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Swim-Up Bar Ideas

Swim-up bars make it possible to enjoy a drink or snack without getting out of the pool. For years they have been a popular hang out at tropical resorts and recently they have gained popularity in residential backyards.

According to Drew Sivgals of AMS Landscape Design Studios, a swim-up bar is right for you if:

  • You are looking to create a resort setting in your own backyard
  • You enjoy entertaining in a relaxed fashion
  • You have kids that spend a lot of time in the pool

Saving Space with a Swim-Up Bar
"Most people don't realize that one of the major benefits of a swim-up bar is that they save space," says Sivgals. A swim-up bar requires the cook center be placed directly next to the swimming pool. "Linking the two features eliminates the need for additional open space for circulation and seating," he adds. However, he cautions that when opting for a swim-up bar you lose potential space that could be used for amenities and storage.

Seat & Counter Height
When installing a swim-up bar, the height of the seat and counter are crucial. Typically, swim-up bars are placed in shallow areas with 30 to 42 inches of water. Sivgals says, "The seat should be designed and built at a height that is comfortable for sitting and allows the person to remain partially submerged in the water." The countertop should be high enough to provide sufficient knee room. As a general rule of thumb, Sivgals recommends placing a swim-up bar counter 6 inches above the pool's coping.

A swim-up bar must be accessible from within the water and from the cooking area on the other side of the counter. This way people out of the pool can provide food and drinks, as well as socialize with those sitting at the swim-up bar. "We set the floor of our cook centers 12 inches below grade to account for the low height of a swim-up bar," Sivgals explains. This makes it possible for a regular chair to be pulled up to the dry side of the swim-up bar.

AMS Landscape Design Studio
Drew Sivgals
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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