% higher and with housing costs a whopping 55% higher than the national average. A smaller pool can be a more attractive prospect if you dream of owning a pool, but have a strict budget.

If you live in a densely populated or urban area like Salisbury, Baltimore, or Frederick, MD, houses may be closer together with smaller backyards, prompting you to make the most of your space. Pools like the rectangular-shaped Enchantment 9.17 can be a tidy option for Marylanders who want a smaller pool loaded with functional features. Its built-in tanning ledge can double as a great wading area for the kids.

The Enchantment is also autocover-ready, making it a more economic choice, as custom-cut covers for more intricate, freeform-shaped pools can be more expensive. Not only can an autocover add an extra layer of safety in preventing loved ones from accidentally falling in when your pool isn’t in use, but it can potentially yield long-term cost and energy savings, too – especially given that Maryland utility costs are roughly 8% higher than average compared to other US states.

A smaller pool may also work better for the backyard lifestyle you see for yourself and family. Maybe you dream of growing prize-winning Black-Eyed Susans (Maryland’s state flower!) along the perimeter of your property. Or perhaps you want to have an outdoor grilling station to entertain friends, but still want to have a space for your kids – and their friends – to splash and play during warmer weather. A smaller pool can help you do more with your backyard, making your pool part of the action and not necessarily the main attraction.

Look to striking kidney-shaped models, like the 10’ x 20 Jamaica, with plenty of swim-up seating and slip-resistant steps for easy entry and exit for swimmers of all ages and mobility levels. The 10’ x 16’ Milan is another feature-rich pool that offers big fun in a small package.

small fiberglass pool with spa in Maryland backyard
Rectangular Fiberglass Pool | Photo courtesy of Pool and Spa Masters Inc.

Larger Pool Ideas

If you live in Southern Maryland or other more rural or suburban parts of the state, you might be blessed with a bigger backyard. And with more space comes more options to create the pool of your dreams.

If large-and-in-charge is your style, the grand Genesis is a 16’ x 40’ modern freeform pool with ample swim-up seating to entertain the entire extended family. Whether you plan to use your pool to host family get-togethers, squeeze in some exercise or float away a tough day with a cool beverage in-hand, the Genesis is where it all begins!

Looking for something slightly smaller, but still striking? The 14’ x 30’ Laguna Deluxe has both a tanning ledge and wading area, as well as a spillover spa, making this a fun-filled pool for kids and adults. Its spacious, but still modest size still gives you plenty of room to build the backyard of your dreams, complementing it with a multi-tiered deck, vegetable gardens or even a relaxing hammock to fully enjoy backyard living.

Larger yards can be made even more beautiful with add-ons, such as water features and fire bowls, enhancing the look of your pool and playing off of attractive landscaping. Rockscaping can also be an enchanting addition to your backyard oasis, making your pool feel more like a natural spring or zen garden. As an added bonus, more rocks means less foliage to prune and maintain while still making your yard the talk of the block!

large fiberglass pool with spa, waterslide, and diving board in northeast backyard
Genesis Shape | Photo courtesy of Pool-fection

Pool Ideas For Hilly or Uneven Backyards

Depending on where you live in Maryland, the lay of the land looks a little different. In the eastern part of the state approaching the Atlantic Ocean, residents have beach-front access and flat coastal plains. The middle of Maryland has gently rolling hills and further west, those hills turn into mountainous slopes in close proximity to the Appalachians and Blue Ridge Mountains.

If you have a larger backyard situated in one of the hillier spots in The Free State, infinity edge pools offer a custom-designed solution that works with the natural features of your backyard.. An infinity pool mimics the look of natural waterfalls and gives the illusion that your pool flows into infinity. On top of their striking good looks, an infinity pool helps you make the most of your surroundings and carve out a truly tranquil backyard sanctuary.

Infinity pools cost a bit more than more traditional models due to the fact that they’re fully-customized. However, if your backyard sits on hilly terrain, a customized pool can be a great way to offset some of the challenges that come with installing a pool on less-than-level land.

If your backyard isn’t level, a professional builder can grade your land to make it more hospitable for a fiberglass pool. However, there may be some instances where a vinyl liner pool can be a better option, allowing you more flexibility with your design. Be open to any ideas your builder suggests. They can work with you to help you create a design you love. Whether you opt for fiberglass or a vinyl liner pool, ultimately, it’s about choosing a pool that works with your backyard and lifestyle.

fiberglass pool built on a hill in a northeast backyard
Rectangular Fiberglass Pool | Photo courtesy of Gary Thull Pools

Considerations for Beach House Pools

The eastern coast of Maryland faces the Atlantic Ocean, making it a prime spot for a beach house. And while some may love the smell of salt air and feel of sand between their toes, others may prefer to avoid crowded beaches and relax poolside instead.

For those times when you crave relaxation – and maybe a good crab boil – fiberglass pools such as the Vista Isle are loaded with features to accommodate beach house guests or alone time soaking in some sun and fun. Its wide tanning ledge offers a great place to dip your toes in the water, while also doubling as a wading area for tots.

If you enjoy keeping the beach party going after the sun goes down, a fiberglass model like the Astoria features a spillover spa – perfect for chilly nights. In addition, the Astoria also has a tanning ledge and multiple entry points. This can make it easy for swimmers of all ages to get in and out of the pool.

small fiberglass pool for beach house
Vista Isle Shape | Photo courtesy of Paul Schaper Construction

Fiberglass Pool Benefits

Fiberglass pools are renowned for their beautiful, smooth finish. Not only is it easy on the eyes (and feet when wading in!), but it also makes them a breeze to clean. This smooth surface makes them less susceptible to algae clinging to their surface, compromising your water chemistry.

Although fiberglass pools can cost more than vinyl liner pools, their low-maintenance vibe and prefabricated options can be worth the added up-front cost. Because fiberglass pool shells are manufactured off-site and transported to your backyard, this saves time on installation, allowing you to enjoy your new pool sooner.

Learn more about the benefits of owning a fiberglass pool.

Inground Fiberglass vs. Vinyl Liner Pools: Choosing the Best Materials for Your Maryland Backyard

Choosing the right materials for your pool makes a world of difference in terms of its longevity, ease of maintenance, and cost over time. Fiberglass and vinyl pools have gained in popularity through the years, making them a favorite among pool owners for their beauty, durability, and ease of maintenance.

While concrete (or gunite) pools were once popular several decades ago, these pools have fallen out of favor with pool owners because they require considerably more upkeep than more modern materials. Gunite pools are more susceptible to developing algae – which can severely compromise your pool’s water chemistry. Gunite pools can become rough and chalky with age, requiring resurfacing every 10 years or so. This can add to their cost over time. Additionally, salt air and Maryland’s proximity to bodies of water can also play a role in concrete erosion, potentially compromising your pool’s structural integrity.

If you have an older concrete or gunite pool, vinyl liner pools can be a fantastic option for replacing or remodeling it. They’re highly customizable and can work with the existing structure of your backyard to create something fresh to give you more enjoyment out of your pool over time.

Explore the differences between fiberglass, vinyl liner and concrete pools to find the right material for you!

Vinyl Liner Pool Benefits

Vinyl liner pools have their own unique benefits, making them a great fit for folks who want a highly-customizable pool and a cost-effective option. Although vinyl liner pools require just a little bit more maintenance than their fiberglass counterparts, it can be worth it in terms of up-front cost savings.

In addition to being able to customize your liner colors and patterns, vinyl liner pools offered in many of the same shapes and sizes as fiberglass pools. Because vinyl liner pools are poured into place, they can be an excellent choice for homes that have uneven backyard or as a replacement for an older concrete pool.

Your builder can tweak an existing vinyl liner pool design to add on even more features that can help you live your best backyard life. Whether that looks like functional features like tanning ledges and multiple entry points, or fabulous eye-catching add-ons like bubblers and LED pool lights, anything is possible!

As times and tastes change, the way you want to use your pool may change through the years. For instance, if the kids have flown the nest and you find yourself hosting friends poolside more often, yesterday’s water slides can be replaced with a spillover spa or tanning ledge.

If you want to update your pool, you can save on costs and labor by adding or removing features at the same time you’re scheduled to replace your vinyl liner. Typically, a well-maintained vinyl liner can last for nearly 10 years.

Inground Vinyl Liner Pools in MD

Hot, humid Maryland summers are best spent poolside! Get inspired with some examples of beautiful vinyl liner pools we’ve had a hand in creating. Don’t see something that looks like the pool of your dreams? Pay a visit to your local builder. They can show you even more photos and videos of custom vinyl liner pool creations that may not yet be available in their online portfolio.

vinyl liner pool in northeast backyard by a bay
Vinyl Liner Pool | Photo courtesy of The Pool Guyz

Maryland Pool Maintenance

Whether you choose a vinyl liner or fiberglass pool, both have a lot to offer – especially in terms of ease of upkeep. Depending on the type of material you choose for your new pool, you may have a slightly different task list and maintenance schedule to keep your pool performing in peak condition.

Maintaining Your Fiberglass Pool in Maryland

One of the best things about fiberglass pools is that they do not demand a lot of time or attention to stay beautiful. That said, you’ll still want to reserve time each week to skim your pool, check your pool’s chemistry and water levels, and empty filter baskets.

Learn more about fiberglass pool maintenance.

Vinyl Liner Pool Maintenance in Maryland

Although vinyl liner pools require a little bit more maintenance than fiberglass pools, that extra bit of TLC is worth it in terms of cost savings. Set aside time each week to skim your pool and test your water chemistry. To keep your liner looking its best and keep dirt and algae at bay, give it a gentle scrub each week with a soft bristled brush.

A well-maintained liner can last for 10 years – possibly more. Checking your liner for small holes or leaks each month can also help prolong its lifetime. Patch up any small holes to prevent them from becoming bigger. Your liner will also thank you for using only soft pool toys to avoid accidentally puncturing or tearing it. Think: foam pool noodles and inflatable floats and toys to keep your liner in good shape and keep the fun going!

Learn more about vinyl liner maintenance with our helpful checklist.

Covers and Winterizing Options for Maryland Pools

Although Maryland has hot, muggy summers, the Free State also experiences the full range of four seasons – including winter. Whether you decide on a vinyl liner pool or a fiberglass pool, save room in your budget for a pool cover. And because Maryland sees an average of 20.6 inches of snow per year – with some eastern portions of the state receiving more than 100 inches of powder annually – you may also want to invest in a winter pool cover.

While automatic pool covers are a fantastic option for making your pool safer and helping minimize maintenance when pool season is in full swing, a winter cover can protect your pool and the delicate components of an autocover from the weight of heavy snow after closing your pool for the season.

A specially-designed winter pool cover can help you safely close your pool before winter and can be removed when you’re ready to reopen your pool the following spring.

Learn more about how to winterize your pool.

Why should I get an autocover? 

Automatic pool covers can help you save time and money during the lifetime of your pool. Autocovers can help you save between 50% to 70% on energy costs, as well as reduce water evaporation and chemical usage to maintain your pool. This translates to less time spent taking care of your pool and more time enjoying it.

And while that shady oak in your yard can provide a beautiful focal point and shade from the scorching summer sun, it can also deposit pollen and leaves in your pool. Pollen grains can contribute to algae growth and also clog your filter if not removed promptly. An autocover can help minimize the amount of nature’s leave-behinds falling into your pool when it’s not in-use.

If you’re working with a smaller budget, many rectangular pool models are autocover-ready. More intricate shapes, such as freeform pools, may require a custom-cut autocover, which can be slightly more expensive.

Most importantly, autocovers can save lives, preventing kids and pets from accidentally falling in when unattended. It can also serve as a deterrent against people using your pool without your permission when you’re away.

autocover closing over pool in northeast backyard
Rectangular Fiberglass Pool | Photo courtesy of Gary Thull Pools

Rules and Regulations for Installing an Inground Pool in Maryland

Maryland has several laws that blanket the state to ensure your pool is at the heart of many happy – and safe – moments for you and your loved ones. Before breaking ground on a new pool, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with some of these state and local regulations to be sure your pool is compliant.

Although there are some overarching laws that apply broadly across the whole of Maryland, your city or county may have even more prohibitive laws around pool ownership. Do your research beforehand to be sure your pool is up-to-code. Working with a professional builder can help you better understand the latest Maryland pool codes, as well as help you secure the proper permits.

Do you need a permit to build a pool in Maryland?

The state of Maryland requires that all pool owners have a General Permit for Discharges from Swimming Pools and Spas. This permit is designed to ensure that any pools connected to public sewer lines obtain permission from these entities and properly dispose of pool water containing chlorine. For pools that are not connected to these community resources, the permit ensures owners follow proper disposal protocols so that pool water does not empty into natural streams or seep into the ground, causing environmental damage.

While this permit is required for all Marylanders who have a pool, your city, township or county may require you to apply for additional permits to ensure your pool is compliant with local laws.

For instance, Frederick County, Maryland requires a building permit for all pools. The county defines a pool as “any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 24 inches deep. This includes in-ground, aboveground, and on-ground pools, hot tubs and spas.” Additional permits may be required, such as a health review fee permit if the property uses a well or septic system, a Minor Grading Permit for in-ground pools above 5,000 square feet or that require 100 cubic yards of earth to be moved, as well as electrical and plumbing permits.

Caroll County, Maryland – including such cities as Manchester, Woodbine, Westminster and Hampstead – is part of the Baltimore metropolitan area. The county requires a building permit and electrical permit for all pools, but only requires an electrical permit for hot tubs and spas.

As laws can change over time and vary depending on where you live, it’s important to check with your local building office to ensure that you have applied for the proper permits before breaking ground on your new pool. Working with a local builder can also help you to more confidently understand what permits you are responsible for to ensure your pool is up to all applicable state and local codes.

Can you have a pool without a fence in Maryland?

No. You cannot have a pool without proper fencing in Maryland. At minimum, pool fencing must be at least 48 inches (4 feet) high, with self-closing, self-latching gates and outfitted with a lock.

While this general requirement around pool fencing applies throughout the state, different cities and counties may have more stringent laws around pool fencing. For instance, Prince George’s County mandates that all fencing surrounding a pool must be a minimum of 6 feet high.

While most cities and counties throughout Maryland define a pool as any receptacle that can hold more than 24 inches (3 feet) of water, Montgomery County, MD defines a swimming pool as any water-holding vessel with a depth of at least 18 inches. Montgomery County has even more rigid requirements around pool fencing and alarms, requiring a regulation height fence of at least 5 feet high that must surround the pool completely. If a wall of a home is part of the pool barrier, any doors leading to the pool must be outfitted with an audible alarm or the pool must have an automatic safety cover.

Because laws change periodically and individual townships may have more prohibitive requirements than those of the state of Maryland, it’s essential to check with your local building office to be sure your pool fencing meets all regional safety standards.

How much setback do you need for a pool in Maryland?

While there are no specific statewide laws around how far a pool can be from a home in Maryland, in many cases, setback requirements may vary depending on the size of your home and the size of the parcel of land where your pool will be located. For instance, Talbot County, MD determines setback requirements based on zoning and property size.

Conversely, Cheverly, MD – in Prince George’s County and a stone’s throw from Washington, D.C. – requires that swimming pools “shall not be any nearer than eight (8) feet from the side or rear lot lines or from any house, building or residence. All such pools shall be at least fifteen (15) feet back of the front building line.” The county also requires that pools shall not extend to any front lawn or any existing house on adjacent property.

As pool setback requirements can vary from depending on the county or city where you live,  be sure to consult your local building office to confirm your pool meets local building and setback codes. A licensed pool professional can also help you more easily understand these laws and ensure your pool is constructed accordingly.

Factors that Impact Your Inground Pool’s Cost in Maryland

The total cost to install a fiberglass pool in Maryland can vary based on several factors, including your pool’s size, materials, and any add-on features like slides, bubble jets, pool lights or even a heating element for your pool. You should also account for practical or safety-enhancing features, such as fencing, decking or an automatic cover. You’ll also want to consider the cost of landscaping or other structures to offset your pool, helping to beautify your backyard and make it an extension of your home and lifestyle.

Maryland Inground Pool Installation Areas

Latham has proudly helped thousands of many Maryland residents become happy pool owners, including those in:

  • Abingdon, MD
  • Annapolis, MD
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Chesapeake Beach, MD
  • Columbia, MD
  • Frederick, MD
  • Laurel, MD
  • Mechanicsville, MD
  • Salisbury, MD
  • Towson, MD
  • Union Hall, MD
  • West Friendship, MD

Start Building a Pool for Your Maryland Backyard Today

Latham is one of the largest designers and manufacturers of pools in the US. If you live in Maryland our team is here to help you find a pool you’ll love for decades to come. Speak to an independent builder today to start planning a pool to enhance your lifestyle.

Got questions? Contact Latham today!

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A unique group of talented individuals with years of industry experience, the Latham Editorial Team brings together the best and the brightest in order to deliver diverse perspectives on how to make your backyard the center of your Latham lifestyle.

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